Are Prestige Classes Really Necessary?




+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 48

Hybrid View

  1. #1

    Are Prestige Classes Really Necessary?

    Hi, folks! I'm just blowing off some steam here. If I write anything unintelligible, let me know, and I'll try to fix the problem. It suddenly occurred to me that the needs of most prestige classes could be filled with character classes. Most abilities could be spread out over 20 levels instead of 10. It just strikes me that many of these prestige classes don't seem any more demanding than a wizard or monk. They don't seem like they'd require any more prerequisites than most of the character classes.

    This might seem off-base, but I remember reading some poll somewhere...I misremember where, but anyway, it said only a small percentage of people play prestige classes, as opposed to character classes. Am I correct? Or is this poll dead wrong? I don't recall where I read about it. When you're on the internet at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, your mind can play tricks with you.

    Furthermore...do you prefer character classes or prestige classes...? And if you could take your favorite prestige class, say a skald, or maybe church inquisitor, and have it as a character class starting at 1st level, would you go for it? Does that seem like a viable alternative?

    Let's say the prestige class had its 10 levels of powers spread out over 20 levels instead. Some of these prestige classes could be toned down a bit if necessary (for those concerned about game balance).

    Now I know that certain prestige classes require you to be a certain race (such as a dwarven defender), so not everyone qualifies. But a paladin needs to be lawful good, so not everyone qualifies for that either. This strikes me as very reasonable. What do you think, Mister 1st level Church Inquisitor?

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

    Black Omega's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ryoko Owari, City of Stories
    Posts
    2,025

    Ignore Black Omega
    Assuming this is not a troll...

    What I like about Prestige Classes is that they give the player something to strive toward. Being a 'Fill in the blank' means something. At least in the world I do.
    Black Omega
    -----------
    "On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

    Check out my Rokugan Storyhour (Updated 12/13/03)

  3. #3
    Originally posted by Black Omega
    Assuming this is not a troll...

    What I like about Prestige Classes is that they give the player something to strive toward. Being a 'Fill in the blank' means something. At least in the world I do.
    Exactly. Prestige classes exist for metagame purposes -- sorta like the kits from 2E. The difference is that taking a PrC (theoretically) involves some kind of sacrifice, in the class levels that are given up in favour of the PrC abilities.

    From a strict, world-building perspective, PrCs aren't necessary. But then again, not many things are necessary from a strict, world-building perspective.

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Novice (Lvl 1)

    omedon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
    Posts
    314

    Ignore omedon
    No, they are not necessary by any means. But they can be fun. I personally don't like to see products littered with prestige classes because there is very little chance that they will be used, at least by me anyways. I think most characters and NPC's should be standard classes with Prestige Classes being the exception.

  5. #5
    I would prefer to be able to take the PrC I want as a regular, 20 level class from level 1. Even with the lifting of multiclass restrictions, I still dislike multiclassing in general. It tends to distract from who I want my PC to be, and having to take useless feats like Endurance, Run, Toughness, etc., is too painful a choice to make. The skill requirements alone are too tough in many cases, LOL.

  6. #6
    Originally posted by Kaptain_Kantrip
    I would prefer to be able to take the PrC I want as a regular, 20 level class from level 1. Even with the lifting of multiclass restrictions, I still dislike multiclassing in general.
    If you think of a class as a skillset, as opposed to a vocation or way of life, your problems will disappear.

  7. #7

    I dislike the prestige class idea in general

    All of the prestige classes could just be built from skills and feats. The problem lies in how rigidly the core classes are defined. The reason the Human Fighter class is so popular is because it is extremely customizable. If the other classes had been built with this in mind we would not see nearly the number of "this class got the shaft" threads. The other class that compares to the fighter is the wizard -- again a very flexible class because of the spells.
    The problem with the prestige classes in general is that their focus is too narrow. If you are playing in a game with 8+ people, perhaps this focus is needed, but with smaller groups the classes need a little more breadth.
    Maybe I'm crazy, but prestige classes represent why the level/class system has problems. A levelless/classless system would allow flexibility and customization from the get go, so that players that wanted narrow concepts could build them as well as players that wanted broad concepts.
    I find that 99% of the prestige classes make ok NPC classes and really suck for PC classes. The Lasher from Sword and Fist demonstrates this point. Works great as an NPC foe, but who would really take it as a PC ?
    Finally, multiclassing in general really hoses spell casting characters. This is because every class has a base attack bonus, but not every class has a spell level bonus. The few prestige classes that work for spellcasters are lame IMHO.

  8. #8
    Registered User
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    13,516
    Blog Entries
    8
    WotBS ZEITGEIST

    Ignore RangerWickett
    As a huge fan of prestige classes, let me defend them. There are four main groups of prestige classes, two of which are useful and necessary, one of which is only slightly necessary, and one of which is frivolous.

    The frivolous one is the "Jack of some Trades" prestige class. Y'know, the ones like the Hospitaler that have some paladin abilities and some cleric abilities. Basically, these classes just mix and match powers from other classes, and are wholly boring. I think that every prestige class should at least have something original to it. I'm a big rules tinkerer, so a prestige class to me is a confined way to introduce new rules. A prestige class that is just a rehash of other classes is boring to me.

    As a subgroup of this first one, you have the "I'm too stupid to pick my feats" classes. These ones basically just do the same thing as a standard class, with no rearranging. Maybe a few new things are introduced, but overall they can be created with the existing rules. What is a cavalier but a fighter with the right feats? What is a foe hunter but a ranger with a couple levels of rogue? I dislike these too.

    The slightly necessary group includes the prestige classes that are different from existing classes, but aren't really huge changes. For instance, it takes very little to turn a paladin into a holy liberator. Just change the alignment of some of his abilities and restrictions, and you're set. I see no real need for this to be a prestige class, but rather a simple suggestion of how to change an existing class. The Candle Caster is a neat idea, but is it really that hard to say that wizards and sorcerers can take Craft Magic Candle instead of Scribe Scroll? I'm not saying these classes are bad, but they could have been done otherwise. Thus, their existence alone does not validate the presence of prestige classes.

    Now, on to the two useful types of prestige classes. They are the 'Organizations' and the 'Exotics'.

    Organizations are fairly self-explanatory, and I think they're the best thing to use prestige classes for in general. You choose a group that is defined by certain particular powers, and make a prestige class for it. Not every rogue or bard is a Guild Thief, not every wizard or sorcerer is a Mage of the Arcane Order, and not every Cleric or Druid is an Elemental Guardian (homebrew class). People can enter organizations from many different roads, but then they start to move along the same path. Also, most organizations have entry requirements, since only the most devoted petitioners will be accepted and trained. Thus, you have a good source for a prestige class.

    Finally, there are exotics, which are my personal favorite, even though they're harder to work into one's own campaigns. Exotics are built around examining a particular type of rule or power. Rather than wholly reinventing the rules of the game, they play with them. Duelists are fighters who don't rely on armor, but on speed. Lashers are warriors who can actually use a whip competently. Frenzied Berzerkers are even more powerful ragers, but at a risk to themselves and others. Dragon Disciples are a different way to become half-Draconic. Void Disciples (from Oriental Adventures) have magic powers focused on emptiness and vacuum.

    Some of these classes could easily be made into core classes, especially the non-magical ones. Afterall, it wouldn't be that hard to change a normal fighter into a duelist, just by swapping out the armor proficiencies for free Weapon Finesse and Canny Defense. It's a little harder to take a Feyspeaker (one of my classes) and make it into a core class, because the prestige class allows for any spellcaster to enter it's ranks. Do you choose to make the core class use sorcerer spells? Druid spells?

    Turning all Prestige Classes into core classes causes an inflation in the number of options for beginners, one thing I want to avoid. You'd end up with over 50 core classes, which would be intimidating for new players. When they start playing standard D&D, they'll take a fighter, and realize how fun the game is, and then start buying some books before they get too high level. When they get those books, they might see some stuff they'd like to take to make their PC different. But if they had all those options from the beginning, it'd be harder to get into the game from all the complications.

    Prestige classes give you an easy way to introduce less typical character roles in a package that is easy to dole out. It's also a good marketing ploy from WotC, because prestige classes are one of the most interesting aspects of game design. Look at some of Monte Cook's work for excellent usages of the concept. You'll always get people making more Prestige Classes, which will mean that you'll always have a source of new books to produce. Having more options for things people can create makes the industry more vibrant, and helps us all as a whole, even if we never find a use for most of what we buy.

    I personally advocate going to a four class designation: Fighter, Rogue, Magus, Expert. The PHB could go into sample career paths for those classes, involving multiclassing and such, and so all the basic characters from fantasy literature would be covered with a simple set of rules.

    Barbarian is a Fighter with certain feats that let him rage.

    Bard is a Rogue/Fighter/Magus/Expert, a real jack of all trades. Take some feats for song magic, and you're set.

    Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards can all be covered by Magus. There's no wholly balance reason to make wizards be unable to heal, so just have the whole spell list open to Magi, and let clerics be multiclass fighter/magi.

    Monks as presented in the PHB would be Fighter/Magi, mostly fighter, with select spells. Most martial artists would just be fighters, though.

    Rangers and Paladins are Fighters with a smidgen of Magus, and a little Expert for Rangers.

    Maybe have two magi classes, one spontaneous and one prepratory. But still, you'd have basic classes to cover your bases, and then prestige classes would only be needed for exotics and organizations. That sounds good to me.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure seven, Schism! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Decatur, GA
    Posts
    13,516
    Blog Entries
    8
    WotBS ZEITGEIST

    Ignore RangerWickett
    Um, y'all know Piratecat? Well, the character he plays is a Lasher. Because whips are cool. Wouldn't you love to play Indiana Jones? I bet he has a level of Lasher.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
    Director of the ZEITGEIST campaign saga.


    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure seven, Schism! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

  10. #10
    Hey, again everyone! Holy cats, it's late. 2:30 am here. RangerWickett, I see what you mean when you say..."too many classes/options can confuse the newbies". At least, I think you were saying that.

    But newbies can just stick with the Players Handbook. The intermediate/expert players are the ones who can go for all the other options.

    Whenever I've introduced a new player, they always started off with basic archtypes. The only exception is one guy who wanted to roleplay a demon-possessed ninja warrior who...uh.....that's another story. My point is, the unusual character classes could be saved for players that know what they're doing.

    Hi, WaterRabbit! Nice name. I've thought about classless/levelless games. They do have their place. What you propose kinda sounds like GURPS. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's cool. It sounds like a pretty radical departure from D&D though. What do you guys think of that?

    I'd respond to each of you guys individually, but my brain grows murkier and murkier with each passing moment. Sleep deprivation does that.

    Hard.....to....formulate....c-complete sen...sentences.....uurrghhh.....zzzzz....

    Whoa. Sorry about that.

+ Log in or register to post
Page 1 of 5 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Poll: What base classes would you prefer to see as prestige classes instead?
    By AFGNCAAP in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: Thursday, 1st February, 2007, 06:32 PM
  2. Should Prestige Classes be more powerful than Base Classes?
    By victorysaber in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
    Replies: 61
    Last Post: Sunday, 12th November, 2006, 12:57 AM
  3. What Classes or Prestige Classes give Flurry of Blows?
    By RigaMortus2 in forum D&D and Pathfinder
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Tuesday, 1st August, 2006, 07:09 AM
  4. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Thursday, 1st September, 2005, 07:10 AM
  5. Base spellcasting classes as prestige classes
    By Quasqueton in forum D&D and Pathfinder
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Sunday, 21st December, 2003, 11:38 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •