All these Classes to choose from...... Oh My!

Sunderstone

Villager
I dont mind an occasional new core class but it has to be balanced and still leave something to running an older core class.

As an example..... I would really love to buy the "Complete" set of books as I like what Ive been reading of Warlocks, Favored Souls, etc. At the same time I hear bad things about the Frenzied Berserkers and a few others. So ultimately, I dont buy the "splat books" as much anymore as spending all that money on 4 or 5 books just to have the Warlock, Favored Soul, and Scout available. Same with the Marshal in the Miniatures handbook.

The Book of 9 Swords seems to fall into this category as well. As does everything lately with a "Dragon" attatched to it. One or two dragon-based classes is enough already. The Dragon based stuff is becoming more like the Drow/Drizzt fad of old.... a complete turn off. Its nice to have new options but the current trend in the books is going abit too far away from the "normal" D&D that Ive been enjoying for 24 years or so.

Maybe I'm too much of a traditional gamer so my opinion might be stricter than others, but I do use newer stuff in my campaigns too. For example I like books like the Dragonomicon and Libris Mortis for making up better enemies than PCs, as I tend to view these books as more for DMs than players.
It just looks almost like pokemon with all the new "Core" classes, etc.




Opinions?
 

Aus_Snow

Villager
Hm. Well, I quite like the 'Complete's up to but not including Psionic (I don't have that one at this stage.) They've been rather useful so far. Many feats, several classes, some extra rules, a number of spells - I've used a fair bit of stuff from them actually. Most of it house-ruled first, sure. But still.

The 'Dragon' books I can quite happily leave too. The Bo9S, I am unsure of. PHBII has proved useful-ish, so far - not a bad book overall, I think.

Tome of Magic has yet to see serious use here, but I'm intrigued.

Have I missed any significant ones?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I don't have any problem with the proliferation of base classes, as long as (as you say) there is at least a realistic attempt at balancing them re:Other base classes.

I just think some of them aren't worth much IMHO- like the Complete Warrior's version of the Samurai, the Hexblade or the Warlock.

I also think that some of the books just aren't worth a darn- I bought Races of Destiny at Half-Price Books and felt ripped off despite the discount (too much coverage of stuff adequately covered in other books).

THAT SAID- I welcome the attempts to broaden the game's horizons. Even if the designers only succeed 33% of the time in delivering high-quality critters, spells, feats or classes, each addition is a benefit for players on each side of the screen, and is even potentially revolutionary. What one designer screws up, another designer (inspired by his predecessor) may turn into RPG gold.

Heck, sometimes all that is needed is the proper context.

For instance- I have no current need for Magic of Incarnum...but I do own it. It may become the basis for a campaign in the future. Tome of Magic has potential.

OTOH, DMG 2 & PHB 2 were bought only with deeeeeeep discounts, and Book of 9 Swords, that Dragon Magic book, and the other Races books are not currently on my buy list...nor are they likely to in the forseeable future.
 
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I use the Complete books up to but not including Psionic - and that is an intentional no buy although I use the XPH all the time in my campaigns. You should note, the Frenzied Berserker is a PrC and not a base class.

In my opinion, most base classes typical blurs the space between the core base classes. If you want a pure meatshield, pick a fighter. If you want a fighter that might be more dexterity based maybe you want a swashbuckler. If you want a fighter that can use a bit of arcane to lower enemies' defenses pick a hexblade. Those are all examples from Complete Warrior, but they work. [Others would be the scout as a pseudo ranger/rogue, a spellthief as a rogue/arcanist, etc.]

Additionally, some of the classes have a more asian feel (samurai, shugenja, wu jen, ninja). Those are easy to ignore if you don't like them. I use them, but find that players seldom take them.

Ultimately, though ... I'd buy the books for simply the PrC and feat crunch. Don't use the base classes if you don't want them. None of them overpower the original. They merely give shades of differences without having to fully multiclass.

Now, if you want an awesome book, pick up the PHB II before any Complete books. That book is awesome.
 
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smootrk

Villager
Honestly, several of the new base classes are subpar in power level, but they have lots of great role-play potential. So when someone has the idea to play something out of the ordinary, I do not mind much, as long as I can incorporate the class in a reasonable fashion (not usually difficult - but then I feel that I have the creativity to make just about anything happen. I even have Faerunian Warforged).

I will also say that the PH2 is great for feats that make standard fighters much more desirable as well (at higher levels), in addition to the new base classes contained therein.
 

BadMojo

Villager
Nonlethal Force said:
Now, if you want an awesome book, pick up the PHB II before any Complete books. That book is awesome.
I own PHB II, Complete Warrior, Complete Arcane and Complete Adventurer. Although I think some of the base classes in the Complete books are kind of bland and boring, I wouldn't prohibit them in any game I was running.

I particularly like:

Warlock (Complete Arcane)
Scout (Complete Adventurer)
Duskblade (PHB II)

Anyway, I get tons of use out of the three books listed above with PHBII and Complete Adv. winning by a slim margin.
 

Psion

Villager
I allow the complete books but only allow specific core classes* from them. I prefer a tidier stable of general core classes, and feel that classes that are too specific are better "kit built" or handled by PrCs. I think any core class should make sense as a first level character. Finally, I feel that due to support issues, you are better off tweaking existing classes than adding new ones.

* - Yes, I use core class to mean "20 level class" - back off terminology nazis!
 

Psion

Villager
Nonlethal Force said:
IAdditionally, some of the classes have a more asian feel (samurai, shugenja, wu jen, ninja).
The CW Samurai has nothing resembling an Asian feel. :]

Now, if you want an awesome book, pick up the PHB II before any Complete books. That book is awesome.
Eh. PHBII has the highest ban ratio of any of the books for me as far as classes go.
 
BadMojo said:
I particularly like:

Warlock (Complete Arcane)
Scout (Complete Adventurer)
Duskblade (PHB II)
Yeah, those are probably my three favorites, with perhaps the favored soul winning out over the scout. I like me some spontaneous divine casting. I usually try to PrC out by the level they get wings, though. I just don't like playing a character with wings - even if they are not overpowering at all by the level they are obtained.

Definately on the warlock and the duskblade. Both of those get the "Broken" label by people who read but don't play them. But in gameplay I've found the warlock a bit boring for long games (although terrifically fun for short games) and the Duskblade's spell list is so limited that while powerful it lack versatility completely. A party with a duskblade and no arcanist with sorely miss their arcanist!
 
Psion said:
The CW Samurai has nothing resembling an Asian feel. :]
This coming from the guy with "terminology ____" in his previous post. :lol: If you read the flavor text, it is obviously wizards attempt at an asian themed class. You may not like it, but it is their attempt at an asian feel.

Psion said:
Eh. PHBII has the highest ban ratio of any of the books for me as far as classes go.
Hm. That's a shame, I suppose. But then again, your game, your rules. I'll not judge ya! I like the four. But I admit the knight is kinda situation specific as is the dragan shaman. But I've yet to ban any classes from the first 4 Completes, the XPH, or the PHB II. Like I said earlier, those kind of decisionas are based on the players around the table. No need to judge one from another.
 
Sunderstone said:
IAs does everything lately with a "Dragon" attatched to it. One or two dragon-based classes is enough already. The Dragon based stuff is becoming more like the Drow/Drizzt fad of old.... a complete turn off.
There are only two dragon-based core classes, the Dragon Shaman (PHB2) and the Dragonfire Adept (Dragon Magic).

Are you turned off by them creating as many dragon-based core classes as you think are appropriate?
 

Psion

Villager
Nonlethal Force said:
This coming from the guy with "terminology ____" in his previous post. :lol: If you read the flavor text, it is obviously wizards attempt at an asian themed class. You may not like it, but it is their attempt at an asian feel.
My point is that it's a poor attempt at Asian feel, IMHO. They did a pretty good job the first time around in OA; why they felt they had to make it into a much less flexible class that does not acheive the feel of its inspiration as well still escapes me. The only reason I can think is that the author had mechanics on the mind, not feel. Thus my disagreement.

Hm. That's a shame, I suppose. But then again, your game, your rules. I'll not judge ya! I like the four. But I admit the knight is kinda situation specific as is the dragan shaman. But I've yet to ban any classes from the first 4 Completes, the XPH, or the PHB II. Like I said earlier, those kind of decisionas are based on the players around the table. No need to judge one from another.
Part of the reason I ban classes I do is in consideration for players at the table. Frex, I had serious reservations about allowing a spelltheif in a game, thinking that it only really fit right in a really mage-heavy urban setting (to the tune of Brust's Dragaera). But I'm pretty easy going GM, so I allowed it against my better judgement... and it sucked, precisely because it was outside of the environment where it made sense. Just because a class seems cool on paper does not mean it will be enjoyable to play.

FWIW, the knight is the one PHB II class I am not specifically banning, though I do think there are other third party knight variants that are just as good.
 
Psion said:
My point is that it's a poor attempt at Asian feel, IMHO. They did a pretty good job the first time around in OA; why they felt they had to make it into a much less flexible class that does not acheive the feel of its inspiration as well still escapes me. The only reason I can think is that the author had mechanics on the mind, not feel. Thus my disagreement.
Oh, I figured as much. That's why I said earlier that you may not like it, but it was at least their attempt. I think your opinion would match a large amount of people's opinions on these boards to be honest. I've even laughed as some people said that the samurai wouldn't be a half bad class if the name was changed so that it didn't ended up dssapointing people because it isn't a samurai they want to play.

Psion said:
Part of the reason I ban classes I do is in consideration for players at the table. Frex, I had serious reservations about allowing a spelltheif in a game, thinking that it only really fit right in a really mage-heavy urban setting (to the tune of Brust's Dragaera). But I'm pretty easy going GM, so I allowed it against my better judgement... and it sucked, precisely because it was outside of the environment where it made sense. Just because a class seems cool on paper does not mean it will be enjoyable to play.
Oh yeah. I agree. The thing with the base classes in the Complete series is that they are awesome in their narrowly defined niche. In general play, however, must of the PHB classes outshine the Complete classes.

Psion said:
FWIW, the knight is the one PHB II class I am not specifically banning, though I do think there are other third party knight variants that are just as good.
Maybe. I don't read many 3rd party sources simply because I have a hard enough time keeping all the WotC stuff straight. I know that isn't necessarily right, because there is some good stuff out there. I admit I just don't know about it.
 
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Psion

Villager
Aus_Snow said:
Just out of curiousity, which ones (from where) do you think are best?
Relics & Rituals: Excalibur's knight feels just about right to me, and I really dig the honor system & feats in the book. The knight in Legends of Excalibur is also the bee's knees, though I think it works better in a campaign a bit lighter than the D&D average.
 

Kurashu

Villager
I allowed the Favored Soul, Hexblade, Ninja, Samurai, Scout, Shugenja, Spellthief, Spirit Shaman, Warlock, Warmage, and Wu Jen. However, there are some limitations.

Ninja, Samurai, Shugenja and Wu Jen are limited to a "country" called Bhu Tën, which is a trading enclave for a foreign country, although their techinques have begun diseminating throughout the other countries. Hexblades are seen as the champions of Elboen and the anti-paladin (there are Blackguards too but much rarer and often much more insidious). Warlocks and Spellthieves are also common in Elboen. Spirit Shamans, Favored Souls, and some Druids serve as spiritual advisors to the Barbarian tribes in Zaar and D'ni. Warmages are common among all nations except Lyonesse, there isn't much arcane magic in Lyonesse. It's quite the opposite in Elboen.


But that's me getting off on a tangent.
 

Aus_Snow

Villager
Psion said:
Relics & Rituals: Excalibur's knight feels just about right to me, and I really dig the honor system & feats in the book. The knight in Legends of Excalibur is also the bee's knees, though I think it works better in a campaign a bit lighter than the D&D average.
Ah. Yeah, LoE is a nice book all round, I think. But I'm a bit of a 'Legends of _______' fan in general. I'll have to have a closer look at R&R:E one of these days.

Um, /tangent too. :heh:
 
Kurashu said:
I allowed the Favored Soul, Hexblade, Ninja, Samurai, Scout, Shugenja, Spellthief, Spirit Shaman, Warlock, Warmage, and Wu Jen. However, there are some limitations.
Isn't that all but the swashbuckler? What's wrong with it?
 

BadMojo

Villager
Nonlethal Force said:
Definately on the warlock and the duskblade. Both of those get the "Broken" label by people who read but don't play them. But in gameplay I've found the warlock a bit boring for long games (although terrifically fun for short games) and the Duskblade's spell list is so limited that while powerful it lack versatility completely. A party with a duskblade and no arcanist with sorely miss their arcanist!
Hopefully the Complete Mage book will add a little more flexibility with more invocations (and maybe some good Warlock feats), but the class does come down to blasting, blasting and then blasting again. Kind of like a Fantasy version of Cyclops. ;)

I haven't played a Duskblade yet, but I definitely think the "overpowered" lable isn't accurate. The duskblade doesn't have the area effect damage spells (ie. Fireball) that can really make a difference when fighting lots of foes, and no defensive spells.

On top of that, you'll always be in melee to use your spells but only have D8 hit dice and can't wear heavy armor without a feat and then still not until 7th level. Got a bit of the old MAD going with a good Strength, Int., Con and (unless you go the shield and heavy armor route) Dex. It looks like the class would start off strong in a game, but once the spells are gone and you've absorbed a few shots, it's gonna get rough with the low HP.
 
BadMojo said:
Kind of like a Fantasy version of Cyclops. ;) .
Yeah. Pretty much. They got a little love in Dragon Magic, though. I think that was probably appropriate. A bit of love, but not so much that those who don't have Complete Arcane reget the space used.

BadMojo said:
I haven't played a Duskblade yet, but I definitely think the "overpowered" lable isn't accurate. The duskblade doesn't have the area effect damage spells (ie. Fireball) that can really make a difference when fighting lots of foes, and no defensive spells.
Yeah. Theyre definately melee combatants. Not unlike a paladin in actual play - except that the pladin's stuff is in the form of buffs and heals while the duskblade is arcane damage on top of melee strike.

BadMojo said:
only have D8 hit dice and can't wear heavy armor without a feat and then still not until 7th level.
This is an argument that I really don't get at higher levels. I've never understood why heavy armor prof is really all that important except at low levels. Mithral anything is at most a medium armor. A Duskblade can wear a mithral full-plate without any feats spent. Sure, it costs money ... but that's really only a big deal at lower levels.
 

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