D&D 5E Zard's Post Tasha's Archetype Tier List

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Out of curiosity, what does a fully realized exploration pillar look like? Honest question, because as a low-prep, high-improv DM it's certainly the aspect of the game I use the least.
To me it's the funnest part of the game, though I love other aspects too. First, it's the overland travel stuff. But for me it really sings with dungeon exploration. It's the traps, secret doors, magic statues and pools and bas reliefs. It's the hidden clues and movable sconces and teleportation circles and maze-like sections. It's the crashed portcullis, the caves and pits and rope bridges and moving pillars. It's what you're doing when you see the burnt out corpse of some ancient humanoid clutching a scroll tube collapsed in front of a carving of a dragon and you're all wondering "what in this room caused that guy to die in fire and how do we avoid meeting his same fate and get that scroll tube?" It's all the things which make a dungeon come alive as an adventure. The exploration pillar is one main reason people love Indiana Jones movies :)
 

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TwoSix

Unserious gamer
To me it's the funnest part of the game, though I love other aspects too. First, it's the overland travel stuff. But for me it really sings with dungeon exploration. It's the traps, secret doors, magic statues and pools and bas reliefs. It's the hidden clues and movable sconces and teleportation circles and maze-like sections. It's the crashed portcullis, the caves and pits and rope bridges and moving pillars. It's what you're doing when you see the burnt out corpse of some ancient humanoid clutching a scroll tube collapsed in front of a carving of a dragon and you're all wondering "what in this room caused that guy to die in fire and how do we avoid meeting his same fate and get that scroll tube?" It's all the things which make a dungeon come alive as an adventure. The exploration pillar is one main reason people love Indiana Jones movies :)
In the next year or two I'm going to run a dungeon crawl for the first time (maybe even using a pre-published adventure!) It's totally antithetical to my normal DM style, but I'm going to figure it out.
 

Early in a lot if the infusions are fairly minor or are +1 to hit and damage it AC.

A few other classes get similar abilities or just don't care (cantrips, shillelagh etc).
It does reveal a certain amount about your games that you view +1 to hit and damage as what infusions are for.

Among the varied and variable options for infusions, including turning failed concentration checks into passes or giving your primary casters an extra 3rd level spell slot, granting +1 hit and damage is probably the least interesting or effective option, unless your melee-type can't hurt the monsters you are fighting.

How many magic items are in a game is very difficult to rate as well every DMs like different.
If there are few, the artificer's ones are extra-valuable. If there are many, the artificer gets to use more than the other party members and can fill out any gaps needed. Either is good.

Making a non-magic weapon magic is what matters.

Only if the DM rules that there is a convenient shop selling +1 swords.
I believe Zardnaar is referencing the "Moon-Touched Sword" from Xanathars. It costs 50gp and . . . glows.
I think the argument is that because it is listed as a magic item, it can damage creatures immune or resistant to non-magical weapons.

Thus being distinct from the more-expensive mundane sword with continual flame cast on it.

Out of curiosity, what does a fully realized exploration pillar look like? Honest question, because as a low-prep, high-improv DM it's certainly the aspect of the game I use the least.
Exploration is pretty much anything that isn't either directly interacting with other people in a social manner, or fighting them in combat.
It can be trekking through the wilderness looking for lost ruins, bypassing the traps in said ruins, escaping from the cell that said traps sealed you in, solving the puzzle to reveal the treasure, sneaking home whilst avoiding the rivals after said treasure, researching the history of the cult that said rivals are part of, and investigating the murder scenes where the members of said cult were all killed.

While the combat and social pillars can involve decision-making and creativity to some extent, it is the exploration pillar where the creativity of both the players and the DM can really shine.
Prep is useful for the exploration pillar, but improv is also valuable. You can set the scene and have prepared options for when the players do this, or that. However chances are that they will come up with an option you didn't consider and will have to rule the results on the fly.
 


Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Originally, the homunculus was part of the alchemist class, but it was moved because some players objected to "being forced to play a pet class". It's still a self inflicted nerf for an alchemist not to have one.

If you gave the homunculus "for free" to the alchemist as a buff, do you think that would be sufficient to balance the class?
 


Zardnaar

Legend
It does reveal a certain amount about your games that you view +1 to hit and damage as what infusions are for.

Among the varied and variable options for infusions, including turning failed concentration checks into passes or giving your primary casters an extra 3rd level spell slot, granting +1 hit and damage is probably the least interesting or effective option, unless your melee-type can't hurt the monsters you are fighting.

If there are few, the artificer's ones are extra-valuable. If there are many, the artificer gets to use more than the other party members and can fill out any gaps needed. Either is good.


I believe Zardnaar is referencing the "Moon-Touched Sword" from Xanathars. It costs 50gp and . . . glows.
I think the argument is that because it is listed as a magic item, it can damage creatures immune or resistant to non-magical weapons.

Thus being distinct from the more-expensive mundane sword with continual flame cast on it.

Exploration is pretty much anything that isn't either directly interacting with other people in a social manner, or fighting them in combat.
It can be trekking through the wilderness looking for lost ruins, bypassing the traps in said ruins, escaping from the cell that said traps sealed you in, solving the puzzle to reveal the treasure, sneaking home whilst avoiding the rivals after said treasure, researching the history of the cult that said rivals are part of, and investigating the murder scenes where the members of said cult were all killed.

While the combat and social pillars can involve decision-making and creativity to some extent, it is the exploration pillar where the creativity of both the players and the DM can really shine.
Prep is useful for the exploration pillar, but improv is also valuable. You can set the scene and have prepared options for when the players do this, or that. However chances are that they will come up with an option you didn't consider and will have to rule the results on the fly.

I know about the other infusions.

Low level they're mainly cute. Resistence us nice but there's also absorb elements spell.

Concentration thing is nice but they're already proficient in con saves.

They're nice but I wouldn't get to excited or over rate them.

They're also available to every artificer so doesn't help Alchemist at all.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Barbarian

The Barbarian is very simple in concept. Rage and hit stuff hard. The various subclasses tend to have a little bit more cream on top of that.

While not my favorite class or concept several of them are very good mechanically. Also note I emphasis level 1-7 and then 8-10 more than 11+ so that's why some if them are getting good ratings.

So in a real game vs a white room scenario these a good imho and hold up well vs other warrior types and Spellcasters at those levels.

They're also decent at going nova and even in the 6-8 encounter expectation they can rage around every 2nd encounter by level 6 or so.

At 4-6 encounters or less you can almost rage every encounter by level 6.

Ancestral Guardian

The AG is a very good barbarian path. You are still a barbarian, your features enhance the rest of the team.

Ancestral Protector's
In a throwback to 4E essentially you mark someone while you rage. If you hit someone the must attack you or have disadvantage on their attack roll and their target gains resistance as well.

Very simple ability that either debuffs the target or encourages them to attack you and you have resistance anyway.

Spirit Shield
Basically while you're raging you can reduce damage on an ally by 2d6. The damage reduction also scales at level 10 and 14. So you hit hard and offer a bit of support to you allies on top of your marking ability at level 3.

Consult the Spirits
At level 10 you gain a bit of utility via this ability. Nothing to exciting but it's solid enough.

Vengeful Ancestors
First the insult then the injury. Whole somewhat late you might make it to level 14. If you do you can prevent 4d6 damage, inflict 4d6 damage and beat them up with Ancestral Protector's.

It's a nice F you to your opponents and looks like a lot of fun as well.

Overall I quite like this archetype. It hurts, prevents damage, and I suspect is buckets of fun. I'm going to rate this as an A. It offers something the rest of the Barbarians don't.
 

I know about the other infusions.

Low level they're mainly cute. Resistence us nice but there's also absorb elements spell.

Concentration thing is nice but they're already proficient in con saves.
You might want to sit down for this . . .

You can give infused items to other people! Who don't have the Absorb elements spell, or who aren't proficient in Con saves.

. . . I just blew your mind didn't I? 🤯

They're nice but I wouldn't get to excited or over rate them.

They're also available to every artificer so doesn't help Alchemist at all.
Do you really want to look like you're trying to claim that the infusions for "+1 to hit and damage" is exclusive to Alchemist?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Battlerager
You might want to sit down for this . . .

You can give infused items to other people! Who don't have the Absorb elements spell, or who aren't proficient in Con saves.

. . . I just blew your mind didn't I? 🤯


Do you really want to look like you're trying to claim that the infusions for "+1 to hit and damage" is exclusive to Alchemist?

You can give your infusions away but then you're making yourself weaker.

And you're already marginal with 3/4 archetypes being weak to average.

The other support classes get extras and aren't making themselves weaker when they support their team. Eg bless spells, bard dice etc.

Our Battlesmith was doing that (giving away his infusions) but he was sucking in combat. Even he realised that and stopped doing it.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Barbarian Battlerager

If you're a fan of the Drizzt books and Dwarves this archetype is for you. Your DM may allow non Dwarves to be Battleragers ymmv.

At level 3 you get spiked armor. Basically if you grapple you hurt your opponent and you get a bonus action 1d4+ str attack. If feats aren't used this is an ok ability, if feats are used there's argueably better things to do with your bonus action.

Reckless Abandon.

While raging you gain temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier.
The amount of hit points gained are very very minor to the point of being useless. It's something I suppose but so minor as to be irrelevant.

Battlerager Charge

While raging you get to use the dash action as a bonus action. Extra movement is always nice but it does clash with battlerager armor so it's going to be situational. Long time to wait for it as well.

Spiked Retribution.

At level 14 you deal piercing 3 damage with your armor if hit. A whopping 3 points non magical at level 14. Very underwhelming.

Probably fairly obvious here. While not outright bad the Battlerager is very underwhelming relative to most barbarians. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but overall I can only give this archetype a C.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Battlerager

You can give your infusions away but then you're making yourself weaker.

And you're already marginal with 3/4 archetypes being weak to average.

The other support classes get extras and aren't making themselves weaker when they support their team. Eg bless spells, bard dice etc.

Our Battlesmith was doing that (giving away his infusions) but he was sucking in combat. Even he realised that and stopped doing it.
a support character may choose to buff someone else instead of themselves, therefore "making themselves weaker". It could be an infusion or a bless spell. I'm not sure your argument is solid...
 

Zardnaar

Legend
a support character may choose to buff someone else instead of themselves, therefore "making themselves weaker". It could be an infusion or a bless spell. I'm not sure your argument is solid...

They can target themselves with a bless spell.

Bards get bard dice but they generally can't use them in themselves anyway and they're still a primary caster.

Opportunity cost on primary caster buffing someone is low with spellslots. They can often buff themselves as part of it.

Artificer isn't a primary caster, doesn't get that many infusions until later in so the opportunity cost of giving them away us a lot higher espicially for mist if the subclasses who are designed to theoretically smack something around to some extent.

Alchemist might be an exception to that but I'm not the only one saying it's terrible.

Look at what artificer gives up.

Half caster, doesn't get a d10 hd like the others, doesn't get many spell slots (problem for alchemist) doesn't get that many infusions early on.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Went through the character sheets to find out what everyone has.

Excluding common magic items as I do let PCs buy them as long as they don't go to crazy (50 cure potions pls).

Level 6 about to hit 7.

Divine Soul has gauntlets of ogre power

Sorcerer. Custom amulet casts enhance ability: eagles splendor 1/long rest. Also has wand of magic missiles.

Fighter has cloak of protection +1.

Paladin has bupkiss

Light cleric bupkiss

Artificer: Battlesmith has whatever's he's created (was sharing with fighter). Has armor, weapon, fire resistence.

Think he had a shield or something else. Player has his character sheet.

So around half the items handed out in LMoP and almost two levels higher (they would have leveled up tonight).

So around 6 magic items by level 6. Artificer has more than he can attune but some are basic +1 items not requiring attunement. I recalled that as he didn't realise and had to many items so helped him out.
 

The area temp hp of the turret is... quite weak compared to the twilight cleric's temp HP aura.
It has a much longer duration though - in practical terms, it's pretty much always on, whereas the Twilight cleric is one fight only. But if you happen to have a twilight cleric (glamour bard also competes with this) then you can always make a different kind of turret.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
It has a much longer duration though - in practical terms, it's pretty much always on, whereas the Twilight cleric is one fight only. But if you happen to have a twilight cleric (glamour bard also competes with this) then you can always make a different kind of turret.

Temp hp seems most efficient one if the others seems more fun.

What one I would use would depend on party composition or how much healing is available. Healer feat in the party I'm leaning towards fun.
 

If you gave the homunculus "for free" to the alchemist as a buff, do you think that would be sufficient to balance the class?
I don't have an answer to that, since it doesn't bother me that one class is slightly weaker than another. You could also "balance the class" by throwing loads of enemies with paralyze and stun at the party.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
And making the party stronger. You never heard of the idea that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?" D&D is a co-op game.

I have but other classes can also do that without making themselves worse.

The artificer gives up a lot for those infusions and 3/4 the intent is probably they use them themselves.
 

Barbarian Battlerager

If you're a fan of the Drizzt books and Dwarves this archetype is for you. Your DM may allow non Dwarves to be Battleragers ymmv.

At level 3 you get spiked armor. Basically if you grapple you hurt your opponent and you get a bonus action 1d4+ str attack. If feats aren't used this is an ok ability, if feats are used there's argueably better things to do with your bonus action.
It's 1d4+STR+RAGE BONUS.
Reckless Abandon.

While raging you gain temporary hit points equal to your constitution modifier.
The amount of hit points gained are very very minor to the point of being useless. It's something I suppose but so minor as to be irrelevant.
They are refreshed every round. So as long as you are doing your job and taking hits a substantial amount can be absorbed.
Battlerager Charge

While raging you get to use the dash action as a bonus action. Extra movement is always nice but it does clash with battlerager armor so it's going to be situational. Long time to wait for it as well.

Spiked Retribution.

At level 14 you deal piercing 3 damage with your armor if hit. A whopping 3 points non magical at level 14. Very underwhelming.

Probably fairly obvious here. While not outright bad the Battlerager is very underwhelming relative to most barbarians. It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but overall I can only give this archetype a C.
The Battlerager does need a bit off help - but the DM can fix it by adding a greater variety and magical versions of spiked armour.
 

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