Friday, April 16, 2010

3rd Confession: 5 Reasons I Don't Much Like Prestige Classes

My reasons?

1st With one exception I'll get too later, I dislike the "must be planned from first level" effect that so many of these have.

2nd They create too much unfun optimization.

3rd In a way they are a legacy of the Players Handbook Only era and do not mesh very well with new classes or with the extended feat progression of Pathfinder. They are IMO mostly redundant.

4th There are hundreds upon hundreds that people might want to use and it requires a lot of effort to filter the bloat for bad designs, effort that I think could be used elsewhere to make the game more fun.

5th Most of these including some old favorites like the Arcane Trickster and the Arcane Archer and the Fighter/Mage are better served with core classes, core class combos or core class variants. In the rare case that a core class variant doesn't work a feat will often do the job fine. Instead of Rogue of the Flashing Blade prestige class it makes a lot more sense to take that allows both Swashbuckler and Rogue abilities to progress a little. You can even give the feat the same flavor so you lose pretty much nothing doing this.

4th While flavorful, I do not much like the way they mesh with levels. They kind of create level inflation, a mid tier knight instead of being 6th level ends up around say 11th after seemingly needing to \ 5 levels of some prestige class. It makes more sense to me to allow the Knightly Order's Special Ability to be either a feat or a substitution level.

Now as I mentioned before there are a few prestige classes I do like in certain types of games.

My favorite is the Mystic Theurge as the idea of magic being mostly incompatible across arcane, divine and other types appeals to me. Even the planning aspect is kind of interesting to me.

In my Sword and Sorcery game where casters have been limited to Black Mage (uses all Arcane Spells) and White Mage (uses most Divine Spells) the Mystic Theurge makes for a great Grey Mage class. Its a long hard road to master both the magic of light and dark ...

And yes gentle readers, you'll see those rules someday soon. But until then, stay tooned and good gaming.

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