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Human Paragon 3
2009-05-28, 11:23 PM
I was looking at the NPC classes today and weirdly enough, the Aristocrat (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/npcClasses/aristocrat.htm)didn't look that bad...

It's a medium BAB class with a good will save, a good skill list and decent skills per level. Not to mention the fact that he gets proficiency with all martial weapons and with all armor. He even looks OK vs. some of the core class, say, fighter or rogue.

Obviously, the Aristocrat has no class features, just what's listed above and the normal feats that all creatures get based on hit dice. My question to you, the forum, is how we can optimize the Aristocrat through feat choice, equipment choice, skill placement, and good old strategy and cunning.

Ideally, I would like to see a build that capitalizes on the Aristocrat's strengths, a good skill list and good proficiencies, to actually make him a contender in a fight with some PC classes.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-05-28, 11:27 PM
Works well with Spymaster for a very good skillmonkey that is hard to spot or catch in a lie.

ZeroNumerous
2009-05-28, 11:29 PM
Ideally, I would like to see a build that capitalizes on the Aristocrat's strengths, a good skill list and good proficiencies, to actually make him a contender in a fight with some PC classes.

I notice he has Diplomacy as a class skill. Diplomancer ahoy?

Alternatively, go with UMDing partially charged wands and scrolls and things. I mean, if it's good enough for the monk it's good enough for the Aristocraft right?

EDIT: Or, a level dip of an arcane casting class for another level dip of Mindbender, then get into Exemplar(Bluff) so you can lie and cheat and steal you way through anything?

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-05-28, 11:34 PM
I notice he has Diplomacy as a class skill. Diplomancer ahoy?

Alternatively, go with UMDing partially charged wands and scrolls and things. I mean, if it's good enough for the monk it's good enough for the Aristocraft right?

EDIT: Or, a level dip of an arcane casting class for another level dip of Mindbender, then get into Exemplar(Bluff) so you can lie and cheat and steal you way through anything?

I don't agree with the UMDing partially charged wands thing to 'prove' that the monk is worth using.

Mindbender/Exemplar is a good one, but you need the arcane casting, which means a lot of multiclassing, which I generally try to avoid in these types of situations.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-05-28, 11:35 PM
IIRC, the aristocrat is great for first level, getting massive starting wealth.

Gorgondantess
2009-05-28, 11:47 PM
Really? I love the aristocrat for NPCs- I always use it for any sort of cultured individual, and it tends to work well- but I don't see at all how it is a contender with a rogue, who is flat out better except for weapon and armor proficiencies, or a fighter who is flat out better except for skill list. They also have, y'know, abilities.:smalltongue:
While aristocrat is pretty damn good for what it has, the problem is all it has at its disposal are skills, the ability to wield a weapon and the occasional feat. While it is, without a doubt, a contender at the first few levels, but the time you get to level 4 or 5, even an unoptimized fighter or rogue outstrips aristocrats by a long shot. PrCs work, but those are technically PC classes, at least in my opinion- taking one of those would cause it to cease to be an aristocrat.
If you want it to rise to semi-competency, I advise ladling on some judicious homebrewed stuff.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2009-05-28, 11:56 PM
Aristocrat gets 6d8x10 gp at 1st level, so potentially 480 gp, but average 270 gp. That means you can start out with Breastplate or a Masterwork weapon at 1st level, though I don't think it would be worth the loss of class features. If it was between +1 to hit for having a mastework weapon, or +1 BAB and better class features, I'd take the better class features. If you're looking for a warrior-type who gets decent skill points/level, take Urban Ranger or Warblade over Aristocrat.

Heliomance
2009-05-29, 01:04 AM
I seem to remember one or other of the CO boards came up with a perfectly viable Commoner 20 build a while back, so it should be doable.

ZeroNumerous
2009-05-29, 01:10 AM
I don't agree with the UMDing partially charged wands thing to 'prove' that the monk is worth using.

It was more a lampshade on the Joker Monk. I would have included a ':smalltongue:' but it's still a valid suggest for an aristocrat.

Thurbane
2009-05-29, 01:39 AM
I think Mongoose put out a book COmplete Aristocrat or somesuch.

As they rightly point out, the Aristocrat is certainly the most playable of NPC classes (although obviously nowhere near as good as PC classes, even the "bad" ones).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2009-05-29, 01:47 AM
I think Mongoose put out a book COmplete Aristocrat or somesuch.

As they rightly point out, the Aristocrat is certainly the most playable of NPC classes (although obviously nowhere near as good as PC classes, even the "bad" ones).

I disagree, since Adept is actually a fairly viable class especially considering the prestige classes it could qualify for. Aristocrat gives nothing but skill points and proficiencies, and the only thing it can do in combat it isn't even all that good at due to its medium BAB. Aristocrat is listed as one of the lowest-tier classes for a reason, a rank shared only by Warrior, Commoner, and CW Samurai. An Aristocrat PC has no business even going on adventures, since any party in its right mind would rightly only view him as a liability.

ZeroNumerous
2009-05-29, 02:33 AM
Aristocrat is listed as one of the lowest-tier classes for a reason, a rank shared only by Warrior, Commoner, and CW Samurai.

I call shenanigans. An aristocrat has access to Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive. He is inherently superior to the CW Samurai.

Mark Hall
2009-05-29, 10:52 AM
I used to have a PrC called the "Noble", which was a PC-level expansion of the Aristocrat; I use NPC classes to allow people to play LA+1 races in a level 1 game.

I'll see if I can find the noble when I get home.

Human Paragon 3
2009-05-29, 10:53 AM
OP here. My original question was theoretical. I don't plan to use him in a game. It's more of an experiment in what to do when you've got nothing (or very little) to go on.

It's pretty obvious that all things being equal, Aristocrat is a terrible class, far worse than Fighter or Rogue. I think he can be improved, however, through judicious placement of skills, feats and equipment. For example, Combat Panache is an interesting tactical feat that takes advantage of his skill set. Or the Group Fake-out skill trick could let you deny multiple opponents dex bonus to AC. Stuff like that. I just haven't been able to put together a coherent build yet.

Chronos
2009-05-29, 11:12 AM
I disagree, since Adept is actually a fairly viable class especially considering the prestige classes it could qualify for.Agreed, and they also have a fairly broad spell list. Who else can cast Web, Scorching Ray, Polymorph, and Heal? Well, yes, OK, but they're not core, and anyway they can only do those things because the Adept was doing them first.

skeeter_dan
2009-05-29, 11:48 AM
I use NPC classes to allow people to play LA+1 races in a level 1 game.
That's actually a really good idea. I'm going to have to steal that.

snoopy13a
2009-05-29, 11:54 AM
I think the aristocrat could be useful as the party face. I suppose you could use him in combat as a mounted charger and could take a 1-2 level dip in fighter for feats.

The DM could also give an aristocrat character some in-game contacts that a normal PC wouldn't have.

Mark Hall
2009-05-29, 12:16 PM
That's actually a really good idea. I'm going to have to steal that.

I actually got the idea from 3.0, where it was explicitly stated that the CR of humans with NPC classes was class level -1 (or 1/2 if they only had one level). If you do that, a couple notes.

1) I have one more class, the Hedge Wizard. It is the exact same thing as the Adept, but it uses the Witch spell list from later in the DMG, and is an Arcane caster.
2) For those who go into a spellcasting class, their Adept or Hedge Wizard level is added to their caster level (but not their spells per day, etc.). It keeps them from falling terribly behind, but still gives it a sting.

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-29, 01:22 PM
You could actually make an adventuring party using only the NPC classes. I'm thinking an idealistic young noble and his buddies who decided that fighting evil would make a good hobby. I don't know if I'd recommend doing this as players, but a DM could use them as a group of NPC adventurers. Part of the fun would be seeing if any of the players catch on to the fact that they all have NPC classes.

Warrior: Meatshield; Fighter stand-in
Adept: Party spellcaster and Knowledge monkey; Wizard and Cleric stand-in
Expert: Scout, archer, and general skill monkey; Rogue stand-in
Aristocrat: Party face and second-string tank; Bard and Paladin stand-in

The Aristocrat is somewhere between Bard and Paladin in what it does. It has heavy armor and better hit points than a Bard, but fewer skill points; it has more skill points than a Paladin, but lower BAB.

An Aristocrat also provides a party of NPC adventurers with the important contacts and quality gear that they need to get started.

snoopy13a
2009-05-29, 01:26 PM
You could actually make an adventuring party using only the NPC classes. I'm thinking an idealistic young noble and his buddies who decided that fighting evil would make a good hobby. I don't know if I'd recommend doing this as players, but a DM could use them as a group of NPC adventurers.

Why not do it for players? All the DM has to do is tone down encounters and everyone is set.

Emy
2009-05-29, 01:40 PM
You could actually make an adventuring party using only the NPC classes.

I made an encounter like this, except I used adept (fake cleric), magewright (fake wizard), warrior (fake fighter), and expert (fake rogue).

Ganurath
2009-05-29, 01:56 PM
proficiency with all martial weapons Human Aristocrat 1 / Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight 10 / Wizard 4

L1 Feat: Able Learner so that you can keep investing in those lovely Aristocrat skills. If it can be taken multiple times, use your racial bonus feat on it as well. This will allow access to those lovely spellcasting Skill Tricks from Complete Scoundrel, like False Theurgy.

Specialization: Enchantment may not be a bad option for a noble who's been privately tutored in the arcane arts. Abjuration and Divination are fine, too, especially since their Immediate Magic varients from PHB II are more useful for counterassassination.

I would like to note that this build could not be pulled off with the proficiency-deficient Rogue or the skill-shorted Fighter.

arguskos
2009-05-29, 01:59 PM
Human Aristocrat 1 / Wizard 5 / Eldritch Knight 10 / Wizard 4

L1 Feat: Able Learner so that you can keep investing in those lovely Aristocrat skills. If it can be taken multiple times, use your racial bonus feat on it as well. This will allow access to those lovely spellcasting Skill Tricks from Complete Scoundrel, like False Theurgy.

Specialization: Enchantment may not be a bad option for a noble who's been privately tutored in the arcane arts. Abjuration and Divination are fine, too, especially since their Immediate Magic varients from PHB II are more useful for counterassassination.

I would like to note that this build could not be pulled off with the proficiency-deficient Rogue or the skill-shorted Fighter.
Would this work with Abjurant Champion in there along with Eldritch Knight ? I don't quite recall Abj. Champion's requirements off the top of my head, though it seems like a good build.

Godskook
2009-05-29, 02:07 PM
Able Learner + High Intelligence will probably help a lot, I'm sure.

Actually, I just had an amusing idea that the BBEG was a epic level female Aristocrat with a +30 ring of perform(dance). Attained all her power using nothing more than performamancy cheese(it has the same checks as diplomacy in the SRD).

Devils_Advocate
2009-05-29, 02:27 PM
Hmm. Looks like Aristocrat really might be the best choice in some cases as a one-level dip to meet PrC prereqs. Interesting.


Why not do it for players? All the DM has to do is tone down encounters and everyone is set.
Eh, it cuts down on player options. PC classes provide a lot of non-generic stuff that the NPC classes don't get. The UA generic classes (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/genericClasses.htm) are better if you want a limited number of... well, generic classes. And if you want the PCs to advance more slowly, you can just hand out a fraction of the usual XP and treasure.

That said, NPC classes are good for giving characters relatively high skill modifiers compared to their other abilities. So if you wanted to run a skill-focused campaign, they might be just the thing for the players to use.

Chronos
2009-05-29, 06:54 PM
L1 Feat: Able Learner so that you can keep investing in those lovely Aristocrat skills. If it can be taken multiple times, use your racial bonus feat on it as well.Beg pardon? Even if your DM did allow you to take Able Learner twice, what would be the benefit be? I don't get it.

Ganurath
2009-05-29, 09:21 PM
Beg pardon? Even if your DM did allow you to take Able Learner twice, what would be the benefit be? I don't get it.Ah, I'm afraid I'm only familiar with the feat from secondhand accounts, and was under the impression that there was a limit to the number of skills it applied to, like with Skill Mastery.

The Gilded Duke
2009-05-29, 11:27 PM
Besides being a great way to enter War Mind you could build a well rounded diplomancer knowledge monkey with a half-elf aristocrat. Half-Elf gives you the racial bonus to diplomacy and gather information, it also lets you take Complementary Insight and Sociable Personality.

The important part of this is you don't actually have to kill something to beat the encounter.

Some good feats:
Undead Empathy: Can use diplomacy on mindless undead, get an unamed bonus on diplomacy checks with intelligent undead.

Complementary Insight: You get +3 from skill synergies instead of +2, knowledge skills give skill synergies. Including to Gather Information and Diplomacy.

Sociable Personality: You can re-roll Gather Information and Diplomacy.

Urban Tracking: For finding the person you want to diplomatize. You actually get +2 from your Knowledge Local ranks when using this feat, and +3 on the gather information from the skill synergy itself. Urban Tracking is a static check even if the target is attempting to hide.

Track: Survival is a class skill, static checks.

Quick Reconnoiter: Spot and Listen are class skills, lets you use them much more often. Making a Spot or Listen check might count as interacting with an illusion, and you can do each once a round for free.

Research: For finding out the big secrets of the world, knowledge checks vs a static dc.

Then just make good use of Speak Language as a class skill to allow you to speak with most anyone.

Dagren
2009-05-30, 04:18 AM
Beg pardon? Even if your DM did allow you to take Able Learner twice, what would be the benefit be? I don't get it.What does able learner do? It isn't in the SRD, and while I know it from NWN2, many things there are not actually the way they are in the real game.

Eldariel
2009-05-30, 04:24 AM
What does able learner do? It isn't in the SRD, and while I know it from NWN2, many things there are not actually the way they are in the real game.

Allows you to buy cross-class ranks at 1 point a piece. Effectively, thus, all skills that have ever been class skills to you are treated as such forever more (and buying cross-class is cheaper, obv).