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Wings of Peace
2010-10-08, 02:54 PM
Essentially what the title says. I don't mean things like feat or skill requirements. I mean things like having the players become memebers of a secret organization or (because this one is my pet peeve) gender restrictions in cases like the Hathran.

I for my part rarely enforce the special requirements on account of I hand craft my campaign settings so if a prestige class requires membership into an organization or exposure to a particular magic artifact/magic rock/magic whatever that magic whatever generally doesn't exist in my campaign.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-08, 03:04 PM
Deed restrictions are enforced. Ditto for alignment.

Membership and gender requirements are not.

Shhalahr Windrider
2010-10-08, 03:08 PM
Essentially what the title says. I don't mean things like feat or skill requirements. I mean things like having the players become memebers of a secret organization or (because this one is my pet peeve) gender restrictions in cases like the Hathran.

I for my part rarely enforce the special requirements on account of I hand craft my campaign settings so if a prestige class requires membership into an organization or exposure to a particular magic artifact/magic rock/magic whatever that magic whatever generally doesn't exist in my campaign.
It all depends on how much actual In-Character Prestige there is with the Prestige Class. If itís really just a skill set, then thereís no reason to do it. But if itís really tied to an organization, you damn well better get into that organization.

Examples:
Assassin: No reason an assassin has to be part of a guild. Though the character should probably still kill someone for no other reason than to practice their assassination skills.

Mage of the Arcane Order: Well that whole thing is built around the Arcane Order. Hell, itís signature ability is tied to a specific artifact. Yeah, you gotta join the Arcane Order here.

Eldariel
2010-10-08, 03:09 PM
I enforce none and frequently rework the PrCs for different fluffs; this means the fluff requirements change as fluidly as characters that use them.

FMArthur
2010-10-08, 03:12 PM
It all depends on how much actual In-Character Prestige there is with the Prestige Class. If itís really just a skill set, then thereís no reason to do it. But if itís really tied to an organization, you damn well better get into that organization.

Examples:
Assassin: No reason an assassin has to be part of a guild. Though the character should probably still kill someone for no other reason than to practice their assassination skills.

Mage of the Arcane Order: Well that whole thing is built around the Arcane Order. Hell, itís signature ability is tied to a specific artifact. Yeah, you gotta join the Arcane Order here.

I do this in almost all cases. The quest to become a Drunken Master is one thing I will insist upon, though. :smallcool:

Telonius
2010-10-08, 03:14 PM
I'm pretty much with Shhalahr on this.

Gender requirements are usually silly and not enforced. Some particular exceptions might be made for things like Drow- and Lolth-based PrCs, where both the goddess and the society are infamous for being sticklers about that sort of thing. But that's the exception and not the rule.

arguskos
2010-10-08, 03:14 PM
I change the requirements to fit my world, and often times weave PrCs into the world with requirements, but I also very much believe that such helps attach PCs to the world in a tangible fashion, so I'm weird.

Tyndmyr
2010-10-08, 03:18 PM
It all depends on how much actual In-Character Prestige there is with the Prestige Class. If itís really just a skill set, then thereís no reason to do it. But if itís really tied to an organization, you damn well better get into that organization.

Examples:
Assassin: No reason an assassin has to be part of a guild. Though the character should probably still kill someone for no other reason than to practice their assassination skills.

Mage of the Arcane Order: Well that whole thing is built around the Arcane Order. Hell, itís signature ability is tied to a specific artifact. Yeah, you gotta join the Arcane Order here.

That's probably more accurate to what I do. I enforce membership requirements if the membership is involved in the crunch. That's the only time. Its pretty rare, too.

Saph
2010-10-08, 04:19 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

Kylarra
2010-10-08, 04:22 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.
This is what I do generally as well.

Ozymandias9
2010-10-08, 04:34 PM
It depends on the table I'm catering to. But, if I had my druthers, I would generally enforce them all in some manner or another.

I have no problem, however, with altering them to better suit the setting or the character in question.

There are, for example, sun and light themed prestige classes and deities coming out the ends of most settings. If you want to play, for example, play Morninglord in Dragonlance or Bright Warden in FR, it would take quite the stickler of a DM to be unwilling to make the cursory changes needed.

Kaww
2010-10-08, 05:17 PM
Depends. In current game an atheistic CN warmage wanted to become holy scourge. He had two strong reasons not to be let in the PrC and he wasn't. On the other hand the same player later wanted to be an elemental savant (electric), since he had a substitution and mostly used those spells I didn't insist on him having a peaceful contact with an outsider. This was a natural extension of his existing character and I let it happen. So I don't enforce such rules to players that already play this PrC from the start. Then again, that's my style.

How many DMs made rainbow servants travel all the way to hidden temples and back, just to enter the PrC? Which lvls were they?

Susano-wo
2010-10-08, 08:05 PM
To me, the big thing is necessity. Is it reeeely necessary for the character be, say, non good to be a hexblade? And the whole assassin requirement thing? Silly. What about an assassin of the church? or a solo assassin who kills those he thinks deserve it, especially if the law won't punish them?

I think it should all depend on context, and the individual campaign.

true_shinken
2010-10-08, 08:58 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

That's also how I roll.

Dr.Epic
2010-10-08, 09:01 PM
Those can be half the fun of joining. I so want to play a storm lord in at least one campaign and if I plan to make that build that character is walking around with a 30 ft copper pole until they get hit by lightning. So, yeah, it's a good roleplaying exercise. It'll at least give them something for their character to think about.

Urpriest
2010-10-08, 09:05 PM
The few prestige classes with gender requirements amuse me. For one, every time they're brought up I can't help but mention Eunuch Warlock. I would definitely enforce their special prestige class requirement if a player wanted to play one.

ranagrande
2010-10-08, 10:24 PM
Yeah, I usually enforce them. I find that's also a good way of limiting some classes like the above poster. :smalltongue: Ur-priest is highly abusable, and I don't really like it, so I just enforce the part about the character needing to have been trained by an ur-priest. Which they will never find.

Zanatos777
2010-10-08, 10:31 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

This is what I do.

WarKitty
2010-10-08, 10:33 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

Or you could do what I do and not enforce all the mechanics either. :smalltongue:

I mostly ignore fluff. I also have rules for if you want to swap out your class features for others, you can.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-08, 10:38 PM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

It's not so much "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff" as "WotC has far too narrow a vision of what this PrC is," I think. The aforementioned assassin is a prime example. Assassins are people who kill other people with surprise and/or subtlety, often for money. Every adventurer who's gotten a surprise round off on their opponent is technically an assassin. The DMG requirements, however, assume a highly-structured assassin's guild and all that entails. Is ignoring the requirements in that case justified? I think so.

Most PrCs are that way to me, so I ignore most of the fluff. Mages of the Arcane Order can pull in raw magic to shape to their whims, Hexblades are just people around whom people tend to be unlucky, and so forth. The issue is that PrCs were originally meant mostly for flavor and for customizing campaign worlds and characters, so it made sense for requirements to be rather specific. The way they turned out, however, isn't anything like the original intent, instead just being a way to realize concepts that base classes don't cover, so I don't feel enforcing flavor prerequisites is really a good thing at all most of the time.

Amphetryon
2010-10-08, 11:11 PM
For me, it depends entirely on the player who wants to enter a PrC. Is he entering it primarily for mechanical reasons, or did something about the presented flavor grab his interest? I'm all for 'flavor is mutable', but if the writeup is what got my player psyched to play a PrC with specific requirements, I'll work those requirements into the campaign as much as possible. If he's not after the flavor, but wants the mechanics, the fluff text gets excised for something more suitable.

Petrocorus
2010-10-08, 11:26 PM
It's not so much "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff" as "WotC has far too narrow a vision of what this PrC is," I think. The aforementioned assassin is a prime example. Assassins are people who kill other people with surprise and/or subtlety, often for money. Every adventurer who's gotten a surprise round off on their opponent is technically an assassin. The DMG requirements, however, assume a highly-structured assassin's guild and all that entails. Is ignoring the requirements in that case justified? I think so.


It comes from AD&D. Back then, Assassins needed to enter the Guild to be Assassins. They needed to be evil, and they were rules about how much it costed to get someone assassinated and how much the Assassins was earning. And at high level, they even had to kill their superior and take their place in the guild to be able to level up.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-08, 11:31 PM
It comes from AD&D. Back then, Assassins needed to enter the Guild to be Assassins. They needed to be evil, and they were rules about how much it costed to get someone assassinated and how much the Assassins was earning. And at high level, they even had to kill their superior and take their place in the guild to be able to level up.

Yes, I'm aware, and I've played several AD&D assassins myself. 3e, however, has no standard assassination fees, no grandmaster benefits, much less of an emphasis on poison, etc. In the AD&D context, it makes sense to have guild assassins because the whole class is based around being a guild assassin, but if the only aspect of the assassin related in any way to a guild is "must kill someone to join," it makes much more sense to remove that single requirement and let others enter the PrC than to add all the guild trappings and restrict it to an official guild.

Saveducks
2010-10-09, 12:08 AM
One of my players wanted to join (mage of the arcane order?), so I made him go through his wizardry college manuscripts and go through a plethora of random registration requirements, by the end of registartion he was writing an essay on "Advanced zombie-slaying, theory"

Morithias
2010-10-09, 12:20 AM
We just do it if it's convenient or not. If a player wants to play an Urban Soul, but the temple that has to bless him will literally have no other purpose in the campaign we ignore it. If the campaign actually involves the fluff in some way we use it. The reason we do this, is because most of the time said 'blessing' would be '15 minutes of roleplaying that only involves one character'.

Archpaladin Zousha
2010-10-09, 12:29 AM
I'd generally enforce the special requirements depending on the campaign. For instance, if I were DMing a Forgotten Realms campaign and someone wanted to be a Hathran, yes, I'd enforce the gender restriction. It's an intrinsic part of the Hathran identity in Forgotten Realms, and I'm a stickler for canonicity. If someone wanted to be a Hathran in a non-Forgotten Realms campaign, I'd consider allowing males to join, depending on how the player and I reshaped the fluff of the PrC to fit the campaign. Generally speaking the special requirements are often the most important, since they give the strongest impression of the PrC's identity, what it represents in a character and the campaign world.

Pechvarry
2010-10-09, 12:31 AM
I'm currently playing a Lawful Good Human Paladin of Tyranny in one campaign. We tend to not care about pretty much anything that can be rationalized otherwise. We'd let the same character take a dwarven substitution level and then go into an elf-only prestige class, too.

Curmudgeon
2010-10-09, 04:14 AM
I try to enforce all of them, and I do always enforce the ones that require some sort of definitive action (such as the Assassin's prerequisite kill). For organization memberships I generally make it convenient for the PCs to find someone of the organization they want to join; a quest halfway around the world just to get to organization HQ doesn't seem like it would add any fun to the game.

dsmiles
2010-10-09, 04:28 AM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.

+1 to this.

Mystral
2010-10-09, 04:35 AM
Special Requirements are enforced. If the player doesn't like them, substitutes can be found. (Like joining a guild)

For Gender: Never had a player who wanted to play a gender specific class, especially not with the "wrong" gender.

FelixG
2010-10-09, 04:57 AM
Depends on the "special requirment"

Most "special" requirements can be part of the back-story.

Rogues back-story: He joined the assassins guild, he killed his best friend and sole remaining link to his past to prove his loyalty and is now working his way up through apprenticeship (Rogue levels) before he is acknowledged as a true master of his art. (Actual assassin levels)

Its entirely subjective, especially as some PRCs can be re-fluffed to be even better choices for PC archetypes (dread pirate with some re-fluffing can be a really awesome Crime Lord for example)

Saph
2010-10-09, 06:00 AM
It's not so much "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff" as "WotC has far too narrow a vision of what this PrC is," I think. The aforementioned assassin is a prime example. Assassins are people who kill other people with surprise and/or subtlety, often for money. Every adventurer who's gotten a surprise round off on their opponent is technically an assassin. The DMG requirements, however, assume a highly-structured assassin's guild and all that entails.

But that's exactly what the PrC is designed to be, a member of the assassin's guild. Of course you can change the RP and guild requirements, and turn it into a generic "stealth killer" class. There's nothing wrong with that. There's also nothing wrong with changing the skill requirements, or the Hit Die, or the spellcasting, or everything else up to and including the name.

Given the choice, I'd be more likely to change the skill requirements or the Hit Die than the "kill someone" bit or the Evil alignment, because I think the special requirements of a prestige class are usually the most interesting. I don't care how many ranks Bob the Assassin has in Hide and Move Silently. I do care if he's evil and has killed someone for no reason other than to join the assassins, because that's a character-defining trait.

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 06:29 AM
Every adventurer who's gotten a surprise round off on their opponent is technically an assassin.
So you don't need a prestige class for that.


The DMG requirements, however, assume a highly-structured assassin's guild and all that entails. Is ignoring the requirements in that case justified? I think so.
I don't think so, because it is a class about an assassin from an assassin's guild. If you don't want to be in an asssassin's guild, don't take the class - you said it yourself that every adventurer is an assassin anyway.


The way they turned out, however, isn't anything like the original intent, instead just being a way to realize concepts that base classes don't cover, so I don't feel enforcing flavor prerequisites is really a good thing at all most of the time.
This is a valid point, I believe. But since PrCs are only available at class levels, I find it hard to matter. If you really want to realize a concept and you are already messing with the rules, just do it from the start rather than waiting 10 levels to do it.
I rather like the prestige part of prestige class and I usually don't see them as 'quick fixes' for something, specially since I can't even think of a concept I can't build with base classes alone and maybe some refluffing.

Callos_DeTerran
2010-10-09, 10:26 AM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.


But that's exactly what the PrC is designed to be, a member of the assassin's guild. Of course you can change the RP and guild requirements, and turn it into a generic "stealth killer" class. There's nothing wrong with that. There's also nothing wrong with changing the skill requirements, or the Hit Die, or the spellcasting, or everything else up to and including the name.

Given the choice, I'd be more likely to change the skill requirements or the Hit Die than the "kill someone" bit or the Evil alignment, because I think the special requirements of a prestige class are usually the most interesting. I don't care how many ranks Bob the Assassin has in Hide and Move Silently. I do care if he's evil and has killed someone for no reason other than to join the assassins, because that's a character-defining trait.

This. Both of these really. Most of the time a special requirement is more of a character defining trait then 'ability X' or 'capstone y' because it defines who they are, not what they can do and who is more important then what, especially considering the 'what' can be refluffed into something else entirely with far more ease then the class itself (I've seen people suggest that a warforged playing a warlock would have their invocations and eldritch blast be refluffed as built in weaponry. There's no change mechanically, just looks different). If someone wanted to play a hathran, Eunuch Warlock, that one PrC from BoED that requires the character be female, etc then YES, that character has to be that gender. If I'm not playing Forgotten Realms then I'll remove the Realms specific mentions and replace them with specific mentions from my own campaign world. That way not only does the character get their PrC, they've indirectly contributed to expanding the game world because they've brought an entire organization (in the case of some PrCs), unique forms of magic, or entire adventure along with the PrC.

Honestly, were I capable of it, I'd put a special requirement on almost any but the most generic of PrCs just to make their flavor better.

tyckspoon
2010-10-09, 10:28 AM
I don't think so, because it is a class about an assassin from an assassin's guild. If you don't want to be in an asssassin's guild, don't take the class - you said it yourself that every adventurer is an assassin anyway.


This would be a much easier sell if the class offered any features that referenced it being in a guild in any way. Even a token thing like a 'Guild Contacts' feature (you get +class level to Gather Information checks and you can freely purchase poisons and other mundane 'contraband' items.) As is, you kill somebody to join the Assassins, and then.. the group disappears from your life in any mechanical fashion and you go about your way merrily practicing how to be a solo killer.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 10:31 AM
This. Both of these really. Most of the time a special requirement is more of a character defining trait then 'ability X' or 'capstone y' because it defines who they are, not what they can do and who is more important then what, especially considering the 'what' can be refluffed into something else entirely with far more ease then the class itself (I've seen people suggest that a warforged playing a warlock would have their invocations and eldritch blast be refluffed as built in weaponry. There's no change mechanically, just looks different). If someone wanted to play a hathran, Eunuch Warlock, that one PrC from BoED that requires the character be female, etc then YES, that character has to be that gender. If I'm not playing Forgotten Realms then I'll remove the Realms specific mentions and replace them with specific mentions from my own campaign world. That way not only does the character get their PrC, they've indirectly contributed to expanding the game world because they've brought an entire organization (in the case of some PrCs), unique forms of magic, or entire adventure along with the PrC.

Honestly, were I capable of it, I'd put a special requirement on almost any but the most generic of PrCs just to make their flavor better.

See, I really hate when DM's do it. It means I can't really be creative with my PC's, because I have to fit one of the preexisting archetypes. If my particular character would naturally have a specific set of abilities, then too bad because there's nothing that fits that fluff and has those abilities. Flavor built into the class is just a restriction on what players can and can't do.

Kylarra
2010-10-09, 10:41 AM
See, I really hate when DM's do it. It means I can't really be creative with my PC's, because I have to fit one of the preexisting archetypes. If my particular character would naturally have a specific set of abilities, then too bad because there's nothing that fits that fluff and has those abilities. Flavor built into the class is just a restriction on what players can and can't do.I dislike the disassociation of fluff and crunch that is so popularized in Char-Op. It means you're using a class-based system as nothing more than a glorified point-buy with set packages. If I wanted a point-buy system, I'd play a point-buy system.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 10:50 AM
I dislike the disassociation of fluff and crunch that is so popularized in Char-Op. It means you're using a class-based system as nothing more than a glorified point-buy with set packages. If I wanted a point-buy system, I'd play a point-buy system.

It's not even about char-op though. If I just cared about optimization then it wouldn't be a big deal at all to fulfill the fluff requirements. It's a problem because I already have a character with a well-developed personality and interests and desires that would use those abilities but wouldn't go after that fluff. You're forcing me to build a different character essentially to have one that mechanically works.

That's what I don't get; enforcing by-the-book fluff just encourages players to forget about roleplaying an original character.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 10:54 AM
This. Both of these really. Most of the time a special requirement is more of a character defining trait then 'ability X' or 'capstone y' because it defines who they are, not what they can doBut I would like to define who my characters are by myself.

I dislike the disassociation of fluff and crunch that is so popularized in Char-Op. It means you're using a class-based system as nothing more than a glorified point-buy with set packages. If I wanted a point-buy system, I'd play a point-buy system.Each for their own, but I'm with Warkitty on this.


And then we have stuff where the PrC's fluff doesn't match the game world. Is there supposed to be a 3rd assassins guild in Eberron specifically for evil non-elves? Why haven't the Houses of Shadow crushed it ages ago, given the ferocity with which the Dragonmarked Houses defend their monopolies?

Kylarra
2010-10-09, 10:58 AM
That's what I don't get; enforcing by-the-book fluff just encourages players to forget about roleplaying an original character.I don't get this thinking at all. Just because you happen to have a similarity to other people that are interested in the same things you are, you're unoriginal? Operating within minor constraints is hardly a restriction on roleplaying at all, ironically shown by the massive amount of refluffing that people suggest.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 11:03 AM
I don't get this thinking at all. Just because you happen to have a similarity to other people that are interested in the same things you are, you're unoriginal? Operating within minor constraints is hardly a restriction on roleplaying at all, ironically shown by the massive amount of refluffing that people suggest.

It means I can't go to my DM and say "Hey, I have this really cool idea for a character. He's the son of a peasant man that was unjustly killed by a cruel noble. He's dedicated his life to keeping nobles in line. If he hears about a noble that is cruel and unjustly kills those under him, he slips near him and kills him. He's trained for years so that he can deliver a single fatal blow, often enhancing it with the use of poison. His ultimate goal is a system in which nobles are no longer above the law but have to answer for how they treat the peasants."

Now, mechanically, that's an assassin. Fluff-wise, that's a completely different character, one that WoTC didn't take into account with their class building. Enforcing fluff is tantamount to saying "you can't play a character that focuses on efficient killing unless you're evil and kill for fun and are part of an organized guild."

It's not that you absolutely can't be original within the fluff; it's that enforcing the fluff rewards characters who are only interested in the abilities. If I just wanted to play an assassin for the mechanical parts, I'd work around the fluff.

Callos_DeTerran
2010-10-09, 11:06 AM
See, I really hate when DM's do it. It means I can't really be creative with my PC's, because I have to fit one of the preexisting archetypes. If my particular character would naturally have a specific set of abilities, then too bad because there's nothing that fits that fluff and has those abilities. Flavor built into the class is just a restriction on what players can and can't do.

See, that doesn't make sense to me. In a fair bit of PrC's the abilities are tied in some fashion or another to the fluff of that class so if a character would 'naturally' have a set of abilities belonging to a certain class, then how does the fluff not fit? How does the class you're going into being more flavorful affect what players can or can't do? Honestly, with all of the customization in 3.5 you can either find the exact abilities you are looking for in multiple classes or something similar enough that it's practically the same in different classes. And, frankly, if I WERE to add fluff to PrCs I'd first check to see if any of my players even intended to go into those classes in the first place and see what role they'd like that organization, type of magic, adventure, etc. play in the game and reach a compromise that keeps the player in question and myself both happy.


It's not even about char-op though. If I just cared about optimization then it wouldn't be a big deal at all to fulfill the fluff requirements. It's a problem because I already have a character with a well-developed personality and interests and desires that would use those abilities but wouldn't go after that fluff. You're forcing me to build a different character essentially to have one that mechanically works.

That's what I don't get; enforcing by-the-book fluff just encourages players to forget about roleplaying an original character.

Well the short answer would be 'play the character and to hell with the mechanics then' for your particular worry.

The long answer would be...how does enforcing by the book fluff encourage players to forget about playing original characters? :smallconfused: No character (in my experience) is entirely set going straight out of the gate in personality, interests, and desires. They evolve as the game progresses based on what happens to them and if I were so fixated on a particular set but found the fluff built into it doesn't work for that character...well..first I'd question why the fluff doesn't fit. And then, depending on the answer, I'd talk to my DM about arranging for something to happen IC that may sway my character's mindset to the point that such fluff is acceptable. Or come up with a justification on my own for why they would take such a path. :smallconfused: I'm still not seeing how it encourages players not to role-play and original character?


But I would like to define who my characters are by myself.

Then don't go into the class. Nobody is forcing anybody to take PrCs or to multi-class and you define just as much by not doing so as you do by doing so. If I were to go into the Assassin PrC, it'd be because joining the Guild and the special requirements helped to define my character.


It means I can't go to my DM and say "Hey, I have this really cool idea for a character. He's the son of a peasant man that was unjustly killed by a cruel noble. He's dedicated his life to keeping nobles in line. If he hears about a noble that is cruel and unjustly kills those under him, he slips near him and kills him. He's trained for years so that he can deliver a single fatal blow, often enhancing it with the use of poison. His ultimate goal is a system in which nobles are no longer above the law but have to answer for how they treat the peasants."

Now, mechanically, that's an assassin. Fluff-wise, that's a completely different character, one that WoTC didn't take into account with their class building. Enforcing fluff is tantamount to saying "you can't play a character that focuses on efficient killing unless you're evil and kill for fun and are part of an organized guild."

What? That...doesn't make sense. You can play a character that focuses on efficient killing perfectly fine without going into the assassin class. It's freakishly easy actually since you can do it with...well...anyone. Even mages. The only part that is the slightest bit difficult to manage would be getting the use of poison, but that's hardly unique to the assassin class.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 11:13 AM
See, that doesn't make sense to me. In a fair bit of PrC's the abilities are tied in some fashion or another to the fluff of that class so if a character would 'naturally' have a set of abilities belonging to a certain class, then how does the fluff not fit? How does the class you're going into being more flavorful affect what players can or can't do? Honestly, with all of the customization in 3.5 you can either find the exact abilities you are looking for in multiple classes or something similar enough that it's practically the same in different classes. And, frankly, if I WERE to add fluff to PrCs I'd first check to see if any of my players even intended to go into those classes in the first place and see what role they'd like that organization, type of magic, adventure, etc. play in the game and reach a compromise that keeps the player in question and myself both happy.



Well the short answer would be 'play the character and to hell with the mechanics then' for your particular worry.

The long answer would be...how does enforcing by the book fluff encourage players to forget about playing original characters? :smallconfused: No character (in my experience) is entirely set going straight out of the gate in personality, interests, and desires. They evolve as the game progresses based on what happens to them and if I were so fixated on a particular set but found the fluff built into it doesn't work for that character...well..first I'd question why the fluff doesn't fit. And then, depending on the answer, I'd talk to my DM about arranging for something to happen IC that may sway my character's mindset to the point that such fluff is acceptable. Or come up with a justification on my own for why they would take such a path. :smallconfused: I'm still not seeing how it encourages players not to role-play and original character?

If I wanted to say "to hell with the mechanics" I'd play freeform. For all that people say that they can find something that fits the fluff and mechanics - I don't buy it. No finite system will have everything. Plus not all of us have access to every single book.

As for the second part - well see my example above. Fitting into the assassin fluff would require completely rewriting the character. Sure characters aren't entirely set, but not everything is open to interpretation. Nor do I appreciate being told "if you want the abilities that are appropriate to your character you have to change your character's personality and backstory.

Really, to me it's just saying "unless someone at WoTC has thought of it already you can't play it."

Edit: can I get death attack without going into the assassin class? And anyways, is it really any better to say "play a different class?" I just don't get why people are so attached to the fluff. All it is is a needless restriction on roleplaying. If I only cared about the abilities I'd work the fluff into my backstory. The whole reason the fluff bothers me is because I'm *trying* to roleplay a particular character.

Kylarra
2010-10-09, 11:14 AM
It means I can't go to my DM and say "Hey, I have this really cool idea for a character. He's the son of a peasant man that was unjustly killed by a cruel noble. He's dedicated his life to keeping nobles in line. If he hears about a noble that is cruel and unjustly kills those under him, he slips near him and kills him. He's trained for years so that he can deliver a single fatal blow, often enhancing it with the use of poison. His ultimate goal is a system in which nobles are no longer above the law but have to answer for how they treat the peasants."

Now, mechanically, that's an assassin. Fluff-wise, that's a completely different character, one that WoTC didn't take into account with their class building. Enforcing fluff is tantamount to saying "you can't play a character that focuses on efficient killing unless you're evil and kill for fun and are part of an organized guild."

It's not that you absolutely can't be original within the fluff; it's that enforcing the fluff rewards characters who are only interested in the abilities. If I just wanted to play an assassin for the mechanical parts, I'd work around the fluff.Well, assassin is kind of the opposite of efficient killing, mechanically, but I guess that's neither here nor there.

Ultimately the only part of that, that says "assassin PrC" rather than straight rogue or any of a myriad of other things is the poison use, and even that can be done without strict assassin levels. The irony here is that you are buying into the WotC fluff... you just don't want to buy into all of it. You like the name "assassin" so you think that its abilities are what you want for your "assassin" character.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 11:17 AM
Edit: can I get death attack without going into the assassin class?Marrulurk from Sandstorm.

[Edit]:
Then don't go into the class.Then how am I supposed to be a master sneak (for example)? HiPS isn't exactly common, and the least painful ways to get it involve Assassin levels or a Shadowdancer dip, and both of those come with a lot of package fluff.

Or am I just supposed to tell the DM "no, those guards can't actually see me, because I'm very good at hiding"?

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 11:34 AM
To be fair that character was developed in a SRD-only campaign. Which is also part of why I don't like enforcing fluff - not all groups have the time or money to purchase a bunch of different sourcebooks and read through each one. If you only have a few books...

Worira
2010-10-09, 11:44 AM
Pretty sure "be a genetically engineered 3-foot-tall jackal-monster" wasn't really a serious suggestion for good methods of obtaining Death Attack.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 11:48 AM
Edit: can I get death attack without going into the assassin class? And anyways, is it really any better to say "play a different class?" I just don't get why people are so attached to the fluff. All it is is a needless restriction on roleplaying. If I only cared about the abilities I'd work the fluff into my backstory. The whole reason the fluff bothers me is because I'm *trying* to roleplay a particular character.

Race:
Marrulurk

Classes:
Avenger
Slayer of Domeil
Black Flame zealot
Dark Hunter
Darkwood Stalker
Binder (vestiges can grant stuff)

Fiery Diamond
2010-10-09, 11:49 AM
I prefer to create PrCs, using existing ones as references, rather than let my players play existing PrCs. Assassin, on the other hand, I ignored the guild aspect of (the character was already a member of a thieves' guild) and the evil aspect of. I still made him take on a contract killing as part of the requirements for taking the class, though.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 11:51 AM
Race:
Marrulurk

Classes:
Avenger
Slayer of Domeil
Black Flame zealot
Dark Hunter
Darkwood Stalker
Binder (vestiges can grant stuff)

All of which also come with significant fluff, none of which fit the character I stated. Particularly if I want Hide in Plain Sight as well.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 11:56 AM
All of which also come with significant fluff, none of which fit the character I stated. Particularly if I want Hide in Plain Sight as well.

Disagree.

Unlike assasasin, there is no fluff requirement to join the base class Binder or the 5 Prc i mentioned.

The rest of the fluff is mutable. PHb makes this clear: while you might call it move silently, I can refluff it as rice paper walking (example in the book).
You are expected to refluff non- essential stuff.

Only thing you can't refluff is stuff like Assassin because it requires to kill someone to join them.

IncoherentEssay
2010-10-09, 11:57 AM
Maybe it's just me, but i find it hilarious how the most fluff-neutral options for Death Attack are a refluffed assassin made as an April's Fools joke and a Ranger-y Prc that has a (Su) ability to do-the-chameleon when standing next to rocks :smallbiggrin:.
Edit: the binder option isn't a realistic choice here. It comes online at 13th at the earliest, and plays nothing like an assassin-type until then. It's also saddled with the occasional semi-compulsion to use the Death Attack at all opportunities (against unaware enemies that is).

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 11:58 AM
Disagree.

Unlike assasasin, there is no fluff requirement to join the base class Binder or the 5 Prc i mentioned.

The rest of the fluff is mutable. PHb makes this clear: while you might call it move silently, I can refluff it as rice paper walking (example in the book).
You are expected to refluff non- essential stuff.

Only thing you can't refluff is stuff like Assassin because it requires to kill someone to join them.

Binder...personally I'd consider "binding vestiges" to be undesirable fluff in this situation. The original idea involved swords and no/low magic.

What's the difference then? I don't get the difference between "fluff entry requirements" and "class fluff." You're encouraged to redo entry requirements to fit your campaign as well

Callos_DeTerran
2010-10-09, 12:01 PM
If I wanted to say "to hell with the mechanics" I'd play freeform. For all that people say that they can find something that fits the fluff and mechanics - I don't buy it. No finite system will have everything. Plus not all of us have access to every single book.

I play both. And when I play D&D I have, frequently, disregarded mechanically sound abilities, PrCs, feats, etc because they don't fit my character. Does it mean my character may be less sound mechanically? Sure. Does that stop me? No, nor do I have less fun because of it.


As for the second part - well see my example above. Fitting into the assassin fluff would require completely rewriting the character. Sure characters aren't entirely set, but not everything is open to interpretation. Nor do I appreciate being told "if you want the abilities that are appropriate to your character you have to change your character's personality and backstory.

Really, to me it's just saying "unless someone at WoTC has thought of it already you can't play it."

No, it doesn't. Even something as simple as 'As time passed, the peasant became less discriminate about those harmed on his way to his target, hating them for supporting the corrupt nobles he so despised'. There. It took me like...three seconds to think that up, doesn't require completely rewriting the character, and gives a believable reason to go into the class. Is it a great one? Eh...matter of opinion. I'm pretty sure I could up with a better one if I thought about it longer, but considering this is a theoretical character (and not even my OWN theoretical character)...well I don't care enough to do a better reason. :smalltongue:


Edit: can I get death attack without going into the assassin class? And anyways, is it really any better to say "play a different class?" I just don't get why people are so attached to the fluff. All it is is a needless restriction on roleplaying. If I only cared about the abilities I'd work the fluff into my backstory. The whole reason the fluff bothers me is because I'm *trying* to roleplay a particular character.

Yep, you can get death attack without going into the assassin class. Heck, you can get death attack without even being evil. You see it as a needless restriction on roleplaying, I see it AS roleplaying. The hypothetical character is giving something up for those abilities, in this case his inherit goodness/innocence/ethics. That there is a great roleplaying chance.


Then how am I supposed to be a master sneak (for example)? HiPS isn't exactly common, and the least painful ways to get it involve Assassin levels or a Shadowdancer dip, and both of those come with a lot of package fluff.

Or am I just supposed to tell the DM "no, those guards can't actually see me, because I'm very good at hiding"?

Don't get into a situation where HiPS is required to be sneaky? Where does it say that being a master sneak requires HiPS? Don't get me wrong, it helps out a lot but being a master sneak is as simple as having as high ranks in Hide and Move Silently as you can and being very careful.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 12:06 PM
I play both. And when I play D&D I have, frequently, disregarded mechanically sound abilities, PrCs, feats, etc because they don't fit my character. Does it mean my character may be less sound mechanically? Sure. Does that stop me? No, nor do I have less fun because of it.



No, it doesn't. Even something as simple as 'As time passed, the peasant became less discriminate about those harmed on his way to his target, hating them for supporting the corrupt nobles he so despised'. There. It took me like...three seconds to think that up, doesn't require completely rewriting the character, and gives a believable reason to go into the class. Is it a great one? Eh...matter of opinion. I'm pretty sure I could up with a better one if I thought about it longer, but considering this is a theoretical character (and not even my OWN theoretical character)...well I don't care enough to do a better reason. :smalltongue:



Yep, you can get death attack without going into the assassin class. Heck, you can get death attack without even being evil. You see it as a needless restriction on roleplaying, I see it AS roleplaying. The hypothetical character is giving something up for those abilities, in this case his inherit goodness/innocence/ethics. That there is a great roleplaying chance.



Don't get into a situation where HiPS is required to be sneaky? Where does it say that being a master sneak requires HiPS? Don't get me wrong, it helps out a lot but being a master sneak is as simple as having as high ranks in Hide and Move Silently as you can and being very careful.

But that's not the character I want to play. I don't want to play an evil character that lost his innocence; I want to play a character that is working towards a noble goal using the best methods he has available. I don't want to be forced to change my character or develop him along a particular line because that's the fluff WoTC developed.

P.S. that qualifies as "you have to change your character's personality."

I also don't want to have to constantly sacrifice mechanical power for flavor. I may not be trying for absolute power, but I want a character that is, you know, reasonably effective in a party. Otherwise I end up sitting on the sidelines in a game because I can't really contribute.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 12:16 PM
What's the difference then? I don't get the difference between "fluff entry requirements" and "class fluff." You're encouraged to redo entry requirements to fit your campaign as well

Because Preqs have to be met. Fluff doesn't have to be met.

One is a suggestion (Fluff) and the other is a requirement (Preq).

Emmerask
2010-10-09, 12:18 PM
Iīm with you on the assassins donīt have to be evil stance, mainly because I dislike the whole high fantasy there is good and they only do good and there is evil and all they do is evil mindset.
On some prcs I do enforce the special requirements however and on some I create some of my own and sometimes my players even invent some. One of my players wants to become a master of nine so he told me he wants to find each master of 9 schools and train with them ^^

So Iīm kind of in the middle of the argument I guess, sometimes it just makes sense that the special requirements are enforced sometimes it just doesnīt

Callos_DeTerran
2010-10-09, 12:25 PM
But that's not the character I want to play. I don't want to play an evil character that lost his innocence; I want to play a character that is working towards a noble goal using the best methods he has available. I don't want to be forced to change my character or develop him along a particular line because that's the fluff WoTC developed.

The phrases 'Well-Intentioned Extremist', 'Knight Templar', and 'the end justifies the means' all come to mind. All perfectly describe what your character is doing while allowing him to play the actual WoTC Assassin and keep to his noble goal.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 12:26 PM
Well, here's what I'd say looking at my character:

Such a character should definitely have the ability to use hide and move silently extremely well. Should probably also be able to set traps, and to use poison. As he progresses he'd become better at hiding and be able to almost melt into the shadows. So HiPS would be a necessity. I could see him going either way on magic, he might disdain it or he might learn to use it, but he'd always rely primarily on his blades. He would disdain relying on any outside force or power for his abilities though. He'd also wear some form of armor. Death attack might not be absolutely needed but it would sure be cool. He'd have to be either human or elf, probably human. He wouldn't have a distinctive physical appearance. He's working for a noble goal outside the law, so I'd peg him as CG. Sort of a Robin Hood type, trying to do the best he can within an evil society.

So there we have the idea for the character. How would you get those in? For bonus points, how would you build that with only SRD resources (as I had available to me when the character was built)?

Edit at Callos: I was specifically trying to make a Robin Hood character, not a well-intentioned extremist character. He was supposed to be a hero, if a conflicted one.

Fiery Diamond
2010-10-09, 12:32 PM
The phrases 'Well-Intentioned Extremist', 'Knight Templar', and 'the end justifies the means' all come to mind. All perfectly describe what your character is doing while allowing him to play the actual WoTC Assassin and keep to his noble goal.

You're misunderstanding. The game should cater to his concept, not force his concept to cater to it. Period. I would never play with anyone who thought differently of a roleplaying game. One should NEVER have to cater his concept to the rules-whether that means class fluff, spell fluff, prerequisite fluff, or anything else. If the rules flat-out don't support his concept, there are two options: play a different game, or tweak the rules until they do. Both are equally acceptable.

Edit: What's NOT acceptable if for someone else to tell him, "change your character concept."

Callos_DeTerran
2010-10-09, 12:37 PM
Well, here's what I'd say looking at my character:

Such a character should definitely have the ability to use hide and move silently extremely well. Should probably also be able to set traps, and to use poison. As he progresses he'd become better at hiding and be able to almost melt into the shadows. So HiPS would be a necessity. I could see him going either way on magic, he might disdain it or he might learn to use it, but he'd always rely primarily on his blades. He would disdain relying on any outside force or power for his abilities though. He'd also wear some form of armor. Death attack might not be absolutely needed but it would sure be cool. He'd have to be either human or elf, probably human. He wouldn't have a distinctive physical appearance. He's working for a noble goal outside the law, so I'd peg him as CG. Sort of a Robin Hood type, trying to do the best he can within an evil society.

So there we have the idea for the character. How would you get those in? For bonus points, how would you build that with only SRD resources (as I had available to me when the character was built)?

Edit at Callos: I was specifically trying to make a Robin Hood character, not a well-intentioned extremist character. He was supposed to be a hero, if a conflicted one.

Hmmm...are you requiring SRD or is it only bonus points? Cause this is honestly a neat challenge.

And...well...conflicted hero pretty much IS a well-intentioned extremist to a degree or, to put it another way, one can be evil and still a hero but probably not a Hero. The capital H is very important.

Sleepingbear
2010-10-09, 12:38 PM
Essentially what the title says. I don't mean things like feat or skill requirements. I mean things like having the players become memebers of a secret organization or (because this one is my pet peeve) gender restrictions in cases like the Hathran.

I for my part rarely enforce the special requirements on account of I hand craft my campaign settings so if a prestige class requires membership into an organization or exposure to a particular magic artifact/magic rock/magic whatever that magic whatever generally doesn't exist in my campaign.

First of all, I'm not overly fussy about enforcing alignment restrictions for any class. Paladins have to match the alignment of their diety and other divine casters can't have an alignment that opposes their diety. But you can have lawful Bards and chaotic Monks. So I'm not inclined to enforce them for PrC's either.

I've actually been toying with doing away with alignments altogether.

Secondly, I run a fairly detailed homebrew world (been adding to it for about nine years now). PrC organizations as written simply don't exist in my world although there are occasionally equivelents. So yeah, refluffing is required for organization based PrC's to be used. I tend to preserve mechanical requirements however. Although even those are occasionally reworked to fit my world and it's idiosynchrocies.

Even when refluffing an organization, I try to remain as true to the original as possible. I try to find an equivelent space for it to occupy in my world.

If a player comes to me who wants the mechanical package from a PrC (the whole thing, not just a level dip) with some fluff that works for the class, I will give it serious and honest consideration. There may be some back and forth to make it fit my world but if we can both be made happy with it, we use it.

For one level dips, I try to find out what it is the player is really looking for and then work with them to find the best way to do it.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 12:38 PM
Well, here's what I'd say looking at my character:

Such a character should definitely have the ability to use hide and move silently extremely well. Should probably also be able to set traps, and to use poison. As he progresses he'd become better at hiding and be able to almost melt into the shadows. So HiPS would be a necessity. I could see him going either way on magic, he might disdain it or he might learn to use it, but he'd always rely primarily on his blades. He would disdain relying on any outside force or power for his abilities though. He'd also wear some form of armor. Death attack might not be absolutely needed but it would sure be cool. He'd have to be either human or elf, probably human. He wouldn't have a distinctive physical appearance. He's working for a noble goal outside the law, so I'd peg him as CG. Sort of a Robin Hood type, trying to do the best he can within an evil society.

So there we have the idea for the character. How would you get those in? For bonus points, how would you build that with only SRD resources (as I had available to me when the character was built)?

Edit at Callos: I was specifically trying to make a Robin Hood character, not a well-intentioned extremist character. He was supposed to be a hero, if a conflicted one.

SRD only?
Poison...are we worry about Nat 1's? BecausaePoison use is just no Nat 1's issue.
Melt into Shadows: Shadowdancer?

Armor? Mithral Buckler (ASF 0%). Mithral Studded Leather (if allowed) or Mithral Chain Shirt and accept a 10% failure for spells (no that often, although it sucks when it does).

Rogue 2/Wizard 5/Rogue 1/Shadowdancer 1/arcane trickster?
Use spells for buffs: you don't need alot of Int due to less DCs (maybe a few save or sucks like Grease/glitterdust for sneak attack).

So you start as Rogue (or Wizard, both methods work) then go Wizrd (or rogue) enter Shadowdancer for Hide in plain sight. Then Arcane trickster to be a better sneak attacker.


Shadowdancer grants Hide in Plain sight like assassin.
Arcane Trickster lets you be a better rogue and caster. Impromptu Sneak Attack makes enemy denied Dex (if you run out of Grease/Glitterdust I guess).

I only suggest spells because Grease is the best way to deny non-flying enemies Dex to AC. How many enemies have 5 ranks in Balance?

A Rogue/Shadow dancer isn't bad (although I'd be Shadow 1 and rest rogue_)in a SRD game. While it might not work with your character: I'd be a flask rogue- Sneak attacking with TWfing (maybe rapid shot) with ranged touch attacks.
Seeing as touch AC is usually lower than normal AC, it works great. Need a way to deny dex so maybe a wand or two.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 12:51 PM
On that particular character I could see shadowdancer. I can't see wizard really, he'd likely not be interested in books or booklearning. Probably doesn't read very well. I was thinking more "ok he's maybe learned a few special tricks to help him sneak, but he's definitely not a magic user." Probably nothing that he'd even call magic, just a few special tricks. In practice that means stuff like stealth spells, true strike, etc. are ok, glitterdust and other stuff is not. I'm trying to avoid being a mage. Would probably avoid wands as well (which gets into the whole issue of building good characters without either being a caster or UMD'ing everything).

And honestly, you're going to roll that natural one eventually. So either need poison use or a freaking awesome fortitude save.

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 12:57 PM
He's trained for years so that he can deliver a single fatal blow, often enhancing it with the use of poison. (...)

Now, mechanically, that's an assassin.
It's also a Fighter with Power Attack and Poison Use.
It's also a Swashbuckler with Insightful Strike and Poison Use.
It's also a Diamond Mind focused Warblade with Poison Use.
It's also a Wizard that buffs himself to kill people with a single powerful strike and uses Fabricate to create poisons.
So, really. You don't need Assassin to do that.


This would be a much easier sell if the class offered any features that referenced it being in a guild in any way. Even a token thing like a 'Guild Contacts' feature (you get +class level to Gather Information checks and you can freely purchase poisons and other mundane 'contraband' items.) As is, you kill somebody to join the Assassins, and then.. the group disappears from your life in any mechanical fashion and you go about your way merrily practicing how to be a solo killer.

...so you need class features to tell your DM what he needs to do with organizations in his game? I'm very glad I don't need such input.


Then how am I supposed to be a master sneak (for example)? HiPS isn't exactly common, and the least painful ways to get it involve Assassin levels or a Shadowdancer dip, and both of those come with a lot of package fluff.
Oh, please. Just buy a collar of umbral metamorphosis.

Mystic Muse
2010-10-09, 01:06 PM
it depends on how Necessary the requirements seem to me.

All alignment requirements are gone.

skills stay but all skills are considered class skills for all classes in my games so it doesn't matter all that much.

feat requirements depend on the feat required and if the feat still exists (I've gotten rid of a few.)

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-09, 01:11 PM
But that's exactly what the PrC is designed to be, a member of the assassin's guild. Of course you can change the RP and guild requirements, and turn it into a generic "stealth killer" class.
[...]
I do care if he's evil and has killed someone for no reason other than to join the assassins, because that's a character-defining trait.


I don't think so, because it is a class about an assassin from an assassin's guild. If you don't want to be in an asssassin's guild, don't take the class - you said it yourself that every adventurer is an assassin anyway.

I guess I should have been more clear: I have no problem with using the flavor if it fits the mechanics; the problem is that most special prerequisites are tacked on rather than well-thought out and the mechanics don't support the default flavor any more than any other flavor you could come up with.

As I mentioned before, I object to the assassin's prereqs because they're trying to recreate the AD&D assassin (which was all about the guild) without giving it any guild-related abilities. In AD&D, assassin was a base class, a sub-class of the thief; you progressed up through "ranks" as you gained levels, going by the level names (bravo at 1st level, executioner at 8th, etc. up to Grandfather/Grandmother of Assassins at 15th). There were standard fees every assassin in the game charged, advancement required assassinating your superiors, and Guildmasters of 14th level gained followers and a stronghold in addition to any other followers or base they had.

If the assassin had those features, I would be happy to enforce the prereqs as they are. If the PrC didn't have those, but had the more 3e-esque/Cityscape-ish features tyckspoon mentioned, I'd be happy to enforce the prereqs as they are. As it is, though, it is a generic "stealth killer" class with generic assassin features and a single prerequisite tacked on to suggest guild membership. You don't really need an assassin class anymore--as true_shinken points out, there are better ways to express the concept--but if you are going to make such a class, either make it a solo killer and give it features to support that or make it a guild contract killer and give it features to support that.

Same thing with other PrCs. If a player wants to enter Radiant Servant of Pelor, I might not require Pelor but I'll require they worship some god of light and healing, because the PrC grants benefits with light and healing. The Ruby Knight Vindicator has absolutely nothing in it to indicate it's related to Wee Jas except the special requirement, though its Shadow Hand and Armored Stealth associations mean I might require some fluff justification for taking Shadow Hand maneuvers if the PC worships a stick-up-the-ass LG god. The Mage of the Arcane Order only gains association-related benefits with the Regent ability, so if the player doesn't plan to take it that far I won't worry about an Arcane Order, and if they do take it that far I'll let them decide whether they want to join an Order, join a secretive cabal, do independent research and then found an association, draw energy from the Weave and get those benefits with Mystra's church, etc.

I have no problem with special requirements, done right. The problem is that except in rare cases WotC doesn't do them right.

lsfreak
2010-10-09, 01:12 PM
Oh, please. Just buy a collar of umbral metamorphosis.

A) that's relying on an item an b) that HipS sucks.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 01:19 PM
It's also a Fighter with Power Attack and Poison Use.
It's also a Swashbuckler with Insightful Strike and Poison Use.
It's also a Diamond Mind focused Warblade with Poison Use.
It's also a Wizard that buffs himself to kill people with a single powerful strike and uses Fabricate to create poisons.
So, really. You don't need Assassin to do that.



...so you need class features to tell your DM what he needs to do with organizations in his game? I'm very glad I don't need such input.


Oh, please. Just buy a collar of umbral metamorphosis.

Well like I said, this was originally a SRD-only game because none of us could afford a bunch of books. Plus I put in a more complete character description a few posts back.

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 01:24 PM
I have no problem with special requirements, done right. The problem is that except in rare cases WotC doesn't do them right.

Oh, I see. I have no problems with organizations not being covered by mechanics, since I as a DM see it as a hook.
But it is a perfectly good reason to mess with fluff requirements, I believe. The best I've seen as of yet.

Kaeso
2010-10-09, 01:28 PM
The few prestige classes with gender requirements amuse me. For one, every time they're brought up I can't help but mention Eunuch Warlock. I would definitely enforce their special prestige class requirement if a player wanted to play one.

Well... some cultures practice female circumcision so you could make that the female counterpart of the eunuch warlock.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 02:13 PM
Well... some cultures practice female circumcision so you could make that the female counterpart of the eunuch warlock.

Now why do I think that games involving FGM would be somewhat less-well received than games with Eunuchs?

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 02:20 PM
Now why do I think that games involving FGM would be somewhat less-well received than games with Eunuchs?

Because they are completely different matters, mostly.
Eunuchs were usually volunteers.
The unfortunate victims of female circumcision are not volunteers.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 02:24 PM
Also because FGM is a current issue, whereas castration is a rare feature of the modern world.

I'm not sure I'd say "volunteers" though - even if they technically volunteered, weren't a lot of the eunuchs castrated before they hit puberty?

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-09, 02:28 PM
We should probably drop this line of discussion; the last few threads to bring it up got locked, I think.

So, how 'bout them non-gender-related prerequisites?

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 02:30 PM
Also because FGM is a current issue, whereas castration is a rare feature of the modern world.

I'm not sure I'd say "volunteers" though - even if they technically volunteered, weren't a lot of the eunuchs castrated before they hit puberty?

Which is foolishness because you can't take away urges by castration unless done right after birth.

Anyhoo, the Complete Scoundrel female only Prc could work as a male if DM ignored gender as nothing requires female (not sure why the restriction).

Pechvarry
2010-10-09, 03:18 PM
Guys, what's with all the semantical arguments happening here?

Just because Warkitty gives an example doesn't mean everyone should try to prove that example wrong. That's some sort of a fallacy, I'm sure. The point is completely true and I don't see anyone addressing it:

If I want my character to do a cool trick that can only be found in a very specific prestige class, I shouldn't have to be married to that class' fluff to get the effect. That is, by definition, pandering your character to the rules of the game.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 03:22 PM
Guys, what's with all the semantical arguments happening here?

Just because Warkitty gives an example doesn't mean everyone should try to prove that example wrong. That's some sort of a fallacy, I'm sure. The point is completely true and I don't see anyone addressing it:

If I want my character to do a cool trick that can only be found in a very specific prestige class, I shouldn't have to be married to that class' fluff to get the effect. That is, by definition, pandering your character to the rules of the game.

No, it isn't a fallacy.
It is how arguments work. You prove the premises as false or uncommon thus proving the argument ipso facto false. If someone else gave the example then you could reverse-argue that it is a strawman, but that isn't the situation. We are directlt discussing her statements.

I took logic/reasoning classes. That is how you do it. Granted, D&D wasn't involved.

Also it matters on her arguement structure: converse, converge, linked, etc.
(Does all of her premises need to be true for her arguement to be true? That depends on structure of arguement).

At the very least, we determine what is true/not in these discussions. Like we all agree Assassin has horrible preqs (killing someone to join the guild).

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 03:32 PM
I've had the same thing come up with some other stuff. My personal pet peeve is finding a prestige class that advances bardic and non-druid divine casting, without losing diplomacy and perform as class skills. The easiest way I've found has been to remove the "wild shape class feature" from some of the classes designed for bard/druid.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 03:34 PM
If I want my character to do a cool trick that can only be found in a very specific prestige class, I shouldn't have to be married to that class' fluff to get the effect. That is, by definition, pandering your character to the rules of the game.

I have one objection to this, which I certainly don't apply consistently, but it's there: the fluff of the prestige class is part of the rules. In the world that the DM and WotC are cooperatively creating, gaining that "cool trick" requires doing certain things. It's simply part of the world's physics. Insisting that you should get that "cool trick" without fitting the fluff is like insisting that you should get a 1:2 Power Attack ratio while dual-wielding because "your character hits just as hard when dual-wielding as they do using a weapon two-handed". You can insist that your character should have some ability as much as you want, but the rules say that the world simply doesn't work that way. Characters with your traits don't happen to have that ability. That's the campaign setting.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 03:36 PM
Insisting that you should get that "cool trick" without fitting the fluff is like insisting that you should get a 1:2 Power Attack ratio while dual-wielding because "your character hits just as hard when dual-wielding as they do using a weapon two-handed".No, it's more akin to claiming that your character can learn to hit just as hard when dual-wielding as they do using a weapon two-handed without being an elf.

Because seriously, who wants to be an elf? :smalltongue:

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 03:50 PM
I have one objection to this, which I certainly don't apply consistently, but it's there: the fluff of the prestige class is part of the rules. In the world that the DM and WotC are cooperatively creating, gaining that "cool trick" requires doing certain things. It's simply part of the world's physics. Insisting that you should get that "cool trick" without fitting the fluff is like insisting that you should get a 1:2 Power Attack ratio while dual-wielding because "your character hits just as hard when dual-wielding as they do using a weapon two-handed". You can insist that your character should have some ability as much as you want, but the rules say that the world simply doesn't work that way. Characters with your traits don't happen to have that ability. That's the campaign setting.

No. Just no. The Power Attack rules and such are meant to provide balance. That's why I'm playing with a system instead of doing freeform. WoTC may not get it right, but there's a reason for those rules. It provides a way to build characters while being able to judge their power level effectively.

The fluff requirements? Do absolutely nothing that requiring a decent backstory couldn't do. The game world will not break if your assassin happens to not belong to a guild; it probably won't even be materially affected.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 03:56 PM
No. Just no. The Power Attack rules and such are meant to provide balance. That's why I'm playing with a system instead of doing freeform. WoTC may not get it right, but there's a reason for those rules. It provides a way to build characters while being able to judge their power level effectively.

The fluff requirements? Do absolutely nothing that requiring a decent backstory couldn't do. The game world will not break if your assassin happens to not belong to a guild; it probably won't even be materially affected.

Agreed. There is not much sense to some requirements. Look at Invisible Blade: what?!

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 04:08 PM
No. Just no. The Power Attack rules and such are meant to provide balance. That's why I'm playing with a system instead of doing freeform. WoTC may not get it right, but there's a reason for those rules. It provides a way to build characters while being able to judge their power level effectively.

The fluff requirements? Do absolutely nothing that requiring a decent backstory couldn't do. The game world will not break if your assassin happens to not belong to a guild; it probably won't even be materially affected.

TWF with full PA would perhaps be unbalanced. Sword and board with full PA, less clearly so. One-hander and empty hand and full PA is unlikely to be unbalanced without specific and obscure tricks being employed.

Look, the goal of the rules cannot simply be balance. Think about it from a physics perspective: a universe determined purely by symmetric laws will be uninteresting. The reason we have anything resembling a universe at all is because symmetry is broken, allowing structure to form. Similarly, there are an infinite number of balanced rulesets possible within D&D. Suppose that you could get an extra attack at -2 via a feat only if you wielded a weapon in two hands, and wielding two weapons gave a higher power attack ratio. Or suppose Fighters had a d4 hit die, low BAB, and good Will, gained bonus metamagic feats every five levels, and gained spells up to ninth level, but gained no other bonus feats, while Wizards gained bonus feats, had d10 hit dice, and...well, you see where I'm going here. Balance alone doesn't make rules, rules come primarily from fluff.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 04:12 PM
TWF with full PA would perhaps be unbalanced.You can already do that, if you're an elf.

If you're not, and your DM is a sticker when it comes to PrC qualification, well, too bad.

[Edit]: The rest of your argument is quite a tangled mess. So, give fighters the wizard's stats. In effect, you only changed the name of the class "wizard" to "fighter". What does that have to do with anything?

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 04:14 PM
TWF with full PA would perhaps be unbalanced. Sword and board with full PA, less clearly so. One-hander and empty hand and full PA is unlikely to be unbalanced without specific and obscure tricks being employed.

Look, the goal of the rules cannot simply be balance. Think about it from a physics perspective: a universe determined purely by symmetric laws will be uninteresting. The reason we have anything resembling a universe at all is because symmetry is broken, allowing structure to form. Similarly, there are an infinite number of balanced rulesets possible within D&D. Suppose that you could get an extra attack at -2 via a feat only if you wielded a weapon in two hands, and wielding two weapons gave a higher power attack ratio. Or suppose Fighters had a d4 hit die, low BAB, and good Will, gained bonus metamagic feats every five levels, and gained spells up to ninth level, but gained no other bonus feats, while Wizards gained bonus feats, had d10 hit dice, and...well, you see where I'm going here. Balance alone doesn't make rules, rules come primarily from fluff.

...I don't think we are using the term balance in anything resembling the same way. Balance does not mean same. Nor does it mean symmetry like you're saying. Balance means that, at least in theory, a level 3 character should be able to contribute roughly equally in a party of other level 3 characters. It means a character that has been adventuring for a year and gained 5 levels should be more powerful than someone that's just starting out. Balance in this sense is providing a system where you can measure the players against each other and against the monsters in terms of power. It's a system where you can limit mechanically what different people can do, so you don't have one character with an "Iwin" button and another that can barely tie his shoes.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 04:39 PM
You can already do that, if you're an elf.

If you're not, and your DM is a sticker when it comes to PrC qualification, well, too bad.

[Edit]: The rest of your argument is quite a tangled mess. So, give fighters the wizard's stats. In effect, you only changed the name of the class "wizard" to "fighter". What does that have to do with anything?

The implication is that you also change the fluff. Keep the fluff entries before the classes the same, and just flip the rules. I think you would agree the result would be dumb. Imagine something with Fighter stats with the following flavortext: "A few unintelligible words and fleeting gestures carry more power then a battleaxe, when they are the words and gestures of a wizard."


...I don't think we are using the term balance in anything resembling the same way. Balance does not mean same. Nor does it mean symmetry like you're saying. Balance means that, at least in theory, a level 3 character should be able to contribute roughly equally in a party of other level 3 characters. It means a character that has been adventuring for a year and gained 5 levels should be more powerful than someone that's just starting out. Balance in this sense is providing a system where you can measure the players against each other and against the monsters in terms of power. It's a system where you can limit mechanically what different people can do, so you don't have one character with an "Iwin" button and another that can barely tie his shoes.

An uncharitable interpretation would be that you're ignoring my point, but I'll go with the more reasonable idea that I just didn't express myself clearly. Think of it this way: a balanced system does not have to have every class the same. However, a system in which every class is the same is an example of a balanced system. Thus, there must be some other design principle besides balance that determines the features of the system. Does this make sense? It's not enough that every character can contribute, there have to be reasons why the characters end up contributing different (if equally valuable) things. That structure, that differentiation, that only exists because the rules are informed by the fluff.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 04:47 PM
The implication is that you also change the fluff. Keep the fluff entries before the classes the same, and just flip the rules. I think you would agree the result would be dumb. Imagine something with Fighter stats with the following flavortext: "A few unintelligible words and fleeting gestures carry more power then a battleaxe, when they are the words and gestures of a wizard."



An uncharitable interpretation would be that you're ignoring my point, but I'll go with the more reasonable idea that I just didn't express myself clearly. Think of it this way: a balanced system does not have to have every class the same. However, a system in which every class is the same is an example of a balanced system. Thus, there must be some other design principle besides balance that determines the features of the system. Does this make sense? It's not enough that every character can contribute, there have to be reasons why the characters end up contributing different (if equally valuable) things. That structure, that differentiation, that only exists because the rules are informed by the fluff.

I was not intentionally ignoring your point, however I am reading this between sips of coffee and staring at some rather dense philosophy reading material. Misinterpretation is possible.

You are right that there is some other principle, but I don't think that principle is in the fluff. Rather it's the principle that abilities should be ranked on damage/effectiveness/whatever (I'm not coming up with a good word).

Of course, I'm also the DM that, if one of my players came up to me and said "I want to be a wizard but I want a d10 hit die," I'd ask them "What are you going to give up out of the class that's of approximately the same worth?" and "What's the backstory for why you have those abilities?"

Greenish
2010-10-09, 04:53 PM
The implication is that you also change the fluff. Keep the fluff entries before the classes the same, and just flip the rules. I think you would agree the result would be dumb. Imagine something with Fighter stats with the following flavortext: "A few unintelligible words and fleeting gestures carry more power then a battleaxe, when they are the words and gestures of a wizard."Fluff should match what you can do with the rules. That doesn't mean fluff has to be exactly the same as WotC provided.

If you give a wizard fighter's crunch, well, that's okay. It doesn't matter, after all, whether the class is called a fighter or a wizard, what matters is the character using the crunch, who might well refer to himself as "The Grand Warlock of the Order of Merlin". :smalltongue:

An uncharitable interpretation would be that you're ignoring my point, but I'll go with the more reasonable idea that I just didn't express myself clearly. Think of it this way: a balanced system does not have to have every class the same. However, a system in which every class is the same is an example of a balanced system. Thus, there must be some other design principle besides balance that determines the features of the system. Does this make sense? It's not enough that every character can contribute, there have to be reasons why the characters end up contributing different (if equally valuable) things. That structure, that differentiation, that only exists because the rules are informed by the fluff.I'm still not getting your point. A certain mechanics can have countless versions of fluff that match them just fine. Just because WotC picked one of those options doesn't mean it's compulsory for the mechanics to work.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 04:54 PM
You are right that there is some other principle, but I don't think that principle is in the fluff. Rather it's the principle that abilities should be ranked on damage/effectiveness/whatever (I'm not coming up with a good word).


I think I understand what you're saying here, but it's not enough. Either you mean that the system is level-based, or you mean that there are good options and trap options. But in either case this isn't enough to determine a system. To use my earlier example, a system in which the wizard has fighter stats and the fighter has wizard stats will indeed have a trap option: the wizard (formerly fighter). It will also be resolutely level-based. So there's something else that makes the fighter the fighter and the wizard the wizard.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 05:04 PM
Fluff should match what you can do with the rules. That doesn't mean fluff has to be exactly the same as WotC provided.

I'm still not getting your point. A certain mechanics can have countless versions of fluff that match them just fine. Just because WotC picked one of those options doesn't mean it's compulsory for the mechanics to work.

Forgive me for being a little Socratic here, but it will help me make my point more clearly: how, in general, do you determine if the fluff matches what you can do with the rules? Rules are rules, they only tell you how they interact with other rules. How is the fluff connected?

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 05:08 PM
Forgive me for being a little Socratic here, but it will help me make my point more clearly: how, in general, do you determine if the fluff matches what you can do with the rules? Rules are rules, they only tell you how they interact with other rules. How is the fluff connected?

It's more "can you justify why your character has these abilities?" Which I require whether or not you're using WoTC fluff. If you want your wizard to have a higher hit-die, you have to explain why you're sturdier than most wizards. Maybe you spent more time outside in an apprenticeship to a town mage. You have to write something that makes sense with your character.

Kantolin
2010-10-09, 05:15 PM
For me, if a PC wishes to make a character with a different fluff that uses a given prestige class's mechanics, I'm generally alright with working with them to do this.

If the prestige class is focal to my setting, it could be that the PC is one of an exceptionally rare (Or the only one) group of people that have discovered how to utilize circle magic without being evil or from Thay. Alternately, I may just change the class in its entirety to mesh with the character's ideas - I can change NPCs.

If the prestige class is not focal to my setting, then I care considerably less. I erase 'Slayer of Domiel', write 'Light Attacker', swap around the requirements, and we're good.

Those requirements/limitations are generally not terribly exciting to have them come up, or if the requirements themselves are extremely focal to my campaign, then I can wrap an entire campaign around the good red wizard.

Now, when it comes to 'defeat a creature one size category larger than you with your bare hands' style, those I frequently enforce - but with major changes. I do not find it interesting for the party to hold down an ogre while the human fighter punches him to unconscious.

But I do find it interesting for the party to go through a series of events in a murder mystery that takes place in a colosseum, resulting in a one on one duel between the fighter and something he'd normally be able to beat, but he has to do it without drawing his sword...

So usually, I'll take the listed suggestion and make it into a quest. Frequently when I invent my own classes, the real trial comes after they've already started taking levels in the class. As a trial-by-fire is extremely fun, can be awesome roleplay, and becomes memorable.

I'm also willing to do that for other prestiges as well. Recently in my game which has now reached its conclusion, the party sorceror went through a memorable sequence which questioned why exactly he was focusing on his magic. He actually (OOC-intentionally, IC-accidentally) failed said trial, but forced himself to redeem himself afterwards, and became an archmage through the redemption process (a level early and without one of the requirements, yet).

Now, if the goal is 'stop the player from cherry dipping in a charop fashion', then most roleplay and alignment requirements don't do that - someone who didn't care about roleplay at all could just 'Okay, then I swap to being neutral evil, take two levels, then swap back' or something. Or don't swap back - if dipping assassin was central to some guy's build, they could just swap to 'neutral evil' and change how they're playing their character, abruptly, to fit.

Or, alternately, you'd get optimizers who read that as 'You can't', shrug, and will go find some Wizard/MasterSpecialist/Incantrix shenanigans that have acceptable-for-them fluff and are just as powerful if not more.

Really, if the problem is "I want to take this class to become more powerful", then say no on that means.

If a signature trait of your setting is that particular requirement, then that's totally understandable. You still have incentive to tweak - in a (mostly freeform) FFTA game I was in, Nu Mou were the only morphers (people who basically channel monster souls). I wanted to be a human morpher, and talking with the DM, my character discovered that the reasons Nu Mou ban other races from being a morpher is because they have to train for some time not to become consumed by the monster they're emulating. Bam, changed the listed requirements, resulted in an awesome roleplay concept and a memorable character, just took some tweaking to fit into the setting.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 05:21 PM
Forgive me for being a little Socratic here, but it will help me make my point more clearly: how, in general, do you determine if the fluff matches what you can do with the rules?If you're good at hiding, you're good at hiding. If you can cast spells, you have some magical aptitude. If you can hit hard with TWF, well, that doesn't mean you're an elf.

Really, it's rather simple: you figure out what you want your characters to do, then look at what sort of mechanics do they need to use for that in the framework of D&D 3.5 rules.

I'm not in favour of removing all contacts between fluff and rules ever, I'm just on the opinion that classes ought to be a metagame concept.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 06:04 PM
It's more "can you justify why your character has these abilities?" Which I require whether or not you're using WoTC fluff. If you want your wizard to have a higher hit-die, you have to explain why you're sturdier than most wizards. Maybe you spent more time outside in an apprenticeship to a town mage. You have to write something that makes sense with your character.

What if he's not tougher, though? What if it just happens that he has more hit points?

Here's the point I'm trying to make: we agree that certain rules entities represent certain things. Hit points don't merely mark the point when you're forced to stop taking actions: they represent how tough you are. Tougher characters have more hit points. Similarly, attack bonuses represent how accurate you are, damage bonuses how hard you hit or how sensitive the place you hit is, etc. The game is more than just a balanced, level-based system: it is a balanced, level-based system in which the elements represent, and are intended to interact analogously (even isomorphically) to, real-world concepts and fantasy tropes.

At its core, crunch is about adjudicating how different fluff entities interact. What happens when a tough guy is hit by a sword? He stays up longer than when a weak guy is hit by a sword. That is what hit points are all about.

We as a community assume that certain rules represent certain fluff, and that changing the fluff attached to these rules is really changing the rules themselves. All I'm arguing is that the boundary is very very fuzzy. There isn't a rigorous reason why certain rules have built-in fluff and others merely have "optional" fluff. We don't have a heuristic for determining that. The fact that being in a guild is required to gain the assassin's abilities is just as much a part of the D&Dverse's physics as the fact that things with more hit points are sturdier.

Now as I mentioned earlier, I certainly don't apply this insight consistently, and the assassin is a pretty good example of a case in which I would make an arbitrary distinction between fluff and crunch. All I'm arguing here is that the distinction is just that: arbitrary. Refluffing and houseruling are exactly the same thing. By doing one, you are doing the other. That's fine, but it's important to be aware that that's what you're doing. For one, it can make you a little more sympathetic to DMs who want to keep the "fluff" requirements intact.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 06:18 PM
Of course, I'm also the DM that, if one of my players came up to me and said "I want to be a wizard but I want a d10 hit die," I'd ask them "What are you going to give up out of the class that's of approximately the same worth?" and "What's the backstory for why you have those abilities?"

But that is abilities not fluff: totally different kettle of fish.
Weird idea to want to D10 Wizard.

Susano-wo
2010-10-09, 07:43 PM
@Urpriest. There is a measure that can be used. It is the measure of flavor not attached to crunch vs flavor attached to crunch. The first can feely be discarded with no ramifications on play, so should be done so based on character concept, which can definitely have mechanical necessities.

The second can still be changed, but has to be done in such a way that still keeps up the versimilitude of the game. most people would probably have issues with a fighter swinging his mighty sword and having a fireball-effect represent it...unless they were, like, playing a Bleach campaign or something...but I digress.

Some people would even have a problem with me saying I am in an armor of light plates surrounded by leather in the non-plated areas., and its the equivilant of a chain shirt. I think that's where people commonly dispute where to draw the line in reflavoring, and I can understand the point. The line where versimilitude is hurt/shattered is different for everyone. As you said its arbitrary

BUt the restriction on Flavor that has no game rule impact (flavor are not rules, not in the way people mean rules), seems, quite frankly, silly to me. I mean, if that's the way someone wants to do it, then thats the way they want to do it, but I can't see the sense in it, so long is we are talking about character concept, not a stack of abilities soley taken for their ability to max out their stats (using stats loosely, not STR etc.)

Scow2
2010-10-09, 07:54 PM
I enforce alignment and similar requirements for PrCs.

I see the "You have to kill someone for no reason other than to become an Assassin" and evil alignments as proof you are cold and ruthless enough to strike with the brutal efficiency required of the Death Attack ability, and foul enough to access the magicks of the PrC.

The example I saw listed earlier made me think the guy would have been best as a CAdv Ninja (even if it's a suboptimal class on the CharOp boards), since it gets both the fluff and crunch required, except for the needed armor bit.

I highly disagree with the concept of not having to change one's character to conform to a PrC. Prestige classes are special, and you get Prestige for joining them. By definition, you are supposed to be forced to form your character to conform to their requirements. You gain access to the cool abilities in exchange for having your character live his life by the guidelines of that specialization. By RAW and RAI, you lose the benefits of the PrC if you no longer behave in the manner expected by the PrC.

I don't mind the concept of someone self-teaching themselves the tenets of the Prestige class and thus gaining its benefits. But, the character still chooses to become that class, not just picking up a trick or two from it.

If you want to have your character become unique in the world, work with your DM to homebrew your own PrC that you find to be balanced and fit into the world as a larger archtype. Or, you can request to play a Generic Class from UA/SRD, which can cherry-pick certain Class Features as Bonus Feats.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 08:02 PM
I don't see what the difference is between "homebrew your own PrC" and "refluff an existing PrC to fit." Oh look, I homebrewed a PrC that has exactly the same mechanical benefits as the assassin but doesn't require me to be evil or join a guild!

Also, like I've said several times, not all of us have access to every single book to look through for a class that fits.

Primarily, classes are a metagame concept for me. Your class abilities are what lets you mechanically do things. That's it. Your character does not know what he has levels in. He just knows he got trained in using rapiers and stabbing people while they aren't looking, and that's what he's good at. He may call himself a rogue, or an assassin, or a sneak, or a shadow avenger, or anything else. He may be a guild member, or he may not.

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 08:07 PM
Primarily, classes are a metagame concept for me. Your class abilities are what lets you mechanically do things. That's it.

Then going into discussions like this is silly, because the point here is considering the classes like more of an in-game concept.
That's actually like the DMG deals with prestige classes, even. Of course you can do it your own way, but condemning people for 'using the prestige class like stupid stupid WotC designed' seems rather pointless to me.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 08:17 PM
@Urpriest. There is a measure that can be used. It is the measure of flavor not attached to crunch vs flavor attached to crunch. The first can feely be discarded with no ramifications on play, so should be done so based on character concept, which can definitely have mechanical necessities.


My whole point is that you have no metric for how "attached" flavor is to crunch. What makes "assassins must be in a guild" less "attached" to the assassin class than "hit points make you tougher" is to hit points?

Dr.Epic
2010-10-09, 08:21 PM
Depends on the "special requirment"

Most "special" requirements can be part of the back-story.

Rogues back-story: He joined the assassins guild, he killed his best friend and sole remaining link to his past to prove his loyalty and is now working his way up through apprenticeship (Rogue levels) before he is acknowledged as a true master of his art. (Actual assassin levels)

Its entirely subjective, especially as some PRCs can be re-fluffed to be even better choices for PC archetypes (dread pirate with some re-fluffing can be a really awesome Crime Lord for example)

A player had a rogue in a campaign I was in. They wanted to go assassin and to get that kill, they just hung out in a bar making up ridiculous stories, waited until someone questioned the reality of the tales, and then killed the person for doubting them. Just thought I'd share that and show the vast diversity about how some people treat special requirements.

Susano-wo
2010-10-09, 09:33 PM
My whole point is that you have no metric for how "attached" flavor is to crunch. What makes "assassins must be in a guild" less "attached" to the assassin class than "hit points make you tougher" is to hit points?

Becuase if you tell the the PRc Requirement in that case to jump off a bridge, the assassin class still does the same thing mechanically. AKA crunch is the same. HP are a fundamentally mechanical thing, and though there might be multiple ways to flavor HP (just like there are multiple ways, even by RAW (IIRC) to flavor Charisma), and still have it perform the same function, it still has a function within the mechanics. Well, multiple functions, really.

@Scow2:

I highly disagree with the concept of not having to change one's character to conform to a PrC. Prestige classes are special, and you get Prestige for joining them. By definition, you are supposed to be forced to form your character to conform to their requirements. You gain access to the cool abilities in exchange for having your character live his life by the guidelines of that specialization. By RAW and RAI, you lose the benefits of the PrC if you no longer behave in the manner expected by the PrC.

Prestige classes are not always that special. Sometimes, say Eldritch Knight and Mystic Theurge, they are making up for a lack of multiclassing ability between two classes, so that you can, to use the example, effectively play a Fighter/Magic User and Priest/Magic User. Other times they are just a cool set of abilities to go with a character theme.

Now, I am definitely in favor of less classes, more options, but given that that's not what they decided to do with the system, that changes what prestige classes represent.
Also, most prestige classes don't have code of conduct restrictions. The ones that do, some of them make sense (BlackGuard, for instance), and some of them don't (Assassin. Aside from the BS of poisons always being evil (in which case you can simply choose not to use them), there is nothing in that class that is EVIL, as such. Hell, death attack indicates killing someone quickly, which essentially shortens suffering, which basically means its is a fundamentally good way (by Dnd Definition)to kill someone assiming it was ok to do so in the first place. :smallbiggrin:

So, for the same reason that I would say enforce the paladin code of conduct for paladins (using some common sense of course), I would say enforce the Blackguard Code of Conduct, such as it is. BUt there is nothing about the assassin (poor assassin, how we have abused you--dragging you out as a punching bag for both sides:smalltongue:) that indicates that it should ahve to be either evil or part of a guild

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 09:45 PM
Becuase if you tell the the PRc Requirement in that case to jump off a bridge, the assassin class still does the same thing mechanically. AKA crunch is the same. HP are a fundamentally mechanical thing, and though there might be multiple ways to flavor HP (just like there are multiple ways, even by RAW (IIRC) to flavor Charisma), and still have it perform the same function, it still has a function within the mechanics. Well, multiple functions, really.


Isn't the combat involved in killing someone merely to join the assassin's guild a mechanical entity? A few rounds, some resources burned, a chunk of XP gained beyond those gained via the plot...An assassin without that experience is mechanically different in that different things happen in-session when the requirement is present. Mechanics are the things in books that determine what happens in-session, are they not?

Worira
2010-10-09, 09:52 PM
Then going into discussions like this is silly, because the point here is considering the classes like more of an in-game concept.
That's actually like the DMG deals with prestige classes, even. Of course you can do it your own way, but condemning people for 'using the prestige class like stupid stupid WotC designed' seems rather pointless to me.

Except WarKitty hasn't been doing that. She's been saying that her character fits the mechanics, but not the fluff, of the Assassin class, and that it makes sense for her to use one but not the other. Other people then suggested ways to change her character's backstory to fit the class, which she has no interest in doing. She didn't say no one was allowed to fit their characters into WoTC's fluff.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-09, 09:53 PM
Isn't the combat involved in killing someone merely to join the assassin's guild a mechanical entity? A few rounds, some resources burned, a chunk of XP gained beyond those gained via the plot...An assassin without that experience is mechanically different in that different things happen in-session when the requirement is present. Mechanics are the things in books that determine what happens in-session, are they not?

I reckoned that whom you kill will matter. If you fight an even combat: yes there will be a battle.
But if you kill a baby or someone will 1 HD, then no combat required. I'm feeling sad for your character by time you qualify for assassin if you can't kill a level 1.

Remember: you only have to kill someone for no other reason, but no said it had to be a challenge.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 10:05 PM
I reckoned that whom you kill will matter. If you fight an even combat: yes there will be a battle.
But if you kill a baby or someone will 1 HD, then no combat required. I'm feeling sad for your character by time you qualify for assassin if you can't kill a level 1.

Remember: you only have to kill someone for no other reason, but no said it had to be a challenge.

Getting away with it might be a little more challenging than the combat itself, but that's a minor issue anyway.

The real point is that the requirement means that some time at the table is spent dealing with the requirement. The actions you take in piloting your character change. As such, there is a mechanical difference.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 10:11 PM
Getting away with it might be a little more challenging than the combat itself, but that's a minor issue anyway.

The real point is that the requirement means that some time at the table is spent dealing with the requirement. The actions you take in piloting your character change. As such, there is a mechanical difference.

But see I don't *want* to change my character like that. I don't see any particular effect in this case from not having that fluff requirements. I'm an adventurer, it's not like I can't kill stuff. Heck, good adventurers kill stuff all the time. My fundamental question is "would a character that didn't fulfill these fluff requirements still make sense as having these abilities, and not be significantly over or under powered as compared to the rest of the group?" In the case of the assassin, the answer is yes.

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 10:18 PM
But see I don't *want* to change my character like that. I don't see any particular effect in this case from not having that fluff requirements. I'm an adventurer, it's not like I can't kill stuff. Heck, good adventurers kill stuff all the time. My fundamental question is "would a character that didn't fulfill these fluff requirements still make sense as having these abilities, and not be significantly over or under powered as compared to the rest of the group?" In the case of the assassin, the answer is yes.

Actually, the answer is no. In the world implicit in WotC's material it is indeed impossible to get such abilities without that sort of change in your character. That's just how the world works. Is that a silly way for the world to work? Yes. Would a sensible DM houserule that the world does not in fact work that way, and that generic guild assassins have skills quite similar to self-taught nonevil assassins like your character? Yes. Does that make it not a houserule? No. Are you justified in yelling at a DM who decides that in his world the Assassin's Guild is a real organization and the assassin PrC describes the abilities you gain upon joining it? Also, no. A DM is not obligated to change the world for the sake of a character concept, and that is what you are asking for. It's a minor change, but it's still firmly the DM's call.

And yes, I am aware that you never argued that the decision should be out of the DM's hands (for one, it would contradict Rule 0). I'm simply pointing out that there are nontrivial consequences to my line of argument.

WarKitty
2010-10-09, 10:22 PM
Actually, the answer is no. In the world implicit in WotC's material it is indeed impossible to get such abilities without that sort of change in your character. That's just how the world works. Is that a silly way for the world to work? Yes. Would a sensible DM houserule that the world does not in fact work that way, and that generic guild assassins have skills quite similar to self-taught nonevil assassins like your character? Yes. Does that make it not a houserule? No. Are you justified in yelling at a DM who decides that in his world the Assassin's Guild is a real organization and the assassin PrC describes the abilities you gain upon joining it? Also, no. A DM is not obligated to change the world for the sake of a character concept, and that is what you are asking for. It's a minor change, but it's still firmly the DM's call.

And yes, I am aware that you never argued that the decision should be out of the DM's hands (for one, it would contradict Rule 0). I'm simply pointing out that there are nontrivial consequences to my line of argument.

And I wouldn't play with that DM, nor as a DM would I ever do that to one of my characters. I routinely build my worlds around character concepts, actually. Plus I don't see how my character concept happening to have the same abilities as the people taught in the guilds would affect the world at all. If it did we'd work something out - maybe he secretly studies a young guild member to learn the death attack ability. I'm sure there's something that fits both my character concept and the world of the DM.

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 10:25 PM
Except WarKitty hasn't been doing that. She's been saying that her character fits the mechanics, but not the fluff, of the Assassin class, and that it makes sense for her to use one but not the other. Other people then suggested ways to change her character's backstory to fit the class, which she has no interest in doing. She didn't say no one was allowed to fit their characters into WoTC's fluff.

Then I apologize.

Eldariel
2010-10-09, 11:09 PM
And I wouldn't play with that DM, nor as a DM would I ever do that to one of my characters. I routinely build my worlds around character concepts, actually. Plus I don't see how my character concept happening to have the same abilities as the people taught in the guilds would affect the world at all. If it did we'd work something out - maybe he secretly studies a young guild member to learn the death attack ability. I'm sure there's something that fits both my character concept and the world of the DM.

Also, no reason there couldn't be a person with Assassin's skillset but self-taught; after all, think of any manner of training in real world and somebody has trained themselves for that without any manner of organization or teacher.

Greenish
2010-10-09, 11:10 PM
Actually, the answer is no. In the world implicit in WotC's material it is indeed impossible to get such abilities without that sort of change in your character.Oh yeah? (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) :smallamused:

true_shinken
2010-10-09, 11:15 PM
Also, no reason there couldn't be a person with Assassin's skillset but self-taught; after all, think of any manner of training in real world and somebody has trained themselves for that without any manner of organization or teacher.
Any specific language. If you are not immersed in an environment of people talking that language or unless you have access to material made by a teacher, you have no way of learning it.


Oh yeah? (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) :smallamused:

You do remember their discussion is Core-only, right?

Urpriest
2010-10-09, 11:15 PM
Oh yeah? (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) :smallamused:

Thank you for quoting an April Fool's joke that shows that WotC has the same perspective on this that I do.

FelixG
2010-10-09, 11:17 PM
Oh yeah? (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) :smallamused:

That always made me laugh because they just changed the assassins color white for the picture

Eldariel
2010-10-09, 11:20 PM
Any specific language. If you are not immersed in an environment of people talking that language or unless you have access to material made by a teacher, you have no way of learning it.

Eh. You don't need material made by a teacher; you need something in that language made by literally anybody. It's fully possible to pick up basics of a language through a novel if you want to. Sure, it's a lot of work but eventually it'll start making sense.

And with regards to PrC prerequisites, what I've actually wanted to say all along: I feel limiting them by fluff limits character concepts. If somebody has a character concept that should mechanically have some given set of abilities but the fluff didn't match, I'd immediately let him refluff the class to work with him.


Then again, I allow mechanical changes and homebrew too as long as they're balanced. Far as I'm concerned, accurate character representation and freedom to make whatever the player wants takes precedence over any amount of book fluff or crunch (of course, within limitations of character concepts workable within the game world).

Greenish
2010-10-09, 11:21 PM
You do remember their discussion is Core-only, right?I remember nothing of the kind. Yes, Warkitty is talking about core-only, since that's what he has access to, but the OP nor the actual topic presented therein specifies limits on sources that can be used in the discussion.

(Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis isn't core, either. :smallwink:)

FelixG
2010-10-10, 04:56 AM
I highly disagree with the concept of not having to change one's character to conform to a PrC. Prestige classes are special, and you get Prestige for joining them. By definition, you are supposed to be forced to form your character to conform to their requirements. You gain access to the cool abilities in exchange for having your character live his life by the guidelines of that specialization. By RAW and RAI, you lose the benefits of the PrC if you no longer behave in the manner expected by the PrC.

Bolded mine

Your wrong with that lil bit, if you dont meet the RAW requirements for a PRC you dont suddenly loose it all, that's BS.

"Well you left our guild so we are going to reach into your brain and take everything you learned from us while you were working with us, thanks for your time!"

DragonOfUndeath
2010-10-10, 05:29 AM
Any specific language. If you are not immersed in an environment of people talking that language or unless you have access to material made by a teacher, you have no way of learning it.

but you can still make up your own language. so the Assassin Warkitty made learned how too do a similar but slightly different Death Attack that acts the same way mechanically but slightly different fluff-wise (e.g. slashing the throat instead of the wrist or cutting out the heart) the Guild teaches English while Warkitty's assassin speaks French which is similar but different

WarKitty
2010-10-10, 08:10 AM
Ok now I'm mildly amused. I posted a thread asking what the alignment of an action is, and got jumped on for thinking in metagame terms instead of what the character would do. I have been considering a "any good" prestige class for this character.

Seems like a catch-22 doesn't it? You're not supposed to think about things in-game in terms of alignment and meeting requirements because that's metagaming and bad roleplaying. But if you don't think of things that way you won't meet their fluff requirements and can't take the PrC you want.

Urpriest
2010-10-10, 11:17 AM
but you can still make up your own language. so the Assassin Warkitty made learned how too do a similar but slightly different Death Attack that acts the same way mechanically but slightly different fluff-wise (e.g. slashing the throat instead of the wrist or cutting out the heart) the Guild teaches English while Warkitty's assassin speaks French which is similar but different

Actually, the whole point of the analogy is that you can't just make up a Natural Language. (Lest this seem like a tautology it is important to point out that Natural Language is a technical term defined not by the language's origin but by it's structure). Basically, you can't invent French without basing it on some language you already know.

Starbuck_II
2010-10-10, 11:23 AM
Actually, the whole point of the analogy is that you can't just make up a Natural Language. (Lest this seem like a tautology it is important to point out that Natural Language is a technical term defined not by the language's origin but by it's structure). Basically, you can't invent French without basing it on some language you already know.

But monks emulate Death Attack with Quivering Palm. Yet, Monks do not possess death attack.
Yes, Monks useage is more limited but less restricted, but similar class feature.

Fiery Diamond
2010-10-10, 12:24 PM
Actually, the whole point of the analogy is that you can't just make up a Natural Language. (Lest this seem like a tautology it is important to point out that Natural Language is a technical term defined not by the language's origin but by it's structure). Basically, you can't invent French without basing it on some language you already know.

Actually, isn't this only true for someone who already speaks a language? Haven't there been cases of groups of children isolated from others inventing pseudo-languages? I remember hearing about that somewhere...

Starbuck_II
2010-10-10, 12:34 PM
Actually, isn't this only true for someone who already speaks a language? Haven't there been cases of groups of children isolated from others inventing pseudo-languages? I remember hearing about that somewhere...

I know after my mom had a head injury as a infant she invented her own language to understand the world till she could also underatand english.

Granted, her IQ was genuis still after a brain damage so that might be a special case.

So you don't need to know a language to create one I think.

Scow2
2010-10-10, 05:05 PM
Ok now I'm mildly amused. I posted a thread asking what the alignment of an action is, and got jumped on for thinking in metagame terms instead of what the character would do. I have been considering a "any good" prestige class for this character.

Seems like a catch-22 doesn't it? You're not supposed to think about things in-game in terms of alignment and meeting requirements because that's metagaming and bad roleplaying. But if you don't think of things that way you won't meet their fluff requirements and can't take the PrC you want.

Alignment is not a metagame concept in D&D. Otherwise, spells like Detect Evil/Chaos/Law/Good, Discern Alignment, and a host of other things would be non-functional due to seperation of Metagame and non-metagame concepts. The DMG states that no PrC should have a disassociated, metagame concept as a reqirement for a class. And thinking in terms of requirements for entering a Prestige* Class isn't out of line, since qualifying for one is an in-character decision to strive to learn the abilities of that class. You can still self-teach yourself, but the method to acquire the desired class feature also requires you to pick up the rest of the qualities of the PrC, and meet its requirements: You can't learn Calculus if you have no comprehension of Trigenometry or Algebra.

The way I see it, the requirement for the Assassin PrC isn't so much as to prove yourself to a guild as much as demonstrate that your character has the balls and complete lack of empathy required to be able to kill someone with the Death Attack, which, from the fluff, looks like a horrible, horrible way to be killed. Sure, it may kill before the person has a chance to act, but it feels like the absolute worst way to go as his lifeforce is helplessly torn from his body and skewerd upon the foul dagger of evilness. Also, their magicks also could claim to require an evil heart to properly learn and use.

If your character concept has no intention of changing from Level 1 to level XX, he should remain Rogue the entire time, and just choose feats to make him a better stealth killer. He neither needs nor deserves the Assassin PrC.

I actually like the Avenger PrC, even if its an AFDJ and the exact same class as the Assassin PrC refluffed for law. According to that method of acquisition of the Assassin abilities, you put enforcement of the Law so far above personal accountability you have no qualms about using the most ruthless techniques, no matter how evil, to enforce the law. (Hi Pilate!)

* Prestige/prɛˈstiʒ, -ˈstidʒ/:- noun
1. reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes.
2. distinction or reputation attaching to a person or thing and thus possessing a cachet for others or for the public.



Bolded mine

Your wrong with that lil bit, if you dont meet the RAW requirements for a PRC you dont suddenly loose it all, that's BS.

"Well you left our guild so we are going to reach into your brain and take everything you learned from us while you were working with us, thanks for your time!"Every class with an alignment restriction usually denies the use of the class's abilities and advancement if they no longer meet that alignment. In the case of evil, if you become non-evil, you aren't enough of a bastard to use those abilities ever again.

WarKitty
2010-10-10, 05:18 PM
What happens when there is no prestige class that fits your character concept? I don't buy that you can do it with just the base classes, that's restricting yourself to a very limited set of abilities when there are other abilities out there that would be more appropriate. By enforcing the less related fluff you're essentially saying screw the more related stuff, because you're sticking characters with mechanical abilities that may or may not be appropriate to their character.

@scow2: I didn't say the character wasn't going to change, in either case. Just that I didn't want the character to change in a specific way.

J.Gellert
2010-10-10, 05:53 PM
Real conversation with my old DM.

"So, why are you bugging me?"
"Hey, I want to play a Hathran."
"Eh, this isn't the Forgotten Realms."
"Classes are tools! My character is not defined by a noun and a number!*"
"Fine, whatever. But your character is male."
"Wow, I didn't think you were this sexist."
"And you are not a member of this organization..."
"But if it's balanced for them, it's balanced for me."
"And Hathrans only get spontaneous casting in Rashemen."
"But if it's balanced there, it's balanced anywhere."

*i.e. Wizard 3.

Scow2
2010-10-10, 06:22 PM
Real conversation with my old DM.

"So, why are you bugging me?"
"Hey, I want to play a Hathran."
"Eh, this isn't the Forgotten Realms."
"Classes are tools! My character is not defined by a noun and a number!*"
"Fine, whatever. But your character is male."
"Wow, I didn't think you were this sexist."
"And you are not a member of this organization..."
"But if it's balanced for them, it's balanced for me."
"And Hathrans only get spontaneous casting in Rashemen."
"But if it's balanced there, it's balanced anywhere."

*i.e. Wizard 3.

Except it isn't always balanced everywhere. A lot of times, the fluff of a setting is required to balance the crunch of a PrC.

Beelzebub1111
2010-10-10, 09:46 PM
It's all in the name
Order of the Bow Initiate
Mage of the Arcane Order
things like that are a good indicator for if joining or being trained is an absolute necessity.

Gender requirements, I'll go with. Fluff is kind of important in that respect.

Also, I think that these requisites ADD to a character's...characterization rather than take away from it. It creates adventures for the DM, character based quest, stuff that players eat up.

And WarKitty:
AVENGER! (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) It's EXACTLY what you are describing. Without any question.

The difference Assassins are evil because they are "motivated by political reasons or money to intentionally kill a particular person." No defense of innocents, no noble cause, it's a job. A job that involves murder.

Avengers have the "Kill for Great Justice" thing going for them.

WarKitty
2010-10-10, 09:50 PM
Avenger fluff doesn't fit the character I described either, because the character is explicitly in opposition to the laws and social hierarchy of his homeland. Which means he's not going to be able to fulfill the special requirement of that either.

Personally, the requisites only add to the character if that was the type of character you planned to play. Otherwise it's taking yet another thing out of the hands of the players.

Beelzebub1111
2010-10-10, 10:01 PM
Avenger fluff doesn't fit the character I described either, because the character is explicitly in opposition to the laws and social hierarchy of his homeland. Which means he's not going to be able to fulfill the special requirement of that either.
That depends on how you define homeland. Clearly, in his mind, the oppressing nobles are not of his homeland. his homeland is in the backs of the working commoners. In that case the nobles and their guardians classify as "an enemy leader or champion" and if they truly are oppressors of the common folk, then it would be "an enemy leader or champion"

He would be True Neutral, or Neutral Evil. Perhaps Lawful depending on how you define his (apparently very black and white) morals. It's in my opinion that you are restricting yourself with this backstory, though. I'm worried that you're so focused on what's in your hands that you can't flow with any twists and turns thrown your way. It's the player's responsibility to be flexible sometimes. Something to chew on, anyways.

Scow2
2010-10-10, 10:09 PM
Avenger does fit that character's fluff, if you say "His Homeland is on the backs of the Oppressed."

What's more, he could even be considered Lawful Good if uses Samuel Vimes (From Discworld) definition of the law. It is his duty to protect and uphold the lives of the innocents suffering under the super-evil Aristocracy.

Kinda like Altair and Ezio.

Amphetryon
2010-10-10, 10:12 PM
Most forumites concur that Sam Vimes is not LG within D&D's alignment definitions. His propensity to Rage is often cites as support.

WarKitty
2010-10-10, 10:13 PM
That depends on how you define homeland. Clearly, in his mind, the oppressing nobles are not of his homeland. his homeland is in the backs of the working commoners. In that case the nobles and their guardians classify as "an enemy leader or champion" and if they truly are oppressors of the common folk, then it would be "an enemy leader or champion"

He would be True Neutral, or Neutral Evil. Perhaps Lawful depending on how you define his (apparently very black and white) morals. It's in my opinion that you are restricting yourself with this backstory, though. I'm worried that you're so focused on what's in your hands that you can't flow with any twists and turns thrown your way. It's the player's responsibility to be flexible sometimes. Something to chew on, anyways.

Why couldn't a character like that be good? I'm not seeing where you're getting the "black and white morals" part from. There's no difference between killing an evil human noble and an evil orc in terms of D&D alignment. Unless you use the "poison use is evil" (which is just silly) or say that you're evil for not fighting face to face (which I would consider stupid good). You're reading a lot into a fairly short description of a character that (1) has never seen play, and (2) was supposed to be built starting at mid-level (so this would all be backstory, not game-play).

I do develop my characters, I just don't appreciate being told how I have to develop them in order to get appropriate abilities. Plus at the levels we were going to be starting he'd be 1-3 levels into the PrC of choice.

The archetype for this character was a Robin Hood type, btw. He would hold to a code similar to that listed for the paladin of freedom.

Edit: Also, the fact that you have to use an april fool's class to stat the character sort of proves my point. :smalltongue:

Scow2
2010-10-10, 10:14 PM
Most forumites concur that Sam Vimes is not LG within D&D's alignment definitions. His propensity to Rage is often cites as support.

On the other hand, he IS the Law! He's truly Neutral Good by wildly careening between Chaotic and Lawful Good, and never down the center. He still would likely exude a Lawful Aura that blows even Chaotic Evil Gods away, or at least Ancient Chaotic Spirits of Pure Vengeance.


Why couldn't a character like that be good? I'm not seeing where you're getting the "black and white morals" part from. There's no difference between killing an evil human noble and an evil orc in terms of D&D alignment. Unless you use the "poison use is evil" (which is just silly) or say that you're evil for not fighting face to face (which I would consider stupid good). You're reading a lot into a fairly short description of a character that (1) has never seen play, and (2) was supposed to be built starting at mid-level (so this would all be backstory, not game-play).

I do develop my characters, I just don't appreciate being told how I have to develop them in order to get appropriate abilities. Plus at the levels we were going to be starting he'd be 1-3 levels into the PrC of choice.

The archetype for this character was a Robin Hood type, btw. He would hold to a code similar to that listed for the paladin of freedom.
Go with Avenger, and define his Homeland as the Arcadia steamrolled by the Foreign Oppression (even if they've moved their capital to the physical location of his homeland, he's still defending His Homeland)

WarKitty
2010-10-10, 10:18 PM
Ok now we're getting into what does the alignment system mean. I'd peg the character I described as the epitome of Chaotic Good. Although I'm not sure *what* homeland would even mean in the world that the DM gave us, as we were pretty much entirely without fixed nations of any sort.

Also, are you saying enforce the Special requirement but skip the fluff text? How is that different?

Worira
2010-10-11, 01:01 AM
So, WarKitty could take an April Fools class and then twist the wording of its requirements beyond any sensible interpretation...

Or she could just play an Assassin and ignore the mandatory puppy-kicking prerequisite.

true_shinken
2010-10-11, 01:03 AM
but you can still make up your own language.

Eh. You don't need material made by a teacher; you need something in that language made by literally anybody. It's fully possible to pick up basics of a language through a novel if you want to. Sure, it's a lot of work but eventually it'll start making sense.



Not at all. If you have already learned one language (and you need it to make comparisons), it means you had teachers after all, even unwilling ones.
You could create a more crude form of communication or even learn a language later even if you never had contact with any language, but it's no way a simple matter, it requires a lot of work and it never works as well as natural language.
This is my whole point. You just need to think that some class abilities are like languages and then the whole thing makes a lot of sense.

FelixG
2010-10-11, 01:10 AM
Or she could just play an Assassin and ignore the mandatory puppy-kicking prerequisite.

I suddenly want a puppy-kicking PRC

http://www.panelsonpages.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/cc-puppy-kick.jpg

image relevant :D

Thurbane
2010-10-11, 01:13 AM
I generally play them by the book - I've always disliked the attitude of "mechanics are sacred, ignore the fluff". The main situation in which I'll change them is if it's impossible or impractical for the PC to satisfy the requirements, in which case I'll substitute something appropriate.
^^ This for me too.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 08:21 AM
What does "impossible or impractical for the PC" mean? In this case I'd argue that it's impossible to satisfy the requirements and still be playing the character I designed.

Psyx
2010-10-11, 09:04 AM
I stick with them, unless it's something that is setting based that needs to be re-tooled, or unless the crunch for the class specifically works with an organisation or ethos that fits into my campaign, but isn't mentioned in the fluff.

I despise a rule-lawyerish, RAW, optimised-to-the-max attitude that suddenly evaporates like a puddle on the sun when there's a requirement for a bit of roleplaying. RAW applies to fluff as well as crunch.

You want the blag, then you deal with the pesky roleplaying restrictions by actually roleplaying. Sometimes the only way you can get some gamers to actually roleplay is if there's blag at the end of it. PrCs are a shining example of this.

If you don't want the crunch, then just stay in a base class and don't worry about it. Oh; but you NEED to be an Incantrix for your vision of the character to be actualised? Better you start actually roleplaying for a few minutes, then...

WinWin
2010-10-11, 09:11 AM
Every class with an alignment restriction usually denies the use of the class's abilities and advancement if they no longer meet that alignment. In the case of evil, if you become non-evil, you aren't enough of a bastard to use those abilities ever again.

False. Monk denies progression, but the character retain the abilities of the class. As does Bard. Barbarian rage ability is lost if the character becomes lawful, other abilities are retained. Paladins and Druids lose all abilities of the class.

These are all specifically detailed out in class descriptions. It is the same for PrC's. Only those prestige classes that have a code of conduct (there are a few) have any kind of alignment stipulations.

It may work different in your game, but it is not RAW. If it were, the Assassin description would have a section on Ex-Assassins.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 09:18 AM
I stick with them, unless it's something that is setting based that needs to be re-tooled, or unless the crunch for the class specifically works with an organisation or ethos that fits into my campaign, but isn't mentioned in the fluff.

I despise a rule-lawyerish, RAW, optimised-to-the-max attitude that suddenly evaporates like a puddle on the sun when there's a requirement for a bit of roleplaying. RAW applies to fluff as well as crunch.

You want the blag, then you deal with the pesky roleplaying restrictions by actually roleplaying. Sometimes the only way you can get some gamers to actually roleplay is if there's blag at the end of it. PrCs are a shining example of this.

If you don't want the crunch, then just stay in a base class and don't worry about it. Oh; but you NEED to be an Incantrix for your vision of the character to be actualised? Better you start actually roleplaying for a few minutes, then...

See that's my point. If I didn't care about the roleplaying, I'd write the fluff requirements into my backstory and be done with it. I want to be an assassin because I'm trying to build a min-maxed character and don't care about roleplaying? Sure, whatever, my character's evil and he'll go kill some random peasant, now lemme into the class. The only reason the fluff bothers me is because I'm trying to roleplay a character. A specific character that has a specific, well thought out personality that doesn't happen to fit the fluff of the PrC that would suit the abilities that a character like that would learn.

Edit: I know for me personally saying something like that would make it harder for me to roleplay an effective character. I come to the table with a well fleshed out character, what abilities he'd have, his personality and backstory. I'm all excited to see this character in action. And I get told "oh sorry that character doesn't fit the fluff requirements, you can either give up the abilities that make sense for your character or play a different character to get those abilities." I'd be very tempted at that point to say "Screw roleplaying then, I put in all this work to build a character and you're saying because someone at WoTC didn't think of it first I can't have it. I'm just going to play a wizard and kill everything and forget about creativity."

Starbuck_II
2010-10-11, 09:20 AM
False. Monk denies progression, but the character retain the abilities of the class. As does Bard. Barbarian rage ability is lost if the character becomes lawful, other abilities are retained. Paladins and Druids lose all abilities of the class.

These are all specifically detailed out in class descriptions. It is the same for PrC's. Only those prestige classes that have a code of conduct (there are a few) have any kind of alignment stipulations.

It may work different in your game, but it is not RAW. If it were, the Assassin description would have a section on Ex-Assassins.

Poeple use CW (complete warrior) as example. CW and CAsays its Prc lose special abilities when denied preqs.

So people try to apply it to Core Prcs.

Eldariel
2010-10-11, 10:25 AM
Not at all. If you have already learned one language (and you need it to make comparisons), it means you had teachers after all, even unwilling ones.
You could create a more crude form of communication or even learn a language later even if you never had contact with any language, but it's no way a simple matter, it requires a lot of work and it never works as well as natural language.
This is my whole point. You just need to think that some class abilities are like languages and then the whole thing makes a lot of sense.

Ah, you're talking about the first language one learns. Yeah, that changes things but it's a rather unique case due to the fact that it's really the foundation of our thinking and in general, rational mind. That makes it quite irrelevant with regards to learning...well, anything else.

Second language can be learned with little fuss with just some material. A thousand ways to kill people can all be self-taught. Herbalist figures out stuff that's not written anywhere and it doesn't take a church to become a Cleric.

Scow2
2010-10-11, 10:38 AM
Poeple use CW (complete warrior) as example. CW and CAsays its Prc lose special abilities when denied preqs.

So people try to apply it to Core Prcs.
It also says so in the DMG, where they first appear. At least in my copy of the DMG.

Should a character find herself in a position (changed alignment, lost levels, and so on) where she no longer meets the requirements of the Prestige Class, she loses all special abilities (but not HD, Base attack Bonus, or base save bonus) gained from levels of the Prestige Class.
:smalltongue:

The DMG has a lot about saying not to take PrCs as mere pieces of crunch to be taken for granted. It also has advice on adapting PrCs. Rather than eliminate the Puppy Kicking requirements, he should replace them and refluff the class, as WotC did with the Avenger. (I really don't give a damn if it's an AFJ, it's still valid!)

The DMG has a lot to say about not taking PrCs and their abilities and presence for granted. Also, the Core PrCs are all setting-specific to Greyhawk.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 10:43 AM
The DMG has a lot about saying not to take PrCs as mere pieces of crunch to be taken for granted. It also has advice on adapting PrCs. Rather than eliminate the Puppy Kicking requirements, he should replace them and refluff the class, as WotC did with the Avenger. (I really don't give a damn if it's an AFJ, it's still valid!)

How is that any different? I make my players roleplay for any class level they take, base or prestige. Prestige classes are the best way 3.5 has to really customize a character.

Scow2
2010-10-11, 10:52 AM
PrCs are expressly designed and stated to be world-building tools and a reward for players. Not mere tools to define the player.

BRC
2010-10-11, 10:56 AM
I make up my own settings far too often to believe in the sanctity of rules-specific fluff.
The way I see it, the Assassin Prc boils down to "A specialist in infiltrating guarded buildings and killing specific targets" . They could gain that skill through by discovering it themselves, learning from a mentor, training with an organization, or for any number of reasons.
As for the Alignment requirement, as written, the Assassin is a soulless mercenary who kills without remorse, only caring about the money the receive to end lives. Such a character probably deserves an evil alignment.

However, the exact same skillset could apply to a very different character: Somebody who hates killing, but believes that sometimes it is necessary. So they develop techniques and skills to allow them to infiltrate guarded areas and eliminate a target with one strike, allowing them to cause the greatest amount of good with a minimal amount of death, as opposed to taking up a sword and launching a frontal assault, cutting down who-knows how many guards who are not really all that evil.

The "Kill somebody" requirement of an Assassin serves no purpose except to pigeon hole you into an evil alignment. It's not a challenge, a fifth level rogue can kill a random commoner and avoid getting caught without any real trouble.

What I do care about is motivation. I wouldn't enforce the alignment or special requirements for the Assassin PrC, but I would want to understand why that character wants to go down this path. Knowing why the character feels they should focus their energies in this way is far more important to me than knowing that the character is willing to kill some random person in order to impress a shadowy collective of professional people stabbers.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 10:56 AM
PrCs are expressly designed and stated to be world-building tools and a reward for players. Not mere tools to define the player.

That's probably the problem. While they were designed for that, in reality there's often not a lot of ways to customize a base class. Sure you have a feats and skills, but how much does that come up? Or what if you have a character concept that isn't recognized in one of the base classes? I find that comes up a lot in my games where I just can't make my character work within any given WoTC class.

Scow2
2010-10-11, 11:28 AM
Just let him play an Avenger, and give a liberal interpretation of its entry requirements. :smalltongue:

Beats having to be a kitten-eating Evil Guy.

WarKitty
2010-10-11, 11:31 AM
Just let him play an Avenger, and give a liberal interpretation of its entry requirements. :smalltongue:

Beats having to be a kitten-eating Evil Guy.

See I hate doing that. We're enforcing the fluff requirements, but letting you stretch them as much as possible? If you're going to enforce it do so.

Aotrs Commander
2010-10-11, 11:37 AM
Among the many frag-ups WotC did while writing 3.0, one was calling Prestige class "prestige". "Advanced" would have been better...



I do consider all classes (PrC or otherwise) to be metagame constructs, and that the multiclassing system is 3.5's single greatest asset. One which more-or-less, by itself, redeems all 3.5's other numerous failings.

(At the end of the day, my sole requirement from an RPG is a set of mechanical rules to run my game; the flavour of the game is mostly irrelevant to me; because if the rules were good enough, I'd just reflavour the whole thing wholesale. Not that I have ever yet encountered any systems so far whose mechanical ability - in my personal opinion - outstrips either 3.5 or Rolemaster (my second system of choice).)

Thus, personally (as DM), I find this not to be a big problem, as I generally find WotC fluff to be pretty moribund to awful and the later you go, the more towards the lower end of the scale. I routinely toss out or just ignore 50-100% of all fluff in any case (I play on my world, not theirs). (Though, generic, fucntional-mechanics-related fluff is okay.)

In fact, the first thing I do is look at a PrC and if my first reaction to it is "that's stupid" it goes out (regardless of how powerful it is mechanically, e.g. Cancer Mage or Initiative of the Seven Veils). In my opinion, most of the PrCs that are actually worth salvaging tend to be ones free from "special" requirements or organisation-specific stuff in the first place. I have a short list of PrCs on the okay'd list, which comprises about 30-50% of those available, and with a bias towards those ones most mechanically-based at that (e.g the multi-class ones like Mystic Theurge).

The same rationale applies to any "special" requirements, as most of those are either stupid, pointless or so easy to work around they may as well not bother. (Not all, but most.) If I can't see a really good mechanical reason for the "special" requirement, I'll simply waive it. (If the player wants to work it in because they like it themselves, fine.)

In theory, a player who desparately wanted some set of abilities that came from a PrC not on my list (provided I thought it was not because it was mechanically unbalanced), could grovel nicely and I' let them have it (though free of the fluff). Though I'd be equally likely, if I felt the gap was there, to homebrew my own. (E.g. a rogue/divine class, of which there are very few and even less any use, Rich's one here being one of the few in the former category.)

WinWin
2010-10-11, 04:55 PM
It also says so in the DMG, where they first appear. At least in my copy of the DMG.

:smalltongue:


Not in my copy. As far as I am aware, only PrC's in CW and CArc have these limitations. None of my other sourcebooks make any mention of it.

It has given me some food for thought though.

BG
2010-10-11, 06:44 PM
This is actually a situation where I fall much more on the White Wolf side of things. Now don't get me wrong, White Wolf systems tend to have holes you could drive a truck through, and fluff that made no damn sense (Gangrel aren't in the Camarilla anymore, just because). However, before all that, White Wolf always has the Golden Rule: It's your game. If you don't like something in the book, then change it.

I'm the same way with most PrCs, but that's primarily because outside of Eberron, I run and play almost exclusively homebrew settings. There are a few things I like to stick to. In Eberron, you need to be part of a Dragonmarked house if you want to get their prestige classes. But for organizational PrCs when the organization doesn't exist in the world I take on a case-by-case basis. How easily can it be repurposed? Do its abilities fit other organizations in this world? Can if be lifted essentially wholesale, or will I have to rebuild the fluff from the ground up?

As far as other requirements, it again depends. Alignment is the one I will ignore the quickest, just because I really don't like D&D alignment (but I realize that's an entirely different can of worms: "Hey, don't worry, alignment is a guide....only here are 80 different mechanics that depend on it"). Likewise, I'll often ignore racial requirements (Why do all Arcane Archers need to be elves just because that's the way it is in Greyhawk?)

But yeah, really it all comes back to the Golden Rule. I like the rules until they get in the way. Then I change them.

true_shinken
2010-10-11, 11:46 PM
I do consider all classes (PrC or otherwise) to be metagame constructs, and that the multiclassing system is 3.5's single greatest asset. One which more-or-less, by itself, redeems all 3.5's other numerous failings.


Well, when you think of classes as metagame constructs and nothing more, than of course 'fluff requirements' make no sense.
This is just throwing fluff out of the window and considering the mechanics sacred and everything else garbage, though.
There are various examples of classes that weave fluff into their being; Oriental Adventures' clan specific ones are all prestige classes in the prestige sense, for example. The Red Wizards of Thay are another example. Those classes are created specificly for a setting, with a given fluff in mind. Dismissing and saying 'I don't care about printed fluff, mine is better anyway' might annoy some DMs that actually do care about printed fluff, because it gives them to something to start from when building their games. If you have a game where only the Red Wizards can perform circle magic and then suddenly a player wants to take a level in Red Wizard without being a Red Wizard because 'classes are metagame constructs', well, your game's verossimilitude kinda hurts. If circle magic being exclusive to Red Wizards is somehow an important part of your plot, that player just crafted a big hole in it.

Saying that anything you didn't wrote is 'stupid' and 'pointless' is hardly the way to argue about anything, I believe.

BG
2010-10-12, 12:54 AM
Saying that anything you didn't wrote is 'stupid' and 'pointless' is hardly the way to argue about anything, I believe.

I think this is a slightly extreme statement. Now, of course WotC writers wrote some interesting stuff, but a lot of PrC I come across are either poorly conceived, poorly written, or both.

And I realize that the original point of prestige classes is the prestige, but there are so many that virtually every player I know eventually takes one, if only to be able to mix things up a bit.

Again, I believe that the system should serve the story. If the fluff works for people they should use it. If it doesn't, drop it.

a_humble_lich
2010-10-12, 01:19 AM
So much of this is setting dependent. In some settings classes/prestige classes are metagame concepts, in others some classes are very much not. For example, wizards in Dragonlance, Wheel of Time, and Diskworld are not a metagame concept.

Personally I view changing fluff as a type of homebrewing--A particularly easy type where you don't have to worry too much about balance, but homebrewing nonetheless. Which basically means that as a player I can ask to change things, but the decision rests in the hands of the DM. If he/she feels the assassin class in his world describes the members of a particular guild than the class requirements make perfect sense. In other cases they could easily be dropped.

But this is all DM and setting dependent. When I'm a DM I generally prefer to have prestige classes have prestige and describe particular professions or organizations, but not all of them and I can respect other choices. (In WarKitty's case I think allowing poison use to be traded for a sneak attack and HIPS as an option of and advanced rouge abilities might make more sense than the assassin class anyways.)

Aotrs Commander
2010-10-12, 02:52 AM
If you have a game where only the Red Wizards can perform circle magic and then suddenly a player wants to take a level in Red Wizard without being a Red Wizard because 'classes are metagame constructs', well, your game's verossimilitude kinda hurts. If circle magic being exclusive to Red Wizards is somehow an important part of your plot, that player just crafted a big hole in it.

This would assume you would have such a thing as Red Wizards AT ALL. I don't. In fact Red Wizards are exactly the sort of PrC that have no place in my worlds and don't get onto the approved list in the first place (regardless of mechanics).


Saying that anything you didn't wrote is 'stupid' and 'pointless' is hardly the way to argue about anything, I believe.

I said "most" of the Special Requirements are either stupid, pointless or laughably easy to circumnavuigate. There is a great deal of stuff in 3.5 that is stupid and pointless, and it isn't remotely confined to Special requirements, either. (Death from Massive damage, rust-monster-onna-stick, Shivering Touch, Complete Warrior Samurai, Spiked Armour, Toughness, caster/non-caster disparity, a large chunk of Complete Psionic...the list goes on.) So I'll stand by my statement. Just because WotC are a large published company does not mean they are always (or towards the end, even often) good at what they put out.

(One of my gripes with 4E is the fluff is that there was too much in the wrong place, virtually none where you would have expected it, and what there was, was pretty damn awful in comparision to the earlier editions.)

3.5's redeeming feature is that despite it's many, many flaws, it's still a better core system than most. Virtually all the other RPGs I've encountered have even more stupid or pointless failings. (With the possible exception of Rolemaster, which has I think slightly fewer than 3.5, and a very homebrew-friendly generic flavour when it comes up, but is more effort to DM, which is why I mostly iuse 3.5 these days.)

Indeed, you can blame Rolemaster for my take on things. Rolemaster has lots of redundant rules and systems, so you literally cannot use everything from every book as a fair chunk of it is mutually exclusive. So I have long been schooled to take the good parts of any system and toss the rest. It is also worth noting that in twenty years of wargaming and roleplaying, I have not played any single system in anger without some moderate to heavy modification. Make of that what you will.

true_shinken
2010-10-12, 09:40 AM
This would assume you would have such a thing as Red Wizards AT ALL. I don't. In fact Red Wizards are exactly the sort of PrC that have no place in my worlds and don't get onto the approved list in the first place (regardless of mechanics).
You do realize I'm not talking about your game or your 'approved list', right?
I'm talking about how things usually work when people don't rip the books to shreds then weave them together to their liking. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, you should play your game however you want, but most people don't have that much free time.




I said "most" of the Special Requirements are either stupid, pointless or laughably easy to circumnavuigate.
This is not my point. I'm just saying that 'it's stupid' is not an argument - it's bias.

Aotrs Commander
2010-10-12, 10:41 AM
You do realize I'm not talking about your game or your 'approved list', right?
I'm talking about how things usually work when people don't rip the books to shreds then weave them together to their liking. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, you should play your game however you want, but most people don't have that much free time.

You proposed a hypothetical situation where Red Wizards were the only users of circle magic (which, upon checking, isn't strictly true from the fluff); I was just responding that such a situation would not have occurred in the first place in my own games.

(I don't think unilaterally using everything and anything out of the sources books is as quite as common as you do, either.)

In any case, it would not be difficult to come up with a reasonable and plausible background as to why a character might develop the same set of mechanical skills. If you want to do an Avenger on it and insist the player calls the class a different name, then fine; it wouldn't affect the mechanics any, really.

Actually, Red Wizard is a fairly poor example to use, since it actually has no special requirement1. (Not even a special restriction, "must be sponsored by a Red Wizard" or something, which would have actually made sense in that specific case). And, for a class supposedly designed for a single organisation (as I understand it), not really any class features that tie into that. Instead, any old human from Thay can take the Red Wizard PrC class, and aside from arguably not being able to use the circle leader ability unless they just got a group of their own allies, it would make no difference mechanically. On top of that, it's specifically called out as being a world-specific class designed for Faerun that assumes it's specifically going to be used there (it even avocates strong consideration about using it anywhere not on Faerun.)


This is not my point. I'm just saying that 'it's stupid' is not an argument - it's bias.

Okay, it's not an argument. I wasn't trying to make one, I was stating that I think most of the special requirements are poorly- or entirely un- thought-out, negligable to overcome (in which case, why bother with them?), apparently arbitary or a combination of all three. (Your opinion may - and in your case probably does - differ.) If I say buckets of healing is stupid, it wouldn't be an arguement, either.



1It does have "race" requirement, which in most cases - not so much this one - tends to be worse. Because almost inevitably, "race only" requirements have precious little to do with the actual race in question aside from racial cultural flavour and there would be no reason that a creature of a different race brought up in that culture would not be able to take that class (see also Arcane Archer, though to be fair, that's so vile a class no-one should want to take it...) If they changed "race to culture" I might be more inclined to be amenable.

But Red Wizard's Race requirement is actually an entirely reasonable one, since it does tie the "race" requirement to a cultural region (by both itself and the requirement for Tattoo Focus), which I can totally buy. And again, my knowledge of the Red Wizards, if not totally erroneous, was that as an organisation, they aren't especially nice; so I could totally see them refusing entry to non-humans.

(However, even then, as I said, it wouldn't take much effort to come up with a plausible reason why someone not part of the organisation had acrued those skills by hook or crook.)

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 11:02 AM
I'm talking about how things usually work when people don't rip the books to shreds then weave them together to their liking. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, you should play your game however you want, but most people don't have that much free time.

That's actually part of why I don't favor enforcing fluff. It takes a lot less of my time and energy to redo the fluff on a prestige class to suit a PC, than it does to look through a bunch of books for one that fits perfectly (assuming I even have access to all those books). Or even to look through a bunch of books to find the perfect feats and sub levels and whatever else to properly customize a base class.

true_shinken
2010-10-12, 11:35 AM
That's actually part of why I don't favor enforcing fluff. It takes a lot less of my time and energy to redo the fluff on a prestige class to suit a PC, than it does to look through a bunch of books for one that fits perfectly (assuming I even have access to all those books). Or even to look through a bunch of books to find the perfect feats and sub levels and whatever else to properly customize a base class.

That's perfectly fine, but when a DM says 'no, Assassins in my game are from a guild, take feat X instead' and you say 'No, that's not the character I pictured!', then something is wrong. Time-constraints is always an acceptable reason, but you should be willing to take suggestions as well.


You proposed a hypothetical situation where Red Wizards were the only users of circle magic (which, upon checking, isn't strictly true from the fluff); I was just responding that such a situation would not have occurred in the first place in my own games.
In a core-only game, I believe Red Wizards would be the only ones able to do circle magic.


In any case, it would not be difficult to come up with a reasonable and plausible background as to why a character might develop the same set of mechanical skills.
Of course it would be easy. That's the whole point. If you want as a DM to restrict circle magic to Red Wizards and someone suddenly says 'hey! I want circle magic but I don't wanna be one!' then that is a situation where ignoring fluff is a problem.


Actually, Red Wizard is a fairly poor example to use, since it actually has no special requirement1. (Not even a special restriction, "must be sponsored by a Red Wizard" or something, which would have actually made sense in that specific case).
Actually, you should notice you need the 'help' of an 8th level Red Wizard to take the Tatto Focus feat.


On top of that, it's specifically called out as being a world-specific class designed for Faerun that assumes it's specifically going to be used there (it even avocates strong consideration about using it anywhere not on Faerun.)
Yeah, it's setting-specific. So what?





1It does have "race" requirement, which in most cases - not so much this one - tends to be worse. Because almost inevitably, "race only" requirements have precious little to do with the actual race in question aside from racial cultural flavour and there would be no reason that a creature of a different race brought up in that culture would not be able to take that class (see also Arcane Archer, though to be fair, that's so vile a class no-one should want to take it...) If they changed "race to culture" I might be more inclined to be amenable.

But Red Wizard's Race requirement is actually an entirely reasonable one, since it does tie the "race" requirement to a cultural region (by both itself and the requirement for Tattoo Focus), which I can totally buy. And again, my knowledge of the Red Wizards, if not totally erroneous, was that as an organisation, they aren't especially nice; so I could totally see them refusing entry to non-humans.

(However, even then, as I said, it wouldn't take much effort to come up with a plausible reason why someone not part of the organisation had acrued those skills by hook or crook.)

The Red Wizards are a very special case. They are a very powerful group that guards their secrets very closely; becoming a Red Wizard is even dangerous, because you suddenly are vulnerable to all sort of mischief in their internal power games. If you could simply get their abilities from some other source, well, why the hell would people get their tattoos, swear allegiances and become Red Wizards in the first place?
Of course, you can handwave it away with some 'my father was a good Red Wizard and taught me their secrets; I'm special and the world is centered upon me' shenanigans, but this gets increasingly silly the more you pull it out.

So, I understand your position and in a case by case basis I even allow it in my games - I have a Shiba Protector character in my game; he just fluffed No Thought as an exotique meditative technique and I have a Cyran Avenger who fluffed his abilities as just raw arcane rage. But Assassins in my game, for example, are from a really large guild that spans the whole world. It's an integral part of my game (and a main antagonist, really). I don't want to ruin my verossimilitude granting their abilities to anyone that writes an off-hand paragraph claiming to be special.

Fluff requirements are only 'silly' if you want them to be. Tie them into your world, and stuff works pretty well. Classes are only metagame concepts if you really want them to be. And so on so forth.

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 11:41 AM
That's perfectly fine, but when a DM says 'no, Assassins in my game are from a guild, take feat X instead' and you say 'No, that's not the character I pictured!', then something is wrong. Time-constraints is always an acceptable reason, but you should be willing to take suggestions as well.

The assassin's a bad example because the fluff really does have nothing to do with anything. I'd probably say, "Alright, well this character needs HiPS, sneak attack progression, and poison use, how are we going to get that without sacrificing my weapon finesse and whatever other feats I need to have a decent chance to hit things?"

See, I build a character then try to figure out how to make it work mechanically. Nothing's more frustrating than having a really cool character concept that you spent hours on and finding out you can't make it work because of some unrelated fluff requirement.

true_shinken
2010-10-12, 11:54 AM
The assassin's a bad example because the fluff really does have nothing to do with anything. I'd probably say, "Alright, well this character needs HiPS, sneak attack progression, and poison use, how are we going to get that without sacrificing my weapon finesse and whatever other feats I need to have a decent chance to hit things?"

See, I build a character then try to figure out how to make it work mechanically. Nothing's more frustrating than having a really cool character concept that you spent hours on and finding out you can't make it work because of some unrelated fluff requirement.

WarKitty, the thing is your concept does not need Assassin to work. Heck, Assassin is bad at one-shotting, even. Hide in plain sight and poison use I can see, but why would you need sneak attack? Extra damage could come from Power Attack, Insightful Strike, spells, even. A Rogue/Shadowdancer with a single feat already does what you want. Like I said earlier, in my game there really is an assassin's guild with assassins in it - would it be too much to ask, if you were my player, to try and find another way to do that mechanically? Even pointing you in the right direction?

Scow2
2010-10-12, 11:55 AM
The assassin's a bad example because the fluff really does have nothing to do with anything. I'd probably say, "Alright, well this character needs HiPS, sneak attack progression, and poison use, how are we going to get that without sacrificing my weapon finesse and whatever other feats I need to have a decent chance to hit things?"

See, I build a character then try to figure out how to make it work mechanically. Nothing's more frustrating than having a really cool character concept that you spent hours on and finding out you can't make it work because of some unrelated fluff requirement.

Why do you need HipS? A truly competant sneak doesn't need it. The only stealth-action character that I know of outside D&D that has it and wasn't a Villain are Batman(Possibly Avenger, but mostly The Goddamn Batman), Altair/Ezio/Desmond(all Avengers/Assassins), and anyone who uses the notoriously bad stealth system in the Elder Scrolls games.

Notable characters even more competant at stealth are Sam Fisher(Splinter Cell), Garrek(Thief), and pretty much any other Stealth-Action game protagonist.

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 12:03 PM
WarKitty, the thing is your concept does not need Assassin to work. Heck, Assassin is bad at one-shotting, even. Hide in plain sight and poison use I can see, but why would you need sneak attack? Extra damage could come from Power Attack, Insightful Strike, spells, even. A Rogue/Shadowdancer with a single feat already does what you want. Like I said earlier, in my game there really is an assassin's guild with assassins in it - would it be too much to ask, if you were my player, to try and find another way to do that mechanically? Even pointing you in the right direction?

I'm fine if there's another way to do it mechanically. I just don't buy that in all cases there *is* another way to do it mechanically - especially not for those of us that don't own every single book. Like my temple singer character from another game that I have yet to figure out a way to stat in D&D at all and still retain halfway decent abilities.

Like I said, I built a rogue-based character for a reason. I know I was describing it badly, but I built a character that was very specific. That's how all my characters are built. In this case, it was a sword-based character that doesn't rely primarily on magic and is based on dexterity and speed rather than strength. Along with being good at handling traps (which pretty much requires a rogue base class).

And really? A character that can't melt into the shadows even while being observed, as a sneak? Can't see it.

true_shinken
2010-10-12, 12:18 PM
I'm fine if there's another way to do it mechanically. I just don't buy that in all cases there *is* another way to do it mechanically - especially not for those of us that don't own every single book.
I think we are on the same page here, then.
In some cases, though, there is no other way to get specific abilities without fluff requirements for setting purposes. Dragonmarks spring to mind. Heck, they even come with a built in 'I'm special' button, those aberrant dragonmarks.
In my party, I have an example of a player who both has specific and altered fluff. Her character is a Mystic Ranger and in my game they are members of the Stargazers guild. She quit the guild after her mentor was killed and joined the assassins to help her find who killed her mentor and get her revenge. After discovering the Stargazers were not to blame, the character recently returned to the guild (now having the assassins on her heels) and even discovered she was the reincarnation of the groups' most important circle - the Jade Phoenix Mages.
If suddenly someone comes up with 'refluff Mystic Ranger, Assassin or JPM in my game, I'll just say no. It's integral to the setting as-is.

Scow2
2010-10-12, 12:23 PM
And really? A character that can't melt into the shadows even while being observed, as a sneak? Can't see it.Melting into shadows implies they weren't in them to begin with :smalltongue:

Again: Garret and Sam Fisher don't have this ability, yet are considered some of the Best Sneaks ever in Gaming.

Mystic Muse
2010-10-12, 12:27 PM
I'd welcome your character in any of my campaigns Warkitty. I don't like the fluff or requirements on a lot of PRCs anyway.

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 12:29 PM
It also depends on power level and books available. The assassin was built when we didn't have the book that had "poison use" as a feat, so taking a dip in assassin was the only way to get that. The temple singer character I still can't stat without multiclassing to the point of uselessness, unless I waive fluff on a bard/druid class.

On HiPS: I just think the moment of stepping out of the shadows, delivering a message, and melting back into them is the best dramatic moment any sneak can have. Also I have no clue who either Garret or Sam Fisher are.

Susano-wo
2010-10-12, 02:56 PM
@ Urpriest. Just because the flavor requirements require you to do somthing in game that usually requiures game rolls, and thus interaction with crunch, does not mean that the flavor is tied to crunch in the way I was talking about.

BUt in case I wasn't: When I say flavor tied to crunch I mean the fact that fireball's crunch is there to make the flavor manifest. The flavor is that you summon a big ol ball of fire, and to make that make sense you have to have an in game effect that simulates this. To contrast, the Assassin's flvor requirement of killing to enter will probably result in crunch (unless you skip past the sneaking and combat for some reason), but isn't tied to it
Or perhaps i am saying I draw a line between flavor that creates crunch, and crunch that is tied into flavor.

In any case, it is certainly a case by case basis, and a given campaign might have a reason for limiting the class, even if it has no inherent flavor restirction, if the needs of the campaign call for it. (The assassin's death attack might be a technique only taught by the assassin's guild, for example, or duelists might need training that only comes from the aristocracy..or whatever.)

I just think that the base ruleset should be as unrestricted as possible, since, as many have said, the biggest strength in 3.5 is that you can use the multiclassing system to fine tune your characters abilities (which, whyile a 'character' is not the sum of their abilities, they can definitely be a necessary part of the character). I by no means think that GM's shouldn't custimze thier games, or that if its in the rules the Dm has to abide by it. Its an annoyance that WotC's flavor can be needlessly restrictive sometimes, but a fairly minor one, since my group is usually fine with changing the falvor to match the character.

(though we rarely play in preset campaign worlds--usually its a world of the Dm's creation. Maybe that has an influence. ::shrug::)

EDIT: @Warkitty don't know who Garret is, but I beleive Sam Fisher is the protagonist in the Syphon Filter games

J.Gellert
2010-10-12, 03:39 PM
Garrett is the protagonist of the Thief series, also known as the greatest thief the world has never seen.

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 03:46 PM
Well I still have no clue who either of them are. :smallyuk: I've never owned a video game system and our local access to modern fantasy/scifi books are rather limited.

On topic: I approach characters from a "how do I make this character work" perspective rather than "what class would this be" perspective. Like my other baby the temple singer - best way I've figure out to stat her up is to take Fochulcan Lyricist and remove the evasion requirement, the Speak Language (Druidic) and the must be neutral bit. I have yet to find a better way to handle the character.

BG
2010-10-12, 03:51 PM
I think another issue that comes up is one of character abilities being separate from roleplaying. I'm all about having character motivations and backstory and all that jazz, but even the most hardcore roleplayer still does enjoy having a cool mechanical thing that they can do. There's nothing to be ashamed of with that, because there is a very basic satisfaction that comes from playing a BAMF*, or at least a character who can have BAMF-ish tendencies from time to time. Even people who roleplay their PCs with fully realized flaws and shortcomings still enjoy having moments of extreme competence. It doesn't even have to run counter to having a well-established character, as these things aren't mutually exclusive.

I realize that no one was actually arguing these things, but there were some arguments that seemed to be making a distinction between the mechanics and the roleplaying, and I don't think that distinction necessarily exists. I also realize that there are munchkins who will use any excuse to min/max.

*There are a few exceptions. If you're playing Cthulu, then you probably aren't interested in having a powerful character.

WarKitty
2010-10-12, 03:56 PM
I think another issue that comes up is one of character abilities being separate from roleplaying. I'm all about having character motivations and backstory and all that jazz, but even the most hardcore roleplayer still does enjoy having a cool mechanical thing that they can do. There's nothing to be ashamed of with that, because there is a very basic satisfaction that comes from playing a BAMF*, or at least a character who can have BAMF-ish tendencies from time to time. Even people who roleplay their PCs with fully realized flaws and shortcomings still enjoy having moments of extreme competence. It doesn't even have to run counter to having a well-established character, as these things aren't mutually exclusive.

I realize that no one was actually arguing these things, but there were some arguments that seemed to be making a distinction between the mechanics and the roleplaying, and I don't think that distinction necessarily exists. I also realize that there are munchkins who will use any excuse to min/max.

*There are a few exceptions. If you're playing Cthulu, then you probably aren't interested in having a powerful character.

That's part of the issue on both sides I think. I realize it's not entirely clear-cut. I can't imagine building my sneaky character without the mechanical ability to hide in plain sight, because it lets me roleplay the character delivering a message (in his case, "Shape up or die") and melt back into the shadows.

Morithias
2010-10-12, 05:04 PM
Assassin needs a feat to join a guild? Joining a guild is like 25 gp and 5 gp rent per character level a month. If you're trying to enforce things like that, at least use accurate guild rules.

Then again I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few people on this site who has ever used the "Favored in Guild" feats.

BG
2010-10-12, 05:16 PM
That's part of the issue on both sides I think. I realize it's not entirely clear-cut. I can't imagine building my sneaky character without the mechanical ability to hide in plain sight, because it lets me roleplay the character delivering a message (in his case, "Shape up or die") and melt back into the shadows.

I agree completely, and wanting your character to be able to do that in no way diminishes your abilities as a roleplayer. You have to use prestige classes if you want HiPS, so while there are technically other ways to get it, Assassin, mechanically speaking, is what works best for what your characters backstory already is.

tyckspoon
2010-10-12, 07:35 PM
Notable characters even more competant at stealth are Sam Fisher(Splinter Cell), Garrek(Thief), and pretty much any other Stealth-Action game protagonist.

Most of them have the benefit of living in worlds with much more sensible stealth systems. In D&D, there is no facing- every guard is watching every direction simultaneously all the time, and they see you the moment you step out of cover. There's no way to carefully sneak up on somebody and then just follow them around without them knowing you're there, just for fun.. unless you have HiPS. So I suspect, if you transcribed characters like Sam Fisher and Garrek into D&D, you'd want them to get Hide in Plain Sight, because otherwise their stealth skills run headlong into the rules.

Susano-wo
2010-10-12, 08:22 PM
Which is why I thank my lucky stars my DM is sensible about this. If I wanted to run across while the guard looked the other way, we'd work out something. Maybe a penalty to my stealth, or sense motive to determine when he's going to turn.
(not that the invalidates your point by any means)

Mystic Muse
2010-10-12, 08:37 PM
Most of them have the benefit of living in worlds with much more sensible stealth systems. In D&D, there is no facing- every guard is watching every direction simultaneously all the time, and they see you the moment you step out of cover. There's no way to carefully sneak up on somebody and then just follow them around without them knowing you're there, just for fun.. unless you have HiPS. So I suspect, if you transcribed characters like Sam Fisher and Garrek into D&D, you'd want them to get Hide in Plain Sight, because otherwise their stealth skills run headlong into the rules.

Really? That's pretty stupid. Might change that in 3.5 games I run.

true_shinken
2010-10-12, 09:59 PM
Which is why I thank my lucky stars my DM is sensible about this. If I wanted to run across while the guard looked the other way, we'd work out something. Maybe a penalty to my stealth, or sense motive to determine when he's going to turn.
(not that the invalidates your point by any means)
It's called a Bluff check to provide a diversion.

Scow2
2010-10-13, 12:08 AM
It's called a Bluff check to provide a diversion.

Whaddaya know... this also circumvents the need for HipS quite nicely.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 07:11 AM
Whaddaya know... this also circumvents the need for HipS quite nicely.

Still don't think you can have a proper sneak without HiPS. Sure you *can* do a bluff check...but that forces you into a very different style of sneak than HiPS does, and can be very circumstantial. Really, if there's more than one guard they wouldn't all go running off on a bluff check unless they're complete morons.

Besides, I still think that whole step out of the shadows, deliver a message, and melt away move is an important component.

WinWin
2010-10-13, 07:13 AM
dark creature template? Comes with a magic item.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 07:41 AM
On a CG? With a stated peasant origin as part of the character? Plus that's again on a list of books we didn't have for that campaign.

See that kind of suggestion is why I really dislike trying to keep the fluff for prestige classes. It encourages players to build their mechanical character and then come up with a backstory, rather than the other way around.

WinWin
2010-10-13, 08:12 AM
Collar of umbral metamorphasis. Grants the template.

Dark Creatures are native to the Plane of Shadow. A twisted reflection of the Prime. While everything is scary and threatening there, it is not neccesarily evil.

As an aside, as a DM I hate complex and overly long backstories. The game is the story. A backstory should be short and sweet. Ambiguous enough to be adapted easily to the needs of a campaign. A prologue, not a biography.

PrC's are treated similarly. The fluff is only important if it is integral to the story. Otherwise it is ignored. It is great when a player provides opportunities for roleplaying and plot development. It is boring for other players when one person monopolises the DM's attention for an excessive amount of time.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 09:21 AM
Meh I've never liked 10min/day items for something that ought to be a major part of your character. They're really only good as emergency escape items.

As far as backstories, it somewhat depends on what level you're starting at. If you're starting at level 1, keep it short and sweet. If you're starting at level 10, I expect a bit more because you have presumably been adventuring enough to gain all those levels.

Urpriest
2010-10-13, 03:09 PM
Real people can't "blend into shadows". Why assume your character can? Real people need things to hide behind to hide. Sure, you can sneak up behind somebody, but if it takes longer than 6 seconds, chances are they'll see you. HiPS doesn't make your concept work better, it makes it worse, because your peasant has suddenly gained powers that really only make sense for a supernatural character or one with special, supernaturalish training. Which you're not. You're a rogue (or a ranger or whatever), which in D&D means you can't HiPS. The inability to use HiPS is part of your character concept.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 03:18 PM
Real people can't "blend into shadows". Why assume your character can? Real people need things to hide behind to hide. Sure, you can sneak up behind somebody, but if it takes longer than 6 seconds, chances are they'll see you. HiPS doesn't make your concept work better, it makes it worse, because your peasant has suddenly gained powers that really only make sense for a supernatural character or one with special, supernaturalish training. Which you're not. You're a rogue (or a ranger or whatever), which in D&D means you can't HiPS. The inability to use HiPS is part of your character concept.

Real people don't suddenly learn to throw fireballs either, or how to touch people so they die later. D&D isn't a system about real people, it's a system about heroes who can do more than real people can. I never got the point of limiting melee to "what real people can do" in a world where presumably any peasant kid can learn to be a wizard or a monk or any one of a million other base classes that does tricks real people can't do. It's just another way of ensuring melee sucks.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-13, 03:26 PM
Real people can't "blend into shadows". Why assume your character can? Real people need things to hide behind to hide. Sure, you can sneak up behind somebody, but if it takes longer than 6 seconds, chances are they'll see you.

The difference being that "real people" don't have 360-degree vision that spots anything and everything whenever there's no concealment or cover. In D&D, if you want to sneak up "behind" someone outside during the day, you need HiPS. If you want to sneak from tree to tree to tree without being seen the instant you step out from behind one, you need HiPS. If you want to lie in the grass or press yourself against a wall and rely on camouflage to hide you when there's nothing to hide behind, you need HiPS. All of those are things stereotypical sneaky people do, yet without a lax DM or HiPS, you can't do them in D&D with the Hide rules as they are.

Urpriest
2010-10-13, 03:31 PM
Real people don't suddenly learn to throw fireballs either, or how to touch people so they die later. D&D isn't a system about real people, it's a system about heroes who can do more than real people can. I never got the point of limiting melee to "what real people can do" in a world where presumably any peasant kid can learn to be a wizard or a monk or any one of a million other base classes that does tricks real people can't do. It's just another way of ensuring melee sucks.

Real people are relevant because they're what D&D defaults to when you lack rules. D&D indeed contains a multitude of reality-bending options. In doing so, it maps out its deviations from reality. Those abilities that the rulebooks give you are a complete description of the heroic and unrealistic things that you can do. In the default D&D world sans houserules and the like, they are the only deviations from the normal.

As for ensuing melee sucks, melee sucks if it's trying to do things that don't work. Your character didn't learn his trade from a wandering swordsage, he didn't devote himself to transforming into bears that transform into bears or learn how to fling around a spiked chain. He didn't even join an assassin's guild. As such, he's less effective at his chosen tactic than those people. That's how the default setting works. Certain styles of combat require certain skills.

Urpriest
2010-10-13, 03:34 PM
The difference being that "real people" don't have 360-degree vision that spots anything and everything whenever there's no concealment or cover. In D&D, if you want to sneak up "behind" someone outside during the day, you need HiPS. If you want to sneak from tree to tree to tree without being seen the instant you step out from behind one, you need HiPS. If you want to lie in the grass or press yourself against a wall and rely on camouflage to hide you when there's nothing to hide behind, you need HiPS. All of those are things stereotypical sneaky people do, yet without a lax DM or HiPS, you can't do them in D&D with the Hide rules as they are.

Lie in the grass=concealment, so you can hide. Look up the rules for tall grass in the DMG.

Sneaking up behind someone is done via charging during the surprise round.

Sneaking from tree to tree and camoflaging yourself against the wall without major heroic skillz (which are gained in various plot-relevant ways) can only be done at enough distance for you to be obscured, at which point encounter distance rules come into play.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 03:47 PM
Why shouldn't it work? He's at least level 5 if he's looking at joining the assassins. OF COURSE he's been learning things. Hell, there's no reason he didn't have a tutor sometimes. Or read some ancient secrets out of some old book. If you want justification I can find justification. I make my players do that for every class, prestige or not. If you need whatever fluff WoTC happened to come up with in order to figure out how to roleplay acquiring a skill then you're just bad at roleplaying. Give me a few minutes and I'm sure I could come up with 6 different reasons my character could have learned that ability.

WinWin
2010-10-13, 03:54 PM
So you can build a character's backstory around the mechanics you want? :smallsmile:

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-13, 03:58 PM
Lie in the grass=concealment, so you can hide. Look up the rules for tall grass in the DMG.

I'm not talking about tall grass, I'm talking about lying in normal lawn-variety grass, like when scouts for the army in whatever show you're watching lie on top of a hill with binoculars out, exposed while they spy on the enemy. In real life, you can put on camo and be relatively unobtrusive in that sort of scenario, since you're fairly far away; in D&D, you can't hide in that scenario, so if you can see them they can see you because there's no facing and your head is in view.


Sneaking up behind someone is done via charging during the surprise round.

If you're within charging distance and you can charge them. What if you're trying to tail someone, or sneak up a hallway toward guards who aren't paying much attention, or something like that? Charging usually works, but HiPS helps with the corner case.


Sneaking from tree to tree and camoflaging yourself against the wall without major heroic skillz (which are gained in various plot-relevant ways) can only be done at enough distance for you to be obscured, at which point encounter distance rules come into play.

Not necessarily. Ever played hide and seek, or played laser tag in a place like Ultrazone? There's tons of cover, and sneaking from one tree or wall or another while someone's back is turned isn't that hard, but in D&D their back is never turned.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 04:25 PM
I don't think it's that their back is "never" turned. I think the requiring cover rule is if they're actively looking in your direction. Only a DM that is so RAW it would make Hal 9000 look creative, would say "ok you passed move silent, but since there's no cover the guard that is looking the other way and you're 100% out of his line of sight still sees you".

The reason people can see every which way in combat (able to fight people on both sides, even though they get a +2) is most of the time, it's pretty hard to forget the guy who just stabbed a dagger into to isn't there anymore just because you attack the guy on your other side (although in DR340, there is a feat called "Backstab" which lets you AOO the flanked enemy if they attack the other character)

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-10-13, 04:30 PM
I don't think it's that their back is "never" turned. I think the requiring cover rule is if they're actively looking in your direction. Only a DM that is so RAW it would make Hal 9000 look creative, would say "ok you passed move silent, but since there's no cover the guard that is looking the other way and you're 100% out of his line of sight still sees you".

As I said, having a DM who'll fiddle with the Hide rules or rule that guards are looking away or the like is great, and a far better solution; I'm just trying to help explain why HiPS is seen as so important for a sneaky character.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 04:32 PM
So you can build a character's backstory around the mechanics you want? :smallsmile:

That...I just can't understand ever doing that. At all. I have no idea how you'd build a decent character doing that. It would be like those stupid writing assignments I got in middle school "build a story around someone that does X because of Y so he can get Z." I could never do those, because I couldn't come up with a character that fit all of them at once. I could come up with characters that would fit one or two, but once you start piling on traits it ends up with characters that are really stilted and make no sense as actual people.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 04:37 PM
That...I just can't understand ever doing that. At all. I have no idea how you'd build a decent character doing that. It would be like those stupid writing assignments I got in middle school "build a story around someone that does X because of Y so he can get Z." I could never do those, because I couldn't come up with a character that fit all of them at once. I could come up with characters that would fit one or two, but once you start piling on traits it ends up with characters that are really stilted and make no sense as actual people.

Hard yes, impractical totally. Impossible? Sorry but I firmly believe you can make a deep character out of almost any concept. Yes it's stupid some of the limits that are places down, but sometimes working off them can prove useful.

Most of the time, my group goes by this rule. "If fulfilling said requirements be it a temple blessing, a dark ritual, or any other random thing after wards could be classified as a "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" you can ignore it." Yes technically you're supposed to get blessed at said temple, but if it's literally NEVER going to come up again in the campaign why bother?

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 04:44 PM
Hard yes, impractical totally. Impossible? Sorry but I firmly believe you can make a deep character out of almost any concept. Yes it's stupid some of the limits that are places down, but sometimes working off them can prove useful.

Most of the time, my group goes by this rule. "If fulfilling said requirements be it a temple blessing, a dark ritual, or any other random thing after wards could be classified as a "Big Lipped Alligator Moment" you can ignore it." Yes technically you're supposed to get blessed at said temple, but if it's literally NEVER going to come up again in the campaign why bother?

Impossible in theory, no. Going to happen when I have a life and other things to do besides D&D? Also no. Tbh, roleplaying is a skill. It's not always my top skill either. And a lot of the prestige classes (assassin being one) the fluff just doesn't make any sense to me. Or doesn't fit the setting I'm in - like in the game we were playing an assassin's guild with more than 3 members would have been wiped out within the month. Plus even when I play evil characters I can never get into the "haha I'm completely selfish and want to see people die" types that a lot of these classes seem to expect. Kill someone just to join the guild? Well if it's someone that's worth any sort of actual challenge, that's going to attract attention that we don't want.

And I have yet to see anyone get a class, prestige or otherwise, for my temple singer character, without some serious fluff meddling. :smalltongue:

Morithias
2010-10-13, 04:48 PM
Impossible in theory, no. Going to happen when I have a life and other things to do besides D&D? Also no. Tbh, roleplaying is a skill. It's not always my top skill either. And a lot of the prestige classes (assassin being one) the fluff just doesn't make any sense to me. Or doesn't fit the setting I'm in - like in the game we were playing an assassin's guild with more than 3 members would have been wiped out within the month. Plus even when I play evil characters I can never get into the "haha I'm completely selfish and want to see people die" types that a lot of these classes seem to expect. Kill someone just to join the guild? Well if it's someone that's worth any sort of actual challenge, that's going to attract attention that we don't want.

And I have yet to see anyone get a class, prestige or otherwise, for my temple singer character, without some serious fluff meddling. :smalltongue:

The "kill someone to join" isn't because you're evil, it to check for spies. It's based off an actual mafia test, since they know that no matter how much the undercover cop wants to get inside their organization, they wouldn't kill an innocent person to do it. Sure LG commoner #4456 was a pointless kill to you, but to them it basically said "Nope not good aligned (murder is worth like 5 corruption points out of 9 but that's another debate)."

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 05:00 PM
The "kill someone to join" isn't because you're evil, it to check for spies. It's based off an actual mafia test, since they know that no matter how much the undercover cop wants to get inside their organization, they wouldn't kill an innocent person to do it. Sure LG commoner #4456 was a pointless kill to you, but to them it basically said "Nope not good aligned (murder is worth like 5 corruption points out of 9 but that's another debate)."

Point taken. Although I still find the concept of an assassin's guild EXTREMELY setting-specific for a core class. Most of the worlds I've played in haven't had guilds for below-the-board activities at all.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 05:04 PM
Point taken. Although I still find the concept of an assassin's guild EXTREMELY setting-specific for a core class. Most of the worlds I've played in haven't had guilds for below-the-board activities at all.

Agreed, but even if you work solo, do you know how hard it is to actually pull off a murder solo and get away with it? I mean...it's...not..like I would know. Even if you work solo, having partners is very helpful.

Like I said, one can easily ignore it. Or if one takes "Assassins" as say a class of people rather than a certain group. It could be that killing the person is less of a guild joining and more of a person going "This is me taking the next step". Consider this.

"A person must eat a hamburger for no other reason than to join the people who eat fast food."

You know what I mean? You're not in any real group, you're more of a social movement....that murders people.

Scow2
2010-10-13, 05:06 PM
If it sounds setting-specific for a core class, does it help any that Core assumes the Greyhawk setting?

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 05:09 PM
Agreed, but even if you work solo, do you know how hard it is to actually pull off a murder solo and get away with it? I mean...it's...not..like I would know. Even if you work solo, having partners is very helpful.

Like I said, one can easily ignore it. Or if one takes "Assassins" as say a class of people rather than a certain group. It could be that killing the person is less of a guild joining and more of a person going "This is me taking the next step". Consider this.

"A person must eat a hamburger for no other reason than to join the people who eat fast food."

You know what I mean? You're not in any real group, you're more of a social movement....that murders people.

Yeah. Which of course brings me back to my gripe that WoTC seems to consider the only type of assassin "person who kills other people for money without regard to guilt or innocence." :smalltongue:

(And no don't bring up the Avenger. That was an april fool's class.)


If it sounds setting-specific for a core class, does it help any that Core assumes the Greyhawk setting?

Only in the sense that if it is specific to a setting then you should work to make it fit nicely into your world rather than sticking to the written fluff. Your world includes players. As a general rule, if a player asks me for such-and-such in the world I'll give it to them.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 05:16 PM
Yeah. Which of course brings me back to my gripe that WoTC seems to consider the only type of assassin "person who kills other people for money without regard to guilt or innocence." :smalltongue:

(And no don't bring up the Avenger. That was an april fool's class.)



Only in the sense that if it is specific to a setting then you should work to make it fit nicely into your world rather than sticking to the written fluff. Your world includes players. As a general rule, if a player asks me for such-and-such in the world I'll give it to them.

The Avenger was an april fool's class?! My group had been looking for a way to play a good-aligned assassin that didn't have to waste 3 feats to get into a worse version of the DMG assassin, that when I found it recently, we all bookmarked it!

Scow2
2010-10-13, 05:24 PM
The Avenger was an april fool's class?! My group had been looking for a way to play a good-aligned assassin that didn't have to waste 3 feats to get into a worse version of the DMG assassin, that when I found it recently, we all bookmarked it!

There's a reason the DMG heavily stresses homebrewing your own PrC's or altering the ones they have.

The "Races of..." PrC's all have suggestions for changing requirements and refluffing them as something else.

true_shinken
2010-10-13, 05:53 PM
That...I just can't understand ever doing that. At all. I have no idea how you'd build a decent character doing that. It would be like those stupid writing assignments I got in middle school "build a story around someone that does X because of Y so he can get Z." I could never do those, because I couldn't come up with a character that fit all of them at once. I could come up with characters that would fit one or two, but once you start piling on traits it ends up with characters that are really stilted and make no sense as actual people.
You do understand WinWin was joking because you basically stated you'd do this exact same thing, right?

Give me a few minutes and I'm sure I could come up with 6 different reasons my character could have learned that ability.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 08:15 PM
You do understand WinWin was joking because you basically stated you'd do this exact same thing, right?

*looks mildly sheepish, which is interesting on a cat*

Starbuck_II
2010-10-13, 08:22 PM
Yeah. Which of course brings me back to my gripe that WoTC seems to consider the only type of assassin "person who kills other people for money without regard to guilt or innocence." :smalltongue:

(And no don't bring up the Avenger. That was an april fool's class.)


Most important discoveries like Penicillin are made by accident.
A great Non-evil Assassin class was made and you complain?

It isn't a April Folo's class. It is a class they made on April Fools. Good flavor text.

Susano-wo
2010-10-13, 08:29 PM
Oh trust me, I am very familiar with sheepish looks on bad kitties:smallmad:
(not that I'm implying you're a bad kitty...
Oh and I don't even mind using the Avenger as a good assassin, since its basically the same thing but with one spell swapped for good, poison use dropped[the poison is bad m'kay thing is frankly silly, but oh well], and the requirement changed for great justice. Aside from the fact that you still have to kill something [extra] just to get the class abilities.

(also, I htink its a little wrong to call it an April Fool's joke. They did a reversal, possibly intended to be humorous, to keep it inthe spirit of April Fools' Day. If it was an April Fools' joke they would not have stated such in the text of the joke.:smalltongue:

Starbuck_II
2010-10-13, 08:31 PM
By the way, it isn't a reversal.

You don't have to be good. Check alignment requirement.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 08:39 PM
By the way, it isn't a reversal.

You don't have to be good. Check alignment requirement.

Ironically if you were LE or NE, you could in theory take BOTH classes lol

Darthteej
2010-10-13, 08:47 PM
Cavalier having to use full plate is something that no sane DM should enforce. Seriously, SERIOUSLY?

Starbuck_II
2010-10-13, 08:57 PM
Ironically if you were LE or NE, you could in theory take BOTH classes lol

Do you think the class would stack for DC since Death attack is similar to Death attack?

true_shinken
2010-10-13, 09:03 PM
Do you think the class would stack for DC since Death attack is similar to Death attack?
It wouldn't.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 09:04 PM
Ok looking back.

My main gripe is that most of the time enforcing the fluff doesn't add anything to the game that couldn't be obtained by saying "Player, tell me how your character learns these abilities." Now there are a few that really do use the fluff in the crunch, those are not included. I don't find those used much anyways unless you're running a pre-written world. If the DM wants ties/plot hooks to his world he can work together with the player to build them. Presto, all the effects of enforcing the fluff and none of the drawbacks.

true_shinken
2010-10-13, 09:10 PM
Presto, all the effects of enforcing the fluff and none of the drawbacks.
There is thw drawback of time.
Also, I don't understand why you assume people don't play in printed worlds.

Morithias
2010-10-13, 09:17 PM
It wouldn't.

However I believe whenever you made a death attack the enemy would have to make two saves.

WarKitty
2010-10-13, 09:22 PM
There is thw drawback of time.
Also, I don't understand why you assume people don't play in printed worlds.

Dunno I've never played one. Never had the inclination to, there's always too much that doesn't make sense to me. Then again I'm a fairly improv-based DM. Coming up with locations is easy for me. I usually assume the time component is mainly on the player though. There's nothing saying you *can't* use the printed fluff, just that if you want different fluff and can come up with it you can use it.

Susano-wo
2010-10-14, 04:00 PM
I think I have played in 1 FR campaign (well, I guess the 4th ed campaign is another, but its basically an extension of the same campaign), and 1 Dark Sun. Also, 1/2 ravenloft--DM's setting, but Ravenloft existing. Aside from that, usually its been in custom settings.