View Full Version : so ACFs, should they replace PRCs?

2012-04-17, 04:14 PM
they seem to be already doing so. I would see rewriteing a lot of prestige classes as ACFs for classes that uses them.

like dwarven defender being a barbarian ACF or a fighter ACF, not sure.

The Tygre
2012-04-17, 04:32 PM
... You mean they haven't already? I must confess, I've reached the conclusion that a dirth of ACFs has replaced the flood of PrCs from 3.5. And why not? ACFs take up less space, emphasize Pathfinder characters' reliance on single classes instead of level-hopping, and still manage to convey the core principle of PrCs, which is to say offering a more refined concept for characters.

Now, whether ACFs are actually better, worse, or on par with PrCs remains to be seen.

2012-04-17, 05:02 PM
well I have yet hop from 3.5 to PF, so I was more saying perhaps PRC home brew should be ACF homebrew. also, trying to nudge people into doing a mass refurbish of the hundreds of 3.5 PRCs as ACFs.

additionally, I tend to think ACFs more balanced, as they don't just add power to a build but trade power for power...

2012-04-17, 05:06 PM
*wonders idly for a moment whether or not to take the subject matter personally* :smalltongue:

There's a place for both in my mind. ACFs are wonderful for elaborating on a single class, true. They would also serve in place of some of the more humdrum PrCs (like blackguard, which so so OBVIOUSLY be paladin ACF I honestly don't know why it isn't?!).

Thing is, PrCs have a place for those concepts which go outside the remit of a single class build, no matter how simple the concept may be, there's always a few which need 2+ classes, and that's what (IMHO) a PrC should be ALL about. Combining 2 different classes to create a single, stronger whole.

So, to sum up :smallwink:

ACFs are for elaborating on a single class concept
PrCs are for creating multiclass concepts which don't suffer so badly from power-lag.

Thus endeth mine 2 coppers.

Hiro Protagonest
2012-04-17, 05:13 PM
additionally, I tend to think ACFs more balanced, as they don't just add power to a build but trade power for power...

Most PrCs already do that. Plus, Zhentarim Soldier and Domain Wizard are free, as well as the one's that fill in dead levels from that one WotC article. Then, there's the fact that a lot of the trades aren't equal.

ACFs are not superior to PrCs in balance. Only in elegance.

2012-04-17, 05:23 PM
*hey, it's the metric ton of ACFs for the telicenetisist that makes me sugest this. I'm glad of the work added...*

well, even thurges could do this if the concept was modified a little.

example, the mistic thurge.
a cleric can chose to be a arcane thurge at first level.
loss: one domain
gain: cleric levels count as 1/2 levels in any one arcane spell casting class they have levels in for caster level, spells known, and spells per day.

a wizard can chose to be a divine thurge
loss:scribe scroll and all wizard bonus feats
gain: wizard levels count as 1/2 levels in any one divine spell casting class they have levels in for caster level, spells known, and spells per day.

a sorcerer can chose to be a divine thurge
loss:the ability to gain a familiar
gain: wizard levels count as 1/2 levels in any one divine spell casting class they have levels in for caster level, spells known, and spells per day

and so on. these are all ruff sketches. classes with more abilities to sacrifise would be easier(really, clerics and sorc have one and casting... really?)

edit: eh, WOTC made the curent ones... and are not known for balance. with the great trove of dead level free homebrew classes, we could get cooking.

T.G. Oskar
2012-04-17, 05:46 PM
While an interesting idea, the nature of ACFs/archetypes corresponds a bit closer to that of classes rather than PrCs. Doing a bit of homebrew has shown me that.

Prestige Classes not always have to represent specific archetypes of one class in particular. Dwarven Defender is a great example: while it may seem like a Fighter class first and foremost, and it has a good excuse of why it could be an archetype for a race, tying it to one class brings a lot of problems, if only because the prestige class version by itself is pretty open in terms of entry. A fighter, a paladin and a knight could easily enter the class, the fighter earlier than the others because of the bonus feats. Making it a Fighter archetype/ACF would harm it immensely as, while the abilities granted are not so hot, it ruins entry via Paladin or Knight.

Part of the problem are the early PrCs, which worked mostly as representative archetypes of some classes (the Assassin, the Blackguard and the Thaumaturgist being the ur-examples, with Archmage and Hierophant being their "Epic Destinies" versions), but others enabled some things. Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight and Mystic Theurge enable class combinations, which is something a PrC excels at (with Arcane Archer, sadly, less so). Red Wizard, which doesn't appear in the SRD but appears in the DMG, is mostly a regional variant which could easily be an archetype, but it would be a far too complex ACF/archetype to deal with (because you'd have to provide fitting abilities for every specialization, or else you'll find the Zulkirs will be pretty similar to each other). Shadowdancer, on the other hand, is particularly hard to define as an archetype of X or Y class, as both Monk and Rogue could qualify, with Ranger a definite option but a bit less powerful in that regard. Yet, neither the Rogue nor the Monk have the necessary abilities that enable shadowdancing, whereas the focus of the Ranger is a bit off that of shadowdancing. And if you were to make it an archetype, you'd be throwing off the idea of a Bard entering the PrC. Same thing with Horizon Walker, which is a thematic PrC related to traveling through terrains and planes, which cannot exist on its own as a class and is far too wide a concept to nail it as an ACF or archetype of another class (Ranger is the closest, but why not make it part of a Fighter and call it a war-hardened scout that learns the nature of many terrains?)

However, some classes ARE archetypes of others. For example, the Swashbuckler is a perfect archetype of a Rogue, because it can barely exist on its own and the Rogue was originally meant to represent it. The Scout and the Ranger have the same deal. Paladin and Blackguard, Rogue and Assassin (the latter without spells), Soulknife and Psychic Warrior...the ideas are there. You could go a bit further and claim that the Sorcerer could have worked as the archetype of a Wizard, since they are not so different except on how they learn AND cast their spells, after all.

However, there is worth to the idea of a prestige class. Even Pathfinder, which has pioneered the idea of archetypes, cannot shy away from prestige classes; they have quite a lot (and while of differing flavor, most of them are...pretty meh in my opinion, particularly Low Templar). Whether to enhance multiclass options or enable a build with abilities of its own, PrCs are a worthy alternate form of progression. Archetypes work best when the intended flavor and abilities work best as a reinterpretation of another class (hence, why PF went for reinterpreting Samurai as Cavaliers, Blackguards as evil Paladins and Ninja as foreign Rogues); ACFs work best when attempting to add abilities to a class to change its flavor a bit (for example, changing the Paladin's special mount class feature for Charging Smite or Divine Spirit). ACFs, PrCs and archetypes have their own niche, and it's best to understand which is which clearly enough, to prevent misunderstandings.

Also, sometimes its better to work an idea through different lens and then observe which is better. For example; is Divine Mind better as its own class or as a Paladin archetype that replaces spellcasting with Psionics. IMO, after seeing both, I found it was better as its own class because the auras were a bit too different from what the Paladin offered (and I'm not speaking of the Core Paladin, BTW, or the Pathfinder Paladin).

2012-04-17, 06:07 PM
and, the classic TG text wall. worthy of a read, with masses of nuance.

the idea is still really malubal but, some things to answer you.

racial ACFs for all classes, and more as people want to make them. boom, dwarven defender is now spread among those who might want it, without making them dance through hoops to be parigons of their race.

with ACFs... should be specialized. and they should allow for combinations with stuff like the above.

many ACFs might be an answer. give bards, monks, rogues, and rangers ACFs to add shadowdancer.

gosh, with base classes in such short supply, how could you think of combining a few! all jokes aside, as the wizard and sorc are both silly(they can cast... and get not a single feature sides familiar and feats) I don't see making them ACFs of one or the other as a bad plan. but this was meant to be mostly based of curent brew, which does have the variety to run off of.

but you make good points... a lot of them. more later