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Blackjackg
2013-01-15, 06:00 PM
This concept was imagined specifically for a campaign in which prestige classes are not automatically available to characters; they must be discovered or earned through roleplaying. Limiting access to prestige classes necessarily creates more problems for some characters than for others, and multiclass characters in particular seem to be among the hardest hit. A multiclass cleric/wizard, for example, will have a harder time if they do not have access to the Mystic Theurge class right away.

In order to address this issue, I created the Generic Prestige classes. These are do-it-yourself basic prestige classes for multiclass characters. Unlike "real" prestige classes, they are automatically available to any character who meets the prerequisites. All Generic Prestige Classes have a maximum of 15 levels, and as a rule offer fairly consistent, moderate benefits rather than major class abilities.

What is presented here are not complete classes, they are "aspects." Each one is, in essence, half of a class. They each have a hit die, a number of skill points, a Base Attack Bonus, and one or more "good" saves, as well as a list of specific class abilities, by level.

In order to create a Generic Prestige Class, players choose two aspects (no more, and no less) and combine them. The class uses the better of the two hit dice, skill points, and BAB, and has all of the "good" saves that each aspect provides. In addition, the character gains the class abilities of both aspects. Two examples of complete Generic Prestige Classes are given at the end of this document.

The following are some sample aspects. These are only a few of the most basic options, and you could certainly have fun making some of your own.

A note about the names: In these presentations, aspects are named with the formula (adjective)/(noun). Ideally, players creating their own Generic Prestige Class would invent their own name for the class, but if they want to be lazy they can simply take the adjective from one aspect and the noun from the other and mash them together for a makeshift class name. For the samples in this post, I'm going to be lazy.

Arcane/Mage, Divine/Mystic, and Psionic/Manifester
Arcane/Mage

Prerequisites: Able to cast 2nd level arcane spells
Hit Die: d4
Skill Points: 2
BAB:
Good Saves: Will

1 --
2 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
3 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
4 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
5 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
6 --
7 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
8 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
9 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
10 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
11 --
12 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
13 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
14 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class
15 +1 caster level of arcane spellcasting class

Divine/Mystic

Prerequisites: Able to cast 2nd level divine spells
Hit Die: d4
Skill Points: 2
BAB:
Good Saves: Will

1 --
2 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
3 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
4 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
5 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
6 --
7 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
8 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
9 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
10 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
11 --
12 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
13 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
14 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class
15 +1 caster level of divine spellcasting class

Psionic/Manifester

Prerequisites: Able to manifest 2nd level powers
Hit Die: d4
Skill Points: 2
BAB:
Good Saves: Will

1 --
2 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
3 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
4 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
5 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
6 --
7 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
8 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
9 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
10 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
11 --
12 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
13 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
14 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
15 +1 manifester level of manifesting class
The above three aspects, Arcane/Mage, Divine/Mystic and Psionic/Manifester may be combined with one another, or with themselves. In order for any one aspect to be combined with itself, it must meet the spellcasting or manifesting prerequisite twice, with two different classes. For example, in order to combine the Arcane/Mage aspect with itself, a character must have the ability to cast second level arcane spells with each of two different classes. By combining the Arcane/Mage aspect with itself to create a complete Generic Prestige Class, the character gains access to its special ability twice per level, and the two benefits must be applied to two different arcane spellcating classes.

If a character chooses to combine one of the above three aspects with another of them, or with itself, add the following special class ability to the 1st, 6th, and 11th level slots: "+1 to the lower of your arcane spellcasting/divine spellcasting/manifesting classes." This abilty is applied only once per level, not twice. If the character's caster or manifester levels are equal, they may choose which caster or manifester level to increase each time they gain this ability.

Here's two more fairly standard ones. These aspects can not be combined with themselves (although they could certainly be combined with each other).

Martial/Warrior and Stealthy/Ambusher
Martial/Warrior

Prerequisites: BAB +4, proficiency with all simple and martial weapons
Hit Die: d10
Skill Points: 2
BAB: 1/1
Good Saves: Fortitude

1 --
2 --
3 Bonus feat
4 --
5 --
6 Bonus feat
7 --
8 --
9 Bonus feat
10 --
11 --
12 Bonus feat
13 --
14 --
15 Bonus feat

Stealthy/Ambusher

Prerequisites: Sneak attack, sudden strike +2d6 or skirmish +1d6 dmg, +1 AC
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points: 6
BAB:
Good Saves: Reflex

1 +1d6 dmg to special attack
2 --
3 +2d6 dmg to special attack (or +1d6 dmg, +1 AC to skirmish)
4 --
5 +3d6 dmg to special attack (or +2d6 dmg, +1 AC to skirmish)
6 --
7 +4d6 dmg to special attack (or +2d6 dmg, +2 AC to skirmish)
8 --
9 +5d6 dmg to special attack (or +3d6 dmg, +2 AC to skirmish)
10 --
11 +6d6 dmg to special attack (or +3d6 dmg, +3 AC to skirmish)
12 --
13 +7d6 dmg to special attack (or +4d6 dmg, +3 AC to skirmish)
14 --
15 +8d6 dmg to special attack (or +4d6 dmg, +4 AC to skirmish)
The next three are perhaps the most basic aspects. They grant no class abilities themselves, but instead maximize certain static class attributes (hit dice, skill points, and saving throws, respectively).

Stalwart/Tank, Skilled/Master, and Steadfast/Survivor
Stalwart/Tank

Prerequisites: Proficiency with Medium Armor; Max hit points: 45
Hit Die: d12
Skill Points: 2
BAB: 3/4
Good Saves: Fortitude

Skilled/Master

Prerequisites: 8 ranks in at least six different skills
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points: 8
BAB: 3/4
Good Saves: Reflex

Steadfast/Survivor

Prerequisites: Fortitude Save +3; Reflex Save +3; Will Save +3
Hit Die: d8
Skill Points: 4
BAB: 3/4
Good Saves: Fortitude, Reflex, Will
And the most versatile (and therefore, probably the most exploitable) all-purpose aspect:

General/Generalist

Prerequisites: None
Hit Die: d6
Skill Points: 4
BAB: 1/2
Good Saves: Any one

Choose a base class in which you have at least three levels. Choose one class ability of that class. Add your level in the Generic Prestige Class to your level in that class with regard to uses of that ability (e.g., number of uses per day, saves, etc.). At the DM's discretion, add your level in the General/Generalist prestige class to your level in the chosen base class in order to determine access to related class abilities.

For example, Krusk chooses his Barbarian base class and his Rage ability. He adds his level in Generic Prestige Class to his Barbarian level to determine not only his number of uses of Rage per day, but also his access to the Greater Rage, Tireless Rage, and Mighty Rage class abilities. He does not add his Generic Prestige Class level to his Barbarian level to determine his Trap Sense bonus, or his Damage Reduction, as these are not specifically related to his Rage ability.

If the General/Generalist aspect is applied to the Animal Companion class ability, Generic Prestige Class levels always count as Druid levels when calculating an animal companion's hit dice and related benefits, regardless of which base class offered the Animal Companion ability.

This aspect explicitly can not affect spellcasting, manifesting (or similar abilities, such as infusions) or any version of the sneak attack, sudden strike, or skirmish ability.
Sample Generic Prestige Classes
Divine Manifester

Prerequisites: Able to cast 2nd level divine spells; Able to manifest 2nd level powers
Hit Die: d4
Skill Points: 2
BAB:
Good Saves: Will

1 +1 to lower of divine spellcasting class or manifesting class
2 +1 level of divine spellcasting class/+1 level of manifesting class
3 +1 level of divine spellcasting class/+1 level of manifesting class
4 +1 level of divine spellcasting class/+1 level of manifesting class
5 +1 level of divine spellcasting class/+1 level of manifesting class
6 +1 to lower of divine spellcasting class or manifesting class
7 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
8 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
9 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
10 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
11 +1 to lower of divine spellcasting class or manifesting class
12 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
13 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
14 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class
15 +1 level of divine spellcasting Class/+1 level of manifesting class


Martial Ambusher

Prerequisites: BAB +4; proficiency with all simple and martial weapons; Sneak attack, sudden strike +2d6 or skirmish +1d6 dmg, +1 AC
Hit Die: d10
Skill Points: 6
BAB: 1/1
Good Saves: Fortitude, Reflex

1 +1d6 dmg to special attack
2 --
3 +2d6 dmg to special attack (or +1d6 dmg, +1 AC to skirmish); Bonus feat
4 --
5 +3d6 dmg to special attack (or +2d6 dmg, +1 AC to skirmish)
6 Bonus feat
7 +4d6 dmg to special attack (or +2d6 dmg, +2 AC to skirmish)
8 --
9 +5d6 dmg to special attack (or +3d6 dmg, +2 AC to skirmish); Bonus feat
10 --
11 +6d6 dmg to special attack (or +3d6 dmg, +3 AC to skirmish)
12 Bonus feat
13 +7d6 dmg to special attack (or +4d6 dmg, +3 AC to skirmish)
14 --
15 +8d6 dmg to special attack (or +4d6 dmg, +4 AC to skirmish); Bonus feat
Retraining:
At the DM's discretion, a character who gains access to a new prestige class with similar benefits to their Generic Prestige Class may retrain some or all of their Generic levels into levels of the new prestige class (in order to do this, they must meet all prerequisites for the new prestige class without the benefit of the Generic Prestige Class levels that they intend to retrain). For example, Kegobier is a Wizard 3/Druid 4/Arcane Generalist 3. Through roleplaying, he gains the option of taking levels in the Arcane Heirophant prestige class. The DM decides that this is similar enough to his Generic Prestige Class that the levels can be retrained. Because Kegobier meets all the prerequisites for the Arcane Heirophant with just his Wizard and Druid levels, he is able to retrain all three of his Generic levels. If he had entered the Arcane Generalist class as a Wizard 3/Druid 1 instead, those levels would not provide all of the prerequisites for the Arcane Heirophant class, and he would not be able to retrain all of his Generic levels (although he may be able to retrain some of them).

Creator's notes:
These classes should lean somewhat to the underpowered, but even I can see there are ways that they could be broken to make a character more powerful than they are intended to be. My fix for this is usually "I trust my players not to be jerks," but I wouldn't recommend this option for DM whose players like screwing with them. Obviously, this rule is made as a part of a "real prestige classes have to be earned" ruleset, and I expect its usefulness outside of that is pretty limited.

What I've got here barely scratches the surface of what's possible, but covers a few of the more obvious pieces from the SRD.

Desired feedback:
Does it seem usable? If not, are there ways to fix it so it is? Are there areas in need of clarification? Are the aspects themselves workable?

And if you love it? If you really love it? I would be delighted to see some other ideas for aspects.

sengmeng
2013-01-16, 09:39 PM
Long version:
This is a very well-though-out concept. It certainly makes sense; in the same vein as the mystic theurge or arcane trickster, you pick two classes you hold and advance them as if you gained a level in each. Makes sense. Couple of problems, however.

Not all class features were created equal. Raising your divine caster level is definitely not as good if it was paladin or ranger, and raising your arcane caster level is a bit underwhelming if you were a bard. I was also hoping that, in addition to replicating the fighter and gaining fighter bonus feats, there would be one that allowed you to gain any feat you want, perhaps as a second option for the generalist aspect.

Some class features should get a two or three for one special: such as, everything the barbarian gets other than rage should be a single class feature, as well as everything but sneak attack for rogues. Again, this probably applies only to the generalist aspect. And what about things like trapfinding or evasion which don't really advance? They typically show up before third level, which is where most characters will be entering this prestige class, but how do they work? When, if ever, can a generalist gain greater flurry of blows if they have a few monk levels, or trackless step if they have some druid levels?

And the monk is just, well, unfeasible under this system unless you create a build that really, REALLY, makes good use of their unarmed damage (maybe the Stalwart/Tank combined with generalist; Stalwart Monk anyone? Might be viable). Still, the scariest thing I can spot on here would probably be the arcane tank or stalwart mage. It could be built with no loss of caster level and whatever level you reach 45 hitpoints, you start rolling d12's for hitdice, have a full BAB, and good fort saves, plus you could technically, I suppose, go arcane generalist as a 3rd level wizard and use the generalist option to raise your familiar class feature? So you advance exactly like a wizard with d6 hitdice and 4 skill points? Well, you did say "DM's discretion" so I suppose blatant shenanigans like that are out, but still. Yes, the tank requires medium armor proficiency, but I think a lot of squishy wizards would burn a feat on that to get d12 hitdice, and it doesn't say you have to WEAR it. Oh well, none of that means that it's bad or unbalanced, but yeah, it could get very interesting.

TL;DR version:

How do class features that don't advance work (Trapfinding, Perfect Body, Thousand Faces)?

Some class features should be lumped together because they aren't as powerful.

Generalist should include a second option of taking a feat if they want.

TopCheese
2013-01-16, 11:41 PM
Love the idea, I'll be watching the progress of this thread.

However... Making a requirement based on HP sounds like a bad idea...A couple things...

1: Techncially when you drop below 45 hp you forget your prestige class stuff. If you are keeping this you should have it read "have reach 45 hit points (not temp hp) at one point in the PC's life". Or perhaps "Max hp = 45".

2 rolling for HP sucks but most DMs I've met use this method... Watch out cause I've had a level 10 barbarian that rolled 1s for hp at every level...

Blackjackg
2013-01-17, 05:51 PM
Thanks for the comments, folks, you raised some good points.

With regard to the general/generalist aspect, I was definitely thinking of class features that advanced with level, specifically things like Wild Shape, Rage and Flurry of Blows. I suppose it could be used with class features that don't advance, but it seems like kind of a waste to me... of course, if a player wants to deliberately hamstring their character by wasting an aspect on a static ability, I'm not going to stop them. Likewise, if a character wants to take the Divine aspect to advance their paladin casting, that's their loss. I'm more worried about ways this rule could be exploited to superpower characters.

Sengmeng gives a couple of good examples of ways this might be kind of broken. I definitely don't need to give the Stalwart/Tank aspect full BAB, 3/4 should do just fine. Beyond that, it doesn't seem too overpowered to me for a wizard or sorcerer to take levels in Tank-- if they're single-classed they'd need to be at least level 9 or 10 and spend a feat to qualify, and they'd have to give up advancing some of their other class features and, more importantly, lose caster levels (plus, hit points on a Tier 1 caster are kinda decorative anyway--if you're losing hit points, you're doing it wrong).

I intended for the requirement for the Stalwart/Tank aspect to be Max HP, not current HP. I'll fix it. Thanks for the tip!

Sorry, forgot to mention: You're right that banking on high hit dice is a pretty big risk, but is it a greater risk for a Stalwart/Tank than for a Barbarian?

davethebrave
2013-01-17, 06:29 PM
As a DM who strives for RP immersion and loves the "Prestige Classes are special, you gotta seek 'em out" rule for PrCs, I love these rules for placeholder levels while the PCs try to find hidden monasteries and whatnot. If I'd only had these in my last major campaign, me and my players could have used this mechanic as a compromise between their fast-paced adventures that never had any downtime or RP reason to prioritize PrC-hunting over the main story arcs requiring me to just acquiesce when a level came up where they met prereqs and my own desire for the hardline stance of RP priority (the players won every time, because the game is about fun, but this would've been much better).

Durazno
2013-01-17, 09:09 PM
Does this take the place of multiclass feats like Swift Hunter and Martial Stalker, or could they coexist?

Blackjackg
2013-01-18, 11:02 AM
Does this take the place of multiclass feats like Swift Hunter and Martial Stalker, or could they coexist?

Ooh, very good question. Certainly this option could make multiclass feats somewhat less useful, but they could definitely coexist. Swift Hunter, for instance, counts only Ranger and Scout levels, and would not count Stealthy Warrior levels, so it doesn't stack in any gamebreaking way. But for a character who is, say, a Ranger 5/Scout 5/Stealthy Warrior 10, it might still be worthwhile to take the Swift Hunter feat to get a little more skirmish and a little more favored enemy.

Yitzi
2013-01-18, 11:37 AM
For "+1 to the lower (e.g. Divine Manifester)", what happens if they're the same? Does he get to pick? (And if so, does he pick each time, or pick once and that's it for every time it shows up)?

Blackjackg
2013-01-18, 11:51 AM
For "+1 to the lower (e.g. Divine Manifester)", what happens if they're the same? Does he get to pick? (And if so, does he pick each time, or pick once and that's it for every time it shows up)?

Ah, right, good point. Going based on precedent, it makes sense for the player to pick when they are the same. Each time they gain that ability with the caster levels of their two classes equal, they would get to choose (of course, if they choose their cleric level at level 1, then probably when they reach level 6, their manifester level would still be lower and they would have to raise that one instead). I'll edit the original post to make this more clear. Thanks!