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View Full Version : Is Heirophant as useless as it seems?



Toliudar
2007-10-31, 11:19 PM
I was staring at this prestige class again today (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/hierophant.htm), and continue to be shocked at the gross inequity between heirophant and archmage. I mean, it's a class for high-level clerics and druids, and the requirements all focus around spellcasting...and then the class doesn't advance spellcasting.

So:

Am I missing something here? Does this class actually advance spellcasting?

Am I missing something here? Are the special abilities THAT good?

Am I missing something here? Has anyone ever actually taken this class, and has it been any good for you?

Gralamin
2007-10-31, 11:20 PM
I was staring at this prestige class again today (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/prestigeClasses/hierophant.htm), and continue to be shocked at the gross inequity between heirophant and archmage. I mean, it's a class for high-level clerics and druids, and the requirements all focus around spellcasting...and then the class doesn't advance spellcasting.

So:

Am I missing something here? Does this class actually advance spellcasting?

Am I missing something here? Are the special abilities THAT good?

Am I missing something here? Has anyone ever actually taken this class, and has it been any good for you?
In short: no, no, never taken it.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-31, 11:22 PM
A level for Divine Reach can be kinda worthwhile. Maybe.

Yeah, it's not very good.

Nonah_Me
2007-10-31, 11:23 PM
It would be if you added [+1 level of divine spellcasting class].

Maybe a band-aid fix in regards to balance, but I don't think it's too overpowered.

Jasdoif
2007-10-31, 11:23 PM
Well, it advances your caster level...but that's about it. It might be useful once you get epic, since caster level is all you advance at that point anyway.

Temp
2007-10-31, 11:24 PM
It's not bad for Ur-Priest.

But then again, nothing's bad with Ur-Priest.

SadisticFishing
2007-10-31, 11:24 PM
It's odd, it's set up as a divine counterpart to Archmage. But, unlike Archmage, it's really quite bad. Weird.

Rachel Lorelei
2007-10-31, 11:29 PM
Well, it advances your caster level...but that's about it. It might be useful once you get epic, since caster level is all you advance at that point anyway.

At that point, it's competing against epic bonus feats, which are pretty much the best thing ever, especially for spellcasters.

the_tick_rules
2007-10-31, 11:33 PM
as said above the divine reach is pretty good.

RoboticSheeple
2007-10-31, 11:36 PM
no, no
no, no
no, no

OK, next question?

Aquillion
2007-11-01, 12:02 AM
It's even worse than it seems. It is as if they set out to create an awful class.

The problem with making an archmage alternative for clerics and druids is that those classes have actual class features and advantages that they will, in fact, lose advancement from if they go into a PRC, even one that grants continued spellcasting like Archmage does. So what to they do? They take out spellcasting completely. Ugh.

SadisticFishing
2007-11-01, 12:33 AM
It's even worse than it seems. It is as if they set out to create an awful class.

The problem with making an archmage alternative for clerics and druids is that those classes have actual class features and advantages that they will, in fact, lose advancement from if they go into a PRC, even one that grants continued spellcasting like Archmage does. So what to they do? They take out spellcasting completely. Ugh.

Um, clerics don't gain anything, really. Just better turning, and who turns undead when you can use those 3+cha attempts to do cool stuff like free metamagic? (Or Divine Might, Shield, or any number of other awesome Divine feats)

Tam_OConnor
2007-11-01, 12:40 AM
I'm using it for an epic character, but only after I finish maxing Geomancer. Divine reach and metamagic feats just don't stack against casting time stop in armor, then imploding folk. It's tragic, really.

If I was actually in a game where there were non-epic high-level clerics, I'd just add full spellcasting progression and call it even, but who am I to have a logical answer? Wizards has declared that high level divine casters don't need spells.

Goumindong
2007-11-01, 12:50 AM
If you give it a full casting progression its broken.

Divine Reach + 4 more caster levels and 5 levels of caster progression?

And/or 5 levels of caster progression with +5 cl?

I use it for Ghestalt Cleric cheeze since it doesnt advance your caster progression it doenst count as "doubling up"

End up as a Cleric 20, Something 15, Heriophant 5.

With Divine Reach and a Caster Level of 29.

SadisticFishing
2007-11-01, 12:53 AM
Read Archmage. It would be very easy to make them balanced, but instead Hierophant is just bad.

Haha, virtually everything is really good in Gestalt, I'm sure you can do better :P

Hecore
2007-11-01, 01:01 AM
Power of Nature also has some neat applications - turn a bunch of hirelings into T-Rexes.

Temp
2007-11-01, 01:47 AM
Power of Nature also has some neat applications - turn a bunch of hirelings into T-Rexes.

I have the feeling that 18th level hirelings would be a bit expensive.


The new formís Hit Dice canít exceed the characterís druid level.
Size/Type: Huge Animal
Hit Dice: 18d8+99 (180 hp)

Rachel Lorelei
2007-11-01, 01:54 AM
It does you give a Wild Shape use to the party fighter, who can then turn into a Treant, getting a higher base strength, +13 natural armor, and Huge size. He'd need a Huge weapon specially made (or use an enhancement like Sizing), though.

The Professor
2007-11-01, 01:55 AM
We just remove the CL boosting bit, and let it add + Spellcasting. The Archmage can do it, why not Heirophant? And I'd rather have the divine casters with that then Batman.

But then again, munchkinry is non-existent for my group, so we get away with buffing a lot of things without wrecking the game.

Temp
2007-11-01, 02:02 AM
Divine casters are just as bad, especially the Archivist.



He plays dirty.

namo
2007-11-01, 02:23 AM
Another possibility for a dip is to get a good SLA (Miracle).
And IIRC there is some abuse if you take the "give Turn attempts" ability, emulate Body outside Body and have your clones give their Turn attempts to you - to fuel DMM for instance. But it's mostly standing on the shoulders of other abuses.

MrNexx
2007-11-01, 02:33 AM
My thought isn't that hierophant is extraordinarily bad. It's that archmage is too good.

Rad
2007-11-01, 04:44 AM
My thought isn't that hierophant is extraordinarily bad. It's that archmage is too good.
It's not that Hierophant is worse than Archmage; it's that Hierophant is worse than Cleric.

Spiryt
2007-11-01, 05:11 AM
It's not that Hierophant is worse than Archmage; it's that Hierophant is worse than Cleric.

And Cleric is too good, also. So maybe Hierophant is just okay? :smallamused:

Skjaldbakka
2007-11-01, 05:15 AM
Um, clerics don't gain anything, really. Just better turning, and who turns undead when you can use those 3+cha attempts to do cool stuff like free metamagic?

Turn Undead can make or break some encounters. Not very many, but some. Some clerics get cleric-level based abilities from there domains. Again, not many, but some.

Keld Denar
2007-11-01, 06:46 AM
Turning doesn't break encounters, it just delays them.

GREATER Turning breaks encounters. A level 6 cleric/10 RSoP/4 Sacred Exorcist with Sacred armor upgrade, Sacred shield upgrade, Ephod of Authority (MIC), Rod of Deficance (LM), Phylactery of Undead Turning (DMG), Cloak of Cha +6, Choker of Eloquence (DMG), and the Glory Domain (CD) can pretty much dust VECNA....on a low roll...in an unhallowed area.....during the most unholy night of the year.

Add in a bard/martial cohort playing a Lyre of the Restless Souls while casting Hymn of Praise and motivating Charisma.

That's enough buffage to dust a 45ish HD undead. Now, undead HD scale very well with CR, but not THAT WELL....

As they used to say....

FLAWLESS VICTORY!

martyboy74
2007-11-01, 06:49 AM
Minus the whole fact that you don't fight undead all that often, and you just spent your entire build on turning.

Keld Denar
2007-11-01, 07:03 AM
Except sacred exorcist gives you the ability to turn outsiders too? And I wouldn't call it worthless...

All the cha bonuses make for one helluva turn check, which fuels Divine Spell Power to give you a pretty reliable +4 CL.

Glory Domain give you access to the Holy Sword spell.

All clerics have Divine Powah on their spell list.

Ring of Enduring Arcana (CM) gives you +4 CL vs opposed dispels, making your buffs somewhere around CL 30 without much effort (almost undispellable short of epic). That means all day +5 GMW, +5 Magic Vestiments x2, Extended Heros Feast, and tons of other clericy type buffs.

Pop a Bead of Karma and toss up a CL 30ish Holy Word, then walk around and CDG EVERYTHING non-good in a 40' radius with 25 HD or less, cause they are paralyzed for 1d10 minutes.

When in doubt, MIRACLE...

No, my friend, there is NOTHING else that build can do...nothing at all. Move along now, nothing to see here.

Rad
2007-11-01, 07:09 AM
And Cleric is too good, also. So maybe Hierophant is just okay? :smallamused:

No, what happens is that Hierophants do not exist. It's not like you're forcing clerict to take Hierophant levels to balance them so they'll just not take it and you wasted pages and a concept on a PrC that might as well not exist.

Doresain
2007-11-01, 10:18 AM
the reaosn why archmage gets more spells and the heirophant doesnt is because all of the archmages abilities use spell slots to power all of its abilities, and the heiophant doesnt...archmage is still more powerful of course...

Jayabalard
2007-11-01, 10:27 AM
Minus the whole fact that you don't fight undead all that often, and you just spent your entire build on turning.Who's to say that they don't fight undead all that often? I'm sure that there are groups where majority of their encounters include undead.

Tor the Fallen
2007-11-01, 10:27 AM
I have the feeling that 18th level hirelings would be a bit expensive.

Read what you quoted again.
There's nothing there about having levels = HD of enw form.

Jack Mann
2007-11-01, 01:16 PM
And Cleric is too good, also. So maybe Hierophant is just okay? :smallamused:

Even if cleric was just a so-so caster, on the second or third tier of classes, hierophant still wouldn't be worth it. It would still have the same problem it does now: it makes you worse at what you're supposed to be good at. Maybe a one level dip could be worthwhile, but you would never want to take all five levels.

shadowdemon_lord
2007-11-01, 01:30 PM
I actually do like the idea of slapping on full caster progression onto hierophant. Note that's full caster progression, not full caster progression+full CL progression. Hierophants abilities are actually tooled fairly well to emphasize the support nature of the cleric, not CoDzilla side. Hence I think it's okay.

Proven_Paradox
2007-11-01, 01:30 PM
I don't think it would be that hard to take the heirophant and make ir into a worthwhile PrC on the level of archmage, though. Add full spellcasting and then make its abilities cost it spell slots like the archmage does. Done.

Perhaps my next small scale homebrew project...

Shishnarfne
2007-11-01, 03:27 PM
Another minor homebrew fix would be to give it partial caster progression (i.e. 3 or 4 out of five levels) so that you might actually take all five levels. (Say, the first doesn't advance it, and maybe the fourth doesn't either). This probably avoids the twin pitfalls (full caster progression is too powerful, no caster progression most won't take it) with a minimum of effort.

Rad
2007-11-01, 04:24 PM
the reaosn why archmage gets more spells and the heirophant doesnt is because all of the archmages abilities use spell slots to power all of its abilities, and the heiophant doesnt...archmage is still more powerful of course...

One level worth of spell slots is pretty much more spell slots than what the Archmage abilities demand. Much notably, they ask you for spell slots that are already reached, so you do not delay access to the next spell level. Actually, most of the time you use spell slots that are "low" level for you at the time you get the ability.

EDIT: double posted instead of edited; fixed

Temp
2007-11-01, 04:25 PM
Read what you quoted again.
There's nothing there about having levels = HD of enw form.

In that case, what sort of beasty would you be hiring that has 18HD?

Chronos
2007-11-01, 06:42 PM
In that case, what sort of beasty would you be hiring that has 18HD?No, you misunderstand. The druid's level determines the HD of the beasties you can get. So an 18th level druid heirophant could turn level 1 peasants into T. rexes.

At least, I think that's the way it works. One could interpret that the recipient of the ability could only turn into forms based on the recipient's druid level, but that would make it pretty pointless (why would you have to give wildshape uses to another druid in the first place?).

Rad
2007-11-01, 06:56 PM
The analogy with the ability to give turn attempts to others would also say so.

AslanCross
2007-11-01, 09:07 PM
I'm still wondering why Fzoul Chembryl took levels in this class, and why Bane was ok with it. <_<

SadisticFishing
2007-11-01, 09:23 PM
They'd turn into 1 hit die tyrranosaurs. Plus, reading it as you are is probably wrong by the erratas on wildshape.

Temp
2007-11-02, 01:08 AM
Plus, reading it as you are is probably wrong by the erratas on wildshape.
Actually, I think the problem is I was basing the statement off a Post-Errata Wild Shape (Doesn't d20srd.org update according to the errata?) and a pre-Errata Heirophant ability.

why123
2007-11-02, 04:11 AM
A level for Divine Reach can be kinda worthwhile. Maybe.

Yeah, it's not very good.

Captain van der Decken
2007-11-02, 04:34 AM
It's pretty good if you just use it to boost your CL and cast Holy Word at people. Otherwise, not that great.

Leon
2007-11-02, 08:00 AM
Um, clerics don't gain anything, really. Just better turning, and who turns undead when you can use those 3+cha attempts to do cool stuff like free metamagic? (Or Divine Might, Shield, or any number of other awesome Divine feats)

Yup, your gonna cry when you blow your Turns on a all day buff and you suddenly find you are in need of some divine energy (and not just for undead)

I dont like it as its way focused on the Cleric with bugger all for the druid

Chronos
2007-11-02, 06:20 PM
It's pretty good if you just use it to boost your CL and cast Holy Word at people. Otherwise, not that great.Or you could just boost your CL by taking, y'know, more levels of Cleric. You need something better than that to justify Heirophant.

They'd turn into 1 hit die tyrranosaurs. Plus, reading it as you are is probably wrong by the erratas on wildshape.I think that technically, they'd turn into 18 HD tyranosaurs that only have 1d4 hit points each. But yeah, it amounts to the same thing for most purposes. And I can't think of any other way to read it that still leaves the ability usable at all.

Douglas
2007-11-02, 07:16 PM
Or you could just boost your CL by taking, y'know, more levels of Cleric. You need something better than that to justify Heirophant.
Heirophant boosts your caster level twice as fast if you pick the Spell Power special ability. Do that for all 5 levels and your Holy Word is a no-save-you-lose in an AoE for things with hit dice up to your level+4 (blind and deaf). If your opponents happen to have hit dice equal to or less than you, it's automatic paralyzation for 10-100 rounds. Combine it with a few other ways to increase caster level and it really gets sick. Oh, and SR doesn't help much because your roll to beat that is outlandishly high too.

Outside of this particular bit of cheese, though, it is a pretty weak class unless you happen to be epic level.

Chronos
2007-11-02, 10:47 PM
Heirophant boosts your caster level twice as fast if you pick the Spell Power special ability.Ah, true. Still not worth it, though: I'd much rather cast 9th level spells with CL 20 than cast Holy Word at CL 25.

It does actually look like the CL increase applies to all previous spellcasting classes (including non-divine classes), if you have more than one, but I'm not sure if there's any good way to exploit that (Mystic Theurges are underpowered enough as it is, without their maximum spell level lagging even more).

Armads
2007-11-03, 05:53 AM
The Hierophant makes for very good Ur-Priests, because they get a sick caster level with it.

Captain van der Decken
2007-11-03, 07:06 AM
Ah, true. Still not worth it, though: I'd much rather cast 9th level spells with CL 20 than cast Holy Word at CL 25.


Throw in a few beads of karma to cast it at CL 29. Few enemies can stand up to that.

Gerrtt
2007-11-03, 07:21 AM
I might be sleepy and crazy, but isn't there a way you can learn to turn outsiders? Outsiders that, in fact, often have high SR would be fun to turn away with the right feats. In such a situation better turning would be more useful than better spells and therefor the Heirophant wouldn't be a bad addition, just a possibly sub par one. I think it's an epic feat though....so that might not really come into legitimate discussion.

Plus I bet you'd never have more HD than a CR appropriate outsider anyways...so it might be a moot point.

martyboy74
2007-11-03, 07:36 AM
One of the Planar Handbook cleric varient levels lets you Turn/Rebuke Outsiders. Incidentally, this becomes a lot more useful than against outsiders, as they tend to not have turn resistance.

Chronos
2007-11-03, 06:25 PM
Throw in a few beads of karma to cast it at CL 29. Few enemies can stand up to that.OK, then, I'd rather cast 9th level spells with CL 24 than a Holy Word with CL 29. And there are actually a fair number of things you'd be fighting at high levels that could stand up to even a CL 29 or higher Word. No matter how you slice it, the actual spellcasting levels are worth more than the extra CL increase.

Mystral
2007-11-03, 07:38 PM
How about combining divine reach with chain spell? You know, Mass-Boostspells at Spell Level 5, Chained Protection from Energy, Chained Disruptive Weapon... Sounds like fun to me.

I'm going to take a level of hierophant with divine reach because it plays nicely into my character design (cleric of Akadi) but more or less, yes, you have to use a few tricks to get what you want, but it can be fun.

MrNexx
2007-11-03, 09:26 PM
How about a level 17 cleric (or +1 CL prestige classes) with 3 levels of Heirophant? You get your 9th level spells and your divine reach and your 5 for 3 caster level.

Chronos
2007-11-04, 04:42 PM
How about a level 17 cleric (or +1 CL prestige classes) with 3 levels of Heirophant? You get your 9th level spells and your divine reach and your 5 for 3 caster level.Better, but then the question becomes how many 9th level slots you get. 1+1 a day is good; 4+1 a day is better. And there are other ways to get reach spells (the metamagic feat, or some widget which casts Spectral Hand, or probably some other class's class feature).

Shatteredtower
2007-11-05, 12:10 AM
And there are other ways to get reach spellsLet's consider them.


the metamagic featMust be prepared in advance and costs a feat.


or some widget which casts Spectral HandSubject to a spell cap. It's not going to help you with heal or revivify, for example.


or probably some other class's class feature).Which one?

Clerics with the Travel domain can use this to teleport a party scattered within a 30 ft radius. Without that, you're limited to teleporting 8 people and it requires a full round action to touch them all.

Faith healing's the sort of thing that only works with very specialized parties, but it can be a real nuisance in the hands of a cult leading NPC. Mastery of energy is also likely to be too specialized for most PC parties. Gift of the divine is something you could find handy in a prominent NPC, but serves very little purpose for a PC, even if one is boosting another's access to feats powered by a turn check.

The spell-like abilities are a mixed bag. Any with an expensive material component are absolutely not worth it. The example of Lonafin is a particularly bad one, since he's sacrificed a 9th level spell slot for the privilege of casting create undead 6 times/day -- at a cost of 1000 xp per HD of undead created. Since the weakest creature you can create is a ghoul, the least expensive full daily use of this ability would be is 12,000 xp. That's the better part of reaching your next level for an 18th level caster, to create six 2 HD monsters. Thrilling. There might be a few spells worth the slot to be able to cast a spell twice per day, but none with a material component. (True resurrection twice/day is way out.)