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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    My general philosophy is that the only balance that really matters in D&D is the interclass balance between the various PCs in a group. If the group as a whole is very powerful and flexible, the DM can simply up the challenge level and complexity of the encounters. If it's weak and inflexible, the DM can lower the challenge level and complexity. Serious issues arise when the party is composed of some members which are extremely powerful and others which are extremely weak, leading to a situation where the DM has two choices: either make the game too easy for the strong members, or too hard for the weak members. Neither is desireable. Thus, this system is created for the following purposes:

    1) To provide a ranking system so that DMs know roughly the power of the classes of the PCs in their group before applying their own changes.

    2) To provide players with knowledge of where their group stands, power wise, so that they can better build characters that fit with their group.

    3) To help DMs who plan to use house rules to balance games by showing them where the classes stand before applying said house rules (how many times have we seen DMs pumping up Sorcerers or weakening Monks?).

    4) To help DMs judge what should be allowed and what shouldn't in their games. It may sound cheesy when the Fighter player wants to be a Half Minotaur Water Orc, but if the rest of his party is Druid, Cloistered Cleric, Archivist, and Artificer, then maybe you should allow that to balance things out. However, if the player is asking to be allowed to be a Venerable White Dragonspawn Dragonwrought Kobold Sorcerer and the rest of the party is a Monk, a Fighter, and a Rogue, maybe you shouldn't let that fly.

    5) To help homebrewers judge the power and balance of their new classes. Pick a Tier you think your class should be in, and when you've made your class compare it to the rest of the Tier. Generally, I like Tier 3 as a balance point, but I know many people prefer Tier 4. If it's stronger than Tier 1, you definitely blew it.

    Psionic classes are mostly absent simply because I don't have enough experience with them. Other absent classes are generally missing because I don't know them well enough to comment, though if I've heard a lot about them they're listed in itallics. Note that "useless" here means "the class isn't particularly useful for dealing with situation X" not "it's totally impossible with enough splat books to make a build that involves that class deal with situation X." "Capable of doing one thing" means that any given build does one thing, not that the class itself is incapable of being built in different ways. Also, "encounters" here refers to appropriate encounters... obviously, anyone can solve an encounter with purely mechanical abilities if they're level 20 and it's CR 1.

    Also note that with enough optimization, it's generally possible to go up a tier, and if played poorly you can easily drop a few tiers, but this is a general averaging, assuming that everyone in the party is playing with roughly the same skill and optimization level. As a rule, parties function best when everyone in the party is within 2 Tiers of each other (so a party that's all Tier 2-4 is generally fine, and so is a party that's all Tier 3-5, but a party that has Tier 1 and Tier 5s in it may have issues).

    The Tier System

    Tier 1: Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

    Examples: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer, Erudite

    Tier 2: Has as much raw power as the Tier 1 classes, but can't pull off nearly as many tricks, and while the class itself is capable of anything, no one build can actually do nearly as much as the Tier 1 classes. Still potencially campaign smashers by using the right abilities, but at the same time are more predictable and can't always have the right tool for the job. If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways. Note that the Tier 2 classes are often less flexible than Tier 3 classes... it's just that their incredible potential power overwhelms their lack in flexibility.

    Examples: Sorcerer, Favored Soul, Psion, Binder (with access to online vestiges)

    Tier 3: Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area. Occasionally has a mechanical ability that can solve an encounter, but this is relatively rare and easy to deal with. Challenging such a character takes some thought from the DM, but isn't too difficult. Will outshine any Tier 5s in the party much of the time.

    Examples: Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Crusader, Bard, Swordsage, Binder (without access to the summon monster vestige), Wildshape Varient Ranger, Duskblade, Factotum, Warblade, Psionic Warrior

    Tier 4: Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribue to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.

    Examples: Rogue, Barbarian, Warlock, Warmage, Scout, Ranger, Hexblade, Adept, Spellthief, Marshal, Fighter (Dungeoncrasher Variant)

    Tier 5: Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well, or so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters the character cannot contribute. In some cases, can do one thing very well, but that one thing is very often not needed. Has trouble shining in any encounter unless the rest of the party is weak in that situation and the encounter matches their strengths. DMs may have to work to avoid the player feeling that their character is worthless unless the entire party is Tier 4 and below. Characters in this tier will often feel like one trick ponies if they do well, or just feel like they have no tricks at all if they build the class poorly.

    Examples: Fighter, Monk, CA Ninja, Healer, Swashbuckler, Rokugan Ninja, Soulknife, Expert, OA Samurai, Paladin, Knight

    Tier 6: Not even capable of shining in their own area of expertise. DMs will need to work hard to make encounters that this sort of character can contribute in with their mechanical abilities. Will often feel worthless unless the character is seriously powergamed beyond belief, and even then won't be terribly impressive. Needs to fight enemies of lower than normal CR. Class is often completely unsynergized or with almost no abilities of merit. Avoid allowing PCs to play these characters.

    Examples: CW Samurai, Aristocrat, Warrior, Commoner

    And then there's the Truenamer, which is just broken (as in, the class was improperly made and doesn't function appropriately, and has no tier ranking).

    Now, obviously these rankings only apply when mechanical abilities are being used... in a more social oriented game where talking is the main way of solving things (without using diplomacy checks), any character can shine. However, when the mechanical abilities of the classes in question are being used, it's a bad idea to have parties with more than two tiers of difference.

    It is interesting to note the disparity between the core classes... one of the reasons core has so many problems. If two players want to play a nature oriented shapeshifter and a general sword weilder, you're stuck with two very different tiered guys in the party (Fighter and Druid). Outside of core, it's possible to do it while staying on close Tiers... Wild Shape Variant Ranger and Warblade, for example.

    Note that a few classes are right on the border line between tiers. Duskblade is very low in Tier 3, and Hexblade is low in Tier 4. Fighter is high in Tier 5, and CW Samurai is high in Tier 6 (obviously, since it's pretty much strictly better than the same tier Warrior).

    For an explanation of why classes are in their tiers, see this thread (work not by me, but useful): http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=269440

    JaronK
    Last edited by JaronK; 2013-01-27 at 10:38 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    FAQ:

    Q: So, which is the best Tier?

    A: In the end, the best Tier is the Tier that matches the rest of your party and appeals to you. If your party is Fighter, Rogue, Healer, Barbarian, then Tier 4 or 5 is going to be the best. If your party is Sorcerer, Beguiler, Crusader, Swordsage, then Tier 2-3 will be best. Really, if you're having fun and no one in the party feels either useless or overpowered, then you're doing it right. Personally, I prefer Tier 3, but I still match to whatever party I'm in if I join after other characters are created.

    That said, here's something that might help some DMs decide which tier is best for their campaigns:

    Spoiler
    Show

    So, I was thinking about the whole "what is the best Tier" thing. And of course it varies by campaign, but I'll talk about it a bit.

    Tier 1 is the best tier if you want the PCs to be super powered... similar to an Exalted campaign (the RPG, not BoED). I've heard of one great campaign where the DM made the only character creation rule be that your character had to be evil and be after immortality. They had a Wizard who turned into a Lich, a Druid who used Reincarnation cheese, and so on. When they hit level 20 after having totally thrashed the campaign world, the DM ended the campaign and started a new one. It was 1000 years in the future, and the evil characters were all epic now, and ruling the whole land. The players had to start over as first level good characters and try to defeat their old PCs. Neat. Also, Clerics and Druids can be very nice for newbies because any poor build choices they make early on really won't matter that much later... sure, Weapon Focus Scimitar on the Druid may have been dumb, but you can turn into a Dire Bear so who cares? And if you picked the wrong spells today, that's okay... pick better ones tomorow. That said, I only recommend this tier for veteran DMs who can keep the PCs in line in agreeable ways, as campaigns can be broken very quickly by the unpredictable and powerful tools available to the players.

    Tier 2... I'm not sure how many people would specifically want this one because it's pretty small, but it does have the advantage of giving you big power spells while still being at least a bit more predictable with your tricks. Newbies who might be overwhelmed with the number of spells constantly available to Clerics and Druids and Wizards might be more comfortable if they don't have to repick every day, so it might be best for them.

    Tier 3 is the best tier for me. Everyone in the party has great tricks and can still throw some big surprises at me when I'm DMing, but everyone else still needs a party to work with them, which makes it easier to make sure specific party members have chances to shine. I like the versitility of players at this level, and power wise they're still managable without flat out saying "no, you can't do that."

    Tier 4 is best for a lot of people too. At this Tier you can start predicting what the players will do in a situation, so DMs can better gauge how encounters will go. That Barbarian is going to deal a lot of damage through charging... if you want a hard encounter, use difficult terrain or whatever, and if you want an easier encounter, make sure he's got a target he can charge. The more flexible Tier 4s will be less predictable but they won't blow you away with a sudden trick you didn't see coming... that Rogue may have awesome tricks with his UMD, but only with items that you give him. Plus, teamwork is definitely important at this level. That Barbarian may be awesome in combat, but when it's time for stealth, he's not going to shine, and someone else will.

    Tier 5 is probably best for new DMs, especially when dealing with veteran players. PCs at this point are getting very predictable. That Fighter with Improved Trip and a Spiked Chain will trip enemies, the Healer will be a healbot, the Monk can run fast and make a lot of attacks, but generally speaking you know what's going to happen in advance, especially in combat. This predictability makes it easy for a DM to guide the plot where he wants without it looking like railroading, as the limitations of the classes provide the railroad tracks for you. If the PCs are supposed to kill a dragon by going in through his cave, that's what they'll do... they're not going to Love's Pain nuke said dragon from miles away and then float ethereally through his lair or something.

    Tier 6 is best when what you want is a fun little low powered game. The PCs are very limited, so challenges should be primarily player-centric in nature, since the classes themselves won't create many good solutions to situations. Puzzles that the players must solve, fights that are more about organization than damage dealing, and so on. I don't recommend this Tier to anyone but veterans though, as it's very limited in a lot of ways. Really, if you want to play at this low power level, you may be more satisfied playing a game like A|State than D&D.


    Q: Why is my favorite class too low? It should TOTALLY be much higher!

    A: Remember, you're probably more experienced with your favorite class than with other classes. Plus, your personality probably fits well with the way that class works, and you probably are better inspired to work with that class. As such, whatever your favorite class is is going to seem stronger for you than everyone else. This is because you're simply going to play your favorite class in a more skillfull way... plus you'll be blinded to the shortcomings of that class, since you probably don't care about those anyway (they match with things that you as a player probably don't want to do anyway). As such, if I did this right most people should think their favorite class is a little too low, whether that class is Fighter or Monk or Rogue or whatever else.

    Q: I totally saw a [Class X] perform far better than a [Class Y] even though you list it as lower. What gives?

    A: This system assumes that everything other than mechanics is totally equal. It's a ranking of the mechanical classes themselves, not of the players who use that class. As long as the players are of equal skill and optimize their characters roughly the same amount, it's fine. If one player optimizes a whole lot more than the other, that will shift their position on the chart.

    Q: So what a minute, how can I use it then? My players all play differently.

    A: First, determine what you'd say is the average optimization and skill level in the group, then make adjustments for people who are noticably different from that. I can't give examples of skill level, but here's an example for optimization. Imagine for a moment that your party has a Cleric with DMM: Persistant Spell, a Fighter with Shock Trooper and Leap Attack, a Beguiler with a Mindbender dip and Mindsight, and a traditional Sword and Board Fighter. Now, the first three are pretty optimized, but the fourth is pretty weak. So in that case, what you've actually got is a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and a Tier 6, with that second Fighter being Tier 6 because he's far less optimized than the rest of the group. However, if your group is instead a healbot Cleric, a Beguiler who hasn't figured out how to use illusions effectively, a Sword and Board Fighter, and a Shock Trooper/Leap Attack Fighter, then the charge based Fighter is the odd one out. Bump him up a Tier... maybe even 2. So now you've got a Tier 1, a Tier 3, a Tier 5, and maybe a Tier 4. Remember, this whole thing is about intra party balance... there's no objective balancing, because each campaign is different.

    Q: Why didn't you rank this from best to worst, like Wizard first, Archivist second, and so on? Why tiers?

    A: There are too many variables in the game to actually rank the classes from best to worst. If the DM allows the Archivist to just research any spell he wants and is including the Divine Magician and Divine Bard varients in his game, plus the other ways for Archivists to get all Wizard/Sorcerer spells, then the Archivist is clearly stronger than the Wizard. If not, the Wizard may be stronger than the Archivist. Factors like that, plus questions of which books are allowed, what the wealth by level is, and what access to magic shops is allowed to the players... these things make it impossible to make a specific ranking of best to worst without assuming a heck of a lot, and I wanted this system to work for the vast majority of games. As such, I ranked them in tiers of power... regardless of the general campaign, an Archivist and a Wizard will be reasonably close to each other in power, and both will be far stronger than a Monk, for example. I do still have to make a few basic assumptions, such as that player skill and optimziation are reasonably close and that for the most part RAW is being played, but that's about it.

    Also, the purpose of this system isn't to say "X class is the best!" It's to allow players and DMs to maintain intraparty balance... for that purpose, tiers are specific enough.

    Q: So what exactly is this system measuring? Raw Power? Then why is the Barbarian lower than the Duskblade, when the Barbarian clearly does more damage?

    A: The Tier System is not specifically ranking Power or Versitility (though those are what ends up being the big factors). It's ranking the ability of a class to achieve what you want in any given situation. Highly versitile classes will be more likely to efficiently apply what power they have to the situation, while very powerful classes will be able to REALLY help in specific situations. Classes that are both versitile and powerful will very easily get what they want by being very likely to have a very powerful solution to the current problem. This is what matters most for balance.

    For example, here's how the various Tiers might deal with a specific set of situations, cut to spoilers due to size:

    Spoiler
    Show


    Situation 1: A Black Dragon has been plaguing an area, and he lives in a trap filled cave. Deal with him.

    Situation 2: You have been tasked by a nearby country with making contact with the leader of the underground slave resistance of an evil tyranical city state, and get him to trust you.

    Situation 3: A huge army of Orcs is approaching the city, and should be here in a week or so. Help the city prepare for war.

    Okay, so, here we go.

    Tier 6: A Commoner. Situation 1: If he's REALLY optimized, he could be a threat to the dragon, but a single attack from the dragon could take him out too. He can't really offer help getting to said dragon. He could fill up the entire cave with chickens, but that's probably not a good idea. Really, he's dead weight unless his build was perfectly optimized for this situation (see my Commoner charger build for an example). Situation 2: Well, without any stealth abilities or diplomacy, he's not too handy here, again unless he's been exactly optimized for this precise thing (such as through Martial Study to get Diplomacy). Really, again his class isn't going to help much here. Situation 3: Again, no help from his class, though the chicken thing might be amusing if you're creative.

    Tier 5: A Fighter. Situation 1: If he's optimized for this sort of thing (a tripper might have trouble, though a charger would be handy if he could get off a clear shot, and an archer would likely work) he can be a threat during the main fight, but he's probably just about useless for sneaking down through the cave and avoiding any traps the dragon has set out without alerting said dragon. Most likely the party Rogue would want to hide him in a bag of holding or something. Once in the fight if he's optimized he'll be solid, but if not (if he's a traditional SAB build or a dual weilding monkey grip type) he's going to be a liability in the combat (though not as bad as the Commoner). Situation 2: As the commoner before, his class really won't help here. His class just doesn't provide any useful tools for the job. It's possible (but very unlikely) that he's optimized in a way that helps in this situation, just as with the Commoner. Situation 3: Again, his class doesn't help much, but at least he could be pretty useful during the main battle as a front line trooper of some sort. Hack up the enemy and rack up a body count.

    Tier 4: The Rogue. Situation 1: Well he can certainly help get the party to the dragon, even if he's not totally optimized for it. His stealth and detection abilities will come in handy here, and if he puts the less stealthy people in portable holes and the like he's good to go. During the combat he's likely not that helpful (it's hard to sneak attack a dragon) but if he had a lot of prep time he might have been able to snag a scroll or wand of Shivering Touch, in which case he could be extremely helpful... he just has to be really prepared and on the ball, and the resources have to be available in advance. He's quite squishy though, and that dragon is a serious threat. Situation 2: With his stealth and diplomacy, he's all over this. Maybe not 100% perfect, but still pretty darn solid. An individual build might not have all the necessary skills, but most should be able to make do. Situation 3: Perhaps he can use Gather Information and such to gain strategic advantages before the battle... that would be handy. There's a few he's pretty likely to be able to pull off. He might even be able to use Diplomacy to buff the army a bit and at least get them into a good morale situation pre battle. Or, if he's a different set up, he could perhaps go out and assassinate a few of the orc commanders before the fight, which could be handy. And then during the fight he could do the same. It's not incredible, but it's something.

    Tier 3: The Beguiler. Situation 1: Again, getting through the cave is easy, perhaps easier with spell support. And again, if he's really prepared in advance, Shivering Touch via UMD is a possibility. But he's also got spells that could be quite useful here depending on the situation, and if he's optimized heavily, this is going to be pretty easy... Shadowcraft Mage, perhaps? Or Earth Dreamer? Either way, he's got a lot of available options, though like the Rogue he's somewhat squishy (and that Dragon won't fall for many illusions with his Blindsense) so he still needs that party support. Situation 2: Again, with his skills he's all over this one, plus the added ability to cast spells like charm makes this one much easier, allowing him to make contacts in the city quickly while he figures out where this guy is. Situation 3: Like the Rogue, he can get strategic advantages and be all over the Diplomacy. He's not quite as good at assassinating people if he takes that route (though sneaking up invisible and then using a coup de gras with a scythe is pretty darn effective), but using illusions during the fight will create some serious chaos in his favor. A single illusion of a wall of fire can really disrupt enemy formations, for example.

    Tier 2: The Sorcerer. Situation 1: It really depends on the Sorcerer's spell load out. If he's got Greater Floating Disk, Spectral Hand, and Shivering Touch, this one's going to be easy as pie, since he can just float down (and carry his party in the process) to avoid many traps, then nail the dragon in one shot from a distance. If he doesn't he'd need scrolls with the same issues that the UMD Rogue and Beguiler would need. If he's got Explosive Runes he could create a bomb that would take out the Dragon in one shot. If he's got Polymorph he could turn the party melee into a Hydra for extra damage. If he's got Alter Self he could turn himself into a Skulk to get down there sneakily. Certainly, it's possible that the Sorcerer could own this scenario... if he has the right spells known. That's always the hard part for a Sorcerer. Situation 2: Again, depends on the spell. Does he have divinations that will help him know who's part of the resistance and who's actually an evil spy for the Tyranical Govenerment? Does he have charm? Alter Self would help a ton here too for disguise purposes if he has it. Once again, the options exist that could totally make this easy, but he might not have those options. Runestaffs would help a bit, but not that much. Scrolls would help too, but that requires access to them and good long term preparation. Situation 3: Again, does he have Wall of Iron or Wall of Stone to make fortifications? Does he have Wall of Fire to disrupt the battlefield? How about Mind Rape and Love's Pain to kill off the enemy commanders without any ability to stop him? Does he have Blinding Glory on his spell list, or Shapechange, or Gate? Well, maybe. He's got the power, but if his spells known don't apply here he can't do much. So, maybe he dominates this one, maybe not.

    Tier 1: The Wizard. Situation 1: Memorize Greater Floating Disk, Shivering Touch, and Spectral Hand. Maybe Alter Self too for stealth reasons. Kill dragon. Memorize Animate Dead too, because Dragons make great minions (seriously, there's special rules for using that spell on dragons). Sweet, you have a new horsie! Or, you know, maybe you Mind Rape/Love's Pain and kill the dragon before he even knows you exist, then float down and check it out. Or maybe you create a horde of the dead and send them in, triggering the traps with their bodies. Or do the haunt shift trick and waltz in with a hardness of around 80 and giggle. Perhaps you cast Genesis to create a flowing time plane and then sit and think about what to do for a year while only a day passes on the outside... and cast Explosive Runes every day during that year. I'm sure you can come up with something. It's really your call. Situation 2: Check your spell list. Alter Self and Disguise Self can make you look like whoever you need to look like. Locate Creature has obvious utility. Heck, Contact Other Plane could be a total cheating method of finding the guy you're trying to find. Clairvoyance is also handy. It's all there. Situation 3: Oh no, enemy army! Well, if you've optimized for it, there's always the locate city bomb (just be careful not to blow up the friendly guys too). But if not, Love's Pain could assassinate the leaders. Wall of Iron/Stone could create fortifications, or be combined with Fabricate to armour up some of the troops. Or you could just cast Blinding Glory and now the entire enemy army is blind with no save for caster level hours. Maybe you could Planar Bind an appropriate outsider to help train the troops before the battle. Push comes to shove, Gate in a Solar, who can cast Miracle (which actually does have a "I win the battle" option)... or just Shapechange into one, if you prefer.


    So yeah, as you move up the Tiers you go from weak, unadaptable, and predictable (that Commoner's got very few useful options) to strong, adaptable, and unpredictable (who knows what that Wizard is going to do?). A Wizard can always apply a great deal of strength very efficiently, whether it's Shivering Touch on the Dragon or Blinding Glory on an enemy army. The Sorcerer has the power, but he may not have power that he can actually apply to the situation. The Beguiler has even less raw power and may have to use UMD to pull it off. The Rogue is even further along that line. And the Fighter has power in very specific areas which are less likely to be useful in a given situation.

    So yeah, that's really what the Tiers are about. How much does this class enable you to achieve what you want in a given situation? The more versitile your power, the more likely that the answer to that question is "a lot." If you've got tons of power and limited versitility (that's you, Sorcerers and charging Barbarians) then sometimes the answer is a lot, but sometimes it's not much. If you've got tons of versitility but limited power (hi, Rogue!) then it's often "a decent amount." If you've got little of both (Commoner!) then yeah, it's often "it doesn't."

    And of course reversing that and applying it to DMs, you get "how many effective options does this class give for solving whatever encounters I throw at them?" For Commoners, the answer may be none. For Fighters, it's sometimes none, sometimes 1, maybe 2, but you generally know in advance what it will be (if he's got Improved Trip and a Spiked Chain and all that, he's probably going to be tripping stuff, just a hint). For Wizards, it's tons, and they're all really potent, and you have no idea how he's going to do it. Does he blind the enemy army or assassinate all its leaders or turn into a Solar and just arbitrarily win the battle? There's no way to know until he memorizes his spells for the day (and even then you might not see it coming).

    Q: But what about dips? I mean, I rarely see anyone playing single class characters. What would a Barbarian 1/Fighter 6 be, for example?

    A: It's pretty simple. This system is paying attention to the fact that people are more likely to take the early levels of a class than the later levels, either because they simply don't get to a level where they'd see the late levels, or because of dipping. Generally speaking, a mix of classes should end up being as high up as the most powerful class in the mix if it's optimized, or somewhere in the middle of the classes used if not very optimized, and below them both if it's really strangely done. A Barbarian 1/Fighter 6 that's optimized would thus be Tier 4 generally, because it took the best qualities of a Barbarian (probably pounce, rage, and so on) and then made it stronger. Generally, you don't multiclass out unless you get something better by doing so, so you're usually going to end up at least as strong as the strongest class. This isn't always true, but it generally is. Meanwhile, if you do something silly like Wizard 4/Sorcerer 4, you might end up much lower. But assuming you're not doing anything rediculous, a combination of Tier 4 and Tier 5 classes will usually be Tier 4, though it might be Tier 5. Similar examples would be that a Scout/Ranger is probably going to be Tier 4 (though because there's a multiclassing feat for that, it could end up Tier 3), a Monk 1/Druid X will be Tier 1, a Fighter 2/Warblade X will be Tier 3, and so on.

    Q: My players want to play classes of wildly different Tiers. What can I do about this?

    A: Well, this will be a test of your DMing skill. The easiest solution is to convince them to play classes that are similar conceptually but different in power. For example, if they're currently going with Paladin, Druid, Monk, Illusionsist, then maybe you can get them to try out Crusader, Wild Shape Varient Ranger, Unarmed Varient Swordsage, Beguiler. That would make your life a lot easier. But if they're attached to their classes or feel that their class choice bests fits their character, then you've got a few options. One is to see the house rule section above and try something like that. Another is to simply provide extra support for the weaker classes... for example, perhaps more random magic items that drop are useful for unarmed strikers, while Wildling Clasps just don't seem to exist in your game. Maybe allowing more oddball "broken" tricks for the Monk (and perhaps Paladin) while being much more strict with the Illusionist and Druid. You can also allow more PrC options for the weaker guys... Monk 6/Shou Disciple 5/Unarmed Swordsage 4/Master of Nine 5 is fine for that Monk, but Illusionist 10/Earth Dreamer 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5 is not acceptable, and Druid/Planar Shepard is right out. You can also make sure that the challenges being put forward suit the strengths of the weaker classes. Something that makes good use of the Monk and Paladin's diplomacy would be advisable, for example. A challenge where being able to run really fast is handy might work too. And finally, you can bring the Druid and Illusionist aside and tell them the answer to the next question.

    Q: My party mates all want to play classes of wildly different Tiers. What can I do about this?

    A: First... see if you can get them to play something closer together, as above. If that won't work, okay. Now, if the class you're playing is noticably stronger than everyone else, try focusing your energy on buffing your party mates. Channel your power through them... it helps. If you're a DMM Cleric in a party with a Monk and Fighter, try persisting Recitation, Lesser Vigor, and Righteous Wrath of the Faithful instead of Righteous Might, Divine Power, and Divine Favor. You're still very powerful, and definitely getting results, but since you use your party mates to get those results, they feel useful too. Also, let them shine in their areas. If they're melees and you're a Cleric, don't turn into Godzilla and smash Tokyo. It's not polite. Focus on the other areas a bit more. If one of them is playing a Rogue, using Divine Insight to beat him on skills isn't nice. Let him have his fun, and save your spells for other areas if you can. If, however, you're playing a weaker class, then optimize optimize optimize! A CW Samurai is going to have a lot of trouble in a party full of Tier 3s and up, so maybe try being a Necropolitan CW Samurai 10/Zhentarium Fighter 10 with Imperious Command, Eviscerator, Improved Critical, and a pair of Lifedrinker Kukris. Carve out a niche where you're the king... they can have everything else. Also, make sure you've got something to do when you do have to sit out. Give your character a drinking habit or something.

    JaronK

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    Nice! Thanks for the repost, JaronK! I was afraid that this would be lost to the sands of Google Cache time!
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    Are you ever going to add any more classes to the list?

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    Thank you! We need to coordinate efforts to rescue more things before google cache's time limit runs out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Are you ever going to add any more classes to the list?
    Only if I play them or see them in action. I'm fine with other people adding in their opinions of course, but I don't want to misplace anything. The system's acceptable if it just gives people a solid idea of what the tiers mean... it doesn't have to be completely exhaustive.

    As it stands, I don't know if Incarnum stuff will end up in there... I find them so uninspiring that I just can't rank them.

    JaronK

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    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".

    I can see the idea behind creating a system of measurement in the hopes of having more compatible power levels in adventuring groups. But in reality this list does not achieve that goal, and instead just causes conflict between GM's and players. Even among amicable players it still does not achieve its goal, because the "tier" shouldn't be on the classes. The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.


    Here are some other flaws with the tier system for classes.

    Team Composition:

    The tier system completely ignores this ever present factor in D&D. Team composition is as important to D&D, as it is to E-sport competitive online games. Take League of Legends for instance, You see teams try to win by picking an entire group of mechanically strong characters. But they always lose to teams who pick characters designed to compliment a team strategy. The first team may have definably more raw power, but the synergy of the second group wins out in the end. It is the same in D&D. The tier system ends up functionally limiting the characters available to a player thus limiting the final possible team combos.

    Prestige, Multiclassing, and the Bigger Picture:


    The tier system examines the class as it is 1-20. It doesn't factor in the merging of 2 or 3 classes or the enrichment available through prestige classes. It doesn't look at the final build. You now run into campaigns where you lose a key component to a build because it is on a restricted list because some DM read this guide and is now on red alert for tier 1 classes. Or you get some pompous blowhard telling you about how your tier 5 will drag the group down and get everyone killed. ect, ect...


    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.
    No this is exactly why the tier system should assume players of equal skill in determining the tiers of classes. It is impossible to know how competent any one person would be, but it is possible to know how much any given class CAN be able to contribute with the tools given to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".

    I can see the idea behind creating a system of measurement in the hopes of having more compatible power levels in adventuring groups. But in reality this list does not achieve that goal, and instead just causes conflict between GM's and players. Even among amicable players it still does not achieve its goal, because the "tier" shouldn't be on the classes. The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.


    Here are some other flaws with the tier system for classes.

    Team Composition:

    The tier system completely ignores this ever present factor in D&D. Team composition is as important to D&D, as it is to E-sport competitive online games. Take League of Legends for instance, You see teams try to win by picking an entire group of mechanically strong characters. But they always lose to teams who pick characters designed to compliment a team strategy. The first team may have definably more raw power, but the synergy of the second group wins out in the end. It is the same in D&D. The tier system ends up functionally limiting the characters available to a player thus limiting the final possible team combos.

    Prestige, Multiclassing, and the Bigger Picture:


    The tier system examines the class as it is 1-20. It doesn't factor in the merging of 2 or 3 classes or the enrichment available through prestige classes. It doesn't look at the final build. You now run into campaigns where you lose a key component to a build because it is on a restricted list because some DM read this guide and is now on red alert for tier 1 classes. Or you get some pompous blowhard telling you about how your tier 5 will drag the group down and get everyone killed. ect, ect...


    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
    I have been discussing the tier system with a whole lot of people in a whole lot of groups for years now. I've never seen these discussions cause an argument, or disharmony, or anything like that. On the contrary, I've seen them help people understand why they were feeling frustrated (dude, you were comparing your Ranger to a Druid! Of course he was overshadowing you!), thereby providing them with ways of improving the situation. I've seen them provide GMs with better points of reference for how to balance the monsters against the party, and for how to balance the party against each other (for example, lower-tier classes are given more leeway with dicey rules interpretations, more freedom of choice in items, greater access to flaws, greater access to relaxed prereqs, and so on, and since the group knows that this is the case, we're all cool with it). I've seen it help GMs understand how to balance encounters in the absence of the party, letting them realize what having different class levels does to different baddies and what that means for the game.

    I have never, ever seen anyone say "I don't want to play a T4 class because they're too weak." I have never, ever seen anyone say "You're bringing a T5 class to the game? You're worthless." I have seen people say "Dude, that's a pretty big tier difference we're looking at. Are you sure you're going to be cool with that?" And if they're not cool with that, we work together to make the party harmonize without hurting anyone's character concept. (If they are cool with it, they aren't surprised when other people sometimes get the spotlight, because they knew going in that a Crusader does a Knight's job better.) I have seen people say "wait, my Psion's going to be the only T2 in a bunch of T4/T5s? You know, maybe I'd have more fun bringing in that Rogue build I've had in my head for a while." And then they do.

    The plural of anecdote is not data, as the saying goes. But my experiences are just as valuable as yours, and I think that what you're saying here is, at best, a highly skewed representation of how it goes for many, many people. In fact, in my experience, lack of understanding of the tier system is a far, FAR greater source of GM stress, player stress, and group disharmony than ANY discussion of how the tier system actually works. I'd also argue that you're missing a lot of the point of what JaronK's actually saying, but I'll let someone else handle that.
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    For what it's worth, my experience is basically the same as Zaq's. I think the tier list is a great tool.

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    I have always seen the tier system not as a ranking system, but as a classification system. It is not as much the relative power of the classes, but can be seen as the relative reactivity of the classes. It is more akin to the periodic table of elements than a list of tournament rankings. for the purposes of this analogy we can consider an encounter to be a known set of random atoms. (NOTE: For the purposes of analogy, most of the chemistry is simplified to basic levels)

    Lets call the tier 1 classes the alkali metals, we'll use lithium. When you take any set of random atoms and set it as an encounter for lithium, the results can be difficult to predict. The lithium can react with nearly anything, making for a very interesting encounter but a very quick one. The numbers of options that the lithium has is immense, just like a standard tier 1 class.

    Now lets look at a encounter between another known set of atoms and an alkaline earth metal, magnesium in this case. Magnesium has fuller valence shell, so it is not quite as able to react to nearly everything. It will still react with something, but it is slightly more predictable than lithium. The number of potential reactions is still staggering given a complex enough "encounter', but it will always pale in comparison to those available to lithium. This is equivalent to a tier 2 class.

    Let us skip a few now and look at the halogen family, namely chlorine. With a nearly full valence shell the ability of chlorine to react is extremely limited compared to magnesium and nearly incomparable to lithium. In a reaction with a given "encounter" the possible interactions of the chlorine are easily predictable. Here fall our lowest tier classes.

    Actually the preceding statement is a lie. The lowest tier of classes in our metaphor is the noble gasses. Given nearly any possible random encounter, a noble gas will do approximately nothing. With a full valence shell, there are nearly no possible reactions for neon to be a part of. It will have almost no impact on the overall situation. This is the true lowest class; the unoptimized monk, the poorly played truenamer.

    In closing, I believe that it is in fact a fallacy to see the tier system as a measure of power rankings in the classical sense. The tier system is not a measure of who has the most plusses in an individual category. The system is using power in the same way that I have been using reactivity. The system measures how many options a character has. The power comes more as a byproduct. In a given set of moves, some are more powerful as a matter of statistics. In a big enough group, the outliers can be very extreme. The power of tier 1 comes from these outliers, which is by definition only existent due to their large availability of the moves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".

    I can see the idea behind creating a system of measurement in the hopes of having more compatible power levels in adventuring groups. But in reality this list does not achieve that goal, and instead just causes conflict between GM's and players. Even among amicable players it still does not achieve its goal, because the "tier" shouldn't be on the classes. The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.
    My experience disagrees with everything in this post.

    The tier system and things like it, the people who have thought about it and used it have done more than help me understand which classes are lower power and which ones are higher power. No, more than that, they've emphasized balance and cooperation. Before I read about it, I didn't really consider party balance, one person overshadowing another or making things more difficult for the DM. Now though, I willingly step back from things that won't mesh well with my current group. When I see something of mine that will cause problems, I alter it. And my knowledge, pieced together from resources like the tier system, doesn't just help me recognize the difficulty- it helps me solve it without betraying my character concept. Stuff like this helped bring such potential difficulties to my attention and consider them, then deal with them appropriately rather than stumbling on in ignorance and frustration.

    And I know for a fact that all my skills won't make every character I play strong or even competent. When I play a psion, I find my character is capable of many, many more things than when I play a monk. My competence is irrelevant when I do not have the correct tools. It doesn't matter if someone knows how to build a house if they have none of the resources to create it. If I play a monk in a group of wizards and clerics, the capabilities of the other classes will overshadow mine.

    Admittedly, it's not all on the classes. That's stated right there in JaronK's write up. A player CAN influence how powerful their character is, whether by raising it or lowering it. But what you're working with strongly influences your level of power too.


    I want to go out and disagree with Zaq though- there are levels of power that I don't want to play, and thus classes I will usually avoid, and I've seen others who are the same way. But this is not a bad thing- it's merely an acknowledgement of one's own preferences, and thus what groups and premises are of interest to someone, and what ones aren't. It's better to recognize that a group's tastes and interests differ from yours than to try and force yourself or the group to conform to a different set of tastes. And things like the tier system assist in that recognition.
    Last edited by AmberVael; 2013-01-20 at 12:46 PM.

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    The other nice thing about the tier system is that it helps prepare DMs for what players are capable of. This is as true for an unoptimized player as it is for one with near-total system mastery.

    As an example, the first character I ever played when 3.5 came out was a sorcerer. I was in a game with an archer ranger, a Power Attacking fighter, an OA-heavy monk and a cleric who ended up dipping a level of fighter because cleric just wasn't cutting it for him.

    My sorcerer was not a very well-optimized PC. I wanted to play a very shaman-y character, with a lot of minor charms and just about anything animal-themed I could find. Most of my feats were skill-focused. The only really good spell I had was Sleep, and even that didn't stay good for long.

    That is, until I hit level 8. I'd been keeping up with my animal/charm theme, and the first spell that caught my eye in 4th-level was Polymorph. 3.5 was brand new and I'd only played in one 3.0 campaign prior to that, so I didn't know anything about all the headaches and power disparity Polymorph caused.

    So I took Polymorph because I thought it was cool, and the first time I used it, I flipped through the Monster Manual to figure out what to change into, when I stumbled on the remorhaz.

    So, in my first combat session of 8th-level, I went from being the mostly useless sorcerer whose primary contributions tended to involve bluff checks to a 20' long multi-legged beast of fury. I completely overwhelmed the first couple of encounters, and was consistently out-damaging the fighter and monk, who had hitherto been our primary melee tanks.

    As I kept messing around with Polymorph, I found a lot of really cool and unintentionally abusive forms to be, and I ended up completely overshadowing the rest of the party and frustrating my DM. Not because I was a min/maxer, or because I had any great system mastery. Not because I built to be a power player. Just because I picked a spell I thought was cool, and the DM hadn't ever given much thought to the idea of using Polymorph for combat.

    I can't help but think that the DM, if he had been aware of the tier system, would have recognized the potential tools a sorcerer might have at her disposal, and been better prepared to deal with that, or might have directed me away from spells like Polymorph.

    It's the same thing for wizards or clerics. A wizard can play like a crappy archer for 3/4 of the game, slinging around damage spells that don't even compare favorably to the fighter's greatsword. A cleric can spend his whole time healing. But all it takes is one day where the wizard player thinks, "hey, this Solid Fog spell seems cool" and upon using it realizes that it completely locks down 75% of enemies in the SRD, or one day where the cleric decides to prepare Find the Path on a whim, and inadvertently bypasses the majority of the planned adventure, for everything to change.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
    The Tier system is simply a method of classification that can help people understand the inherent flaws in class balance in D&D. If you don't find it useful then don't use it, but posting a rant like this is simply in poor taste.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    The Tier system is simply a method of classification that can help people understand the inherent flaws in class balance in D&D. If you don't find it useful then don't use it, but posting a rant like this is simply in poor taste.
    He appears to be arguing that there is no such thing as class imbalance. Apparently every game he plays has a terrible player picking Wizard, with the experienced players picking Monk/Fighter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    The "tier" system should define players. You can take a tier 1 player and give him anything, and he will always shine in the group. He will always spend the time and effort to make sure his character is efficient and competent. And vice versa you can give a tier 4 player the best build in the world and he will still be jealous and incompetent.
    You may possibly have missed the meaning of the tiers, because you appear to be equating Tier 1 with "super-awesome good things and full of kittens and puppies" and Tier 4 with "this is the worst thing except for the other even worse things", which is not at all the intent; JaronK in fact suggests using Tier 3 and Tier 4 classes preferentially in most games.

    That said, the idea of a tier ranking for players is interesting, though I'm not quite sure how you'd arrange it. Care to expand on that in another thread?

    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
    Ironically, just about the only dissent and friction I've seen in regard to the tier system is between people who think it's a fairly good description of existing class imbalance in 3.5, and people who think the concept is nuts.

    So far, we've managed to avoid flaming responses, though, so that's good.
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    With regards to preserving material from MinMax, there's been a refugee camp set up on the Rule of Cool Forums. Quite a few members have made it over there with recovered material. Answer to the security question is "Legend" if you're interested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    Team Composition:

    The tier system completely ignores this ever present factor in D&D. Team composition is as important to D&D, as it is to E-sport competitive online games. Take League of Legends for instance, You see teams try to win by picking an entire group of mechanically strong characters. But they always lose to teams who pick characters designed to compliment a team strategy. The first team may have definably more raw power, but the synergy of the second group wins out in the end. It is the same in D&D. The tier system ends up functionally limiting the characters available to a player thus limiting the final possible team combos.
    Pick any level of 10 or above. Make any team of 4 using Tier 4 or lower classes. I could give you a team who's composition is Cleric 10, Cleric 10, Cleric 10, and Cleric 10 that is simply better than they are.

    There is a point where raw power beats synergy. You need both. Also, read the tier descriptions again. T1 isn't T1 only because of raw power. It is also that because of versatility. In fact they have such versatility that they can synergize with minimal coordination during creation.

    Finally, the tier system does NOT limit characters available. DMs limit characters available.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".
    Except it fails at that. You want a game about big damn heroes, in a world with dragons and wizards? First question you need to ask yourself: do I base it on simulation and make it rules-heavy, or narrative and make it rules-light? The best narrative-based game I've seen is FATE. GURPS and HERO are great simulation-based games (although HERO is better at doing stuff for the "in-between" power level, while GURPS tends to be either real gritty or crazy high-powered).

    D&D can support many different power levels. The problem is, it doesn't say that, and the devs didn't really know it until late in the game. Is your preferred power level high-powered warriors with supernatural powers (clerics, gishes, and druids) and powerful masters of magic (wizards, psions, archivists), strong supernatural and martial warriors (crusader, warblade, toned down cleric, lower powered gishes) and mages with a couple tricks up their sleeves (toned down wizards, psions, and cloistered clerics), a strong band of adventurers who nonetheless have to pick their battles carefully (well-played barbarian and fighter, blaster wizard with a couple lower-level control spells, cleric that buffs the brute) or a misfit band of adventurers who have to pick their battles carefully and get some luck (sword-n-board fighter, crossbow-wielding rogue, blaster wizard, and healbot cleric)?

    Ignoring this discrepancy in power level that comes from the very core of the system will create more problems than it solves.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post

    Prestige, Multiclassing, and the Bigger Picture:


    The tier system examines the class as it is 1-20. It doesn't factor in the merging of 2 or 3 classes or the enrichment available through prestige classes. It doesn't look at the final build.
    The tier system is a very rough estimate that isn't the be-all and end-all to talk about flexibility and optimization. There are tens of prestige classes. This complaint seems to amount to that rather than make a perfect system for every possible situation, that the tier system provides a set of useful heuristics. It would make even less sense to talk about every build because the main point of the tier system is what will happen given roughly the same amount of optimization.

    But even at a very rough level it still works when including PrCs. In most cases, if a class is in a given tier, PrCs that it naturally fits with are in about the same tier. There are of course some exceptions. PrCs that lose a lot of caster levels can change T1 to T3- Green Star Adept would be one of the more obvious examples. And there are some cases where the tier itself doesn't change often, but going into a PrC almost always makes sense- the most obvious examples here is a sorcerer who loses nothing by PrCing into a fullcasting PrC.

    You now run into campaigns where you lose a key component to a build because it is on a restricted list because some DM read this guide and is now on red alert for tier 1 classes. Or you get some pompous blowhard telling you about how your tier 5 will drag the group down and get everyone killed. ect, ect...
    I'm curious. Have you personally experienced either of these happenings?
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    So, what about PF's tier list? I heard PF massively fixed Fighters, Rangers and Paladins while kinda screwing over Rogues.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by The LOBster View Post
    So, what about PF's tier list? I heard PF massively fixed Fighters, Rangers and Paladins while kinda screwing over Rogues.
    Fighter, ranger, and rogue are largely unchanged (fighter gets some bigger numbers, but I'm not sure if that's enough to make him even a 4. Ranger is now solidly tier 4, rather than on the edge between 4 and 5. Rogue is still 4). Paladin is tier 4. Lord_Gareth thinks paladins still aren't good enough (I agree, they still don't really have ways of dealing with the large amount of outsiders with flight and/or teleportation), Toapat thinks they're worse because of lack of splat support (3.5 had SpC and some good feats).
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonest; 2013-01-20 at 07:41 PM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by The LOBster View Post
    So, what about PF's tier list? I heard PF massively fixed Fighters, Rangers and Paladins while kinda screwing over Rogues.
    PF's Tier list is mostly the same as 3.5, with Paladins and possibly Monks moving up to T4 (maybe even T3 with certain archetypes) Rouges are still T4, Fighters are still probably T5. Interestingly enough, a case can be made for Human Sorcerers moving up to low T1 due to the 20 extra spells they can learn through their Favored Class bonus, giving them a large increase in versatility.


    Edit: Partially ninja'd.
    Last edited by Chess435; 2013-01-20 at 07:43 PM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Polymorph
    So how long before you noticed that you can cast that on other people? Definitely helps with the "making the melees sad" issue, not so much the "making the DM cry" issue.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Currently playing one of said Human Sorcerers in PF, and I can vouch for the 20 more spells making them much more interesting. Plus, the Bloodlines offer nice perks too. But the inability to switch spell selection like a Wizard, Cleric or Druid would still confines them to T2 in my opinion. They have the raw power, but still not boundless versatility.

    Now, if we get into shenanigans like Paragon Surge + Expanded Arcana giving you spontaneous access to any spell on your class list for the low, low cost of a third level spell...

    Or crafting a Staff of Wish to use through Arcane Apotheosis...

    ... Yup, they can be made Tier 1. Just not right out of the box.
    Last edited by Raven777; 2013-01-20 at 08:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotterdammerung View Post
    I weep for all the GM's and players who come here for help and instead get taught how to be prejudice towards classes. D&D is supposed to be a game that plunges you into a world of imagination and instead people around the world are standing around a table arguing over "tiers".
    I found the tier list before I even started playing and use it religiously. Classes that are within a tier of each other synergize better without the higher tier overshadowing the other, lower tier Class to much. Which makes it much easier for players and DMs to decide what their characters are going to be and what kind of game is taking place.

    In closing, this system is a blight. It does nothing good. It accomplishes no goals. It is seeped in misunderstanding and flawed logic. It causes class bigotry, gm to player friction, gm stress, and player stress. And I personally wish it would die in a fire.
    See, this is where we disagree. It makes players look at eachother's characters and think about how their own characters relate to eachother and he DM.
    At the beginning of my current campaign, I demanded that my players make a Tier 1 character, because I wanted them to become legendary gods. Players both accepted and are in a campaign that manages to keep them on their toes, while for the most part allowing them to show off why the Wizard and Druid are Tier 1.

    Edit: I'm wondering if/when the PrC version will be rescued. If it actually exists that is.
    Last edited by Threadnaught; 2013-01-20 at 08:13 PM.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    What happened to the Min/Max board?
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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    The parent site was hacked, everything involved with "howsyourmuffin" is offline for the foreseeable future. So people from the boards have been working around the clock to salvage as much as possible.

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    Default Re: Tier System for Classes (Rescued from MinMax)

    Out of curiosity, how big of a "spells known" list do you think a spontaneous caster would need to have the sort of versatility commonly exhibited by T1 characters?
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