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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    one thing i always resented from the dm that got me into dnd. i played a healbot cleric. i wanted to, by the way. the dude tanked like no one else in the group, he was gruff, grumpy, pretty solid in close quarters, had a large variety of boosts, and healed. a true support medic. we faced a lot of undead and he pretty much forced me into going radiant servant of pelor. a friggin' great prc, by the way except for one problem. i became the floor-killer of the band when facing undead. i punched so high above my role that he swapped out the undead we were facing with demons and devils, effectively neutering my main offensive abilities. he kept the difficulty level the same, so at least whenever i routinely healed over 100hp in a single standard action i was useful (if overqualified for the hp totals of my allies).

    my build was cleric 5/ rsop 2, pretty unoptimized in the traditional sense (read: ability scores, feats, etc), but i was great for my given role. a swap of enemy types and i basically became an auto-doc just after going into a prc designed to add offense to the group. dm fiat made my build accidentally unoptimized, just because i became a specialist.

    tl;dr: crippling overspecialization hurts otherwise awesome classes.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucas Yew View Post
    This thread is incredible for a designer, in the sense that it easily lists what you should NEVER do in designing a d20-based character class...
    I think a lot of the notes are generic as well. For instance "gets worse versions of generic abilities" is pretty widely applicable. Gets worse versions of other special abilities can still be good (something as opposed to nothing) but you have to remember there is a better version out their.

    Also comedic value.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    tl;dr: crippling overspecialization hurts otherwise awesome classes.
    Underspecialization can, too. Only a moron (or someone who didn't playtest enough) would create a class which could do anything two or three other classes could, as well as they could. Hence, a generalist is going to be less effective than a specialist. This can still make for a useful character, but spread them thin enough and you might get something like the monk.

    Actually, taking most of this advice to an opposite extreme could end up with a similarly-terrible class.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I'll admit I'm not familiar with all the possibilities of those methods, but the ones in that link don't look much better than what (say) warlocks or bards can do, and it wouldn't surprise me if the same was true for many of the others.
    Full casters aren't powerful because they have 9th-level spell slots; they're powerful because of the spells they can put in them.
    I'm not saying that the Healer should be a Tier 1 or even Tier 2 class, but as you said, it's on about the same power/versatility level as the Warlock (a Tier 3 class, IIRC), and should be ranked (tiered?) as such.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by ATHATH View Post
    I'm not saying that the Healer should be a Tier 1 or even Tier 2 class, but as you said, it's on about the same power/versatility level as the Warlock (a Tier 3 class, IIRC), and should be ranked (tiered?) as such.
    This was the basis on which the healer was set to tier 3 in the community tiering, incidentally.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    This can still make for a useful character, but spread them thin enough and you might get something like the monk.
    To be fair, the monk is also at least partially specialised in somethng that was literally impossible in base 3.5 (making a full attack after a move action), and IIRC didn't have a reliable way to pull it off when the edition was abandoned for 4e.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    There's also the Palladium technique, exemplified in Ninjas and Superspies - write the general rules so incredibly poorly that it's hard to compare what the classes specifically do to them, then give the classes abilities that don't actually do anything given those rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Firest Kathon View Post
    I really hope you did this on purpose . Totally up to GM abuse interpretation on what properly interrupts your meditation, and whether you can interrupt yourself or need an outside disturbance. I'm imagining a Doombringer Champion during his morning meditation, just sitting there and thinking "Why is nobody coming by and ask me stupid questions. I'll never get my spells if no one disturbs me."

    My thoughts exactly, loved it.

    Good that it stays.
    Overall like the fluff and semiuselessness (well it still has 9th Level casting whcih combined with its CHassis makes it at the very least better than monks, SOulblades and consorts, maybe also Fighters and equivalents, though granted, thats not hard^^) a lot.


    So, we have the MAD dest Class there is, on its own its horrible to adequate (after all, while most of its spells are very situational, these situations CAN occur), but has a good to great chassis.

    It seems overall a perfect PrC Jumpstarter, mayhap put im some marginally powerful feat row that improves its spellcasting power (say, may sacrifice 2 spell slots to cast one spell of the same school they do not know 1/day per five Class levels or somesuch) to make players avoid prestiging out?
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    To be fair, the monk is also at least partially specialised in somethng that was literally impossible in base 3.5 (making a full attack after a move action), and IIRC didn't have a reliable way to pull it off when the edition was abandoned for 4e.
    I was thinking of the 3.5 monk when I said that. It's specialized in supernatural abilities mimicking outdated spells and intraclass conflict.
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I was thinking of the 3.5 monk when I said that. It's specialized in supernatural abilities mimicking outdated spells and intraclass conflict.
    True, but it also specialised in redundant abilities. Some of their supernatural abilities are actually worthwhile in low op groups for no reason other than I've seen casters refuse to memorise anything that doesn't deal damage or heal people, but no level of optimisation can make Flurry of Blows and increased Move synergise.

    Off the top of my head, I remember 3.5's monk abilities being the sort of thing that would be awesome five or six levels earlier, but now the wizard could just dedicate a spell slot to them. I think it's major problem is the lateness of a lot of features.

    4e and 5e both made the monk good, to the point where I'm designing a 5e Wuxia system which gives each class a different Martial Arts progression instead of giving weapons damage dice, and having Ki/Chi points be a character trait rather than a class trait. It's good enough that, if a GM would allow longswords (potentially sans versatile) to be martial arts weapons I'd play one. But that's another thread.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    but no level of optimisation can make Flurry of Blows and increased Move synergise.
    Ahem: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...-Free-Movement
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    4e and 5e both made the monk good, to the point where I'm designing a 5e Wuxia system which gives each class a different Martial Arts progression instead of giving weapons damage dice, and having Ki/Chi points be a character trait rather than a class trait. It's good enough that, if a GM would allow longswords (potentially sans versatile) to be martial arts weapons I'd play one. But that's another thread.
    4e and 5e made every class playable and most builds halfway optimized for something. Sure, there’s still high-op and varying levels of supplement support (4e PHB3 classes, 5e Sorcerer getting so few non-PHB spells), but if you want something that does a job, pick a class and have a decent score in your prime stat. Job done. I have some downright weird builds for 5e that still do something (you can take 1 level in each class and still not be a complete failure at life, for example; normal human can do it with standard point-buy - 14/14/14/13/13/13 placed as you desire), which is more than I can say for my 3.5 ventures. That’s my evangelistic shpeel over; I’m curious as to how you’d screw up a 5e class using only flaws in the current classes, though...
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    4e and 5e made every class playable and most builds halfway optimized for something. Sure, there’s still high-op and varying levels of supplement support (4e PHB3 classes, 5e Sorcerer getting so few non-PHB spells), but if you want something that does a job, pick a class and have a decent score in your prime stat. Job done. I have some downright weird builds for 5e that still do something (you can take 1 level in each class and still not be a complete failure at life, for example; normal human can do it with standard point-buy - 14/14/14/13/13/13 placed as you desire), which is more than I can say for my 3.5 ventures. That’s my evangelistic shpeel over; I’m curious as to how you’d screw up a 5e class using only flaws in the current classes, though...
    4e did so better than 5e, in 4e it was harder to build somebody that punched significantly ahead than the rest of the party than it is in 5e, but they're both pretty solid. I'm not a big fan of how much magic there is in the system, but that's why I'm making my own 5e hack (much further in development) without any spell-using classes.

    For screwing up a 5e class, let's look at the standard Ranger. A relatively small number of spells known, from a list that's not brilliant, with some spell taxes if you want to keep your damage game decent. Then remove a decent amount of power from the main class to put it into the subclasses, but forget to give the subclasses broadly useful abilities that work. But even then it's hard to call the Ranger strictly bad, more disappointing.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    For screwing up a 5e class, let's look at the standard Ranger. A relatively small number of spells known, from a list that's not brilliant, with some spell taxes if you want to keep your damage game decent. Then remove a decent amount of power from the main class to put it into the subclasses, but forget to give the subclasses broadly useful abilities that work. But even then it's hard to call the Ranger strictly bad, more disappointing.
    Not to mention features that are extremely circumstantial and do almost nothing unless the DM goes out of his way to make them useful (Favoured Enemy, Natural Explorer, Primeval Awareness). With an extra-special mention for Primeval Awareness, which actually becomes less useful when in your favoured terrain. There's a lot to learn from the core ranger indeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    Snip
    A bit of a late response, but I still want to give mad props for whipping this up, it's exactly what I was going for.

    Class table looks powerful at first sight: Check.
    Unsynergistic design with no real strengths: Check.
    Dependent on literally every single ability score: Check.
    A hilariously bad trap feature: Check.
    Can lose its class features extremely easily: Check.

    A nooby trap at its finest. An optimiser might be able to create a halfway decent build with it, but then again they'll never be fooled by the deceiving exterior to begin with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalliman View Post
    A bit of a late response, but I still want to give mad props for whipping this up, it's exactly what I was going for.

    Class table looks powerful at first sight: Check.
    Unsynergistic design with no real strengths: Check.
    Dependent on literally every single ability score: Check.
    A hilariously bad trap feature: Check.
    Can lose its class features extremely easily: Check.

    A nooby trap at its finest. An optimiser might be able to create a halfway decent build with it, but then again they'll never be fooled by the deceiving exterior to begin with.
    I don't see how it's actually reliant on Int, just getting skill points it can't really use, I can see it for anything else. Maybe if we changed it so being able to cast spells is based off of Wisdom, save DCs are based off of Charisma, and bonus spells are based off of Intelligence?

    I actually love the capstone, take three rounds once a week to make a Save or Die you must use by the next round. I can see potential for a very simple attempt at a thrown weapon build by going Halfing, taking a few levels of DoomBringer Champion, and use a slightly altered version of the Giant's Halfling Rock Skipping Champion to allow it to use any thrown weapon. At 1st level you can throw a 1d4 bolt 10 feet, by sixth level you are throwing a bolt 20 feet for 1d6 damage, at 7th level you can skip it to another enemy within 10 feet, at 8th level we can pick a skip trick (I'd go for either Ba-bump or Ping Pong, with the second trick as either the other or Lucky Bounce), 9th level we get another skip, and a third at 11th level, allowing us to deal up to 4*(1d6+Strength) damage per round, plus potential Ping Pong bonuses. If we can get to 20th level we might be able to go Doombringer Champion 17/Rock Skipping Champion 3 to get up to 12*(1d12+Strength) damage in a round, plus any feat or spell bonuses you can get. It's still really bad, but it's a viable build that doesn't rely on getting additional spells added to your list, and I'm not a good 3.X optimiser.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Don't forget to give it 1/day abilities that look good enough to use as an encounter-ender...but really aren't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I don't see how it's actually reliant on Int, just getting skill points it can't really use, I can see it for anything else. Maybe if we changed it so being able to cast spells is based off of Wisdom, save DCs are based off of Charisma, and bonus spells are based off of Intelligence?

    I actually love the capstone, take three rounds once a week to make a Save or Die you must use by the next round. I can see potential for a very simple attempt at a thrown weapon build by going Halfing, taking a few levels of DoomBringer Champion, and use a slightly altered version of the Giant's Halfling Rock Skipping Champion to allow it to use any thrown weapon. At 1st level you can throw a 1d4 bolt 10 feet, by sixth level you are throwing a bolt 20 feet for 1d6 damage, at 7th level you can skip it to another enemy within 10 feet, at 8th level we can pick a skip trick (I'd go for either Ba-bump or Ping Pong, with the second trick as either the other or Lucky Bounce), 9th level we get another skip, and a third at 11th level, allowing us to deal up to 4*(1d6+Strength) damage per round, plus potential Ping Pong bonuses. If we can get to 20th level we might be able to go Doombringer Champion 17/Rock Skipping Champion 3 to get up to 12*(1d12+Strength) damage in a round, plus any feat or spell bonuses you can get. It's still really bad, but it's a viable build that doesn't rely on getting additional spells added to your list, and I'm not a good 3.X optimiser.
    The problem I see with the doombolt is that it's a save or die with a DC 15+INT fortitude save. Anything you'll fight at level 20 either has a very high chance of making that save or isn't worth using a once per week ability on. And a 20th level wizard can cast wail of the banshee, which has a DC 19+INT fortitude save, 4+INT times a day. Admittedly that wouldn't be the best use of 9th level spell slots- but that's because you have spells like wish and gate. If it came earlier, or had a harder save, or wasn't the only use a doombringer champion has for intelligence (besides skill points that they can't use effectively anyway), it would be good. But as it is, it's way overshadowed by pretty much any other class.

    The problem I see with the halfling doombringer champion/rock skipping champion is that you'd have no armor, a weapon that takes a move action to prepare, and a code of conduct that keeps your party from directly helping you.

    The only features that are terrible by themselves are the code of conduct and the need for interrupted meditation to prepare spells. Everything else you can find a way to use, but it takes optimization just to be relevant. You're just always better off with a different class.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firest Kathon View Post
    I really hope you did this on purpose . Totally up to GM abuse interpretation on what properly interrupts your meditation, and whether you can interrupt yourself or need an outside disturbance. I'm imagining a Doombringer Champion during his morning meditation, just sitting there and thinking "Why is nobody coming by and ask me stupid questions. I'll never get my spells if no one disturbs me."
    That's another essential for a bad class - Plenty for the players and GM to argue about for how it works
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I don't see how it's actually reliant on Int, just getting skill points it can't really use, I can see it for anything else. Maybe if we changed it so being able to cast spells is based off of Wisdom, save DCs are based off of Charisma, and bonus spells are based off of Intelligence?
    Doombolt keys off Intelligence. Admittedly that's way too late to really call it a dependency, but it does mean that if you do somehow get to level 20, your ultimate ability will be laughably easy to resist unless you've been raising Intelligence (as opposed to just "pretty easy").

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I actually love the capstone, take three rounds once a week to make a Save or Die you must use by the next round.
    A save-or-die-after-about-three-minutes, mind you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post

    Now, there's only one thing left to do...

    The Doombringer Champion
    *snip*
    This is brilliant and hilarious. You could probably even get away with adding a few extra direct damage spells to their list that are one or two levels below where they normally appear on that list. Say fireball as a 4th level spell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    This is brilliant and hilarious.
    it is, but there's a distinct lack of "selling point" to the class. for example, i get how jormengand created this monstrosity, but i'm wondering what they thought about to sell it as a newbie trap. a lot of the class simply has no narrative synergy: it's an evil class that throws lightning, becomes immune to fire, can heal by eating magic, but spell-wise, it's all over the place. searing light is one of the best low-level blasts against undead (plus is a light spell so there's another thematic element that is wonky), jump, and i don't even remember beyond level 3 to be honest it seemed so disjointed. which i know was the point, but hey. if jormengand went to all that trouble to make a newbie-trap, might as well go the whole nine yards, right?

    can we get a brainstorming session going? let's take bonehead billy, and we want to troll him because he's "that guy" at the gaming table. how can we create some edgy fluff for the doombringer champion that will make billy think it's the most overpowered class ever "because it says so right here"?!

    i'll start:

    the doombringer champion is a law unto herself. she fears no one and not even the flames of the deepest pit of hell can harm her. she smites those brazen enough to stand against her with the power of the heavens cleft asunder.


    that's it, i'm out. stupid writer's block...
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Doombringers are known and feared for the destruction they bring wherever they go. Masters of thunder and magic, their approach is as inexorable as the certain death they herald. A Doombringer's strength lies not in sudden bursts of devastation from nowhere, but in the constant hammer-beat of inevitable brutality, round after round. Durable and enduring, they dish out constant pain. The most powerful of them are known to lay out an inevitable doom upon their foes, who will be given a brief time to know their certain death before it crashes down upon them. Woe be all to whom a Doombringer turns his gaze, for though they are not yet dead, it is now only a matter of time.

  23. - Top - End - #53
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    A slightly broader non-D&D focused list.

    1. Powerful in-combat abilities which take so long to use that fights are nearly always already over.

    2. The ability to craft in a modern/future setting where it's easy/cheap to purchase equivalent gear.

    3. A defensive class with weak offense and no good way to keep enemies from ignoring you.

    4. Abilities which are useless in the game's implied game format. (Ex: Abilities around unarmed and/or smuggling small weapons when the standard game format is as a military unit.)

    5. Having ways to more easily deal with challenges which no one else has significant issues with.

    6. Being good at abilities which are easily overcome with low level gear. (ex: being good at computer hacking when a cheap auto-hacker is available)

    7. Being the best at what is still a sub-par tactic. (Ex: Melee in many modern/sci-fi games - with the exception of Jedi.)

    8. Having an OP ability which is easily resisted. (I've seen this in systems where the designer was obviously married to the idea of the ability but through play-testing realize it's OP and put in all sorts of patches instead of removing/nerfing the ability itself.)

    9. Having an ability with high risk when an equal powered ability from another class lacks the risk. (hello wild mage!)

    10. Classes sold as being jack-of-all-trades in systems which reward having an alpha tactic.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Guizonde View Post
    searing light is one of the best low-level blasts against undead
    You're... you're kidding, right?

    Apart from an oddly-specific sub-list of undead (namely "Vampires" and "Undead orcs", AFAICT), the spell does exactly as much damage to undead as fireball, hits fewer targets, has a shorter range, and requires a roll to hit at all rather than allowing a roll for half damage. Against vampires and undead orcs, it does an extra one point of damage per level, still has a shorter range and still hits fewer targets and still needs a roll to hit at all. And at least fireball works properly on living creatures and constructs.

    Now of course, a doombringer champion is more likely to have a decent attack bonus than a reflex save DC worth a damn, but searing light is awful. It's one of the worst blasting spells you can get (in fact, most of the light spells seem to be pretty awful).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    10. Classes sold as being jack-of-all-trades in systems which reward having an alpha tactic.
    I fall for this one almost every time.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Velaryon View Post
    I fall for this one almost every time.
    There are systems where jack-of-all trades can work. Most obviously systems where enemies have multiple defenses which vary significantly. So - while others are forced to attack the same one, the jack can always target their weakest.

    And Pathfinder actually made the bard a decent jack - but in combat they get their awesome buffing in addition to playing second fiddle at whatever else they do to make up for it. (casting or combat)

    But - there are a LOT of systems which just have a class be mediocre at everything without any major parts of the mechanics which makes that viable OR extra things for the class to make up for not having a solid alpha tactic.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2017-11-28 at 09:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    There are systems where jack-of-all trades can work. Most obviously systems where enemies have multiple defenses which vary significantly. So - while others are forced to attack the same one, the jack can always target their weakest.
    Not being hugely combat focused also tends to help the jack of all trades - at least they have some relevant skill for most everything, even if they're not on par with an expert.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    powers that might be powerful but are just bad for pcs

    for example disease, it takes a long time to have an effect so its rarely going to be useful because it will take days to do anything

    and abilities that are not team friendly
    going the disease rout maybe his disease is an aura that takes effect if they are close to him for more then 10 minutes so most likely to hit the party.
    Ahh and as a servant of the god of plague he must attack any one who would try and cure a disease, and he needs to spread disease when ever he can. Lets also give it a class feature that we pretend is a benefit like a swarm of flies that distracts nearby creatures but also makes it impossible to hide what he is basically preventing him from going into towns or stuff.

    finally class features removing a restriction that dms don't enforce like the ability to speak as an immediate action rather than a free action (so you can do it off turn).
    Or the ability to ignore food while in forests or jungles at the cost of rotting all trail rations left near you for more then a day. Thus reminding people of the problem and then making it worse.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Not being hugely combat focused also tends to help the jack of all trades - at least they have some relevant skill for most everything, even if they're not on par with an expert.
    True. But such systems generally don't have an alpha tactic.

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    Default Re: Making an innocuously terrible class

    We need a flavorful-but-useless 'class feature' as well to drive in the grimdark.

    Aura of Doom: A doombringer champion radiates an aura of evil as a cleric of her class level (see the Detect Evil spell for details). This malign aura also creates spontaneous magical expressions of malice and entropy within a radius of 10ft./level, causing effects such as spoiled or stagnant drinks, small plants withering and dying, uncomfortable chills down the necks of nearby people, etc. The doombringer champion has no control over when or how this aura manifests.
    Last edited by The Glyphstone; 2017-11-29 at 12:29 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

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