Prestige Classes: What's Wrong?

  • @mr-moloch said in Improvement on Unique multiclasses:

    Maybe a separate thread should be started on obtaining PrCs, is it too hard, too pointless, because we do see very few applications for these. Is an application unnecessary? I don't know, but thoughts are cool. I'd also love it if someone in the player base said "hey! I have time to make some PrCs" because actually doing it is not too hard, just time consuming.

    Seeing as I'm getting delegated the task of starting discussions on subjects of great interest (without actually being told to), here goes.

    I'm going to list each Prestige Class currently supported on CoA and MY OWN THOUGHTS on what's wrong.

    Arcane Archer: Potentially a cool class, but limited by racial choices. Half-elves tend to be derided as quite weak mechanically and role-play wise whereas elves have historically been viewed negatively OOC. There's a reason why we had the "Pointy-Eared Humans" meme in v3.

    Assassin: Probably one of the more annoying ones, as DM stance over the years (possibly muddled by rumors) has flip flopped on whether or not you need to actually full death kill another player to fulfill the roleplay obligations. I've seen some players say subdual PVP was approved for them, but collecting proof of the combat, others maintain it must result in death.

    Blackguard: Probably the hardest PrC to earn. You have to do a hell of a lot, and by default, a Blackguard excludes classes (LE/CE paladin, evil cleric, evil Divine Champion) naturally inclined towards many of the aspects. Not to mention Blackguards have come up repeatedly in IRC discussions as needing people OOCly afraid of their player's PVP potential. IIRC we've had 5 PC Blackguards in CoA, and Citizen Bane has played 3 of them. While I hestiate to bring that up considering his views on people overblowing his PVP, this is required for the point.

    Divine Champion: This is one I personally would love to have, and have pursued unsuccessfully in the past. The requirements are pretty straightforward. Be a Champion of the Faith, be known as a powerful warrior, show how the dogma is lived and practiced. The problem there is, some of that conflicts with dogmas. IE a Divine Champion of Mask shouldn't be broadcasting their beliefs in him, same with Cyric. Being a powerful warrior is defined as what? Being able to solo kill the entire server at once? Being able to solo tank 7-12 quests?

    Dwarven Defender: A racially-locked class to dwarves. It's one of those classes that're pretty strong in low magic/level servers like ours. Especially with max HP, as the last one we had was able to get 250+ and heavy defensive buffs. But this comes at a trade off: What's the difference between a Dwarven Defender and a Champion of Moradin? They both overlap a lot of the same ideals.

    Harper Scout: A PrC that may or may not be supportable on CoA considering this largely depends on whether or not the Harpers are active. Not to mention in the past when you could see levels and logged in PCs, this was a death sentence. It's frequently buffed outside CoA to make it usable due to its level cap and limited mechanical bonuses (past stat + feat ability stacking).

    Pale Master: A class that works for any non-good, arcane caster. The problems here are twofold: 1) You need to research and develop the ritual, which involves undeath. A huge warning sign if team good/law are active and strong. 2) Our level range doesn't allow the full power of PM + the spells you'd miss out on from doing it are often difficult to acquire via scroll. IE if you take it at level 3 arcane and get to level 7 PM, you're missing out on a lot of level 3-5 spells. I'm not 100% sure on how PM works, it's been ages since I tinkered with it but generally oyu'd also lose the base spell access too.

    On CoA, however, it's been opened up to more than just arcane casters. The problem still remains of it involving undeath and causing huge problems if there's a strong ACOG.

    Purple Dragon Knight: Renamed Knight in CoA, a fairly interesting class that requires significant deeds done ingame to be knighted by any relevant order within Cormyr. It's also quite strong due to its party buffs, but has similar issues to Palemaster due to level range.

    Red Dragon Disciple: Renamed Dragon Disciple for CoA. Similar to PM, you need to research the ritual, find a dragon and many other things. Mechanical requirements lifted for CoA as well. Its another victim to levle range: In order to unlock maximum power, you'd have to have higher than what CoA has. Not to mention in the past, any DD applications required formal build notification to the DMs, to avoid approving powerbuilds.

    Shadowdancer: If Blackguard isn't the hardest PrC to earn, this takes the cake. It's one of the most powerful classes to have due to Hide in Plain Sight. I've noted that there's a reason why there's only been one player in CoA history after v2 ended who received this that hadn't been a DM at some point before being awarded it. Not to mention the requirements are difficult. How do you mess with shadows and not be Sharran or Maskarran? How would you even begin to know that was possible?

    Shifter: The main PrC of interest to druids. It could be opened up to anybody who has a shapechange ability as per PnP. It's also one that requires higher levels of courtesy than expected. (incidents of people without True Seeing active able to tell the difference between a dog and a druid disguised as a dog come to mind...)

    Weapon Master: Probably the easiest one to earn. Lots of PVP, no PKing required unless absolutely required as part of a plot. But you have to stand out as a master of the weapon. What makes somebody a WM over somebody who just swings a sword constantly, or spars a lot and wins more than they lose? A drawback of it is the level range: You'd need to be level 11 to fully unlock the power of the kit. And some weapons are far more abusive than others. IE Rapier/Scimitar, any X3 or X4 critical weapon, etc.

    Information on last known DM viewpoints on certain PrCs:

    So it's probably a great idea to consider updating the list with current DM stances. I wasn't sure if this belonged in General or Suggestions so tried to word it like the former.

  • i am sure some of you are aware of Kuldar the dwarf that i played. tbh i was really surprised to not have been offered either champion of Clangeddin or dwarven defnder prc as he pretty much lived and breathed the tenets for both classes.

    i think that this basically raises the issue that the conversation regarding "prcs and your character" needs to be an active one with the dms. I know i wasnt pushy about Kuldar and maybe i should have been there asking dm's how what why and where i could advance my chances for him to earn the prc rather than just assuming that the omniscient dms saw all the stuff i was doing etc.

    posting in plot tickets is all very well but that isnt the same as actually having a conversation with a dm or two about how they think you should go about it, take your examples of what you have done, add what you plan to do and ask " is this enough?" " what more do you think i ought to do?" etc

    tl@dr - conversation with dm about goals and expectations is a good thing!

  • This is pretty spot on Forte, though I wouldn't say Weapon Master requires PvP. I also wouldn't say Shifter is exclusive to druids! Transmuting wizzies could easily get into this.

    However since I've seen some comments about the mechanical weakness of these recently on IRC, I'll just say the only ones that are actually /weak/ in terms of CoA is the pale master and the harper scout. However, both of these classes come with massive loot and RP benefits, as well as NPC support.

    I know I have never seen a harper myself, so it might be nice to make the class more of a "spy service" or "secret service" class. This could be any secret order that is DMNPC ruled. Could be a gang in Old Town for example.

    I'll offer a brief description of how I view the PrCs and what's needed to earn them.

    1. Arcane Archer: A leader of elven people and embodiment of their culture, someone that is recognized in Arabel as representing one or multiple aspects of elven culture in a leadership role. They may earn this by seeking to change the laws to be more favourable for elves in Arabel, establishing a new elven hamlet inside the Hullack, creating an elven warband that strikes terror into the heart of orcan kind, etc.

    2. Assassin: An assassin must not only establish themselves as a reliable source of getting the job done in the underworld, but they must also do just that. However, the Assassin can be used as a mere tool in pushing other's conflict. Person A may hire the assassin to kill Person B due to their own conflict arch, despite the Assassin barely knowing the other. However, an interesting aspect of the assassin would be for example if he always gave the target a chance to convince him to kill the contractor, if the assassin worked for a noble house, if the assassin worked for an old town gang, etc.

    3. Blackguard: The embodiment of pure evil. Frankly, if you wish to pursue this class, you must be prepared for PvP. The aspirations for this class are that you are a server wide villain, recognized and feared by many and are creating intrigue simply by existing, with other players constantly having to come up with ideas to plot against you as you serve as a sort of DMNPC, though as a player.

    The more you are able to make PvPs uniquely fun for everyone involved, the higher the chance you will earn this class.

    1. Divine Champion: They are devouts of their faith that have brought a unique aspect of their dogma to life in Arabel, by making other players interested. Slushie comes to mind as a recent player who could achieve Divine Champion of Akadi, for having taken unique aspects of her dogma and embodying them on her character, while making her plot relevant to all of this and slaving away at it.

    Ideally, a plot that helps to push your deity's agenda or embodies it in some way while generating interest from players around you will see you earn this one, however it should probably be amongst the easier one's to achieve and easier than it currently is.

    1. Dwarven Defender: They embody dwarven culture. They live and breathe it, and push the boundaries of dwarven culture. This could come through smithing a new piece of dwarven mastercraft, pushing the boundaries of creation with a new type of warforged, gaining more power for the dwarven embassy in Arabel, etc.

    I played the last Dwarven Defender on Arabel. I was an 8 wisdom dwarven warrior that was a brash drunk. His family and clan was slaughtered during the fall of Thunderholme when the Sibilant Shade took it, and he escaped into the Underdark. When he was there, he was kidnapped by Illithids and watched the remaining escapees slaughtered (a moment he had to relive due to his 8 wisdom and drunken state firebombing Kanthea)

    Due to other PCs removing the parasite, he went on to further dwarven influence and culture with others. I worked with dwarf PCs at the time to gain more power for the dwarves in Arabel, rediscover the lost metal of Rosegold, among other things.

    When I was told to apply, I defended Arabel from the attacking Star cultists and captured their Grandmaster who was then executed.

    1. Harper Scout: Basically the secret service on steroids in Cormyr. I'd like to see this class become more easily obtainable and diverse as the Divine Champion and Knight classes have been. It would be a nice thing to aspire for, while providing shady and secretive abilities for those who earn this private sect's support.

    2. Pale Master: The class itself mechanically is weak, which Forte mentions and I will also agree with him on. However, the last one on the server had a ridiculously strong undead summon which he pretty much always had with him. It makes up for any lack of power when you can have something like that on top of your already insane necromancer abilities!

    People that might earn this class is anyone hoping to generate interest in Necromancy massively by the people of Arabel, though it doesn't have to simply be by animating the dead. I know Thomas has offered plenty of quality suggestions in the past and even in the PrC thread there are some valuable suggestions, but you certainly don't have to go the in your face overwhelming evil path.

    1. Knight: Any one distinguished by a power able of knighting someone, for their service to this thing. One of the more diverse PrCs with ways to earn, but it will likely favour humans as it's Cormyr.

    2. Dragon Disciple: This one is pretty straight forward for how it's required, you need to serve a dragon. There's no two ways about it, in some aspect, you need to have a connection to a dragon in Arabel. In order to pursue it, you could be a stalwart adventurer eager to find their lair, someone who wants to push the bounds of summoning or transmutation through magic, etc.

    3. Shadowdancer: Probably the most difficult one to earn as far as I'm concerned, you need to find someone willing to teach you the ways of shadowdancing. I myself don't know rightfully how you would go about this, other than trying to embody a PC of shadows or trickery.

    4. Shifter: I've never seen one in CoA, but this should be a class that people aspire for if they're trying to push the bounds on magic or otherwise. A character that comes to mind was Applefritos's Thayan, who did some bizarre experiments on another, Asellus. Had this been her goal and these experiments been successful in some capacity, I could see that being a method of pursuing shifter as well.

    5. Weapon Master: This should also be one of the easier one's to earn, along with knight, divine champion, and harper scout if changed. These characters could be an old master, hoping to teach many new PCs the ways of combat with a specific weapon, someone who makes a habit of defeating all the most terrifying foes with a specific weapon, etc.

  • Something I forgot in my writeup:

    Divine Champion: Two important criticisms of the PrC I've seen lately are ones that are recurrent: 1) Needing to be the same alignment as the deity, with some citing Lhal and Tyche. 2) Deity weapon focus, which can be highly limited in NWN.

    Re: Dobby's Shifter views. I agree, I believe the plan at one point was to shift it to what you were saying, more akin to PnP. But afaik right now, it's still Druid-only.

  • Dwarven Defender should also be available as Breach gnome IMO.

    Also, I don't see why we need to restrict Arcane Archer to elves.

  • @zool said in Prestige Classes: What's Wrong?:

    Dwarven Defender should also be available as Breach gnome IMO.

    Also, I don't see why we need to restrict Arcane Archer to elves.

    Probably because every source I've ever seen for Arcane Archer has made it inexorably linked with elven blood. It's one of those special hallmarks of elves and their command over magic in the D&D and FR settings.

    I don't think it should ever be opened up to non-elven bloods, just to keep it that way. Same with the Dwarven Defender PrC.

  • I just wanna make loads of cool PRCs.

    Eldritch Knight
    Gate Crasher

    would be the two I'd wanna make the most.

    Oooooh. also, Blight druid would be great to have as a real, properly made via a hak, prestige class.

  • Storyteller [DM]

    The key to earning any PrC is creativity.

    You can be a dwarf and earn arcane archer if you can get an elf to teach you as far as I am concerned.

    A human can earn DD by capturing a PC dwarven defender and forcing them to teach them the SECRET TECHNIQUES

    Knights- very broad. Any legitimate authority (as defined by DMs) can Knight someone. Any knightly order (i made up one just for Sir Steel, for example) can induct members.

    Divine Champions- Ignore the Weapon requirement, it's stupid as fuck.

    Weapon Masters need to tell an awesome story arc about conflict and mastery. The closest one to earning a weapon master in my memory as a DM was Sophie with her character Minnalaushee I believe? She failed due to losing the duel, but it involved the entire server at some point in time.

    Dragon Disciple requires a story with a dragon at its center- be it a quest of vengeance where you latter drown yourself in its blood or serve and have the power awakened... We've had two Gold Dragon Disciples due to their participation in a plot arc involving Ralarthinax the Golden King.

    Anyways, I think PRCs are where they need to be- but you can be CREATIVE- a Palemaster can actually be used for Machinist, or some kind of weird druid ritual where you combine your body to be part treant. Just ignore the Animate dead feats, and treat the bone arm attack as a poisonous thorn...

    I am willing to hear ideas.

  • @zool said in Prestige Classes: What's Wrong?:

    I just wanna make loads of cool PRCs.

    Eldritch Knight
    Gate Crasher

    would be the two I'd wanna make the most.

    Oooooh. also, Blight druid would be great to have as a real, properly made via a hak, prestige class.

    You can do that to an extent already:

    Never heard of Gate Crasher, it's not listed there so I can't look it up. Blight Druid's best equivalent from the PRC is Talontar Blightlord.

    OTher than that, I'd say see if it's possible to extract or otherwise recreate them and figure out the logistics behind implementing them.

  • @forte

    I have source books with all three of those classes in them 🙂

    Blighter actually exists in CoA already, just not as a proper PRC. It works using scripting and the alteration system.

  • @Zool

    Yes I linked it more for a quicker demonstration of how it was done in NWN by the most famous interpretation, and an easy point of reference to grab PRC haks, see how they did it, move from there. 😃

    Using the PRC's is probably easiest, I believe it'd require mostly just 2da editing? I've never tried to add a PRC or any new classes.

    I'd love to see more info on Gate Crasher as it sounds akin to Battlerager (which would be amazing to have too!).

    But that might be a discussion for another thread, addition of new PrCs.

    As noted in the OP and other responses, some of these overlap with others, how can you make it separate from others? IE the Divine Champ/Dwarf Defender, Blackguard/DC/Evil pal/cleric issues, etc.

  • Gatecrashers are planar explorers.

    They are kinda like arcane tricksters which specialise in the planes.


    Gatecrasher. Though I'm unsure if it's the exact same info. Would be a cool class if we did have a setting with more planar activity for sure.

  • @zool said in Prestige Classes: What's Wrong?:

    works using scripting and the alterati

    Is there a writeup anywhere?
    Because I have never heard about them and always wondered how certain disgusting druids did their awesome thing. Why must this be a secret? (unless I was simply ignorant, in that case: sorry 🙂 )

  • @aronff

    It's really something that just "Happens" to your character, rather than something you set out to get. So, it's not exactly advertised due to that.

    Similar with Warlocks actually but those get aimed for a lot more, and have been advertised quite a bit.

  • Divine Champion is fine where it is, and can actually be fairly easy to get depending on character visibility. I got it on a 2 week old character once. It's all about pushing stuff for your religion.

    Dragon Disciple is a bit wacky, in that its pretty much only earnable in a dm plot. Maybe have earning it open to some cool dragon-themed dude who does a neat ritual with dragon or wyvern blood.

    My main issue with arcane archer is the requirement where you need to be an encyclopediea on elven culture their full history and stuff. It's mind-numbingly boring, and there's a ton of it. Nor does that lead to fun for other players, you're just sifting through the forums to read elvish books that are pretty much in code. Either trash that rule or make a short guideline about such. @polaris maybe a small guide about how to elf well? That one book had tooooo much stuff in it.

    Other ones idk about.

  • Any plans for a Frienzed Berserker? 😃

    That RP would tempt me.

  • I won't comment too much about the issues of specific PrC classes since I'm new to NWN and the only PrC app I got passed is on my current character.

    But I will say that the PrC page needs a bit of updating. I was under the impression that I need certain requirements, but then told by DMs that I actually just need to have an interesting story. Maybe update the page and just give examples of how to earn without all the requirements.

  • I generally don't like the cross classing. If I want to go for a "Divine champion" for example, I'll just roll up a paladin or cleric and RP until I can call myself a "divine champion" IG, and hopefully get DM loot along the way. I won't actually take the PrC though, but that's just my 2 cents. Like yeah..I could unlock the first few levels of DC...or level 2 paladin spells at level 8. Shrugs

  • I see several challenges to how we use the PRCs, and how the server works.

    1. With our current level setting, and with PRCs being ADD ONs, from a mechanical perspective, you will rarely ever see any real boon from a PRC, unless you play a class that peaks early (Fighter for instance), and go for a prc that gives good perks immediately (assassin for instance).
    2. It takes so long to earn a PRC, that by the time you manage to earn it, you are so far in the story, that it has little meaning.
    3. How the system is setup, it seems largely subjective and at times random, what it takes to EARN the PRC. I have seen people earning them very quickly, and seen people who have sought to earn them for months without results.

    I only ever earned 1 PRC, the PD Knight, something I had aimed for since creation. I got it so late in my characters story, that it felt mostly redundant, and I was so high level, that I only ever managed to get a single level of the prc. And I am rather certain that I am not the only one who has experienced such.

    By making the EIG aspect more smooth and transparent, by raising the levels of the server /changing the PRC bonuses to become stronger, earlier in the level progression of them, and by making a policy of giving them out earlier in the characters story, I reckon we will see them used more often.

Log in to reply