Author Topic: JaronK's Tier list for classes.  (Read 62456 times)

Offline JaronK

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JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Topic Start: November 08, 2011, 08:13:08 PM »
+5
Thanks to Soundwave for doing the work of porting this over for me.

This is the third repost of this thread, which gets locked occasionally for going over 50 pages.

Introduction

(click to show/hide)

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 with skill, can easily break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat or plenty of house rules, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

Examples: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer, Erudite (Spell to Power Variant)

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 potentially 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 easily 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), Erudite (No Spell to Power)

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. Can be game breaking only with specific intent to do so.  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, Psychic 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 competence 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 contribute 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 (Zhentarium 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 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, CW Samurai (with Imperious Command available)

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 (without Imperious Command available), 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).  Highly optimized (to the point of being able to spam their abilities) a Truenamer would be around Tier 4, but with lower optimization it rapidly drops to Tier 6.

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 shape shifter 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).

JaronK
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 05:06:43 PM by JaronK »

Offline JaronK

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #1: November 08, 2011, 08:13:18 PM »
+4
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:

(click to show/hide)

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.  If everybody looks at this system and sees that one or two of their favorite classes are a tier or so too low, but most other stuff looks about right, I consider it a success.

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.  Likewise, if one player is more skilled than the other, or campaign situations favor one playstyle over another, classes can shift around.  Remember, this is a rough ranking and a guideline, not a perfect ruler.

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.

Also, a simple way I've used it is this: in my regular gaming group, I've got one player who optimizes like crazy and likes making characters for other players.  And then I've got a bunch of people who make their own characters, and they're less optimized.  I can therefor tell people that they can be a Tier 4 class if they let him make their characters, or Tier 3 if they make their own.  It's worked out pretty well.

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:

(click to show/hide)

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 noticeably 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.

Q:  Why does it matter if a class has broken abilities?  Won't a DM just nerf that anyway?  Shouldn't you just ignore broken abilities when ranking classes?

A:  It actually matters a great deal if a class has broken abilities (such as flowing time Genesis, Planar Binding Wish loops, and so on).  This system is designed to help DMs and players know what kind of power is coming their way, and if a DM is blindsided by something broken that's a serious problem.  I'm not going to tell someone that a Sorcerer is weak because I'm assuming their best spells are all nerfed... I'd rather warn them that Sorcerers have overpowered abilities, so that they look more closely at the character sheets of Sorcerers that are playing in their game and watch out for such stuff.  Remember, not everyone has the same opinion of "broken" and nothing ticks a player off more than having a DM tell them their neat trick that they were counting on is overpowered and suddenly banned.  Ever seen a Sorcerer who took Shivering Touch and Spectral Hand and has been holding those in reserve for a few levels suddenly use those on a Dragon, only to have the DM suddenly say "no, that's broken, you can't use those spells?"  It's not a pretty sight, and I'd like to avoid that.

So again, this is a system that ranks classes before such nerfing.  Tier 1 and 2 class can easily do game breaking things, and DMing for those classes does require checking to make sure the player won't do anything silly (with good players, this is a simple matter of asking them to use their judgement.  With munchkins, you have to be firm).  The fact that they're Tier 1 and 2 is supposed to warn you that some house ruling may be necessary to avoid broken campaigns if your players go a little nuts.

Q: What assumptions were used in making this system?

A:  I tried to use as few assumptions as possible, to ensure the system would apply to as many games as possible.  However, I had to use a few.  The primary assumptions are equivalent player skill and equivalent optimization level.  If one class is heavily optimized (taking the best available options, whatever best might mean in this case) and another example of the same class is not very optimized at all (taking a bunch of random options without regards to power) then obviously the same class would have two very different power/versitility levels.  Likewise, an incompetent player (or one who's simply not trying) will do far less with a powerful class than someone who's creative and knows the rules well.  I simply can't measure those factors, so the system assumes it's the same.

As far as books available, I assume that the core books are available, as well as whatever book the class appears in.  Obviously, few people play a Dread Necromancer without Heroes of Horror.  For all other sources, I tried to count them based on how commonly used I thought they were.  For example, the Complete series of books are very often used, so I factored in the Barbarian's access to the Lion Totem with the assumption that it would usually be available.  However, 3.0 books like Book of Exalted Deeds are far less likely to be used, so I didn't really factor in the Healer's ability to cast Consecrated Spells out of that book much when ranking that class.  Usually this doesn't actually matter all that much (a Core Wizard is to a Core Rogue as an all books Wizard is to all all books Rogue), but for some classes it matters a great deal... these classes are listed separately (such as the Binder, which gains a TON of power with access to the online official WotC material, and is thus listed at both Tier 2 and Tier 3).

House Rules

The first time I posted this I was asked about potential house rules that might help balance out the Tiers a bit more.  This post will be on that topic.  First, some quick and dirty house rules that are easy to implement:

(click to show/hide)

JaronK

Why Each Class is in its Tier

Hopefully I'll eventually expand this post, but for now I can at least link this resource:  http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=5070.0
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 03:51:32 PM by JaronK »

Offline JaronK

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #2: November 08, 2011, 08:13:45 PM »
Additionally, here's a write up on the Factotum.
Here's how combat went the first time a friend of mine picked up a Factotum (never having played before). He was just released from being captured (plot point to get him into the game) and thus had absolutely no gear at all, just the mundane clothes on his back. If he was anything like a Rogue, he should have been unable to fight, but he was thrown directly into combat, and here's what he did, and note that this is an 8th level Tiefling Factotum:

First, he made a rediculously high Escape Artist check to get out of his bindings (he was supposed to be just waiting for us to rescue him). Then he sneaks down the hall. Coming around the corner, he saw a bad guy right in front of him at the opening to a courtyard where the rest of the party was battling. So, on his initiative (it was an ongoing battle) he gets a free standard action with his Factotum abilities and Alter Selfs into an Advespa, which he had learned about with a quick google search for "Alter Self Forms." This gives him 5 natural attacks, 7 Natural Armour, and a flight speed. Then he full attacks the bad guy in front of him, getting a little sneak attack in for good measure. Next round, as our party is cleaning up pretty good and the Sorcereress just glitterdusted the guy and an enemy near him, the guy ran, getting away around a corner... but the Factotum just used an extra standard action to get to the corner, then charged him and used sneak attack to finish him off.

Now, this is simply not something a naked Rogue does.

Now, you can call an 8th level character using Alter Self to gain natural AC and natural attacks TO, but since it was used in game, it's clearly not, nor is it even overpowered (it's still light duty Wild Shape). Yes, Wizards using Alter Self at level 3 to get +8 Natural AC for 30 minutes is overpowered. But Factotums can't do that sort of thing until 5, at which point the Druid already has Wild Shape, which is an equivalent ability at level 5 and continues to get far better, outpacing Alter Self dramatically as the levels increase

Meanwhile, there's the old Iajuitsu Focus thing. Yes, OA was updated for 3.5, and yes, Factotums have ALL skills as class skills, including Autohypnosis and IF. The ability to take extra standard actions and, when you need, add your Factotum level to your check once in a while makes this incredibly potent. You can draw a weapon (usually with the eager enchantment if you can get it, since generally speaking Factotums have a better place to spend feats) in the surprise round (gained through hiding, or casting invisibility, or whatever), partial action charge the enemy, and deal IF damage. Then, if you want, use an extra standard action to hit them again. Then, if you win initiative, use an extra standard action to sheath your weapon while you move up to another enemy, then draw it and full attack, dealing IF damage a second time (and if you want to add sneak attack damage, you could do that too). I don't know why some people don't think IF should count... that's exactly what the Factotum's forte is (using any skill he wants). And of course an item that gives Sapphire Nightmare Blade is exceptionally cheap.

And then of course there's the spellcasting. While he has few spells per day and they're way behind a Wizard, he's got four big advantages here.

First and formost, he can gain extra standard actions, and can do it a LOT if he takes the Factotum only feat that, well, he almost certainly will take. Saying that feat doesn't count because it's in a weird place is silly, since the Factotum itself is in a weird place so you're already looking through weird places, and the "weird place" is the Class Chronicals about Factotums anyway. That's not hugely weird. The result is that he can combo spells together, which can be extremely useful.

The second advantage Factotums get with spells is that unlike Wizards, they can use the entire list without needing a spellbook. That means that if a Factotum suddenly realizes he needs spell X, that's exactly what he's going to have ready for the next day... plus he doesn't have to spend tons of his wealth by level on a spellbook. This is huge in games like World's Largest Dungeon, or just games where the situation changes a lot.

And the third is that his spells are actually spell like abilities, meaning they always have a standard action casting time. He does have to pay component costs and can't use exp cost spells, but the standard action thing is VERY good with some spells, for example Major Creation or any other spell balanced by its slow casting time.

And fourth, he can ignore SR whenever he wants, starting from level 11. Just think about that one for a second.  Consider how many spells are balanced by the fact that at least SR can stop them, and then realize that when a Factotum does it, he can ignore that.  Cast Spectral Hand and Shivering Touch in the surprise round, touch attack the dragon with it, and ignore his SR for the purpose, which would be his only defense?  Sure.  And you've even got the Factotum's advantages in sneaking up on him, just stay out of the range of his Blindsense (unless you have Darkstalker of course).

So, another way a Factotum could fight (we've been through two already, turning into a powerful combat form and using Iajuitsu Focus for damage boosting) would be to combo useful spells together. One easy example is Cloudkill with Solid Fog, making a fog of death that enemies can't escape from quickly enough. And remember, you can cast the whole combo in the surprise round if you want. Very nasty. You could even cast Animate Dead in the middle of a battle if you so desired, due to the casting time decrease. No one ever expects the skillmonkey to pull that move off.  And the above mentioned combination of Spectral Hand with any potent touch attack.  All this and the ability to ignore SR whenever it suits you is pretty darn incredible.

The important point is that everything I've stated here is just a Factotum with a few Fonts of Inspiration. That's it. I haven't discussed gear other than the side note about using Sapphire Nightmare Blade, or race (though the Advespi thing only works if you're an outsider... that particular character happens to be a Tiefling... but you can use other forms if you're another race). And those were just some examples of what a Factotum can do (I haven't even gone into Turn Undead or his healing abilties or his ability to ignore DR, or his ability to eventually mimic any three Ex class abilities from 15th level characters... how about 10d6 sneak attack, 10d6 sudden strike, and full flurry of blows? Or would you prefer Pounce? You know what else is Ex? A Fighter's Bonus Feats, and you probably just gained 10 of them because you just gained the bonus feats ability of a fighter of your Factotum level. Now, technically spellcasting itself is Ex, but we'll ignore that for now). I haven't gone into his defense either... the ability to simply ignore any damage that would take him to 0 or less hitpoints for 4 Inspiration Points is pretty freaking awesome, as as Int to AC in any armour if he needs it (though his later version of the ability requires light armour). And who doesn't like the ability to add your class level to any save when you want it?

And of course, all of that was just combat. We haven't even gotten started on out of combat.

Out of combat you're much like a Rogue, except that unlike a Rogue you can pump Int without worrying (Rogues have to care about their Dex a lot more if they want to survive, and their poorer defense makes Con that much more critical). This means your higher int will make up for the skill point difference. Then you've got both Int and Dex (and both Int and Str) to skills that require Str or Dex, the ability to add your Factotum level once per day to any skill you've got a point in already, and of course the ability to cast nearly any Wizard/Sorc spell, though admittedly a few spell levels behind the big boys. This can mean scouting an area while Alter Selfed into a Whispergnome or Skulk for better hide and move silently, using Autohypnosis to automatically memorize every detail you see, and then sneaking back. Or just using a divination spell. You've got such spells as Knock and Silence to help out too. And that's just the scouting aspect.  Plus, while Rogues are constantly hoping to find useful gear to use with UMD, Factotums can actually do item crafting on their own if they want.

There's a reason Factotums are in Tier 3 in my system, and in fact they're pretty high in Tier 3. They've got so much innate flexibility it's obscene... inexperienced DMs thinking they're weaker could get VERY surprised but how much a Factotum can alter himself to suit a situation perfectly.  Put a Factotum in a group with a Rogue and that Rogue ends up looking like dead weight plenty of the time (any time where the situation calls for one skill monkey to do something). And the Fighter? The Factotum can often outclass him too, sometimes dropping whole encounters in the surprise round and start of the first round. And he can do all of it without warning, adapting on the fly to the situation in front of him.  Certainly, when I watch the one that's currently grouped with my Dread Necromancer (plus a Sorcerer, Cleric, Swordsage, and Paladin of Tyranny/Hexblade) there's no way he's the weak link.

So yeah, really potent, really flexible class that can REALLY surprise a DM.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 03:52:11 PM by JaronK »

Offline SorO_Lost

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A more accurate Tier list for classes
« Reply #3: November 08, 2011, 10:45:47 PM »
I think a consolidated, corrected, version of this is handbook material.

Why?
The above write up is riddled with bias. The guy who wrote them did it as a rebuttal to why his favorite Classes are better than the rest and because of that, he flip-flops validations on just about every other Class. The Barbarian, despite being mathematically suppar to even the Fighter, is listed along Spellcasters because once per day the Barbarian can produce decent charge-based numbers. Examples are convoluted with specific Feats or ACFs like a Dungeoncrasher Fighter is listed above a Fighter despite dealing less than a standard charger and requiring more Feats to combine the damage with an normal attack than a charge+Trip combination that prevents full-attack retaliation of awards other party members to-hit bonuses. Exact Classes must be listed but several are or were unnoted (the monk in the original release) while his favorite is over talked about (the factotum is literately post #3 in sixteen paragraphs) to the point it's in need of being watched as much as a Cleric or Sorcerer (T1 & 2 per his own list). He also says the Paladin is capable of *only* doing one thing and very poorly at that. Which I guess is based on ignoring things like healing the party's aliments, buffing and protecting allies, supportive combat augmentation, and secondary combatant capable of flight. The whole thing is a load of bullshit that taints our forum to this very day.

Alternative Suggestion
The Tiers of D&D are based on Spellcasting and access too it. Since spells are better than anything else in the game - They allow you to warp, alter, and screw reality in various ways - measuring the amount of access allows for quick categorization of ACFs, PrCs, Feat combinations, odd Racial Traits and even entire builds on the fly almost instantly.

Tier Rankings
6: Skill based. Commoner, Expert, Samurai.
5: Mundane warriors. Barbarian, Fighter, Monk.
4: Partial casters. Artificer, Adapt, Hexblade, Paladin, Ranger, Spelltheif.
3: Focused casters. Bard, Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Martial Adapts, Warmage.
2: Full casters. Favored Soul, Psion, Sorcerer, Wu Jen.
1: Elitists. Cleric, Druid, Wizard.
0: Gods. StP Erudite, Illthid Savant, Pun-Pun, Rocks fall & you die.

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« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 08:12:58 AM by SorO_Lost »
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Offline Soundwave

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #4: November 09, 2011, 12:31:30 AM »
I prefer the more in depth explanations JaronK outlined. The list's purposes where outlined in the first few paragraphs. Your truncated list does not provide the same nor similar context. Nor does it provide a guide for its use.

A consolidated version of this would lack the tools to provide a constructive resource, instead providing exactly the opposite kind of message the thread sought to deliver.

I believe keeping the thread intact best supports the original intent and spirit of the material.
-SW

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #5: November 09, 2011, 01:22:53 AM »
I didn't say my sig based explanation was to replace things or be posted in Handbooks now did I?

I was talking about the original post(s) that you copied. You know, like dropping that entire section on Factotum. Maybe even fix errorous listings in classes (if T6 imperious command makes you T5?) and a couple Q/As could use revision like the whole power question is better fit as part of the tier explanation. If you're up for it you could deliver and explain the whole system without as much text yet still keep the context in it's entirety.

Oh, and instead of tossing into the board about optimizing a character, it can go into the board about articles helping players & DMs don't you think?
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Offline Soundwave

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #6: November 09, 2011, 11:52:51 PM »
Quote
If you're up for it you could deliver and explain the whole system without as much text yet still keep the context in it's entirety.


A consolidated version of this would lack the tools to provide a constructive resource, instead providing exactly the opposite kind of message the thread sought to deliver.

I believe keeping the thread intact best supports the original intent and spirit of the material.

Quote
Oh, and instead of tossing into the board about optimizing a character, it can go into the board about articles helping players & DMs don't you think?

Brilliant Gameologists Forum > The Thinktank > Min/Max It! > Tier System for Classes

The forum I copied the thread from, seemed best to place it in the same here.

If you would like to engage in a discourse about the rankings of classes within the tier structure by all means begin a dialogue. Always willing to discuss differences of opinion.

Beyond that though I'll consider your questions about the Tier list answered.
-SW

Offline Bastian

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #7: November 11, 2011, 10:13:47 AM »
Did you get permission from JaronK to bring this over? He's still active so its not like porting over LoP's old stuff.

Edit:For those just reading this, this post is addressed to Soundwave, who originally started this thread.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 06:30:19 AM by Bastian »

Offline Soundwave

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #8: November 11, 2011, 10:47:04 AM »
Negative. I followed this line on the board News:

"The old boards were full of junk! We're starting over! You CAN access everything on the old boards though at http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/, so copy/paste what you want on over. "

I dont have any method of contacting the creator, i did a search a few times for the name here but nothing yet. So far I've been trying to backup everything useful I can find on the old forums. Working on a complete copy of the previous forum so nothing will be lost.
-SW

Offline Mooncrow

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #9: November 11, 2011, 10:54:15 AM »
I know that he's still posting on GitP - I haven't asked him if he's coming over or not though.  I'm planning on starting with the older/abandoned handbooks and working my way up. 

Offline Soundwave

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #10: November 11, 2011, 10:59:19 AM »
I found his tier list by complete accident the first time i read something on the Gitp forums. Led to me to BG and I've been a fan of his ever since :D I hope he does continue, if you know him would you mind asking about it? (thread and so on)
-SW

Offline JaronK

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #11: November 11, 2011, 02:11:48 PM »
Was going to copy this over eventually anyway, so thanks for doing the work for me!

JaronK

Offline RelentlessImp

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #12: November 11, 2011, 02:17:27 PM »
Oh goodie. It's back. Sure to be as valuable a contribution as it was the first time around.

If you would, remove the quote tags and bold the relevant parts, while making them a larger font size. It won't guarantee anyone reads them and takes them to heart, but it might help cut down on a few of the arguments.

Quote
the only balance that really matters in D&D is the interclass balance between the various PCs in a group

Quote
This post is NOT intended to state which class is "best" or "sucks."  It is only a measure of the power and versitliity of classes for balance purposes.

Offline Prime32

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #13: November 11, 2011, 02:35:28 PM »
Was going to copy this over eventually anyway, so thanks for doing the work for me!

JaronK
If both of you agree to it, I can transfer the post to you.

Offline JaronK

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #14: November 11, 2011, 02:39:21 PM »
I don't really care either way, honestly.  Your call.

JaronK

Offline Basket Burner

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #15: November 11, 2011, 02:39:29 PM »
I think a consolidated version of this is handbook material.

Even if tier placement is disagreed on for your favorite shitty melee class and riddled with personal bias worse then Tony Stark talking about Ironman and/or his penis (see barb, dungeoncrasher, skipped the monk, huge block of text on factotum). The over all concept of tiers in D&D is generally similar enough that even with their wide use people understand what you mean.

I parodied this in my last signature, yet it's quite accurate.
Quote
Tiers break down into who has spellcasting more than anything else due to spells being better than anything else in the game.
6: Skill based. Commoner, Expert, Samurai.
5: Mundane warrior. Barbarian, Fighter, Monk.
4: Partial casters. Adapt, Hexblade, Paladin, Ranger, Spelltheif.
3: Focused casters. Bard, Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Martial Adapts, Warmage.
2: Full casters. Favored Soul, Psion, Sorcerer, Wu Jen.
1: Elitists. Artificer, Cleric, Druid, Wizard.
0: Gods. StP Erudite, Illthid Savant, Pun-Pun, Rocks fall & you die.

I think he's onto something.

Offline Soundwave

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #16: November 11, 2011, 02:42:44 PM »
Im all for it prime, I try and make sure everything I copy has its author source anyway you might as well :D
-SW

Offline SorO_Lost

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #17: November 11, 2011, 02:57:39 PM »
Of course I'm up for it being in the handbooks, but you probably guessed that by now :p

Edit - Hey, what a minute, the post was moved to discussion. I suppose that works too.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2011, 03:01:56 PM by SorO_Lost »
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Offline Prime32

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #18: November 11, 2011, 03:29:03 PM »
*zaps posts*
Might want to edit out the start, Jaron. :p

Offline Maat Mons

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Re: JaronK's Tier list for classes.
« Reply #19: November 13, 2011, 10:17:20 PM »
If you would, remove the quote tags and bold the relevant parts, while making them a larger font size.

I'd favor an overhaul of the formating.  Something like this.

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