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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer Raesene Andu's Avatar
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    Another prestige class for comments.
    Let me claim your Birthright!!

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    A few corrections:

    1) The Scry skill no longer exists and all references to it should be removed.

    2) I would add Craft (alchemy) to the class skills.

    3) The spell progression of the class is highly favourable but the requirements are a bit harsh, namely for the feats. I would suggest changing it to any 3 metamagic and/or item creation feats.

    4) The extra domain granted should be given at 1st level.

    5) I would remove the floating bonus to saves from Silver Magic altogether, otherwise it makes the theurgist PrC too unnatractive.

    6) I would scale down the Watchful Moon class ability a bit, otherwise it makes the theurgist PrC too unnatractive.

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    I like the [Special: Must have received some form of revelation or sign from Ruornil, and must be a faithful devotee of Ruornil] requirement. As this is a PrC the Ruornil choses you for and not one that you work towards, the feat requirements are unduly rigid. It is mostly up to the DM to see if their PC cleric/wizard has been devoted enough.

    Silver Magic and Watchful Moon give alot all at one level. Should their abilities be spread out over several levels or cut down? Mostly a balance issue I think.

    By tenth level in the progression the character will be near epic, so I think not sleeping or a +2 on divination DCs isnt too overpowering.

    A great PrC. Just the right flavor for this BR niche.

    Phil, If you want the extra domain at 1st, perhaps it could be switched with the arcane wisdom. Afterall, wisdom takes time to develop. A domain is granted by the gods.
    In the first level it also serves as a better sign of Rournil's favor.

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    That is certainly a possibility, I'm still mulling the PrC over as the Mystic Theurge (DMG p192) is very similar.

    An important new addition to consider before making any divine related PrC is the recent creation of Initiate Feats in the Player's Guide to Faerun that could very well accomplish what the specialty priests in 2e did for the cleric class.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Again, Phil, we try to avoid putting in requirements for feats found in splatbooks.

    In any case, I will second the notion of granting the extra domain at 1st level and granting Arcane Wisdom at 4th level; however, I would like to propose the following change to Arcane Wisdom:

    Change "He may use Wisdom in place of any other ability score (generally Intelligence or Charisma) for arcane spellcasting purposes, such as setting the save DC or determining bonus spells per day." to "For all spellcasting-related intents and purposes, the moon initiate's Intelligence or Wisdom score, whichever is lower, is treated as if it were higher by half the difference between these two scores, rounded down."

    For example, the previous mechanic raises one's Intelligence in regard to casting spells from 12 to equal to his Wisdom, perhaps 18? That's a 6-point increase! Under this mechanic, your Intelligence is raised to 15 only, which makes the class feature more balanced. The same would happen if your Intelligence/Wisdom were 18/12.

    This reduces the overdramatic power increase the ability otherwise haves but allows people who are truly devoted to benefit from Ruornil's gift whether they are more inclined as arcane or divine spellcasters (in other words, it is an equally good boon to both players with high Intelligence scores and players with high Wisdom scores).

    Another thing, too: change the whole "symbiotic" thing with the moon, and also do something about the spell being castable at 10th level...

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    Mmmm. A few comments of my own:

    This class was built for third ed, not 3.5 -- some changes are obviously due, particularly given the Mystic Theurge, which hadn't been publicized at the time this was written.

    Now, this class was built to kinda/sorta emulate the 2e speciality priests of Ruornil, as should be obvious. Since it is a 'cleric Prestige Class' (God, I hate the idea of prestige classes built around a single other class), it was balanced against the cleric class.

    It was a matter of fact in 3e that multiclassed spellcasters simply shot themselves in the foot. A clr 10/wiz 10 was just weak compared to a clr 20 or wiz 20. The idea here was to patch that somewhat. Being 3 levels behind in casting ability, and also having reduced combat ability, in return for a few extra levels of another spellcasting class, and some special abilities -- it's not really too much to cheer for, in retrospect.

    Change "He may use Wisdom in place of any other ability score (generally Intelligence or Charisma) for arcane spellcasting purposes, such as setting the save DC or determining bonus spells per day." to "For all spellcasting-related intents and purposes, the moon initiate's Intelligence or Wisdom score, whichever is lower, is treated as if it were higher by half the difference between these two scores, rounded down."
    Averaging a couple of ability scores is IMO a very ugly mechanic. Simply not very elegant.

    What I'd like you to demonstrate, however, is why this ability is particularly imbalancing. Multiclassed spellcasters like this really, really suffer from multiple ability dependency. (Not that spellcasters are weak to begin with, mind you, but the balancing here is against other spellcasters, not non-casters.) The primary purpose here is to allow the caster to focus on only one casting stat, like a single-classed caster. It's also meant to be a quick boost early in the class, to compensate for the fact that the character has had to go with a suboptimal character concept for several levels. Since it's primarily a boost to a secondary ability, I don't think it qualifies as 'overdramatic,' either.

    Of course, 3.5 tends to space out such bonuses, to prevent 'dips.' That, however, makes the characters that don't 'dip' suffer the most, really (like duelists and their Int bonus to AC). The only case where this would present a possible imbalance, though, is the clr5/wiz3/iotmm1/mystic theurge. And allowing that combination would be a bit lame.

    The requirements on this thing really have to come down a tad; two metamagic feats should suffice, and with the Scry skill out of the game, the skill requirements are less stringent anyway.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    The class is certainly a non-combatant, which immediately decreases any ability requirement other than Intelligence and Wisdom...

    Since you ask me why I feel this is overpowering, I believe that having an effective increase of 6+ just like that is a bit too much. I know that the mechanic I proposed was not beautiful, but it was balance-wise better than the previous one!

    Another idea would be to consider either of these two ability scores higher by your class level for purposes of spellcasting, to a maximum of your other ability score; or this could be dispersed, so that the benefit is granted every even level (+2, +4, +6, +8, +10); thus, no dipping occurs, and really dedicated players will get the best out of this class.

    For example, a 5th-level Cleric of Ruornil/5th-level Wizard (Int 13, Wis 19) takes 2 levels in this prestige class; his Intelligence is considered to be higher by 2 points for spellcasting purposes (Int 15, Wis 19).

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    The class is certainly a non-combatant, which immediately decreases any ability requirement other than Intelligence and Wisdom...
    All classes are 'combatants' to some degree. If you mean he won't engage in melee as anything but a desperate last resort, no, he won't. If you mean he doesn't need all the hit points he can get, and as good an AC, Initiative check, and Reflex save as he can get, well, then you'd be wrong. He needs those to be able to survive through a combat, as much or more so than other classes. Forcing a class to focus on Int and Wis would require giving that class some highly significant advantages.

    Since you ask me why I feel this is overpowering, I believe that having an effective increase of 6+ just like that is a bit too much. I know that the mechanic I proposed was not beautiful, but it was balance-wise better than the previous one!
    I'm not quite sure, but it seem you have a slightly different definition of balance here -- as in 'big jump in ability' against mechanical, crunchy balance.

    You're focusing on the wrong aspect here; a jump of '6+' sounds impressive, but it's more a patching of a weakness than adding to a strength. Let's make a comparison:

    Single-classed cleric: Highest-level spell 1.5 levels ahead, doesn't need a high Int, might take a Spell Focus feat to boost some offensive spells as well.

    This class: Gets slightly more spells per day on average, but lags in the spell power curve. Arcane spells lag further behind divine spells (2.5-3 levels, roughly). Won't have a Spell Focus feat until fairly late, if at all, due to class feat requirements.

    Getting that boost thus accomplishes two things: It brings the class' arcane spells up to speed, save DC-wise with the character's divine spells of the same level, and it gives the class a few extra arcane bonus spells. Since the arcane spells already lag behind a fair bit, this is not a very big boost in reality at all.

    Another idea would be to consider either of these two ability scores higher by your class level for purposes of spellcasting, to a maximum of your other ability score; or this could be dispersed, so that the benefit is granted every even level (+2, +4, +6, +8, +10); thus, no dipping occurs, and really dedicated players will get the best out of this class.
    That would seem a more 3.5-friendly approach, yes. The problem with that approach is that it presupposes that you're allowed to take the Mystic Theurge class, however. Personally, I wouldn't allow that in a BR campaign if I were to use the Initiate class here. And if the MT class isn't permitted, the entire 'no dipping' argument falls to pieces. And if you're talking an otherwise single-class cleric that takes three levels of wizard or magician or whatever, he deserves a break he can get to compensate for that, if only slightly.

    Speaking of which, this class was also balanced around an older build of the Magician class -- the current version of Magician would be even less conductive to multiclassing with a cleric, thus making this PrC more of a clr/wiz deal -- which, as we know, is just *wrong* in BR terms.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    It is natural that only clerics of Ruornil would ever become Mystic Theurges in Birthright (or, perhaps, Avani's, but I doubt it)... I don't find the whole theme bad, it's just that your notion that this class largely differs from the Mystic Theurge is most absurd; that prestige class was considered nearly balanced only because it gave no other benefit other than a simultaneous increase in two caster levels, and this class grants both this and so much more, if I am not sadly mistaken.

    I believe that your view of crunchy balance is a bit dull in this case; I think that a character who gets a +6 increase to his arcane caster level really is not only a passing arcane spellcaster: that's 3 fourths of the levels granted the character! It's like saying that characters with an average BAB are poor combatants...

    A character might as well get 1 level in the prestige class, get an effective +6 increase in his arcane spellcasting ability score, then progress with his other classes; the fact that he got all these benefits so easilly (since these are requirements most multiclass cleric/wizards or cleric/magicians will have at 8th-level, apart from Ruornil's attention), I don't see how you cannot perceive the inconsistency.

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    and this class grants both this and so much more, if I am not sadly mistaken.
    You're sadly mistaken. Mystic Theurge grants +10/10 and requires 3/3. This class grants +10/7 and requires 5/3.

    I believe that your view of crunchy balance is a bit dull in this case; I think that a character who gets a +6 increase to his arcane caster level really is not only a passing arcane spellcaster: that's 3 fourths of the levels granted the character! It's like saying that characters with an average BAB are poor combatants...
    1. Don't get things mixed up here; are you talking +6 caster levels, or +6 to the casting ability score?

    2. Any prestige class that causes a loss of casting ability needs commensurately powerful, scaling benefits. In this case, especially, since it's balanced towards divine casters, and the class really has the layout of a wizard.

    3. A class with a medium base attack is significantly worse than one with a full base attack as a combatant. (I'm assuming you're referring to your paladin class here?) Here, I'll illustrate:

    If a 20th-level fighter needs to roll a 10 to hit something, a 20th-level cleric will need to roll a 15. The fighter will hit twice as often on the first attack, five times as often on the second, the third is equal, and only the fighter gets a fourth (so you might say the third is a bit more than twice as good for the fighter instead of giving him a third attack). If he needs to roll a 5 to hit, the cleric needs a 10; the fighter hits 50% more, then 100% more, then 400% more. And that's not even accounting for skewed ability scores or the different base damage they do. The overall difference is in the range of the fighter/warrior/whatever being 67-100% more effective, just from base attack alone.

    A character might as well get 1 level in the prestige class, get an effective +6 increase in his arcane spellcasting ability score, then progress with his other classes; the fact that he got all these benefits so easilly (since these are requirements most multiclass cleric/wizards or cleric/magicians will have at 8th-level, apart from Ruornil's attention), I don't see how you cannot perceive the inconsistency.
    That would make for a terrible character. 3 levels of arcane spellcaster weighing down on his divine progression? A multiclass spellcaster just doesn't tend to be a very effective character. And the differences matter for all the reasons given above. Advancing as a spellcaster is very much an exercise in geometry, not linear addition. We can use a simple example to illustrate again. Let's take a wizard casting a fireball against a monster with a good save and SR. For the sake of convenience, let's say the Wizard has Heighten Spell and uses a Fireball that's Heightened as much as he can.

    If a 5th-level wizard has a 50% chance to breach the SR, a 7th-level caster has a 60% chance to breach the SR. That's 20% better already.

    If the monster saves on an 11 or better against the 3rd-level Fireball, and on a 12 or better against a 4th-level Heightened Fireball, that's a 50% chance of not saving, versus a 55% chance of not saving. That's 10% better.

    Then there's the matter of damage, of course. The average is 17.5 for the 5th-level wizard, 24.5 for the 7th-level one. That's 40% better.

    So we get 1.2 × 1.1 × 1.4, or 1.848. Two levels up, and the wizard is roughly 85% more effective with his peak spell. You might object that as he reaches still higher levels, the damage curve trails off (i.e. the difference between 12d6 and 10d6 is less, percentually, than that between 7d6 and 5d6) -- but then he also gets more and better effects. Like save or die spells.

    85% isn't a totally random number, either. You see, D&D is configured so that character power will roughly double with every two levels. If you want a clear example of this, look at the experience charts. As characters reach higher levels, factors like hit points tend to matter less, but then higher bonuses from items tend to pick up that slack and keep the curve going, especially for non-casting classes.

    Multiclassing away from a spellcaster for just a few levels actually hurts that character's efficiency tremendously. He gets to be slightly better in another area, in return for being a lot worse in his main field of focus. From a 20th-level perspective, being able to cast as a 10th-level arcane spellcaster does *not* compensate for only being a 17th-level divine caster. You'll fail a lot of SR rolls as a divine caster, and you'll fail all your SR rolls as an arcane caster, unless the monster has no SR (which just about any monster at this level should have) or has a ridiculously low SR for its level. The monster will also have a much better chance at making its saves; your peak arcane spells will come in at a save DC 4 points lower just from spell levels alone.

    At a lower level, this very same phenomenon holds true, on a lesser scale, but more importantly the character at that point suffers from lack of effects. While other characters will be hurling fireballs, yours will be stuck with flaming spheres. While other clerics are raising the dead, you're lucky to be able to cure serious wounds. Breadth of ability does not make up for deficiencies in depth of ability.

    And you'll note that this character, if optimized, will actually remain a 3rd-level arcane caster until he hits 10th character level, at which point he'll be 7th level as divine caster/4th level as arcane caster. Do you really think that a few 2nd-level arcane spells makes a suitable trade for having 5th-level (and soon 6th-level) divine spells?

    So, no, I really don't think my sense of crunchy balance is 'off' in this regard.
    Jan E. Juvstad.

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