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XPH + ToB < Wizard/Cleric Edit

It looks like you have a rather rough gradient here for the balance distinction that really matters. XPH and ToB tends to be weaker than wizards, clerics, and Frank and K stuffs. I foresee problems with users who want an XPH level of balance not knowing where to categorize. Is it an overpowered rogue or an underpowered wizard? Another layer might help avoid this problem. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 01:16, September 7, 2009 (UTC)

I personally would just rank the Psion with the Sorcerer and the PsyWar with the Rogue. Warblade definitely goes with Rogue. Does anyone disagree with this? (I really don't think anything I listed is better than the Rogue, and the Psion is basically a Sorcerer with a little more suck added on.) I don't want the layers to get too fine-grained is all. Surgo 01:22, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
Here are some more classes for how I see the breakdown:
  • Monk level: Paladin, Ranger (not paired with Scout), Healer, Swashbuckler (not paired with Rogue)
  • Fighter level: Warlock, Warmage, Hexblade, Spellthief (except under specific circumstances in a spellcaster-heavy campaign), Scout, Marshal
  • Rogue level (balanced classes): Rogue, Ranger (when paired with Scout), Swashbuckler (when paired with Rogue), Warblade, Swordsage, Duskblade, Psychic Warrior, Crusader, Factotum, Dread Necromancer, Bard. A lot of Tome material, especially the base classes written up by Frank and K (though not so much their Prestige Classes, or some of the others written by other people) balance at this level, and this is where I believe true balance to be found.
  • In between Rogue and Wizard level: Sorcerer, Psion, Erudite (no spells-to-power variant), Wilder, Favored Soul, Beguiler,
  • Wizard level: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Artificer, Archivist (actually unsure about this one, might be a tier lower), Erudite (spells-to-powers variant)
That said, I think it would be a good idea to mention that the classes that are higher tier are not powerful if you don't build them right; for example, in many campaigns I've played online, I see wizards preparing spells like Magic Missile, Scorching Ray (no metamagic), Fireball, Cone of Cold, etc. These characters would probably fit closer to the Fighter level, perhaps even below the Warmage than they would at the highest tier. --Ghostwheel 01:37, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
I just want to underscore again, before we go any further (and before I reply to anything here), that these aren't supposed to be definite rankings of classes or even all that finely-grained; their one large purpose is to say to a prospective viewer "if your campaign includes (this Wizards thing), this article (is / is not) okay to use." Surgo 02:46, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm more concerned about how these balance points apply to ratings. Do we give a bad rating to something that has a balance point in between rogue and wizard? I'd hope not if it was intended to be balanced that way. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 13:45, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
Oh, certainly not. These really shouldn't apply to how ratings work -- this is a tool for DMs. Surgo 14:11, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
So where do we, as a wiki place "balanced"? Let's say there's a class that gets clerical casting (including 2 domains), d8 HD, armor/weapon proficiencies as the cleric, and has no Turn Undead; however, at first level they get a +1 luck bonus to attack and damage that rises by another 1 every 3 levels (to a max of 3), at level 7 they gain a permanent +6 enhancement bonus to str and their BAB rises to meet their character level, and at ninth level they gain a size category, +4 str, DR, etc (sound familiar?) Would this class be considered balanced when it's at the same power level as a DMM cleric?
At any rate, my point is... what's balanced here? Are things that have the same/more power than the wizard level balanced? Things that have the same power as the rogue level? Or those that have the same power as the fighter level? Or is everything perhaps simply balanced according to its power level? (So clerics are balanced to the wizard power level while healers are not underpowerd, but are instead balanced to the monk power level?) --Ghostwheel 17:47, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
I don't think the question of where the wiki places balance is relevant, or rather, I don't think it should be answered site-wide. Balance is something that happens in an indvidual campaign, it's not something that happens across the entire wiki on a single point. As for your example class...yeah, that class would be thrown in at "wizard" level and would fit in okay there, probably.
So when a class shows up and it declares "I'm trying to be around this level", that's what I'm going to judge it as. I'm not going to try to answer the question site-wide whether there's One True Balance Point because while all my campaigns are tome campaigns, there are seriously people out there who think that the Monk is the One True Way (seriously). These people are weird and in my opinion pretty stupid, but the wiki can service their campaigns as well. No need to get more restrictive than that, is my opinion. So I guess my long-winded answer to this is "balance is campaign dependent" (which doesn't mean it can't be argued, because it totally can within where you're trying to set something down (like your arguments that some Tome caster PrCs are overpowered) but it does mean that some people are going to play at the Monk level and be at least okay).
This wasn't asked or even noted but I feel like saying it too -- this is one of the multitude of reasons we have a rating committee to rate the quality of classes posted. I mean, it's pretty clear by now at this point in 3.5's life cycle that there is no function that takes in a class and decides balance (or even how well it does against monsters, really) or goodness and that's why we've got 9 pretty smart guys and gals here to do that job. Surgo 18:57, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
Some balance point metaphors. Cause I'm hungry. --Jay Freedman 19:00, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
  • Vegetarian (bread and sauce.) (no use, broken)
  • French Dip (all meat. no lettuce and tomato.) (over use, munchkin)
  • B.L.T. (lettuce and tomato, but no meat.) (some use, fighter & paladin)
  • Turkey Sandwich (good mix.) (useful, ranger & rogue)
  • Everything Burger (it has it all.) (useful anytime, wizard & sorcerer)
Please avoid posting this useless nonsense here when people are trying to have a useful discussion. Surgo 19:01, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
So judge classes based on the power level tier they're shooting for, gotcha. That sounds fair. Perhaps we should add a section to the class-creation template of what tier of power the author is making it for? (Choose on of the following options, Monk, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard?) --Ghostwheel 19:12, September 7, 2009 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Yeah, once this page is finished up I'll be editing the preloads and author template for just that purpose. Surgo 19:16, September 7, 2009 (UTC)
While most of the classes up here are straightforward, it's difficult to get a sense of what the balance levels mean for some of the classes that change based on how they're played. It might be helpful to include classes+playstyles for the really variable classes, like how the single barbarian entry is already done. Blastan wizards at fighter level, regular wizards at rogue level, and optimized tactical wizards at wizard level (or whatever) would give a better idea of what the levels represent. TarkisFlux 22:33, September 10, 2009 (UTC)

Award Balance Ratings Edit

I'd like to start giving different content on the wiki ratings of Monk, Fighter, Rogue, or Wizard, and if the author disagrees they can change it and/or rebalance it to fit the tier they're shooting for. Is there any template that I could use to start this? If anyone disagrees with the rating given, we can start talking about it on the talk page, but while I'd like to start giving preliminary ratings, the author will be the final decider. --Ghostwheel 00:27, September 18, 2009 (UTC)

I second the motion! Slap them puppies with balance. The authors can consider it feedback and change it later. Oh and, good luck. --Jay Freedman 06:40, September 18, 2009 (UTC)
That was the end goal, which I haven't been able to do myself because, well, grad school. There is no actual template to use, it's just a parameter in the author template. |balance=Monk, |balance=Fighter, |balance=Rogue, or |balance=Wizard. (What |balance=(thing) actually will do is link (thing) to an anchor in this page.) Surgo 18:16, September 19, 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I've got the basics of this sorted out over here, but I don't want to move it into the author template just yet (after last night, I'm taking my time and I may give the author template some cleaning in general). There are also two behaviors we need to choose from for when people specify invalid balance types for their work. In case 1 it throws up a note that the balance point is specifically not to wiki guidelines and links them to the balance page, and in case 2 it just tries to find the balance point anchor on this page and fails, linking them back to the balance page but not indicating the failure otherwise. Neither is harder to implement, so it really is a question of preference. Anyone have one?
Revised author template is live now (and I fixed a spacing issue in there). I went with the "This page doesn't meet standard guidelines" balance entry for when people pick weird crap, if there's any desire for the other way I can always change it. We may need to re-edit and save all of the pages with the tag on it already, since it doesn't seem to auto-update pages with the template on it when the template changes, unless someone wants to bot it. - TarkisFlux 02:05, September 24, 2009 (UTC)

Balance of Races Edit

Human's a good rogue-level benchmark for virtually all classes. Ask yourself, "Is this the same in power as a human in the class that it would be most powerful at?" If yes, it's rogue-level as well. If it's weaker, it might be fighter or monk level. If it's stronger, it's probably wizard tier. So a gray elf is stronger than the human at being a wizard (+2 int > bonus feat for wizards), while half-orc is weaker than a human at being a warblade/crusader (meleers REALLY need those feats), and as a warblade or crusader the dwarf is about as good as a human (bonus feat is nice, but dwarves get all those yummy bonuses). Same to the halfling as a rogue. Half-elf doesn't compare to human almost anywhere apart from super-specialized builds, so it would receive the monk balance level. Also, some people might say that in the long run one's race doesn't matter, since ability bonuses are overcome through items; however, given the same items, a gray elf wizard is always going to have a higher DC than a human (the same difference as level one) as well as a bonus (two, perhaps) spell (also the same as at level one). --Ghostwheel 02:55, September 23, 2009 (UTC)

I strongly believe races should be handled differently, the balance point system is pretty but i don,t think it can universally applied everywhere. I may have my own little idea on how to do so, since we don't want to split the balance system too much it going in the same direction as balance point. I would so totally prove my point and write my system but I feel lazy today. --Leziad 03:00, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
So based on Mibbit discussion we seem to have come to the consensus that do to its versatility, human is a good rogue-level benchmark for rating races. There was some disagreement, however, over the universality/finality of the placement of each race. For example, no one seemed to disagree that a half-lunar sorcerer was effectively wizard-level in that combination, but the current page does not provide for the combination, it only states a race. Therefore I propose that races be followed in parentheses by the classes that they are assumed to be progressing in, for example: Half-Lunar (Sorcerer) or Strongheart Halfling (Rogue) would be wizard-tier for their respective classes, while a half-orc wizard would be monk level or worse (not that you need every combination under the sun). -- Jota 03:01, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
As is, this so doesn't work. IMO, races should not have a balance point unless they are a ECL race that involves taking it instead of class levels. Noone is going to try to balance around the half-orc or half-elf, and I don't think we should encourage that. Races are also a lot trickier. The gray elf is rated as "wizard tier", while the hill dwarf is rated as "rogue tier". Why? Isn't giving +1 HP/level, the ability to tumble in full plate, +2 to all saves, huge bonuses vs poison, and the awesome stonecunning to fighter equal to what is basically +1 to spell DCs and AC at the cost of HP? The gnome, point-for-point, has some of the smallest racial benefits, but when applied to a focused illusionist or beguiler they suddenly become totally awesome. This I feel makes the system unworkable. Races should be handled on a case-by-case basis - figure out what classes the race is best for, and compare them to the other races that are best for that class. Figure out how much they're ahead or behind by, and if it's acceptable amount. Even if they're outright better, that can be OK - a race especially well suited to a class that doesn't have a race already well suited to is perfectly balanced. Karrius 05:04, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Upon thinking it over again (sorry guys), Karrius is pretty much right here. Balance points for races should probably be omitted. Surgo 14:59, September 23, 2009 (UTC)
Done and done. --Ghostwheel 16:57, September 23, 2009 (UTC)

Balance of Anything Edit

I've noticed that this system is clunky when it comes to anything other than classes. Magic items can't be balanced against "rogue" and feats can't be balanced against "wizard". I suggest we abstract this system a bit more in the names of each category and have 4 options: low power (monk), moderate power (fighter), standard power (rogue), high power (wizard). Those names would need a bit of tweaking (standard power in particular). We can still have the descriptions of what each mean in terms of classes, but we can expand it to encompass races, feats, magic items, etc. This change will better allow us to achieve the wiki goal of providing accessible content at different balance levels. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 15:40, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

What I wanted to do was provide examples that weren't just classes (though the names can probably be left behind as classes as they represent it well). For feats we have the monk tier (alertness, weapon focus, most feats in the game), the fighter tier (power attack), the rogue tier (quicken spell), and the wizard tier (divine metamagic). Surgo 15:47, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I added in feats. We'll need some discussion on categorical examples for magic items. Surgo 15:54, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
Um, yeah, good that feats and the odd stuff has been added in, but, just to comment on a point above, it'd be very unwise to call anything 'standard', regardless of how you play the game, since that could offend some people. Anyways, the idea of this system was to accept all levels of material, and not label one as 'standard' or 'best', after all. → Rith (talk) 16:37, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Rith on the phrasing of it, and I would also add: are you sure we should include the feats under (within) the class levels of balance? I feel like they're subcategories or something rather than parallels, if that is understandable? -- Jota 17:05, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I would also put in my voice for a different names of balance standard than the class names if EVERYTHING will be under them. If we call rogue "SGT Level", wizard "Tome Level" (or something), and fighter someone like "Core Melee Level", then that would likely work better. I also think you'd only really need 3 balance levels - as much as it sounds elitist, core monk class / toughness feat level is quite frankly unacceptable. Karrius 18:32, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I'd like to note for this discussion that any changes, provided they aren't too drastic, can easily be bot-fixed by me so stuff that's already been written as "|balance=rogue" (or whatever) can be easily changed to what it needs to be. With that out of the way...just remember the rule: the system should not too fine grained! Surgo 18:35, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
I had guessed at that. I assume that a name change is overall desired, however? I also think it needs to be clarified how stuff is ranked. The current problem I see for more module things like spells is that there's a minimum and a maximum pulling at them in different directions. Bless is perfectly fine to cast in any tier, as it won't be overpowered or underpowered in any, being a nice, utility ability. Fighters are underpowered in many games, and Druids are overpowered. Rogues tend to be neither. ETC. I'm not sure if I'm articulating this properly, and will try again later after I've got some sleep. Karrius 18:41, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
If we're moving away from existing levels, here's some suggestions for shooting down:
  • Casual level (doesn't matter if it keeps up past low levels)
  • Determined level (SGT material, stuff that keeps up at most levels)
  • Optimized level (alternately hard core level or something less loaded, material that exceeds the SGT at most levels).
  • Utility level (generally does not apply to classes, though it might be a good fit for indirect classes like the marshal; stuff like bless that is generally useful regardless of play style in the right situations)
My 2cp. - TarkisFlux 18:51, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
Things like Bless that can be cast at any level should probably just not have a balance tag at all, in the same sense that most (all) races aren't going to have a balance tag either. Surgo 18:54, September 28, 2009 (UTC)
For the feats, I think Toughness, Alertness and Combat Casting (compare to Skill Focus (Concentration) are good monk-level feats, but weapon focus is at least Fighter-level, if not Rogue-level when you look at it from a numbers/statistical point of view and compare it to an equivalent AC and figure out DPR--especially when characters are making more than one attack. Along with DMM, Leadership is another highest-level feat, as is Dragon Wildshape. Other rogue-level feats include Shock Trooper, Combat Brute, and Robilar's Gambit. In my experience, Power Attack is actually a fighter-level feat unless you have a specialized build that makes touch attacks or gets an insane attack bonus--at higher level, when you have at least 4 attacks, on average you're going to statistically do more damage if you refrain from power attacking. --Ghostwheel 22:04, September 28, 2009 (UTC)

Difference between Wizard-level and Others Edit

I'd say one of the biggest qualifications for wizard-level status is the ability to change the way the game's played--that is, the ability to bone reality and play rocket tag. Since we know that balancing a character per-day (as opposed to per-encounter) doesn't work due to the inability to assume X encounters per day, even a class that gets to play rocket tag 3/day would probably be considered wizard-level.
A few examples of good classes that are rogue-level: Psychic Warrior, Duskblade, Swordsage, Warblade, Crusader. (I didn't add Rogue in here because people assume that UMD is part of the rogue's abilities, and if you're borrowing wizard tricks and boning reality through scrolls rather than innate abilities, you're basically wizard-level--you just have a monetary cost.) All of the classes I just mentioned basically play the same game that they played at level 5-ish as they do at level 20.
The cleric, on the other hand, is a good example of a wizard-level class. At the beginning, it's an incredibly strong meleer, but towards the end of its progression it starts playing rocket tag with the best of them (Implosion) as well as changing reality with a wave of his hand (Miracle, for example). Even though he gains access to world-changing spells towards the end of his progression, they're still taken into account, and the class is considered wizard-level. --Ghostwheel 15:23, October 13, 2009 (UTC)

Rocket launcher tag isn't really limited to Wizard level -- there's no reason stuff at Rogue level can't play rocket launcher tag too. I mean, the archetypical Rogue level class -- the Rogue -- basically exists to reliably kill one opponent per round. Surgo 16:20, October 13, 2009 (UTC)
Few big differences here. Let's remove the cheese of a Ring of Blink for the moment and look at a rogue who's flanking killing an enemy in one round. Could and should they do so? Yes. However, the requirements of such rocket tag are immense.
  1. Have to have a flanking partner or get the opponent to be denied dex to AC without using wizards tricks.
  2. Have to start next to an opponent (getting adjacent to some opponents can be a feat all by itself).
  3. Must have a full-round action after starting next to the opponent.
  4. Can't be grappled.
  5. Can't be prone.
  6. Have to hit AC.
  7. Enemy can't have concealment of any sort.
  8. Have to hit enemy (misc addition for everything else that stops characters from hitting enemies).
So this is far from rocket tag. Most meleers have to fulfill quite a few of the prereqs. In the end, they're playing the same game that they were at lower levels--just with more damage. Now let's compare to an actual rocket tagger.
  1. Enemy must fail save. (Sometimes not even this.)
  2. Enemy must be within line of sight/effect.
  3. Enemy must be within range.
  4. Should usually have at least a standard action available.
As you can see, actual rocket taggers use actual rockets--not slice-and-dice melee weapons in which they have to fulfill a number of prerequisites before being able to have a chance at killing an enemy. --Ghostwheel 00:24, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Great, we can ignore Ring of Blink "cheese" (we'd also have to ignore the slightly less powerful Greater Invisibility "cheese" and Eversmoking Bottle "cheese" while we did that). I guess while we're sticking our heads in the sand we can also ignore all the Wizard-level cheese that makes things Wizard-level. So with any of what I just said adn more, Rogues still reliably kill one person a round. Rogues play the rocket launcher tag game as happily as the rest, what makes them different is they don't have the breadth and depth that the Wizard-level guys do (a fact that shows up on measures like the Same Game test). Surgo 11:27, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Really not the same thing--Greater Invis and Eversmoking Bottle are fine. Notice how many creatures have tremorsense/blindsight/etc. Furthermore, even with a 50% miss chance enemies just need to hit once to grapple the rogue, who's then easily neutered. It's called "rocket tag" because it's done from afar, and is potentially a one-hit kill effect, it's not called, "Let me get close to you and have a full round of actions and be under a number of other prereqs in order to kill you." So bad analogy. You still haven't shown that rogues play rocket tag or bone reality without resorting to wizard tricks (I'm talking about things like UMDing a wand of Black Tentacles or upping the CL on an item that casts Blasphemy), or for that matter that any of the other above classes do so. --Ghostwheel 14:49, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
I haven't shown it? What part of activate your ring of blink and full attack with acid flasks and alchemist's fire (which strike as touch attacks, and also do not require you to be adjacent to an enemy) to reliably take out one person a round is so hard to follow? No UMD even required, unless you're facing undead or constructs (which isn't even a wizard trick). Surgo 17:57, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Again, without that specific trick--whose ability to work is debateable, at that. A class's effectiveness should not rest on a single item that isn't one of the Big 6. --Ghostwheel 18:37, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
...what? The ability of a Ring of Blink to work in exactly the way it explicitly spells out in the item's description is up for debate? What's next, being unable to move at -10 is now up for debate because the designers never specified what "dead" means? Surgo 18:38, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
I don't feel like hashing out the whole conversation we had last time again, so irrelevant. How about getting to the point--is there any way that the rogue has the ability to play rocket tag without using magic items outside the Big 6? --Ghostwheel 18:40, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't matter if the Rogue can't play rocket launcher tag without items from some arbitrarily-defined "big six" (whatever that's supposed to mean). What does matter is the fact that the Rogue with several different possibilities of buying items (one of which is a small, well-priced item in the SRD) fulfills its role exactly as it's supposed to -- reliably take out one opponent per round.
And even if the Ring of Blink didn't deny your enemies their dexterity bonus to AC (which it does, a fact that's exceedingly obvious to anyone who has read the spell where it actually says that), that still wouldn't even matter because while there are 555 monsters in the SRD alone (not counting epic monsters), only 24 of them have either tremorsense or blindsight. Surgo 18:47, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
How many of those monsters have a way of gaining any sort of concealment? How about staying out of 30' range? Having true seeing? Immunity to acid/fire? Immunity to sneak attack? And more? All of these negate sneak attack. Not so much rocket tag. On the other hand, many spells don't care about any of those as long as they can target the creature. All they required is a failed save (ie. not dodging the rocket). --Ghostwheel 18:54, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
What is the goal of this conversation? → Rith (talk) 18:55, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
The spells all get their own special set of restrictions. They require not being immune to death effects, mind-affecting effects, etc. There's plenty of ways of dodging those rockets. Point is, they're all rockets (a point which seems to have gotten lost somewhere around my first post here). Surgo 18:59, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Except the spell restrictions are incredibly smaller and one has more use of them. Furthermore, if you fail a save and don't have the "super-special-awesome ignore that move" ability, you automatically die. On the other hand, with rogue-level characters there's usually something there to back it up--more HP, high AC (deflection bonus if necessary), damage reduction, fast healing, and more. While with caster rocket tag, it's just who fails the save first--if it works at all. And casters have an array of such effects which they can use if the first type of "rocket" doesn't work. --Ghostwheel 19:07, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
The whole benefit of the Rogue is that he (or she) bypasses the save to directly hit HP with enough in the way of damage that it will kill things outright. High AC? Yeah I'm sure all those monsters with massive deflection bonuses that don't exist are going to feel really great about that. (Nevermind that the Rogue bypasses DR anyway, and Fast Healing doesn't matter when you kill a guy a round). Rogues have their rockets, and they lob them at every level of the game. Surgo 19:09, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Oh? Every level of the game? Even before they get access to a ring of blink? Howso? Furthermore, 10d6 damage (at level 20) is a measly 35 on average. It's the multitude of attacks that they get that can kill a monster. Even with with 7 attacks that all hit (245 damage), a creature with DR 10 is only going to take 175 damage from that barrage of attacks--definitely not going to kill any CR 20 monsters in a single round. Again, the death of a creature doesn't rest on a single saving throw (whether the rocket hits or not). Instead, there's a way for monsters to escape death. On the other hand, even a xixecal is going to die if it fumbles against a Finger of Death spell. Even if all their attacks crit, virtually no rogue-level character is going to be able to kill that creature in any way. --Ghostwheel 19:19, October 14, 2009 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Rith - This was a discussion about what pushed a class up into wizard land. They both agreed that substantial narrative influencing options (reality altering or whatever) was a key, but they disagreed about whether 'rocket launcher style attacks' pushed a class up into wizard land or not. Surgo says no, Ghost says yes, and then it got stuck arguing about specifics of sneak attack as whether or not it counts as a rocket, presumably since it impacts whether a class can have them and still be a rogue level class. Good times. - TarkisFlux 20:27, October 14, 2009 (UTC)

Magic items are not the tricks of the Big 6, a wand is as much the tool of a wizard than the tool of a rogue (comparable to limited spellcasting limited by wealth per level). I feel that a wizard-level class should at least, be able to defeat a sorcerer with a good spell selection (sorcerer being imo, the weakest wizard-level class). People talk about rogue-level as if it was the finest level of balance in existence, a fragile balance point. It not, it as wide as fighter, wizard and monk level. It a balance point like the others. Wizard-level of power is serious, it not about having 2 or 3 good tricks, it about being batman and shutting down encounter as they begin (such as color spray, sleep among other spells). To be of wizard-level you either need to be: incredibly versatile and effective (bard are versatile but not very effective) or be senselessly good at something (like the Samurai, who is still pretty versatile). --Leziad 20:53, October 14, 2009 (UTC)
Okay, thank you Tarman, in that case, I'll add my own two cents. For the immagrants from the old wiki, you will all probably remember S1Q3T3, and what he had made there. For those who may not have heard of him, I will fill you in breifly. S1Q3T3 made a optimized build using the Monk class, and entitled it The Ultimate Monk. Now, while our memories of S1Q3T3 may not be savory, the fact remains that the build was good. But, the guy tried to lay claims that the Monk was a powerful class because of this optimization he had made. This has actually bridged into a joke amongst us about Monks being good because they turn into Colossal+++ Wyverns and tear down buildings, etc. Of course, while his points were nonsense, the fact still remained that the build was quite powerful, and was, in fact, "playing rocket tag". Now, see what I said there, a Monk build is playing rocket tag. How can this be? Monks suck! Though the fact still remains that S1Q3T3 made the Monk rocket tag level. Now then, where am I going with this? Well, it's simple. Any class can play rocket tag. Being able to do so does not make a class Wizard level, else every class would be Wizard level. The difference is that Wizard level classes are able to play it with barely a second thought, while other classes take varying degrees of effort to play it. Rogues can play rocket tag, with little effort. Fighters can play rocket tag with a lot of effort. Monks can play rocket tag with S1Q3T3. The game of rocket tag does not make a class wizard level. Already being in a game of rocket tag by virtue of existance, does. → Rith (talk) 01:49, October 15, 2009 (UTC)
Not really relevent to the point I was trying to make... at any rate, looks like we'll simply have to agree to disagree *shrug* --Ghostwheel 22:30, October 15, 2009 (UTC)

Some Commentary Edit

As noted above, it's very hard to use these guidelines when working with non-classes. I think separate scales for non-classes would be appropriate.

Secondly, I don't think "Wizard-level" is the best name for the tier. While the Wizard likely has the highest possible optimization, it is (as noted in the article) entirely possible to make a much lower tier Wizard. I suggest, then, that you use the Druid - it's pretty hard to make a Druid that doesn't own everything in sight, what with effectively being 3 characters at once. At least, assuming you use all of his features.

Thirdly, the article does a poor job of emphasizing versatility. It is versatility that differentiates the Tiers in the generally accepted Tier system, not out-right power. An optimized Fighter can potentially out-damage even an optimized Wizard (provided the Wizard isn't out-right abusive, a la Shadowcraft Mage or something), but that's largely irrelevant compared to the fact that a Wizard, given one day, can do anything. The definition of Tier 1 is not "more powerful than Tier 2" (they're generally not, since Tier 2 is usually spontaneous casters who simply have less access to the same abilities as the Tier 1 characters), it's the ability to do anything. This should be emphasized.

Finally, some questions of where you have placed things: What on earth is the Beguiler doing in the Wizard level? Not a chance. The Sorcerer is certainly higher than the Beguiler, and you have the Sorcerer in Rogue level (itself probably not the best choice) - Beguiler and Sorcerer are extremely similar in Tier, and should be in the same one.

Oh, and no reasonably optimized Fighter has difficulty competing with a Rogue for damage. A charger doesn't even really need to be "uber" to pull it off. Again, damage isn't really the point.

Finally, no way in hell is Power Attack in the same tier as Weapon Focus. Weapon Focus is not much better than Alertness. Power Attack is key to most Fighter damage-dealing builds. That is an outright mistake.
DragoonWraith 13:59, December 14, 2009 (UTC)

Just a few replies;
The beguiler and sorcerer are both in the wizard tier, and we have both there; many argue that the combination of UMD (cast any spell via scroll), skills (int-based and many rogue+social skills), class features and many more spells known make the beguiler stronger than the sorcerer, so it's moreup in the air.
The big thing about the rogue is that he can UMD, as well as make touch attacks from a distance with flasks of acid (for example) if he can get an opponent denied dex to AC. Consider the humble grease spell; while balancing, enemies are considered flat-footed, and thus the rogue can continually lob acid flasks at them. And then there's the blink ring trick as well as the level 10 "bonus" feat, but we'll not get into those atm.
Lastly, for Power Attack, the feat actually sucks in most cases when you're not getting some boost to it (such as Shock Trooper or Combat Brute). At lower levels you might be getting a few extra point of damage from it, but once you hit that first iterative attack your DPR when weighted against decent DPRs actually decreases if you power attack at all. Yes, I've done the math extensively on that one. Meanwhile, Weapon Focus can easily be a +10-15% (or higher) boost in DPR, also something that's not very weak. Uninteresting? Absolutely. Weaker than Power Attack? Not by a long shot without a number of other feats (both shock trooper and combat brute require four feats between them of your precious 7 feats from level 1-20). Plus, both those feats are very situational--if you can't charge (enemy's around the corner, difficult terrain, etc) they're effectively burnt feats. --Ghostwheel 14:09, December 14, 2009 (UTC)
I edit-conflicted; this is in reply to DragoonWraith. I am of the belief that the "tier system" is trash. There are simply too many tiers, and the reasoning that puts certain classes in certain ones is highly suspect. This system, for classes at least, is mostly based on the Same Game Test. It's not a comprehensive system, but I don't think you can build one. It's a rough system, meant to give basic differentiation between classes.
And yes the Beguiler certainly does belong in the Wizard level -- they get all the best spells and own all their opposition really hard. As for the fighter: you are right; damage isn't the point. A charger fighter is going to have trouble against things in the SGT that a Rogue is not. Surgo 14:12, December 14, 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with your assessment of the Tier system in general, though I don't in any way dispute the validity of the SGT, which is also reasonable. I simply feel that the SGT accurately reflects what the Tier system emphasizes, that is, flexibility, and I think that is often more important. I'd rather have a character able to contribute meaningfully in every fight, than one who gets to OHKO things 1/day or something.
However, given the differing definitions (which I did not realize), then the placement of things seems less problematic.
DragoonWraith 15:20, December 14, 2009 (UTC)

Crusader Edit

I question whether or not the crusader can actually stand up to the rogue at all in power level. Surgo 03:43, January 15, 2010 (UTC)

The Crusader doesn't have the versatility of the warblade or the damage capabilities of the swordsage--but don't let that fool you. A basic crusader can control the battlefield like a pro, forcing enemies to attack him instead of the squishies and ignore massive damage. But that's because he's a defender.
At first level, he can heal/ignore up to 4 damage per round with Stone Power + Martial Spirit, and doesn't even have to take the penalty from Stone Power until he has to.
At second level, he can gain access to Iron Guard's Glare, getting enemies to attack him rather than his friends--especially if he invests in a reach weapon.
By the time fifth level rolls around, he can ignore up to 10 damage per round with Stone Power, and give allies an extra action every four rounds (three with Extra Maneuver Granted) through White Raven Tactics.
Level 7, he gets access to Divine Surge, letting him to +8d8 damage on a single attack.
Level 8 he reaches the peak of his mid-level power, with Thicket of Blades. Combine with Stand Still and few enemies are going to be able to move easily around the battlefield, not even being able to withdraw, tumble, or take 5' steps while within your reach.
In short, just because the Crusader doesn't seem to have the damage output of other classes doesn't make him fighter-level. Unlike virtually all the other classes made by WotC, he serves as one of the only true defenders out of the box without the need for too many feats or abilities outside the book he was published in along with the SRD. --Ghostwheel 08:15, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
Let's do a same-game test, then. Be sure to multiply percent change of winning with percent chance of actually having the maneuvers required to win (apparently that's not guaranteed). Surgo 13:34, January 15, 2010 (UTC)
I can't remember who said it (I think it was Kaelic), but a random pile of awesome is still a pile of awesome. Combat, especially at the rogue balance level, isn't simply decided on the first round of combat, so having the right maneuvers off the bat doesn't matter that much--especially with the crusader's damage-soaking abilities. --Ghostwheel 01:12, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Here's the SGT though:
  • Hallway of runes - between Steely Resolve and Stone Power you can negate 10 damage per round, even if you had no idea the damage was coming. This'll give us enough durability to get past the hallway of runes. --Win.
  • Fire Giant - A strong melee monster, but with the right strikes the crusader's at around the same level and the battle could go either way. --50/50
  • Blue Dragon - Strafing runs and mobility would ordinarily cause the crusader to lose, but due to his extra durability the dragon is eventually going to get into melee, and from there it's anyone's guess what the outcome will be, especially if the crusader picks good strikes. --50/50
  • Bebilith - Another melee monster, the odds are around the same as for the fire giant what with the various strikes and damage ignoring abilities of the crusader. --50/50
  • Vrock - Same basically as the bebilith and the fire giant--while its damage is low, it has the spores which can really screw the crusader over. --50/50
  • Tag team of mind flayers - Could go either way, though the Crusader has a slight edge here with a higher-than-average Will save due to adding Cha to will saves. --50/50
  • Evil Necromancer - undead getting in the way and ranged enervations are going to screw the crusader over. --Loss
  • 6 trolls - High armor and the ability to capitalize and reduce the damage dealt are going to lead to the crusader's --Win
  • Horde of shadows - definitely a --Loss
So we end up with 2 wins, 2 losses, and 5 50/50s. Pretty balanced along the SGT, I think. --Ghostwheel 01:24, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
What maneuvers, though? Can we be specific here? (And, well, some classes at the Rogue level, like the Rogue, decide combat in round 1 if that combat is against 1 opponent.) What are the will save numbers? Yeah. Surgo 01:30, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
For maneuvers readied, we'll take Radiant Charge, Elder Mountain Hammer, Divine Surge, Entangling Blade (sets us up for Radiant Charge), Bonecrusher and Revitalizing Strike. Will save is 3 (base) + 2 (wis) + 3 (cha) + 3 (Cloak of Resistance) = +11 --Ghostwheel 01:42, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
We resolved this in chat. Surgo 03:13, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Mind summarizing for those of us following along at home? - TarkisFlux 04:47, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
The above chart was changed a bit. Iirc: Hallway of runes => loss, Fire Giant => 50/50, Blue Dragon => win, Bebilith => win, Vrock => win, Flayers => 50/50, Necro => loss, Trolls => win, Shadows => loss. Each except the final 3 (which are obvious) was covered in excruciating detail. Surgo 05:23, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
So the guy with the annoying maneuver mechanic actually works out fairly well. Good to know. How does he win the Bebilith encounter though? - TarkisFlux 06:07, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Stand Still + Thicket of Blades ftw! --Ghostwheel 06:13, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
BTW, you won't believe how annoying that tactic, especially after a potion of Enlarge Person, can be for DMs XD --Ghostwheel 06:14, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Straight up fight, sure... How does that help him if he doesn't see the hidden (+24 hide mod) Bebilith hanging on the ceiling (20' climb speed, +24 climb mod if it ever matters), who drops and grapple (via improved grapple and +29 grapple mod) / poisons (Fort DC 24 on every +19 bite hit) him to death in a round or 5? - TarkisFlux 06:42, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Few ways, but for the sake of argument, anklet of translocation out of the the grapple, down a potion of flight, get away. Next round, drink down a potion of enlarge person, still stay away. Then use your reach weapon (20' reach) to attack & kill the bebilith with little chance of retalitation while flying above it, and you've got a decent enough str score to burst through the web after a round or three if it uses that. --Ghostwheel 06:46, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Strongly gear dependent answer to avoid the ambush, followed by minor gear dependence and class features to get a mark in the win column. Got it. - TarkisFlux 06:54, January 16, 2010 (UTC)

→ reverted the indent, yo

Yeah, seriously, if you're not going to treat the test with respect, then, you might as well not use it. Using those items, even a Fighter has a chance of beating the bebilith. Now, I honestly don't care where the class ends up, it's still just the crusader, but, I took a bit of time and decided to give this an actually unbiased run through the SGT. This is a debate about class balance, so, this is a matter dealing with the actual class, not what feats or items the person using the class may have, so, unless they were given as bonus feats (as intrizic parts of the class), they have been completely removed from the equation. Now then, some people may argue by saying "that is like saying that the Rogue won't take Weapon Finesse", and you'd be right. Of course, it'd also be like saying "the Rogue won't take Stealthy, or Negotiator". It's like saying that "the Rogue won't take quicken spell", for crying out loud. This is not overgeneralization, it's assuming that you don't know what he's going to take, and so, you should not assume this class is taking that feat when you consider it's balance. Now then, now that we have cleared up that, on to the actual testing:
  • Hallway of runes -- The crusader is good about soaking up damage, yes, but, his only way he has to heal himself is via attacking things that pose an immediate threat to him, that also have opposing alignments with him. Sadly, there is nothing to attack in this hallway that fufills those criteria, so, while the crusader might be able to absorb the damage enough times to get through, he likely won't be able to handle the indefinite ammount of damage he's about to take -- Likely Loss
  • Fire Giant -- Yes, this is going to be difficult. Luckily, you have considerably more damage output than the giant. Sadly, he has more hp than you. So, really, if you're smart, you can win, but he has enough power stacked up behind him to give you a run for your money either way. -- 50/50
  • Blue Dragon -- The dragon never has to stop flying, his breath weapon has a recharge counter, and the dragon can casts spells as a third level sorcerer. The dragon will blind the crusader with glitterdust, then kite him repeatedly until he makes an abortion look sexy. -- So much of a loss that you can't sleep at night
  • Bebilith -- The crusader can't see the bebilith any better than he can see anyone else who happens to be hiding, so, lets face it, the outsider gets the drop on him. He'll get caught in a net in the surprise round. First round, the bebilith has an okay chance of winning initiative, so, the crusader will likely get hit by that nasty bite attack. Luckily, he's got good fortitude, so, he might make the save DC. If he doesn't, however, he's suffering a good bit from the get-go. Next round, the crusader had to burst out of that net last round, so, he gets full attacked this round, and most characters can't handle 4d6 points of Con damage at all, but, he also had to lose his armor at the same time. From there, this just goes downhill. Of course, even if the crusader had favorable conditions, this would still be very difficult for him to handle. -- Definite Loss.
  • Vrock -- The Vrock will open with Mirror Image, if he's got a brain. So, you are already off to a bad start, seeing as you must either choose to be blinded, or you are going to be playing "Whack a Mole". Next up, he's going to be keeping you angry by spamming spore, and refreshing his mirror image when it gets low. The Vrock is gonna be steadily taking 5 foot steps through the crowd of Vrocks, at that, so, he'll probably be full attacking you each round from 10 feet away, before taking another step, and making himself dissappear to you again. Of course, with the Thicket of Blades stance, you get to hurt him for taking that step, if you can reach him. So, while you will most likely die in this situation, you can at least attempt to take the guy down. -- Likely Loss
  • Tag team of mind flayers -- Don't have a copy of the Monster Manual here, so, I can't look up Mindflayers, sadly. Luckily, the crusader gets an average Will save, and can do some pretty decent damage to the pair of Ithilids, and soak up the damage they deal to him, so, this is the kind of fight the guy was made for. Of course, so far up till now, it's been being veiwed as a 50/50, and I have no evidence that would make it obviously otherwise. so... -- 50/50
  • Evil Necromancer -- Yeah, it's all been said. The Necromancer will rape that crusader in such unpleasent ways, I'd rather not spend much detail here. -- So much of a loss that you can't sleep at night
  • 6 trolls -- Same deal as with the mindflayers, except I can actually confirm this one. The Trolls, unlike most foes so far, can't deal more damage than the crusader can ignore. There being 6 of them and their Regeneration might make things a bit tricky, but, hey, the crusader was built for stuff like this. -- Definite Win
  • Horde of shadows -- Yeah, good luck trying to find a way to win this fight. The crusader may be able to absorb damage, but, these guys aren't dealing with damage, they are dealing with removal of strength, which the crusader can't handle, and he winds up getting overwhelmed with weakness. -- Definite Loss.
Okay, at the end of all this, we find that the crusader has 1 definite win, 2 50/50's, 2 Likely Loss's, 2 Definite Loss's, and 2 Loss's that give people nightmares (or, 1 win, 2 even, 6 lost). I honestly did not expect this class to do that badly, I went into this expecting to announce, at the end, that this was Rogue, but, was likely low Rogue. The beauty, however, in ToB material, is that you can bring many different builds to the table, and each one is rather self-optimizing. So, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that a 50/50 for a ToB class can be counted as a win. Assuming that, we find ourselves at 3 wins, 6 lost. So, while a good class, that, with very special consideration of feats and magic items selected, can opperate very strongly on Rogue level. However, the class itself, obviously ought to be found in the Fighter category, as Surgo pointed out in the beginning. → Rith (talk) 13:22, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Yes! No assumed anythings at all! Let's SGT the rogue without taking any magical items that they can UMD! In fact, let's SGT the wizard--without a spell-component pouch! After all, that doesn't come intrinsically with their level, right? Same with the spell-book--you usually need to buy that too, so that's gone as well, amirite?? *eyeroll*
In short, the above is completely bunk, since the SGT was created in mind with characters being able to buy equipment as long as they don't exceed the CWBL for their level. --Ghostwheel 13:44, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, recent events have shown that, indeed, the Rogue can't pass the SGT, in fact, Ghostwheel himself has proven that the Rogue is barely able to hold their own in combat when compared to the Barbarian (the Rogue benefits from higher AC, most of the time, of course, but, that doesn't matter). As for the Wizard, yeah, he gets a class feature: it's called "spellbook". Don't beleive me? Look for yourself: SRD:Wizard#Spellbooks. Just to annoy people, I'll even quote it: "A wizard begins play with a spellbook". So, yeah, the Wizard does intrinsically get a spellbook.
Now then, spell components are a bad joke, and are widely free, except when you actually want the spell component to matter. Spell Components are the sort of thing you might find in a gutter, or stuck in a forgotten pocket of your cloak. Meaning that the player can get it for free ('free' translating into 'intrinsically part of everyone's life.), unless you really want to do some heavy roleplaying (seven year long quest to get a glass rod!). Though, with those magic items, you find that, even a Commoner, would be beating the Bebilith, so, obviously, there must be something wrong there. → Rith (talk) 14:13, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Tarkis -- the Bebilith was actually what we spent the longest on. It eventually came down to "does the Crusader reasonably run out of important gear before the Bebilith grapples him to death") the answer to which was, barely, no. Surgo 15:44, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
I wasn't actually disagreeing with the result, even if I was disparaging it slightly. Anything with that much gear dependence is not a Win in my book, just a Likely Win, but Ghost doesn't use that level of granularity (which I actually find baffling since he goes into such detail with feat and gear assumptions, but meh). Anyway, rogue level is a gear dependent level, and if that's his results with semi-optimized gear and feats he's a fairly weak Rogue level class, but that doesn't make him a non-viable one. - TarkisFlux 17:35, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
My bad, I actually did use that level of granularity in the test, just didn't say it here. And it was a probable win. Surgo 17:36, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
If I recall correctly (didn't think to save the log), the final result was 1/3/2/1/2, that being definite win/probable win/toss-up/probable loss/definite loss. -- Jota 18:34, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
Something like that. In short, the SGT carried out by Rithaniel doesn't really hold water after having gone through a proper SGT in detail in chat the other day. --Ghostwheel 20:32, January 16, 2010 (UTC)
There were actually technical issues with Rith's SGT (the dragon isn't the right age category, and 3rd level sorcerers don't have 2nd level spells), but it's merits have nothing to do with the fact that you ran another one some other time. What it is closer to is an SGTing of a blasting wizard since it's basically an SGT sans feat / gear / selectable class ability optimization. Which isn't particularly helpful, but is an indicator of a lack of class feature versatility. For reference, the rogue does better on a blank SGT than the crusader did, but would still fail.
Ghost - I'm kinda interested in knowing if you thought you could optimize those encounters even better than in the chat SGT, to boost his score a bit higher than it is. Nothing specific, just wondering if he's topped out at that level or if he's got room to compete with other feat / gear optimizations in your opinion. - TarkisFlux 01:18, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
That's about the extent of optimization as far as a straight crusader goes; you can add a tattoo of augmented Expansion to become Huge if your DM allows you to get one, but that's basically building on what the crusader already does, so not really. (Which is one of the nice things about the ToB classes--they're fairly rogue-level, and stay around there as long as you don't add blatantly wizard-level stuff to them.) That said, a big reason that the crusader doesn't do as well as it might with further optimization is because of its role as a defender. How are you going to quantify White Raven Tactics every 3 rounds as far as the SGT goes? Or keeping monsters away from squishies while taking the brunt of the damage and making it all go away? (Or not taking any at all if you keep enemies away with Stand Still and THICKET OF BLADES? I just can't express how awesome that stance is...) For such classes, the SGT may often fail at its purpose, since it focuses on a single character without taking into account what they could add to a party as a whole. --Ghostwheel 02:55, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so there's not much more to work off of for a straight SGT, but you think they would fare better in a test that wasn't geared for non-support classes. That's been a problem of the SGT for a while now. You sorta worked around it for the Marshall, and I was pretty unhappy with that treatment because it doesn't highlight their contributions as significantly, but you could argue something similar. I think I'd treat this and similar support classes in a more extreme manner, like putting a level 9 crusader with a level 6 <anything else, I don't even care about balance levels here> and seeing how they do. Count wins only if the level 6 guys make it through. That gives you a small enough contribution from the lower level guy that you probably can assume he would fail ALL of them without the assistance of the support class, while still being very close to an EL 10 party, so you can gauge the boost from the defender without getting substantial noise from the other guy. I haven't done any actual runs to see if I like how it works out or not or if the extra actions far outweigh the potential dead weight, but that's what I've been coming back to. - TarkisFlux 06:03, January 17, 2010 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

I'm actually pretty happy with the fact that the SGT is only one guy, because (a very made up example, but you get the point) it cuts out nonsense like a character who adds +100000 to everybody's rolls, but doesn't actually do anything himself. Boring to play, and the test shows that. Surgo 15:54, January 17, 2010 (UTC)
Ghostwheel's marshal completely evades that (despite that yes, I'd like to it being self-sustaining). Also: every non-beguiler UMD class (i.e. basically all the rogue-like classes that don't suck, including from the Tomes) sucks enormously hard without said UMD, so there must be equipment coming from somewhere. For reference, people (including me) only say rogues are good because their gear's a solved problem nowadays. But so is the crusader's: no one expects a crusader to not use a reach weapon, for example. And even the Tome classes have rather obvious equipment shout-outs. Also: WRT technically can affect self.
Eh, that's pretty cheesy; I'd rather not get into extreme cheese when balancing classes and such :-/ --Ghostwheel 01:44, January 25, 2010 (UTC)
What is? Assuming equipment, or self-WRT? For the first: not doing it writes rogues off actually passing the SGT. For the second: it's unquestionably allowed, it makes crusaders have 4 turns per 3 rounds in the SGT (which was the original complaint, on it being "unmeasurable"), and it's most likely not its best use anyway whenever the crusader does have allies - even in a ToB-only party (if it even exists) you'd rather have a warblade string full attacks on enemies unable to relocate, and with spellcasters, they're definitely the prime targets.
The latter, I'm fully in favor of characters getting level-equivalent equipment. Partially because it opens up the possibility of severe abuse (RKV), and because it goes against what I feel is the spirit of the maneuver, though YMMV *shrug* --Ghostwheel 18:26, January 28, 2010 (UTC)

Soulknife=Monk? Edit

I'm kind of new to D&D, so I don't exactly get why the soulknife is considered monk level. If it should be painfully obvious to regular players, please don't laugh, just explain why (I'm pretty sure there is more to it than the medium BAB) --Lord Mattos 02:24, January 26, 2010 (UTC)

The soulknife is basically Monk level because at low level its class abilities amount to:
  • A free shortsword
  • Weapon focus with his free shortsword, but not any other shortswords, like say a masterwork one.
And at mid-to-high levels:
  • His shortsword is now a fairly level-appropriate bastard sword, or two fairly level-appropriate short swords
  • Moves somewhat faster
  • The sword is now also a bow
  • Much weaker sneak attack that isn't compatible with full attack
  • More Weapon Focus with his swordbow
So basically, he gets two or three level-appropriate magic weapons for free, but none of the class features that actually make being a face-stabber worthwhile at mid levels, and no class features that a few gold can't buy at low levels. The weapon flexibility doesn't matter because none of the properties actually affect its odds against monsters all that much. And he can't multiclass out without making his actual soulknife class levels completely worthless, since the weapon doesn't actually auto-scale. And that's not all that different from the Monk, except he can actually hit ghosts about half the time. Quantumboost 03:34, January 26, 2010 (UTC)
And as some dissonance, that sneak attack can be translated into "I drop it" by attacking mental stats with Knife to the Soul. Animals, giants, dumb monsters, etc...within a few hits, they're done. Which doesn't exactly help the major problems. A lot of people have said that Soulknife could just be a feat, and they aren't far off. --Genowhirl 05:26, January 26, 2010 (UTC)

SRD Edit

It seems to me that it would be easier to determine balance points for things if the feats, spells, and classes in the SRD had Balance Points. --Foxwarrior 20:49, February 25, 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you, and even proposed assigning balance points to SRD material, but was told not to. --Ghostwheel 22:21, February 25, 2010 (UTC)

Renaming the Tiers Edit

I've solicited this idea before (at some point somewhere), but I think I should try again.

I know this is a pain in the ass, but it still bothers me that we name our tiers of balance after classes. Sure, it seems logical enough when balancing classes, but it becomes very abstract when balancing races. Why not just rename the tiers to what they actually mean?

  • Tier 1 = Wizard
  • Tier 2 = Rogue
  • Tier 3 = Fighter
  • Tier 4 = Monk

Wizard, rogue, fighter, and monk are just examples of what the particular tier means. I find it strange to name something after its example rather than what it actually is.

I also understand it is a convention here to use the existing names. I learned to use nonlethal instead of subdual, and I think we can do the same. There is a small benefit in changing the name to actual numbers. Instead of saying "this is somewhere between rogue-level and wizard-level" we could say "this is a tier 1.7 feat, so we can mark it as a tier 2". Even if that isn't useful, at least we don't have confusing "Fighter" levels of balance on our optimized builds and feats. On everything except classes it is 2 levels of abstraction instead of 1. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 18:24, March 29, 2010 (UTC)

I don't really mind either way (what's in a name?), but I think a decision was made not to assign tiers to races. --Ghostwheel 18:33, March 29, 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant races as a "for instance". I just find it strange seeing a feat with a "wizard" rating (it is especially confusing for a feat that grants abilities for non-spellcasters). --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 18:36, March 29, 2010 (UTC)
There are two major problems with that nomenclature change.
First, numbers seem to indicate a level of objectivity - you presumably have enough evidence to assign it a number, so presumably you're basing that on results from some outside standard. I don't know if they've been going on in the background, but I haven't seen that many SGTs actually run - as opposed to basing things on gut instincts or vague comparisons to other classes. In other words, we wouldn't be lying, but we'd be putting on airs of objectivity when that just isn't justified.
Second, there are already systems out there using the "Tier #" nomenclature, and that would just add to confusing the balance standard here with those other balance standards. That is something that would be very bad. --Quantumboost 18:41, March 29, 2010 (UTC)
1. We could use roman numerals if numbers really do imply objectivity: Tier I, Tier II, etc. It is difficult to use different names than that, however, because we don't want to imply that one level is better than another.
2. My main point is that we should use names that actually describe what the balance level is. Monk does not tell me much about a feat. I have to understand the conventions of this wiki in detail. Tier 4 might not tell me much right away, but I can read a quick blurb that explains that Tier 4 is low-powered and has the weaker feats, classes, etc. After that when I see Tier 4, I know what to expect. With "Monk" I have to first think of what power level monks are and then think of what that means for the game I am playing.
If we are talking about our balance system, we should name things based on what they are, not based on examples of what they are -- even if other systems use similar names. See what I mean? --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 18:56, March 29, 2010 (UTC)
I'm against the idea, but I am very busy so please give me a few days to formulate a proper (and hopefully convincing) response. Surgo 22:10, March 29, 2010 (UTC)
I'm with Surgo in being against a shift to numbers, numerals, or letters. I don't want any balance level name that leaves an explicit or implicit ranking in the name itself. Which means I am personally only going to be happy with words being used for the balance levels, because I want words with a connotation that actually refers to the level in question. Right now we have that, but I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that these words already have a specific denotation in the game and that's getting in the way of their intended use here. So if those words don't work, I'd want to replace them with other words, preferably words that gave some indication of what type of game was likely to be had with that material. Here's an example of what I mean:
  • Monk -> Mortal
  • Fighter -> Heroic
  • Rogue -> Legendary
  • Wizard -> Mythic
Or something similar. I just really want something with meaning and not ranking in our level assignments. - TarkisFlux 05:56, April 6, 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if I'd call the rogue tier "legendary"--while it does have quite a lot of powerful abilities in the balance range (perhaps even rename the whole thing "Balance Ranges", since they're not really points per se), "legendary" doesn't feel right. I'm not sure of the right word, but for some reason that one just doesn't seem to represent the current "rogue" range of balance too well. That said, not even the monk range of balance is really "mortal". --Ghostwheel 11:01, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, been busy. All post my thoughts soon. Surgo 12:43, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
At higher levels, things that rogue level characters can do get passed down in legends and stories. At higher levels things that wizard levels can do get passed down in myths that most people only half believe even if it's entirely true. At least that is going to be my half-assed justification for those assignments, since I wasn't particularly happy with those when I put them up anyway. And I agree that monk isn't really mortal, I just didn't have a good word for less than heroic that didn't also carry negative connotations. - TarkisFlux 17:00, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
I'd float [ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BadassNormal Badass Normal], but I'm not sure as to how it would gel with the other names. -- Jota
I don't think Badass Normal is appropriate, since a large fraction of the classes in each balance point rely on not being normal. The only Badass Normal classes in all of WotC D&D are the Fighter, the Rogue, the Scout, the Barbarian, and maybe one or two more. Note that those aren't Monk-level. --Foxwarrior 19:16, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
I like "Balance Range" as Ghostwheel said. As for the names, I like Tarkisflux's ideas (except the monk name, the only thing coming to my mind is Brave) for the names of "tiers". Monk, Fighter, Rogue and Wizard are quite misleading as I observed with my local group. --Leziad 19:31, April 9, 2010 (UTC)
Brave's not bad actually. I could see Brave -> Daring -> Heroic -> Legendary if just changing the words around would satisfy people looking for a change. Still waiting on Surgo's 2 bits though. - TarkisFlux 01:20, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
Those seem to fit much better *nod* Those are ones I can get behind. --Ghostwheel 01:31, April 16, 2010 (UTC)

Why I Don't Want to Rename Edit

The balance points (not tiers) were named the way they were because it provides direct and immediately comparable information. When something says "Monk", you can immediately say "if I have a Monk in my game, this is probably okay." I obviously can't really say "if I have a Daring in my game, this material is probably okay." That doesn't make sense, nor should it, because it's not how the balance points were designed. I want the balance points to have the property that, just by reading the single word, you know immediately where the material on the page stands. I don't think any of the above changing suggestions have that same property. --Surgo 16:49, April 16, 2010 (UTC)

Your arguement assumes that the person looking at the material actually knows what the balance ratings mean. Allow me to illustrate. "Jim" comes to this website for the first time looking for content for his players. Jim sees Defensive Roll and thinks that the feat is pretty well balanced for rogues. He then goes to Sudden Antimagic and thinks that we must be morons because that feat totally doesn't work with a wizard.
So Jim goes and reads our balance ratings. He now needs to learn all about what balance levels actually mean and then has to remember when he uses this site that monk level is actually the weakest level (Jim used to think monks were overpowered).
Changing the names won't avoid the learning curve for Jim. It will avoid the initial confusions.
And using your logic above, if Jim doesn't know what balance points mean and he thinks along those lines (I have a wizard in my game, so anything wizard level or lower is fair game), that wizard who uses fireballs is suddenly going to feel overwhelmed by the fighter that is picking tome feats.
So, yes, the name monk has a bit of meaning, but only once you understand the whole balance point system. What I'm proposing instead is to strip other implied meanings away from our balance names so that the person is forced to learn what they mean and won't get confused with their existing notions of balance. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 18:48, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
I won't argue against the fact that it still requires understanding what the balance points mean. That much is perfectly clear, thanks to your verbose example. However, there is something else that the set {Monk, Fighter, Rogue, Wizard} has going for it that the above proposals that were not numerical do not have -- order. It's pretty obvious what the ordering is in that set, no matter how you arrange it. I don't really know the order of {Brave, Daring, Heroic, Legendary} is supposed to be, especially when it gets scrambled. If we want to replace Monk, Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard, we need to come up with a set that has an obvious order. (And before anyone brings it up, I know there are a few whackos out there that think Monk isn't on the bottom or some other order change. I don't care about the few whackos.) Surgo 19:08, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
Order without implied "betterness" or other ranking is a tough thing to do, and I thought that suggesting a level was better than another was something we were generally opposed to (I certainly am). It's the only reason I opposed Aarnott's previously suggested labels, but if community says we don't care about that anymore then something clean and straightforward like Aarnott's set is going to be really really easy to work with, even if I find it distasteful. I'm not even sure that the benefits of it don't outweigh the relatively minor drawbacks so much that it's worth stomaching anyway.
Regarding my set, I actually think that there is an order to the alternate names I've suggested, though that might just be because they carry somewhat different connotations for me than for you (ignoring for now the fact that they're in alphabetical order as well). They are largely synonyms of each other though, so I can see where confusion would set in, but I'm not particularly attached to them in any case. If there were words for types / scales of adventures those would fit better than mine, I just haven't found them yet. - TarkisFlux 19:27, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
To tackle this topic from another angle, what does a rogue level feat mean? Is it the level of power that an optimized rogue would use? Are you really going to argue that Weapon Finesse and Two-Weapon Fighting are "rogue" level feats according to our balance points? I don't think they are (at least according to unwritten conventions on this wiki). What we call rogue level feats are really just feats that fit well in a 3rd tier of power. They don't fit the model of being balanced against an optimized rogue at all (an optimized rogue uses "fighter" level feats). I think this is the main source of my confusion with the system. If you can come up with a good explanation of exactly what a rogue level feat means, then there is no need to abstract the tiers. Otherwise, it is just a point of confusion. --Andrew Arnott (talk, email) 20:19, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
Technically, the SGT can only establish the level-appropriateness of a particular *build* given a single run-through (and then making some assumptions about terrain etc.). A class can possibly be considered SGT-appropriate (or a corresponding point above or below that) if a "typical" build is SGT-appropriate, or if it can reliably be used to make a build which is of the desired level.
You can to an extent attribute a balance point to a non-class component if using that component often brings a build which is on a less-powerful balance point up to the specified balance point. Even then you'd have to be careful about attributing too much of a change to the component. --Quantumboost 22:35, April 16, 2010 (UTC)
Back to ordering, "Monk" etc. doesn't imply that one is better than the other, it just says what level they are while having an implicit power ordering. For any label replacement, I would like to keep that property. Yeah, it's hard. But I don't think it's intractable. Surgo 23:09, April 16, 2010 (UTC)

An important note is that "probably" -- that's pretty important. It's not an exact science, nor should it be. In addition, it's generally easier to nerf stuff that's too good than it is to boost something that's under-performing. This is why I have always wanted people to edge on a liberal interpretation of their material when placing the balance point, instead of a conservative one -- so that over-performance is a more likely occurrence in a game than under-performance. Surgo 16:49, April 16, 2010 (UTC)

A Little Confused Edit

There seems to be something strange about the balance points here. You give the Monk, the Fighter, the Rogue, and then the Wizard. I use the Tier system from brilliantgameologists, and it puts the Rogue and Fighter at tier 4 while placing the monk at tier 5... tier 1 is where the wizard and cleric and druid are. So is there something that other people don't know about the rogue that you guys know, or is this just based off of PHB classes and this was the best thing on hand when writing the balance points (I have a strong suspicion that's not the case, but I'm throwing around ideas at midnight-thirty). Anyways, just a little confused. --For Valor 07:36, June 28, 2010 (UTC)

Three parts for the rogue being rogue-level: Sneak attack (which base rogue kinda sucks with medium BAB compared to other characters, almost fighter-level even if you play it straight, but you can do good things with it if you do a Daring Outlaw), UMD (screw people with wizard spells), and the bonus feat trick. That's about it. The tier system just doesn't really take those things into account much. --Ghostwheel 08:01, June 28, 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget that the rogue has significant out of combat abilities. The rogue can DO stuff when you're not fighting. The fighter is incapable of much beyond hack and slash. Karrius 09:57, June 28, 2010 (UTC)
I never really "got" JaronK's tiers anyway. Surgo 21:04, June 28, 2010 (UTC)
Is that the "real" reason you pushed hard to create a different tier system? :-P --Ghostwheel 21:21, June 28, 2010 (UTC)
No. Surgo 22:41, June 28, 2010 (UTC)
People seem to be forgetting about touch attack flasking as a viable strategy for a rogue, since you can stack it with TWF and your SA through any number of easy ways to deny your opponents Dex to AC. So I'll bring that up as another reason rogue > fighter. Basically, you can play the rogue in such a way that he performs better at all challenges on average than an equal level fighter, and if you have sufficient gear access and some solid optimizations you can almost keep up with the wizards even. - TarkisFlux 01:53, June 29, 2010 (UTC)
Can you think of any other way apart from wizard spells to get enemies to be denied dex to AC from range? (Since much of the time, items rest on what the DM allows/hands out.) --Ghostwheel 06:50, June 29, 2010 (UTC)
You actually can use hide to snipe people such that they are denied dex, even if it is extremely difficult before higher levels or against targets with good spot. You could also settle for just flatfooted and full-attack fling early in a combat before others go. - TarkisFlux 16:43, June 29, 2010 (UTC)
Eh, neither of those options are very satisfying, effective, or reliable throughout a whole combat (what with hiding requiring a move action, limiting you to standard actions, and going first being useless after the end of the first round of combat, or second if there's a surprise round and you get the jump on your enemies). Any other ideas come to mind? --Ghostwheel 11:55, June 30, 2010 (UTC)
You didn't ask for satisfying non-magic ways of doing that Ghost :-p. That's about it though. In a low magic / gear game the rogue is still better than the fighter, but the difference is less significant. /shrug - TarkisFlux 16:35, June 30, 2010 (UTC)
Well, the tier system classifies the Rogue as better than the fighter (except the Dungeonscape Variant). I'm wondering, is the Rogue better or worse than: The Duskblade, Dread Necro, PsyWar, Sorcerer, Wildshape Ranger, Factotum, Warlock, Warmage, Hexblade, and/or Spellthief.--For Valor 09:45, July 4, 2010 (UTC)
The rogue isn't better or worse than other rogue level class, the general rogue character often find himself a little low in the rogue level. My personal interpretation of the "tiers" is: relatively on the same level of power/usefulness with a similar degree of optimization. Example: A rogue need to optimize a lot to compare with mildly optimized clerics/druid/wizard, hence why they are not on the same level. That my take of it at least. --Leziad 08:06, July 4, 2010 (UTC)
Better or worse in what way? Damage? Survivability? Endurance of per-day encounters? Ability to rely on class abilities rather than hoping for specific items that the DM hands out? Etc. Also need to ask yourself what level of optimization you're considering as par for the course when looking at the class. Are we talking about a fully optimized basic combat rogue, a cheesed out halfling hurler, or a straight Rogue 20? And at what level? Certain classes get stronger or weaker depending at what level you look at them. And in what situations? In ideal ones, where a spellthief might be travelling with a bevy of spellcasters, willing to lend him spells constantly, or in a campaign without any spellcasters or supernatural foes whatsoever? So while there can be a big difference in power, the question is far more complicated than it may seem at first glance. --Ghostwheel 08:44, July 4, 2010 (UTC)
I was thinking SGT, actually... --For Valor 09:45, July 4, 2010 (UTC)
That's... really complicated then, and you'd have to actually SGT out each of the classes, depending on what level you're looking at (5, 10, 15). That said, the SGT is... really subjective, and has so many variables that I personally don't really see it as a good measure of power (are you taking the base class? feats? how about items? etc). --Ghostwheel 23:21, July 4, 2010 (UTC)
Well, if balance is so very difficult, how are these tiers organized? Whatever that system is, how about using it? My major point of interest is why some classes are ranked here as pretty low, while they're higher on the tier list (and vice versa). I'm also confused as to the power level of the rogue--classically, it's not all that good. I was thinking that a better idea would be to smash the fighter between Rogue and Monk balance levels and put the Sorcerer in between Rogue and Wizard. You'd have your Big 6 (Wizard-level), your strong fullcasters (Sorcerer), your classes that can compete most of the way to 20 (Rogue), and then the cruddy classes (Fighter/Monk). --For Valor 03:46, July 10, 2010 (UTC)
The balance points on this wiki are in fact organized by success rate on the SGT, and are otherwise meaningless outside of a vague touchy-feely power scale (utter failure on the test = monk, significantly less than 50% = fighter, ~50% success = rogue, significantly greater than 50% success = wizard). It continually amuses me that Ghostwheel actually argues for things being placed in any particular balance point given that he apparently thinks that the thing that gives the tiers meaning is worthless. :P
But yeah, SGTing things is how we're *supposed* to be balancing things. And despite what Ghost says, the SGT isn't "subjective". It gives you a straight sample of how a particular build fares against challenges of its level, and does so in such a way that you actually know objectively how powerful that build is. What he *is* right about is that figuring out *what* build to run through it and at what resolution so that you can determine the balance point on the *class* level is currently not well-defined enough. That part is subjective, and we would benefit greatly from a wiki policy on that.
In the meantime, I'd recommend running a single-classed standard-race build as optimized as you can make it with SRD options (feats and so on) and any "accompanying" options (i.e., fiend feats for Fiendish Brutes) for validation. That'll at least give *one* data point which definitely means something.
By the way, Ghost? The Halfling Hurler *is* a straight Rogue 20. So that might be a good build to use as the standard. :P --Quantumboost 04:33, July 10, 2010 (UTC)

Original Indentation Time

Alright, so this is by SGT... I've never game-tested the Rogue before, but I hear that it performs noticeably lower than ~50% for Same Game Tests. Am I wrong in this respect?--For Valor 05:47, July 10, 2010 (UTC)

Depends on your build, like always. The Halfling Hurler (3.5e Optimized Character Build) apparently does quite well on the SGT, even with its the rogue bonus feats house-ruled to require prereqs, and without extreme optimization. A ranged rogue without a way to get sneak attack (Ring of Blinking at level 10 and 15, something simpler like hiding in the edge of a smokestick cloud or something at level 5), or a melee rogue (pretty much at all) doesn't do so well. But at least one rogue build exists where you can get to rogue-level by just setting your goals and following through on them. I haven't run the numbers, so I don't know exactly how it performs. -- IGTN 15:58, July 19, 2010 (UTC)

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