View Full Version : [3.5] RPing the Aquisition of Prestige Classes

Thunder Hammer
2009-09-28, 09:19 PM
For a game I'm going to run soon, mainly with new players, I've been wondering about Prestige Classes.

I'm trying to make this game more immersive and RP focused, and am curious about the learning of a prestige class. Should I require the PC's to find a teacher? Should they get a book in the form of loot that lets them learn "new techniques" etc?

I want to add something that is fun, and largely simple. Any suggestions would be great.

2009-09-28, 09:24 PM
Depends on the class.

Something generic like "Loremaster" or a dual progression class would really just be a specialized focus and could get away with being taken on the spot if you meet the requirments.

Others like "Red Wizard" would (obviously) require being a member of the organization.

Anyways, it might be of intrest to check the "skill" based entry alternative rule from unearted arcana (in the SRD). It has a few ideas along the lines of what you are looking for.

2009-09-28, 10:01 PM
Classes are a metagame concept. Either the PC develops technique X through their training or they meet someone who will teach it to them. Honestly, it should be whatever the PC wants. However, under certain circumstances as a DM you should enforce some things, if only to keep your PC from becoming much more powerful than the others. If there's no risk of that, do whatever you want.

2009-09-28, 10:33 PM
Unless the entire party is entering the same or linked Prestige Classes I wouldn't bother. Nobody wants to sit around for the tale of Bob and the Quest for Vocational Education, and if Bob can't find a teacher, he's probably stuck with some suboptimal feats or classes, like the wannabe Mystic Theurge who instead has to pick which three levels of spellcasting he should let fade into obselescence.

2009-09-28, 10:44 PM
Classes are a metagame concept.

This. PCs aren't aware that their abilities are the sum of class levels.

RPing the aquisition of a PrC (or multiclassing in general) can make sense, if, say, you fluffed the abilities of a class/PrC to be secrets that members of a certain guild tend to keep to themselves. Ur-Priests and Wizards would fit this in my games.
In other cases, it could be very artificial indeed. Asking a Ranger who wants to pick up some Scout levels to hunt down a master Scout in order to teach him the secrets of dealing more damage when he moves? :smallconfused:

I suggest just asking the players at the start of the game whether there are any PrCs/secondary classes which particularly interest them. That way, you have time to figure out how you will sort out the scenario, and deal with it individually.

Akal Saris
2009-09-28, 11:34 PM
Ernir's advice is good.

In the games that I DM, most PrCs gain a minor RP requirement that can be fulfilled while still following the main quest. Loremaster would require writing a thesis on some knowledge subskill in your downtime, for example, and then publishing it. My goal is for the PCs to feel that they have accomplished something tangible by taking the PrC, without making it overly onerous or costly to enter it.

Some of the PrCs my players have taken and the requirements that I included...

Drunken master: must carouse with another drunken master all night
Purple dragon knight: Must be knighted by the Queen (this one's easier than it seems, as the PC is a Cormyrean noble)
Spymaster: Must disguise self in order to gain information, must also be involved in a high-status political intrigue
Radiant Servant of Pelor: Must undergo a 1-day rite of purification and commune with Pelor, I added a quest quest for the PCs to further the plot as well
Spellsword: No RP requirements, though the PC included some in his backstory anyways
Abjurant Champion: No RP requirements
War Weaver: Must fight as a member of a military force or highly coordinated squad

2009-09-29, 03:28 AM
I'd try to RP it, but keep it simple. Even if you have to say "Okay, you meet up with X and Y, they teach you, now on to the adventure I have planned for tonight." I can buy the crunch is not fluff argument for class other than prestige classes, but not prestiges. That's supposed to be the point of them. But I suppose they lose their sheen when everyone takes them, and then they just aren't all that prestigious. And then up goes the power curve, up goes the work for the DM to provide a challenge and up goes the expectations for other players to keep up. So soon everyone has one just to be normal.

2009-09-29, 03:32 AM
Tried it once; it almost ruined the whole game. Naturally everyone was trying to make up some reasons (read: excuses) for getting the PrCs they need, and it just didn't work out.

Since then we (the gaming group) just keep RP-ing and actual Crunch separate as far as is able.

2009-09-29, 03:32 AM
the problem with that is... most STANDARD classes make more sense as far as needing RP reasoning... not just for multiclassing, but for progressing in existing class...
how is the wizard gaining more spells? how is the monk learning new abilities? how is the paladin or ranger doing so? etc

some PrC specifically require you to join an organization. Those, RP.

2009-09-29, 04:00 AM
Training and personal study during downtime. It's recommended that DMs handle training however they want, but it does happen. That's easier to handwave as automatically happening.

Problems probably arose with fluffing out PrCs because the PCs never had any reason to get them in the first place except to min-max their characters. So if you RP, then RP it, but if you do mechanical things at the expense of RP, then either don't powergame like that or just admit you're giving up on RP in the area of player builds and move on. I'm saying in a world that has a decent level of RP it should be RPed, even if PCs are merely contacting organization XYZ to make their PC more powerful (i.e., even with that little effort and detail). The DM should make the organizations available, unless he trusts the PCs with that kind of work and creativity. In short, the options are:
A) "Yes, I have a death attack, this is not something people normally learn in this world, but I just have it and I use it in combat. Like the dragoon's jump that can't get us past low dungeon walls, we're not to talk about it when roleplaying outside of combat. Now on to kill a dragon."
B) "I'm part of the townsville assassin's guild where I was trained. Townsville is investigating the guild, but hopefully they won't link me to it. In the mean time let's go to that mountain and kill that dragon."

Otherwise it's not really a PrC, and every Tom/Joe/Harry NPC should have 3 of them (or however many the PCs get), every novice player should be coached on how to keep up with 3 books of PrCs, and every monster should come with templates, splatbook feats, etc. to keep the challenge up for the party.

Kol Korran
2009-09-29, 07:48 AM
good advice here, and mine might be repeating it some what, but...
with PrC acquisition, as with other elements of the game, it's up to the players to roleplay it, if they want to. if not, then they don't because it's no fun to them, as is with other elements. for example, most players who play clerics don't really invest in their religion or faith for example, but the players still has fun.

i suggest you try and make roleplaying the acquisition a rewarding experience to those who choose it, by interesting NPCs or interactions, titles, decrees, and other stuff that immerse them in the world more. just don't punish the "less roleplayering" players out there, and don't force them.

exception though: if the PrC signifies a position, organization, special power or whatever in your world, you may require the player to follow the rules of the world to get it. however, in most cases the players isn't interested in this you can easely find another solution. (such as the character having a revelation, or copying the skills of another. somethign simple, to the point, not requiring much roleplay).

all that said though, i think it's a splendid idea to roleplay character advancment, though not necesserily all aspects of it. with the cleric i play each time he gains a new spell level, i describe it as an intensification of faith, and new tools provided by his goddess to help him, and he find a rationalization to most spells he uses, he gives them new names, based on events he have went through, or expecting to encounter.

hope this helped,