View Full Version : [3.5] Limiting available tiers

2010-02-11, 03:49 PM
The tier system for classes (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0) is a well known and pretty accepted system, that has been around for some time now. It classifies classes based on their inherent power level, giving people an idea of how strong their character is going to be depending on which classes they take.

But has anyone ever tried restricting the tiers available to the players in a real game? What impact would saying "no classes above tier 3" have on a campaign? Did anyone ever play with such a party, or would any of you ever even want to try? Also do you think it's fair to limit the classes just for player characters, or should the same rules also apply to NPCs?

2010-02-11, 03:55 PM
I think a better plan is to restrict on a case by case basis. Not everyone plays to tier. Every party pretty much needs a source of healing, clerics are great for that. Not everyone who plays a cleric goes for Clericzilla. Exercise your right as a DM to go over the characters before play and the options taken at each level. If you feel something is too unbalancing, veto it. Please explain why though, you don't want the player feel like they are being picked on.

Sinfire Titan
2010-02-11, 03:55 PM
I've seen it done. It works out, but some monsters become nigh unstoppable (granted, these ones are dangerous even with the Tier 1 classes).

The thing that matters is what feats and PrCs are being selected. Bo9S characters are generally fine (but there's ways to screw even those classes up), but other classes have much more selection involved that requires delicate care.

2010-02-11, 03:56 PM
It works pretty well. You can make almost any PC archetype out of tier 3 alone.

Really, you can pick any tier range (1-2, 2-3, 4-5) and it will work pretty well.

JaronK (Tier system creator) has stated that he likes to play in tier 3 parties, and he likes to DM tier 4s.

I think most people like to use the same rules for PCs and NPCs. I know I get a little bit queasy when I am playing in a tier 3 party and my DM busts out something like a DMM CoDzilla enemy. You could probably go either way if your party was Tier 3. Lower than that and you run the risk of having to make your tier 1 NPCs act stupid so that they don't wipe the floor with PCs.

Viletta Vadim
2010-02-11, 07:52 PM
"Nothing above tier 3" doesn't tend to work out very well, as the higher- and lower-ends are both equally problematic. A CW Samurai running next to a Warblade is as much of a problem as a Cleric next to a Barbarian.

Generally, banning tier 1 works well. Banning tier 2? Not so much. I'd suggest setting a target for tier 3, ban tier 1, and very strongly warn anyone going for tiers 5 and 6 without really knowing what they're doing.

2010-02-11, 07:55 PM
Heavily optimized tier 5s can work with tier 3.

2010-02-11, 07:56 PM
Heavily optimized tier 5s can work with tier 3.

I think you mean

Heavily optimized tier 5s can work with poorly optimised tier 3.
because otherwise it would include

Heavily optimized tier 5s can work with heavily optimised tier 3.
and that would be just silly.

2010-02-11, 08:13 PM
a new DM and A friend of mine has a tier 4 and below campaign, which i would like to heve been informed of BEFORE I created the character sheet and backstory!

2010-02-11, 08:14 PM
Outside of some heavy cheese (like abusing RKV, Rainbow servant, Shadowcraft Mage with Beguiler, etc), I don't see tier 3 with HUGE upward movement even with optimization. For example, it's damned near impossible to mess up a Warblade unless you just fail at stat placement, but optimizing one doesn't break the game.

On a scale of one to 10, tier 3s might swing from 5 to 8, whereas tier 5 might swing from 1 to 7.

2010-02-11, 08:19 PM
I've absolutely done "Tier 3 and Tier 4 only" campaigns. It's worked incredibly well, actually. Usually the vast majority of character concepts can still be done within those tiers. I usually allow dipping weaker tier classes too if the player so desires... there's nothing wrong with a Warblade taking a two level Fighter dip if it fits the concept.

So yes, it works well, but make sure your players aren't obsessing about the idea of playing a Wizard or something.


2010-02-11, 08:36 PM
Limiting it to Tier3/Tier4, OR to Tier2/Tier3 works out best imo.

Another thing to look at is the difficulty of optimization, rather than just the tiers. For example, just throwing out possible numbers, consider the following cases, ranging from a lower number value for 'unoptimzed' to a high number value for 'perfectly optimized.' I'm not really looking for argument among what's better here, just trying to prove a point
Fighter: 2-7
Warblade: 7-9
Totemist: 1-10

Someone who has no idea what they're going are going to have a hell of a time pulling off a totemist well, but someone who knows what they're doing can rip **** apart with the best. Likewise, when you know what you're doing, you can make a fighter that can hold his own in terms of raw damage, but it's also really easy to be useless if you don't know what you're doing. Conversely, someone who knows very little about a warblade can do very respectably; they're effectively pre-optimized.

2010-02-11, 08:38 PM
well they could play wizards/clerics and use some of those horrible prcs that knock them down 2 tiers (if the campaign starts at higher levels) ^^

2010-02-11, 08:49 PM
My current game is doing this, sorta. I limited it to tiers 2-4. I ended up with all tier 3s except for one tier 4. So far it's working out well.

2010-02-11, 08:50 PM
So like actually taking 1- levels of Mindbender?