View Full Version : Custom PrC creation

2010-04-08, 05:46 AM
Is there a way, programm or method, to create custom balanced Prestige Classes? Maybe a point-buy-like system that balances between requirements/class features/BAB/save prog etc???

Thank you.

2010-04-08, 05:54 AM
Nope. It's homebrew. That makes it somewhere between an art and a dark rite. It's nowhere close to a science.

Your best bet is just to a) look at similar PrCs and see how they work and then b) post the result in the homebrew forum here and incorporate constructive criticism received.

There are guides in the homebrew forum that can give you general pointers.

Geiger Counter
2010-04-08, 05:54 AM
For something as complex as a class all you can do is compare it to other classes and ask people more experienced than you if they think it's balanced, that and just play testing it.

Also I want to point out that if you are playing 3.5 note whether you think the durid and cleric need to be nerfed and the Full BAB classes need to be replaced by Tomb of Battle classes.

2010-04-08, 05:59 AM
Remember to compare your classes to ones that aren't stupid.

Balancing it against a well built Incantrix will end up with you cracking the world in two, but then again balancing it against the Truenamer will end up with the character living in a cardboard box.

2010-04-08, 09:27 AM
Swiftblade might be a good comparison. Flavorful, gains some things, loses some things. Taking it doesn't automatically make your character far stronger or weaker.

Don't throw in things just "Because that'd be so cool to do." You'll end up with some monstrosity of overpowerness.
If it has harsh prereqs, the benefits should be good, unlike Dwarven Defender. And they should continue to accrue, so it doesn't become a dip only PrC the way deepwarden is.

2010-04-08, 09:39 AM
Having a formula or set of guidelines that always creates anything balanced in a sufficiently complex RPG is like a holy grail of sorts.

It doesn't exist, but if you found it, it would be very very valuable.

2010-04-08, 09:55 AM
Note: You haven't said what kind of class you're dealing with; this is entirely to do with spellcasting PrCs, so if you're not planning on one of those, I'm afraid this will not be directly helpful - but I do hope it is a bit of food for thought when it comes to balancing PrCs in general, and it should certainly help with spellcasting PrCs.

Don't underestimate the value of caster levels. Swiftblade is a good PrC, but only because it's a gish PrC with great class features - gishes undervalue caster level and those class features are worth the four lost levels for a gish. But only because the class features are excellent.

For a pure caster, losing spellcasting levels often greatly hurts a character. Very few PrCs are worth even one spellcasting levels, and none that I am aware of that lose more than one are worth it (with the sole exception of the Swiftblade). Some that don't lose any should, but not many (Incantatrix, Shadowcraft Mage... Planar Shepherd and Tainted Scholar basically shouldn't exist in any form). Most PrCs that lose spellcasting levels are a self-nerf, some to the point of being absolutely worthless (Green Star Adept is most notorious, but far from the only one).

If you lose a single spellcasting level, you need very strong class features to make up for it. Malconvoker is worth it - it gets +5 spell levels worth of free metamagic (Extend + Twin) every time it casts a Summon Monster spell, plus all of his summoned monsters get a variety of buffs - that is worth one level, but only for someone very focused on Summon Monster. Recaster gets a ridiculous amount of flexibility in his spells, changing quite a few different things on the fly and free metamagic - that is worth one spellcasting level.

But most aren't. A lot of people will tell you "you have to lose something or its imbalanced!" - and that's true. But there are things to lose besides spellcasting levels. Unless your class features are very potent, spellcasting levels are not an appropriate thing to lose for a casting PrC. Instead, look at things like Red Wizard (ban an extra school; more meaningful if you rebalance the schools), Archmage (lose spell slots per day to power your class features), and simply pre-requisites - burning two or three feats hurts, and can make up for quite a few minor class features.

A PrC is only 'free' if all it requires is skill ranks. Skill ranks are trivial the vast majority of the time - useful for setting a minimum entry level (which is why 8 ranks is such a common pre-req, thus you can't enter before 6th), but not actually a drawback pretty much ever (the exception is when the ranks are cross-class for the entry class and they have to burn levels or feats getting them in-class so they can enter in a timely fashion).

Also, be careful about requirements for spellcasting. If you require a bunch of particular spells - you've screwed over any spontaneous caster who might want to enter, because now several of their very limited spells known are being devoted to those spells. If you require a specific spell level ("able to cast 3rd level spells"), you're again sort of snubbing spontaneous casters (who are a level behind), and you're also barring entry to Invokers (Warlock and Dragonfire Mage). If your class is designed for Wizards or Clerics, this is fine. If it's designed to be entered by a variety of base classes... it's not.

2010-04-08, 11:48 AM
somewhere between an art and a dark rite.Its a dark rite. Very dark. Just remember, before you go to the dark side, that homebrew isn't required to 'fix' anything. That's what houserules do.

Oh, and the darkside has cookies.:smallbiggrin:

2010-04-08, 11:58 AM
Is there a way, programm or method, to create custom balanced Prestige Classes? Maybe a point-buy-like system that balances between requirements/class features/BAB/save prog etc???

Thank you.

Honestly? Practice, and observe others who know what they're doing. PrC design is a temperamental thing, and takes a good amount of game knowledge to pull off well. I'd offer more tips, but I don't really have any general advice. If you want specific help on something, I'm more than happy to be of assistance if you drop me a PM. :smallbiggrin:

2010-04-09, 02:22 AM
Thank you for your time, special thanks to DragoonWraith.

I have seen some users "rate" homebrew PrCs with numbers like: "27,5". What are these numbers, what do they mean and how exactly to they rate? Is there a system (if there are numbers-there is system)?