View Full Version : Jack-of-all-trade base classes?

2012-10-08, 07:42 AM
If this thread comes of as too rant-ish/offensive, or is in the wrong forum section, I apologize. Please delete/move this thread as appropriate.

I was just browsing the Homebrew section, looking for cool base classes to try, and I have realized something. Most of them try to do as many things as possible, while still being very good at particularly one thing.

Granted, that's practically the definition of Tier 3 classes, so it's pretty awesome standard. But when I look at the Tier 3 originals (the full 20 level base class), I see that they aren't really as capable of things more than half of the base class homebrews I've seen here. Either they have a diverse "spell list" (beguiler/psywar/swordsage for example) and only very few mildly useful to great class features. And sometimes, even if they are casting/pseudo-casting, they'll have 4+Int skill points. Are there guidelines for homebrewing or tacit default improvements (I actually agree that they should have better skill points)?

I'm also asking because I want to try my hand on homebrewing some time. And sometimes I over-think things like, "Should I give him W, X, Y and Z to do more utilitarian/unique stuff, or should I focus on A and B and let him focus on kicking the person's head in?", or "But what's the point of homebrewing if he'll just end up as the same T4 stuff with just a very different flavor?".

I don't mean in anyway to bash or offend anyone, in case that's what this sounds. I just want to understand how stuff like this works.

2012-10-08, 02:01 PM
I believe there are two reasons people build so many jack of all trade classes. The first is that jack of all trades classes have more options, which makes them more fun in gameplay. Being able to contribute relevantly is always beneficial to fun levels.

The second is that it is easier to create a mechanic for grabbing other mechanics than creating an entirely new (and interesting/fun) mechanic from scratch. Between Vancian, Tome of Battle, Psionics and Incarnum there are plenty of subsystems in place, and making a new one means trying to compete with them.

2012-10-08, 04:28 PM
As much as I hate to say it, I find what helps me with homebrew is knowing what published options are out there. When you say 'jack of all trades' I immediately think of Factotum and then Bard. Like it or not, all homebrew is compared to official material with the question of 'why should I use the homebrew instead?' so knowing your competition, so to speak, is important. This is also a lot of reading and expense to get all those books.

Your mileage may vary, and there is some stuff online for free from Wizards and such. Warblade and the maneuver cards, for example, are a tolerable intro to Tome of Battle without buying the book.

2012-10-08, 06:46 PM
If you look at the tier 3 base classes, you'll see pretty much the same trend:

Beguiler, Dread Necro, Duskblade - Spell Lists
Psychic Warrior - Psionic Power List
ToB Classes - Maneuver Lists
Bard - Spell List (+ others)
Wildshape Ranger - List of wildshape creatures.

Factotum is pretty much the only tier 3 that isn't really dependent on a list of some sort for versatility and has a strong set of base class abilities (and even then it does have spells). T3 is defined by either jack-of-all-trades or "doing one thing well, still able to contribute when that thing is not the focus." It's very difficult for a character to truly be able to contribute to enough situations with just class features alone - at least if you don't want a jumble of class features that go everywhere at once.

That's my take on it, at least.