View Full Version : Okay Tiering Question

2013-08-15, 03:18 PM
We all know about the Tiering system, in fact we all have i guess our own views on it, but recently the more i sat and thought the more i realised that there's one bit of info i can't really pin down.

What kind of wizard/sorcerer defences does a class need to be able to counter to fit into tier 3. When making my recent Archer PrC it was an easy answer, put a stop to the various wind wall and wall of force and the like shenanigans and most of the rest of the issues take care of themselves. Wizards laugh at ranged weapons because they have so many ways of going "lol you can't even attempt to hurt me".

Melee is different, they can't deal with fly simply by having a weapon, they can't deal with illusions by putting an arrow into each to see if it dissipates, (i know some don;t but the more common ones do), the ability to at least attempt an attack on anything they're aware of is missing and there are of course some melee specific options open to wizards/sorcs.

So what in your opinion are the spell effects and/or related feats that a character needs to be able to deal with to get into T3? What ones would automaticlly exlude a class from T3 if not dealt with?

2013-08-15, 04:08 PM
So what in your opinion are the spell effects and/or related feats that a character needs to be able to deal with to get into T3? What ones would automaticlly exlude a class from T3 if not dealt with?

Lets look at some pre-existing tier 3 classes and find out! Say... Swordsage, Factotum, and Dread Necromancer. What major features do these classes have in common?

...pretty much nothing!

In short, I assert that there are no "necessary effects" for a tier 3 class. What a tier 3 class requires is simply a reasonable variety of viable options. The exact nature of those options can be whatever fits the nature of the class.

2013-08-15, 04:20 PM
To be a tier3, you have to be able to deal with different challenges in different ways. Not just charge up to something and kill it with your sword.

The areas where you can succeed are almost too many to name. Off the top of my head: Social skills, mobility (access to fly, teleport, planar travel), healing (conditions as well as hit points), summoning, battlefield control, save or die, save or suck, buffing, debuffing, traps, stealth, UMD, crafting...

You don't do everything - that would make you tier 1. But you do enough things that are you are good in a number of different ways. Rarely useless, and you frequently shine.

2013-08-15, 04:53 PM
Your example atcually seems to indicate that you don't yet really understand the tier system. It's not about how many things you can kill and how effectively. Here's an example of a totally overpowered Tier 4 class:

The Superfighter

Level 1: At level 1, the superfighter can kill any creature, anywhere, as a swift action. No immunities or saves apply. No line of effect or sight is required.

This class can do one thing. Kill things. Yet it can effortlessly kill any wizard.

I like to sum up Tier 3 as: rarely useless, often competent.

2013-08-15, 05:48 PM
What kind of wizard/sorcerer defences does a class need to be able to counter to fit into tier 3.

So what in your opinion are the spell effects and/or related feats that a character needs to be able to deal with to get into T3? What ones would automaticlly exlude a class from T3 if not dealt with?

D&D is not a competitive Vs. game, it's a cooperative game where groups of characters take on a multitude of different challenges. A T3 class is a class which are great at some things and capable on contributing to most things. This is above T4, which can do one thing really well and not much else, and below T2, which can potentially control the game but is limited the the number of different effects (generally spells) that they have access to. T3 is generally considered the highest tier that does not outright "break the game".

2013-08-15, 06:05 PM
@Amber & Cheiromancer: Thanks my main personal yardstick i tend to use is "can't be totally demolished by basic magic". (I.e. they can threaten a magic user, but they're not going to totally demolish them). My main concern was understanding for melee types if there where any cardinal must haves.

@Erikun: You posted while i was typing but i think the above responds well to you to.

@Eldan: I think you misunderstood the point of the question. I'm pretty well up on the social stuff. But the adventuring side of things tends to be a little more hazy for me.

I'd also point out that most common heroes, (and therefore the kind of people that players will want to roleplay), are flawed in some way, with a lack of aptitude for either social situations, or technical things, (or both), being amongst the most common flaw/s. To suggest classes representing those things must automatically reduce a class to underpowered flies in the face of any sensible logic.

Your right of course that it's not all about damage in many cases, I used that example because that is what the Archer PrC was about. Turning ranged weapons into a viable method of combat, you want more complicated side features, you get them from a base class, (this is one of the beauty's of PrC's that I'm growing to like, you can write the PrC as simple or as complicated as the concept secure in the knowledge that base class choice can close any holes). But adventuring happens to involve several things that make for a wide range of options, though i think nearly every existing martial class would be greatly aided if the heal skill got a dammed boost to actually provide battlefield first aid.

Just to Browse
2013-08-15, 06:06 PM
You guys are missing Carl's point. He's trying to write a list of standards that Tier 3 characters need to meet at each level in order to be qualified as "Tier 3". For example, fighter/barbarian multiclasses are not Tier 3 but can output ridiculous damage on par well above the warblade if you build them to power-leap-shock-charge-rage-attack, so what objectives can the warblade achieve that the fighter/barb cannot?

I tend to refer to the Same Game Test for this. Characters that can solo about 50% of the challenges are generally suitable T3 characters. The stuff each character needs to beat (ranged attacks, cover, invisability, closet trolls, stunlocks) come up at their relevant level ranges.

Level 5

A locked door behind an arbitrarily high number of assorted CR 4 traps.
A huge Animated iron statue in a throne room.
A Basilisk in its desert burrow.
A Large Fire Elemental in a mystic forge.
A Manticore on the wing above a plain.
A Phase Spider anywhere. They're tricky creatures like that.
A couple of Centaur Archers in a light to medium wood.
A Howler/Allip tag team in an abandoned temple to a dark god.
A Grimlock assault team (4 members) hidden in a cavern.
A Cleric of Hextor (with his dozen zombies) in a crypt.

Level 10

A hallway filled with magical runes.
A Fire Giant on an active volcano, who hides under lava if kited.
A Young Blue Dragon, soaring over a seemingly endless expanse of sand dunes.
A Bebilith hidden on the ceiling of a cave in the abyss.
A Vrock in a demonic forest.
A tag team of Mind Flayers in a cramped underground structure.
An Evil Necromancer in a graveyard with extensive catacombs.
6 Trolls in a small cave behind a waterfall.
12 Shadows in an inn after the lights have been doused for the night.

Level 15

A Marut in a metropolis.
A Hullathoin (with its army of skeletons and bloodfiend locusts).
A Nightmare Beast deep in a hedge maze.
A Windghost in the sky.
A Yakfolk cleric with a party of Dao, submerged in the elemental plane of earth.
A Drow Priestess with an army of ghouls.
A warparty of Cloud Giants, in the process of assaulting the party's favorite village.
A Mature Adult White Dragon, in its cavernous lair on the side of a mountain made entirely of ice, with an extensive series of tunnels it dug to inconvenience creatures that can't burrow or climb icy walls.
A Death Slaad riding a Titanic Toad.
A Cornugon in a cave structure with massive, 300 foot caves, who has obscured some of the connecting tunnels with illusions.
A Gelugon and his Iron Golem bodyguard, travelling hellish glaciers in a blizzard.
A Rube Goldberg series of contingent weirds triggered to a set of symbols of pain surrounding the artifact.
A pair of Glabrezus, teleporting to trap the players in a 15 foot wide tunnel.
A harem of Succubi using a brothel as cover while they prepare to allow more demons into the material plane.
Twenty Dire Bears in a forest.
A dozen Medusa archers mounted on Hellcats pretending to be hellcat-less archaelogists in a ruined temple complex.
A forest made out of lava and infested with hostile fire-element dire badgers.
A pair of Beholders in a disintegrated cavern structure, filled with smooth vertical tunnels and heavy plug-shaped objects waiting to be dropped into them.

2013-08-15, 06:09 PM
e's trying to write a list of standards that Tier 3 characters need to meet at each level in order to be qualified as "Tier 3".

More like trying to find out if someone else has done this, still thanks for that little quoted section, handy reference.

2013-08-16, 06:32 AM
Don't know about that same game test list. That's an awfully long list of combat encounters. I'd say a well-equipped fighting type would be able to deal with half of them quite well on each level. Doesn't make him tier 3.

Or, well. Depends on how you depend overcome. But for a Tier 3 test, I'd also put in a few challenges along the lines of "Find X and bring it back alive", "Convince X not to attack", "Travel faster to place X than creature Y", "travel to another plane", "overcome environmental obstacle X" and so on.

2013-08-16, 07:17 AM
The same game list also under-estimates abilities that improve the effectiveness of others- bards, marshals, buffing wizards, and so on. If I am reading it right, it asks you to solo the encounters.

I think that the same game challenge might be biased towards characters that can nova. If I understand it correctly, you can rest between encounters. If a character is such that it can't expend all its resources in one encounter, then it won't fare as well.

Finally, I think it might also be kind of swingy with regard to early entry. A character might have trouble with a lot of CR 5 encounters due to the lack of abilities that kick in at 6th level. Is one level delay enough to move someone down a tier?

Anyway, with those quibbles, I think the same game challenge is valuable to highlight that a tier3 character should be competent at handling multiple different kinds of challenges. If it can't, there should be a good reason (e.g. that its role is party support, it is a marathoner rather than a sprinter, etc.)