View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Character Power Balance: Level Advancement by class

2017-03-01, 04:13 PM
So, I am often interested in creating a gaming environment where all players can generally make the PC Archetype they want, and yet not be overshadowed by the T1-T2 classes/+2 PrC's.

My thought is that if I can devise a system which ends up with a full 20 level progression that ends with all PC's roughly equivalent to T3, I have done my job.

Full Min/Max has it's place and I enjoy it too, but it's not always what makes for a good campaign.

With that being the premise for what I am trying to accomplish, I have developed a level progression homebrew which I think goes a long way towards my goal.
Please take a look and let me know what I've missed, or where my theory craft is questionable.
Be tough, supportive or constructive as needed, and assuming first off that it makes basic sense and is understandable, maybe even maybe try it out to see if you can make a "broken" PC?

1) At each Level Advancement the Player will receive 5 build points to use in selecting which class/s to add.

2) PC's advance each level by spending points to gain up to 2 classes
Gestalt rules apply for levels in which 2 classes are chosen.
Multi-classing and preferred class rules would be suspended.

3) Points are spent based on the Tier of the class chosen using this breakdown. There may be some classes missing.
Tier 1 - 8 Points per level - Wizard, Druid, Cleric, Archivist, Artificer, STP Erudite
Tier 2 - 7 Points per level - Sorcerer, Favored Soul, Psion, Binder NV, Ardent, Wilder
Tier 3 - 5 Points per level - Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Crusader, Bard, Swordsage, Incarnate, Totemist, Binder, Wild Shape Ranger, Duskblade, Factotum, Warblade, Psychic Warrior
Tier 4 - 4 Points per level - Rouge, Barbarian, Warlock, Warmage, Scout, Ranger, Hexblade, Adept, Spellthief, Marshal, Dungeoncrasher Fighter, Psychic Rouge
Tier 5 - 2 Points per level - Fighter, Monk, CA Ninja, Healer, Swashbuckler, Rokugan Ninja, Soulknife, Expert, Paladin, Knight, Divine Mind, Soulborn
Tier 6 - 1 Points per level - CW Samurai, Aristocrat, Warrior, Commoner, Divine Mind BME
No Tier - 0 Points per level - HP, Save, BAB, Skill Points

For PrC's there are several "Up one, Down one" threads. I like Suzerain's over at Min Max Boards, but whichever the DM chooses. The rules for PrC's are further down.

4) Points may be saved from a previous level. For instance at
level one you can play a fighter and save 3 points so that on level 2
you can take a level in wizard. (for level 1, 5-2=3 // for level 2, 5+3 =8)

5) Points may be saved for use in the subsequent level only.
Any points saved from level 1 for instance must be used
by level 2 or be lost.

6) Prestige Classes add their tier bonus to the class used to enter the PrC.
So if a cleric enters Stormlord, it costs him 8 points. 8 for cleric entry
and 0 for the bonus for Stormlord.
If a Cleric enters Dweomerkeeper then he must spend 10 points,
8 for the cleric entry and 2 for Dweomerkeeper

7) In levels where you save all five points, for instance you are planning on
adding a level of Dweomerkeeper at level 12 with a cleric entry and must spend 10 points to do so.
You can spend 0 points in level 11 by advancing only your chassis from the entry class (Cleric).
You would get the Hit Points(Plus Con if any), Save, BAB and Skill Points for cleric in the
above example.
You gain no other benefit from advancing the level in which you spend 0 points except for advancing the chassis (for example: no Character level, caster level or class level advancement.)

8) Fractional saves and BAB advancement is in effect for all levels.

9) In order to qualify for a prestige class, all pre-requisites must come from a single class.
This is then the "Entry" class for that PrC when it comes to determining points spent.
If two classes can qualify for entry into the PrC, the highest tier class becomes the entry class.
If this is not possible, for instance theurge classes, the highest qualifying tier class will be considered the entry class.
For instance Eldritch disciple would use Cleric as it's entry class, not warlock.
In the case of equal tier entry classes, the player may choose.

10) The Entry class for a PrC is chosen at the time the first level of the PrC is taken
and cannot change in subsequent levels, even if a higher or lower tier class becomes able to qualify for the PrC.
For instance if Paladin 4 is used to enter a PrC which requires the casting of 1st level divine spells,
the entry class for that PrC does not become Cleric if a level of Cleric is taken in subsequent levels.

11) All Increases in spellcasting level from a PrC must be taken in the entry class.

12) Paragon class levels are the tier of the spellcasting class they advance or are T4 if they do not advance spellcasting.

2017-03-01, 09:08 PM
This falls apart pretty incredibly.

For example -- let's assume I'm running a campaign that grants 15 points at the start.

Does this party look balanced?

Level 3 Beguiler
Level 1 Wizard
Level 7 Fighter
Level 15 Samurai

What about the level 20 equivalent with 100 points?

Level 20 Beguiler
Level 12 Wizard


This system is BRUTAL to casters at all levels, and makes balance all but impossible. Unless I'm fundamentally misunderstanding how it works you'll end up with such huge level discrepancies that most threats to one party member will simply one-shot another.

2017-03-01, 10:25 PM
I think you are misunderstanding it. That's my fault for not being clearer.

You don't get 15 points to spend freely.
You get 3 levels of advancement each level of which you have 5 points to spend, or save for the next level.

Also, you are limited to up to two classes max per level using gestalt rules if you choose 2 classes. So you can choose 0, 1 or 2 classes per level advancement.

So to adjust your examples as closely as I can to conform to these rules.

Level 3 Beguiler - Correct, 3 levels of advancement would give you this.

1st - Beguiler (5 points)
2nd - Beguiler (5 points)
3rd - Beguiler (5 points)

Level 1 Wizard - No, 3 levels of advancement might give you something like this.

1st - Fighter (2 Pts) // Save 3 pts
2nd - Wizard (8 pts) using 3 points you saved from 1st level
3rd - Fighter (2 Pts) // Save 3 pts (For the next level's advancement of Wiz)

Ending up with Fighter 2/Wizard 1

Level 7 Fighter - No. In three levels of advancement you would never take Fighter that many time since you would end up with 3 gestalt levels of fighter//fighter. Which of course you would never do.
But you might do this...

1st - Fighter (2 pts) // Monk (2 pts) // Save 1 point
2nd - Fighter (2 pts) // Rogue (4 pts) (Using the 1 point you saved from 1st level)
3rd - Rogue (4 pts) // Save 1 point

Ending up with Fighter//Monk, Fighter//Rogue, Rogue

Level 15 Samurai No, for the same reason you wouldn't get a level 7 fighter.

But maybe...

1st - Samurai (1 pnt) // Warlock (4 pts)
2nd - Samurai (1 pnt) // Warlock (4 pts)
3rd - Samurai (1 pnt) // Warlock (4 pts)

Now for the 20 levels of advancement.

Level 20 Beguiler - Correct - T3 (5 pts per level)
Level 12 Wizard - As you can see from above, what you would have is Wizard 10, Fighter 10.

So, the debate could be joined whether a level 20 beguiler and a level 10 fighter/ level 10 wizard are balanced to T3.

2017-03-01, 11:30 PM
So if I wanted to do something like a Monk//Psion (tier 5 + tier 2) it would look something like:

1) Monk 1//Psion 0 (5 points available, 1 point spent, 4 remaining)
2) Monk 2//Psion 1 (9 points available, 8 points spent, 1 remaining)
3) Monk 3//Psion 1 (6 points available, 1 point spent, 5 remaining)
4) Monk 4//Psion 2 (10 points available, 8 point spent, 2 remaining)
5) Monk 5//Psion 2 (7 points available, 1 point spent, 6 remaining)
6) Monk 6//Psion 3 (11 points available, 8 points spent, 3 remaining)
7) Monk 7//Psion 4 (8 points available, 8 points spent, 0 remaining)

... and so on, so by level 20 I would have Monk 20//Psion11

Yet on the other hand, I could simply go Psychic Warrior 20, and be a much better caster.

I'm not wholly opposed to the concept, but it's a little too far on the complex side, and punishes full casters too heavily compared to mid casters. Someone who wants to focus most of their build resources on a full caster should be able to cast more spells than a partial caster.

At the very least add in the option to take commoner and it counts as -1 points for advancement, and lets you treat your adept level as your caster/manifester level, or something along those lines. Something along those lines would net you an Adept 20//Wizard 15, or Adept 20//Sorcerer 17, as your top level casters. Not quite hitting 9ths like Warmage, Beguiler, and Dread Necromancer are, but they have that extra flexibility to make up for it.

As an aside, prestige classes make this whole system fall apart. Yes there are threads out there about up a tier down a tier for prestige classes, none ever reached even the tenative consensus of the tiers for base classes, and the whole thing is very wibbly wobbly, even before accounting for the huge number of unaccounted for prestige classes.

2017-03-02, 12:37 PM
Ok, the Commoner at -1 points is interesting. I wonder if that is simpler mechanic than the "Chassis" advancement I have in there. I think it is.

You make a good point about full casters versus mid casters. That a Beguiler can get to 9th level spells while a wizard would be stuck at 5th level is out of whack for what I am trying to accomplish. Time Stop is a slightly more powerful spell than Teleport after all..... :)

My general idea is to bring up the group value of T4 and below and mitigate the value of T2 and up.

I'd rather limit casters to mid spell level. 7th, 8th and 9th level spells are where the T3's and below fall irrevocably behind in relative capability.
It's safe to say the pure melee classes fall behind well before that.

And PrC's are way too complicated in this system. I'll see if I can figure out something simpler.


if a PrC level adds a spell caster level and an ability it gets a plus 1
if just a spell level or an ability it remains at 0
and if it gives neither, then a -1.

I need to slide some of the classes around in the point system too.

2017-03-02, 02:44 PM
Have you considered just using the old school experience charts, where casters required higher amounts of XP to level up? It even allowed for multi-classing and leveling up two classes at the same time by simply dividing the xp between the two classes and requiring the same amount of xp to level each one up individually. Your assigning a point value to each class seems a bit overly complicated.