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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    So, there's this game I'm about to play that goes 1-20. We're using the Ability Point Buy adjustments from the Tier System for Classes.

    My first proposed build was Bard4/Binder2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8. The DM put me in Tier 3, with 32 points for ability buying.

    Then I changed the build to Bard4/Cleric2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8. The DM then put me in Tier 2, with 28 points to spend.

    This made me wonder, was it the proper way to evaluate multiclass characters? Was the shift from Binder2 to Cleric2 worthy of losing 4 ability buy points?

    For me, it's kind of unfair for my 2nd build to be Tier 2. I will be expected to perform as well and varied as a Sorcerer or a Favored Soul, something which my character will not be able to accomplish.

    Shouldn't there be something like a better averaging process for the many classes a character has/will have?

    Something like this:
    Final Tier = [(Class1 Tier x Class1 Levels) + (Class2 Tier x Class2 Levels) + (Class3 Tier x Class3 Levels)]/Total Character Level

    So applied:
    Bard4/Binder2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8 would be
    [(3*4)+(2*2)+(4*6)+(4*8)]/20 = 18/5 or 3.6

    and Bard4/Cleric2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8 would be
    [(3*4)+(1*2)+(4*6)+(4*8)]/20 = 7/2 or 3.5

    So by my evalutation, the change from binder to cleric is not very significant to warrant a jump from tier 3 to tier 2.
    *the Tier class for War Chanter and Seeker of Song were only my own, as I feel they are as versatile as a Warlock or a Rogue (maybe even less. )

    What do you guys think? Can you offer a better way to evaluate multiclass characters?

    ALSO: Is there an existing Tier classification for PrCs?

    Again, if there's an existing thread for this topic, please point me in the right direction.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Placing multiclass or PrCed characters into the tier categories is really sketchy.

    I wouldn't trust a formula like you list or the PrC tier list for this sort of thing.

    A case-by-case build critique would probably be more fair.

    Both of your builds, for instance, would probably fit into Tier 4's "capable of doing many things but not shining," even though you're using higher tier base classes to construct them.

    EDIT:
    The biggest problem with your formula is that a Cleric 10/Wizard 10 would be ranked equally to a Cleric 20 -- it doesn't account for the increasing value of levels in powerful classes.
    Last edited by Bang!; 2010-12-28 at 08:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    As with all formulas of this type, it is pretty easy to trivially show it doesn't work:

    Wizard 5/Cleric 5/Druid 5/Artificer 5 -> (5*1+5*1+5*1+5*1)/20 = 1.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Tier System for PrCs, at least one of them.

    There is no real formula for combining various levels of various classes, because any formula wouldn't take into account how much power you get from each class. Druid 3 isn't going to be as good as Druid 6, and will be far less impressive without Wildshape. Wizard 10/Cleric 10 is nowhere near a 20th level tier 1 character.

    How much do War Chanter and Seeker of Song add to Cleric (or Binder) abilities, so I can't how appropriate the tier change is.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by yldenfrei View Post
    ALSO: Is there an existing Tier classification for PrCs?
    Yes there is:
    Zeal's (in-progress) Tier System for PrCs

    Some updates here:
    Tier System for PrCs - Your help needed

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    @erikun: Both War Chanter and Seeker of Song are Bard upgrades centering on Bardic Music. War Chanter adds combat buff musics while Seeker of Song adds Elemental resistances and attacks. Neither progresses spellcasting for anything.

    Thanks for the PrC Tier links. They help, at least. ^_^

    Methinks class levels should really figure prominently in tier evaluation, so that dips in Tier 1 classes will not unnecessarily jump one's current tier standing.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by yldenfrei View Post
    Methinks class levels should really figure prominently in tier evaluation, so that dips in Tier 1 classes will not unnecessarily jump one's current tier standing.
    Remember, also, that the tier ranking is the potential power of a class (or class combination), not the actual power. A Wizard with poor spell selection will not have the power of a tier 1 character, and can easily be outperformed by an optimized fighter.

    For your case, does two levels of Cleric warrant a tier over two levels of Binder? Well, even with only 2nd level spellcasting, the Cleric levels grant you quite a bit. The biggest thing I can think of are the Devotion feats. I believe the the Travel Devotion grants you teleport, and Knowledge Devotion gives a +1 to +5 to any and all attacks. Taking Cloistered Cleric rather than regular Cleric would not only give you a third domain, but a second roll at Bardic Knowledge (as Lore).

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    You're not going to get a hard and fast ruling that's applicable to every combination of classes. It'll have to be taken on a case by case basis based on the focus and end results.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    @erikun: So a Cleric2 would warrant a tier jump by virtue of opening more feat options, and the ability to use Cloistered Cleric Variant? And if my build and/or Deity (Olidammara doesn't have cloistered Clerics, I think) does not make use of such offered options, the fault is entirely my own, and I'd have to live with the penalty associated with my tier?

    Wow. That's... I don't know. I can't think of anything to refute it. But it's so... harsh.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Any multi-class tier system would have to take ECL into account. general rule of thumb is that at ECL 6ish or lower, multi-classing with front loaded classes (Totemist, Incarnate, Binder, Swordsage, Crusader, Warblade, etc) is a very good thing. If you want a good list of all the options, spend some time on e6 boards. Above ECL 6ish and higher, you're generally better off with full casters/psionics/etc, because that's the ECL when you have enough spells and magic items to cast most rounds of every combat, and you begin to get game core breaking options like Polymorph and all day Wildshape.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by yldenfrei View Post
    @erikun: So a Cleric2 would warrant a tier jump by virtue of opening more feat options, and the ability to use Cloistered Cleric Variant? And if my build and/or Deity (Olidammara doesn't have cloistered Clerics, I think) does not make use of such offered options, the fault is entirely my own, and I'd have to live with the penalty associated with my tier?

    Wow. That's... I don't know. I can't think of anything to refute it. But it's so... harsh.
    Cloistered Cleric is just an ACF for clerics, so theoretically any cleric could take it.

    Any hard and fast ruling based on tier status is going to "punish" you for not making an optimal use of your high tier class regardless of why you dip X or use Y, which is why I said that, even using the base tier system, you'd want to look at what they're trying to do with their build before assessing penalties (or bonuses to other people).
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    For your case, does two levels of Cleric warrant a tier over two levels of Binder? Well, even with only 2nd level spellcasting, the Cleric levels grant you quite a bit. The biggest thing I can think of are the Devotion feats. I believe the the Travel Devotion grants you teleport, and Knowledge Devotion gives a +1 to +5 to any and all attacks. Taking Cloistered Cleric rather than regular Cleric would not only give you a third domain, but a second roll at Bardic Knowledge (as Lore).
    Travel just lets you make a normal move as a Swift action. Teleportation would be.. well, it'd be Abrupt Jaunt The Feat, more or less.

    Note, if you're arguing a Cleric dip is enough to bump it up a tier, you have to consider what it's giving up in replacing Binder with Cleric. Binder 2 was judged Tier 3; with Binder 2 and the Improved Binding feat, you can bind level 2 vestiges. That gives you 8 (IIRC) different sets of abilities you can switch between daily. It's a lot of utility, especially when one of them is Naberius and his 'take no penalty to rush a social check' power. Attached to a Bard base. I don't think Cleric is really more powerful than that, especially when nothing else in the build advances the stub of spellcasting gained by it.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    I wouldn't say it's T2, it may, in fact, be a step down. Cleric 2 grants you a lot, but so does binder 2. You're only getting first level spells, so most of the power would come from domains. Granted, Olidammara does have nice domains (trickery, in particular, is good, though the bonus class skills would be pointless for you since you get them from bard), but I don't think it stacks up to binder 2.

    If he won't relent, I'd go back to binder 2. With the Improved Binding feat it's probably stronger than cleric 2 anyways (1st level cleric buff spells are meh, and the potions are only 50gp), and it synergizes well with bard.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    @Grendus: My Build #2 is about being "backup healer" along with the diplomat and army buffer/stopper role. It is a Divine Bard variant, with Healing Hymn for adding perform ranks to all healing cast while under the music's effect. The Cleric2 is to add 7 more healing spells, among other things.

    If the DM still maintains that my Build #2 be Tier 2, I might go back to my Build #1 as "supernatural diplomat". Not very useful in combat pre-Level 10 though.

    I like the concept of PrC's adding or subtracting a tier level to base classes. ^_^ What if there's a similar table for Base Class interactions? Like, say, levels in Cleric or Wizard increase a fighter's tier by x, while a wizard taking classes in bard will drop by x. Will it work?

    There must be at least some general guidelines to Classifying Tiers for multiclasses, especially since the Tier System is fast becoming the standard for campaign design considerations. Having a few guide rules on hand would greatly decrease character-related pre-campaign preparations.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by yldenfrei View Post
    I like the concept of PrC's adding or subtracting a tier level to base classes. ^_^ What if there's a similar table for Base Class interactions? Like, say, levels in Cleric or Wizard increase a fighter's tier by x, while a wizard taking classes in bard will drop by x. Will it work?

    There must be at least some general guidelines to Classifying Tiers for multiclasses, especially since the Tier System is fast becoming the standard for campaign design considerations. Having a few guide rules on hand would greatly decrease character-related pre-campaign preparations.
    IMO, your best bet would honestly something like the "associated"/"nonassociated" system used for CR calculations. Do levels in X synergize or not?

    Except synergy is a tough concept in this area. Druid/Monks have synergy in SADness, Barbarian/Fighters have synergy in roles, and Warlock/Scouts have synergy in action use (since Eldritch Blast is Standard anyway, Skirmishing is no hardship, plus they gain unlimited flight).

    Really, I think it's best left to the DM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by yldenfrei View Post
    Something like this:
    Final Tier = [(Class1 Tier x Class1 Levels) + (Class2 Tier x Class2 Levels) + (Class3 Tier x Class3 Levels)]/Total Character Level

    So applied:
    Bard4/Binder2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8 would be
    [(3*4)+(2*2)+(4*6)+(4*8)]/20 = 18/5 or 3.6

    and Bard4/Cleric2/WarChanter6/SeekerofSong8 would be
    [(3*4)+(1*2)+(4*6)+(4*8)]/20 = 7/2 or 3.5
    I doubt an exact calculation system is possible, but perhaps we could also consider a modification system for tiers depending upon how far into the class you go.

    You could make the claim that full prepared casters drop a tier if they lose a level of spell casting, and all full casters drop to tier 3 if they lose two or more levels.

    A 1- or 2- level dip in Monk is an ingredient for many excellent builds, so one could say that Monks are tier 3 or 4 as long as you have, say, 2 or fewer levels. Ditto for Fighters.

    Tome of Battle classes could go up or down depending upon whether the manoeuvres chosen are within a certain threshold of your current character level. So a dip at level 1 would be worth less than if your highest level was the dip.

    None of these are exact, but it's just my suggested input if one wishes to pursue a cumulative multiclass tier system like the above.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoatBoy View Post
    You could make the claim that full prepared casters drop a tier if they lose a level of spell casting, and all full casters drop to tier 3 if they lose two or more levels.
    What exactly can a level 20 Wizard do that a level 18 wizard can't do?

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Open DC= 20 sorc/wiz lvls rune-doors

    and some minor variables

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Escheton View Post
    Open DC= 20 sorc/wiz lvls rune-doors

    and some minor variables
    Eh?

    Practiced Caster means that all you need is wiz 17, unless you really want that extra 6 spells/day. Literally all you'd give up in the long run. (Short run, you're behind a spell level, which can be annoying, especially in the early game)
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    With the build you described you could start with the two levels in Cleric. Then you'd be playing a Tier 1 character for two levels while still having a Tier 3 pointbuy. Then you could simply keep taking Cleric levels. You shouldn't be forced to stick to the build you've got planned out when you actually end up leveling.

    The way your DM's doing this is a little less heavyhanded than the maximum (if the logic above really held you could end up playing a Tier 1 character with Tier 2 pointbuy, still pretty good). I could see a nicer way being with associated vs. nonassociated class levels. So if you pick a Tier 3 pointbuy, perhaps you can't raise the level of any class over Tier 3 above half your levels in Tier 3 classes. In which case your build would still be Tier 3.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Silly numbers-only people. It's a qualitative system. Don't let the designation "1" or "5" throw you off.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    Cloistered Cleric is just an ACF for clerics, so theoretically any cleric could take it.
    No, it is a seperate class, unlike a true alternate class feature such as whirling frenzy.
    Last edited by PlzBreakMyCmpAn; 2010-12-29 at 05:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn View Post
    Silly numbers-only people. It's a qualitative system. Don't let the designation "1" or "5" throw you off.

    No, it is a seperate class, unlike a true variant such as whirling frenzy.
    ACF was a poor choice of words on my part, I should've just said "variant class" which I've taken to using ACF as synonymous for. Your choice of words is rather confusing as well though, since a variant class is more of a "true variant" than a feature variant.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn View Post
    No, it is a seperate class, unlike a true variant such as whirling frenzy.
    That would imply that someone could be Cleric 5 / Cloistered Cleric 7.... for whatever reason.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    That would imply that someone could be Cleric 5 / Cloistered Cleric 7.... for whatever reason.
    Maybe. UA does say Urban Ranger/Ranger and Bard/Bardic Sage are viable multiclasses.

    Cleric 19/Cloistered Cleric 1 might have a bit of appeal over Cleric 20.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bang! View Post
    What exactly can a level 20 Wizard do that a level 18 wizard can't do?
    Not much, but below 17, a wizard of level n-1 has a 50% chance of not having a trick that a wizard of level n has, and otherwise can do it one fewer times per day.

    I am under the impression that tiers apply to all levels, not just 20 level builds. Am I mistaken?

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bang! View Post
    Maybe. UA does say Urban Ranger/Ranger and Bard/Bardic Sage are viable multiclasses.

    Cleric 19/Cloistered Cleric 1 might have a bit of appeal over Cleric 20.
    Well it says potentially with the wholly variant classes, but still initially suggests just flat out blocking it.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoatBoy View Post
    I am under the impression that tiers apply to all levels, not just 20 level builds. Am I mistaken?
    No, but a Wizard X only has a meaningful advantage over a Wizard [X-1]/Noncaster 1 at 9/20 levels. Depending on the benefits of the Noncaster class, the 19/20 CL Wizard could have a significant advantage for 11/20 levels; it might even break even on the others if it gives meaningful compensation for the lost CL (e.g. War Weaver, Recaster, Sand Shaper for spontaneous casters).

    A few lost CL don't make prepared casters any less 'capable of doing absolutely everything,' even if they delay ability acquisition slightly behind their maximum potential.
    Last edited by Bang!; 2010-12-29 at 03:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofzeal View Post
    That would imply that someone could be Cleric 5 / Cloistered Cleric 7.... for whatever reason.
    This is correct.

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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn View Post
    This is correct.
    Huh, so you could also have an Erudite / Psion? That is actually pretty neat.
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    Default Re: Better Tier classification of Multiclassed Characters?

    Quote Originally Posted by PlzBreakMyCmpAn View Post
    This is correct.
    That might actually be useful. Cleric1/CloisteredX or Cloistered1/ClericX might be a way to get a ridiculous number of domains. You might also be able to pull some cheese involving being a Cleric of one god and a Cloistered Cleric of another, if the DM doesn't throw a book at you.

    That said, I've always though of it as a variant, rather than a separate class.
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