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    Default Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    And in this week's dumpster dive, we have Unearthed Arcana's Generic Classes. These classes don't exist in a traditional game and the DM must be using this particular rule for them to even be playable, but the general idea is that these classes get "Bonus Feats" which can be used to get regular feats or to get some class features such as Sneak Attack or Smite Evil. All three classes are pretty terrible in their own way, if you ask me, but I do think we should Tier them for the sake of completion. And that's it. Generic Classes, the last of the base classes. Thanks to all who have participated in this.

    Generic Expert: This class gets a bunch of skills and that's it. Most skillmonkey classes get some way to deal damage or be relevant in combat, but this class gets naught. A few dice of sneak attack damage just doesn't cut it. Overall, I don't think this class can do much more than the DMG Expert, which is Tier 5. They're definitely not on par with the Rogue at Tier 3.8. I'll be generous and say they are Tier 4.

    Generic Spellcaster: This class gets spells known as a Sorcerer, but can pick any spell from Wizard/Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid list. On top of that, it also gets some class features/bonus feats. They can even get Turn Undead to fuel DMM if they choose to be Divine Casters (since DMM only works on divine spells). That's a straight up better sorcerer/spontaneous cleric. If we say the Spontaneous Cleric is Tier 1.7, there's no reason for this class to not be Tier 1.

    Generic Warrior: This class gets the largest amount of Bonus feats, it gets them like a Fighter gets Fighter Feats, only these don't have to be Fighter Feats. However, a bunch of feats don't make for a good class. It's probably higher Tier than the Fighter (tier 4.5), but not by much. I say Tier 4.

    What are the tiers?

    The simple answer here is that tier one is the best, the home of things on the approximate problem solving scale of wizards, and tier six is the worst, land of commoners. And problem solving capacity is what's being measured here. Considering the massive range of challenges a character is liable to be presented with across the levels, how much and how often does that character's class contribute to the defeat of those challenges? This value should be considered as a rough averaging across all levels, the center of the level range somewhat more than really low and really high level characters, and across all optimization levels (considering DM restrictiveness as a plausible downward acting factor on how optimized a character is), prioritizing moderate optimization somewhat more than low or high.

    A big issue with the original tier system is that, if anything, it was too specific, generating inflexible definitions for allowance into a tier which did not cover the broad spectrum of ways a class can operate. When an increase in versatility would seem to represent a decrease in tier, because tier two is supposed to be low versatility, it's obvious that we've become mired in something that'd be pointless to anyone trying to glean information from the tier system. Thus, I will be uncharacteristically word light here. The original tier system's tier descriptions are still good guidelines here, but they shouldn't be assumed to be the end all and be all for how classes get ranked.

    Consistent throughout these tiers is the notion of problems and the solving thereof. For the purposes of this tier system, the problem space can be said to be inclusive of combat, social interaction, and exploration, with the heaviest emphasis placed on combat. A problem could theoretically fall outside of that space, but things inside that space are definitely problems. Another way to view the idea of problem solving is through the lens of the niche ranking system. A niche filled tends to imply the capacity to solve a type of problem, whether it's a status condition in the case of healing, or an enemy that just has too many hit points in the case of melee combat. It's not a perfect measure, both because some niches have a lot of overlap in the kinds of problems they can solve and because, again, the niches aren't necessarily all inclusive, but they can act as a good tool for class evaluation.

    Tier one: Incredibly good at solving nearly all problems. This is the realm of clerics, druids, and wizards, classes that open up with strong combat spells backed up by utility, and then get massively stronger from there. If you're not keeping up with that core trio of tier one casters, then you probably don't belong here.

    Tier two: We're just a step below tier one here, in the land of classes around the sorcerer level of power. Generally speaking, this means relaxing one of the two tier one assumptions, either getting us to very good at solving nearly all problems, or incredibly good at solving most problems. But, as will continue to be the case as these tiers go on, there aren't necessarily these two simple categories for this tier. You gotta lose something compared to the tier one casters, but what you lose doesn't have to be in some really specific proportions.

    Tier three: Again, we gotta sacrifice something compared to tier two, here taking us to around the level of a swordsage. The usual outcome is that you are very good at solving a couple of problems and competent at solving a few more. Of course, there are other possibilities, for example that you might instead be competent at solving nearly all problems.

    Tier four: Here we're in ranger/barbarian territory (though the ranger should be considered largely absent of ACF's and stuff to hit this tier, as will be talked about later). Starting from that standard tier three position, the usual sweet spots here are very good at solving a few problems, or alright at solving many problems.

    Tier five
    : We're heading close to the dregs here. Tier five is the tier of monks, classes that are as bad as you can be without being an aristocrat or a commoner. Classes here are sometimes very good at solving nearly no problems, or alright at solving a few, or some other function thereof. It's weak, is the point.

    Tier six: And here we have commoner tier. Or, the bottom is commoner. The top is approximately aristocrat. You don't necessarily have nothing in this tier, but you have close enough to it.


    The Threads

    Tier System Home Base

    The Icarnum Classes: Incarnate, Soulborn, Totemist

    The Auraists (Re-Done): Divine Mind, Dragon Shaman, Marshal

    Completing the Psionics: Ardent, Erudite, Lurk, Psychic Rogue

    The Stray Dogs: Knight, Noble, Swashbuckler

    The Dragon Magaziners: Mystic Ranger, Trickster, Wild Monk

    The Rankings


    Generic Expert: Tier 4
    Generic Spellcaster: Tier 1
    Generic Warrior: Tier 4

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Remember that in place of Bonus Feats the generic classes can pick off of the small list of Class Features listed in the SRD. Since Generic Warrior gets to pick their skills and good saves, there's nothing stopping you from picking up the Sneak Attack chain (ending up with +9d6 in total), Evasion/Improved Evasion, or Trapfinding. Some of the less useful abilities (Smite Evil, Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy) can at least be used to get into prestige classes.

    Still probably leaves them in Tier 4 but probably one of the highest in the tier.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by zfs View Post
    Generic Warrior [...] there's nothing stopping you from picking up [...] Trapfinding.
    Nothing except 2+Int skill points per level. Maxing out Search and Disable Device with that many skill points will leave you extremely starved elsewhere.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Generic Expert: This class gets a bunch of skills and that's it. Most skillmonkey classes get some way to deal damage or be relevant in combat, but this class gets naught. A few dice of sneak attack damage just doesn't cut it. Overall, I don't think this class can do much more than the DMG Expert, which is Tier 5. They're definitely not on par with the Rogue at Tier 3.8. I'll be generous and say they are Tier 4.
    Bonus feats, though!

    I think I put them in 4 as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Generic Spellcaster: This class gets spells known as a Sorcerer, but can pick any spell from Wizard/Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid list. On top of that, it also gets some class features/bonus feats. They can even get Turn Undead to fuel DMM if they choose to be Divine Casters (since DMM only works on divine spells). That's a straight up better sorcerer/spontaneous cleric. If we say the Spontaneous Cleric is Tier 1.7, there's no reason for this class to not be Tier 1.
    IMO a full 1 is too high for a class with the slower spell progression. Clearly it's better than the Sorcerer, and I think it's by a substantial amount, but by the same token I think it's also worse than Cleric, Druid, or Wizard. I'm going to vote 1.5 for Generic Spellcaster—same place I have the Death Master and Urban Druid. It's certainly good, but I think you have to be careful not to overvalue the extra list access. The biggest advantages in my eyes are the ability to pick your casting stat and spellcasting ability, and the better-than-bonus-feats that can poach class features from other classes (particularly sneak attack, which is really easy to enable when you're a full caster with all of the big 3 lists, but turn undead, evasion, and uncanny dodge are good too).

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zfs View Post
    Remember that in place of Bonus Feats the generic classes can pick off of the small list of Class Features listed in the SRD. Since Generic Warrior gets to pick their skills and good saves, there's nothing stopping you from picking up the Sneak Attack chain (ending up with +9d6 in total), Evasion/Improved Evasion, or Trapfinding. Some of the less useful abilities (Smite Evil, Wild Empathy, Favored Enemy) can at least be used to get into prestige classes.

    Still probably leaves them in Tier 4 but probably one of the highest in the tier.
    Nothing except 2+Int skill points per level. Maxing out Search and Disable Device with that many skill points will leave you extremely starved elsewhere.
    Technically, you don't need Search and Disable Device, just Search! Being able to pick your class skills helps a lot in this department, though.

    I'm pretty comfortable putting Generic Warrior at 4. Not being restricted to Fighter bonus feats gives you much more flexibility. Even on a build that just wants to do Fighter things, it opens up feats that aren't on the list, like Imperious Command, Craven, Staggering Strike, Shape Soulmeld, Draconic Aura, Dragon Steed...not to mention things like Dragonmarks, Warforged feats, Shifter feats, Heritage feats, and a host of other cool things. Given that all you need to give up for this flexibility is heavy armor and tower shield proficiency, I'd say it's a preeetty good deal.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    It's important to remember that each of these classes can pick up class features as feats. Now, any not listed in the SRD are DM dependent, but that does actually influence their tier, I would think.

    All in all, I think Spellcaster probably ends up high T2, given that being able to select from the best but still having a limited list prevented the Psion from being T1 (True, the Psion couldn't select any power, but they get the most diverse and powerful ones). I'd like to see more discussion first, so I won't settle on rating yet.

    The other two are certainly around T4 based on what they have access to. They can get some nice tricks with good feat/skill selection, but they hardly beat out their closest comparisons.
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    The Generic Spellcaster probably belongs on roughly the same level as the Sorcerer. Yes, it's clearly better, but it doesn't get anything game changing. The fact that you can customize the class almost completely means that you can get pretty much any feat, PrC, or other nominally class-restricted ability you care for. The ability to pick from the spell list of your choice is nice, but the Cleric and Druid lists are generally going to be worse for Sorcerer-style casting than the Sorcerer/Wizard list is. The ability to be a divine caster who gets color spray, glitterdust, stinking cloud, evard's black tentacles, cloudkill, and planar binding is nice, but pretty minor. Overall, the class is able to go in a wide variety of directions, but I don't think that any one of those is stronger than an optimized Beguiler would be. Still Tier Two.

    The Generic Expert and Warrior are in pretty much the same boat. I think the Generic Warrior is probably better, but it's really just a marginal improvement on the Fighter (unless you buy the argument that feats default to no-prereqs, in which case all the classes jump a Tier and the Generic Spellcaster is completely insane).

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    The Generic Spellcaster probably belongs on roughly the same level as the Sorcerer. Yes, it's clearly better, but it doesn't get anything game changing. The fact that you can customize the class almost completely means that you can get pretty much any feat, PrC, or other nominally class-restricted ability you care for. The ability to pick from the spell list of your choice is nice, but the Cleric and Druid lists are generally going to be worse for Sorcerer-style casting than the Sorcerer/Wizard list is. The ability to be a divine caster who gets color spray, glitterdust, stinking cloud, evard's black tentacles, cloudkill, and planar binding is nice, but pretty minor. Overall, the class is able to go in a wide variety of directions, but I don't think that any one of those is stronger than an optimized Beguiler would be. Still Tier Two.
    I don't know. I could definitely see the Spellcaster coming out ahead. I mean, with the Spellcaster's ability to get 2d6 sneak attack at level 1, I don't even know if the Beguiler's usual early-game advantage applies. I haven't done the math or anything, but it feels like at the very least it could go either way.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    The Generic Spellcaster probably belongs on roughly the same level as the Sorcerer. Yes, it's clearly better, but it doesn't get anything game changing.
    You can also use Spell Trigger items of any list. That's pretty major. Being able to use a Wand of Vigor means your party never has to worry with out of combat healing starting at level 2. Surely you can think of many other uses for such items. Staves are a big one here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    (unless you buy the argument that feats default to no-prereqs, in which case all the classes jump a Tier and the Generic Spellcaster is completely insane).
    That's a pretty shoddy argument if I ever heard one.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD>Generic Classes>Bonus Feats
    Each time the character gains a bonus feat, he may select any feat for which he meets the prerequisites.
    Last edited by heavyfuel; 2018-10-22 at 08:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    I don't know. I could definitely see the Spellcaster coming out ahead. I mean, with the Spellcaster's ability to get 2d6 sneak attack at level 1, I don't even know if the Beguiler's usual early-game advantage applies. I haven't done the math or anything, but it feels like at the very least it could go either way.
    Maybe? But ultimately I don't think "it does weird non-linear things at 1st level" is a terribly compelling argument. Lots of classes do weird non-linear things at 1st level, and we don't weight any of those very highly. And we already know that "have a bunch of Sneak Attack" isn't a relevant plan, because if it was the Rogue would be ranked higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    You can also use Spell Trigger items of any list. That's pretty major. Being able to use a Wand of Vigor means your party never has to worry with out of combat healing starting at level 2. Surely you can think of many other uses for such items. Staves are a big one here.
    I mean, that's good, but it's not game changing on the level that the shift from casting like a Sorcerer to casting like a Wizard is. The Sorcerer could already buy a bunch of Spell Trigger items. The fact that some of those can how be Wands of vigor or whatever is nice, but it's not as nice as getting all the Cleric spells would be.

    That's a pretty shoddy argument if I ever heard one.
    That's what I get for just reading the class's bonus feat ability.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Cosi View Post
    And we already know that "have a bunch of Sneak Attack" isn't a relevant plan, because if it was the Rogue would be ranked higher.
    On the contrary, the Rogue's relatively low ranking only proves that sneak attack is not sufficient, not that it's a non-factor.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Isn't there a feat that lets you sneak attack your favored enemy even if it was immune?

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Isn't there a feat that lets you sneak attack your favored enemy even if it was immune?
    Sort of. Supernatural Blow, against favored enemies normally immune to critical hits and only when you get a score that would otherwise be a critical hit. It gives you +1d6 of damage per damage dice that your weapon would do on a critical hit, i.e. roughly a maximum of Rogue 5's sneak attack damage unless you're really cheesing the critical multiplier. It is not sneak attack damage.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Lans View Post
    Isn't there a feat that lets you sneak attack your favored enemy even if it was immune?
    Are you maybe confusing Sneak Attack with Skirmish?

    Swift Hunter allows you to apply Skirmish damage to FEs even if they are immune

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    WHolly agree on Generic Expert and Warrior being T 4 (center to high depending on picks).


    Now the Generic Spellcaster, also known as ultimate trap for New Players and "most TO friendly Spontaneous Caster". The ability to combine almost ANY class feature (especially for early game prowess but not solely so) and complete free pick from the 4 Big Lists AND the ability to choose to be a Divine Caster (with Armor not being a problem, DMM and all that stuff) while still getting access to ANY Wiz/Sorc Spell is massively better than the 3.5 Sorcerer in any way imaginable.

    Does it reach full T1? Not without Shenannigans, but I would rate it as the highest ranking T2 Class, together with the Psion making up the boundary of "cant get any better without switching Spellcasting methods out".

    Just mentioning though, a class thats almost always excluded from pickable choices. Never saw it played longer than a few sessions ....
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Twice now has the Generic Spellcaster been related to the Psion, but I do think the generic class is miles stronger than the Psion.

    1- Spells are generally more powerful than their Power counterparts. Invisibility is usually better than Cloud Mind, Fly is strictly better than Psionic Fly, and so on. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I do think this is true as a general rule.

    2- There are more printed spells than there are powers. There's whole book dedicated to new spells (Spell Compendium) not to mention that almost every splatbook has at least a few new spells, some of which don't appear on SpC. Powers get no such luck, and the Complete Psionics book actually went and nerfed a bunch of powers.

    3- Spels get more love than powers. Look at how many feats and PrCs can be used with Spells, and now look at how many feats and PrCs can be used with Powers. "Versatile Spellcaster", "DMM", "Arcane Thesis" are all very strong feats (even without cheesing them) and can all be used by the Generic Spellcaster (though not at the same time). Plenty of really powerful PrCs can also be entered by the Spellcaster, while the Psion is pretty much stuck in its base class.

    4- The Psion list somewhat emulates the Sorcerer/Wizard list. Spells that are Divine by nature are mostly inaccessible to Psions. Healing spells (not just Cure X, but Remove X and Heal and Reviving spells too), Divine Power, Create Food/Water, Control Winds, Holy Word, and Endure Elements are a few really powerful spells. Challenges can be overcome solely on the existence of these spells.

    If the Psion stands at Tier 1.8, I can't see this class as anything lower than 1.5, though I think it stands higher at Tier 1.3.
    Last edited by heavyfuel; 2018-10-23 at 09:40 AM.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by heavyfuel View Post
    Are you maybe confusing Sneak Attack with Skirmish?

    Swift Hunter allows you to apply Skirmish damage to FEs even if they are immune
    Probably, I was thinking the expert may have been able to get around some of the rogue weaknesses, but I don't think it can.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by GrayDeath View Post
    WHolly agree on Generic Expert and Warrior being T 4 (center to high depending on picks).


    Now the Generic Spellcaster, also known as ultimate trap for New Players and "most TO friendly Spontaneous Caster". The ability to combine almost ANY class feature (especially for early game prowess but not solely so) and complete free pick from the 4 Big Lists AND the ability to choose to be a Divine Caster (with Armor not being a problem, DMM and all that stuff) while still getting access to ANY Wiz/Sorc Spell is massively better than the 3.5 Sorcerer in any way imaginable.

    Does it reach full T1? Not without Shenannigans, but I would rate it as the highest ranking T2 Class, together with the Psion making up the boundary of "cant get any better without switching Spellcasting methods out".

    Just mentioning though, a class thats almost always excluded from pickable choices. Never saw it played longer than a few sessions ....
    It does specifically recommend not playing generics with other classes, so it's not surprising you've only seen a few. I've seen very few Generic Class games and I imagine even fewer DMs allow Generic Spellcasters among the general classes in a normal game.

    I'm willing to call the Generic Spellcaster a T1.5

    Warrior and Expert are T4
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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Looking at these classes kinda makes me feel they'd be good to use for NPCs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    ...so as we can see, no internal consistency from WotC (unsurprising).

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Generic classes are a variant rule that aren't supposed to be used alongside regular base classes. What about prestige classes, though?

    Because the ability to pick up ad-hoc class features that qualify you for PrC's (sneak attack, turn undead, evasion, wild empathy) seems like it could be useful.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by zfs View Post
    Generic classes are a variant rule that aren't supposed to be used alongside regular base classes. What about prestige classes, though?

    Because the ability to pick up ad-hoc class features that qualify you for PrC's (sneak attack, turn undead, evasion, wild empathy) seems like it could be useful.
    It's very useful, but it's outside the scope of this thread. Multiclassing is not considered in a class's tier ranking.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Generic Spellcaster could replace Sorcerer in a high-powered game.

    Give it all the Sorcerer support feats / ACFs / sub-levels / etc. (and it's already got access to Sorcerer-only spells), and it seems like it'd be viable in a T1 game.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    Quote Originally Posted by Troacctid View Post
    It's very useful, but it's outside the scope of this thread. Multiclassing is not considered in a class's tier ranking.
    For these rankings, true, but when I talk tiers in meatspace my group usually considers ease of prestiging, but not individual prestige classes. Wizard generally losing little by taking any given PrC is a plus, whereas Wizard being able to go Incatatrix isn't.

    But since these tiers don't consider PrC access, Warrior really has no way of eclipsing Tier 4. Being able to pick up a bunch of ad-hoc class features (either the ones presented in the SRD or taking Martial Study, Bind Vestige, Shape Soulmeld, etc.) is nice but can't quite pull you into Tier 3.

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    Default Re: Retiering the Classes: Generic Expert, Generic Spellcaster, Generic Warrior

    So I'm just checking out this Generic Warrior majigger on the SRD, and it might just be a quirk of the SRD, but in the list of "class features you can take instead of feats" thing, it says you can nab a familiar (as sorcerer), but in the text under the table it says

    You can't recreate all of the standard character classes with these generic versions, particularly classes with complicated, unique, or specialized features such as bardic music, a wizard's familiar, or a druid's wild shape ability. If your game master allows it, you might be able to select other class features in place of one or more feats.
    Then, on the SRD's page for sorcerers and wizards (they share a page apparently, bunk beds ahoy!) it says

    Familiar
    A wizard can obtain a familiar in exactly the same manner as a sorcerer can.
    Really makes you think (about the editing quality in UA).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    ...so as we can see, no internal consistency from WotC (unsurprising).

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