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    Default Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Hi all,

    I rolled up a Cloistered Cleric for the upcoming campaign and I'm thinking of taking Human Paragon levels.

    Pluses:
    + one skill is always a class skill for you (UMD for example)
    + bonus feat
    + 10 skills of your choosing for your class skills for those 3 levels (with Able Learner you can get almost everything relevant as a class skill)
    + martial weapon proficiency for one weapon
    + good will save
    + adds +2 to one ability score
    + 4 skill points per level

    Minuses:
    - poor fortitude and reflex saves
    - mediocre BAB (this is not a problem at all)
    - loss of one caster level

    It looks like those levels would be worth it but I want your opinion on that and when should one start taking those levels if your opinion is positive.

    Since I'll be playing with fairly unexperienced players I decided to make this character to be about buffing and keeping the party alive, so if you have any advice regarding the build it would be appreciated. One of my feats will most definitely be Protection Devotion and if I decide to give it a go with paragon levels I'll take Able Learner too. Other than that I was thinking about Divine Vigor, Extra Turning, Craft Wondrous Item and maybe another Devotion feat. I don't know what deity I'll worship because the whole pantheon is going to be homebrewed but I kinda "preordered" a deity with Protection domain from the DM . Taking Dungeonscape variant that allows spontaneous casting of Restoration spells is most likely a must since I suspect that the DM will be far from gentle with us.

    My stats are: STR 12, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 16, WIS 18, CHA 17 and other party members will be duskblade, knight, fighter, druid and rogue (again, I'd like to point out that they are all fairly unexperienced players).

    Thanks in advance
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    No, because you lose a caster level. They may be worth it for gishes, though.

    Although if you (as a full caster) are higher-powered than the rest of the party, sure, why not? Most of the things you gain are things you don't really need - e.g. UMD, weapon profs, extra skill pts.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Standard advice is never lose a caster level this really applies if your GM throws CR appropriate encounters instead of tuning encounters to party ability.

    (by dropping a caster level you are effectively punching below your weight and may not be able to deal with CR appropriate encounters quite as well, if your GM tunes the encounters to the party then this is irrelevant)


    I'd consider it, especially if you are concerned that you will overshadow the other party members. I'd probably choose spot as the class skill, gives a survival chance that might otherwise be missed.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    No, because you lose a caster level. They may be worth it for gishes, though.

    Although if you (as a full caster) are higher-powered than the rest of the party, sure, why not? Most of the things you gain are things you don't really need - e.g. UMD, weapon profs, extra skill pts.
    Quote Originally Posted by only1doug View Post
    Standard advice is never lose a caster level this really applies if your GM throws CR appropriate encounters instead of tuning encounters to party ability.

    (by dropping a caster level you are effectively punching below your weight and may not be able to deal with CR appropriate encounters quite as well, if your GM tunes the encounters to the party then this is irrelevant)


    I'd consider it, especially if you are concerned that you will overshadow the other party members. I'd probably choose spot as the class skill, gives a survival chance that might otherwise be missed.

    Losing a single caster level is not the end of the world, friend It's all in how the character is played and the decisions you make. I do agree with the explanation though; I recently completed a campaign (we got to epic levels, started at scratch) as the primary spellcaster; even though I was "missing" 2 caster levels due to being a powerful race (Half-Fey). True that spell progression was a little slower, but, as being a member of a group, not everything depends on the spellcaster. The spells you take and the other abilities that the character has can easily overcome the loss of a couple caster levels. It's all in how you want the character to be =D

    I realize people think that DnD is based around the idea of "spellcasting is the only way to be effective"; but that is just not true. The game is about cooperation to resolve a goal; not something so archaic as to 'Win'.

    Back to the point; Paragon levels are worth it. As noted earlier, you do gain bonus skill points, all skills as Class skills, ability score increase, etc.
    Last edited by Quirinus_Obsidian; 2008-09-17 at 10:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    One thing to keep in mind of course is that if you do decide to go the Paragon route, the time to take it is as soon as possible.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    If you're willing to lose a caster level, and you're taking Able Learner anyway, you're much better off with a single level of ninja, rogue, or factotum. Whatever skill you'd choose to be your permanent class skill is probably a class skill for all three of those classes (definitely for factotum), and Able Learner would make it effectively always a class skill, even without the paragon ability. Meanwhile you're also getting more skill points and other class features (for instance, your wis bonus to AC, if you go with Ninja, and trapfinding from any of them).
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    If you're willing to lose a caster level, and you're taking Able Learner anyway, you're much better off with a single level of ninja, rogue, or factotum. Whatever skill you'd choose to be your permanent class skill is probably a class skill for all three of those classes (definitely for factotum), and Able Learner would make it effectively always a class skill, even without the paragon ability. Meanwhile you're also getting more skill points and other class features (for instance, your wis bonus to AC, if you go with Ninja, and trapfinding from any of them).
    Agreed.

    If you are taking the dip primarily for the skills you are much better off with just 1 level of Factotum and Able Learner.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    I'm a big fan of Human Paragon for gish characters. Though most of my gishes came from a pre-Factotum D&D.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Normally losing a caster level isn't worth it. However, this particular case mitigates the loss by giving you a +2 to any stat - and I'm assuming you'd put it in Wisdom. If you eventually get at least a 26 in Wisdom (not counting the +2 bonus from this class), you'll only be getting one fewer 8th-level spell per day, and the same number of 9th-level spells you would have gotten without the Paragon levels.

    There is a cost involved, and that's getting higher-level spells at higher character-levels than you otherwise would have.

    EDIT: The biggest mitigations are at Wisdom 26, Wisdom 34, and at every 8 above that. At all other levels, you get a larger number of smaller-leveled spells. The benefit is bigger as you approach the 8th-level plateaus. So if you expect to be sitting at Wis26 or Wis34 for awhile, there won't be as much loss.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2008-09-17 at 03:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    What's your goal that taking this level will help you attain? If you really want to be good at Use Magic Device it might be OK, but then I'd preferentially suggest not playing a Cleric at all.

    The Cloistered Cleric can be a combat powerhouse starting at level 7, thanks to Divine Power and Knowledge Devotion (Complete Champion). Just be a Human with 14 INT to start (which you already exceed) and you can maximize all 6 Knowledge skills that affect your combat capability, plus Concentration, Spellcraft, and Spot (so you can see the enemies that you need to make Knowledge checks against). You've still got all the spells that make Clerics (Cloistered or otherwise) good healers and buffers, but you also have the option to cast one spell and get into the thick of things yourself when necessary. Killing the enemies is a very good way of keeping the party alive.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Like others have said, skills is not a good reason to take Human Paragon. In addition to the reasons they stated -- you actually get less skill points with each level of Human Paragon than you get with Cloistered Cleric!

    But for other reasons, sure, it's a reasonable choice. Probably the lost caster level will hurt your character's power, but only barely. (+2 Wisdom and a feat almost makes up for the lost caster level.)

    If you really want one more feat, or if Human Paragon just fits really well with your character concept, go for it.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    The lost caster level is a huge loss. It won't hurt you that bad every even level, but being one level behind for new spell level on every odd level sucks (that's the main reason caster levels are so important: They make every old spell you've got better, they give you more spells and they give you access to new spell levels - 3-dimensional advancement that nothing else can compare to). However, if you don't mind character efficiency as much, you can bear that. And one level is usually still doable provided that you get something substantial for it. Unfortunately, I don't find Human Paragon's abilities really worth it. As said before, a level of Rogue/Factotum/Random Skill Monkey is better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirinus_Obsidian View Post
    True that spell progression was a little slower, but, as being a member of a group, not everything depends on the spellcaster. The spells you take and the other abilities that the character has can easily overcome the loss of a couple caster levels. It's all in how you want the character to be =D
    Oh, it's certainly true that spells are so good that you can still contribute a few levels behind. That said, compared to yourself with full casting, you'll always be behind. But if the encounters you face aren't that tough on average, you can easily get away without the peak efficiency.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
    If you're willing to lose a caster level, and you're taking Able Learner anyway, you're much better off with a single level of ninja, rogue, or factotum.
    Rogue has the added bonus of giving you sneak attack bonuses. That's always nice.

    Note how your stated role (of buffing the party) benefits very little from a +2 bonus to wisdom (which primarily increases your saving throw DCs by a bit).
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    You forgot a big con on that list: Human Paragons don't add to your cleric level in regards to turning power. This actually came up in a game I was playing in (CR 5 undead with a cleric with the turning strength of a 1st level cleric).

    Of course, we also had a Dwarf Rogue who took 3 levels in Dwarven Paragon too, so....
    Last edited by Dode; 2008-09-17 at 04:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    If you really want to be good at Use Magic Device it might be OK, but then I'd preferentially suggest not playing a Cleric at all.
    Alternately, just choose Magic as one of your domains. You still don't get UMD, but with the ability to use cleric and wizard items, what would you need it for?
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    ...Glibness?

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirinus_Obsidian View Post
    I realize people think that DnD is based around the idea of "spellcasting is the only way to be effective"; but that is just not true. The game is about cooperation to resolve a goal; not something so archaic as to 'Win'.
    QFT!

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thurbane View Post
    QFT!

    ...I could not agree with this sentiment more.
    To be fair, the OP did ask for mechanical advice, not suggestions for roleplaying. Hence, one should not be surprised that he got mechanical advice. And also, Stormwind.
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    First of all thank you for so many replies :)

    To clarify my intentions a bit I was mostly considering paragon levels for the extra feat and UMD (UMD is not a must, it was just an idea that poped up while I was considering my build). In the long terms planing my goal is to tend to the party needs: healing, buffing, restoration ....

    I agree that one of the best ways for a cleric to take care of the party is to take the fight on himself but there are going to be three four mele types in the party (knight trip-monkey / battlefield controller, duskblade, fighter, rogue heading for avenger) and later the druid will most definitely join them. Since they are pretty new players they enjoy combat pretty much and I 'd like to leave that part to them up to the point when divine power / righteous might intervention is neccessary.

    Taking magic domain is a great idea, I can't believe I completely forgot about that, thanks :).

    My main concern now are feats so I could use some advice on them. Protection Devotion and Divine Vigor are two of them. The DM may allow up to two flaws but it seems he wants us to take them randomly (if this decision remains in power I'm leaning towards not taking any at all).

    I considered Combat Medic PrC which has two crappy feat requirements (dodge and combat casting) but I realy like some of its abilities: healing kicker [sanctuary] with 15+wis+class level DC looks nice, ability to spontaneously cast Heal is also nice and healing kicker [maximized aid] can be a real life saver when combined with Close Wounds spell (the spell is cast as immediate action and heals d4+5 HP and can prevent some damage from a blow your ally just took). The logical question is are this class and its abilities worth spending two feats?

    Other than that, could you recomend me some full casting prestige classes that gain bonus feats and/or bonus domains at early levels?
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbaddragon View Post
    First of all thank you for so many replies :)

    To clarify my intentions a bit I was mostly considering paragon levels for the extra feat and UMD (UMD is not a must, it was just an idea that poped up while I was considering my build). In the long terms planing my goal is to tend to the party needs: healing, buffing, restoration ....

    I agree that one of the best ways for a cleric to take care of the party is to take the fight on himself but there are going to be three four mele types in the party (knight trip-monkey / battlefield controller, duskblade, fighter, rogue heading for avenger) and later the druid will most definitely join them. Since they are pretty new players they enjoy combat pretty much and I 'd like to leave that part to them up to the point when divine power / righteous might intervention is neccessary.

    Taking magic domain is a great idea, I can't believe I completely forgot about that, thanks :).

    My main concern now are feats so I could use some advice on them. Protection Devotion and Divine Vigor are two of them. The DM may allow up to two flaws but it seems he wants us to take them randomly (if this decision remains in power I'm leaning towards not taking any at all).

    I considered Combat Medic PrC which has two crappy feat requirements (dodge and combat casting) but I realy like some of its abilities: healing kicker [sanctuary] with 15+wis+class level DC looks nice, ability to spontaneously cast Heal is also nice and healing kicker [maximized aid] can be a real life saver when combined with Close Wounds spell (the spell is cast as immediate action and heals d4+5 HP and can prevent some damage from a blow your ally just took). The logical question is are this class and its abilities worth spending two feats?

    Other than that, could you recomend me some full casting prestige classes that gain bonus feats and/or bonus domains at early levels?
    Noncombatant, Shaky, Unreactive, or Vulnerable seem like they might be good flaws for the character. Do you have anything in particular in mind for what you want, for your feats? There may be other ways to get equivalent abilities.

    The Radiant Servant of Pelor PrC (CDiv) is an obvious choice for a Cleric, if you have an NG alignment. You can get into it extremely easily after Cleric 6; the only requirement you might not have taken anyway is the Extra Turning feat. You wouldn't get the Magic domain, but you'd get a bonus domain at 5th level. It's very much in keeping with the "Healer/Buffer" idea.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2008-09-18 at 10:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Heh, vulnerable is actually one of my favorite flaws :), -1 to AC is probably the most harmless solution with flaws.

    Regarding feats I've changed my mind a bit, I took Able Learner and Nymphs Kiss because I'll need a way to keep up with those knowledge skills when I start PrCing and the idea of intimate relationship with fey in your background rocks :) (plus it gives possible character hooks).

    As far as my other feats go I'd like to spend them either on party buffing (like Protection Devotion) or self buffing (like Divine Vigor and maybe Knowledge Devotion; I don't plan on doing much fighting myself so Knowledge Devotion can easily be replaced). Any ideas here?

    I'm familiar with RSoP and I have a couple of questions regarding him:
    1) What does "extra greater turning" class feature gives him exactly? Ability to use greater turning in place of regular turning 3+cha times per day? Extra 3+cha turning attempts (greater turning attempts to be more precise)?

    2) Why the hack does he gain proficiency with all martial weapons and all armor?
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    1) More uses of Greater turning per day, it does explain it in the class entry
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rei_Jin View Post
    2) Because Wizards smoke Crack, that's why
    I honestly doubt Crack was the only consumable used (rofl).
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    To be fair, the OP did ask for mechanical advice, not suggestions for roleplaying. Hence, one should not be surprised that he got mechanical advice. And also, Stormwind.
    Sorry, just a general sentiment, not necessarily of a reflection on this thread.

    Also, sorry, I don't buy into forum created mythos - Stormwind literally means nothing to me other than a theory that is often referenced on gaming forums. Applies to some kind of alleged fallacy, from memory? 1 word replies like Stormwind, Oberoni et al. mean little to me...

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Stormwind fallacy states more or less you cannot serve two masters. You can't be a RP devoted gamer and a Crunch devoted gamer. The fundamental way of developing everything for the two styles of play is radically different.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talic View Post
    Stormwind fallacy states more or less you cannot serve two masters. You can't be a RP devoted gamer and a Crunch devoted gamer. The fundamental way of developing everything for the two styles of play is radically different.
    OK. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Stormwind fallacy states more or less you cannot serve two masters. You can't be a RP devoted gamer and a Crunch devoted gamer. The fundamental way of developing everything for the two styles of play is radically different.
    To clarify, that statement is the fallacy in question. The point of which is that it isn't true - you can make effective mechanical decisions without compromising your roleplaying. It could also be summed up as "Roleplaying and optimization are orthagonal to each-other".
    Last edited by icefractal; 2008-09-19 at 04:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    Second page, near the bottom:
    The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy
    Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa.

    Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game.

    Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse roleplayer if he optimizes, and vice versa.
    Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically roleplayed better than an optimized one, and vice versa.

    (I admit that there are some diehards on both sides -- the RP fanatics who refuse to optimize as if strong characters were the mark of the Devil and the min/max munchkins who couldn't RP their way out of a paper bag without setting it on fire -- though I see these as extreme examples. The vast majority of people are in between, and thus the generalizations hold. The key word is 'automatically')

    Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's gameplay. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Roleplaying deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else.
    A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other.

    Claiming that an optimizer cannot roleplay (or is participating in a playstyle that isn't supportive of roleplaying) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Are Human Paragon levels woth it for casters?

    If you're trying to explain those terms to him, I think that you've missed his point.

    Quote Originally Posted by icefractal View Post
    It could also be summed up as "Roleplaying and optimization are orthagonal to each-other".
    Actually, he just shows that they aren't parallel; he does not show that they are orthogonal. That sort of over-generalization is a fallacy in and of itself.
    Last edited by Jayabalard; 2008-09-22 at 02:43 PM.
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