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D&D 3E
Speaking of the Mystic Theurge... 
11th-Nov-2004 10:04 am
Since thanitus brought up the Mystic Theurge, I was reminded of a question I wanted to ask about this prestige class.

I have a player who is a fairy cleric/wizard that plans on eventually taking the Mystic Theurge as a prestige. Who here thinks this prestige class is too powerful? What are the weak points that keep it in check/balance, if you think there are any? What would you do to bring this powerful spellcaster back into the general level/power of a group, if, in fact, this person is too powerful?

I'm looking for an answer besides don't allow the Mystic Theurge prestige class. :-)
11th-Nov-2004 06:08 pm (UTC)
Look at the arcanist presitge class. Its alternate of WotC, but mongoose publishing.

Same basic thing except that you can't use ANY metamagic, you have 4 class skills (granted one is all knowledges) + concentration + spell craft + I forget

No good saves. They all are the shitty save, d4 HD, worst BAB etc.... Those are the bare minimum to have ALL THOSE SPELLS. Although I don't thunk I'd stop the familar from going up, but thats another possibility.
11th-Nov-2004 06:34 pm (UTC)
What book is that in?
11th-Nov-2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
Ultimate prestige class book.... might be in another.
11th-Nov-2004 06:40 pm (UTC)
You could always ban the prestige class if you feel it's unbalancing. Imagine an encounter, then think how the characters would fair, then how they would fair with the theurge. If you have to increase the difficulty of encounters because of the class, then it is too powerful.
11th-Nov-2004 07:59 pm (UTC)
See above:

"I'm looking for an answer besides don't allow the Mystic Theurge prestige class. :-)"

I hate banning. I like my players to use anything available at their tips, especially if it's published by WotC. Other published material, I ban often. I think it's more of a challenge, though, to find a way to incorporate it than not allow it.
11th-Nov-2004 06:52 pm (UTC)
This class is not overpowered. You give up 3 spell caster levels in each of your base classes. Sure you get more spells, but you still can only cast one spell per round (baring quicken spell).

Also, you are 3 caster levels behind the curve which will come back to bite you for things like SR and caster level dependant spells.

Plus you need to keep up 2 primary stats. Sure there's some synergy. A Cl/Sor theurge will get the benefits of a higher CHA for turning a wizard/druid theurge will have a familiar and an animal companion, but you are also at least 1 spell level behind a pure caster and at some levels 2 spell levels.

Plus you give up many level dependant benefits of the classes.

So, no, I don't think it's over powered. However, I'd really prefer the player has his/her schtuff together at the table since there are sooo many options available to a theurge.

Besides you aren't going to find anything cooler than a theurge who worships mystara or boccob or VECNA!!

If this were 3.0 and haste allowed you 2 spells a round, this would border on and probably actually be broken.
11th-Nov-2004 07:31 pm (UTC)
Taking the Practised Spellcaster feat (twice) from Complete Divine removes most of those problems, but leaves you with a dull-as-dishwater set of feats.

11th-Nov-2004 08:38 pm (UTC)
Sure, but as you said, you loose 2 feats you could be putting towards other things like spell focus (which you'll probably need, especially if your DM did point buy), divine feats (since your turning isn't up to snuff), or maybe a role playing feat like magical aptitude, or decietful

and if you ever wanted item creation feats, you loose the bonus feats and have to take them with your normal every 3rd level feats.
11th-Nov-2004 08:00 pm (UTC)
Except I have my own pantheon, lol. :-)

This particular player worships a goddess called Aquaria, and is not allowed to use any fire spells unless it is under life threatening situations, in which case he loses his clerical powers for 48 hours.
11th-Nov-2004 07:53 pm (UTC)
It's not overpowered.

As others have said, you get weaker spells and less high-level spells than being a straight cleric or wizard. The lower caster level can be compensated for by taking Practiced Spellcaster Feat (CD) twice, but that's quite an investment. There's no way to compensate for the lower-level spell access. Getting say Teleport (Wiz5/Sorc5 spell) at 12 clevel due to the 3 levels of cleric, instead of getting it at 9th level is a notable sacrifice.

Also, keep in mind that MT gets 1d4 hp/level and 2+int skill points. For a spellcasting class, that's extremely few skills.

Keep in mind that the *only* thing MT gives you is better spellcasting, skills, and hitpoints. No bonus feats, no familiar improvement, no better turning, no fun abilities. All the other prestige classes that give +spellcasting levels give you other bonus abilities on top of it. Look at geomancer, lore master, or archmage, instead of the big, interesting bag of spell abilities they give on top of the spellcaster level, you get spellcaster levels.

Overall, MT is sort of boring as a result. More spells and more diverse spells are fun, but special abilites in my mind make for more interesting play.

In terms of straight-up power, for a Cleric 3/Wizard3/MT x to be on par with Cleric 6/Prestige x or Wizard 6/Presitige x, they have to be creative with their spells, finding the synergies between their two spell lists. Because the other guy has higher level spells, and a bag of special abilities.

If you still want to nerf it a little, up the prerequistes some. As it stands, you need 3 levels of cleric, 3 levels of wizard, and some skill ranks any such character would have anyway to get in. Add some relatively useless feats if you want, like Skill Focus(Knowledge Arcana) and Skill Focus(Knowledge Religion). It would certainly make it less attractive.

11th-Nov-2004 07:58 pm (UTC)
All prestiges are nerfed in my campaign. Only as your 11th level can you take a prestige; so, by the time this player can be a Mystic Theurge, they'd be a 5 Wiz/5 Clr/1 MT. I won't allow a second prestige class until level 21.

I know, that's probably harsh...but, ehh. I don't like characters with piles of prestige classes. Too many loopholes can be found.
11th-Nov-2004 08:19 pm (UTC)
Prestige classes are in general more powerful than the base classes, and I can certainly understand nerfing them across the board. I've been tempted to run games without prestige classes all together.

MT is really not something to be concerned about if they have to be 5/5 before going into it. Figure at 11th level, their highest spell level will be 3rd, while their buddy who went straight wizard will be hurling 6th levels. (Keep in mind, if you don't let them take Practiced Spellcaster (increasing their caster level (not spells/day) for each class by 4 (up to their total character level), the spellpower will be even a bigger difference).

This difference will less as they get higher, but the MT will never get 9th levels, and in order to cast the spells he has, he'll need two 18 ability scores by level 20. The straigth wizard could pick up something like lore master (at level 11 by your rules), so while the MT is struggling to catch up with spellpower, the wizard is picking up bonus feats and special abilities.

As far as compensating, if the guy turns out to be more powerful than the rest of the party (and if there's a straight spellcaster, he generally won't be), use a small number of powerful opponents and/or combats that are over quickly. If the beasty is going to shrug off the lower level spells, or the combat is finished before the MT's higher number of spells becomes an issue, he won't be as devastating.
11th-Nov-2004 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, and trust me, MT isn't as bad as it looks. I know it seems very powerful, but the dump to spellpower hurts very bad in the long run.

If you're running them up against hordes of goblins at 15th level, yeah, he's going to dominate, but against appropriate challenges, he'll have a hard time.

Is he the only spellcaster in the party?
11th-Nov-2004 08:56 pm (UTC)
No, there's also a sorcerer. And a psion/psychic warrior.
11th-Nov-2004 09:09 pm (UTC)
Shouldn't be a problem then. The sorceror will be able to do more in terms of direct damage spells, and most of the MT's cleric spells will go toward healing the party
11th-Nov-2004 07:53 pm (UTC)
If a player really wanted it, I'd allow it and retool the challenges to meet it.
11th-Nov-2004 08:01 pm (UTC)
I just don't want the challenges to be overbearing for other players to meet the strengths of this particular one.
11th-Nov-2004 08:48 pm (UTC)
Well said! However, if you are not going to allow MT until 11th level the strengths will reside with the other party members. Having to be 5 levels behind in your spell casting power will cause you to be slighty under equipped to face challenges of your level. Sure you'll be uber flexible, but you won't have 6th level spells at 11th level you'll have 3rd level spells, and that can be trouble (in fact if the arcane class is sorceror, you will only be getting 3rd level spells at 11th level)

The powergamer in me would have to turn his nose up at MT if I had to wait until I was 11th level. Perhaps if I went Wiz 7/Clr 3 it wouldn't be too bad and my cleric abilities would be more of a side line than anything else. That way as a wizard (or cleric if I went Clr 7/ Wiz 3) I'd only be a little behind the curve.

As a role player, I like the concept for clerics of magic/knowlege gods, but I still couldn't bring myself to do it at 11th level.
12th-Nov-2004 01:27 am (UTC)
Every time I see "Mystic Theurge," in an online conversation, or hear it in an ordinary conversation, ineviably the words "broken" or unbalanced come up.

Everybody has either a love or hate relationship with the MT, and even those that consider it unbalanced often try to exploit it when they're not DM'ing. When it comes right down to it, there is nothing wrong with the Mystic Theurge, for all the reasons that have already been stated:

1) They give up other class benefits, such as turning, familiar growth, bonus metamagic feats, etc.
2) They're not as good as a spell caster of the same level that has actually specialized in their school of magic. Compare a Cleric 10 with a Cleric4/Wizard4/Mystic Theurge2. The MT has the casting power of a level 6 Cleric and a level 6 Wizard.

All the Mystic Theurge is about is diversity, not outright power. Sure, you can hurl a fireball in one round and then heal your allies in the next, and for a small group that has either no other cleric or no other wizard, the Mystic Theurge is great! For a group that has either one of those things, it's purely a flavor thing for the player character, as he/she's not as effective to the party as is possible.

Don't worry about the Mystic Theurge being overbalanced, worry about them being underpowered for their ECL. They can't nuke as well as a Wizard, and can't heal as well as a Cleric: challenge ratings can sometimes overrun them if they don't play their cards right, which is exactly how it's supposed to be.
13th-Nov-2004 12:08 am (UTC)
Okay, I know I'm probably going to take a lot of heat for this, and maybe it's just the experiences of my playgroup, but...

... when someone takes a level of another prestige class, our group(s) have generally let them pick "Mystic Theurge" as their previous arcane/divine spellcasting class, giving them +1 divine caster level/+1 arcane caster level.

And you know what?

So far we haven't had any balance problems at all. Call me crazy, and maybe I am, but my current character is (was) one of this breed (she's now stuck in the City of Shade in a bit of DM rule-zerology that made me want to smack him upside the head), and she wasn't that powerful at all. Of course, that may have to do with the fact that she was an enchantress (and most of the stuff we fought was either immune to mind-affecting spells or strong willed). But we've had some other people build damage dealing casters with this, and nobody's screamed "OMG OVERPOWERED" yet.

*shrug* I guess that's just me.

As the poster before me said, they've got diversity and utility. Not sheer overwhelming power.

13th-Nov-2004 12:11 am (UTC)
Erm, didn't read the entry just /below/ this one before.

But yeah, how many of the people that think it's a problem have actually /run/ it that way? Just curious.
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