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D&D 3E
Iron Heros 
21st-Jan-2006 12:32 pm
Gamer chick.
Anyone here used Iron heros? One of my biggest gripes about Dnd is that you MUST have magic items in order to survive later on. Iron heros claims to balance that, and it also seems to make characters more customizable--hopefully cutting back on the need for a zillion different prestige classes. If you've read it/used it, what do you think?
22nd-Jan-2006 06:57 am (UTC)
r4ad it,,,, really wanted to play it,,,havent yet
22nd-Jan-2006 12:55 pm (UTC)
What, prestige classes aren't customization?
22nd-Jan-2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
... that's sarcasm, right? ^_^
22nd-Jan-2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
I know I'm petting a crocodile by saying this in such a thread, but what about added optional class levels isn't customization? Every new prestige class, every new feat that gets published is a new way your character can be tweaked even more finely in your millieu of customization needs. Add in subsitution levels and there's a real plethora of ways to customize the charatcer already, so I guess what I'm trying to ask is: What about the current state of affairs do you have trouble with?
22nd-Jan-2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
You have a point, but there is a balance. It's definitely a big problem in the d20 system that there are way too many prestige classes.
22nd-Jan-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
Sorry, that last one was me.
22nd-Jan-2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, but my question was: What is the problem with them?
22nd-Jan-2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
I think player abuse is the problem with them.
22nd-Jan-2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
But they're completely under the veto of the DM, why is this a dealbreaker?
22nd-Jan-2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't think many DMs know how to adjudicate this. We all get mixed up by the magic of powerful options offered by really powerful prestige classes.

However, I don't really think of them as gamebreakers, as they are technically available to all and if the group is having fun, what does it matter?

What I am, though, is a minimalist. I don't like having all these prestige classes substituing for simple creation of characters. I don't see the need to take a prestige class to obtain a title.

I think the gladiator is a good example: why not someone who's just proficient in flashy, dirty combat (such as a rogue/barbarian or rogue/fighter, etc.)?

I don't see the need for prestige classes that emulate a mix of abilities of other classes, or that don't fit in with the setting. Not every group and his mother should have a prestige class.
23rd-Jan-2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
Aside from a few exceptions, I think that most prestige classes actually weaken a character over a base class of the same ECL. I think the same thing about monster PCs too.

In our group, we have a guy who made a two sword fighter at one point. He looked at the Tempest class, which is supposed to give made props to a fighter using two swords. He ran the numbers (and I later did it myself independently to see if he was right), and determined he could make a better character level per level by being a straight fighter and taking the right feats along the way than a fighter/tempest mix.

There are a few exceptions, of course (I find the spymaster class to be superior to a rogue built to the same level and purpose, but only just), but by and large, I find most PrCs to be less powerful than a well-built base class.
23rd-Jan-2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
I agree, and I think it's just a simpler way for people to create a concept. Instead of thinking of a role and constructing it creatively, the player would rather grab up a cool-looking prestige class.

Is it a problem of imagination, then?
23rd-Jan-2006 10:16 pm (UTC)
Could very well be. The PrC looks cool, so they go for that. It might be simple laziness as well.

There are only a few that I've found appealing enough to want to try, as I can usually make a better PC without, but upon further inspection, they seem to be not as cool as first glance would dictate. If most people see the cool of the PrC, but don't look at it in detail, then they laze out and take the PrC-- or it's easier than coming up with the concept on their own.
24th-Jan-2006 07:21 am (UTC)
I find that PrCs tend to be much weaker for melee classes, and usually quite potent for spellcasters.

Woe to our poor DM who almost had three level twelve PCs wipe out three CR 13 and two CR 14 giants, saved only by his double-critical to kill one PC and reduce me to -6 forcing a withdrawal.

War Weaver was a class I strongly underestimated, but giving the entire PC group the a +8 armour bonus for the duration of a day before combat, and Greater Invisibility, DR 5/-, haste, +4 Constitution, and 120 points of fire-damage absorption quickly turned a difficult fight into a near cakewalk. ;)
22nd-Jan-2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
I see you're point, and you're right. Prestige classes are d20's current customization option. My problem is that I don't LIKE this particular system of customization. If I can conceive a character who is really agile and also likes to sing, why couldn't they have something like the bardic music ability AND evasion? Why can't I just, do that, without having to plan out a convoluted character progression to get just the right mix of classes? To me, it just seems like a really inefficient way to customize a character. Of course, there are other ways to customize (skills, feats, etc) but your class is really the meat of what defines your character.

I know I know. Why am I playing d20? I should just play a d10 system. heheh. I like the way combat is set up in d20 though, and I like dnd's flavor. And, I don't have much experience with other systems (yet).
22nd-Jan-2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
I agree. Prestige classes are good when used sparingly. They can represent special training unavailable to most. That being said, every highly trained person doesn't need to be an initiate in some secret cabal or nything like that, and this is where base classes excel just fine.
22nd-Jan-2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
You might check out d20 Modern. With the help of the d20 Past book, you can pretty easily run a nil-to-low magic fantasy game. The system is built for multiclassing like a fool and character options are all over the board.
23rd-Jan-2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
thanks for the tip! *yoinks it off bf's shelf* ^_^
23rd-Jan-2006 09:14 pm (UTC)
Specifically, d20 Past lists which feats, skills and Advanced classes to ban at lower progress levels. The Mage and Acolyte classes from the back of the Core Book, as well as the Sorcerer and Shaman from d20 Past, along with a handful of goodies from Urban Arcana can most closely resemble D&D with a slight downplay of magical power.
23rd-Jan-2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
Your other option would be to design your own class to meet those specifications. With your example, pick bits of both bard and rogue abilities and make out a level progression for them for a base class. Just clear it with the DM to make sure it's allowable, and double check it with a couple people to make sure it's not overpowering.

The Scout class in Complete Adventurer appears to have been made along that methodology-- it's a ranger/rogue mix. Some ranger abilities, some rogue abilities, dropping some from both sets to give a balanced PC.
22nd-Jan-2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
I've also read it but haven't had a chance to play it. But I really would like to. First, I think the classes seem neat (and might actually make combat more than just hack n slash). I also tend to play low-wealth campaigns where magic is rare (or at least aim to), so it would match that as well. I figure next time I start a campaign I may see if my group would like to try it out.

If you wanna run an online Iron Heroes game, I'd be up for that ;)
22nd-Jan-2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
Actually, I own it and it blows chimps if you are looking for balance. I know everyone loves Mr. Cooke and he has put out some interesting books, but this isn't what I would call balancing. Besides, if you want a world where you can survive later without magic items, just take the magic items out of the equation. Don't turn to a book, do it yourself. Iron Heroes isn't worth the investment if you are using it for that reason...
22nd-Jan-2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
Is it at least balanced within itself, if not with other products?
23rd-Jan-2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
But that really doesn't work unless you're going to a great deal of trouble to rebalance the monsters and encounters.

D&D, as is, was balanced and playtested with the characters having a certain amount of available magic. If you simply take it away, you make spellcasting classes disproportionally more powerful, and encounters more difficult than the CR would imply.
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