Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New classes

One fun thing about being the DM is that I get to try out various monsters and classes and throw them at my players and see how they do. Usually as a player I have to wait for my PC to die or for the next campaign to start to try out something new. I think one of the reasons we tend to go through adventure paths so fast is our short attention spans. There is always something new to try.

I've been evaluating the new Advanced players handbook classes and some of them really appeal to me. I was really looking forward to the Alchemist. What I got was something I have mixed emotions about. I think this is one of those character classes that does quite well at low levels but isn't really specialized enough at high levels to shine. I can also foresee problems when you are going through a dungeon and use up all of your bombs in the first fight or three leaving you with little else to do but buff a bit.

I have no interest in the cavalier. I'm not big on mounted combat since horses don't generally mix well with dungeons and although the class has some neat flavor it just doesn't appeal to me. At least so far.

The original version of the summoner was WOW. Insanely over powered but wow. Both the summoner and his pet were as tough as any other PC. It was like playing two wicked characters that have good synergy with each other. Of course the class got beat with the nerf, err I mean balance stick in the final preview. Now the class is something of a mixed bag. It is good a low levels, really shines between 6-12 (in fact I think my test summoner is going to give the party some serious hurt), but gets really weak by the high levels. The pet just doesn't have enough evolution points to do anything well and the summoner himself can really only summon and buff - but not nearly as well as a regular wizard who can do lots of other tricks as well. I can understand that they don't want the Eidolon to be better then a fighter and the summoner better then a wizard but both become rather meh 16+. Again, these are only test PCs I've built so maybe someone else can do better.

I had high hopes for the inquisitor but was left feeling a little empty. I have since created a couple test characters and I think that it might be a decent class after all. In fact for Kingmaker an Inquisitor will probably be my back-up character depending on the make-up of the rest of the party. The Inquisitor is a nice bland of ranger and cleric.

I don't like the oracle at all. I have to admit I was so turned off by the first release I have not spent much time looking at the second. Its basically the spontaneous casting version of the cleric. I'm not a huge fan of the sorcerer and I find that in general divine spells are even worse for this sort of things. How often do you have to cast the same buff in combat? I'm sure there is some awesomeness somewhere in this class but I just don't see it yet.

And then we have the witch. When I first read through this class I thought it was awful. A limited spell list of mostly buffs and debuffs and a bit of healing magic. Most hex powers had a range of Touch and were SLA so they provoked AoO. Yuck.
Now version two is much improved. Most hex powers have a range of 30' and they are now considered supernatural abilities so they don't provoke AoO. The abilities themselves can be quite nasty. Those of you that played Legacy of Fire probably remember the accursed Pugwuppis. The little critters had an aura of unluck forcing you to roll everything twice and take the worse result. Well the witch has a similar power and although it only effects one opponent at a time, I'm sure your allies will be grateful its not an aura. I've always liked debuffing the bad guys and doing crowd control on enemy hordes so I actually like the witches abilities and spell list.


Rognar said...

I think the Alchemist could very playable if poison rules were changed to make them more useful in combat. Right now, they are just too expensive for the damage they cause.

Obiri said...

I also wish you could pick pockets in combat with the sleight of hand skill if it was high enough. Alas it specifically says this doesn't work. I think it would be fine if the DC was sufficiently high.

Yes. Poison is really only viable against significant opponents - the same ones who are mostly not to be effected by it.

Rognar said...

Well, Sleight of Hand isn't a class skill for the Alchemist and they really need to max out Int as much as possible, so I can't really see pickpocketing as a high priority for Alchemists.

One thing though, alchemists add their Int modifier to all splash weapons, not just bombs. So, an alchemist can still toss alchemist's fire and acid flasks to good effect.

Obiri said...

I know its not a class skill. It was more of a general wish.

Rognar said...

I started taking a closer look at the summoner and I have to say, even though it may not be the superhero class it once was, the build-a-beast erector set you get with the class is tons of fun. I especially like that you can reassign your eidolon's evolution pool each time you gain a level. It allows for a lot of experimentation over the course of a campaign. If N allows it, I may play a summoner in the Kingmaker AP.

Obiri said...

I did some reading on the summoner last night and it seems that you can still build a pretty solid eidolon at high levels but its no where near as easy as before. It has a damage output of about 70% of a fighter which is still pretty good.

The summoner can also cover the "face" role for the group. I'm still trying to decide if I want to go Inquisitor or Witch. It will probably come down to what the others end up picking.