An Autistic Analysis on Dungeons and Dragons 3.x Classes -

Adamska

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So a while back, I seriously read through the Book of Vile Darkness for an Evil game I'm playing in, namely because I never did get to play as a Disciple of Dispater back in my first ever game. Well, one thing led to another and I began to analyze each class based on what they could do and what they couldn't... it went on from there.

Now I could do this based on when I wrote them, but I think I'll instead start from the basics; let's start with the only book you technically need to play a round of DnD:



Yes, we're going to go through the original player's handbook first. A lot of this is pretty obvious already, but it does allow me to describe to you how I'll order the classes and show you my review system. For those curious, here's the rating system:

Amazing Classes: Amazing classes are simply that; they're completely amazing. Classes that I give this score are often extremely versatile, are must have PrCs for a class, or are just plain stupidly broken.

Good Classes: Good classes often are classes that either don't do what amazing classes do as well, require a bit of digging to find support for them, or just have limitations that the player has to keep in mind. They are still versatile (you'll learn to hate this word I reckon given how often it comes up), do something very well, and allow you to have a wider role in a group.

Decent Classes: Decent classes aren't necessarily bad classes. Usually a class that makes this rung usually have only one thing they do very well, which means a player is often pidgeon-holed into a single role. They may also be limited by situations based on the campaign, making their usage limited otherwise. Lastly, they may be a bit underpowered compared to other classes, but often still work in a campaign.


Playable Classes:
This is the absolute borderline for a class to be even worth playing. Classes at this point often have problems that make them not particularly fun or interesting to play. They might not get many good features, or are very situational to use. These are often underpowered or a bit boring to play.

Garbage Classes: And this is where I put classes that suck. This can be for a variety of reasons, but often are due to either being boring to play, a very weak class that gets outshone by others, or pretty much any quality that makes you just not want to play.

Truenamer Class: A very special tier of suck; these classes are so fucking awful that they are completely memorable and often already joked about. Named after the infamous Truenamer class, classes I put here are genuinely painful.

NPC Class (Fuck you Book): One other special tier of class. I do not like being constricted by the book, so often when a class is implied to be limited to NPCs I tend to get a bit salty. Because of this, I will denote what the class would be if it wasn't designed for GM use.

Got it? Then let's begin:

Barbarian
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These meat mountains of murderous fury can really only do one thing. But that one thing they do is so horrifically impressive that even blast casters can struggle to keep up (until higher levels that is). They hit and rage and they hit and rage well. And when they crit, they can even kill bosses and BBEG in one blow sometimes. They are the go-to beatstick and often the class I recommend to new DnD players.

Outside of that? Well hell, you will probably need to figure out how best to roleplay them or find something to do outside of combat, since their skill selection list is very weak and often players dump INT because the dumb brute idea is funny to them. They can serve as a very poor man’s rogue though, given their trap sense and with a magic weapon they can smash traps. They can also be useful wilderness guides, but that’s about it. They really can only do one thing, but they do it so well that they’re the only martial that can keep pace with casters.

Rating: Decent



Bard
Bard1.png
Bards are often described as jack-of-all-trades, but in reality a better description is that a Bard is a poor man’s [ ]. This class is unique out of the core books because they can pretty much fill in for every other class, though pale in comparison. They can kind of fight, kind of work as a mage or healer, and kind of work as a thief.

Despite this, the reason it’s so high because a Bard is so flexible. They often provide amazing support for the role that they're filling in for. They also get access to some very odd but extremely useful spells; for example the non-core spell Instant of Power is forever amazing for you as a caster, and only the Bard and a few other odd classes get it. Instant of Power for those wondering is a beautiful way to give the finger to non-botched but still failed dice rolls.

Their most broken skill however is use magic device; enough optimization in it means you can throw out 9th level spells as a 10th level party member with the right roll and aid. A clever bard can also double or even triple cast buffs and debuffs, which often heavily stacks a fight in the party's favor. Their big weakness is you need to know upfront what role you want to play and gun for it; their average gains and limits you otherwise.

Rating: Good



Cleric
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Do I really need to clarify why I rank the Cleric as the best Player’s Handbook class? I do? Okay then. First of all, clerics are most likely your primary source of healing in most parties, barring weirdos who play healer or rely on some of the weirder healing paths. They have the ability to tell save or suck spells, disease, and even death to fuck off at high enough levels.

Second? You cast magic and can wear full plate with no penalties due to being a divine caster. That alone helps you live compared to the other casters, who have to rely on Bracers of Natural Armor or their pure DEX.

Thirdly? You have a very large pool of divine spells to pick on that gives you a huge option pool. Want to abuse your wisdom score to hit people from far away? Spiritual weapon. Need a distraction to bug out? Obscuring mist. Need to buff or debuff? Prayer and so much more. Only Wizards really beat clerics in that flexibility.

Another neat ability is you basically ruin a DM’s undead dungeon thanks to your turning/rebuking ability. Lastly, you as a cleric can go full on martial if you feel like it. Sure, you have an average BaB, but there’s spells that negate that for you and essentially treat you like a Paladin in purpose of ass whooping as needed. They literally do everything well, and while you may disagree, I consider these guys to be the best class in 3.5.

Rating: Amazing



Druid
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The Druid is what I consider the weakest head of the three most broken classes in the series, which I admit spoils my rating early. As a player I knew (thanks @Dunsparce ) once said about them; they have a very high floor but a low ceiling to do well in.

The main effects of a druid lie in their usage of druid magic, which is one of the better magic polls you can use as a player. Its main uses are by flinging conjuration damage spells that bypass resistances as well as some nasty debuffs such as rusting grasp. They also get access to an animal companion, which you can think of as a better fighter than your fighter.

Lastly, you can perform wildshape, which allows you to just literally chimp out and rip the faces off your foes as an actual goddamn chimp. They take a lot of management to play right (to the point I never played one and it's why it's the weakest of the three heads of the infamous CODzilla), but they are one of the more versatile classes to play and just can do most things very well.

Rating: Amazing



Fighter
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Fuck this class. That’s all I have to say about this. Fuck this class. I'm legit not kidding; I consider the fighter class to maybe be the worst class in the book and one of the worst classes. The only classes I think are worse than them to play are Truenamer, Lifedrinker, Samurais, and Marshals. The biggest reason why I think this is because they are absolutely dull to play and cannot really have something to call their own, hence why I think they fit as an NPC class.

This class has the gall to claim to be playable, but you really don’t get anything to shine with and will be forced into the backdrop by the other players. Full armor usage? Problem; the Cleric/Paladin can do that and cast magic, giving them options. Hitting hard? Fuck you Sir Strom, the Barbarian does that so much better thanks to rage stacking on that extra STR. With that in mind, what do you do?

Well… you’re there; you exist. You can use a board instead of a two-handed weapon, but they aren’t too useful for you AC wise and two-handed weapons do more damage. You do get a variety of feats, but that really only allows you to dump them all on mastering a weapon and not really give you something to call your own.

Literally the only way you can maybe have something to shine with and not kill yourself out of boredom is if you go for spiked chains. Still… don’t play this class. If you want to play this class, just pick a Warblade or a Duskblade or some shit. It’s just less pain over all.

Rating: NPC (Would be Garbage)



Monk
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Did you ever want to hit something more than once from the start? Well then I would suggest playing a Ranger. Did you ever want to be a worse Ranger because you have horrible brain damage? Well here you go Jackie Chan, now go die of alcohol poisoning.

The Monk is basically a Ranger too stupid to know how to use a bow or magic, and instead rely on their fists or fancy but not that great weaponry to do the talking. They get a variety of weird and gimmicky abilities, almost all of which are either situational at best, or utterly useless. For example, Slow Fall for them only works for x amount of feet and only if you have your back to the wall. Arrow Catch relies on the seasonal passing of the Aries meteors and being a menstruating woman I think for you to succeed in something useless.

The only one that strikes me as useful is stunning strike, which can paralyze an opponent if they fail a DC for it. Even then, it's not too effective because of its biggest problem. You see, they got the shortest end of the stick in terms of characteristics needed to make them work well. Most classes need to only have one or two ability scores be good. Wizards? Need only INT and maybe DEX. Barbarians? CON and STR. Monks need four. Four.

They need STR due to their damage being tied to it, DEX for the stupidly low AC you have due to not being able to wear armor, CON due to a mediocre HD, and WIS for their special abilities and magic AC that doesn't really make up for it. On top of that, you have average BaB, meaning you don’t even get the ability to accurately hit. Have fun with flurry of misses Chow Yun Fat, because you can’t even do what the Ranger can do… there’s really only one class I consider worse, and I just talked about them.

Rating: Garbage



Paladin
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The class in my opinion is a bit underrated and maligned for no reason. A paladin player is no more disruptive and shit than the CN Barbarian or CE Rogue, and usually less due to the stigma of playing them. Even then I do consider them middling.

This is mainly because they can be overtaken by the cleric if they choose to focus on martial abilities. Besides this little issue, they do earn points from me given they are partial-casters that can be in heavy armor. They get quite a few neat spells that can do things like give you a +8 STR bonus when on rocky or dirt ground, but you’ll have to hunt for them because they are not in the core book. They also do not get a lot of spell slots, which means you have to be careful with your spell usage.

Their smite is their main bread and butter, basically guaranteeing a nasty hit and a good amount of damage on their foes as well. Their lay-on-hands does have some value as well, but pales in comparison to a proper cleric or healer. Still useful though to round out scratches and is a good way to stretch out healing.

One neat thing they do get is resistance to disease and fear, as well as a bonus to their saves based on their Charisma. Their other neat item is their mount, which is similar to a Druid's animal companion in that they fight with you as well, giving you some amount of minionmancy. Lastly they too can turn undead, but only do this if you have no Cleric. Paladins as a whole are perfectly playable, just not as flexible or broken many of their peers in this book.

Rating: Decent



Ranger
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If you ever use bows seriously as a player, this is pretty much the only class that makes Archery viable. Sorry guys, but 3.5 really nerfed the hell out of archery, mainly so casters can further be your ranged option.

Rangers get a pass because they get a variety of spell effects to throw on their arrows that can make them serve as a poor man’s caster and make bowmanship great again. Besides this nice ability though, they can hit more than once earlier than other classes due to rapid and many shot. I'll also chime in that unlike the Monk, the Ranger gets a full BaB for some reason, hence why I suggest these guys if you want to do that.

Lastly, they gain bonuses against favored enemies due to studying their ways in lore and can pick and choose where further bonuses go. It's not just added damage, but includes a few nice skill checks against them. I will note that this limits them depending on their enemies picked and the campaign played, but when those enemies come up, the Ranger can rapidly geek their foes. They also get access to some odd spells, including the aforementioned Instant of Power as well. All in all, a good martial class that can shine in specific instances, but when those don’t come up tend to fade into the backdrop.

Rating: Decent



Rogue
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These sneaky little shits are only lower than Bards as a good class because they do not get innate magic. Besides this little difference, I consider them to essentially fill many of the same roles in the party as each other. They and Bards hotbunk with each other on social rolls and skills, but they do have some key differences.

The biggest difference is that a rogue specializes in subterfuge over the Bard's support, and so are usually your go-tos in disarming devices, scouting out locations, or quietly going in to slit throats. They can specialize in anything out of these, and I do suggest that a player should focus on one of these major themes before creating the character. Otherwise you tend to spread yourself a bit too thin.

Lastly they have access to use magic device, which I have to emphasize as probably the strongest skill to have in this game. As a non-caster this is especially useful, since you can happily do things like wield a +5 lawful weapon and fight like a paladin as a CE rogue. Play smart, play bold, and you win.

Rating: Good



Sorcerer
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We're near the end of the finish line, which is fitting given this class just barely chokes in making it to the Amazing tier. Sorcerers can be described as a Wizard that cripples themselves for some cheap and early gains that limit them later on.

For players that hate micro, the Sorcerer does not deal with a spell book, and just intuitively pick up spells to fling. Sorcerers also do get more lower level spell slots than Wizards do. However, these cheap advantages ultimately limit them in comparison to their nerdier cousins.

You see, Sorcerers have to wait about twice as long to get to the next spell level compared to Wizards. You as a Sorcerer will always be around one spell level lower than a Wizard would be at that point. When you start to gain 2nd level spells, the Wizard gets to crack open 3rd level spells. You also ultimately get less higher level spell slots than a Wizard does. Those limitations ultimately limit them near the end, making them a shadow of those pointy hat wearing dorks.

Rating: Good



Wizard
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Last and certainly not least you have the Wizard, which is arguably the best class in the game. These guys are over all much more broken than Clerics if you give them the money or time to set up. This is because out of all of the spell lists, the Wizard and Sorcerer clearly have the highest number of them, over double of any other caster. Starving a wizard of money doesn't even help you, since they function better than martials do in those settings because the way weapon upgrades work.

Wizards are just stupidly flexible as it is, with healing being the one thing they can't easily do. But what they can do depends on what you the player wants to do. These range from blast spells, to a variety of tool kit spells that just aid in quality of life. Sure, doing 6d6 fire damage is neat, but you can also render movement for others near impossible with Evard’s Black Tentacles. Grease makes your foe fall right over, and let’s not get started on the evil known as minionmancy.

I do consider Clerics better if only for versatility and their value as healers, but I don’t blame you if you pick Wizards as the winner. Not at all.

Rating: Amazing



Overall Tiers
Amazing Classes: Cleric, Wizard, Druid
Good Classes: Sorcerer, Bard, Rogue
Decent Classes: Barbarian, Paladin, Ranger
Playable Classes: N/A
Garbage Classes: Monk
Truenamer Class: N/A
NPC Class (Fuck you Book): Fighter (Formerly Garbage)

And with that you have a vague idea on how this will go. Up next, I'll show you the Book of Vile Darkness PrCs, and you'll get some fun surprises out of it.
 
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The Shadow

I have SEVERAL questions
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A class is as good as the player is creative. One of my favorite characters and one I took a long way was a chaotic neutral half-orc thief that was essentially a stupid brute that nonetheless was great at sapping and backstabbing.

I even developed a "stupider like a fox" table with the DM where you'd roll a D20 for his response to an attempt to manipulate him.

In my opinion a lot of people want to stick really close to archetypes and are afraid to try new things.
 

oldTireWater

Incompetent as fuck
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I enjoyed this gay-assed analysis.

I always thought D&D was a shitty system compared to Runequest or Role Master though.
 

Sable

DANGEROUSLY WELCOMING IN THE NEW YEAR
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You fool, this thread will go on for all eternity!

s'pretty accurate though.
 

Oddjob OTP

True & Honest Fan
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/tg/ here, the ratings only really apply to base 3.5, eventually there are enough broken feats that fighters/monks/barbarians/rangers/paladins become as OK as anyone who can't just magic away all their problems can be in a game about solving all your problems with magic.

Also, from a non-power gamer perspective Dread Necromancer with the Lichloved feat is my favorite base class.
 

Haramburger

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A class is as good as the player is creative. One of my favorite characters and one I took a long way was a chaotic neutral half-orc thief that was essentially a stupid brute that nonetheless was great at sapping and backstabbing.

I even developed a "stupider like a fox" table with the DM where you'd roll a D20 for his response to an attempt to manipulate him.

In my opinion a lot of people want to stick really close to archetypes and are afraid to try new things.
The impression I got is that if you played strictly by the book, the ratings stick. Until additional material came out to "officially" buff them, fighters were indeed shit.

Not that official rules matter anyways, you should always be flexible so everybody is having fun and it's not like there are any meaningful "sanctioned" events like there would be with something like Magic: The Gathering. If you went to GenCon and entered a D&D tournament to complete a special campaign designed to be beat in a single 2 hour sitting and picked Fighter, you're handicapping yourself I guess.
 

Dunsparce

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In my opinion a lot of people want to stick really close to archetypes and are afraid to try new things.
Most games I've played don't stick to the "archtypes" Things like sword-and-board fighter, healbot cleric and fireball-slinging wizard are among the weakest things you can do with those classes. It's just that most non-casting classes (like Fighters) are so bad that no amount of creativity can make them good.

Especially since 3.5 is so mechanics heavy that even most out-of-combat actions need dice rolls(even social interactions), and most martial classes lack the skill points and class skills needed to be any good at anything that isn't dealing HP damage(which at higher levels is one of the most time-consuming ways to end a fight) and casters can easily become better at it without even trying to do anything to specialize in that job
 

Adamska

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A class is as good as the player is creative. One of my favorite characters and one I took a long way was a chaotic neutral half-orc thief that was essentially a stupid brute that nonetheless was great at sapping and backstabbing.

I even developed a "stupider like a fox" table with the DM where you'd roll a D20 for his response to an attempt to manipulate him.

In my opinion a lot of people want to stick really close to archetypes and are afraid to try new things.
There's a problem with this philosophy; every class does have what I call a ceiling and a floor for how good they can be. For example, a barbarian has a very high floor and a moderate ceiling (ie great for a martial). This is because they are near impossible for a player to screw up and they do one task very well. Wizards on the other hand have a low floor and a stratospheric ceiling; it's easy for a player to gimp a Wizard, but a good player can destroy entire campaigns if they know what to do.

These are inbound to the class itself; you can only cheese a class so hard using the rules before you can't do any more to make them better barring any DM fiat or homebrew. For sake of sanity I am not covering any of that since it's both not official and it's rare for people to agree on a good homebrew.
You're playing Afro-Samurai in our weeb game and hope to run an Ork campaign you dweeb.
I wholeheartedly agree on fighters being fucking garbage, as you might as well be the party's pack mule.
Why be a fighter when you can be a warblade? Not joking; just play a warblade for that role.
I enjoyed this gay-assed analysis.

I always thought D&D was a shitty system compared to Runequest or Role Master though.
It's very crunch heavy, it really shafts martials, but it has a shit ton of options. There's a reason why 3.5 still is popular.
/tg/ here, the ratings only really apply to base 3.5, eventually there are enough broken feats that fighters/monks/barbarians/rangers/paladins become as OK as anyone who can't just magic away all their problems can be in a game about solving all your problems with magic.

Also, from a non-power gamer perspective Dread Necromancer with the Lichloved feat is my favorite base class.

This is just completely wrong dude. The feats do not in any way make up for being able to cast magic; they merely gave martials something better than the garbage they got in Player's Handbook. It also doesn't remotely close the gap between a caster and a martial, since Casters got a variety of good spells and feats as well in those books, just not as innately broken. The gaping maw between the two are insurmountable...

Also, gross. Nymph's Kiss is the far less creepier variant of this.
The impression I got is that if you played strictly by the book, the ratings stick. Until additional material came out to "officially" buff them, fighters were indeed shit.

Not that official rules matter anyways, you should always be flexible so everybody is having fun and it's not like there are any meaningful "sanctioned" events like there would be with something like Magic: The Gathering. If you went to GenCon and entered a D&D tournament to complete a special campaign designed to be beat in a single 2 hour sitting and picked Fighter, you're handicapping yourself I guess.
Sure, homebrew exists for a reason. But the thing is I'm ignoring homebrew and fiats since every table has a different set. Hell, I'll tell you one that we use: Shield enchantment costs half of what they actually do to make them a little more reasonable to use.

And no, Fighters in 3.5 are eternally garbage. Just. Play. Warblade.

Update will be in a few hours; I'm wrapping up another book to ensure I have a backlog.
 

That Guy George

kiwifarms.net
As a lover of big musclebound men/woman killing everything with big swords and/or axes in as crazy as possible I personally believe Barbs should be a bit higher, but then again, I'm a fuckin' weirdo so what do i know?
 
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RJ MacReady

cheating bitch
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I've never played a tabletop RPG, but I'm familiar with them and one of the oldest maxims I can remember hearing is "linear warriors, quadratic wizards" which is one of a million ways of expressing that casters will always ultimately outpower physical characters. It sucks since I'm highly partial to old fashioned beatsticks, but I've never seen a method for a game designer to circumvent it besides making the warriors effectively magical themselves and/or fundamentally unbalancing the game. Hell, I'd imagine any high-level Fighter in D&D/PF only survives because of their magical gear.
 

garakfan69

Please be patient, I have idiocy
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It sucks since I'm highly partial to old fashioned beatsticks, but I've never seen a method for a game designer to circumvent it besides making the warriors effectively magical themselves and/or fundamentally unbalancing the game.
I like the way Realms of Arkania (based on The Dark Eye tabletop) did it.
Your mage could deal out more damage than anyone but mana is spent really quickly and is actually hard to recover. You need to rest for days, you can't simply rest everywhere, and it a had a hunger/thirst & disease system that limited resting further.
So you had to be smart about conserving your mana and couldn't just rely on magic in every battle.
 

REGENDarySumanai

Man of excellent taste
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I've never played a tabletop RPG, but I'm familiar with them and one of the oldest maxims I can remember hearing is "linear warriors, quadratic wizards" which is one of a million ways of expressing that casters will always ultimately outpower physical characters. It sucks since I'm highly partial to old fashioned beatsticks, but I've never seen a method for a game designer to circumvent it besides making the warriors effectively magical themselves and/or fundamentally unbalancing the game. Hell, I'd imagine any high-level Fighter in D&D/PF only survives because of their magical gear.
In 3.5, there's a class called Duskblade, which allows you to use touch spells through your weapon and gives you some ranged spells, albeit close and medium range spells. The Pathfinder counterpart is the magus. You could just play warblade though from the Book of Weeaboo Fightan Magic.
 
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Adamska

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Wow, finished that other book a bit quicker than I expected. Right then, now we're moving on to:

The Book of Vile Darkness


This is the go to book for edgy and evil characters, and in a way it's almost comical at times. It's a strange book that was written more for 3.0 than 3.5, and was one of the first that was only supposed to be bought for mature audiences. It is mostly used for poisons, diseases, and for some nasty spells, but it also includes quite a few PrCs... and shockingly many of them are better than I thought they were at first glance. With that in mind, let's go in..

Cancer Mage
Cancer.jpg

So this particular PrC is probably the most memorable one out of the lot for most players. I will also like to tell you that it's pretty mediocre. Yeah, the most memorable class is actually mediocre.

The best way to describe a Cancer Mage is that it's a very odd rogue/cleric combination, but one that focuses on throwing down illnesses on their opponent and sneaking around to lay down filth to debuff them heavily via their supernatural abilities. They gain sneak attacks, a strange cancerous familiar, and can even become a living virus cloud that can infiltrate people using said infection.

The big problem is that they utterly sacrifice any form of casting ability in the process, which limits it to mostly martial characters in my opinion since casting magic is just the better option every time ever. It's quite playable, but also ignorable.

Rating: Decent




Daemonologist
Daemon.jpg

Oh boy, where to even begin with this class? Let’s start with how unlike every other class but one, this caster PrC does NOT give extra caster levels to you. You heard me on this one, you are stuck with whatever caster level you started the class with, so have fun with being a partial-caster but with none of the reasons you'd want to actually play one.

In exchange you get to pick from a very anemic spell list compared to any other caster and the magical ability to get stronger summoned monsters… that you get at best a level before other casting classes do. It's pretty obvious that this is one of the worst classes in the Book of Vile Darkness.

Rating: Garbage



Diabolist
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This one is probably the best caster class in the book and pretty much perfect for Sorcerers. This is because unlike most of the classes in this book, you actually get all of your caster levels while going through the PrC. In exchange you do not gain any of your former class abilities, but Sorcerers as a whole don't get those past level one anyway, so you're good. The only annoying bar is you need to waste a bit of skill points for intimidate and need a disease for it to work.

In exchange, You also get some very nice bonuses. You get an improved familiar that retains all of the bonuses of a normal familiar for one thing. You also get to add a few extra d6s of unholy and even vile damage to any spell, including passive ones like hold person. This is very good given those two damage types are pretty hard to heal from. The only downside is your soul is lost to a devil if you perma-die, but resurrections do save you, so it's actually not too bad. All in all a great class to pick for Sorcerers, and not a bad one for other arcanists and even Clerics either.

Rating: Good



Disciple of Asmodeus
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This class is the first of many Disciple of a Devil classes, and it's one that I really can't recommend. If you're wondering why, it's mostly because the class requires you to sacrifice four caster levels if you choose to advance into this PrC. This essentially means you at best will have level 7 spells to use, which while effective, does limit you in the back end of a 1-20 game.

In exchange for said sacrifice, you get to summon hell cats as well as get free castings that a normal level 1 caster can already do once a day. The only reason I consider this class playable is due to one ability the Disciple of Asmodeus gets: Evil Authority. This gives the Disciple an ability to mass suggest crowds of people up to your HD within 50 ft, which gives you one pretty unbalanced ability. This takes it out of garbage into something that could at least be fun to play.

Rating: Playable



Disciple of Baalzebul
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This rogue build is pretty darn good to take. The main reason is it allows you to keep pretty much all of your rogue abilities, and even adds in some spell like abilities for you to use. The most powerful option for this PrC are that they get several summoning abilities, giving the rogue a powerful minionmancy option. The only big issue is you do lose a few sneak attack die, but this is made up for the social buffs you get.

This build is very good at influencing people, gaining bonuses to CHA at the end of the track and getting free Mass Charm Person spell as well. Ultimately, this is a great option for rogues that tend to play socially anyway; the only other draw back is the special sacrifice requirement and it's a bit of a late PrC to take given you can only start at level 8.

Rating: Good



Disciple of Dispater
Dispater.jpg

Besides one other class in the book, this is the only amazing class in the Book of Vile Darkness. This is because it gets all good saves as well as a good BaB, making it a good option already for Martials. This doesn't even include the supernatural abilities you get as well.

The most important items of this are the ability to inflict vile damage on your opponents with each attack via Iron Hews, and the fact that you can also rusting grasp your opponent's weapon like a level 15 Druid. But the reason this class is so amazingly bullshit is this is where you go for the ultimate crit-fishing build. A Disciple of Dispater can actually crit on rolls as low as a 9 by the time you finish the class, have an 18-20 and get the feats for improved critical. So you can essentially crit every single time you hit.

You can kind of tell why I consider this PrC perfect for an evil Martial build.

Rating: Amazing



Disciple of Mammon
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This is a very odd class that mainly benefits a rogue over a bard, but only if you are playing a specific type of rogue. It has some situational abilities like putting others in the crossfire to avoid getting hit for one thing, which is useful for the character's survivability, especially in minionmancy heavy parties. They do get bonuses on bluffing, stealing, and get a free mage hand for loot as well. Lastly the class has a neat fluff ability to improve items for selling; a good appraise and a high roll can make you a ton of money off of loot you take.

It’s not bad, but can be skipped though for quite a few reasons. The biggest one mechanically is if you want to specialize in backstabbing as a rogue, this will not allow you to do that at all. But the biggest reason in terms of fluff and over all is its awful Slaanesh-tier initiation ritual.

Rating: Decent



Disciple of Mephistopheles
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The main reason this is so high is that it’s a PrC for a Fighter or Martial in general that gives arcane abilities. I cannot state enough how badly that even a small amount of spell like abilities can tip the balance between a good Martial build and a bad Martial build. The class is hampered a bit by specializing solely in fire damage, given how common it is for monsters and even humanoids to find ways to absorb or resist that particular type of energy, but it is a better upgrade for a martial than say Tactical fucking Soldier.

I should chime in though that the class is broken for 3.5 use. How you may ask? Because flame body gives them DR 30 to fire... for those wondering, DR 10 is considered good in 3.5, so having that much resistence is crazy on a person. They also can't be touched without catching you on fire. It's a broken ability from a dead system, and one I reckon most DMs should nerf a bit.

Rating: Good



Lifedrinker
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God is dead, and this class killed him. Then the Ur-Priest masturbated in joy at the atrocity that this class is since God is dead. I can’t even begin to explain where this class goes wrong, since every thing I can think of is wrong.

Let’s start with the requirements: you need to be a vampire. That’s automatically an LA +8 due to how vampires work, which instantly puts this as an NPC class due to other requirements besides that. Not only an NPC class, but a garbage one, since to get its final level, it has to get to EPIC levels reach for it. Are you fucking kidding me book? This is the thing you decided to pretend that is a good option for a villain? But wait, there’s more!

Just like the Daemonologist, this pile of bat guano doesn’t gain any fucking caster levels. This means you’re stuck with whatever wizard or sorcerer levels you still had for your spell pool, so good luck with that! Oh wait, the brain-damaged pants shitting mall goth might say, the strength of this class is based on its boosting and augmenting spells! Sure, but I have something far better than that: it’s called metamagic feats. You can use them on higher level spells too, you know, the ones that the DM chose to forsake when he made this, since you’ll never play this one DAMIEN!

And let’s not ignore the elephant in the room, or should I say the festering pile of rat carcasses that the Vermin Lord left at the Lifedrinker’s crypt out of spite; the Lifepool system. You have to monitor and chart a series of lifepoints you take by removing Constitution or enervating things. The best part is that going to zero means you basically Frenzy, and you instantly start at that point when first playing this class. Sure, you can make a will save to avoid it, but that it instantly begins as such is fucking disgusting, and not like a future class' abilities.

What else can I say about this awful pile of trash… oh yeah, the final level’s “blessings”. For what is entirely based on casting alone, for some fucking reason the class decides to bless you with a +4 STR boost when you enter Blood Revel (or Vampire Rage as it should be called) and you HAVE TO ATTACK PHYSICALLY WHEN DOING IT! I am not fucking kidding you, you have to go up and punch out all the living beings around you; you can’t resist this unless you want this to end. In exchange you get DR 25 or something, but fuck that it’s at EPIC given the stat load-out.

I also just realize that I forgot the wonderful ability to add 1d6 temporary HP per few lifepoints spent… I KEEP FORGETTING ALL OF THE FUCKING SHIT THIS CLASS DOES! For fuck’s sake, I had to look back at this shitpile to even remember this class gives a shittier Mage Armor too. Lifedrinker is just a swarm of awful; it’s like finding out that not only did your wife cheat on you, but you contracted AIDS from her because of the cheating, she broke up with you and stole your money, and you just found out you now have ass cancer.

Thank the now dead God that it’s purely for NPC use, and curse Wizards of the Coast for making something that actually makes Truenamer look more fun to play, even if it’s only poor fucks like the DM that can really touch them. Stay far the fuck away people. Far the fuck away.

Rating: Truenamer



Mortal Hunter
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Technically, this is what you’d call a decent PrC by my reckoning. It specializes heavily in hunting mortals, ie non-construct, non-aberrations, and non-outsiders. It would be a decent pick if refluffed slightly to be a PrC ranger build, kind of similar to the one Ranger PrC that exists in the Book of Exhalted Deeds that gives the same bonus to hunting evil. It even gives you some pretty nasty spells to add to your ranger lists as well.

The problem is it’s entirely designed to be used for DMs only since you need to be an outsider to become it. This isn’t shocking, since the book tries to do the NPC route with most of the classes, mostly by using the special requirements to make it hard for them to become one. This limitation still sucks, and is why Book of Exalted Deeds is the better option every time.

Rating: NPC (Would be Decent)




Soul Eater
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This class is broken as fuck, and I mean it in a good way for martials. For one thing, you can enervate people with a single touch attack, which is brutal in longer fights and for improving the odds, since losing a level's worth of competence and HD or even Ability scores hurt. At higher levels, one touch attack knocks off two levels worth of bonuses.

Doing this also fuels your ability to boost any stat you need the more levels you take in Soul Eater. You even get a potent eldritch blast ability similar to the Warlock's using the energy you’ve stolen as well, making you a martial with a very potent and scalable ranged attack.

This is tempered by how only monstrous humanoids or beasts can do it, and even then they need natural weapons first in order to become one. Well fuck you Book of Vile Darkness, Lizardmen are playable (despite LA) and players can go this route easier than some of the PrCs here. You couldn’t quite make this one full NPC like Mortal Hunter.

Rating: NPC (Would be Amazing)



Thrall of Demogorgon
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Where the Disciple of Baalzebul focuses on social bonuses, the Thrall of Demogorgon focuses on backstabbing and fighting, at least for Rogues which I consider to be the main class that this PrC works well with. The Thrall tries to pretend that it can benefit other casters as well or other martials, but I disagree with the caster part wholeheartedly.

For one thing, it removes six caster levels from any caster who goes through with this class; that means you at best have level six spells to cast, which makes it one of the worst caster PrCs ever. It does provide some nice tricks for other martials though, since it has full BaB. The Thrall of Demogorgon can get some nasty touch attacks and even limited minionmancy, as well as giving you ranged attacks due to stretchy arms. All in all a pretty damn solid PrC for Martials in my opinion.

Rating: Good



Thrall of Graz’zt
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This PrC is a big pile of trash that lazily disguises itself as being good. It also is pretty much only for Sorcerer or any other Charisma based Arcane casters due to the buffs they get to Charisma. You see, this particular class forces you to give up five spellcaster levels, which if I've said once I've said many times, is a very bad thing for a caster. The thing that this stupid class tries to entice you with is adding a ton of sneak-attack damage onto the spells you manage to hold on to so long as the target is flat-footed.

The problem with this is that getting a flatfooted enemy in your sights is very situational. It'd actually just be better to continue on as a Sorcerer or Wizard; at least you can get level 9 spells and expand the by this point shrinking Sorcerer pool. It's trash and that's all it ever will be.

Rating: Garbage



Thrall of Jubilex
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This martial set-up is a very late bloomer compared to most PrCs, which I will state right now does harm it since you ideally want to start as early as possible. Most PrCs can be entered at around level 6, but this one is at minimum level 8. The abilities you get from it are also mostly outshone by other PrCs available to martial just inside this book.

It does have a big saving grace though; you gain access to polymorph abilities and eventually your body becomes so blobby you can't be critted, paralyzed, or hit with sneak attack damage. If the Thrall of Jubilex didn't have this ability, it'd have been skippable otherwise since there are just so many other options.

Rating: Playable



Thrall of Orcus
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Besides having to commit necrophilia to get this one to work, you are basically playing a worse Dread Necromancer if you choose to play this PrC. You have a very limited group of undead minions you can summon for one thing; the types of undead available to you is smaller than if you summoned or created undead no matter what variant of Necromancy class you pick.

To futher add salt to the infected wound that is this class, you give up SIX caster levels. In exchange for this, you get some fear causing abilities and a crappier fly. Avoid playing this piece of shit; just go for Dread Necromancer, Death Master, or shit, even Bone Knight.

Rating: Garbage



Ur-Priest
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This PrC was so popular with DnD players it actually was completely rewritten for 3.5 in Complete Divine, and that's for good reason. For one thing, it's a neat variant of a divine caster that despises the deities that exist and steal power from them, a very metal piece of fluff. They also get advantages due to this decision: they are actually even more flexible than normal Clerics.

The Ur-Priest utterly ignores alignment whenever they're casting a spell, meaning it doesn't matter where you are on that three-by-three grid; you can cast any spell with no limitations whatsoever. They also can combine spell slots to cast higher level spells, which is a neat trick and essentially have metamagic as a divine caster. One more broken item they have on hand is they can also steal spell like abilities from a target at higher levels, which is pretty damn good. The only limitation they have is they can not burn spells to cure or inflict damage, but the other changes more than make up for it.

A damn good PrC for a damn good class.


Rating: Amazing



Vermin Lord
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The more forgettable Cancer Mage, and honestly I consider it slightly worse over all. This is mainly because you have to be a caster that gives up five caster levels to get into this PrC, which really hurts for most classes since higher level spells and more slots just simply are more useful.

In exchange you get some powerful abilities and some very effective swarm based minionmancy. In particular, the ability to get free natural armor up to +3 and free HP up to 50 is pretty damn good. They also can just open their mouths and let out a swarm of insects that do up to 10d6 damage once a day as a big screw you attack. At level 10, you can even augment yourself by becoming a big disgusting hivemind.

Good flavor, but you have to give up a lot to play them.

Rating: Decent



Warrior of Darkness
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The fluff tries to pretend that this PrC is the perfect mix between might and magic. It pretends that an evil fighter unlocks the secrets of sorcery in order to become the ultimate warrior. This implies that there may be some gish potential… but no. The Warrior of Darkness is so fucking awful that I can’t stop screaming even as I type this.

First, you have to waste time and skill points on craft (Alchemy) and other shit like it just to qualify… as a martial, which usually has low skill points to begin with and not helped by INT due to it being dumped so often. Ergo, most players must waste them to get here. Once you do this, you get the magical ability to anoint yourself with Black Magic Oil and chug Elixers… that give you nothing but absolute fucking garbage bonuses. A +1 to strength in a setting where just getting a cheaper belt of giant strength is simpler… woohoo. The ability to get easy feats for free… despite the feats being easy to get and fighters get bonus ones… hooray.

At least the Oils at least have a couple of mediocre boosts (+10 speed for full armor being one of the two good ones). The Elixirs you can make though have NOTHING FUCKING VALUABLE! AND YOU GET THREE LEVELS WORTH OF THIS FUCKING GARBAGE IN A TEN LEVEL PRC AAAAA- !

And lastly, you get some shitty DR to magic at the rear of the class… like it matters. Sure it’s DR 20, but you’re level 15 by this point at minimum and you could've been smart and picked a better PrC or just pick a Tome of Battle Class. Heck, I almost forgot to say you can +1 your weapon as an option by wasting time and three rounds to do it, entirely because you’d already have a +1 weapon by the time you get to this PrC… and that the magic weapon you buy is permanent too, unlike the one you annoint. Fuck this class, and fuck the fact that Lifedrinker fucking exists.

Rating: Garbage



Overall Tiers
Amazing Classes: Disciple of Dispater, Ur-Priest
Good Classes: Diabolist, Disciple of Mephistopheles, thrall of Demogorgon, Disciple of Baalzebul
Decent Classes: Disciple of Mammon, Cancer Mage, Vermin Lord
Playable Classes: Disciple of Asmodeus, thrall of Jubilex
Garbage Classes: Daemonologist, thrall of Graz’zt, thrall of Orcus, Warrior of Darkness
Truenamer Class: Lifedrinker (Worst and NPC)
NPC Class (Fuck you Book): Mortal Hunter (Would’ve been Decent), Soul Eater (Would’ve been Amazing)

The biggest issue with most of the PrCs are that they very much are a DMPC style build, since they have very stringent special conditions. Most of the caster based builds are awful as shit, although Martials get some decent options to pick.

And seriously, Fuck Lifedrinker.

Up next is the Book of Exalted Deeds and the goody goody PrCs guys.
 
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Oddjob OTP

True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
This is just completely wrong dude. The feats do not in any way make up for being able to cast magic; they merely gave martials something better than the garbage they got in Player's Handbook. It also doesn't remotely close the gap between a caster and a martial, since Casters got a variety of good spells and feats as well in those books, just not as innately broken. The gaping maw between the two are insurmountable...
Late 3.5 All-Splats Martials are defensible in combat and in many cases can be better at early and middle levels especially any time the DM makes you do more then two encounters a day. Being anything other then a full caster is horrible deficiency late game because the incredibly high power level of 7/8/9th level spells and basically anytime out of combat because WotC in their infinite wisdom gave full-casters the ability to do everything better then non-casters without the need to spend skill points or feats.
 

That Guy George

kiwifarms.net
I cast grease, roll balance check

oh, you failed, have fun being coup de gras by a nerd with a dagger or getting shot to death while you can't really run
 
Reactions: Adamska

Francis York Morgan

FBI Special Agent
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I wholeheartedly agree on fighters being fucking garbage, as you might as well be the party's pack mule.
It's good for picking up a few feats real quick and then running off to do better things. I've seen a couple of funny builds out there that take 5 levels of Fighter because they are so feat intensive, but I've never seen it as more than a 2 level class.

Which is still better than Samurai but I'm sure @Adamska will get there in three years.
 

REGENDarySumanai

Man of excellent taste
kiwifarms.net
Reactions: Francis York Morgan
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