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Certain prestige classes detail a list of requirements that are possible for the player to lose (alignment, casting at a certain level), but not what happens if you no longer meet those requirements (acting in an opposed way to your alignment, suffereing from energy drain). Some classes and prestige classes do detail what happens if you no longer meet your requirements, but not all do so.

So I am asking: if you no longer meet the requirements of your prestige class by choice or external influences, will you lose the class features gained from it, despite this loss not being detailed in the class itself?

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Try here. –  Hey I Can Chan Jul 4 '14 at 8:40

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No

Unless the prestige class is from Complete Warrior or Complete Arcane, which specify that those prestige classes do.

The blurbs written in Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane are written as if they were establishing a global rule, but this contradicts the rules for prestige classes in the Dungeon Master's Guide, which mentions no such rule and only states that requirements are necessary to take one’s first level of a prestige class. After the first level has been taken, according to the Dungeon Master’s Guide, all bets are off. You can lose the requirement, and you not only keep the class features, you also retain the right to continue taking levels.

In fact, the Dungeon Master’s Guide includes a prestige class which breaks if this rule is applied: the dragon disciple. The dragon disciple’s requirements include being a non-dragon race, but the capstone of the class applies the half-dragon template, which includes changing the character into a dragon – and thus making it impossible to retain his or her qualification for the class. Under the real rules, this is fine, but under Complete Warrior/Complete Arcane mistakenly applied globally, we end up with Schrödinger’s dragon: gaining the class feature causes the character to lose dragon disciple class features, including the one that broke the requirements, so he or she qualifies again, and then regains the class features and thus breaks them again!

But this is not a problem, because the system includes rules for handling such contradictions.

The errata rules state that when two books contradict each other, the “primary source” wins; Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane are the primary sources for the prestige classes in that book, but the primary rules for the very concept of prestige classes in general is the DMG. So those books can establish an exception for themselves, but not globally. To do that would require a mention in the DMG errata file, which despite reprintings since Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane, has not happened. The DMG was not the only book to print prestige classes that play badly (as in, don't make sense) with this rule, either.

In general, gaining prerequisites temporarily is a fairly high-optimization trick; it's probably not welcome at a lot of tables. This is typically more a matter of gentlemen's agreement than house rule, though.

The reason not to establish this as a rule is because, if, in combat or something, someone is drained or cursed and loses prerequisites, it is not appropriate for every prestige class to have a pseudo “falling” mechanic. It's better to just say that you don't want people building characters around this trick.

Finally, do consider that the majority of prestige classes have requirements more difficult and painful to meet than they deserve, especially warrior classes which tend to be for the weakest base classes. This, if someone is interested in a trick like this, the correct response may easily be: “I don't want shenanigans like that in this game, but how about we just waive that prereq entirely?” Then everyone's happy.

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I would suggest reading the v3.5 FAQ, pg 30 –  briddums Jul 4 '14 at 21:13
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@briddums The FAQ is worthless. It holds no rules weight and is frequently wrong. –  KRyan Jul 4 '14 at 22:21
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@briddums What is wrong with the D&D 3.5 FAQ? –  Hey I Can Chan Jul 1 at 6:09

Yes.

The rules in the DMG don't mention this, but the ones in Complete Warrior and complete Arcane both do. You can make an argument from RAW that the PrC rules in Complete Warrior and Complete Arcane only apply to those specific books, despite the FAQ answering questions based entirely on those rules.

But as for intent, it seems pretty clear. If a character no longer meets pre-requisites, they lose prestige class abilities, but not hit dice, base saving throws, or base attack bonus, as per CWarrior, CArcane, and the FAQ. Yes, this does include spellcasting, no, this doesn't include skill points (they are part of hit dice).

However, as a GM.

You should never take away people's class abilities unless it's thematically story appropriate. If a Helm of Alignment changes the alignment of an Assassin, you should decide whether they lose their Assassin abilities or not - and be able to provide a good reason why the now Good aligned Assassin can't use his Death Attack ability on an evil beholder about to raze a town.

Similarly, if someone uses a Ring of Evasion to qualify for Fochluchan Lyrist and then later sells the Ring, you should decide whether that messes with his Lyrical abilities or not, based on circumstance, intent, so forth.

Ultimately the rule is there to stop people rorting the system. That is it's sole purpose - to stop Psychic Reformation and the like be used to get past pre-requisites. It's a heavy-handed rule, in the same way that pre-requisites are generally heavy handed and often prestige classes aren't worth the hoops that you're required to jump through - like any 'balance' rule, you should scrutinize it carefully as a GM and decide if you want it in your game.

Personally, i'd only have someone lose their class abilities as part of a plotline. I prefer to handle system rorters directly, by talking to them as a fellow human being and game player and asking them nicely to have a character with the same power level as the rest of the group. Trying to enforce the letter of the law with ill-considered and ambiguously worded rules systems like DnD is typically an exercise in failure and lack of fun - I don't recommend it, for anyone, and I definitely don't support it.

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Under a strict DM, then, what happens when a character reaches level 10 in the prestige class dragon disciple (DMG 183-5)? –  Hey I Can Chan Jul 4 '14 at 11:02
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@HeyICanChan - Same thing that happens when the Truenamer tries to use his class abilities. A houserule to make the stupid game work. –  Jack Lesnie Jul 4 '14 at 11:10
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Factually inaccurate, -1. –  KRyan Jul 4 '14 at 15:11
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Wrong. This don't happen, unless the book/class explicity says so. -1 –  Thales Sarczuk Jul 10 '14 at 17:42
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I knew from context, but I still had to look up rorting. –  Hey I Can Chan Jul 1 at 6:08

Yes, as per the Official 3.5 FAQ, pages 30-31. The responses are in regards to Assassin alignment changes, but the answer talks about how to apply it to other prestige classes.

What happens when an assassin becomes non-evil?

A character who no longer meets the requirements of his prestige class not only can’t advance any further in that class, but he also “loses the benefit of any class features or other special abilities granted by the class.” (CW 16) You retain Hit Dice (and the hit points derived from), base attack bonus, and base save bonuses granted by the prestige class.

So your repentant assassin would lose his sneak attack, death attack, poison use, save bonus against poison, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, and hide in plain sight class features, as well as his assassin spellcasting and any weapon and armor proficiencies gained from the class. He’d keep the skill ranks he bought with his assassin levels, as well as the hit points, base attack, and base save bonuses gained from those class levels. He also couldn’t gain any more assassin levels until his alignment returned to evil (at which point he’d also regain the various features he lost when his alignment changed to non-evil).

If my character becomes an assassin, then later changes his alignment from evil to neutral, can he still use the skills he learned as an assassin?

A character who no longer meets the requirements of his prestige class not only can’t advance any further in that class, but he also “loses the benefit of any class features or other special abilities granted by the class,” (CW 16). You retain Hit Dice (and the hit points derived from those Hit Dice), base attack bonus, and base save bonuses granted by the prestige class.

The rules don’t specifically list skill points (and class skills) as falling into either category; the Sage recommends that the character retain these functions even if he no longer meets the class requirements. So your repentant assassin would lose his sneak attack, death attack, poison use, save bonus against poison, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, and hide in plain sight class features, as well as his assassin spell casting and any weapon and armor proficiencies gained from the class. He’d keep the skill ranks he bought with his assassin levels, as well as the hit points, base attack, and base save bonuses gained from the class levels. He also couldn’t gain any more assassin levels until his alignment returned to evil (at which point he’d also regain the various features he lost when his alignment changed to non-evil).

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Also relevant from the FAQ: Can a soulmeld or its chakra bind allow you to meet the prerequisites for a feat or the requirements for a prestige class? Yes, but you only gain the benefits of the feat or prestige class as long as you continue tomeet its requirements. If you unshape the meld or change the chakra bind, you would lose the feat or prestige class benefits and wouldn’t be able to advance further in the prestige class. –  PurpleVermont Jul 4 '14 at 22:12

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