7 noting stuff for bards
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For the bard, there is probably plenty of room for improvement just in feats and spells. This Q&A might be of assistance there. The bard isn’t cleric or wizard, but they can still definitely contribute.

The barbarian, fighter, and paladin are going to have a harder time.

So what I would recommend here is to consider suggesting that the barbarian, fighter, and paladin play better (read: easier to get working well) classes. Specifically, Tome of Battle was something of a revolution in D&D 3.5e design, finally working hard to ensure that there were no traps and things worked as well as they sounded on paper, giving martial characters nice things that enabled them to fight as well as mages cast (well, almost), and they’re pretty newbie-friendly.

So what I would recommend here is to consider suggesting that the barbarian, fighter, and paladin play better (read: easier to get working well) classes. Specifically, Tome of Battle was something of a revolution in D&D 3.5e design, finally working hard to ensure that there were no traps and things worked as well as they sounded on paper, giving martial characters nice things that enabled them to fight as well as mages cast (well, almost), and they’re pretty newbie-friendly.

For the bard, there is probably plenty of room for improvement just in feats and spells. This Q&A might be of assistance there. The bard isn’t cleric or wizard, but they can still definitely contribute.

The barbarian, fighter, and paladin are going to have a harder time.

So what I would recommend here is to consider suggesting that the barbarian, fighter, and paladin play better (read: easier to get working well) classes. Specifically, Tome of Battle was something of a revolution in D&D 3.5e design, finally working hard to ensure that there were no traps and things worked as well as they sounded on paper, giving martial characters nice things that enabled them to fight as well as mages cast (well, almost), and they’re pretty newbie-friendly.

6 noting problems with the spellcasters’ optimization, particularly DMM
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I think you have systemic problems compounded by player problems. To wit, the stronger classes (read: easier to get working well, requiring less optimization skill) are being played by those optimizing more, rather than those who are optimizing less, which might help to balance out the situation. In particular, Divine Metamagic is probably much-too-high-power for a game in which the barbarian and fighter aren’t optimizing much and falling into many of the myriad traps before those classes.

And on the flip side, the weaker classes (read: harder to get working well, requiring greater optimization skill) are being played by those optimizing less, rather than those who were optimizing more. It’s counter-intuitive, since the weaker classes are also branded the “simpler” ones, but they are actually harder to play. There are just so many traps for a fighter or a barbarian.

I think you have systemic problems compounded by player problems. To wit, the weaker classes (read: harder to get working well, requiring greater optimization skill) are being played by those optimizing less, rather than those who were optimizing more. It’s counter-intuitive, since the weaker classes are also branded the “simpler” ones, but they are actually harder to play. There are just so many traps for a fighter or a barbarian.

I think you have systemic problems compounded by player problems. To wit, the stronger classes (read: easier to get working well, requiring less optimization skill) are being played by those optimizing more, rather than those who are optimizing less, which might help to balance out the situation. In particular, Divine Metamagic is probably much-too-high-power for a game in which the barbarian and fighter aren’t optimizing much and falling into many of the myriad traps before those classes.

And on the flip side, the weaker classes (read: harder to get working well, requiring greater optimization skill) are being played by those optimizing less, rather than those who were optimizing more. It’s counter-intuitive, since the weaker classes are also branded the “simpler” ones, but they are actually harder to play. There are just so many traps for a fighter or a barbarian.

5 being more explicit about changing the characters’ classes
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These classes match the fluff and narrative role of these classes very well, to the point that they’re often considered just replacements for those classes (and third class in the book, swordsage, is a replacement for the monk or ninja classes). So what I recommend is that your 5th-level paladin, fighter, and barbarian become 5th-level crusader, warblade, and “crusader,” instead. The characters can stay the same, and gain substantially improved combat ability.

These classes match the fluff and narrative role of these classes very well, to the point that they’re often considered just replacements for those classes (and third class in the book, swordsage, is a replacement for the monk or ninja classes). The characters can stay the same, and gain substantially improved combat ability.

These classes match the fluff and narrative role of these classes very well, to the point that they’re often considered just replacements for those classes (and third class in the book, swordsage, is a replacement for the monk or ninja classes). So what I recommend is that your 5th-level paladin, fighter, and barbarian become 5th-level crusader, warblade, and “crusader,” instead. The characters can stay the same, and gain substantially improved combat ability.

4 noting cards are still useful to non-crusaders, too
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3 removing misstatement about d5
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2 about maneuver cards
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