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I've played before but never long enough for me to get to try to prestige. I'm trying to figure out how to go about prestiging my character. I understand you need to meet the requirements. For example to become a Blackguard you need to be evil have +6 BAB and so on. But I'm trying to figure out how does the prestige classes BAB Fort save Ref save and Eill save work. Do they just add too or do you take that as your base and scrap the base classes saves and BAB. Also for the Hit Die and Skill points per level. Do you take those of your new class or does it combine?

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Adding a prestige class is “a special form of multiclassing” as Dungeon Master’s Guide puts it, and for this kind of thing it uses the rules for multiclass characters. You can find those rules here, but the long and short of it is,

Yes, you just add them together.

This is actually why the blackguard’s table lists BAB +6, +7, and so on, rather than +6/+1, +7/+2 like you see for the barbarian’s table—because you get the extra attack when your total reaches +6, and blackguard can’t know when that will be since you can start being a blackguard any time after you qualify. So at 5th level you might have BAB +6/+1 from your base class (the minimum to enter blackguard), +5 from blackguard, for +11/+6/+1 total, but you could have entered blackguard with +10/+5 instead of +6/+1 and so you actually don’t get another attack until blackguard 6th.

Note that there are two methods of adding the numbers together: just reading off the table and adding them together, and the so-called “fractional” system. Basically, the numbers in the tables are all pre-rounded for you—a 3rd-level cleric doesn’t really have BAB +2 so much as BAB +2¼, but the table just rounds down since a ¼ bonus is meaningless. But it is recommended for games to save this rounding until after they have added all their classes together, to avoid rounding errors. For example, a 1st-level bard/1st-level cleric/1st-level rogue has +0+0+0 listed on the tables, but really ought to be +¾+¾+¾ = +2¼—the same as a 3rd-level bard, or a 3rd-level cleric, or a 3rd-level rogue. Ask your DM if you can use the fractional system; it’s much better (everyone at the table should use the same system).

Sidenote: about the blackguard...

Finally, note that blackguard is a pretty problematic class:

  • It’s hard to enter, since

    • It requires three feats and Cleave and Improved Sunder in particular are really weak feats.
    • It also requires Hide, which
      1. you aren’t likely to get much use out of as the typical (heavily-armored) blackguard, and
      2. isn’t a class skill for paladins, making it very hard to do the expected paladin entry.
  • And then the class features are kind of meh:

    • the spells are pretty limited,
    • sneak attack is all right but you could just be a rogue,
    • poison use is pretty much garbage,
    • you get too little of smite good for it to be worth much,

and so on. The dark blessing and aura of despair, though, those are absolutely fantastic. I’m not trying to tell you not to play one, just want to make sure you know about the issues going in. In particular, you probably don’t really want to enter as a paladin, but probably more like 2 levels in each of barbarian (for rage, since you need some Cha and so your Str/Con may be lower than they’d otherwise be), fighter (for bonus feats so you can get all you need), and ranger (for Hide, and maybe the combat style feat can be useful to you).

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In most ways, aside from the fact that they have requirements that you have to meet before you can take levels in them, entering a prestige class works just like multiclassing into any other class.

I'm trying to figure out how does the prestige classes BAB Fort save Ref save and Eill save work. Do they just add too or do you take that as your base and scrap the base classes saves and BAB.

Just like when multiclassing normally, to calculate your base saves and BAB, simply add up the corresponding columns for all your classes. For instance, a Fighter 6/Blackguard 1 has:

  • BAB 7 (6 from Fighter + 1 from Blackguard)
  • Base fort save +7 (5 from Fighter + 2 from Blackguard)
  • Base ref save +2 (2 from Fighter + 0 from Blackguard
  • Base will save +2 (2 from Fighter + 0 from Blackguard

These rules tend to mean that multiclass characters have higher base saves than single-class characters (because you get the +2 to your strong saves on every new class you take), but lower BAB than single-class characters (because classes with less than full BAB have their +0 BAB levels at the beginning of the class).

There is a variant rule in Unearthed Arcana for fractional BAB and saves that many people prefer, but the above is how it works in the base rules.

Also for the Hit Die and Skill points per level. Do you take those of your new class or does it combine?

When you gain a level, you gain the hit die and skill points of whatever new class you're taking. When multiclassing (including into a prestige class), this might mean you don't gain the same hit die at every level - for instance, a Cleric 8/Blackguard 2 would have 8d8 + 2d10 as their hit dice (they would gain d8 + con bonus on their Cleric levels, then d10 + con bonus on their Blackguard levels)

For skill points, again, you gain new skill points according to the skill points of the class you're gaining. For instance, a Rogue 5/Assassin 1 would have gained 8 + int bonus skill points at level 5, but would then only gain 4 + int bonus skill points when they took a level of Assassin at level 6.

Since different classes can have different class skills, make sure you brush up on how gaining skills works, in particular:

The maximum rank in a class skill is the character’s level + 3. If it’s a cross-class skill, the maximum rank is half of that number (do not round up or down).

Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3.

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