There are a number of “theurge” Prcs in D&D 3.5 and D&D 3 — classes that progress both their own and the base class's spellcasting — and I've notice a lot of hate for them that I don't understand. Why all the hate?

I've found many discussions online where people ask for advice for builds with such classes, with answers that are mostly negative.

  • Some are just outright dismissive. They range from "this class is utter garbage" through "only for fun and acting" to "only useful with cheese strategies revolving around early entry combinations or caster level enhancement tricks".

    Most such replies are only semi-correct in very narrow range of character levels (let's say 5 to 15). They're completely, utterly wrong for levels 15 to 40+ (also known as epic/mythic), since progressing beyond level 20 nullifies most of the issues people raise (like having only 10 levels of double progression class, since epic levels allow taking levels beyond a class's standard maximum).

  • Other common popular replies revolve around basic attributes required for casting, but don't seem to realize (or simply ignore) that Wizard/Archivist isn't the only combination.

    In fact, there's nearly infinite combinations using same attribute, considering all the base classes. Each type of caster (arcane, divine, psionic, etc.) comes in several flavours, witch (arcane, wisdom), mystic (divine, charisma), wilder (psionic, charisma) to name just a few.

  • People also argue against them based on the action economy.

    This one is also easily solved using cloning, schismas, time-stop-like effects, casting through crystals or familiars and several other methods of circumventing limits on actions taken. Which is also better: the more such effects are available to the player with every casting class having their own.

    Besides, once the character gains level 9 spells (or equivalent maximum) in both base classes, and reaches character level 21+ for epic spells there is no downside compared to single-progression caster. Versatility from having access to two full spell lists also translates to epic spell creation (which is based on skill points and "spell effects" known instead of actual strength of spells in 1-9 spell lists).

So I wonder if I'm missing something:

  • Are there any downsides for level 21+ double progression caster characters?

  • Is there any mechanical benefit of playing single-class caster character I'm not seeing? (I understand the storytelling and acting arguments but let's ignore those in this topic.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ One further thought, the answers for this are going to be drastically different if you limit it to 3.5 or Pathfinder. While it's technically, as you say, backward compatible, Pathfinder is not designed to exceed 20th level PC's except by Mythic, which is not the same as having additional Class Levels. You may need to have separate questions regarding the different versions as well, or specify a 3.5 with Pathfinder or Pathfinder with 3.5 material question \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Nov 14 '18 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I gave this a big overhaul to make it easier for people to read, and therefore more likely to get quality answers. I think this is on-topic, since there are objective things that can be explained on the subject, and the arguments elsewhere are adequately summarised for our experts to engage with productively (it's not too vague what the question is reacting to). This shouldn't require opinion, and is no longer too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 18:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NecXelos We definitely don't signal edits — we have a sophisticated edit history and notification system that makes edit signalling redundant, and so signaled edits merely make questions less clear (a potentially close-worthy issue). The first answer was almost certainly started before you removed Pathfinder from the question — it takes more than a moment to answer a question like this — and because we highly endorse editing and revision of all posts to make them their best version, it will likely have the Pathfinder material revised away before long, don't worry. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I don't think any of those are representative of the asker's actual problem. If their problem is located in a difference in priorities between themself and the people they're reading (as it seems to be), all these things are of a piece. We've had previous questions about “Why do people online think X” that have worked before. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 18:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've closed this question as off-topic because evidence from comments on answers shows that it is actually a 1st post in a discussion, which we do not host. If you want to discuss the topic with fellow RPG players, you'll have to use a discussion forum instead of a strict Q&A site like this is. We have put together a list of RPG discussion forums to make it easier for people to transition from here to a more appropriate forum. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 22:19

You've asked:

Why are people restricting their mindset (which affects their answers) to levels between 5 and 15? It's like reading a 5 chapter book and throwing it away halfway through chapter 2.

Most actual campaigns do not reach the high levels you're interested in. For example, the popular Pathfinder Adventure Path series tend to start at level one and max out around levels 16-17. In D&D 3.5, the Living Greyhawk rules required adventurers to retire once they hit sixteenth level. My own campaigns (those that I play in, and those that I run) are all about levels 1-10.

I can imagine a campaign that started at level 1 and planned to go to level 30. Some homebrew campaigns are that ambitious. In my experience, many such campaigns tend to fall apart before they get past level seven. But, even if someone was playing in a game that they expected to reach level 30, it would be a weird strategy to play a class that was known to be weak and ineffective for the first ten levels. That would represent a very long time spent playing a bad character! I don't think that would be a fun way to play a game.

If you're about to join a campaign that will start at very high levels, I agree that playing a "theurge" class might well be reasonable.

From your comments, it sounds like you're not actually playing in a game, and you're just interested in theoretical behavior of very-high-level characters. That's fine, and I'm not going to tell you what levels you should be interested in. But you've asked why most people are only interested in low-level characters, and the reason is that we're playing in actual campaigns and the actual campaigns are happening at low levels.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 22:20

The discussion you see reflects the games people actually play. You see people focusing discussion on lower levels—say, 1st through 6th—because people tend to play far, far more of the lower levels than they do of higher levels. In fact, many people actively avoid higher levels—to say nothing of Epic levels—, either by designing the campaign to end before they come up or by using E6. By the amount of time people spend playing characters at them, 16th+ represents a minuscule fraction of the game. Epic rules are nigh-universally regarded as a mistake or an outright sham; they do not work and just about everyone who has ever having tried to use them regrets it.

That’s it: discussions reflect gameplay. (Almost) no one discusses Epic levels because (almost) no one plays Epic levels. There is no large community of players who spend most of their games in Epic levels, but only ever discuss pre-Epic levels. There simply is no large community of players who spend most of their games in Epic levels. If there was, you would see their presence online, and discussions of the way the game works at those levels would be more prevalent.

In short, by the very fact that you have asked this question, you yourself have already observed that almost no one uses those rules.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 14 '18 at 22:20

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