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I know what class tiers are, and I know what tier most Pathfinder classes are. However, I have recently discovered Path of War, an alternative rule system published by Dreamscarred Press. It introduces many new classes to the game, and I don't think I know the system well enough to judge every one of them without witnessing them in play, which I haven't done yet.

On the other hand, I want to know which of those classes are actually good and which are not.

So, which tiers do Path of War classes belong to?

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Tier 3, but very strong ones.

Path of War isn’t handing out game-warping effects like open-topic divinations, long-distance teleportation, or poaching monster abilities via conjuration or domination. The hallmarks of Tier 2 and above simply aren’t present.

But among Tier 3 classes, Path of War initiators stand out. Several of them have extremely potent defenses, that can be very difficult to breach, and almost all of them have top-tier damage-dealing ability without breaking a sweat. Because they were designed to be strong “out of the box,” so to speak, because a design goal was to make them good even when played by naive newbies, when you start optimizing your feat and item choices, they can get really monstrous. And several maneuvers were overtuned—there’s nothing outright broken as far as I know, but there are definitely things that are simply more powerful than they should be at the level they’re obtained.

Trying to break things down within a tier is often an exercise in frustration and argument, because the tiers are already broken up by the more distinct dividing lines. Anything within a tier is going to necessarily have to start getting into more nebulous distinctions. But I will say that, if I recall correctly, the warder and zealot have a reputation for being the most problematically strong of the Path of War initiators.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ RE: "And several maneuvers were overtuned…." Is there a reason to use overtuned instead of overpowered? Or is this that thing called tact that I keep hearing about? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21 '20 at 0:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan What I’m going for there is that they are more powerful than they should be by some small, but very real, margin. Say as an example someone wrote a 3rd-level spell that hit a 20-foot-radius spread in long range (Reflex half, SR: Yes) for 1d8 fire damage per level. That’s fireball except it’s in d8’s instead of d6’s—is that going to completely change the game? No, it’s not. But it is nearly 30% more damage than fireball, so it’s definitely not nothing, either. (But then, fireball is underpowered, and so too are Path of War’s competitors—sorting that out is for the reader.) \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 21 '20 at 1:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan The other distinction in my mind there is that “overtuning” is more of an action, “overtuned” is more of a verb in past tense rather than (just) an adjective like “overpowered.” The connotation is that the designers were trying to make something strong, and simply overdid it a bit. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Sep 21 '20 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ So, you'd say they're maybe tier 3 .5 ;P (I'll show myself out) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21 '20 at 4:03

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