5
\$\begingroup\$

See the question on what character tiers are if you don't understand this.

Basically, I'm fine with Tier 1 classes being able to do all their tricks; a fun game can be had that way. What I'm not fine with is how the Tier 1 and Tier 2 classes tend to totally overshadow lower Tier classes at higher levels, both in combat situations and non-combat. My question is this: Are there any completed Fighter and Rogue type classes that equal Tier 1 power? Homebrew is perfectly welcome for this answer, since the most powerful official non-spellcaster classes I'm aware of tend to be Tier 3. These classes don't necessarily have to have the title "Fighter" or "Rogue", they just have to fulfill the archetype. Classes from closely related systems (such as Pathfinder and 3.0) are also welcome.

To reiterate, Tier one can do anything and everything, often better than lower-tier classes that supposedly specialize in that thing.

\$\endgroup\$
4
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ By fighter and rogue type classes do you mean classes that don't cast spells? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2014 at 5:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thematically, the classes don't cast spells. Mechanically, solutions that resemble Maneuvers from the tome of battle or other solutions that mechanically resemble spell-casting are acceptable. \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Dec 7, 2014 at 5:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thus actual casting of actual spells is unacceptable? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 7, 2014 at 5:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Yes, that brings the class out of the thematic archetype of the Fighter or the Rogue, but spellcasting-like mechanics are fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Dec 7, 2014 at 5:53

4 Answers 4

12
\$\begingroup\$

No, not really.

Frank and K’s Tome Fighter, and the other entries in their “Races of War” tome, is the only attempt I’m aware of. And it certainly is powerful, occasionally broken in ways that even existing Tier-1 classes are not. But they don’t have even remotely the versatility that a Tier-1 class should have. The tome fighter can kill anything, and it would be very difficult to stop him from doing so, but he remains relatively useless at solving any problem that requires something other than killing.

That’s basically still Tier 4, just taken to an absurd extreme. The improved skills, and some of the options made available by feats, probably justify a bump up to Tier 3, that is, he’s not completely useless outside his specialty, but really the Tiers as defined by JaronK break down when presented with the tome fighter. Qualitatively, tier 3 or 4 describes the tome fighter, but because the tome fighter is so good at fighting, quantitatively he’s on another playing field entirely. Even Tier-1 classes would struggle to survive if he decided to kill them suddenly.

To me, that doesn’t really qualify as Tier 1, it just qualifies as an exceptionally-overpowered Tier 3 or so, and is indicative of fairly poor design. The Tome series is well known, and people have even used it, but the majority of folks, even folks interested in fairly high-power, high-optimization campaigns, simply aren’t interested in a campaign so high-power that the tome fighter begins to make sense. When people do, the tome fighter can... hang with those folks, but he’s still badly limited compared to what they can do, and in my opinion and in the opinion of some others I know who have tried it, they tend to be kind of unfun, the übercharger problem taken to an extreme. One-trick ponies don’t tend to be very interesting. And the generally-incomplete nature of the Tome series generally works against it badly, and the fighter in particular shows flaws that make me question just how much testing it actually saw.

\$\endgroup\$
2
  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand your argument for the fighter, however would a Roguish type not be able to access Tier 2? A Rogue is naturally more spread out: lots of skills covering movement/discretion/social interactions/... and has access to the UMD skill (and thus all level 0/1/2/3/4 spells with wands); it seems to me that with a power boost it could get to Tier 2 or am I missing something? \$\endgroup\$ Dec 8, 2014 at 12:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. I didn’t say couldn’t, I said doesn’t. As in, to my knowledge, no one has yet made that class. Though the artificer might be similar-ish to what you’re describing. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 8, 2014 at 14:11
7
\$\begingroup\$

Not without giving them abilities functionally identical to spells.

The reason that the full caster classes meet the criteria for Tier 1 is that they have a massive list of solutions available to them. With the huge number of spells that exist (even just in the PHB, there are hundreds), full spellcasters can emulate or improve on anything that other classes can do. No matter what you do to improve a Tier 3-5 class, they are not going to have the huge number of options that casters have, unless you give them a similar list of options. If you're going to do that, you might as well give them spellcasting.

That said, there are ways you can refluff things to make them work with your paradigm. You mention that you feel that Maneuvers from the Tome of Battle don't count as spells for your definition. One way to make a martial character that doesn't "cast spells" is to change the fluff of spellcasting, and use an existing Tier 1 caster class as your base.

For example, you could pretty easily build a refluffed Cleric that uses his martial skill to achieve supernatural feats, GM willing. Your verbal and somatic components become martial arts cries and weapon displays, and your spell effects become expressions of your martial might.

This requires a lot of creativity on the part of the player, but it lets you call yourself a martial character while gaining the versatility and power of a Tier 1 full caster.

\$\endgroup\$
1
  • \$\begingroup\$ To the person who downvoted: Could you tell me why? I'd appreciate feedback. \$\endgroup\$
    – DuckTapeAl
    Dec 7, 2014 at 14:03
3
\$\begingroup\$

No, there aren't.

The definition of tier 1 is the versatility as well as the effectiveness. There are no classes that have that versatility in homebrew that do not use the spells in existing 3.5e terminology.

There is some stuff that isn't overshadowed by tier 1 casters, though.

As KRyan brings up, the Tomes. Start here, with Races of War. There presented you'll find classes that are better than tier 1's in their specific fields. Super-specialists. For example, the Fighter is better at Fighting than a Wizard is. Does that mean he's tier 1? No. But it means he likely won't be overshadowed by the Wizard to the same extent as in standard 3.5.

KRyan says that the extent to which the Fighter is good at fighting is ridiculous - I disagree. It's less ridiculous than the Wizard, the Druid, or the Cleric, and therefore in a game with people using those classes and knowing what they are doing with them (in a game where people pick really shitty spells (animate rope! create water in every slot! healbot druid with horse animal companion who never fights!) the Tome Fighter will be much more powerful than the tier 1 casters), it's a perfectly valid thing to have. If you are running a tier 1 game, already an exercise in the fairly ridiculous, a Tome Fighter (/Firemage/Monk/Barbarian/Knight) is perfectly reasonable.

There's some decent homebrew to 'fix' low tier classes out there. BearsWithLasers Art of War Fighter, the Monk Fix Fix, the Warmarked, the Voidblade, the PalaRangBladFightSage, the Rebinder, but none of them really get above tier 3. They will be overshadowed by tier 1 classes played using their good spells.

The only thing that comes close without being a steaming pile of unplayable crap (hello dndwiki) is the Tome classes. I've used them. They work. Wizards are less able to toss out endless useful fire damage as a firemage, less good at Fighting than the Fighter, the Monk is a useful skirmisher, etc. It put tier 1 casters into the utility role very firmly, but I am fine with that and so were the players.

\$\endgroup\$
0
2
\$\begingroup\$

Homebrew is perfectly welcome for this answer, since the most powerful official non-spellcaster classes I'm aware of tend to be Tier 3.

For clarity's sake, this is, in essence, true by definition for any classes, homebrew or otherwise. The only way a class can be Tier 1 or Tier 2 is by having spellcasting or equivalent (such as psionics or binding; Truenaming, mysteries, maneuvers, and invocations could qualify, but in practice don't). Anything else simply does not have the a) enormous choice of b) gamebreakingly powerful options.

So no, not only are there no such classes that I have ever heard of, per the phrasing of your question I'm reasonably sure such classes cannot exist.

\$\endgroup\$
3
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've downvoted because this answer's reasoning that non-casters, by definition, cannot be Tier 1 or 2, is suspect. A class could introduce a mechanic (similar to Book of Nine Swords maneuvers) that equates to spellcasting, and it could introduce mechanics that are highly versatile and powerful that aren't spellcasting. \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Dec 7, 2014 at 3:41
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @shatterspike1: I don't understand why my parenthetical wouldn't already cover your first hypothetical. And while it is perhaps possible to come up with something that doesn't look like spellcasting but is just as powerful and versatile, I've seen a great many attempts that didn't manage it at all -- and there is no idea for a class that I can imagine would pull it off. \$\endgroup\$
    – user17995
    Dec 7, 2014 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's actually said in the answer is that "such classes cannot exist". We already have evidence of fighting type classes using a mechanic similar to spell-slots, though, so that's the point I'm disagreeing with. \$\endgroup\$
    – user5834
    Dec 7, 2014 at 4:02

You must log in to answer this question.