We're running a low-powered campaign. We currently have five characters, with the indicated tiers (as outlined by the Tier System for Classes):
- Bard - Tier 3
- Warblade - Tier 3
- Rogue - Tier 4
- Warlock - Tier 4
- Paladin - Tier 5
I would like to look at some ways to help the Paladin's class be a bit stronger, and similarly look for some smaller ways to help the rogue and warlock.
Do you have any suggestions on what the DM can add to (or tweak with) the Rogue, Warlock, and Paladin classes to make them approach tier 3?
Here is some additional information, based on questions asked:
Are all the characters single classed?
Bard will be be Bard (6), Lyric Thaumaturge (4), Sublime Chord (10)
Warblade is planning on going Warblade (20)
Rogue is looking at multiclassing into either avenger or ghost faced killer
I don't know the Warlock's plans or Paladin's plans. I'm guessing no PrC, but they might pick something up.
What levels are the characters? Currently level 5. We hope to bring this campaign all the way to 20.
Is wealth by level standard? Yes. We're a little behind on wealth now, but the DM is aiming to keep it near the recommended levels.
What resources can be used to tweak characters? Any splat book, but subject to DM approval. EXCEPT, The tier 1 and 2 classes are banned.
What roles are characters filling now? - Bard is social face / buffer / battlefield control / UMD.
Warblade is a hot-headed fighter. Flavored like a swashbuckler.
Rogue is a dual wielder / archer, with typical rogue skills.
Paladin is a tank / fighter, and mild healer.
Warlock is basically an archer with Use Magic Device and other base warlock abilities.
How liberal is the DM in letting characters change now that they've hit the table
Reasonably liberal. The guiding principle is that the story we've told so far has to make sense, and that players shouldn't exploit that to min/max (i.e. change stuff every level to get max benefits each level)
The Warblade is a rework of a swashbuckler, for example. Even though the mechanics changed significantly, the story we've told makes sense, so we're OK with it.
I don't think the other three would like to change their classes; ideally, I'd like to find a few things to add to the class features to help them out.
The tier system makes some broad claims about character power, but those claims are not always true in practice -- it depends on what level the characters are and how good the players are at optimization
The bard is optimized as a caster / face. The warblade is picking good class features and is well built. Those two players tend to enjoy min-maxing, but both recognize that the goal of the campaign is balance.
The rogue is probably going to be decently well optimized, but not to the maximum.
The warlock is going to be reasonable, but not min-maxed.
The paladin is focused on role-playing. He's a long-time player of 3.5 and knows the rule system well, but isn't trying to min-max. For example, his character uses a short sword instead of a long sword.
Have you actually run adventures with this party? Did you find it's true in practice that the paladin is less effective than the bard? Can you give us a gameplay example?
Yes, we play by forum post. We started the campaign at level 1, and these 5 characters have been around since levels 1-3.
Currently things are fine. I'm the bard and I prefer my class because it has more options and choices, but mechanically I'm not outshining anyone. We all have our niche (both in and out of combat) and things are going pretty nicely.
That being said, when the swashbuckler was reworked ito a warblade, he cut into the paladin's combat space a bit.
I'm more worried about higher levels. Up to level 5 things have been basically OK.
Do you want or prefer house rules for balancing the party or is that simply an option?
I prefer house rules.
For example, the DM merged Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot into one feat, which will help the warlock and rogue a bit.
Is the concern primarily combat? That is, is the campaign the ongoing saga of a ragtag group of overarmed-armed home-invasion specialists or is the campaign the hilarious misadventures of insecure socialites navigating the gossip-fraught waters of courtly intrigue?
Both. The DM has been doing a very good job of balancing combat, social situations, skill-based situations, and combinations of the above. Because it's play-by-post, we are also very focused on role-play.