Behind the Screen: Wrangling prestige classes at epic levels…

2008 March 19
by Dante

Tonight’s topic may seem a bit tailored to a given rule set, but if you’ve hung around this long you understand that we are a predominantly D&D oriented crew around here. As previously mentioned, we are in the late stages of an epic level campaign and are learning many lessons from our course thus far, and today I would like to examine epic character development and the challenges that it poses to both player and Dungeon Master.

As always, my inspiration is my Lovely Assistant

Well, not assistant so much as wife, but still… earlier this week Stupid Ranger provided a look at motivation behind epic level character development that touched on many important aspects of planning an epic level character.

She did directly mention the need to keep your epic character exciting, and that is something that the DM may be able to help facilitate. The real quandary that I can see is what to do with a character that has worked very diligently down a specific “career path” but finds themselves at an end as they get up in levels. That character has attained all the ranks of a given prestige class, and having topped out those ranks they now are forced to look at other avenues to continue down.

An example from my own past

When I was a player, I had one such character that completed his prestige class. I had built the notion of this prestige class so deeply around my character that reverting back to standard class ranks was far too mundane and didn’t even seem to make much sense given the progression of his personality. I decided to take another path: knowing that my DM was open to “out of the box” thinking I asked if I could forge an additional prestige class (of course, pending his approval) that would heighten my character’s skills beyond the published prestige class.

After several revisions, the result was satisfactory and the character finished out the campaign on his own unique road which happened to mean a lot to both the character and to me as a player.

Don’t be afraid of this stuff, but be careful all the same!

As DM’s, I challenge you all to be open to working with your players to do their characters the most service. If you’re worried about game balance, simply take a look at modifying an existing prestige class to suit your needs, adjusting skills/feats/spells/effects as necessary. If you are comfortable with crafting an entirely unique prestige class, allow your players that option. Be very careful to keep game balance in mind with either of these options, make sure you’re not over- or under-powering your abilities as you look at further development.

As players, don’t be afraid to ask your DM to work with you if you feel that it makes more sense to allow your character to continue going down the prestige path that they have forged.

The worst they can say is no! (Unless they decide to devour your character using vorpal rabbits, which is always an attractive option.)

One Response leave one →
  1. kanati permalink
    March 20, 2008

    And don’t forget to make sure your prestige class WORKS if you create your own…

    Another inside joke, but…

    Knee Bullets and inventions using bubble gum and baling twine that would make MacGuyver and B.A. Barrakus green with envy.

    A broken prestige class is a sad sad thing.

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