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Top Five Most Powerful DnD 3.5 Classes

Edit: I’ll just add in a little disclaimer as this post tends to get some rambunctious commenting down below.  This post is mostly aimed at normal play with not a huge effort put into making amazing builds. Out of the box, some of these guys can be pretty fun to play! If you’re the only one in your group who is into heavily optimizing your characters, the balance can get pretty off.  I tried to give some good starting classes where you’re likely to get a pretty powerful dude with a couple of tweaks here and there.  If you check out some of my other DnD posts, you’ll see that they’re extremely basic introductions, so maybe that indicates the level I’m sorta targetting.

 Edit 2: Some great discussion has been happening in the comments – check out Rejakor’s comment for a very in-depth (and significantly more expert) synthesis of the more powerful DnD builds.  See also the comments belonging to Deadman and Tab for some extra suggestions.  As always, when min/maxing to this level, playability comes into question, as put forward by Brendon Mize (in a slightly colourful, but insightful comment).

 

Dungeons and Dragons is one of my “nerdier” hobbies, but I really enjoy it and spend a decent amount of time over at the Character Optimization Forums. These forums can be extremely useful, so I’ll try to include a “handbook” for each class, made by its hard-working members.  Now, I haven’t actually played all of these classes, but I’ve made characters for almost all of them, and I’ve seen others have fun playing a couple of these classes.

#5

The Scout – This class (from Complete Adventurer) is one of the few I have actually played, it can be pretty fun. Here’s one of the only classes that encourages you to move around the battlefield, and rewards you for doing so.  The extra skirmish damage and defense can be a real help when moving from enemy to enemy, or when fleeing battle.  I would say that for this character, the dodge>mobility feat path is a must, dodge giving you +1 to armour class against one enemy, and mobility giving you +4 AC against attacks of opportunity (you’re sure to trigger quite a few, moving around so much).  The Scout’s trapfinding ability makes them a great substitute for having a rogue in the party.  Scouts get +10ft. to movement at third level, and continue to get handy movement-related abilities as they level up.

#4

The Warblade – From the Tome of Battle, this is one of my favorite martial classes.  The Warblade is like a better, more versatile and intelligent barbarian.  It gets the full base attack bonus, d12 Hit dice, and up to medium armour proficiency, but it has a substitute for (in my opinion) the useless Rage.  In exchange for Rage, damage resistance, fast movement and the rest, you get a new ability that involves using “maneuvers” and “stances”.  Maneuvers are new, introduced for the first time in the Tome of Battle, and are sort of like spells that the Warblade can refresh when he needs to.  This means that he will never run out, but they usually have to do with attacking with a weapon – you won’t find your average spells here.  One of the most useful maneuvers lets you make a concentration check instead of a Will save – which can be incredibly helpful.  Stances are also new, but they are like permanent buffs that you choose to complement your personal play style.  This class has some great potential if you like to play a melee attacker, especially coupled with a level of Fighter for the extra feat and heavy armour proficiency.

#3

The Cleric – Here’s a class that can cast great spells and still hold it’s own in melee battle, at least at first. The Cleric gets a medium base attack bonus and proficiency with all types of armour and shields (except tower shields). Only being proficient with simple weapons hurts them a bit, but they can be fairly effective with a heavy mace or morningstar (especially with Improved Trip). This makes them an effective back-up melee fighter, or even the designated attacker in an undersized party. Clerics also get some pretty nice spells, mostly a lot of buffs, cure and utility spells. The Divine Metamagic feat (Complete Divine) can be a good one to pick up, letting you spend those unused turn attempts to enhance your spells. The Touch of Healing reserve feat from Complete Champion also isn’t a terrible idea, letting you heal 3 hp per level of the highest healing spell you have prepared (which, for a Cleric, is basically just the highest spell they have prepared, because they cast healing spells spontaneously) as a standard action.

#2
The Sorcerer (Wizard) – Great mid-high level class, somewhat difficult to play at lower levels -  it’s hard to survive on four hitpoints.  Nice number of spells per day, with some quite nice ones on the list.  Greater Invisibility is always nice – enemies can’t hurt you if they can’t see you.  If you run into trouble, just Teleport a couple hundred metres away.  I prefer Sorcerer for their flexibility – having to prepare spells in advance can be dangerous when you realize you prepared the wrong ones.  It’s not a bad idea to grab a reserve feat (Complete Mage) like Fiery Burst that lets use a mini-fireball as a standard action as many times as you want, as long as you keep one of your more powerful fire spells “in reserve”.

#1

The Druid – My favourite spell-casting class, probably because such a small part of what they can do is casting actual spells. Wild Shape alone would probably make the Druid equivalent to other classes, but you also get an Animal Companion, not to mention all of their handy summoning spells. They have the same base attack bonus and hit dice as the cleric, making them quite effective in melee (for a spellcaster), but not in their normal form. Druids can’t use metal armour, aren’t proficient with many weapons, so battle at early levels isn’t the best choice. However, by around sixth level, the Druid is able to spend most of the day as almost any small or medium animal it wants. This obviously can lead to quite a powerful character if one spends enough time leafing through the various Monster Manuals. And then we have the animal companion, which in some cases can be just as effective a fighter as the Druid itself, gaining extra stats, abilities and hit dice as you level up. See if you can get your Dungeon Master to let you have a Magebred (Eberron Campaign Setting) or Warbeast (Monster Manual II) animal companion for extra bonuses. Don’t forget your spells either. The Druid has a nice mix, ranging from buffs and utility spells, to straight damage like Call Lightning (grab the Swift Concentration skill trick from Complete Scoundrel) and, of course, the ever useful Summon Nature’s Ally spells (that can be cast spontaneously).

Honourable mentions:

The Paladin – Divine Grace is pretty amazing for boosting saves, definitely a good excuse to have a high charisma score.  Lay on Hands is also pretty nice with a high Cha score.  Their Special Mount is fun, but not as good as the Druid Animal Companion. If you’re a Half-Orc, be sure to pick up at least a couple of the substitution levels (Races of Destiny), for a d12 hit dice and Righteous Fury, a great substitute for Smite Evil.

The Fighter – Tons of bonus feats make for an extremely flexible class that can be very powerful at low levels.  While I would normally recommend a Warblade instead, there are some situations where this class makes more sense.  Optimized for use with a spiked chain or good ranged weapon (or both), their extra feats can make Fighters pretty amazing.

  1. March 15th, 2010 at 15:03 | #1

    DnD is one game I’ve never got around to playing, it always looked really complex. This is a great article though with lots of good information!

  2. Elflord
    March 18th, 2010 at 20:17 | #2

    @Scott
    Of all the games, I find Dnd can be one of the most intimidating for people to get into. It can be pretty complicated, having about 3 books over 200 pages each that you pretty much need to play. It also doesn’t help that it’s so socially inacceptable, yet needs quite a group to be able to play. I’m planning on getting some sort of basic introduction to the game up in a few days.

  3. Sleedon
    March 25th, 2010 at 20:11 | #3

    I have to say. Nice article. Two complaints though.
    1. Sorcerer and Wizard should not be put into the same spot because thee plain styles are quite different just because Sorcerers usually end up as battle mages due to low number of spells and Wizards are more of a jack of all trades minus the healing of course. (Sorcerers are my personal favorite of the two though)

    2. May I ask where the Warlock (from Complete arcane) is? All abilities save fast healing can be used an unlimited times per day which includes a ranged attack (eldritch blast) that goes up to 10d6 as a standard action and the invocations used to improve eldritch blast and are actually almost all spells that other classes have to prepare such as teleportation or baleful polymorph. With their further ability to use magic items easily they are the ultimate battle mage/artillery class.

  4. Elflord
    March 25th, 2010 at 21:23 | #4

    @Sleedon
    Thanks for the input!
    1. You’re right, a lot of people treat these classes similarly, when really they’re played quite differently. The Wizard can be pretty amazing when correctly optimized though, not having to stick with the same spells all the time lets you mix it up a bit, depending on the situation. You have the capability of picking diplomacy-based spells when you’re in a city, for example. Not to mention being able to “permantentize” pretty much anything you want on yourself.

    2. Hmm, yes, the Warlock is quite an interesting class – Now there’s a spellcaster I wouldn’t mind playing (other than the druid of course). Looks like it’s laid out a bit like the Warblade. The idea of infinite “spells” per day is pretty nice and similar to the Warblade’s Maneuvers. Perhaps Mr. Warlock should have beat out the scout for fifth place.
    However, somethings make the Warlock uneligible for first place, if you ask me. First of all, their eldritch blast only goes up to 9d6 at 20th level. Also, the Sorcerer has him beat out at lvl 20. A couple level 8 spells can do some amazing things, and the Sorcerer can cast more than 6 a day if properly built. Check out “Greater Shout” a cone area attack that does 10d6 and stuns everyone in it’s path. Also “Polar Ray” for 20d6 cold damage. A well made Sorcerer can keep casting these all day, not to mention lower level spells.

  5. November 6th, 2010 at 12:22 | #5

    I quite agree with your submission, however, l am having problem subscribing to your rss

  6. Anonymous
    November 16th, 2010 at 01:17 | #6

    I have to be honest here, your off base a bit.
    The big 5 are: Wizard, Cleric, Druid, Archivist, Artificer.
    While martial adepts may be fun to play, they are not on the level of full spellcasters, no martial character is. I take particular offense to the fact you give fighter, and paladin, and fighter honorable mention when they are among the weakest non npc classes.

    If you are actually interested in the nature of the power level of dnd 3.5 classes I recommend looking here:
    http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=1002.0

    Brilliant Gameologists is where most of the CO board regulars went to after WOTC trashed their forums.

  7. Elflord
    November 17th, 2010 at 17:40 | #7

    @Anonymous
    First off, thanks for the great comment :P
    That topic you linked is pretty neat too – I’m liking some of those house-rules.

    I mostly agree with you, but of course, when I was making the list, I was mainly going from experience, and I personally haven’t experienced the archivist class in my time playing dnd.

    I thought of the Artificer, but chose not to include it because of the way I’ve seen it played. Almost all of the optimizations I’ve seen involve playing the character in a very unconventional method – sitting around making magic items for a good amount of time. Maybe I’ve had a limited perspective of the class and it isn’t actually played that way?

    I’m fairly sure at this point that the scout definitely did not deserve the fifth place on the list.

    I think the problem with my post was that I named it “most powerful” dnd classes. I probably should have included some sort of disclaimer explaining that full spellcasters are pretty much always going to be more powerful in the long run. It makes the list less accurate, but I wanted the characters to also be fun to play. Maybe it should have been called “Top Five Most Fun DnD 3.5 Classes” :P

    Fighter and Paladin… I’ve found that they can hold their own if they are built well. ‘Course I understand that they are far from the strongest, which is why they didn’t make the list. :P

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to cause offense, just write a semi-interesting blog post.

  8. November 26th, 2010 at 18:16 | #8

    Love your site man keep up the good work

  9. Anonymous
    May 19th, 2012 at 10:53 | #9

    Fighter is way more powerful than a Druid, just sayin

  10. Elflord
    May 19th, 2012 at 11:36 | #10

    @Anonymous
    You might have to muscle it through the early levels as a druid, but once wild shape starts working for you, a little creativity can go a long way.

  11. Holydoom
    June 14th, 2012 at 17:01 | #11

    @Anonymous
    Not even close. The druid’s animal companion is better than the fighter.

  12. Deadman
    October 10th, 2012 at 12:42 | #12

    of all the ones on the list, you didn’t even go into one of the most OP builds out there which involves a class that you called “useless”, barbarian. Take a look at the ubercharger build (2 lvls barbarian, 4 lvls fighter, 10 lvls Frenzied berserker) which focuses on Power Attack and Leap Attack to give you 12x Power attack bonus with a 2 handed weapon when you charge and leap at a target. do this with a Goliath Half-Dragon and you can do some serious damage while enraged/frenzied. my personal build goes all the way up to an ECL 30 tossing in 10 lvls of War Hulk for the extra 20 strength kicking me all the way up to 70 Strength when enraged and frenzied (makes for an interesting charging leap when you can hit for 359 damage without even rolling dice yet). No spellcaster I have seen yet can match that level of damage. Also this is with no magical gear which makes him insane even in an anti-magic zone. just some food for thought.

  13. t
    November 29th, 2012 at 00:36 | #13

    just lol. mentioning any class that cannot cast spells, like the fighter, even in the top 100 just shows that you have no clue about that game, or never played it beyond level 10.

  14. Dnd3.5
    November 30th, 2012 at 07:07 | #14

    If you guys are talking about D&D v3.5… You guy must not be power gamers… The Druid class as a summoner is the most powerful class by ten fold if you don’t mind doing some research. Next would be the cleric with Divine Metamagic and Persistent spell feats. Following that would be the Fighter for his multitude of feats geared toward damage output and making use of the Disciple of Dispater prestige class you can easily have a 9-20 critical threat range with a great scimitar!!! All facts been power gaming since 3rd Ed came to play!

  15. December 18th, 2012 at 17:21 | #15

    Bards are stronger than the 5th and 4th classes.
    Replace 4th with a wizard

  16. Elflord
    December 19th, 2012 at 00:21 | #16

    Great to see these points of view. I’m by no means an expert powergamer, just having a bit of fun. Maybe I’ll add a little disclaimer for all your benefits ;)

    This is mainly under normal play with not a huge effort put into making amazing builds. Out of the box, some of these guys can be pretty fun to play! If you check out some of my other DnD posts, you’ll see that they’re extremely basic introductions, so maybe that indicates the level I’m sorta targetting.

  17. Rejakor
    December 31st, 2012 at 03:09 | #17

    There is wide consensus on the most powerful classes in DnD, and why they are the most powerful. However, groups have different ‘styles’ of play, and so in some groups the social censure for being ‘cheesy’ or rules-change/interpretations to limit the power of players or characters seen as ‘too powerful’ can vastly change which classes are the most powerful. Added to that, people with little experience of DnD, or with experience only in one group, can often see classes as powerful because the player is better at the game/mechanics than the other players. In addition, the balance changes at different ‘levels’ of play – a game of hack and slash without a grid where all that’s important is your attack roll and your AC, and the aiming rules are ignored in favour of ‘oh you’re not in the front rank so you can’t cast spells without friendly fire’ will make some classes stronger and others weaker – whereas a game that allows things like scrying, remote spells, and tactical use of blast templates will allow the caster classes to shine.

    It’s also worth noting that the power differential between classes and builds in DnD is intense, going all the way from Joe Everyman up to Magneto and then even into dragonball Z anime land.

    Most Powerful Classes in DnD –

    Wizard. While the sorcerer can be better at on-the-fly spellcasting, a wizard can, especially at high levels, use divination, information gathering, and knowledge checks to work out what spells will be most useful for whatever it is he needs to do (or whatever it is he needs to kill). Fireball may be useless against a Red Dragon, but Shivering Touch delivered by a Ghostly Hand will allow an invisible, inaudible wizard who isn’t even in the lair itself to OHKO that Ancient Wyrm (assuming the ancient wyrm doesn’t have active spell defenses). Widened Blast of Flame will annihilate a large portion of a Colossal Insect Swarm, but Repel Insects will let you walk right through it. Etc, etc. Spells are very, very powerful on their own, but when you COMBINE spells, like for example the infamous Solid Fog, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Wall of Fire (Sphere Shape) combination to create something very like a miniature, inescapable hell to broil and constrict your opponents in. At high levels it gets even more insane, with personal inaccessible demiplanes (Genesis), remote control adventuring (Astral Projection), and removing people from reality itself if they displease you (Wish, Teleport Through Time).

    Druid – The archetypical godzilla, druids are powerful not so much because of high level or a specific class ability they receive, but because of a trifecta – Animal Companion, a creature that is often more powerful than an unoptimized fighter, Wildshape, the ability to form yourself into ANY animal, and eventually plant or elemental, from ANY book, and decent (but not great) spellcasting – specifically, fantastic buff spells and fantastic battlefield control. A druid with a Dire Bear animal companion, wildshaped into an Ironmaw Tree, with various buffs cast using Natural Spell, can deal with things even a buffed, optimized fighter can’t even begin to face, all while having much better defenses than the fighter. Add to that that druid summoners are some of the best in the game (Ashbound Greenbound Moonspeakers = Hax), and several druid prestige classes are terrifying (Planar Shepherd and your Bubble of Awesome, I am looking at you) and they are some of the most powerful and versatile characters in the game.

    Erudite – A Erudite, introduced in Complete Psionics, is a Psion (one of the most balanced caster classes in the game) who learns powers (like psionic spells) like a wizard (by spending gp (or in this case xp)) instead of a sorcerer (having a set number). He is powerful almost solely because there is an alternate class feature for him that lets him learn arcane spells as psionic powers by spending xp. So he can know both powers, and spells, and is thus like a wizard with additional psionic tricks (like gaining extra actions, and having infinite spells (with some laborious, annoying work to do so – again, psionics is far more balanced than spellcasting, much fewer tricks and powerful options)).

    Artificer – With the right feats, an Artificer can make staves and wands of all the powerful spells (and even psionic powers) from all the classes. He can’t easily change his spell loadout, and if you take his magic items away from him he can’t do stuff on his own, but that’s true to a greater or lesser extent for all casters, so it’s not as big a deal as you’d think. In addition, his Infusions allow him to do stuff like use wands without spending a charge, change bonus types, get various abilities etc that are often quite powerful. He can do wizard tricks and all it costs him is small amounts of GP, and can make them better than the wizard can.

    Cleric. The original tankster, clerics have access to some of the most powerful buffs in the game, decent blasting and BFC, dispelling, and healing/condition removal. They also natively wear armour and have weapons, and have some of the most wtf prestige classes in the game, that variously give them immunities, make them even more amazing at melee combat, give them all day buffs etc. Speaks for itself, clerics can be 4 stories tall and breaking planes in half with their hands.

    People who play DnD low-optimization, i.e. ’2e style’, where attacking for damage is all you do, and wizards use crossbows even at level 8 because they have to ‘save their fireballs’, and the idea of a ‘tank’ is a fighter who wears armour and stands in front (and the enemies obligingly attack him and ignore the wizard in robes right next to him), have a completely different idea of what is ‘powerful’ or as they put it ‘broken’, because in their circles anyone using wizard spells to actually do wizard stuff (kill people without leaving home, wipe out an entire dungeon with a cloudkill etc) is socially censured, kicked out of the group, or instantly banhammered. For them, this sort of thing is more what they consider powerful;

    Ubercharger – anything that increases charge damage, and barbarian for Pounce (full attack on a charge). Typically does thousands of damage per charge, but is easily shut down by stuff that doesn’t care about damage, has miss chances, has a faster fly speed, or really any semi-competent spellcaster. The ‘real’ version of this is something called the King of Pong, where you use ubercharging to give you damage enough so you can kill things with one blow, take a 5′ step, increase your reach, use the body of the thing you just killed as a free ranged attack, get another attack from great cleave, rinse, and repeat. I.e. become the Whirlwind of Death.

    The Mailman – a spellcaster (usually a sorcerer) who uses metamagic feats (usually with cost reduction) to empower, maximise, twin, eldritch admixture, and otherwise modify a saveless damage spell (Orb of Force, Wings of Flurry, etc) so it does enough damage to kill most things at a long range without having to worry about saving throws or magic immunity or any of that.

    The Rocket Lawnchair Archer – this can be many things, from the archer who uses Rapid Shot, Deadeye, and Splitting to fire about a dozen arrows each turn with lots of damage attached to each, the Shrink Item archer who fires ballista bolts instead of arrows, the guy who figures out that he can have an allied spellcaster (or mailman) put doom touch spells into his spell-storing arrows, basically anyone who does enough ranged damage to one-round enemies.

  18. Rejakor
    December 31st, 2012 at 03:40 | #18

    Also, that guy and his level 30 charger who does 350 damage per hit is a great example of the 2e way of thinking about DnD.

    I play in a no-holds-barred brutal dungeon survival game sometimes, where I have a level 10 character – Thorc the Orc, God of Thunder. Orc Fighter 2/Lion Totem Barbarian 1/Rogue 2/Warblade 1/Bloodstorm Blade 2/Frenzied Berserker 2. His average strength while raging and frenzying (without buffs, i.e. in an anti-magic field) is 36. With buffs from a cohort or allied spellcaster, it’s around 56 or so. With polymorph that number is around 70. His average damage on a charge is 1790 damage total, a number I could push higher but haven’t due to wanting Other Stuff (like not being an eight-armed monstrosity who gets killed on sight by other adventurers).

  19. Chris Edge
    January 13th, 2013 at 14:26 | #19

    I just have one serious complaint with this, You neglected to mention the monk, which is probably the best class if you have a mean DM. Its also a class that requires relatively little effort, and is roughly well-powered throughout all levels. I know spellcasters can do a lot of damage at high levels, but the saves on a well-built monk can usually overcome that.

  20. Chris Edge
    January 13th, 2013 at 14:27 | #20

    @t
    Many people don’t start at high levels, and good luck with a straight spellcaster in the first 6 levels.

  21. January 26th, 2013 at 11:02 | #21

    hey now rouges can be useful high bluff score and improved faint you can you sneak attack almost every turn

  22. Rhiannon
    February 10th, 2013 at 14:45 | #22

    First off, I am by ‘no’ means an expert. I’m just now expanding beyond the three core books, and I’m trying to get a feeling for classes I’ve never seen played before.

    Very nice to see someone else likes the Druid class. I don’t know why, but for some reason most of the people in my area aren’t all that impressed with them.

    I just found the Scout a few weeks ago, and so far it’s looking like a very interesting class. Any suggestions on how to play one effectively?

    Also, what is(are) your opinion(s) on cross-classing? Are there some classes where it works well and some it doesn’t? I’m intrigued by the idea, but I don’t know if the end result would be worth it or not.

  23. Sooba
    February 17th, 2013 at 15:15 | #23

    http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=bc18425e5fa73d30e4a9a54889edf44e&topic=1002.0

    Quite simply, if it doesn’t have 9th level spells or psionics, it doesn’t belong on the list.

  24. Tab
    February 18th, 2013 at 22:39 | #24

    This list is pretty good, but I’d be willing to say the author isn’t deeply versed in D&D splatbooks. Even in the ones published by Wizards of the Coast, you have things so powerful that warblades and scouts wouldn’t even be on this list. Psions, erudites with or without spell-to-power, artificers (both normal and psionic), archivist, binders, beguiler, dread necromancers built to summon undead, that variant ranger from Unearthed Arcana that can wildshape as a druid, factotum, rogues built to do sneak attacks, duskblades, hexblades with the right player…then if you’re going to put sorcerer and wizard together, then there’s psion/erudite and cleric/favored soul combos that could easily qualify together. Bards might not be damage cannons, but any magic user encountering a bard should be in a panic because anyone playing a bard that knows their stuff can be a HUGE pain. Then there are monks, who aren’t very damaging but they can screw over anyone if the player is even tactically average. People forget that they’re there to do special combat stuff like grappling and tripping, not just do infinite amounts of damage. They can deal damage normally in a grapple or with their hands full or even with their hands bound.

    Yeah. There are a lot of classes the author has missed.

  25. Dave
    March 26th, 2013 at 16:46 | #25

    I think the dusk blade is 4th most powerful otherwise I completely agree

  26. Dave
    March 26th, 2013 at 16:50 | #26

    @Sleedon
    I couldn’t agreed more I have to ask u on what u think of the dusk blade it happens to be one of my favs and u seem to be able to give good advice

  27. Dave
    March 27th, 2013 at 10:26 | #27

    @Scott
    Scott I do have an alternative to dnd it’s pretty much a simpler version

  28. Anonymous
    April 12th, 2013 at 00:34 | #28

    @Dnd3.5
    You lost me with the word “fighter” being anywhere near the words “power gaming”

  29. Mamm
    April 14th, 2013 at 21:55 | #29

    The druid build from players handbook 2 is simply a beast. Giving up your companion for shapeshifting. It’s more speciffic and battle minded shapes, but they simply kick ass. Combined with one of my friends playing a necromancer (Secret college of necromancy, seemingly pretty balanced splat book) by level 8-10 i would be able to get around 40-50 str and 40 ac, plus the lvl 8 form has a full attack, consisting of 3 attacks. Apart from that, i just love using every possible spell whenever i see the chance!

  30. Mamm
    April 14th, 2013 at 21:58 | #30

    @Anonymous
    the shapeshifting druid build in players handbook 2 is a quite a fighter as well though. plus awesome and fun spells for rp

  31. Anonymous
    June 2nd, 2013 at 21:31 | #31

    Scouts are actually terrible. Their main precision mechanic makes them useless above level 6 as compared to a rogue or ranger.

  32. Brendon Mize
    August 4th, 2013 at 22:50 | #32

    You know, I really hate most of the min/max forums. They are so outrageous and the xp penalties would be so high it would take more hours of game time than a full hour job to earn the xp to make it work. Ok, 1 level of this, 4 levels of that, 10 levels of this, and 5 levels of that too, look we have a human aberration undead outsider with four climbs, two claw attacks, a bite attack, a tail whip, two tentacles attacks and wings that can fly at a speed of 90 with good maneuverability, +20 natural armor, this many bonus feats, and a 4′ penis that drags on the ground next to his weebed feet that give him a racial bonus to swim. I mean what the fuck? Where is your adventure located? Saturn? What NPC is going to interact positively with fangs, tentacles, glowing red eyes… I mean get a grip on reality. And what DM’s allow that shit? I DM a lot, and when a player says, But I want this graft so I can have 360 degree vision. I always say, ok, no problem, have a beholder eye stalk coming out of your forehead. And don’t get butthurt when the town’s local militia attack, arrest, or imprison you for being a disgusting and dangerous fuck.

  33. Anonymous
    August 12th, 2013 at 07:48 | #33

    I have to say that I don’t completely agree with you that casters are stronger than melee characters at high levels. Yes it is true that they can deal large amounts of damage over to multiple opponents they still have less endurance with there limited number of spells per day, and smaller hit points. I find it hard to believe that a sorcerer or wizard is stronger than a cleric at 20th level when the cleric can kill them with one hit with power word kill, a spell without any somatic components. Not only that but the fighter can be very useful with the right feats, and once they close the gap on the caster they are finished. Clerics make great shields and healers, and druids are great distracors and decent damagers. Everyone has a role and you can’t right off any one of them as weaker. I personally love multi-classing. Druid/Fighter with even levels of both is very useful. Also one you get into epic levels castes loose a lot of power once elemental immunity becomes something of a common thing to find on rings. If you know how to play your character right just about every class is as good. I’ve been playing for years and spent many days studying the various books. I mean I’m pretty sure an epic level fighter with a ring of universal element immunity and the devastating critical feat would easily take out most epic level casters. This game is far to complicated to say any class is really better than another.

  34. Anonymous
    August 28th, 2013 at 18:14 | #34

    @Rhiannon
    scout/ranger with the feat that lets you stack ranger lvls and scout lvls for favored enemy and skirmish. then just take feats so you can manyshot. manyshot is a standard action, so move then fire arrows with all of them getting skirmish dmg. the feat also lets you skirmish things normally immune as long as its your favored enemy.

  35. Anonymous
    September 1st, 2013 at 23:02 | #35

    Personally. Any class can be the most powerful. Everyone one has good points. But personally any of the classes can powerful. It all depends on the build and how you use them. No one class is going to be the best every time.

  36. Harold
    September 21st, 2013 at 00:37 | #36

    The original poster is looking at a simple, non-optimized setting. That means that practically every class you can name can exceed what the OP has in mind for allowable characters. It doesn’t really matter if some class combos can exceed that power limit by a factor of 10,000 or more and others can “only” exceed it by a factor of 100, they can all go WAY over what he is looking at.

    The only time I played in a group with a scout (started level 8, ended level 15), that scout was clearly the weakest participant. The others were my Cleric, a Warblade, and a Warmage. The main problem with the Scout was that to get the bonuses from movement (which he definitely needed) he was limited to a Standard Attack. He was playing an archery specialist, staying clear of most melee but only getting off a single shot each round. Oh, he could do multishot to get off 2 shots (at a penalty), but he was still pretty ineffective. The Warblade was the big damage dealer, followed by the Warmage, and then the Scout. I was playing my Cleric as specializing in Buffing/Healing/Crafting/Utility Spells, so I was making everyone ELSE a lot more effective at the cost of not being very impressive MYSELF in most combats. I had the most USEFUL character in the game, but it was spread out over a very wide area. The Warblade and Warmage were much more tightly focused, and pretty impressive in their areas of expertise. The Scout was also tightly focused, but not very impressive.

    But what sort of power levels were we talking about? The Warblade probably averaged doing about 100 hp of damage with a full attack. Sometimes more, sometimes less. There were perhaps half a dozen times where he went did over 200 hp of damage in a single round (usually Hasted, full Power Attack and a Critical Hit thrown in) – but those were rare and very noticeable, and were happening with a large number of buffing spells in place. The DM banned the Book Of 9 Swords as being “too powerful” because of that character (though that PC was “Grandfathered in”, no new Bo9S characters were allowed in that campaign). So it doesn’t matter if you can design an optimized PC that can average doing 1000 points of damage if you optimize one class and can average doing 1,000,000 points if you optimize a different class, NONE of those optimized characters are getting into a typical game.

    In general, with a plain vanilla game (no optimizing tricks, no psionics) I have found the full spellcasting classes to be significantly more powerful than the rest. Perhaps Cleric, Druid, Wizard, Sorcerer in that order. Granted, Sorcerer seems a much more popular choice to PLAY than Wizard – but that seems to stem from ease of preparation (no need to decide which spells to memorize each day) as well as lots of flashy spells for great Spotlight Time. A Wizard can usually be more effective overall, but takes more player effort to get to that point and much of the “effective” utility stuff gets very little Spotlight Time as reward.

    Of course, a VERY experienced DM can try to get things somewhat more balanced than the straight class abilities might otherwise get you. If you can say “No optimizing at all” for the strongest classes, and “Just a little optimizing” for the set of classes below them, and “A Bit More optimizing” for the classes below that group, one could theoretically come up with PCs that were pretty close to each other in power. But getting everyone to agree on how much they are actually optimizing is pretty much impossible. So you just have to play it by ear and experience, use the “I can’t define it but I recognize it when I see it” DM perogative and just do your best to avoid overly optimized PCs. The core classes (PH, DMG) aren’t all that lopsided – it’s mostly in all the splat books where combos of things get rediculous. They just didn’t have time to look at all the possible interactions with all the other possibilities – things that the optimizers both have time for and excel at. So a starting point of “Core books only to start, no more than 2 base classes, no more than 1 Prestige class” could lead to reasonable balance – and then whoever had the weakest PC at each level (in the DM’s judgement) might get to choose something from the splat books while the others stuck to core.

  37. None
    December 18th, 2013 at 09:12 | #37

    I think the Wizard is stronger than the Druid, because a Wizard who can cast L6 spells can cast all L1 – 6 druid spells by Planar Binding a Efreet. We haven’t talked about Solars, who cast like 20th level clerics.

    And you call the Druid the pure spellcaster, which is pretty funny since the Druid’s strongest two abilities, Wild Shape and Animal Companion, are non-spells. The Wizard, however, requires spells and only spells.

    If all classes were to fight Pun-Pun, the Wizard would probably stay the longest, due to spells like astral projection, simacrulum, clone. You could technically polymorph into Pun-Pun too.

    I think that the Druid beats the Wizard in Levels 1 – 9, they’re even in Level 10 and the Wizard starts winning in Level 11 – 20.

  38. Gregory
    February 1st, 2014 at 18:08 | #38

    arcane hierophant. Full divine and arcance casting, wildshape (nicw feats You can get for it) AND Your companion becomes Your familiar. Hello Dire elephant (which is gargantuan and highly intelligent with sweet natural armor)

  39. Anonymous
    March 16th, 2014 at 05:08 | #39

    i have a rouge that made it to 24th lvl, he was a front line fighter using only daggers. he ran off the principle of you cant hit what you cant see. maxed his skill ranks in hide and move silently. with numerous magic items his skill check was 80. he took only one lvl in shadowdancer for the “hide in plain sight” ability. he had lingering damage so when he did a sneak attack the damage would carry over to the next round. he also had an unlimited number of attacks of opportunity per round with the opportunist rouge ability. all in all it all depends on how you build and intend to play the character that makes the differance.

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