Thursday, June 5, 2008

PHB - Classes


This chapter starts off defining a lot of terms that will be used in the later class entries, explaining the different fields that will appear (role, power source, key abilities, etc.) and also explaining the long-term goals of classes, including the paragon paths and epic destinies. It is explained that the paragon paths do not stop your progression in your original class, which makes it a little different than prestige classes were - that is, you don't stop advancing as a cleric to become an angelic avenger, but instead an angelic avenger is a cleric who's getting a few other powers as they go. And also mentioned is the ability to take "paragon multiclassing" instead of a paragon path. I still don't know what I think about the lack of true multiclassing, but I think some play will help determine whether the flexibility is still there.

Also before the class entries is a good-sized section on Powers and their entries. A lot of terms are thrown around here, such as the power sources, damage types, effect types and attack types. I think this is going to overwhelm a newcomer to the game, but will make a good reference to go back to once they've flipped through a few powers.

The class entries have what you'd expect from the preceding section, their list of abilities and role and so forth, as well as their defense bonuses, such as the +2 Will that a cleric gains. There are also builds provided in the class entries, in the same vein as in 3rd edition where they suggest your starting feat(s), skill choices, and (in 3rd edition) equipment. I felt it was at a better place in the older books, finishing off the entry with a suggestion or two. Here they're one of the first bits of info, and might be misconstrued as a list of two choices that one must choose from, if the word "suggested" is overlooked. Granted, it's there four or five times, but still...

One of the key features mentioned along with the talk of paragon paths is that they provide expanded use for your action points. These are still new to me, having only played one Eberron campaign, so I don't yet have a feel for how often you use them, when you decide to, etc. But I think it's going to be the same kind of thing as when to use your encounter power, and moreso when you use your daily power.

Each paragon path seems to have one ability that enhances your action point use, and then provides a few other small abilities, and a small list of paragon powers. I have to keep reminding myself that the paragon path is NOT a prestige class, and that it does not preclude the advancement of your main class. It's more like the ranger choice made in 3rd edition (dual-wield vs. range fighter).

Overall, I found the paragon paths disappointing. They introduce very few new abilities and only a handful of powers each. They seem to be presented as these big decisions and changes that your character goes through at 11th level, but really they're just a small variation.

This is a large chapter, but the majority of it is taken up by powers, which I think warrant their own post.

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