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Dec 15th, 2015
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  1. Pathfinder tier system for classes, December 15, 2015 proposed revision
  3. Up for debate: Should this tier list assume "optimization ceiling sans theoretical optimization," a more nebulous "average optimization," or an even more ambiguous "equal optimization across the party"?
  5. ~~~Explanation~~~
  6. • Tier 1: Very high power and high flexibility
  7. Original description: "Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party."
  8. Automatic qualification: 9th-level prepared spellcasting
  9. Mandatory entry prerequisite: Ability to significantly change the campaign through the use of special abilities even OUTSIDE of combat.
  11. • Tier 2: Very high power and medium flexibility
  12. Original description: "Has as much raw power as the Tier 1 classes, but can't pull off nearly as many tricks, and while the class itself is capable of anything, no one build can actually do nearly as much as the Tier 1 classes. Still potencially campaign smashers by using the right abilities, but at the same time are more predictable and can't always have the right tool for the job. If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways. Note that the Tier 2 classes are often less flexible than Tier 3 classes... it's just that their incredible potential power overwhelms their lack in flexibility."
  13. Automatic qualification: 9th-level spontaneous spellcasting or psionic manifesting with automatic access to campaign-changing powers
  14. Mandatory entry prerequisite: Ability to significantly change the campaign through the use of special abilities even OUTSIDE of combat.
  16. • Tier 3: Medium power and high flexibility
  17. Original description: "Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area. Occasionally has a mechanical ability that can solve an encounter, but this is relatively rare and easy to deal with. Challenging such a character takes some thought from the DM, but isn't too difficult. Will outshine any Tier 5s in the party much of the time."
  18. Automatic qualification: Decent class features on top of either 6th-level spellcasting or manifesting, 9th-level spellcasting or psionic manifesting with no automatic access to campaign-changing powers, or 9th-level Path of War initiation
  20. • Tier 4: Medium power and medium flexibility, or high COMBAT power and low flexibility
  21. Original description: "Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribue to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well."
  22. Automatic qualification: Decent class features on top of 4th-level spellcasting or manifesting
  24. • Tier 5: Medium power and low flexibility, or low power and medium flexibility
  25. Original description: "Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well, or so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters the character cannot contribute. In some cases, can do one thing very well, but that one thing is very often not needed. Has trouble shining in any encounter unless the rest of the party is weak in that situation and the encounter matches their strengths. DMs may have to work to avoid the player feeling that their character is worthless unless the entire party is Tier 4 and below. Characters in this tier will often feel like one trick ponies if they do well, or just feel like they have no tricks at all if they build the class poorly."
  27. • Tier 6: Low power and low flexibility
  28. Original description: "Not even capable of shining in their own area of expertise. DMs will need to work hard to make encounters that this sort of character can contribute in with their mechanical abilities. Will often feel worthless unless the character is seriously powergamed beyond belief, and even then won't be terribly impressive. Needs to fight enemies of lower than normal CR. Class is often completely unsynergized or with almost no abilities of merit. Avoid allowing PCs to play these characters."
  30. ~~~"Major Upgrades"~~~
  31. Each class listed down here assumes that the class is to be used in its base, non-archetyped form, and without any especially remarkable feats, favored class bonuses, or other class options.
  33. However, certain classes have access to "major upgrades," class options that substantially improve the class from its baseline. Whether these upgrades "merely" push the class far up within its own tier or uplift the class into the next tier outright is up for debate, but either way, a "major upgrade" is always a noteworthy and exceptional improvement to the baseline.
  35. Some "major upgrades" add more power and flexibility than others, but weighing the power and flexibility increases of each individual "major upgrade" is beyond the scope of this document.
  37. Certain classes can acquire multiple "major upgrades" simultaneously. Enough of these can most certainly stand to bring a class into a higher tier. For example, a fighter with the Lore Warden or Mutation Warrior archetype, Dreamscarred Press's Myrmidon archetype, and either Advanced Weapon Training or the Martial Master archetype improves from tier 5 to the lower half of tier 3.
  39. ~~~Evangelist and Sacred Geometry~~~
  40. The Evangelist prestige class is a major upgrade for any class with a d6 HD and 2 + Intelligence skill points per level. Despite the loss of a single level of spellcasting progression, it improves the chassis of such a class to a considerable degree.
  42. The Sacred Geometry feat is a major upgrade for all spellcasters, although it benefits 9th-level spellcasters more than lesser spellcasters, and prepared spellcasters more than spontaneous spellcasters.
  44. ~~~Paizo Tier List~~~
  45. Tier 1:
  46. • Arcanist
  47. • Cleric
  48. • Druid
  49. • Shaman
  50. • Witch
  51. • Wizard, major upgrades: Instructor archetype, Fast Study arcane discovery OR Collegiate Arcanist/Magaambyan Arcanist prestige class
  53. Tier 2:
  54. • Oracle, major upgrades: Ancient Lorekeeper archetype, Lunar mystery, Dreamed Secrets feat, human favored class bonus
  55. • Psychic, major upgrade: human favored class bonus
  56. • Sorcerer, major upgrade: False Priest/Razmiran Priest archetype, human favored class bonus
  57. • Summoner (chained or unchained, but unchained is a downgrade due to fewer spell level discounts), major upgrade: Master Summoner archetype
  59. Tier 3:
  60. • Alchemist, major upgrade: Combination of Preservationist and Promethean Alchemist archetypes and Planar Preservationist feat all taken together
  61. • Bard, major upgrade: Magician archetype
  62. • Hunter
  63. • Inquisitor, major upgrade: Monster Tactician archetype
  64. • Investigator, major upgrade: Empiricist archetype
  65. • Kineticist (Gambler archetype [DSP])
  66. • Magus, major upgrade: Hexcrafter archetype
  67. • Mesmerist
  68. • Occultist
  69. • Skald, major upgrade: Expanded Spell Kenning feat
  70. • Spiritualist
  71. • Vigilante (warlock or zealot)
  72. • Warpriest
  74. Tier 4:
  75. • Antipaladin
  76. • Barbarian (chained or unchained), major upgrades: Masquerade Reveler archetype (Mark Seifter via Rite Publishing), Primal Disciple archetype (DSP), Greater Beast Totem rage power
  77. • Bloodrager, major upgrades: Urban Bloodrager archetype, Monstrous Physique spell
  78. • Brawler
  79. • Kineticist (Air or Earth element)
  80. • Medium, major upgrades: Spirit Dancer archetype, Archmage spirit, Hierophant spirit
  81. • Monk (unchained)
  82. • Paladin, major upgrades: Knight Disciple archetype (DSP), Sacred Servant archetype
  83. • Ranger, major upgrade: Ambush Hunter archetype (DSP)
  84. • Rogue (unchained), major upgrades: Charlatan archetype, Hidden Blade archetype (DSP), Rumormonger advanced talent
  85. • Slayer
  86. • Vigilante (avenger or stalker)
  88. Tier 5:
  89. • Adept, major upgrade
  90. • Cavalier, major upgrades: Beast Rider archetype, Constable archetype, Luring Cavalier archetype with archery build, Order of the Beast (ACG version), Order of the Tome, Spirited Charge feat with mounted charger build
  91. • Fighter, major upgrades: Drill Sergeant archetype, Eldritch Guardian archetype, Lore Warden archetype, Martial Master archetype, Mutation Warrior archetype, Myrmidon archetype (DSP), Relic Master archetype, Advanced Weapon Training, ample usage of archery with Rapid Shot/Manyshot/Clustered Shots feats
  92. • Gunslinger, major upgrade: Guns Everywhere variant rule
  93. • Kineticist (Aether, Fire, Water, Wood, or Void element)
  94. • Monk (chained), major upgrades: Monk of the Silver Fist archetype (DSP), Qinggong Monk archetype, Zen Archer archetype
  95. • Ninja, major upgrade: Rumormonger advanced talent
  96. • Rogue (chained), major upgrades: Charlatan archetype, Hidden Blade archetype (DSP), Rumormonger advanced talent
  97. • Samurai
  98. • Swashbuckler
  100. Tier 6: NPC classes other than adept
  102. ~~~Dreamscarred Press Tier List~~~
  103. The tzocatl (truenaming) classes, the advocate and the warspeaker (formerly known as the "knight-scholar"), are in major flux and are thus not included here.
  105. The Riven Hourglass and Shattered Mirror disciplines will be downgraded come the final release of Path of War: Expanded. The Broken Blade, Primal Fury, and Thrashing Dragon disciplines will be downgraded afterwards, and the Steel Serpent discipline will be upgraded.
  107. Major upgrades for all psionicists: Psychic Reformation augmented power (note that this pushes a character straight into tier 1), Overchannel feat
  109. Tier 2:
  110. • Mystic (note that Mystic Artifice is what pushes this up to tier 2 due to item crafting, so this sinks to tier 3 if an archetype trades Mystic Artifice away)
  111. • Psion, major upgrades: Dual Disciple archetype with Psionic Knack trait, human favored class bonus
  113. Tier 3:
  114. • Aegis, major upgrade: Initiator's Soul customization
  115. • Belluspex
  116. • Cryptic, major upgrade: Lost Mind archetype
  117. • Dread (note that Shadow Twin and Twin Fear break combat), major upgrade: Eclipse archetype
  118. • Guru
  119. • Harbinger
  120. • Psychic warrior, major upgrade: Pathwalker archetype
  121. • Stalker
  122. • Tactician, major upgrades: Squad Leader archetype, Collective Defenses strategy
  123. • Vitalist
  124. • Vizier
  125. • Warder, major upgrade: Zweihander Sentinel archetype
  126. • Warlord
  127. • Wilder, major upgrades: Contemplative archetype, human favored class bonus
  128. • Zealot
  130. Tier 4:
  131. • Daevic (note that this is on the higher end of tier 4 due to flexibility from veils and essence)
  132. • Marksman, major upgrade: Mind's Eye Disciple archetype
  133. • Soulknife, major upgrades: Gifted Blade archetype (especially when given for free), Living Legend archetype, Psychic Armory archetype, War Soul archetype
  135. ~~~Spheres of Power Tier List~~~
  136. Major upgrades for all spherecasters: Conjuration sphere (combat), Conjuration sphere Summoning and Diagram advanced talents, and Weather sphere (strategic-scale noncombat usage only), but each of these is a major upgrade only with full progression due to their intensely quadratic nature
  137. Major upgrades for all spherecasters: Alteration sphere Aquan Transformation and Ranged Transformation basic talents, 1-level incanter dip for full specialization and sphere specialization, 1-level sphere sorcerer dip for focus sphere and bloodline familiar, caster level optimization (Fortune Teller feat, Mage's Tattoo feat, Spell Specialization feat, Unusual Origin feat, Inspired by Greatness campaign trait, Eldritch Delver magic trait, Gifted Adept magic trait, Transmuter of Korada magic trait, Harrow Chosen race trait, Born under the Green Star regional trait, Secret of the Impossible Kingdom/Signature Spell regional trait; ask your GM if these are allowed to begin with, because while they work according to Adam Meyers, they were never designed for Spheres)
  139. Lower half of tier 2, sinks to the higher half of tier 3 if advanced talents are banned:
  140. • Fey adept
  141. • Incanter (note that this is an incredibly front-loaded class given full specialization)
  142. • Soul weaver, major upgrade: Dual Channeler archetype with Ale/Wine or Rulership variant channeling
  143. • Sphere arcanist, cleric, druid, oracle, shaman, sorcerer, witch, and wizard
  144. • Thaumaturge, major upgrades: Devourer archetype with 15-20 critical threat range, Pact Mage (Infernal) archetype with Channel Punishment invocation, Master of Cosmos feat with Conjuration sphere
  146. Higher half of tier 3, sinks to the middle of tier 3 if advanced talents are banned:
  147. • Eliciter
  148. • Hedgewitch, major upgrades: Triple Goddess archetype, Spiritualism tradition
  149. • Shifter
  150. • Sphere summoner
  152. Lower half of tier 3, sinks to the bottom of tier 3 if advanced talents are banned:
  153. • Elementalist, major upgrades: Admixture Savant archetype, Electrokinetic archetype
  154. • Sphere alchemist, bard, hunter, inquisitor, investigator, magus, skald, and warpriest
  155. • Symbiat, major upgrades: Hekatonkheires archetype, Telekinetic Warrior archetype
  157. Higher half of tier 4, sinks slightly if advanced talents are banned:
  158. • Armorist, major upgrades: Symbiotic Knight archetype
  159. • Mageknight, major upgrades: Dragoon archetype, Soaring Blade archetype
  160. • Sphere bloodrager
  162. Lower half of tier 4, sinks ever so slightly if advanced talents are banned:
  163. • Sphere paladin and ranger
  165. ~~~Miscellaneous Third-Party Tier List~~
  166. Radiance House's occultist and spirit-binding archetypes (especially the cavalier's Pactsworn Knight archetype) are under heavy revision and rebalancing. The occultist will most likely wind up in tier 3.
  168. Tier 1:
  169. • Magister:
  170. • Priest:
  172. Tier 2:
  173. • Artisan:
  174. • Eldritch godling: , major upgrade: Divine Portfolio I divine trait, Talent for Mysticism ascendancy into Force of Brawn/Intellect/Personality scion talent
  176. Tier 3:
  177. • Adept godling: , major upgrades: Divine Portfolio I divine trait, Talent for Mysticism ascendancy into Force of Brawn/Intellect/Personality scion talent, chained summoner spell list
  178. • Archivist (Ascenscion Games' Path of Iron)
  179. • Emperor:
  180. • Essence thief:
  181. • Nightblade:
  182. • Saboteur (Ascension Games' Path of Iron)
  183. • Savant:
  184. • Vanguard (Ascenscion Games' Path of Iron)
  185. • White necromancer:
  187. Tier 4:
  188. • Archon:
  189. • Direlock:
  190. • Elven archer:
  191. • Malefactor:
  192. • Shadow assassin:
  193. • Spell-less ranger:
  194. • War master:
  196. Tier 5:
  197. • Armiger:
  198. • Battle scion:
  199. • Clever godling: , major upgrades: Divine Portfolio I divine trait, Force of Brawn/Intellect/Personality scion talent
  200. • Luckbringer: , major upgrades: Ill-fortune improbable ability, playing at low levels only (the class is arguably tier 4 from 1st- to 5th-level but then suffers from very poor scaling)
  201. • Mighty godling: , major upgrades: Divine Portfolio I divine trait, Force of Brawn/Intellect/Personality scion talent
  202. • Time thief:
  204. Tier 6:
  205. • Voyageur:
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