Prestige Classes


What does everybody think of Free Companies and Shadizar including new prestige classes?

I'm a bit leery of prestige classes, but I can see the usefulness of a Commander prestige class which has a lower attack bonus than a Soldier but more leadership-based abilities or feats.

I also appreciate prestige classes for isolated groups like the Black Ring. Of course, a spell list, feat chain and description might work just as well.

But I think most general character concepts, like crimelord, bounty hunter, fence, gladiator or judge, could be covered more elegantly with new feat chains, Noble social abilities, Soldier formations and/or Thief special abilities.
It depends on what is meant by "Prestige Class".

The original envisioning of prestige classes had them not actually better than core classes, but more specialised. You gained in one area, but lost out in another.

Thus playing Core was just as valid, power wise, as playing Prestige - you only went prestige if the particular abilities of that PRC suited your character concept.

Now, however, it seems 90% of PRCs in D&D are designed to simply supercede the core completely, giving you everyting the core can do and then all the PRC goodies on top, making the core class totally obselete. Character design becomes a mad sprint to the Pre-reqs for the most kick-ass PRC.


I'd be quite happy to see the former in Conan. I'd be very, very disappointed in Mongoose if we were to see the latter proliferate.

But, as you say, they should be things that are so differetn that they cannot be emulated by feats. I stopped reading the PRC section of the WOTC boards long ago, as they made me want to scream.

So many of them were concepts that could more than adequately be covered by the right mix of classes and feats, but instead they just had to have a PRC so that they could cram in some extra, generally unbalancing, features.


Instead of PRCs, it would be very nice to see suggested modifications to classes to represent regional/organisational variation. Swapping out one special ability in order to gain something else, or more or less skill points, the sort of thing suggested on P110 of the D&D PHB, but woefully underused.

EG "The primitive people of Smee do not wear armour. Barbarians from this culture do not get armour proficiency. However, they do get Shield proficiency, and, since fighting without armour breeds warriors who train their utmost to not get hit, they may choose the Dodge or Parry Feat for free at first level. "

Or "The 'cult of silent wealth' is an unusual theivery organisation that does not pursue violent crime, instead relying purely on stealth and wits. Instead of sneak attack progression, theives who train with this organisation gain a gradually increasing bonus to spot, listen, search, Hide and Move silently in urban or indoor areas."
Hallelujah, Mayhem :)

Though I think Mongoose knows all of that already, hence they already encourage multi-class characters.
I'm not a big fan of prestige classes, basically for the reasons given by Mayhem.

Something I love with the Conan system is that there is more freedom in character creation because 1) multiclassing is free of XP-charge, and 2) skills points granted by Int-bonus can be put into cross-class skills freely. With these rules, and the right Feat-selection, you can pretty easily construct most character concepts, and so I don't really see a need for prestige classes. The regional modifications suggested by Mayhem could be cool though.

On the other hand, I thought the prestige classes in Scrolls of Skelos were pretty OK. They were very specific and seem balanced (haven't looked that carefully at them though). If Mongoose continues along those lines I guess I'll be happy, as long as the prestige classes don't take up to much space.

I don't know that much about the d20/SRD license, is there a caveat that obligates companies to include new Classes, Feats and Prestige classes in their products?
There is no requirement under the OGL to include any particular sort of content.

Under the d20 STL, I believe that at least 5% of content must be declared open, but I don't think this needs to be crunch. More importantly, nor does the d20 STL have any relevance to Mongoose's OGL line, which does not use the d20 Logo.

To the topic at hand, I am happy with the way Mongoose treated PrCs in SoS, and trust them to maintain this style throughout the line.
My 2 cents on this subject is that you can pretty much do everything via feats and skill focuses, and building on the core classes. What Conan should have is an option to buy extra feats w/ experience. The cost should be somewhat less than what it costs to go up a level, but not too cheap. I think the GM should have more control over whatthe player can and can't do than following a ritualistic pre-set rule and class and prestige class, to a formularic 'T.'
Remeber GMs you are the Judge, Jury, and executioner (yeah PCs, use them fate pts up!). The GM is not merely a rules clerk and story teller.
WIse up my peeps.
For example, the Witchmen article by Mr Darlage, in SOC was not what I wanted, so I made the changes I felt necessary, I seperated the assassin classs from the sorceror/ priest class. Simple enuuff.