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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Top 5 Worst PC Prestige Classes

So one of the things that I always find amusing is looking through some of the fluff books that Wizards publishes and look at the different new prestige classes they put out.  And invariably, one of the things that always comes around is that some of them, while good for say...NPC's, are absolutely rubbish for player characters.  Seriously, these are horrible to use for your character as a player.  So, here we are 5 of the worst prestige classes from the Complete and DMG's.

5. Maester
Just a gnome making a giant barrel lobster...don't judge him.

So this prestige class is...mediocre at best.  The only real benefit you get from it is help crafting magic items, and a free identify ability.  But with only five levels and at the end the best bonus you get being +1 to attack and a 1/1/4 for Fortitude/Reflex/Will-power.  Oh, and a couple of extra free item creation feats.  But you miss one level of spellcasting, and at the level you would be at to take this prestige class (Arcane CL my guess would be 10th level) well, 100 gold pearls shouldn't be that big of a deal to acquire.  Top it all off with what basically feels like 5 levels of just wasted time, you have to be a gnome, and you would be much better off just continuing to take levels in wizard and just focus your character on crafting magic items.  I mean, come on, the picture they use includes possibly one of the most useless magic items as there you go.

4.  Dark Hunter the dark

Dark Hunter is another one of those prestige classes that looks good on paper, but isn't really all that good in practice.  The requirements aren't too bad, though there are a lot of skill requirements, which means that as a fighter it may take you a while to get those, unless you cross-class with rogue or ranger.  Which is where the weakness of this Prestige Class comes in.  In the end, the only real bonus for you after five levels is Death Attack.  Which is nice, but the DC is only 10 + Dark Hunter level + Int bonus, so at higher levels it isn't going to be too hard for a lot of monsters or villains to beat that Fort save.  If you are a fighter and want sneak attack and Death Attack so badly, go ahead and take five levels of Rogue and Prestige into Assassin.  Cause after five levels of Rogue you get a 3d6 sneak attack and a whole bunch of other rogue skills and abilities.

3.  Frenzied Berserker

Those spears aren't the enemies...they are the rest of the party.

Okay, let me preface this one by saying that this class is kind of like Wolverine.  It is good at what it does, which is killing.  However, it falls into the "worst Prestige Class" realm because it is such a dick move to take towards the rest of your party.  Because the frenzy isn't like rage.  It doesn't end when the combat ends.  Sooooo...all the enemies die and now you turn on the rogue or wizard and kill them in one strike, then your frenzy ends.  I know there are ways around this, but why even bother taking this Prestige Class that can easily TPK (it almost happened in a table-top game of mine).  Oh yeah, at higher levels in it, you can also bestow this ability on others in the party.  Cause it is awesome to have a party of uncontrollable kill-bots.

2.  Green Star Adept

Nom nom nom...

Ahhhh, the Green Star Adept.  Where to begin with this one?  First off, it is a caster prestige class...but you only gain a spell-level every other level so you only get +5 SL at the end of it.  Second, you have to eat starmetal not only as the requirement but also periodically as you level up in it.  Star metal is supposed to be a ridiculously rare and hard to find mineral, which means you have to basically waste it so you can eat it and gain a level.  Third, at the end you simply turn into basically a golem.  Like now you can't heal naturally, you can only repair yourself.  You lose your constitution score, so your HP drops way down, but it is replaced by a bonus determined by your character size (medium is +20, which isn't bad per say but it is the best you'll ever get no matter your level).  Which again goes back to this is supposed to be a Prestige Class that takes a caster and makes him a fighter class, and taking away HP isn't usually the best idea.  Especially since as a mage you probably didn't have that much to begin with.

1.  Alienist


Oh, the Alienist.  Easily one of the most useless PC prestige classes around.  Almost every benefit you gain drains wisdom from you permanently or has other negative effects.  +1 to all saving throws?  -2 Wisdom.  +3 HP?  -4 to Bluff, Diplomacy and Handle Animal.  Another +3 HP?  Let's go ahead and drop that negative from 4 to 10.  And in the end, you get taken by Cthulhu and is never seen again.  You also get the whole outsider template...and tentacles or some other deformity that you will have to hide or everyone will want to kill you quickly.  It just kind of...fails, especially if you compare it to other summoning focused Prestige Classes.  There are a lot of other ones that will give you really cool bonuses to summoning, and not then give you big other negatives and reduce you to some insane person in the process.


  1. Yes, but... pretty pictures!

  2. I would agree that these PC's are pretty useless if taken by a PC, but they could have their uses if taken by NPC's or villains.

    I have a feeling that that is one of the main reasons for prestige classes. Players normally stick to the basic classes and really only go into a few prestige classes. Bad guys and NPC's are easier to give some of the more rare prestige classes because a lot of them can be one shots. You don't really have to worry about playing them for the rest of the game, only for a session or two.

    But I definitely agree that if these are taken by players, then they are pretty useless, :)

  3. Yeah, it's kind of interesting that the inverse happens with these. What is crappy prestige classes for PC's becomes kind of kick-ass flavor for your villains and other NPC's.

  4. STAR METAL nom nom nom!

  5. Okay. A few things.

    First, do you not realize how incredible item creation feats are? Spend half the resources to acquire ridiculous power. At character creation, assuming you start at a high enough level to have levels in Maester, that's awesome. Almost too awesome. Rods of metamagic up in this.

    Second, Frenzied Berserker has an easy fix: Be good-aligned, and take the Righteous Wrath feat. Suddenly, you only attack things you actually want to attack.

    Last, Alienist is *not* for the sane player character. It's intended for the crazy guy of the party; the mad scientist, the twisted schemer, the rambling conspiracy theorist.

  6. Yeh, you lost me at listing Apparatus as a "useless" item.

  7. Maester and Frenzied Berserker as bad PrCs? Look here. If you're taking Maester for its BAB and save bonuses, you are playing the wrong game. And if you throw Frenzied Berserker into a party with no way to handle it, or no mitigating choices, then you're a jerk. That doesn't make these classes bad, it just means they are meant for players who like concepts other than hack-and-slash murderhoboism.