Talk:Celestial Beacon (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Edit revision[edit]

Sorry to undo your edit. This may sound strange coming from me of all people, but this class is strong enough as it is; as near as I can determine, it's designed to keep Paladins in the game past level five or six, and it does that quite well. It'd definitely turn a good-aligned cleric into a suitable challenge for an evil party. -- Genowhirl 19:47, 9 January 2009 (MST)

Hey, mods, a little help here? I'd hate to have to keep reverting edits unto the end of days. -- Genowhirl 20:42, 9 January 2009 (MST)

Rating[edit]

I give this class a 1 out of 5 for balance because it gives full BAB and spellcasting progression, as well as two good saves and some nice class features for almost no cost. There is no downside to this class, and almost no need for someone to try and build towards it. Consider adding class feature/feat requirements as well as paring down the number and strength of class abilities given and it will become more playable.

Rating nullified, cause I wanted to. → Rith (talk) 15:31, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
Eh, I'd kinda have to agree with the OP. In my mind, PrCs (especially ones for casters, who are strong enough already) should give something up in exchange for awesomesauce abilities that no one else gets. Just heaping full BAB on top of great abilities at no cost to one of the strongest casters in the game (the cleric) is a bit screwy. I know that Frank and K's stuff is considered sacred by most people here, but even then I think it's best to critique it with the same eye with which one gazes at other material. --Ghostwheel 16:39, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
It doesn't look any better than other, Wizards-published Cleric PrCs which get the same things the OP was complaining about. And Clerics already get the full BAB, two good saves thing... Surgo 17:27, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
Forget the saves--those don't matter much to me, since Cleric gets them anyway. However, just because WotC makes overpowered crap doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to make things that are balanced. Casters of any stripe should have to work a little to get full BAB--especially with full casting. Most people can agree that persisting Divine Power is unbalanced, and makes meleers cry--which is one of the reasons I ban DMM in my games. With that out of the way, clerics need to work to get full BAB--that is, they need to spend the most precious resource of all, actions. Sure, the spell itself is pretty overpowered, but when you take into account that most combats in D&D last 3-5 rounds, that's a considerable chunk of one's resources.
Thus, getting full BAB and cool abilities should come with some sort of drawback IMO--that is, some loss of spellcasting. This PrC has no drawbacks apart from being unable to take another PrC--but with the power of this PrC, it's hard to find another that one would want to take instead, IMO.
As an aside, do any WotC-produced classes get full BAB when combined with full spellcasting for divine casters? The closest I can think of is Fist of Raziel, but even that loses one caster level. --Ghostwheel 19:03, 7 August 2009 (MDT)


If it's out there in the general public of WotC sourcebook classes and prestige classes, it's out there and that's the balance point. "just because WotC makes overpowered crap doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to make things that are balanced" is entirely begging the question, something that I'd appreciate that is not done in arguments with me. Caster level losses are never acceptable for a prestige class in my opinion (and the opinion of these authors) and the fact that you personally ban DMM in your games does not change the fact that not only is it out there in the general ecosystem of WotC feat/class/prc-mania, many games (I would say most) do not ban it.
And yes, there is another class that gets full BAB, full spellcasting, and an ability at every level. It is called the Windwalker. Surgo 19:47, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
As near as I can tell (knowing what I do of F&K's reasoning), this is intended to be a PrC for the SRD Paladin, to give them anti-Evil abilities past level...what, five, six? The fact that it's open to Clerics as well...well, I suppose they couldn't just go "Must have six levels of Paladin" or whatever. --Genowhirl 20:35, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
I don't really see the problem with it being open to clerics. Surgo 22:18, 7 August 2009 (MDT)
Alrighty, let's go one at a time. First, Windwalker's a 3.0 prestige class, back when Haste was what it was and when balance was different, so unless you've got another example, I'm not seeing a prestige class that gives divine casters full BAB at the same time as full casting. Mind pointing out one under the current ruleset?
Second, do we have the same view of what's balanced? For me personally, the baseline for balance is Expanded Psionics Handbook + Tome of Battle. Some of the things that WotC has put out include Polymorph Any Object (no explanation needed, I think), Planar Shepherd when playing in the Eberron setting for crazy Time Stop action, and half-a-dozen other things that can easily smash the game in half. I think I've listed most of them on my Wall of Cheese.
I highly applaud Races of War for its "advanced combat" system, making BAB matter more. In fact, that's virtually the only advantage fighter-types have over casters. It's not much, but it's what's they have, and it can make a difference. Taking that away from them without any real loss in resources in unbalanced in my opinion, and it's something this prestige class can easily do. (As can Divine Metamagic, which is one of the reasons it's banned in my games.) Just because WotC put it out does not mean it's balanced--see the above examples. Unless you differ in opinion on what's balanced, of course. But if you think that DMM is balanced, then that would mean that ~95% of the classes and combinations out there, including material from ToB, is underpowered in comparison, since once we have a baseline for what's considered "balanced", we can compare it to other things. With such a baseline, and the range of things that WotC has put out, we can say that some of their stuff is underpowered crap (see: Healer class) and some of their stuff is overpowered crap (see: above). I'd agree that first we'd need to find a common baseline of what's "balanced", but if we take that into account we can strive to put things that are balanced on the wiki. --Ghostwheel 09:16, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
You cite the Fist of Raziel, which is a 3.0 class itself, and then yell that the Windwalker is 3.0? Um...okay. And no, we don't have the same view of what is balanced. Pretty much everything Tome is going to assume that people are using divine metamagic. Surgo 11:03, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
I believe BoED is 3.5, while Faiths and Panetheons is definitely 3.0. That said, if we assume for a moment that Divine Metamagic and other, similar things are gone, would this class then be considered overpowered? --Ghostwheel 11:06, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Probably a little, as it basically emulates the effect of persistent spell for a couple spells that you might want to persist. Yet this and pretty much everything else Tome was written with Divine Metamagic in mind. Surgo 11:10, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
"For me personally" this is where you went wrong. --TK-Squared 11:44, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
There are some people who might think that Planar Shepherds are balanced. I personally think it's an overpowered piece of crap. Still, everyone is entitled to their own opinion despite how flawed others might think it. As long as your opinion doesn't hinder the actions/desires/freedom of others, you can believe whatever you wish. I have my own opinion on what is balanced, and both DMM and other things like Polymorph Any Object or Shrink Item abuse have no place there. However, we should set a level on what's balanced for the wiki--else we have no objective measure of what material is overpowered and what material is underpowered. Should the baseline for balance be DMM Persistented Divine Power, Tome of Battle classes, or core-only Fighter? (The last example would make most of what's on the wiki overpowered.) Might be worth discussing. --Ghostwheel 11:49, 8 August 2009 (MDT)

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I don't think such a compromise can be made, and I don't think there should be. With the current rating system one person calls it a three, the next a five; the ultimate outcome (four) is the blend of perspectives reflecting that in one game it might be little overpowered, in the next a little underpowered. Everyone has their say, no one is right, no one is wrong. -- Jota 11:56, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
No such setting a level will ever be done. If it is, I will personally delete every single thing I have ever uploaded to this wiki. (And it's already pretty obvious what my opinion of a balance level is.) Surgo 12:17, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
@Jota: So why was the above user's rating struck out? --Ghostwheel 12:14, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Probably because he just looked at the features and ranted about it being overpowered without knowledge of the design principles. It's very...easy to look at PrC features and cry "Unbalanced! Unplayable! Mary Sue!" but, for the Celestial Beacon, all of these features seem to be designed to keep the Paladin doing something useful--sort of like the Boneblade Reaper is designed to keep a Monk/Arcane Caster getting cool stuff. Now, there's no reason NOT to take this if you're a good Cleric expecting to be fighting evil, since it's a straight powerup, because you're getting a crap-ton of cool stuff along with the cleric spellcasting. As one of those wimpy SRD Paladins, it's...well, it's a straight powerup, but one they need. In my games, I'd allow it for a Pally, but I'd have to think about it for a Cleric.
I'd agree with you, Geno, except this is easily enterable as a cleric. If the requirements included, "Must have Aura of Courage" or even "Must have Divine Grace", I could see this as being more balanced. But as it stands now, it's basically a pure powerup for a cleric (a class that's already powerful enough as it is IMO) without losing anything. As a melee cleric (and even as not) you'd be stupid not to take this class if it were allowed, unless you were fighting only undead and then you'd go Radiant Servant--but you get what I mean. Thus, this class as it stands is overpowered, and even if the original poster put the rating for the wrong reasons, I'm not sure if he was too far off and/or his rating should be struck out. --Ghostwheel 12:29, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
You'd be stupid to not take any full-casting cleric PrC as a cleric. Surgo 12:47, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Very debateable--look at Fist of Raziel. That's one that doesn't give full casting, and yet is often lauded as one of the better cleric PrCs, and if I played clerics (too overpowered for my taste) that's a class I would always try to get into. --Ghostwheel 12:50, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
I don't really think you understood what I meant -- which was over base cleric, which gives you nothing. Saying that this class is nothing but a pure powerup is not much of an argument -- so is any printed full casting cleric PrC. Surgo 12:56, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
@Ghostwheel, from several above: personally, I don't think Rith was entirely right to strike out the rating. Now, this class is powerful, even by Tome standards, I think, and so someone not well-versed in the implied nuances would obviously think 1. I mean, before I knew what I was getting into I gave the Tome barbarian a 1 for power, and if Tome stuff normally is viewed as overpowered, and this is potentially seen as one of the stronger Tome elements... you get the idea. For me, I think more like 3.5 or so (sizeable balance issues/needs tweaking). So, in that regard, perhaps Rith was correct in what he did (ignorance is not an excuse), but I think the implications of striking the rating, namely that the original poster had no point, is wrong. -- Jota 12:59, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
@Surgo: Do clerics need a powerup at all? Without any PrCs, a straight cleric can smush most meleers without a problem and solo most encounters, both combat and social (what with Divine Insight) just by virtue of their spells. Thus, if we consider that clerics, as given without any PrCs are balanced, then anything that adds considerably to their combat capability basically makes them overpowered. On the other hand, if giving them extra goodies on top of what they have (in the form of PrCs) makes them balanced, then that means that the straight cleric is underpowered. From a balance design perspective, things that are overpowered should be toned down. Let's assume for a moment that it's the cleric that's balanced and that PrCs make it overpowered. This means that to get the goodies and still be balanced, the cleric would have to lose power in some other way--the obvious way is by losing caster levels. Thus, from a metagame/design perspective when looking at the game as a whole, this prestige class is overpowered (if we assume that the cleric is balanced--which even that I'm not sure of what with how powerful it can get). --Ghostwheel 13:11, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
@Ghostwheel: I don't really care if they need a powerup or not, the fact is that taking any full-casting cleric PrC is a powerup and there are many of them out there (of which this is one). @Jota: I don't think this is one of the stronger Tome classes at all. Surgo 13:18, 8 August 2009 (MDT)

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First, just because there are many full-casting cleric PrCs out there doesn't mean that there are many full-casting cleric PrCs that give full BAB and incredible bonuses as well. Second, just because there are many printed doesn't mean that they're balanced. Not everything printed by WotC is balanced. Third, there may be full-casting PrCs that are balanced because they don't considerably boost the cleric's combat ability, instead giving more flavorable abilities. --Ghostwheel 13:22, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Not to derail the conversation too much, but what do you think it the strongest Tome class, Surgo? Also, from my perspective, if this is built on a paladin, it isn't that powerful, but if it is added to a cleric then it is a little moreso. The abilities, from a quick skim, aren't that overwhelming, with Armament of the Holy, Death Ward, and Flare of Goodness standing out (not as overpowered, just as nice features) to me, and even those aren't that amazing. It's just the fact that the cleric is already quite good that seems to push it over the top. -- Jota 13:35, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
What are these 'incredible bonuses', Ghostwheel? I'm not seeing anything that's over-the-top at the level you happen to get them when you take this class as a Cleric. This prestige class has to compete with the Radiant Servant of Pelor, the Winterhaunt of Iborwhatever, and others (including the first few levels of PrCs that drop spellcasting somewhere along the line) for being taken. And once again, this class does not considerably boost the cleric's combat ability. Divine Power already takes care of that. Many of these abilities practically are flavor abilities anyway, I'm not sure how you can get "more flavorable" than that. Surgo 14:22, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
The three that look powerful are continuous Magic Circle vs. Evil (summoned monsters? mind control? what are those?), continuous Death Ward (the equivalent of a +4 armor enhancement) and continuous re-occuring Sanctuary. All of those give big boosts in combat to the cleric, where most clerics would have to spend actions to use those, and the effects are good enough that they sometimes do so. But it's as Jota said--the cleric is powerful enough as-is. Those extra abilities push it over the top. --Ghostwheel 14:36, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Continuous death ward and magic circle are something that come free by using your Divine Metamagic: Persistent Spell feat (well, not exactly free, you have to pay for the nightsticks), so I'm really not inclined to worry about them. The sanctuary one is more interesting, but is in no way out of line for an ability that you receive at level 14. Seriously, you're level 14. Needing to make a will save to attack the guy provided said guy doesn't attack is not exactly a problematic ability at this point in your career. Surgo 14:42, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
First, DMM is overpowered on its own; second, I don't think Nightsticks stack--at least DMs I've talked to said they overlap instead of stacking. Third, if the will save is high enough, that means that most foes can't attack the Celestial Beacon if they don't attack first, and the CB could just wait a few rounds and be unattackable once more. Clerics already get level 7 spells by that level--do they really need more? If a cleric wants to persist Magic Circle, they should spend a level 9 spell slot, and same goes for Death Ward for its appropriate modified spell level. --Ghostwheel 14:48, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Once again, this class was made and balanced based on the fact that DMM exists and is used (a point I have said many times in the past). Nightsticks certainly stack -- they do not provide a bonus, they provide additional uses per day of an ability. Saying they don't stack is akin to someone having two rings that let you use a spell once per day, and not letting them use the second time per day once they used their first ring, took it off, and replaced it with another ring. And, once again, that ability really doesn't concern me. For a level 14 ability, that's not out of line at all. Surgo 14:58, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Another interpretation is that they both give more uses of an ability; for example let's say you had ability X (in this case Turn Undead), and you could use it Y times per day. An item that let you use it an additional Z times per day wouldn't stack with itself because the bonus came from the same source--it's the reason that enhancement bonuses don't stack, and that Monkey Grip and Powerful Build don't stack either. Magic Circle, Death Ward, and Sancturary (when persisted and automatically renewed) are all very powerful abilities that should require resources spent to activate and be dispel-able. You can't really do that with any of these effects, since they automatically come back and are gotten almost freely with no drop in power. And just because the class was made with the assumption that DMM is allowed doesn't mean that either DMM or this class is balanced. --Ghostwheel 15:06, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
I don't see how anyone can get "monkey grip and powerful build" out of this, because that's a completely separate issue. Regardless, your entire argument seems to be "because I ban DMM in my games this class is overpowered". Okay, whatever. You can go on and keep thinking that and I and no one else here will care, but once again this class was made with DMM in mind, end of story. The nicest way I can put this is if that offends you, please sod off. Surgo 15:10, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Let's not get personal, eh? Doing so only leads to bad feelings, and there's no point in it, especially on an online forum such as this. At any rate, please don't straw man--my argument is close to that, but not quite that. My argument is that DMM is overpowered, which is the reason I ban it in my games, not that the class is overpowered because I ban DMM. Now, if you disagree that DMM is overpowered, that's another matter, though with all the persistable effects I find it a little hard to believe that anyone can look at it and not see it as being one of the most powerful feats in the game. And thus, because DMM is overpowered, this class is overpowered due to the fact that it grants a number of effects that aren't normally persistable without considerable resource use (via feats, spell slots, and so on). --Ghostwheel 15:18, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
That wasn't a straw-man, because you're using overpowered as if it was an absolute when really it's relative to what else is allowed in the game. If DMM is allowed, this class is not overpowered relative to DMM (which is allowed). This class was made with the idea that DMM is allowed. So what I'm seeing here is you're saying that since DMM isn't allowed in your games, or that you think DMM is overpowered, or both, this class is overpowered. When I have clearly stated multiple times that it was made with the use of DMM in mind. Surgo 15:24, 8 August 2009 (MDT)

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So would you say that the (CW) Samurai, Commoner, and Aristocrat might all be relatively overpowered depending on what's allowed? After all, if it's completely relative, even those could be overpowered, right?
I think that balance might be relative to a margin, but not a very one. When you compare the majority of classes and their power, you get a range of power; comparing things to that range, you can tell if they're overpowered (above that range), underpowered (below that range) or balanced (within that range). DMM pushes the cleric (who is already near the top, if not over that range of classes) far above that range, thus making it overpowered. --Ghostwheel 15:30, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Well, yeah. In a game where everything better than the Aristocrat is allowed, the CW Samurai is going to be overpowered. How is this a contentious point? This class was made with the use of DMM in mind. It is not overpowered. Surgo 15:33, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
You've just made my point. Balance/overpowered/underpowered is not completely relative. Just as the Aristocrat, Samurai and Commoner are underpowered, DMM on the flipside is overpowered since it pushes the Cleric far above virtually all other classes. And thus, since this PrC was created to be in line with DMM, it too is overpowered. --Ghostwheel 15:37, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
And now you've just completely confused me, because I said absolutely nothing that would make your point. I'd suggest if you want to continue this discussion, you come on the tavern. Surgo 15:39, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Unfortunately, the Tavern doesn't like me--lags out on me half the time, takes 5 minutes to send/receive messages, and more problems. I wish they'd let IRC clients connect to the server.
However, the way you made my point is this; you said that balance is relative. That if DMM is allowed and is deemed balanced, then this class is balanced. That's true if balance was relative, but it isn't. That's the way in which you proved my argument. Because, compared to most everything, those are underpowered. With this as a comparison, we can look at DMM and compare its power to virtually everything out there. Looking at it, it's far more powerful than 99% of the content in D&D. Thus, it's overpowered. In this way, balance isn't relative but objective in D&D, because we have a frame of balance from the start--Core material, and all the other published material as well. --Ghostwheel 15:47, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
...uh, what? I said balance was relative, continued saying balance was relative, and never said it wasn't relative. And you say it somehow proves your argument that balance is objective? Uh...whatever, lol. Once again, the fact that you ban DMM in your games does not make this class overpowered. And that's it. That's the whole point. That's the end of the line. Surgo 15:52, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
*sighs* Can anyone else explain this? It feels like my fingers are typing but my words don't have any meaning. I've explained my argument--and no matter how many times I say it, that's not it. This class is not overpowered because I ban DMM. This class is overpowered because DMM is overpowered. DMM is overpowered because it's stronger than 99% of the other material in the game. With Pun-Pun being at the very top, and the Commoner being at the bottom and balance being somewhere in the middle (I find that it falls around the ToB classes and the XPH), DMM is very near the top and thus overpowered. Not because I ban it. Because it's overpowered. I ban it because it's overpowered. It's not overpowered because I ban it. --Ghostwheel 15:59, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
"This is overpowered" "Why?" "Because it's overpowered!" "It's not overpowered because it's designed specifically for a game where there is a lot of power" "This is overpowered!" "Why?" "Because I think it's overpowered!" "And other people don't think it's overpowered and I have put forth my reasons for it not being overpowered; which are well written and literate." "But, it's overpowered!" "In your opinion, but you are only one person." "But, my opinion is absolute, it is overpowered!" --TK-Squared 16:07, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
It's overpowered because it's stronger than 99% of the game material out there. As I've said before. If we're only considering balance according to what people are using in specific games, then we should allow classes that give full wizard spellcasting, full BAB, all saves high, and lots of class features. Why? Because in some games, it's balanced! In fact, compared to Pun-Pun, it's underpowered! On the other side of the coin, we should say that a class that grants poor BAB, no saves high, and only 1d6 SA once every 4 levels (and that's all for class features) is balanced. Why? Because it's balanced in a game where people can only play CW Samurais, Aristocrats, and core-only Fighters! So where do we draw the line? When we have it all being relative, anything can be balanced. --Ghostwheel 16:12, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Let's not let this degenerate any further than it already has. It's obvious there's no happy compromise here, so Ghostwheel can either ignore this class or rate it poorly, and Surgo can use this class or rate it highly, and that can be the end of it. -- Jota 16:22, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
"Witty reply regarding conversation" "It's overpowered and I don't like the truth about what you say, so I'll undo your edit." --TK-Squared 16:27, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Stop the edits war, I locked the page temporarily. Once everything will return in order I will unlock it... seriously I didn't though it would go this far. --Dhazriel 17:01, 8 August 2009 (MDT)
Wikipedia's Etiquette policy: "Avoid reverts whenever possible." Just thought I'd put that there (and hopefully not come across as a braying jackass). --Ganteka 17:27, 8 August 2009 (MDT)

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Just to be clear, I nullified this rating because it was given without taking the philosophies of Frank & K into account. I did not make any claim as to how good this class may or may not be, but, even if this class be overpowered, even by Frank & K's standards, it should not be given a 1 on power, considering that that is a misrepresentation of the page and the idea's behind it's balance point. It at least would get a '3'. → Rith (talk) 15:17, 9 August 2009 (MDT)

I give this class a 4 out of 5 for wording because the author used clear, precise language in describing the abilities.

I give this class a 5 out of 5 for formatting. Few errors visible.

Rating nullified, since the rater doesn't understand the purpose of the formatting rating. → Rith (talk) 15:31, 7 August 2009 (MDT)

I give this class a 1 out of 5 for flavor because its flavor is completely generic and lacking in any sort of roleplaying interest. However, the potential is certainly there. Consider why someone of such a magnitude of good would stay on the lower planes when they must be hunted daily, who they stay with, and what their ultimate goals are, then make them reflected in the class abilities and text. Further, a good overall concept and distinct flavor would make this class much more pleasurable for someone to role-play.

Rating nullified, as it claims the PrC is unflavorful, then gives an example of why it is flavorful. → Rith (talk) 15:31, 7 August 2009 (MDT)

Redacted my comments. Already posted above.

Rating[edit]

Power - <<<5>>>/5 I give this class a <<<5>>> out of 5 because <<<Powerful and with great flavour>>> --M0rdain 05:33, 25 October 2010 (MDT)

Wording - <<<5>>>/5 I give this class a <<<5>>> out of 5 because <<<Clear and consise>>> --M0rdain 05:33, 25 October 2010 (MDT)

Formatting - <<<5>>>/5 I give this class a <<<5>>> out of 5 because <<<Clearly set out and easy to understand.>>> --M0rdain 05:33, 25 October 2010 (MDT)

Flavor - <<<5>>>/5 I give this class a <<<5>>> out of 5 because <<>> --M0rdain 05:33, 25 October 2010 (MDT)

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