Talk:Weathercaster (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Needs Review[edit]

As usual, I like to see what the community has to say about the balance. A friend of mine created this one to use, and the only thing about it that makes me question it is the 5 full levels of caster. I'm not sure if 4 would be more appropriate, or if 5 really is fine and fair. I'll be adding flavor text at some point, and actually list the skills out when I get the time. Here are my big questions:

  • Should there be 4 levels of caster bonus rather than 5?
  • Are the requirements too strict? Is Knowledge(Geography) unnecessary?
  • Are there any other spells that should go on the list? Any that should be taken off?
  • Are any of the abilities too powerful? Too weak?

Thanks as always! Aarnott 07:44, 2 February 2007 (MST)

You are definitely right on several points. First, the class shouldn't have a full caster progression. 4 levels would probably be fine. The requirements are fine, but-- like you say-- knowledge (geo) doesn't seem to have anything to do with this class (it is more an arcane mastery than a strictly intellectual one!). It might be better to remove that restriction; the prerequisites would still be fairly well balanced, without the need for the wizard to "throw away" a skill slot (for little to no gain). The spell list does need a bit of modification; I'll get back in a day or two with some suggestions of additions. In general, a larger spell list allows the class to be more flexible, which makes it more likely to be utilized (though, of course, it will still need to be fairly specialized, since it is a PrC). Finally, I think the abilities are pretty good. The ability at 4th level, Shaping, is fairly powerful for a 9th level character, and might be slightly overpowered. Also, the 5th level ability (Mastery) is not tremendously useful, since it takes a couple of rounds to set up to use. I might suggest switching the levels when these abilities are granted (shaping at 5th and weather mastery at 4th). Overall, though, the class look pretty good and has a nice flavor (it specializes class abilities in the way that good prestige classes do). My only complaint is that the class is only 5 levels long; it could easily be extended to 10 levels and be a full-fledged and fun PrC. Does this help? --EldritchNumen 16:08, 4 February 2007 (MST)
I modified the class to be 10 levels long. Most of it remains the same, but I added some cool new abilities that have some nice synergy. The call lightning abilities are great with the immobilizing cloud abilities like acid fog. I added another ability so that line of sight would be available. It isn't all that much different from throwing a cloud down and fireballing each round, it just has some more flavor. I also split up abilities a bit so that the power from them is gained over time. Now there is a ability called Distracting Weather that used to be part of Weather Mastery. It needs some more balance though because if I were a player I would feel stupid not to choose this class over wizard. 1 level of spellcasting missed is no big deal compared to the perks here. If you sum it up:
  • Expanded Spellbook: Nice, but not overpowered in any way
  • Extend Storm: Useful
  • Spell Focus: Useful
  • Call Lightning + Storm: Useful, but is equivalent to 3 extra lvl 3 spells and 2 extra lvl 5 spells. This happens at lvl 9 and lvl 12.
  • Storm Sight: Nice, but not overpowered
  • Distracting Weather: Good -> +2 DCs on evocations
  • Weather Shaping: Very useful
  • Weather Mastery: +4 DCs on conjuration spells in best case, +4 damage.
Compare it to a level 16 wizard (when you finish the class):
  • 2 bonus feats (spell focus balances this down to 1 extra feat)
  • 1 extra 7th and 8th level spell slot
The slower spell progression would deter some players, but as it stands right now, I'd almost automatically go for this class. And that needs to be changed. Any ideas or am I wrong here? Aarnott 11:36, 5 February 2007 (MST)
It might be beneficial to re-organize the levels that certain powers are granted, but-- before then-- the huge issue to be addressed is the spellcasting level boon. You are right; it needs to be toned down before the class can even be in the right ball park for fine balancing. I would suggest either dropping the spellcasting to occur only 2 out of every three levels (I think that only 1/2 of the time might be slightly underpowered). I think this will leave the class slightly overpowered, but much less so than it is (as you are right to point out). The progression should be thus:
Level Spell Casting Bonus
1 --
2 +1 to Spellcasting Class
3 +1 to Spellcasting Class
4 --
5 +1 to Spellcasting Class
6 +1 to Spellcasting Class
7 --
8 +1 to Spellcasting Class
9 +1 to Spellcasting Class
10 --
Other notes:
  1. Call Lightning Storm should just be at Druid caster level = Weathercaster level; otherwise, the ability is highly unorthodox (besides, the only level dependent benefit of the spell is its long range, and the extra distance probably isn't that useful. And, the weathercaster can use extend spell if the range needs to be increased...).
  2. It might be fun to add survival as a class skill. Just a thought! ;)
That's all for now... I'll think more and offer more suggestions later.
--EldritchNumen 18:25, 5 February 2007 (MST)
You are a genius! The levels that don't get spellcasting were levels that get abilities that warrant no extra spells. The first one starts the PrC, so that one is obvious. Two others lie on the call lightning abilities. And finally, the last one lies on the final mastery ability (which is very very good in its own right). Now the penalty for taking this class is much more real since starting at level 4, a whole level of spell will be missed and by level 10, 9th level spells will also be missed. In fact the character won't get 9th level spells until they are level 19. The next question is: Are the call lightning abilities too often per day? Each one basically covers a battle.
Off Topic: The players in the group I am DMing right now are REALLY abusing non-damaging area of effect spells. They have 2 wizards and at the start of battle will cast grease and stinking cloud in an area. They then proceed to cast web on the area and begin nuking with their wands. Monsters keep slipping and getting entangled and only getting move actions. Any monsters not caught in the area get quickly owned by the Cleric, Rogue, and Druid. So here is the dilemma: Do I be a jerk and just start sending a lot of constructs (undead get killed by the cleric quickly)? Do I have most encounters "surround" them so that their spells are not as effective? I have nothing against players coming up with good combos of abilities, but the game becomes a lot less fun when nothing is a challenge. It is hard to balance too. I mean I could easily send in a monster 5 levels higher than them, but it would swiftly eat them all. Any ideas for stopping this insanity? (Oh and they also abused Alter Self to turn into a Troglidite, but I ruled against that one... +6 natural armor on top of shield, mage armor, reduce, a ring of protection, and +4 from dex is stupid at 3rd level. Even if it does take practically all your spells). Aarnott 09:03, 6 February 2007 (MST)
The spells per day might be better off on a sliding scale, such as "once per day + one time per two weathercaster levels." That tends to work better than a straight number, I think. Also, on the unrelated note, the best way to fight a party with nice abilities is to make them fight NPCs. Even three of them a couple of levels lower can be really nice, especially when you consider that NPC parties generally also are fairly tactical. Sometimes the best reminder is that their tricks can be turned back against them. At third level, they won't be laughing when they fight a kobold sorceror 2 (especially with a couple of scrolls... maybe sleep and a fireball) and a kobold warrior 4. This is especially easy for standard races; a dwarven warrior 2 and dwarven cleric 2 can generally cause a lot of damage, especially if they are only used to fighting monsters without any special abilities (like spellcasting) of their own. Try a quasit; it can fly (ignores the grease) and turn invisible (so it can just ignore their spells until the durations expire) and wizards have a hell of a time with the poison save DC (and they'll get hit; the quasit can just wait until the mage armor expires and attack from invisibility!). Just some suggestions. Best of luck! --EldritchNumen 19:42, 6 February 2007 (MST)

Rating Time![edit]

I think this PrC is ready to get a good rating thanks to the help of EldritchNumen. I want to see what someone else has to say, that way if there are more flaws to be addressed, they can be. Aarnott 14:17, 7 February 2007 (MST)

Rating - 9/10[edit]

Aarnott has done a great job on this class. It has excellent flavor and is exactly the sort of specialization that a prestige class should be. The abilities that the class gains are fairly balanced; the extra spells are of a low enough level (compared to the Weathercaster's caster level) that they do not unfairly advantage him over a wizard. The class builds very nicely upon itself and gains power steadily. Overall, this class is as balanced as most SRD Prestige Classes and has a better flavor and niche role than most. Well done! 9/10 —EldritchNumen 11:29, 8 March 2007 (MST)

Rating - 8/10[edit]

Quite a good class, though imho it lacks that little extra "quid" to make it excellent... What's the Arcane Thesis feat??? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 06:27, 24 March 2007 (MST). Please sign your posts!

Arcane Thesis is from the Player's Handbook II. A summary of it is that you pick a spell when you pick the feat. If metamagic feats would raise the spell level, the spell level is raised by 1 less instead. Now my question for you is -- what do you mean by "extra quid"? More detail could help me improve what is missing. Thanks --Aarnott 12:34, 24 March 2007 (MDT)
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