Talk:A Player's Guide to Roles in the Party (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Some Comments[edit]

Overall a pretty good page, but I don't really think the Skirmisher is an actual role. Everybody who is doing real damage is placing themselves where an enemy doesn't want them to be. There's no real difference between the concept of a Battering Ram and Tank. Same for Archer and Blaster...actually, I think the entire "Striker" category just belongs as one thing, no subdivisions. As for Arcanist, Battlefield Control and Zone Control are the same thing, Battlefield Control is just that much more effective. Debuffer and Removal are essentially the same thing as well. Summoner is still different, though. Surgo 11:45, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

If things keep on saving against your effects, battlefield controllers aren't as effective as some zone controllers can be. The archer specializes in attacking singular opponents, targetting AC, while the blast goes more for AoEs and ref saves. The battering ram is there to deal damage, and the tank is there to take hits--the line is a little fuzzy, sure, but there. And I wanted to differentiate between glass cannons and skirmishers due to the example of swordsages and other mobile, higher-AC builds that still deal out a fair amount of damage, though not quite as much as glass cannons. That's not to say that there aren't hybrids between the archetypes--there can be. But this guide is meant to show a path to various roles that allow one to make an effective character, not necessarily only what is strongest. (Because then we'd have only clerics, druids, and wizards running around.) --Ghostwheel 13:33, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
This also isn't an optimization. I'm not sure exactly where it should go. Perhaps with Sourcebooks under a new section called Guides? --Aarnott 11:48, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
3.5e Other, I'd say. Surgo 11:49, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I'd just hate to see something actually useful buried there... --Aarnott 11:51, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Sounds like another round of deletions is in order, then... Surgo 11:52, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
The Classes need spring cleaning more than the 'other' pages do, IMO. → Rith (talk)
Well, I personally think this is an excellent page, and perhaps, if Ghostwheel could ramble on for another few pages worth, worthy being put into the sourcebooks category. Of course, as it is right now, I'd say it'd either fall into guidelines or other. Of course, there are various mini-optimization on this page, so, with a stretch of credulity, it could stay in this category :/ → Rith (talk) 13:51, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

"Most melee builds should strive to have at least 16 BAB by level 20 for that fourth iterative attack. Similarly, casters should try to have access to level 9 spells by level 20 to be epic-ready." These two comments only really matter for games that will go epic. Most don't, so IMO it would be better to add the "if the game will go to epic levels" tag or remove them altogether. -- 15:58, 24 June 2014 (MDT)

Criticisms of Roles[edit]

For grapplers being neutered by Freedom of Movement, while that's true, most monsters even at higher levels don't have the spell on all the time, since most adventurers (at least ones I've played) don't fight only NPCs with levels in casters. And I've had a number of fights at level 12 and beyond where location was incredibly important, zone controllers being very effective especially when a friendly Wizard lays down a Cloudkill. Just don't think it's a good idea to discourage people from making those types of defenders, or optimized builds in general, which is the point of this guide--to help people make optimized characters by helping them understand the different types that crop up in D&D. --Ghostwheel 13:22, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

Zone control and battlefield control is the same role, battlefield control is just more effective. Surgo 15:14, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Debateable; I've played many crusaders, warblades and eldritch glaives who controlled movement within their zone better than any wizard could, as long as they didn't meet foes who could teleport at will. Plus, with Deft Opportunist and other attack roll-boosting items, they didn't care about saves, which if high enough (or if enemies are immune to the effect) can easily screw wizard-type battlefield controllers over. In short, I don't think one's necessarily absolutely better than the other. They're just... different. --Ghostwheel 20:39, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I can't think of anything those guys do that isn't done better by Solid Fog or a similar spell. Even if Battlefield Control wasn't more effective than zone control(it is), they're still accomplishing the same thing. Surgo 22:46, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Incorporeals and burrowers could easily evade solid fog and many other battlefield control spells with ease while still falling prey to zone controllers, especially if they attach a Lesser Truedeath Weapon Crystal (MIC). I want to keep the distinction of those who attempt to control the battlefield from afar, and are usually squishies in the backline, to those who are on the forefront, attempting to do so with attack rolls rather than targetting saves and such. --Ghostwheel 22:58, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I don't think incorporeals can even go through solid fog, and how many burrowers are there in the MM anyway? I can only think of three offhand (the remorhaz, xorn, and the landshark-thing)...regardless, I don't really understand why you want to insist on keeping an artificial separation of two identical roles just because one requires an attack roll and the other doesn't (and often doesn't require a save either). Surgo 23:04, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I believe incorps can travel underground within 5' of the surface, so even if they couldn't normally move through Solid Fog, that's how they'd evade it. And I keep the distinction because one's big and wears armor while the other usually wears robes and casts from the backline. They serve similar functions, but in very different ways, and that's a big enough distinction for me to put them into different roles. --Ghostwheel 23:11, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Isn't the whole point of a role something you do that enemies will care about? The important thing being what you actually do, not how you do it? Surgo 23:17, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I think that's the point of disagreement, and where we'll have to agree to disagree. For enemies, it's not important how you do something as long as what it is you do. For the player, it's the way you do the thing, the different classes you usually take to do something in a certain way, and so on. Thus comes the distinction between the roles. --Ghostwheel 23:21, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
I'm actually thinking of expanding the guide to give examples of different classes, and where they can fit into the roles and in which way, as well as with optimization tips. (For example, something along the lines, "If you sneak attack, it's generally best to find ways to make as many attacks as possible so you can add SA to every attack for more damage.") Still need to finish deciding on the structure I want to go with, but I'll probably do so soonish. --Ghostwheel 22:21, 15 July 2009 (MDT)


I think there is a section like this in either Dungeonscape or some other book, but for monsters. They were use for putting the monsters in encounters, but could cover the basics for players as well. I think there are twelve different types... --Morlock Night 14:22, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

Dungeonscape was a horrible book, and there are hardly twelve different types of distinct monsters. There are maybe 4. Surgo 15:03, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Oh. I was just trying to say how this article looks alot like that section--Morlock Night 19:41, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

Knight class link[edit]

I'd rather not link to things outside WotC books in this article, and the link there points to the Tome version of the Knight class. Also, the PHB2 knight *is* built around getting foes to hit you with his various additions to the Fighting Challenge, such as Test of Mettle. --Ghostwheel 20:33, 14 July 2009 (MDT)

The PHB2 Knight is built around failing. It requires a will save to even get that ability to work. Now what's better - a will save to get someone to attack you, or a will save to take someone out of combat? The good classes are all doing the latter. The Knight is sucking it up doing the former. If a class wants to get people to attack him like a tank is supposed to be doing, it needs to be a credible option that doesn't look like a joke compared to other options. Which is why I linked the Tome Knight. Surgo 22:44, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
While that might be true, (doesn't matter too much, because...) I want to keep the classes referenced in this guide strictly those published by WotC so that they don't have to jump into new content right at the start. Perhaps at the end of the guide we can add links to homebrew classes that fulfill the different roles well, but for the main part of the guide I'd prefer keeping it strictly WotC. Some of the material here is a radical shift in perception for some players, and I'd rather help them make an easier transition than bombarding them with information about new classes and feats that their DMs might ban out of hand for not being made by WotC. --Ghostwheel 22:55, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
It sure shouldn't use the PHB2 Knight as an example then, as that's one big failure of a class. For that matter, I don't really see how anybody could ever refer to a Swordsage as a "caster killer" or really anything as a "caster killer" because I can't think of anything that's particularly better at it than any other class. The whole skirmisher role really just needs to get diked out anyway for reasons stated in this paragraph and above, and Battering Ram / Glass Cannon merged together (as they are essentially the same thing). Surgo 23:06, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
The swordsage has high mobility, allowing it to get past mooks with things like Shadow Stride and straight into the heart of the operation. Similar characters who deal a good amount of damage, but not that of glass cannons are skirmishers. Some Scouts also fill the same role, for example. And while battering rams charge straight into enemies and have high HP, glass cannons have little HP/AC and rely more on hit-and-run tactics or sneak attacks to get the job done. --Ghostwheel 23:09, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
The swordsage has okay mobility with Shadow Stride, which allows it to accomplish the same thing that having a longbow or even a ranged spell accomplishes -- I don't see why that is suddenly a special and distinct role. Battering rams and glass cannons -- nevermind that the Barbarian example is already a glass cannon, they are both built to accomplish the same thing -- deal enough damage to reliably drop one enemy per round. Sounds like the same role to me. Surgo 23:13, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Mostly because with quick-action teleports, one can more easily get behind things like cover, or within concealing areas to get to enemies. And while they accomplish similar things, glass cannons and battering rams do so in radically different ways, which is why they are distinct types of Striker. --Ghostwheel 23:23, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Why aren't there like seven different roles for debuffer and remover then? While I can understand your wanting to differentiate the stuff we talked about above...a little (okay not really)...that's just splitting hairs. And the barbarian example isn't even a battering ram, it's a glass cannon. I can't think of a battering ram example that doesn't also fall under "tank" anyway. And these so-called skirmishers still aren't mage killers. Surgo 23:26, 14 July 2009 (MDT)
Because the only common way to remove someone from play without killing them or dealing damage is through spellcasting. (Apart from ToB which are an awesome exception that lets meleers do some of that and grapplers, who are already their own role.) Remember how I said about doing things different ways, and how I want to keep those ways differentiated as far as roles go? Both battering rams and glass cannons try to deal damage, yes, that's their main purpose as Strikers. The difference is in the way they do it. --Ghostwheel 01:06, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
Anticipate Teleport. --TK-Squared 09:09, 15 July 2009 (MDT)
You can always name spells that ruin just about anything. Fortunately, not every enemy PC meets is a caster who has exactly the right spells to counter them, unless the DM's just trying to be mean. In my 3.5 games, I've even taken to introducing 4e-type foes, with special abilities that seem "cool" or "proper" for an enemy of that type without anything like classes from the books. For example, a fire-based elementalist would be able to make bursts, cones, etc at will, and 1/encounter attempt to make someone blow up from the inside (The Volcano Within), while a Necromancer would have soul-sucking spells (deal damage, gain it back as life), be able to raise undead (at will, encounter, whatever fits), etc. I find that players have a lot more fun, since they're not targetted by things that make the game not-fun (Solid Fog, Dominate Person, etc) and they're facing enemies that have flavorful abilities that are not necessarily constrained by what's written in the books. --Ghostwheel 01:03, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
24 hour duration. Scroll. --TK-Squared 08:04, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
Monsters. DM decides what they have. You don't give monsters things to spoil everything your players are going to do. That's not fun for the players. Please read what I said above about NOT giving every monster (an umbrella under which I'm including NPCs that PCs fight) spells designed to screw over your PCs. It sounds like you're thinking like a player at the moment--"What can I do/exploit to make sure my character lives and to best neutralize my foes?" A DM doesn't need to do that. A DM needs to pretend he can't kill the PCs with a wave of his hand. This means that you don't need to neutralize the players' tactics to "beat" them. If their tactics feel overpowered and they're not broken, you might be doing it wrong. --Ghostwheel 09:57, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
I laffed. Because an NPC is not a player, does this some how mean they're morons? Why can't a NPC Wizard (who would have a high intelligence) be capable of figuring out "There's this spell that lets me stop people teleporting near me, why don't I use it?" or how about "Man, I hate being scryed upon; if only I could cast Detect Scrying! If only there was a way I could cast these spells all day!". So, evidently I'm "doing it wrong" because I feel that NPCs aren't morons. MAN, IT MAKES SENSE! See past your own little world and get over it; I'm not drawing upon my experience, I'm drawing on logic and common tactics amongst wizards. So, yo, chillax; there was no personal attack because you labelled strikers wrong. --TK-Squared 10:20, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
Yes, in many cases NPCs should be morons. No, not because they are. But because it makes the game more fun for the players. It lets them feel useful, powerful, and cool. If at every step every NPC has spied on them and knows their tactics and prepares accordingly (and crushes them if they're not morons) it's not fun for the PCs. If I played every NPC wizard like I do when I'm a player, parties would get crushed without a chance of retaliation. The point isn't to make NPCs super-smart foes who do everything perfectly. It's to have fun telling a story. And foes who use "smart" spells (glitterdust, solid fog on the meleers followed by cloudkill and forcecage, slow, flesh to ice, hemispherical wall of stones, dominate person) are not fun to face. Often enough they make players feel useless. However, a fairly "dumb" spell like a fireball? That can scare the crap out of PCs while still allowing them to fight back and have fun. --Ghostwheel 10:30, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
Evidently, I am wasting my time with this logic in attempting to talk a sign into changing it's message. --TK-Squared 10:34, 16 July 2009 (MDT)
Euhm... If you want to use only WotC material so that new players don't get confused, wouldn't it be less confusing to use only Core Material? Beginning players don't necesarily have all the books WotC published, as that would be quite an investment for a new hobby, and other options are probably not legal :/.
On the point of making NPC's "dumb" or "smart", it is true that the game is being played for fun, in whatever twisted way fits your campaign. While not every NPC should be a main villain with a world-spanning spy network and carefully laid defences, a lich (for example) who has had some thousand years to think things through probably won't have his phylactery prominently exposed in a glass case on his front door with a sign saying "thank you for not destroying my phylactery". And I don't think Ghostwheel meant that. However, building every wizard with spells specifically chosen to neutralize your party would be terribly unfun. But I hope that's not what TK meant either. Foes with high intelligence or wisdom or "power" (heads of criminal organisations and similar) will probably have their weak spots covered. What I'm trying to say is that while a 200ft high unscalable wall in your path makes things unfun, just as no wall at all. So, the correct heighth of the wall depends on the party, I guess. I hope you can both agree with this explanation. As a matter of fact, I think you allready did. Deranged 05:15, 3 August 2009 (MDT)
Right, that's the kind of "dumb" I meant--not the dumb that has a lich leave out its phylactery, but the kind of dumb that goes, "Hmmm, I'm a powerful spellcaster and/or have access to UMD. But instead of glitterdust/cloudkill/maze/wail of the banshee/color spray/hold person+coup-de-grace/forcecage, I'm going to fireball them instead!" Smart casters would go for one of the prior options, completely negating the PCs' abilities, which leads to the unfun I meant before. So yes, they should be morons in the sense of not using the best things from the PHB that they could and not using spells that automatically counter the PCs' abilities (because they're all out there), but not in the sense of acting moronic as far as non-fun-ending abilities are concerned. --Ghostwheel 05:21, 3 August 2009 (MDT)

Just for argument's sake, I've been DMing for 13 years now, and I've played the monsters/NPC/opponents of the PC's as smart as their INT/WIS suggests, meaning that most non-intelligent foes use abilities and resources available to limit their wekanesses. This makes the PC's think outside the box, and doesn't let them treat every encounter the same way. Not once (well, first time introducing Mordenkainen's Disjunction, that was a bit of killjoy I admit) have they compalined. Which is more fun, playing on auto-play and just getting loot, or having to use one's own witts to overcome challenges? --Gaijin 09:29, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

General Tips on Character Building[edit]

Anyone have any more general tips for building characters? Please suggest them here, and I'll add them to the guide. --Ghostwheel 10:18, 18 July 2009 (MDT)

Crusader - Good Beginner's Class?[edit]

Should I add the Crusader to the "Good Beginner's Classes" part? In theory it's a good one, but I feel that newbies might get confused as far as how one regains maneuvers... :-\

Spreading Information Farther[edit]

Was just wondering, is there any good way to spread the info on the writeup further? I've referred people to this page quite a few times, and think it would be good material for just about everyone who doesn't understand the game too well from a design/metagame aspect to read. I'd try to get it nominated as a featured article, but that feels a bit too audacious... anyone have another idea? --Ghostwheel 23:45, 28 July 2009 (MDT)


Since the name was really long, I removed the in D&D3.5 part since that info was made obvious in the namespace (3.5e opti.....) part.   Hooper   talk    contribs    email   08:46, 5 September 2009 (MDT)

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