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 Pathfinder Tier List

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Moriatti

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PostSubject: Pathfinder Tier List   Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:25 pm

What the fuck is this, Alex?
The Pathfinder tier list measures the abilities of classes to effect the game world and alter encounters. I have copied it to this forum so that if desired, balanced parties can be arranged.

So I should just play tier 1 characters?
No! Well, maybe, if that is the type of game that the players and GM have agreed on. I actually find the tier 3 classes to be the most fun.

So what are you saying?
I'm saying that this is a tool you can use as a GM when pitching games, either as a guideline or hard rule, you can suggest a tier that players try to stay within. So if you want to use heroic fantasy, where the players end up as demigods, maybe suggest tier 1. If you want a more gritty and difficult path, tier 4 and 5. As I said earlier I find tier 3 to be the best balanced for your standard game.

Okay fine, but I still won't use this.
That's fine! As I said before, this is just another tool in your GMing arsenal, not all tools work for all jobs, some games may thrive on the inequity between player characters. As with things in life, this is your decision.

What the heck!? Why are their Dreamscarred Press classes listed here?
While they are segregated to their own section for GMs that don't want to use them, Dreamscarred press did a good job with a lot of psionic classes and updating Tome of Battle and they were included as an option for GMs who feel comfortable with including them.


The Tier List
What each tier means

Tier 1:
Capable of doing absolutely everything, often better than classes that specialize in that thing. Often capable of solving encounters with a single mechanical ability and little thought from the player. Has world changing powers at high levels. These guys, if played well, can break a campaign and can be very hard to challenge without extreme DM fiat, especially if Tier 3s and below are in the party.

Tier 2:
Has as much raw power as the Tier 1 classes, but can't pull off nearly as many tricks, and while the class itself is capable of anything, no one build can actually do nearly as much as the Tier 1 classes. Still potencially campaign smashers by using the right abilities, but at the same time are more predictable and can't always have the right tool for the job. If the Tier 1 classes are countries with 10,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal, these guys are countries with 10 nukes. Still dangerous and world shattering, but not in quite so many ways. Note that the Tier 2 classes are often less flexible than Tier 3 classes... it's just that their incredible potential power overwhelms their lack in flexibility.

Tier 3:
Capable of doing one thing quite well, while still being useful when that one thing is inappropriate, or capable of doing all things, but not as well as classes that specialize in that area. Occasionally has a mechanical ability that can solve an encounter, but this is relatively rare and easy to deal with. Challenging such a character takes some thought from the DM, but isn't too difficult. Will outshine any Tier 5s in the party much of the time.

Tier 4:
Capable of doing one thing quite well, but often useless when encounters require other areas of expertise, or capable of doing many things to a reasonable degree of competance without truly shining. Rarely has any abilities that can outright handle an encounter unless that encounter plays directly to the class's main strength. DMs may sometimes need to work to make sure Tier 4s can contribue to an encounter, as their abilities may sometimes leave them useless. Won't outshine anyone except Tier 6s except in specific circumstances that play to their strengths. Cannot compete effectively with Tier 1s that are played well.

Tier 5:
Capable of doing only one thing, and not necessarily all that well, or so unfocused that they have trouble mastering anything, and in many types of encounters the character cannot contribute. In some cases, can do one thing very well, but that one thing is very often not needed. Has trouble shining in any encounter unless the rest of the party is weak in that situation and the encounter matches their strengths. DMs may have to work to avoid the player feeling that their character is worthless unless the entire party is Tier 4 and below. Characters in this tier will often feel like one trick ponies if they do well, or just feel like they have no tricks at all if they build the class poorly.

Tier 6:
Not even capable of shining in their own area of expertise. DMs will need to work hard to make encounters that this sort of character can contribute in with their mechanical abilities. Will often feel worthless unless the character is seriously powergamed beyond belief, and even then won't be terribly impressive. Needs to fight enemies of lower than normal CR. Class is often completely unsynergized or with almost no abilities of merit. Avoid allowing PCs to play these characters.

In theory there is also Truenamer tier, but we haven't quite reached it yet.

PAIZO TIER LIST

Tier 1:
Wizard, Druid, Cleric, Witch, Sorcerer (Razmiran Priest/False Priest/Psychic Bloodline), Oracle (Paragon Surge/Lunar/Ancient Lorekeeper etc.), Super Wizard, Shaman, Psychic
Tier 2:
Oracle, Sorcerer, Summoner, Magus (Hexcrafter), Bard (Magician), Skald (UMD/Expanded Spell Kenning), Unchained Summoner, Inquisitor (Monster Tactician), Alchemist (Preservationist/Promethean Alchemist + Planar Preservationist)
Tier 3:
Alchemist, Bard, Inquisitor, Magus, Investigator, Warpriest, Paladin (Sacred Servant), Hunter, Skald, Mesmerist, Occultist, Spiritualist, Bloodrager (Monstrous Physique UMD/Urban Bloodrager), Medium (Spirit Dancer), Vigilante (Warlock/Zealot)
Tier 4:
Barbarian, Paladin, Ranger, Adept, Brawler, Slayer, Fighter (Eldritch Guardian/Lore Warden/Mutation Warrior/Martial Master/Drill Sergeant), Bloodrager, Medium, Unchained Monk, Unchained Barbarian, Monk (Properly Archetyped - namely Qinggong Monk), Vigilante (Stalker/Avenger), Unchained Rogue
Tier 5:
Cavalier, Samurai, Fighter, Gunslinger, Rogue, Ninja, Swashbuckler, Monk, Kineticist
Tier 6:
Aristocrat, Warrior, Commoner, Expert

Topics for discussion:

  • Vigilante placement
  • Occult Adventures class/archetype placement
  • VMCs


DSP TIER LIST

Tier 1:
Psion (Augmented Psychic Reformation), Wilder (Augmented Psychic Reformation)
Tier 2:
Psion, Wilder (Student's Surge/Human FCB)
Tier 3:
Warlord, Warder, Vizier, Vitalist, Tactician, Cryptic, Stalker, Psychic Warrior, Soulknife (Gifted Blade), Dread, Guru, Aegis, Wilder
Tier 4:
Marksman, Soulknife, Daevic
Tier 5:
Empty at this time.
Tier 6:
Empty at this time.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I did not make this list.


Last edited by Moriatti on Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:32 am; edited 3 times in total
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AzureBlueWorld

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:11 pm

Interesting; so does that imply how a party should be composed as well? Different classes from different tiers to make a well rounded party?
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Moriatti

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:25 pm

No, if you read the tier descriptions, it tells you pretty plainly that this will result in some characters being excessively useful in every circumstance, (wizards and clerics for instance) and some only situationally useful in niches, and even then not as good as the tier 1 folks. (A rogue can pick a lock, maybe, if they are lucky and have high DEX. A wizard can cast knock.)

Generally, if possible, you want to all be from the same tier, or at most one apart.

If you do find yourself in a mixed party, try not to be a huge dick about it. As a tier 1 character, maybe focus your reality-altering God powers to buff your tier 4-5 allies rather than just end the fight.that kind of thing.
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AzureBlueWorld

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:39 pm

Ah okay, I guess that makes sense.
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Moriatti

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sun Nov 15, 2015 3:43 pm

That said, as will all things Role Playing, it depends on the group, not every wizard is despite my bitching and moaning.
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Kyle1701

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sat Nov 21, 2015 3:10 pm

This is very interesting. But you'd think they could have put this much effort into placing the base classes into the same tier, and then added new classes into outlying god tiers for those who wished to play that kind of game.
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Moriatti

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PostSubject: Re: Pathfinder Tier List   Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:18 pm

A lot of the tiers are incidental, otherwise everything would probably be tier 3-4. It just happens that the way Pathfinder scales strength and tries to play martials somewhat realistically, while allowing wizards to be wizards creates this sort of divide. It's not an untenable problem, just something that occurred through the design process that the development team seems to have little interest in fixing.

Except tier-6, they were designed to never be playable characters!
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