3.5 d20 Level-By-Level Base Class Breakdowns, Part I

   It’s been requested a couple of times, so for today it’s a level-by-level breakdown of some of the basic d20 character classes for Eclipse: The Codex Persona. Sadly, most of them aren’t actually very exciting: the standardized saving-throw progressions and BAB progressions get dull pretty quickly and quite a few of the classes otherwise progress in pretty standard increments.

   It does nicely serve to illustrate, as noted in Eclipse in the section on class breakdowns, that a lot of the standard d20 classes are rather frontloaded, with a disproportionate number of abilities and bonuses assigned to the first few levels. Eclipse partially simulates this by providing 24 character points at level zero and an additional 24 more per additional level – giving first level characters a total of 48, plus any derived from disadvantages. That still won’t match some of the standard classes, but the freedom to take only the abilities you want, and to modify them to suit your character conception, usually more than makes up for it.

The Barbarian, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: d12 HD (8 CP), +1 BAB (Warcraft, 6 CP), and 4 Skill Points (4 CP) = 18 CP. This has been included in the level-by-level “Cost” figure on the chart below.

Level

Cost

Purchased

1’st

65

Proficient with Simple and Martial Weapons, Light and Medium Armor, and Shields (21 CP), +12 Skill Points (12 CP), +2 Fort (6 CP), Celerity/Corrupted, not when seriously encumbered (4 CP), Berserker (6 CP), and a standard disadvantage: Illiterate (-2 CP)

2’nd

27

+1 Fort (3 CP), Awareness (6 CP).

3rd

25

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

4th

21

+1 Fort (3)

5th

21

Awareness/Flankless, Specialized (will not work against high-level foes) (3)

6th

28

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

7th

19

DR 1/Non-Physical (1)

8th

21

+1 Fort (3)

9th

25

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

10th

22

+1 Fort (3), DR 2/Non-physical (+1)

11th

21

Berserker/Odinpower (3)

12th

28

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

13th

19

DR 3/Non-Physical (+1)

14th

24

+1 Fort (3), +4 on Will saves to resist Enchantment spells, Specialized/Only while berserk (3)

15th

25

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

16th

22

+1 Fort (3), DR 4/Non-Physical (+1)

17th

21

Berserker/Enduring (3)

18th

28

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), Awareness/Danger Sense +1 (1)

19th

20

DR 5/Non-Physical (+2)

20th

24

+1 Fort (3), Berserker/Odinmight (3)

   Grand Total: 506 CP out of 504 CP available.

   The Barbarian is pretty well balanced overall, and has reasonably consistent level costs after first level – but it takes awhile to make up for the over-expenditure of those early levels. Eclipse point-buy Barbarians builds usually take some disadvantages to get a few more points early on and / or skimp a bit on skill points and saving throws for the first few levels – either making up for it later or investing the points in various exotic talents.

The Bard, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: D6 Hit Die (2), +6 Skill Points (6), +1 Caster Level (Specialized in Bardic Magic only, 3), +1 level of the Bardic Spell Progression (3 after the Noncombative limitation is applied) = 14 CP. This has been included in the level-by-level “Cost” figure on the chart below.

 

Level

Cost

Purchased

1st

69

Ref +2 (6), Will +2 (6), Mystic Artist/Musician (6), Lore/Rumors and Secrets (6), +18 Skill Points (18), Proficient with Light Armor (3), Shields (3), and all Simple and Martial Weapons (Corrupted/martial weapons are limited to light swords, the Sap, Shortbow, and Whip) (7).

2nd

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

3rd

23

+1 Fort (3), +1 BAB (6)

4th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

5th

14

None

6th

29

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

7th

20

+1 BAB (6)

8th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

9th

17

+1 Fort (3)

10th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

11th

20

+1 BAB (6)

12th

29

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

13th

14

None

14th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

15th

23

+1 Fort (3), +1 BAB (6)

16th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

17th

14

None

18th

29

+1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

19th

20

+1 BAB (6)

20th

26

+1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3), +1 BAB (6)

   Grand Total: 503 CP out of 504 CP available.

   The Bard is balanced overall, but it’s level costs fluctuate wildly and it overspends considerably in the first few levels before making up for it later on. Just as with the Barbarian, point-buy Bards usually take some disadvantages, and usually take a level of Adept, allowing them to get along on fewer skill points for the same results. From observation, most of them drift away from the base class outline later on – buying contacts and enhancements to social and knowledge skills to become social adepts while neglecting combat, neglecting magic in favor of combat skills and mystic artist powers, or neglecting combat in favor of additional magical powers and knowledge enhancements. Personally, I think that’s a good thing; the portrayals of bards in historical and fantasy sources vary wildly. Why shouldn’t bards in the game do the same?

   If your Bard wants to duplicate the standard “Bardic Music” progression, take a musical Perform skill and the following abilities at the following Perform skill levels:

   3; Manipulation I/Fascinate, 4; Synergy I/Block, 5; Inspiration I/Emotion, 6; Inspiration II/Competence, 9; Manipulation III/Suggestion, 12; Inspiration III/Greatness, 15; Manipulation IV/Emotional Auras (a bonus ability not on the standard list), 18; Either Manipulation V/Freedom or Inspiration VI/Mass Excellence, and 21; Whichever of Freedom or Mass Excellence was not taken for the previous ability.

   Note that several of these abilities call for a Perform skill level 1-3 points higher than the values in the SRD. This is because this list is NOT limited by level, only by the user’s skill – and his or her attribute bonus, racial bonuses, inherent bonuses, and feat bonuses all apply to his or her effective skill level. If you want to work on that perform skill, you can get many of those abilities a good deal earlier than usual.

The Cleric, Levels 1-20:

   Every Level: d8 Hit Die (4), 2 Skill Points (2), +1 Level of Clerical Magic (+1 Caster Level specialized in Clerical Magic, 3, and +1 level of the Cleric Spell Progression, 7), and various religious Duties (-2) = 14 CP. This has been included in the level-by-level “Cost” figure on the chart below.

Level

Cost

Purchases

1st

68

+2 Fort (6), +2 Will (6), Turn/Rebuke Undead with (3 + Cha Mod) uses/day and a +4 bonus to Intensity (15), Proficient with Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor (15), Shields (3), and All Simple Weapons (3), +6 Skill Points (6)

2nd

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

3rd

23

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3)

4th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

5th

14

None

6th

29

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

7th

20

+1 BAB (6)

8th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

9th

17

+1 Ref (3)

10th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

11th

20

+1 BAB (6)

12th

29

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

13th

14

None

14th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

15th

23

+1 BAB (6), +1 Ref (3)

16th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

17th

14

None

18th

29

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Ref (3), +1 Will (3)

19th

20

+1 BAB (6)

20th

26

+1 BAB (6), +1 Fort (3), +1 Will (3)

   Grand Total: 502 CP out of 504 available (treating the Duties as a subtraction):

   The Cleric is – once again – balanced overall (at least ignoring the perpetual debate over their spell list being too powerful to make up for the common lack of interest in playing the party healer), but that first level is overbuilt by twenty points. Even with some disadvantages to help out, when you’re building a point-buy Cleric, something is going to have to wait for a few levels.

   In our games it usually depends on just what god or faith the Cleric is serving. Quite a lot of the more peaceful faiths don’t teach quite that much in the way of combat skills to start off with. More combative faiths often skimp a bit on the magic. Others cut down on either or both to throw in some minor special ability.

   Now, if the game master wants to encourage the standard classes, the easiest way to do so – and to make it easy to take them without modification – is to make part of their abilities a set of Package Deals (Eclipse, page 18). That will give people who decided to stick with the standard roles a small bonus and help pay for those expensive early levels.

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5 Responses

  1. […] Basic Classes: Barbarian, Bard, and Cleric, Druid, Fighter, and Sorcerer, Paladin and Ranger, Rogue and Wizard, Psion and Psychic Warrior, and Monk. […]

  2. […] to be a fairly direct call-back to its presentation in earlier iterations of the game, such as 3.5 and Pathfinder. As such, we can break it down using the point-buy rules in Eclipse: the Codex […]

  3. shouldnt the cleric get 2 domains as well? they are not mentioned in your cleric class breakdown…

    Could you recreate the Warlock and the Warmage as well ?

    • The clerical magic progression (Eclipse, Page 11) offers two options: with the Clerical Package Deal (second column, the paragraph in italics) at a total of ten points per level (three for a specialized caster level, seven for the spells) or without it for eight points per level (three for a specialized caster level and five for the progression).

      This Cleric build is paying the “with package deal” cost, and that covers the domains and some other features.

      As it happens, the Warlock is already over here: https://ruscumag.wordpress.com/2007/12/25/building-the-warlock/

      As for the Warmage… They can be broken down quickly and easily, although there’s not a lot of point in going level by level.

      26 Skill Points (26 CP), +10 BAB (60 CP), +24 to Saves (72 CP), d6 Hit Dice (40 CP), Proficient with Light and Medium Armor, Shields, and All Simple Weapons with the Smooth Modifier (Corrupted/only applies to spellcasting, and only to Warmage spells, 21 CP), 20 levels of Sorcerer Spellcasting (Specialized for Increased Effect/the user gets to know his entire spell list automatically and Corrupted for Reduced Cost: Charisma-Based Arcane Spellcasting, all but four spells (gained at levels 3, 6, 11, and 16) are from a fixed list, that list consists of a rather small number of simple “attack” spells (with a depressing number of near-identical variants “Orb” spells) ignoring virtually all divination, transportation, summoning, and illusion spells, as well as most of the other possible types of effects. 220 CP), Augmented Bonus (Adds (Int Mod) to the damage inflicted by damage-inflicting spells, 6 CP), and Metamagical Theorems: Amplify, Area, and Extension, with Improved Glory, and Finesse (Uses Charisma instead of Constitution for Improved Glory) (36 CP). Simply buying the Metamagical Theorems and Improved Glory upgrades their utility a lot over the basic Warmages four “sudden” metamagics – but the Warmage just isn’t all that effective anyway.

      That comes out to 481 CP – basically about one levels worth of points under-powered. That’s not too surprising; barring some prestige-class shenanigans, the Warmage really is rather under-powered even if they are fairly good at blowing things up.

  4. […] for Clerics… There’s a level-by-level breakdown of the standard 3.5 cleric build, a breakdown on converting the 3.5 Cleric to a Pathfinder Cleric […]

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