Help me Pick a Class in 3.5

Hi TG I just joined a D&D 3.5 Edition game and am trying to pick a character class. The GM has explicitly said that all core classes all allowed but he could be persuaded to include others if I have a good character concept, beyond that I don't know much we just talked briefly before he went to bed.

For my character I'm wanting to play someone Who rose from humble beginnings probably an orphan, maybe someone who came from a poor abusive family. I'm not interested in a special snowflake, I want a character who got where he is due to hard work, some luck, and maybe a bit of natural aptitude but not much else.

Plan on making him lawful good. A very principled character with a strong sense of purpose. Who gets in the trouble for doing the right thing all the time.

The other player in the group is a neutral good half elf bard, he says his inspiration is Robert Downey jr. Sherlock home.

Have a feeling he'll bite off more than he can chew narratively speaking so I'd like to have some muscle to back him up.

A I know some of you may be thinking "he's totally a paladin" and I've already thought of that I'm trying to see what my options are in the context of 3.5.

If the other player is a Bard, there aren't any core melee classes that are of the same tier. If you're OK with being a tier behind, the Barbarian is a good choice, but thematically you may want one of the Tome of Battle characters which are all three on the same tier as the Bard. and two of those fit very well with your "hard work" aesthetic while the last one is basically "Paladin with better designed mechanics."

Alternatively, a multiclass Paladin/Sorcerer looking to get into the Eldritch Knight class by level 8 is *approximately* balanced with a Bard and fits your flavor.

Crusader would be perfect for that concept - but a core only Bard is only comparable to a ToB class because of how good they are outside of combat. They're basically dead weight inside of it compared to them.

They have like... snowflake wardance and dragonfire inspiration.

There's also a number of good Bard combat spells. You could backport dance of a hundred cuts from PF if you must.

Warlock might be up your alley, if you can work in the power origin somewhere.

@OP: Your real problem is that Bard is too good to balance with any of the melee classes (Barbarian below parity, Paladin and Fighter significantly lower) while not being powerful enough to compete with the full spellcasters.

This problem is trivially solvable if you step outside of core (Which has spellcasters that are lower power, and melee characters with higher power).

Inside core, I suddenly had a thought: Multiclass Fighter/Cleric. That's almost a paladin thematically, but pretty close to a Bard in power, and doesn't have the Paladin/Sorcerers ridiculous armor problem.

>Hi TG I just joined a D&D 3.5 Edition game

Play a Binder

Artificer. Fuck the muscle, you've got Batman's Arcane utility belt now, and a shit-ton of EXP.

Download the book of nine swords and convince your DM :^)

Honestly, the Warblade (From the Tome of Battle/Book of Nine Swords) is awesome, especially if you focus on Diamond Mind and White Raven.

Warblades' character concepts can be anything martial- they're kinda-sorta intelligence based fighters, so you can describe him as being extremely hardworking- studied for years. Rather than a fighter who is just kinda a soldier turned adventurer, a warblade is more like a martial artist with swords- years of training and study under a strict master.

But yeah, mechanically speaking, they're an amazing way of closing the caster/martial gap, at least slightly, while it's on the same tier as the the Bard. The swordsage is a bit squishier due to having less armor/weapon proficiencies.

Alternatively, grab a bit of wizard/sorcerer (Like a level or two), then a lot of fighter (Taking the armored mage ACF, light armor only but you can cast spells in it) until you can grab Abjurant Champion. Then not only can you dispel as a swift action (Which is awesome), but you've got a ton of abjurer features, which is very defensive and slightly muscly

Even better, once you've finished up with Abjurant Champion (at level 11 or thereabouts, depending on your exact mix of your class levels) you can grab Warblade afterward. Since half of your non-warblade class levels count as warblade levels for learning maneuvers, you'll start out with a leg up on maneuvers.

Though the latter thing depends on how your DM is handling multiclass XP. If you want abjurant champion, it might be better to go wizard/swordsage/abjchamp and ignore wearing heavy armor entirely, replacing it with greater mage armor (which is automatically extended and has a CL equal to your class levels due to the technically unoptimized 'awesomeness' that is abjurant champion)

I'll take a look at the ToB and ask my GM about it.

Just got word that one of the other playere wante to be a druid. My understanding is that they're top tier god casters?


>My understanding is that they're top tier god casters?

If the DM allows them to pick an animal companion that isn't terrible, they are basically 2 in 1 characters even before they get wildshape. And it only goes downhill from there.

You'd be absolutely justified picking magical kung-fu man (that isn't monk).




Don't listen to these anons, they want you to suffer.

Just got word from the GM,

"Base races and classes upon character creation. Just from the PHB. After that, use as many expansion books as you like."

I'm not entirely sure what this means...

It means you should find another group.

Honestly, just pick whatever you think looks fun to play.

Let me put it this way.

If you made a class that wad just the Druid's wild shape class feature, they would still completely invalidate any core martial class.

Now druids have spell casting AND an animal companion on top of that.

>hard work
>some luck
>maybe a bit of natural aptitude

Factotum, Dungeonscape p14.

The core PHB has the worst assortment of classes, and few fit with your idea, OP.

It means he doesn't want you using anything not in the core rulebook when creating characters.
Point out to him that the core martials are universally agreed to be significantly worse than the core casters in every respect, and that the Tome of Battle goes a long way to balancing the power level between martials and casters. Also mention that any possible "balancing" effect limiting you on character creation could have will be automatically negated by the ridiculous array of options that expansions after creation would allow.
If he still refuses find another group

I agree with since he's basically right.

It means play druid or cleric.

Druid 10/Planar Shepard 10

Swordsage is if you want to be a more monk/ninja/swashbuckler. There is a lot of utility powers that can be pulled out of his maneuver list. Invisibility, teleportation, running up the walls and so on.

Warblade is if you want to see you enemies dead. Like dead dead. Swordsage can do it too but warblade does it better. If you have unarmed strike or 1-2 levels of monk nothing can stop a warblade from killing. Even naked he can smash through any non-artifact level containments and kill his guards. You need to keep him sedated or locked in a force cage. Adamantine is not enough.

Druid, Cleric, or Wizard. Maybe Sorcerer.


I've always wanted to try a low-level Cancer-Mage build (Prestige class, but you can cheat your way into it at lvl 4). It would require taking 3 levels in different classes.... The plan is to use the free armour it gives and some of the 'claws' feats to become a Hobo Ninja!

As someone whose prior RP experience consists entirely of GURPS this class shit is starting to piss me off.

if you're new to 3.5, just play a fighter
when you start to get a handle for the system, multiclass to cleric and stay there
make sure your guy has at least 13 wisdom though

Currently looking for prestige classes to buff up mu Vanille martial.

To be honest with you, if it's your first character ever in DnD, don't listen to the people talking about tiers and Tome of Battle. ToB is a great book that accomplishes many great things for martial combatants, but it's a very late entry in the DnD 3.5 arsenal so it has some complicated mechanics, with stuff you won't know how to use and maneuvers you won't understand for levels on end.

Get a base class, a class with either no or little spellcasting that can do most of his stuff without complications. For those, good classes are the Barbarian, the Paladin and the Ranger. Both are solid characters from level 1, don't require much system knowledge and don't get crazy as levels go on. Fighter is kinda like that too, but the abundance of feats will give you many chances to screw up and make a bad/nonfunctional character thanks to many feats sucking in practice.

Also, stay away from Monk, as it's a bad class with bad ideas arranged in a bad fashion. Rogue won't have the physical endurance you're looking for, despite hitting like a truck. Full casters are too complicated for you right now(no offense, they require knowledge you simply still don't have).

Advice noted, but I'm the kind of faggot who plays GURPS and builds sentient vampire pickles for fun.

Also ONE of the party druids is planning on prestigeing into an Arcane Hierophant.

Don't fret, he'll be gimping himself for the benefit. He'll need at least 3 levels in Druid and an arcane class(3 of Wizard or 4 of Sorcerer), so he'll be behind the curve on both spell classes until later levels. He's making a pretty dumb investment IMHO, as he's starting level 1 with a build that kinda sucks from levels 4 to 10.

What class do you plan to use as base? Any specifics on how you want to play it combat-wise?

We'll go with a paladin for now.

As for how I play, we so far have a bard, a druid that I mentioned above, and another who is half druid half rogue. So probably a front line fighter.

Okay, so we got a party with mostly you and animal companions as frontliners. Delightful.

You can have a traditional Sword n' Board Paladin, with your Longsword to deal damage and clad in the heaviest armor you can get plus a Heavy Shield. You'll have the highest AC and will be able to heal a bit(although it'll be largely unnecessary with two druids in the team). This is the usual base Paladin, nothing too great but still functional. 2-handed sword variant focuses more on damage than defense, but the early levels don't show much difference.

Or, you can build a mounted Paladin. You get a free holy mount by level 5, but you can buy a horse with level 1 money. Get a War Horse if you can, and pick up a Lance. Lances are 2-handed, but can wielded on one hand when used mounted, so it's your choice if you want to have a shield too. Lances, when used on horseback, deal double damage when you charge(includes STR modifier). You'll want to invest your feats in Mounted Combat and Ride-by Attack so you can charge, attack and keep running afterwards. That way, every attack you do is a charge. Later, invest in Spirited Charge so you deal triple damage with a lance. You get high damage output and mobility, but won't be a good wall to your friends, though you'll be breaking the enemy's formation a lot when they try to go after you. And remember, Lance is a REACH weapon, so you can attack from a square away. That makes your work easier when choosing a straight line to charge because you don't have to run directly at the enemy.

You could ask the druid if you could use his animal companion as a mount till then.

>Just got word that one of the other playere wante to be a druid

Hold the phone.

When I suggested "Barbarian," "Fighter/Cleric" and "Paladin/Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight," it was after you wrote

>the other player is a [...] bard

and I suggested things that are about on parity with a bard.

So, with new information:
>Just got word that one of the other playere wante to be a druid.
>Base races and classes upon character creation. Just from the PHB.
And considering your OP:
>A I know some of you may be thinking "he's totally a paladin" and I've already thought of that I'm trying to see what my options are in the context of 3.5.

I am going to go Full Autist on character creation because Druids are the full-speed Rape Train and you need to keep up.

In the context of 3.5, to be a holy warrior that won't fall behind the druid, your character will be an exemplar of justice.

If you're playing Forgotten Realms, pick "Tyr" as your patron deity. In a different setting, any warrior god of justice will be an adequate stand-in.

At character creation, make a Cleric. For skills, put maximum ranks into Diplomacy, Knowledge(Religion) and Knowledge(Local).
As you level up, keep doing that until you are a 7th level Cleric. You should now have:

Attack +5
Caster level 7
>Diplomacy 10
>Knowledge(Religion) 10
>Knowledge(Local) 5

This qualifies you for two Prestige Classes, called the Divine Disciple and the Justiciar of Tyr. Disciple your faith in your chosen deity, Justiciar transforms you into an beacon of justice. You cannot reach the capstone ability in both classes before level 20, so chose

If you only get 2 skill points per level (If your character is of low intelligence, or not human), you cannot qualify for Justicar of Tyr at level 8. Instead, have these skills:
Diplomacy 6
Knowledge(Religion) 8
Knowledge(Local) 1
This qualifies you for Divine Disciple, and you can level your skills up to qualify for Justiciar while taking levels in Divine Disciple.

>. He's making a pretty dumb investment IMHO, as he's starting level 1 with a build that kinda sucks from levels 4 to 10.


I would often make choices like that when playing full caster because I didn't want to completely outshine the rest of the party. The CHARACTER might be smarter staying full druid, but the player is smart to know he shouldn't.

>but the player is smart to know he shouldn't.
That's assuming a lot from a group that plays "CRB only for first level".

In my opinion, Justiciar of Tyr is the better of the two classes, so pick that at level 8. If you don't qualify by level 8 because of a lack of skills, pick Divine Disciple instead of continuing as Cleric because it's still better, but don't finish the class. Instead, switch to Justiciar as soon as your skills qualify.

That means that at level 8, 9 and 10, you add 1 rank to Knowledge(Local). At level 11, you add 1 rank to Diplomacy and 1 rank to whatever you want.

This makes you Cleric7/DivineDisciple4 and you are now qualified for Justiciar of Tyr. Pick 8 levels of Justiciar of Tyr until you are level 19.

For level 20, decide whether you would rather take the last level in Divine Disciple and become an Outsider, or whether you would rather take the 8th level of Justiciar of Tyr and gain the level 8 ability. It's not very cool, so I would pick Divine Disciple.


If you get 3 skill points per level, your progression looks like this:

Cleric x 7
Justiciar of Tyr x9
10th level of Justiciar of Tyr: Gain "Aura of Absolute Law"
Divine Disciple x3

If you only get 2 skill points per level, your progression looks like this:

Cleric x7
Divine Disciple x4
Justiciar of Tyr x8
5th level of Divine Disciple: Gain "Transcendence"

If you only get 1 skill point per level, your progression looks like this:

Cleric x10
(After 10 levels of Cleric, you just barely have enough skill points for Divine Disciple)
Divine Disciple x4
5th level of Divine Disciple - Transcendence
Cleric x3
(After finishing all of DD and also having 13 levels of Cleric, you finally have enough skill points for Justiciar
Justiciar x2

Group plays what the DM says, makes sense to me.

On an unrelated note, do you agree with me on the Cleric/Justiciar/Disciple path as the best way to make a Holy Warrior?

You could go full cleric and be a stupidly good holy warrior to begin with, Justicar/Disciple just make you better at it.

Personally would attempt a reach cleric build till you get there, if you got the feats and stats for it, as it's one of the more martially inclined builds.

>reach cleric

Long Spear? Lunge feat? Spiked Chain?

Actually, outshining the party is completely the player's fault. You can choose to prepare more buffs and less top-tier spells and you can choose to use summons/debuffs to help out your friends stand out instead of shutting down the encounter. The top ceiling of your character has nothing to do with your usual power usage. A full druid WILL be stronger than an Arcanist Hierophant, but it doesn't mean you NEED to use all that power all the time. Save your good spells for when shit really hits the fan, don't play a game of cock measuring in normal encounters. Even then, having a focus on healing and debuffing goes miles to guarantee you beat encounters and letting your party members shine.

Having a lower ceiling just takes options away from you.

Spear + okay dex + Combat Reflexes.

The idea is to cast spells on your turn (especially enlarge person at low levels) and then use your reach to make a bunch of attacks off turn, so you get both casting and fighting in.

>Actually, outshining the party is completely the player's fault. You can choose to prepare more buffs and less top-tier spells and you can choose to use summons/debuffs to help out your friends stand out instead of shutting down the encounter.

1) You're right but

2) That doesn't work for me.

When I read that, what I read is

>Actually, outshining the party is completely the character's intention. He's not an idiot, so he didn't chose inefficient buffs and low-tier spells and instead quickly ended the dangerous situation that threatened him and his friends.

Games that have an in-character power scale will have characters picking the top of that scale if they have any intelligence higher than "Fruit Fly."

Hah, I had never considered that.

I typically play explicit melee characters so I don't get opportunity attacks - the enemy is already in my face early on.

Maybe I should try this one day.

Still, that's starting to look fairly MAD - Str and Con to be in combat, Dex to pull it off, Wis to not fall behind on spells...

You don't need much WIS because you'll mostly be applying self buffs. You could start 13 WIS and be set forever, as long as you drop a few points on it and/or get Wisdom boosting headbands.

You are also okay with a bit more mediocre STR/CON because of the self buffs and heals (and because your reach will protect you a bit).

But yeah, it's a bit MAD.

I think I would probably

Wis > Con > Dex > Str > Int > Cha

maybe switching Int and Cha depending on the character.

For a melee build, STR >>>> WIS. CON/DEX somewhere in the middle.

>For a melee build, STR >>>> WIS. CON/DEX somewhere in the middle.

I was thinking of doing a caster that just incidentally has a long-ass spear and combat reflexes.

Well, your buffs are still insane, so I guess it could work out.

Don't forget to pick up divine metamagic.