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The concept of prestige class

Ian579Ian579 Member Posts: 239
From what I have learned, the concept of prestige class is just like multiclass. Instead of taking the levels of classes which have no prerequisites, you take the levels of a class which has prerequisites that must be met first.

And after taking the levels of a prestige class, your class can longer be considered as your original, pure class. For example, after a wizard takes the levels of Harper Scout, the character is no longer a wizard and becomes a combination of wizard and Harper Scout.

Am I understand it correctly? I know prestige classes are not counted for the multiclass penalty. I'm just talking about the "concept".

To be frankly, I'm asking this because I prefer pure class and do not want my character to lost the pureness.

Post edited by Ian579 on


  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,287
    Mechanically a prestige class basically a class that has requirements which are above 1st level, therefore you need levels in another class first (usually one is enough but there are exceptions).

    Roleplaying-wise , a prestige class usually represents a faction rank (like red wizard, harper scout etc) , intensive specialization (archmage, weapon master, assassin...) or the attention of higher powers (shadowdancer) .

    In relation to 2nd edition it works as a multiclass in most ways, since ut may combine the abilities of many classes.

  • Ian579Ian579 Member Posts: 239
    @DJKajuru So taking a prestige class is essentially doing multiclass?

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,227
    Essentially, yes. If you were take up levels in a prestige class, you would no longer be a "pure" Wizard or Fighter or Rogue etc. From a roleplaying perspective, this may mean a lot or very little to you, depending on how you see your character's role and place in the world. I forget how exactly NWN handles it, but according to PnP rules, prestige classes do not count towards multi-class XP penalties (as that's usually already factored in by the penalties a character might have had to incur in order to qualify for the PrC in the first place.)

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 904
    Prestige classes are only mechanically considered a type of multiclass but they encompass a different concept entirely. The idea is that they represent specialized training and usually membership of a certain group or becoming a student of a certain philosophy. Hence prestige class and not alternative class. Similar to kits or paths they also usually give something up in exchange for unique abilities that enhance the theme of the prestige class.

    In some cases they could be considered a hybridization, especially if for example a wizard progresses, then their combat power also progresses and they can probably take a warrior-type prestige class.

    Say for example you take the Bladesinger prestige class as an elf, that means you presumably trained with fellow elves to learn the secret techniques. As a Bladesinger you're essentially a hybrid fighter/mage but mechanically this isn't necessarily true, you could also qualify with just an arcane casting class.

    Another example is that you studied the practice of candle magic and qualify for the Candle Caster prestige class. Conceptually the candle caster is just a mage that specializes in the use of candles to contain their enhanced magic. It isn't a hybrid in any sense but the character might still be multiclassed anyway but conceptually they would not be a hybrid mage because of Candle Caster levels.

  • Ian579Ian579 Member Posts: 239
    edited June 2020
    So after my bard takes the levels of Harper Scout, which of the following sentences should I use to describe his class?
    1. “He is a Harper Scout bard.”
    2. “He is a bard and also a Harper Scout.”
    3. “He is a bard/Harper Scout.”
    4. “He is a bard of Harper Scout.”

    Or is there a more appropriate sentence?

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 904
    They're simultaneously true. Someone can be a scientist and a doctor and a surgeon. Usually it depends on what the context is, you could say the bard is a Harper. Oh which division? Scouts.

    Keep in mind that many labels in the game have a purpose of identifying mechanical differences. Whereas in a fantasy setting it would not be normal to make such distinctions, a soldier not a fighter, a soldier not a barbarian, a soldier not a bard. Other labels than soldier could include adventurer, treasure hunter, noble, and so on. In early D&D class levels had titles so a magic-user would be a sorcerer one level, warlock, necromancy the next, and then wizard. Today those are all distinct game classes but these would not necessarily be distinctions in roleplaying or writing, they merely refer to the class rules used by the character.

    Hence if your bard is a minstrel then they would be a minstrel but they might have levels in bard and levels in Harper scout. If the context is changed to a meeting of the Harper organization then your character is now a scout, but it doesn't nullify being a minstrel or bard for that matter.

    From a strictly game mechanics perspective you would say your character is a Bard/Harper Scout or you would say your character is a Bard with Harper Scout as prestige class.

  • Ian579Ian579 Member Posts: 239
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