This thread is intended to suggest talents that specialize the gameplay of classes into more specific archetypes, similiar how prestige classes in DnD 3.X work.
The guidelines I tried to follow during this write up are the following:
- Work with what is in the game, e.g. no absurdly demanding changes to systems, so that it could be actually implemented
- Ignore actual numbers (for the most part) as they would need to be tweaked anyway
- Ignore upgrades to basic stats like 'Deflection +X' , focus on concepts
- Try to give an incentive to play the class according to its subtype instead of boring flat out passive bonuses
- Respect the design paradigm, e.g. avoid too much class overlap or having actual dual classes that can do what both classes do simultaneously without much of a disadvantage
What's the difference between this thread and the other talent threads?
It's organized by archetype. In particular, I mostly comment on prestige classes from NWN 2 in this thread where some KITs from BG2 will follow later. I suggest some talents with a short motivation when I think it makes sense or explain why the concept can be already realized (in theory) otherwise.
Before I get to the classes, I drew a conclusion to the overall design of prestige classes:
IMO, prestige Classes in NWN2 fall in one of four categories, relative to their base classes:
1) Dual Classes
Examples: Arcane Trickster, Divine Champion, Sacred Fist
IMO, are not applicable to the design of PoE as they give you roughly 75% progression in both classes, whereas PoE aims for something like at most 80% / 20% by customization with talents.
2) More of the Same, slightly different
Examples: Assassin(Rogue), Frenzied Berserker(Barbarian), Arcane Scholar, Doomguide
Most of the unique stuff is either already incorporated into the classes in PoE or the difference is systematic in DnD so that it'd hardly make sense to transfer it into extra talents for this. As for the talents that just make classes better at what they do, no one needs me to come up with them so I skip them.
2.5) Flavour without new mechanics
Examples: Shadow Thief, Harper Scout
Suffers from the same problems as 2)
3) New Concepts or some kind of twist to mechanics
Examples: Dragon Disciple, Pale Master, Duelist, Shadowdancer
These are things I feel should be included in PoE via Talents if possible, although special fighting styles (duelist, dwarfen defender) are already implemented in PoE in terms of equipment properties.
I will skip some of the prestige classes I consider to be in 1) and 2) and especially in 2.5).
So let's start with NWN2.
1) Arcane Archer
Summary: Elven wizards that can deliver their spells through archery.
Motivation: TBH, I don't think there is one. There should be more ways to play a dedicated archer other than the ranger, however, the focus of this class lies in the spells. It works well in PnP but didn't work that great in the NWNs because of the implementation of spells via talents. Too convoluted and gimmicky to apply to PoE, so passed. More on archers when dealing with KITs.
2) Arcane Trickster
Summary: Spellthieves that combine their cunning and magical talents.
Available to: Rogue
Spellthief (Active, 1/Encounter)
Targets Will, on success steals an enemies buff and gives it to the user.
That's basically all there is unique to this class, otherwise it's just a wizard and a rogue at the same time, so it goes against design intent.
Summary: Stealthy killers that use afflictions to weaken their target.
Motivation: IMO, that's basically the rogue in PoE, so passed.
Summary: Dark Warriors serving evil.
Available to: Paladin
Nefarious X [Modal, Aura]
Prerequisite: Zealous X (any Aura already learned, where X denotes the aura)
Replaces Zealous X. Gives half the positive effect of Zealous X to the party and inverts the full positive effect of Zealous X on the enemies (on the opposing stat).
Zealous Focus gives accuracy.
Nefarious Focus gives minor accuracy but reduces enemies deflection.
Zealous March gives +2 Movement Speed to the party.
Nefarious March gives +1 Movement Speed to the party and -2 Movement Speed to the enemies.
Motivation: Turns buffs into debuffs (on the same action) , inverting the role, so there is a parallel. Note that there is a subtle difference between „0.5 buff on the party, 1 debuff on enemy“ and „1.5 buff to the party“ as the effect is based on proximity to the paladin.
5) Divine Champion
Summary: Bastardchilds of Paladins and Fighters.
Motivation: IMO, that's basically the paladin in PoE, so passed.
Summary: Dexterous fencer focused on parrying and making riposte attacks.
Motivation: IMO, that's basically the fighter with a rapier and having defender turned on all the time. In particular, it's hard to come up with a defensive fighting stance without the concept of attacks per rounds that doesn't end up being too similar to defender. So passed in a way.
7) Dwarfen Defender
Summary: Dwarfen Bollwerks on the frontline.
Motivation: IMO, that's basically the fighter in PoE, so passed.
The Gish / Eldritch Knight / Warpriest
Summary: Magic wielders that go to the frontline, using weapon and magic alike.
Available to: Cipher, Druid, Priest, Wizard.
i) Battlemage [Modal]
Get a minor penalty to accuracy.
When using a spell, get a medium bonus for the next melee attack.
When using a melee attack, get a medium bonus for the next spell.
ii) Defensive Casting
When Battlemage is active, get a minor penalty to deflection.
While one of the bonues of Battlemage is active, get additional a medium bonus to deflection.
iii) Concentrated Casting
While one of the bonues of Battlemage is active, get a medium bonus to concentration during spellcasting.
iv) Extended Arcane Veil
Prerequiste: Arcane Veil
Changes Arcane Veil from 1 Use/Day, 25 Deflection to 1 Use/Encounter, 15 Deflection.
There is a clear incentive to switch between casting and attacking, which IMO is the main principle of a gish and it boosts the stats neccessary. I feel that it's neccessary to tie the bonus to melee only, as it is pretty much a no-brainer if it's working with ranged weapons. What kind of gish you play depends on the base class you are picking. It's modal instead of passive so that you can play defensively with ranged weapons if an encounter demands that.
Note that the boni don't stack, so after making 10 melee attacks, it's neither a 10 times accuracy boost on the next spell nor an accuracy bonus for the next 10 spells, the same for the melee bonus.
9) Frenzied Berserker:
Summary: Ravaging Madmen.
Available to: Barbarian
i) Self Sacrificial Rage [Modal]
Increased Attack Rate but Damage over Time.
ii) Greater Carnage
Increases the range of carnage.
Frenzied Berserker resolves around maximal hurt, both in absolute damage and splash damage, but the barbarian already does most of this anyway.
10) Invisible Blade
Summary: Clever Fighters using Daggers.
Motivation: Contained in the rogue, just dual wield daggers. Passed.
11) Pale Master
Summary: Necromancers on a first step to becoming lichs.
Motivation: Sadly, it's not really applicable in the setting. Either way, the chanter somehow has control over undead summons already, so passed in a sense.
12) Red Dragon Disciple
Summary: Descendants of Dragons, invoking their draconic Heritage.
Motivation: Should be in as a talent line for druids, with the third talent or so giving a dragon shapeshift. That'd be awesome for an expansion, as shapeshift forms are already locked for the main game.
13) Sacred Fist
Summary: Monks using divine magic from within.
Motivation: The unique abilities are already on the monk in PoE, otherwise it's just a cleric and monk at the same time, so passed.
Summary: Artists of deception, operating on the border between light and shadow.
Motivation: Given that there is no stealth during combat, a concept like hide in plain sight is not possible, and it would also go against the principle of mixing combat and noncombat skills.
15) Weapon Master
Summary: Masters of a single Weapon, using them as if they were part of their body.
Motivation: Given the focus on being able to switch weapon sets, I don't think there is much chance to get talents to specialize in a single weapon instead of a category, which takes the concept ad absurdum.
More on KITs from BG2 on a later day. Please note that because the way DnD 3.X works differently from DnD2, there aren't actually a lot of talents that can be recovered from the prestige classes. The KITs in BG2 should be more open for special talents.