Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just a few quick comments on the paragon path preview

As many of you who read this blog probably already know, Wizards of the Coast is providing 4th Edition excerpts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Today's was about Paragon Paths.

I am not going to repeat the article here, but for those of you who don't know, paragon path's are a bit like 3rd Edition's Prestige classes with the following changes:

  • You continue to advance in your class (or classes if multi-classed) as normal.  However, your paragon path will give you special abilities at 11th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level.
  • Once you pick a paragon path, you are staying in it until level 20.  No dipping into several to cherry pick powers.
  • At level 20 you can choose an Epic Destiny, which pretty much acts like a Paragon Path.

I am still not 100% sold on the paragon path as replacement for prestige class concept, but here are the things I found most interesting about the preview:

  • Since the author said they were providing a sample path "for each class", it pretty much confirmed that the classes in the first Player's Handbook will be: Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, Warlord, and Wizard.  None of these are a shocker, but last time I checked they hadn't confirmed the list either.
  • It mentioned that you don't have to pick a paragon path.  If you don't, you can choose to grab certain abilities from another class at the same points you would be getting your paragon path special abilities.  I was glad to hear this as I imagine there will be some people who cannot find a good fit among the existing paragon paths.
  • As mentioned elsewhere, the levels at which you get powers and what type of powers they are is very standardized.  This should simplify the process of creating your own paragon paths.
  • Unlike prestige classes, paragon paths tend to use a class as one of the prerequisites.  In 3rd Edition, class was expressly forbidden as a prerequisite.  This definitely made getting into a prestige class more more flexible, but had the down side of making game designers put together sentences that said things like "must have the resist nature's lure class feature and the ability to cast divine spells"  Instead of typing "Druid".

All and all, the concept of paragon paths has me intrigued.  I am curious what they will look like and if they will provide sufficient flavor for characters who go a little off the beaten path.