Prestige Class is a new type of class for the Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game that is introduced in its 3rd Edition. A prestige class, unlike a normal class, can not be taken at first level. Instead, a character must work towards it. For a prestige class is really a very specialized line of work. For example, there is the Dragon Disciple from the 3rd Edition accesory Tome and Blood. A character must fullfill the requirements for the Dragon Disciple, which are:
- Race: Any nondragon.
- Knowledge (Arcana): 8 ranks
- Languages: Draconic
- Spells: Ability to cast arcane spells without preparation.
- Special: The player chooses a dragon type when taking the first level of this prestige class, subject to the DM's approval.
If the character has fulfilled all of the requirements for the prestige class, the next time he levels up, he can take a level in the prestige class. In the case of this class, he slowly becomes more and more draconic until he realizes that he is truely a half-dragon.
Prestige classes can be easily used to help define your campaign world by making prestige classes for organizations, such as the Harpers and Red Wizards of Thay prestige classes in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Prestige classes can also make very interesting character concepts since anyone can make one. For example, a player wants to make a fighter class character who only uses her fists and cestus. In general, this is a bad idea if you actually want to deal damage or hit, considering the monk class is much better suited for it. But with a prestige class you could give the character level benefits for meeting very specific requirements and make up for the fact that she's a fighter that doesn't use weapons.
Making a prestige class can be tricky as one needs to keep their eyes on all possible requirements. To make sure that a prestige class can't be taken until a certain level, a couple of tricks are Base Attack Bonus requirements(since only three classes have their base Attack go up every level), skill rank requirements(since there is a limit to how many ranks you can have in skills per character level), and spell level requirements.
All in all, this is an interesting new concept for players of Dungeons and Dragons to play around with and hopefully define their characters better.