Originally, this campaign was supposed to be just me, no other players. Then, at some point, she decided it would be a good idea to let me in on this... I had to pick my class carefully. While a good DM will work this situation carefully with adding their own characters and making encounters designed to mesh with the player's class, it's best to come as prepared as possible. In the very last 3.5e supplement published before 4e, Dungeonscape, a new class was introduced that was meant to be a jack of all trades. I decided to take it for a test run.
The factotum is a class that can do a little bit of it all. They're proficient with a large variety of weaponry and shields. As the factotum levels up, they gain a pool of "Inspiration Points" they can pull from in combat. They can use these points, depending on their level, to do simple things like add their Intelligence modifier to any roll or make another standard action, or more complex things usually specific to other classes, like spellcasting, healing, turning undead, and sneak attacking. Inspiration points refresh every encounter, so there's little reason to hold back if you have a clever plan. And we will admit to starting combat WITHIN THE PARTY just to refresh these points. Quite hilarious, actually, we usually just beat up on the same person. Compared to the core classes, they're more limited to how much they can do per day, but for someone running through dungeons on their own, it's a comfort to be able to heal yourself, or cast a powerful spell when you need it instead of having to depend on magic items for it all. Even though magic items are DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS.
The special kicker for this class is in what they can do as far as skills. Most classes are limited in what skills that can take and spend points in. Factotums, though, are able to use every skill in the game. This allows for great versatility in how you want to make your character's abilities and personality rather than being forced to be diplomatic versus intimidating (ironically, for this campaign, our diplomat IS our intimidator...) or limiting the knowledges you can learn because of the class's own limitations. The world is at your fingertips as a factotum.
However, while the factotum is very skilled, they are limited by their abilities as far as prestige classes are concerned. For example, while they technically can sneak attack with an inspiration point, they don't have the sneak attack ability, so they can't take any classes that require it without taking a few levels in rogue. This is not a problem for Indeah as this is a gestalt campaign and she is a Rogue/Factotum. Both. Delicious, I tell you. They have fewer spells they can cast per day than a real caster, and gain them at a much slower rate, stopping at 7th level spells. If you want to be especially good at something, it's probably a better idea to go with a class that's specific to what you want to do. Sadly, there is still no class that is specifically tailored "owning face." This disappoints me. There is an epic prestige class (or five) that does something similar, I believe.
- All skills, no limits!
- Jack of all trades, well designed to fit into any party or solo game
- Allows players more freedom with inspiration points, and has abilities through them no other classes have without spells
- Can do everything, but not very powerful at anything. Overall decreased ability to do any special abilities (fewer spells per day, less sneak attack, etc)
- Limits on prestige classes available, because Inspiration point abilities don't actually count as actually having the ability.