While many legendary heroes of Golarion fit easily into the core classes of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game—the sword-swinging fighters, fireball-flinging wizards, backstabbing rogues, and others—there are some who specialize in unique styles and techniques, perfectly customizing themselves for their roles. For these characters, there are prestige classes. From the undead-hunting Knights of Ozem to the revolutionary Gray Gardeners of Galt, this book collects 30 of the most prominent faiths and factions from around the Inner Sea and transforms them into prestige classes designed to help you take advantage of the tricks and tactics of some of Golarion’s most famous (and infamous) groups, all while rooting your character firmly in the lore and societies of the Pathfinder campaign setting.
Within this 64-page book, you’ll find new prestige class options for every character class in the Pathfinder RPG, including:
The Aldori swordlord, world-renowned dueling master of the turbulent north.
The Hellknight signifer, an armored spellcaster who uses magic to pursue the perfect, iron-fisted law of Hell.
The gun-toting shieldmarshal, whose bright badge brings order to the chaos of the Mana Wastes.
The mammoth rider, savage megafauna cavalry expert.
The Sleepless detective, uniquely suited to solving mysteries both magical and mundane in haunted Ustalav.
The winter witch, whose ice magic keeps a whole nation in thrall.
...and 24 more!
Paths of Prestige is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game setting.
By Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Matt Goodall, and Jason Nelson
September 13, 2012 The Winter Witch prestige class has been updated and is available for download. (1.2MB zip/PDF)
Pathfinder is better known for it’s complete and ‘go for 20 level’ base classes than it’s Prestige Classes. After all, the Archetypes make many PrC’s obsolete.
But here we have another thirty prestige classes for your use and reading pleasure. One I thought was great but might be a better base class is Noble Scion, which is Aristocrat done at a playable (but not power gamed) level.
Fun classes include the Mammoth Rider!
I have two quibbles- at least three of the PrC’s depend upon non-Core material, such as a feat found only in a sourcebook. The writers should have repeated the feat here. True, Core rulebook stuff doesn’t need to be, but this does. A more minor quibble is that some of these classes here are very region dependant.
A extra bonus is the table of where to find another three dozen Prestige classes, including some very basic info on each. Nice!
This slim 64 page addition for the Pathfinder Campaign Setting adds 30 new prestige classes to your favorite Fantasy role-playing game.
Section One, "Arcana", has 8 new mage prestige classes, including the Arclord of Nex, the Blackfire Adept, the Magaambyan Arcanist, the Razmiran Priest, the Riftwarden, the Tattooed Mystic, the Veiled Illusionist, and the Winter Witch.
Section Two, "Brawn", has 9 new fighter prestige classes, including the Aldori Swordlord, the Brother of the Seal, the Golden Legionnaire, the Knight of Ozem, the Lantern Bearer, the Mammoth Rider, the Pit Fighter, the Shieldmarshal, and the Skyseeker.
Section Three, "Guile", has 6 new rogue prestige classes, including the Aspis Agent, the Bellflower Tiller, the Daggermark Poisoner, the Gray Gardener, the Noble Scion, and the Sleepless Detective.
Section Four, "Piety", has 7 new clerical prestige classes, including the Champion of Irori, the Dawnflower Dissident, the Green Faith Acolyte, the Hellknight Signifier, the Prophet of Kalistrade, the Storm Kindler, and the Umbral Court Agent.
There's also a chart showing where to find 36 other prestige classes. The classes in the book are presented in alphabetical order. A canny GM would look to see if any of these classes would be more appropriate for NPC's. There are two pages for each class, and the necessary chart, as well as a sample picture of what a generic member of that class would look like. All new prestige classes in this volume, and references to the prestige classes in other Pathfinder products, make this just about a must-have for GM's. Highly recommended.
If this book had come out during the time of 3.5, I probably would have groaned and ignored it. Over the years, I have had very few players ever take a prestige class (I’m pretty sure I could count the total number on one hand), and so this just would have been more bloat that would probably never get used. However, with recent emphasis being away from prestige classes, my reaction to this was one of interest. The scattered prestige classes that have appeared in other Golarion sources have all been very flavourful, so there was every reason to believe Paizo could keep it up with a book full of them. To be honest, most of the classes in this book will still likely never see use in any of my games; however, I would consider it very likely that some will get used, if only for NPCs. With only a couple of exceptions (that seem strangely generic), all the classes are extremely flavourful and help to add more options and life to the world of Golarion.
Some of the Pathfinder staff once said (and I agreed) that one of the problems with 3.5 was there were TONS of prestige classes (if I recall correctly, the word "bloat" was used), and that this was something they wanted to avoid with Pathfinder. When they made a prestige class, it would have meaning to the campaign setting. So, we got one or two maybe three here and there, but not a large amount of prestige classes... until now. But, this book does NOT in my opinion make a mistake. Every class in this book is based on a faction or other such part of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting (Golarion) that makes it so players won't just be looking at the prestige class for the powers it can give them, but for the fun and flavor of the character.
Some definite gems from my initial reads of the PDF before my hardcopy arrives and I can curl up on my couch for more serious reading (and this first one... I'd love to play on in a PFS game!) are the Snake Oil Sales... I mean Razmiran Priests. Yes, these powerful arca... I mean divine spellcasters can heal you by the power of The Living God, Razmir! Sure, those are only temporary hit points. But it's ok, because by the time they wear off you'll likely either be dead from additional damage or have healed enough naturally that you won't notice, so let's all bow to Razmir, The Living God!
Then we have the Grey Gardeners. Galt's executioners who, at level 10 learn the secret ritual to extract a soul from a final blade (and even before that, can draw a soul into their sword and then later stick it into a final blade.)
There is also the Shieldmarshals, which are Alkenstar's guards and investigators both protecting the people of Alkenstar and helping to enforce Alkenstar's monopoly on the gun trade, along with many more prestige classes that all fit in and enhance Golarion as a setting.
So, while not every class will be useful to every player and every campaign, all of the classes have meaning to the campaign setting far beyond just a collection of cool abilities. Even just seeing the names of the classes, I can tell what faction or aspect of Golarion they represent.
I approve of the direction Paizo went with this book. They could have tried to generalize prestige classes, but instead tied them intricately to the world of Golarion. This is an excellent GM resource, but there are several viable options for PCs in any campaign. It's the options that tie specifically into your campaign (even PFS) that will make the difference! For example, if I were a PC in Skull & Shackles I'd be hard pressed not to pursue the Storm Kindler prestige class which drips with flavor.
In short, if you love the world of Golarion then you'll love the depth this book brings to NPCs and PCs.