RPG Superstar 2011™ Round Two Assignment: Design a Class Archetype in 450 Words
Design an interesting class archetype (a set of alternate class features for a specific class) for use with one of the 11 core classes of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the 6 base classes presented in the Advanced Player's Guide. An archetype alters a class by exchanging default class abilities of these classes for new class abilities. Examples of class archetypes appear in Chapter 2 of the Advanced Player's Guide and in the free online Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document here.
Entries must be submitted through the submission tool at paizo.com/rpgsuperstar/previous/2011 beginning at 2 PM Pacific time on January 18, 2011, and must be received by 2 PM Pacific time on January 21, 2011. As with Round 1, you probably shouldn't wait until the last minute to submit your archetype; Paizo has 4 alternates lined up to submit just in case one of the Top 32 fails to do so.
Voting begins at 2 PM Pacific Time on January 25, 2011, and ends at 2 PM Pacific Time on January 31, 2011. Judges will announce the top 16 entries on February 1, 2011.
FORMAT: For your convenience, the following text contains all the necessary formatting to make your submission comparable to those in the Advanced Player's Guide. You may copy this text to help format your submission, but are not required to do so. Remember that improperly formatted entries may be disqualified. You should not use ALL CAPS for any part of your archetype submission (Paizo's header format in books often looks like it is in all caps, but it isn't).
The following text goes in the Subject line of your submission:
Archetype Name (Original Class Name)
The following text goes in the main text box of your submission:
[b]Archetype Name (Original Class Name)[/b]
Your text goes here. This first paragraph is your descriptive introductory paragraph about the archetype. No game mechanics appear in this part of your submission. [b]Class Skills[/b]: Your text goes here. This should be a complete listing of the class's class skills, not a "add this and remove these" sort of statement. It should include "These replace the standard [class] class skills." If your archetype does not alter the original class's class skills, omit this line. [b]Skill Ranks Per Level[/b]: Your text goes here. If your archetype does not alter the original class's skill ranks per level, omit this line. [b]Weapon and Armor Proficiency[/b]: Your text goes here. If your archetype does not alter the original class's weapon or armor proficiencies, omit this line. [b]Ability Name (Ex, Sp, or Su)[/b]: Your text goes here. Every new or altered ability your archetype has should have a bold entry like this one. Make sure you identify whether this ability is extraordinary (Ex), spell-like (Sp), or supernatural (Su) in the bold header. If this ability replaces an existing ability from the original class, you should include a sentence that says "This ability replaces OriginalAbilityName."
EXAMPLE SUBMISSION: The following is an example of how to use the provided archetype format for your submission.
In the Subject line of the submission form:
Cloistered Cleric (Cleric)
In the main text box of the submission form:
Cloistered Cleric (Cleric) A cloistered cleric typically lives in a temple and rarely interacts with the outside world. They are bookish and well-learned in the lore of the faith, paying less attention to its magical and martial aspects.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cloistered clerics are proficient with light armor and with the following weapons: club, heavy mace, light mace, quarterstaff, and sling. They are not proficient in shields.
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Breadth of Knowledge: A cloistered cleric gains a bonus to Knowledge skills equal to half her class level (minimum +1) and can make Knowledge skill checks untrained. This ability replaces channel energy.
Brewmaster (Ex): At 3rd level, a cloistered cleric gains a +2 bonus on Craft (brewing) checks.
Fish Friar (Ex): At 5th level, a cloistered cleric gains a +2 bonus on Profession (cook) checks when preparing fish.
Chip Monk (Ex): At 7th level, a cloistered cleric gains a +2 bonus on Profession (cook) checks when preparing potatoes.
Wander the Countryside (Ex): At 9th level, a cloistered cleric gains a +20 enhancement bonus to her land movement speed.
WORD COUNT: The entire submission (everything that appears in the main text box of your submission, including the name of the archetype and the original class's name), must not exceed 450 words. The submission form includes a Preview button to view what your submission will look like, and will give you a total word count for your submission as part of the subject line. You are strongly encouraged to use the Preview button to review your submission to make sure your submission doesn't exceed the word count. Using the Preview button also lets you check to make sure the formatting (with the included bold-text tags) is correct.
GAME BALANCE: Knowing how to balance your archetype's power level is a significant part of the Round 2 challenge. For example, if you trade a class's +2 bonus on saving throws for a +8 bonus on saving throws, your archetype is significantly more powerful than the base class--unless you compensate for this increase by taking away other abilities from the class. Keep the overall balance of the class's power in mind when designing your archetype.
DISQUALIFICATION: Submissions may be disqualified for the following reasons:
Submission is not an archetype. Note that the Advanced Player's Guide includes new rules that are not archetypes and therefore are not valid submissions for Round 2 of RPG Superstar. Examples of these invalid rules are barbarian rage powers, cleric subdomains, alternate classes like the anti-paladin, ranger combat styles, rogue talents, sorcerer bloodlines, wizard schools, alchemist discoveries, cavalier orders, oracle mysteries or revelations, summoner evolutions, or witch hexes or patrons. Your submission must be an archetype.
Submission is not an archetype of one of the 11 core classes in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook (barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard) or one of the 6 base classes in the Advanced Player's Guide (alchemist, cavalier, inquisitor, oracle, summoner, witch).
Submission exceeds 450 words.
Submission does not conform to the rules of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Submission is copied from a previously published source.
Submission uses rules, archetypes, or copyrighted material from publishers other than Paizo.
Submission does not generally use correct English.
Every voter gets 8 votes this round, allowing you to vote for up to 8 submitted archetypes. You cannot vote more than once for any particular archetype. You can revise your votes at any time while the voting period is open. You are allowed to vote for yourself.
How much can I change a class before it is too much of a change for an archetype?
The 450-word limit prevents you from making too many changes. However, you could make significant changes in just a few words, such as by giving a sorcerer archetype the bard or summoner spell progression. Note that it is possible to make an archetype that skews too far from the standard class--for example, a wizard that can't cast spells and has no other magical abilities isn't much of a wizard.
Can I refer to class abilities in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook or Advanced Player's Guide?
Yes. For example, you could say:
At 6th level, the subtle singer gains a +1d6 sneak attack, as the rogue ability of the same name. This ability replaces suggestion.
However, you should understand that giving your archetype class abilities from other classes is not particularly creative or innovative, and the judges and voters are more likely to respond to new ideas and abilities. This is not to say that you shouldn't use these existing abilities at all, but an archetype that consists of nothing but swapped class abilities is probably a poor submission.
If the judges or anyone else has questions about my archetype, can I post answers to their questions?
No! At least, not while voting is open. See Rule #5 on the Contest Rules page: "During public voting rounds, contestants are prohibited from any public discussion that could be considered as adding to, expanding upon, or clarifying the content of their current submission. This applies to (but is not limited to) interviews, personal blogs, and messageboard posts on paizo.com or elsewhere, including the paizo.com discussion thread for the entry itself. Any such discussion may result in disqualification, in the sole discretion of the judges and/or Paizo." In other words, your submission has to get by on its own, even if everyone has the same question and you could answer it with a single word. That's because if you write an archetype and it gets published, the book doesn't include a little copy of you to answer questions or offer suggestions, so you need to make sure your submission is clear on its own. Just grin and bear it--you'll be able to say as much as you want about it once voting is closed. In fact, you may just want to copy this safe-to-post statement: Thank you for your support and please vote for my item! If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer them once voting for this round is closed.
In previous competitions, there has been a "secret twist" revealed when the round starts. Is that happening this year?
Yes, although we're revealing the "twist" when voting closes for a round, rather than waiting until the next round begins, to give the contestants more time to prepare. There is no "twist" to the Round Two (archetype) design task.
Can I submit an archetype tied to Paizo's Golarion setting, such as a Red Mantis guard or a Varisian fatesinger?
Yes! Archetypes are an excellent way of personalizing characters without having to rely on prestige classes. However, keep in mind that not all of the judges work at Paizo and may not have a strong knowledge of the campaign setting, and many of the voters are not regular Pathfinder readers. Contestants hoping to get an "edge" by including a bunch of Pathfinder and Paizo-related references may be shooting themselves in the feet.
Yes, though that is not likely to be a good example of your design talent. Remember that you're in a competition with other designers to see who can get the most votes for a cool and interesting archetype, and making changes to an archetype in the Advanced Player's Guide isn't likely to impress many voters.
Provided the campaign has never been published, this is fine, but keep in mind that all submissions become the property of Paizo Publishing, LLC. You are probably better off inventing a new world-reference or using Paizo's setting.