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Archetypes: Do you like them? Why or why not?


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So I'd like to discuss the archetypes model starfinder is using. Please share what you like and what you don't like and why. I'll start:

Likes:
I like that the archetypes are modular. I like the idea that it is available to anyone regardless of class.

Dislikes:
I dislike the loss of class features to gain the benefits of the two archtypes included in the core book.

The initial archetypes. Neither of them seemed to provide me with anything I wanted for any of the classes aside from the soldier. Even still I chose not to do an archetype an instead "built my own" with my soldier by using my regular feats to buy interesting abilities and only pick up combat feats as the bonus feats

Other thoughts:
I'd like to see some variant multiclassing as archetypes, ie I'm a solider with the mystic archetype. I lose some level of soldierness, but pick up a reduced spellcasting ability. Or I'm a technomancer with the operative archetype, I pick up a bunch of class skills and a reduced trick attack and the cost of no spell cache and 1 less spell known per level 1 less spell per day.

Sovereign Court

baggageboy wrote:

So I'd like to discuss the archetypes model starfinder is using. Please share what you like and what you don't like and why. I'll start:

Likes:
I like that the archetypes are modular. I like the idea that it is available to anyone regardless of class.

Dislikes:
I dislike the loss of class features to gain the benefits of the two archtypes included in the core book.

The initial archetypes. Neither of them seemed to provide me with anything I wanted for any of the classes aside from the soldier. Even still I chose not to do an archetype an instead "built my own" with my soldier by using my regular feats to buy interesting abilities and only pick up combat feats as the bonus feats

Other thoughts:
I'd like to see some variant multiclassing as archetypes, ie I'm a solider with the mystic archetype. I lose some level of soldierness, but pick up a reduced spellcasting ability. Or I'm a technomancer with the operative archetype, I pick up a bunch of class skills and a reduced trick attack and the cost of no spell cache and 1 less spell known per level 1 less spell per day.

I didn't see anything I liked with the archetypes. It's like they were already offering a way to say "here, go ahead and change things already!" Me, personally, I'm a fan of playing the classes as they are written. Now, like Pathfinder, if they want to open up a whole book on archetypes later down the road, great. But, for now, I would rather play one step at a time.


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I don't like that the Archetypes are stand alone and don't build off anything, effectively making them a side class rather than a Archetype. A side class on a weakened class.

I don't like that what each class gives up is so uneven. Soldier only gives up half their feats, whereas the Solarion has to give up half their Revelations and Zenith Revelations. The Soldier, however, gets more feats through character levels.

I don't want to say that having it so that any class can take an archetype is a bad thing, but I don't see how they'll deal with the above problems while it it is like that (having them replace character feats like VMC instead of class abilities would be a start).


@ Laffite

See I like the ability to customize as long as it isn't unbalancing. I started with video games based on ad&d and still love multiclassing because of it. One of the guys that I play with is like you though, he wants it to be a single class experience. I think the archetype model is a good method of allowing both camps to be happy as long as it's done well.


Conceptually awesome, have yet to test them.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't like them. What don't I like about them.

Everything.

I don't like they're modular, I feel like it makes them overly bland and uninteresting.

I just don't like them or see the point of them.

I'd prefer they focus on themes on more themes in the future.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I think the idea behind them is cool! I love that any class could potentially get some cool new powers! That said, I feel that the archetypes in the book don't add much of value (either mechanically or flavour-wise) and they punish some classes more than others for actually taking the archetype in the first place. I would certainly like to see more but I feel they need more interesting abilities and deeper flavor whilst also not punishing certain classes more than others to be worthwhile using.

The Exchange

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Likes:

The basic concept.

That the archtypes are for a variety of classes instead of a single class. I like that in time there will be a bunch of these and thus allow more personalized building within a class. Which is something Starfinder seems to accel at much to my joy. I've never been fond with the level of sameness that some class based systems end up with.

Dislikes:

The way they've implemented instead of increasing options has decreased them. One phrenic adept envoy and another are highly similar. Where as you could easily find 4 normal envoys who are very different and all work great.

They seem to affect the classes unevenly, though I suppose if a soldier couldn't take combat feats in their normal slots they would be as disadvantaged as the rest.

Wishes:

That the abilities from an archtype were each optional. That they were additions to the pool instead of replacements. I feel like the themes as they are, while great in concept have so little effect as to be irrelevant. Archtypes could have filled that nitch. A way for backgrounds or character focuses to have a real effect on you're character, instead they just waterdown your class with things you couldn't care less about while stealing options you do.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just a "me, too" on this - love the direction they're headed, but the specific execution didn't offer enough to make me want them over what they replaced.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I like that archetypes are separated from classes, making them more versatile across all classes. Really increases the versatility of character design.

I haven't played the Starfinder Forerunner archetype, but it looks interesting enough that I'll give it a try eventually. I absolutely love the Phrenic Adept. I've added it to a sharpshooter soldier and the exocortex mechanic, and both play rather well. It doesn't feel any less effective than other characters, and it adds interesting new abilities to the PC.

How it really feels is that I've played the Phrenic Adept "class" twice, and each time have added different "Archetypes," one a soldier and the other a mechanic.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I like the direction of archetypes, but the ones in the CRB don't catch my interest.


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I want to like the Phrenic Adept, and I do like the 4th, 9th, and 12th level powers, but that's too much bad stuff too front loaded.

Let's look at what a Technomancer gives up if he's trying to branch out into some mental magic that is otherwise restricted to the Mystic.

2nd level
Loses: Magic Hack - a very good feature
Gains: Limited Telepathy is nice, but you could have gotten it with a racial choice, or a cheap item, albeit one that takes up a valuable slot. The Psychic Power line of feats are really bad compared to Inkling/Dabbler, especially if you're already a caster.
Net: Big loss

4th level
Loses: One spell known from your highest level. Once a gain, a steep price.
Gains: A solid defense against mental attacks, but you already have a high Will save, and it costs a reaction and Resolve Point to use.
Net: Slight loss, maybe even if you face lots of Mystics or monsters with mental attacks.

6th level
Loses: Cache capacitor (first iteration), with an option to instead lose a magic hack at 8th level. Don't lose the hack, cache capacitor is your worst class feature, magic hack is the best.
Gains: A limited Arcane Sight that costs Reserve instead of a spell slot/known, plus some limited blindsense.
Net: Even if you lose Cache Capacitor, you don't gain much in return. Slight loss.

9th level
Loses: Slight delay in Techlore, what you really lose is your Magic Hack at 11th. Once again, that sucks.
Gains: A flexible SLA that can has three options, two are not on your list. Charm Monster is the one you want. This is almost like three spells known and one spell slot (later 2 and 3). Quite good.
Net: Neutral to begin, gain at 13th and 17th when you can use the SLA more than once.

12th level
Loses: Cache Capacitor slot. Yawn.
Gains: Three really good off list SLAs, but only once a day until 16th level.
Net: Gain, especially after 16th level.

18th level
Loses: Cache Capacitor slot. Fine.
Gains: These are mostly weirdly weak for this level, but at least the DCs scale off your character level. Your choice of a slightly upgraded Slow (yuck), a moderately powerful single target damage and debuff (shrug), or a big boost to mind-affecting saves (hooray!) once per day (awww).

So a spell known, all three Cache Capacitor slots, and two magic hacks for this assortment of sometimes dubious powers. The 2nd and 6th level powers really kill this, if solid SLAs got front loaded it might be different.


Xenocrat wrote:
Technomancer.

So I've been thinking of the Phrenic Adept as a type of class on it's own, and in that light, I've been think about how it compares to a multiclassed character.

How would you compare the technomancer Phrenic adept to a 10/10 Technomancer/Mystic?


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They honestly reminded me of a lot of prestige classes: interesting flavor, but not worth the effort and sacrifice. I know the Pathfinder/Starfinder devs don't like PrCs or multi-classing, and it shows... I'd honestly prefer more class options, mixed role classes, half-casters (not just the soldier style or the dabbler feats), and more odd and wondrous things like the Solarian...


I'm fairly certain an optimized soldier archetypes.

Most classes just can't give up what the archetype takes.

Operatives seem to take the hit well too since their critical stuff is baseline.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Game Master Q wrote:
How would you compare the technomancer Phrenic adept to a 10/10 Technomancer/Mystic?

Well, a 10/10 dual caster is not a great build, just looking at spells/day. Not only does it fall behind in spell potency (one 2nd level spell is generally better than two 1st level spells), but unlike Pathfinder's Mystic Theurge (hi guys) it actually gets fewer spells per day than a 20-level single caster (due to two casting stats and fewer bonus spells per day).

A Phrenic Adept single caster is certainly better than a 10/10 dual caster, and is an interesting comparison to the clean single caster. A Phrenic Adept caster loses a lot of options (including, most notably, spells known) but gains additional effective spells/day through SLAs and easy access to the Psychic Power feats. It's a trade-off between depth of action (how many rounds you can do things) and width of action (how many things you could choose from in a given round).


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Psionic should have just been a class, not a weird bolt on thing where you pay a random price based on your class for a jumble of abilities.

Mystic in particular bugs me, since they don't have many class features to give up, they get hit with a scaling price that affects their highest level spellcasting, which is pretty contrary to what anyone else pays. Since they're already shoe-horned into being half-psychic with mandatory telepathy, it also seems odd to toss the psionic archetype at them.

It's also just such a tenuous and unfinished system. If they were going to do it at all, they should have waited until they could flesh it out and do it proper.


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I can see the potential. What I DONT like is that most classes lose the 2nd and 4th level "special" abilities they get (sans soldier who looses filler).

It takes way too long for some of the base classes (Solarian, Mechanic, TM, and Envoy) to really get thier base schtick going with out a class based ability pick till level 6.


I think this a great discussion, I agree both archetypes are front loaded. I believe that is is probably done on purpose so that you can't pick an achetype and multiclass to gain some great ability with a two level dip in one class then go back to what you really wanted. Or dipbblitz with achetype, go back to solarium or technomancer or whatever. Also as was said this has the unfortunate sonsiquence that you loose a lot of the feel of a class until higher levels because you lose defining features.

I think an archetype being built around high level play cold be nice. Or I lose abilities at 8, 12, and 16. Then you hold on to the flavor and prevent the dip optimization of multiclassing doom that the devs seem to hate so much ....


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Honestly? I don't like them. Of all the concepts Paizo added onto 3.5, one of my favorites was archetypes.

Pathfinder archtypes are simple, versatile, and add a huge amount of flavor. Want your Gunslinger to be a roguish cardsharp? Mysterious Stranger. Like the skills and magic of Bards but don't like performing? Archaeologist. Want to command the undead with SCIENCE! instead of necromancy? Reanimator Alchemist.

Pathfinder archetypes are brilliant because they tweak and expand the flavor of existing classes to add a huge amount of versatility. They make it easier to play the exact character you want, and add another element of customisation.

And Starfinder archetypes can't really do that, because they aren't class-based. Suppose you want your Mechanic to be able to reconfigure their drone whenever they have downtime, rather than on level up, and you're willing to trade some power for that. An archetype won't be able to help you, because they have to apply to every class.

Class-independent templates are a good idea, but Starfinder already has those with themes. Archetypes as they stand just seem superfluous.


You are right in that the class specific archetypes Pathfinder used did allow for some really interesting and focused character concepts. It was really nice if you could find one close to something you wanted to play. Starfinder themes I feel are more of a better traits section though rather than archetype light. Most of the mechanics modified by themes are pretty low impact. They give a bit of flavor, but honestly you could do the same without the themes. I think there may be a place for both styles of archetypes. Template style ones as well as class specific ones.

Perhaps they could do something in between as well. Maybe you have to quality to take an archetype, kinda like a prestige class, but it modifies your base class instead of being a multiclass option. Actually I really like this concept.


Archetypes don't really provide any of the reasons that I used archetypes, so I think they're pretty bad. At the very least they should have been named something else.

I'm away from my books right not, but iirc archetypes can't ever take away the psychic powers from the mystic class. Meaning no matter your concept of mystic (you know like say wanting to play a magical priest) you must be psychic regardless of whether that makes any sense for the source of your connection.


Aren't they just fast builds for the class?


I found the two presented totally uninteresting, though I wanted to like them. But if you have to give up good stuff to get something worthless, why bother?

I would like to see more options.


starlite_cutie wrote:
Aren't they just fast builds for the class?

Nope, they're not the examples given after each Class section, they're a specific suite of abilities you can get by trading out certain class abilities for each class.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dunkin Donuts is terrible around here.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm not against the idea of classless archetypes, but there are a few problems I have with Starfinder's approach.

- The abilities given should have more pizzaz at low levels. Characters are generally trading out stuff that make their class unique, so give them something cool. The ability to do something interesting as a standard action in combat isn't a bad idea for second level- that's what Envoy and Solarian are trading out, after all.

- Just makes me want new classes faster. There's no biological tweak option for Mechanic, so now I need to wait for that class to come out.

- Upcoming archetypes we know about are Star Knight, Skyfire Centurion, and Divine Champion, all of which sound very similar and knight-ish. Hopefully Pact Worlds has something a little more out there in it as well.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What are those three archetypes coming in?! I wanna be one!


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The Pact Worlds hardcover next month.

Contributor

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I like them, but they aren't the same as PF's conceptually. They are more like prestige classes, which makes me like them more. However, I do think that somewhere down the like we might end up needing an option that alters core elements of the classes, which is the niche of PF archetypes.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like the idea of archetypes that can be applied to any class more than the execution so far. Honestly I wish vigilantes, for starts, had been designed with a similar concept. But as others have said, you lose too much for many classes, for not interesting enough options for the ones given so far.

There's an assassin archetype by Rogue Genius that I liked. Well, again, I liked the idea a bit more than the execution, but it was heading in the right direction. I think archetypes that swap out only a few options but introduce a couple new tricks when they do are going to be better than full chassis overhauls, but I'm willing to be convinced if they put out something good.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
simplygnome wrote:

I can see the potential. What I DONT like is that most classes lose the 2nd and 4th level "special" abilities they get (sans soldier who looses filler).

It takes way too long for some of the base classes (Solarian, Mechanic, TM, and Envoy) to really get thier base schtick going with out a class based ability pick till level 6.

Sadly, it's worse than that: they lose 2nd, 4th, and 6th level "special" abilities, and so have to go without a class-based ability pick until level 8.

Anyway, you can add me to the crowd who like the general idea of class-independent archetypes, but who dislike that different classes have to give up very different things to take them.

As with many others, I'd much prefer a VMC-style set-up where you give up feats, not class abilities (so that every class if giving up the same amount to take the archetype).

Noodlemancer had a nice suggestion along these lines.


I think that they are an interesting idea. It is better to compare them to prestige classes then Pathfinder archetypes. There needs to be more of them before I can give a better analysis.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:


I'm away from my books right not, but iirc archetypes can't ever take away the psychic powers from the mystic class. Meaning no matter your concept of mystic (you know like say wanting to play a magical priest) you must be psychic regardless of whether that makes any sense for the source of your connection.

Yeah, that's a weird one. Mystics should really give up mindlink at 2nd and telepathic bond at 12.


Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
The Pact Worlds hardcover next month.

Sadly, no. It's next year (March). Alien Archive is next month, though!


QuidEst wrote:
Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
The Pact Worlds hardcover next month.
Sadly, no. It's next year (March). Alien Archive is next month, though!

Derp :3


Nohwear wrote:
I think that they are an interesting idea. It is better to compare them to prestige classes then Pathfinder archetypes. There needs to be more of them before I can give a better analysis.

I'm not really sure why people keep making this comparison. Prestige Classes cut off stuff you would have gained at later levels, it didn't strip the class you have of it's current abilities.


I like the concept of any class being able to be modified by an archetype. I'm glad we get to see how Paizo plans on implementing them. Unfortunately, I find the two presented in the book to be rather lack luster, especially coming from the mentality of Pathfinder. It doesn't help that the book is new and it feels like you're giving up cool options to modify one of the classes.

For me at least, the only way I can consider playing the current archetypes is if I view them as the class I want to play. Then I'm just adding unique features from of the 7 archetypes (base classes).

Honestly I hope future archetypes are more interesting. I want this concept to work. I also want to see some "exclusive" archetypes that only work with casters or melee for example.


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Porridge wrote:
simplygnome wrote:

I can see the potential. What I DONT like is that most classes lose the 2nd and 4th level "special" abilities they get (sans soldier who looses filler).

It takes way too long for some of the base classes (Solarian, Mechanic, TM, and Envoy) to really get thier base schtick going with out a class based ability pick till level 6.

Sadly, it's worse than that: they lose 2nd, 4th, and 6th level "special" abilities, and so have to go without a class-based ability pick until level 8.

This is the biggest complaint I have with the archetypes, yeah. Several of the classes have a lot of cool talent-type abilities... but unless you're one of a couple classes, you don't get to pick any of them until level 8 or so. This for me is especially bad with Mechanics (which is especially bad to me since Mechanic is my favorite class so far) since outside of your AI you don't really get much interesting on the off levels either. And someone on a different thread mentioned "I guess you can look at like ok maybe your mechanic isn't the best mechanic in the galaxy but you can read minds how many mechanics can say that?" to which I just respond "literally every Phrenic Adept Mechanic," the only things they'll differ on will be their AI and the slot of their rig... and if you're an Exocortex Phrenic Adept Mechanic, unless I'm mistaken you will be pretty well identical to every Exocortex Phrenic Adept Mechanic for several levels.


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Phrenic Adept makes me go '...why don't I just take the feats?' You don't end up with all the same stuff but you at least get to keep some customisation and pick up the psychic powers at your own pace.

An archetype giving you feats you could just take feels a bit redundant.


I like the concept, with Archetypes not being a branch of a specific class but rather something anyone can fill in, but I don't think I'd use any of them myself. Maybe that's just cuz i think the base classes are already really good.

Definitely like how most of the classes have some solid customization options on their own. The ratio of ability options to abilities gained and lack of Extra X feats for those abilities definitely makes it a little easier to distinguish different members of the same class... albeit giving me option paralysis like you couldn't believe because so much of it is so cool........

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Shinigami02 wrote:
unless I'm mistaken you will be pretty well identical to every Exocortex Phrenic Adept Mechanic for several levels.

I don't know about you, but I usually think of characters as more than just the few abilities written down on the character sheet.

I've seen plenty of PCs who are identical on the character sheet, but are vastly different in play. This isn't a video game; you can differentiate between characters with more than stats.


While that's true it does show that there is a problem with the achetype as they are currently. You have very little flexibility with a build using an architect for the first 6 levels of a character's build. Pretty much you get to choose your gear and that's about it.

The Exchange

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bookrat wrote:
Shinigami02 wrote:
unless I'm mistaken you will be pretty well identical to every Exocortex Phrenic Adept Mechanic for several levels.

I don't know about you, but I usually think of characters as more than just the few abilities written down on the character sheet.

I've seen plenty of PCs who are identical on the character sheet, but are vastly different in play. This isn't a video game; you can differentiate between characters with more than stats.

I agree that character personality is important and can vary a lot between even those of similar concepts. But part of a fun game is having the chance to do your thing and shine, to use your abilities and do something no one else in the party can do, at least not in the same way. How you do this varies from character to character and may even be amplifying the spotlight on others, but the result is the same. But you can't really do that if you don't have any abilities that make you special. You could have multiple exocortex mechanics at the same table, one of them hacking, another buffing their weapon and others, another scouting and a fourth that patches their ship back together like no one else. All these are things from just the first few levels. Not really the case with a phrrenic adept, those two, or three, or four are all jumping for the same chances to shine.


The design of classes so far puts a LOT of emphasis on customization, so for it to cut out your customization for something like half of the game, and the more common half at that, is not a thing I like.

And yes there is more to a character than the sheet. That doesn't mean I don't like having some mechanical quirk to set my character apart as something other than "Phrenic Adept Mechanic #31249"

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
baggageboy wrote:
While that's true it does show that there is a problem with the achetype as they are currently. You have very little flexibility with a build using an architect for the first 6 levels of a character's build. Pretty much you get to choose your gear and that's about it.

...and your skills and your feats and your personality and your motivations and how you interact with the world and how you respond to challenges and...

There's more to the character than the abilities written on the sheet. Even within the sheet, there is more to the character than the class.


The archetypes would be so much better if Envoys and Solarians and stuff could spend a feat to get extra Improvisations or Revelations.

Otherwise, it's not worth not getting meaningful options from your class for most of the early game.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Golurkcanfly wrote:
The archetypes would be so much better if Envoys and Solarians and stuff could spend a feat to get extra Improvisations or Revelations.

That was pretty common in PF. That's a pretty good idea. I like it.


@ bookrat

Tire, I did over look certain things, but the archetypes are still built in such a way that you lose the ability to make your character unique within the class.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, yeah. That's the unique customization path you're choosing: phreanic adept. On top of the specific AI choice you made, of course.

Edit: I could stand archetypes that offer subchoices after choosing the archetype; that would be ideal in fact. But I doubt that will be the rule. It seems like by design they want us to give up versatility for a suite of thematic abilities.

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