Time to Break Your Chains!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Over a year ago, I went to talk to Erik about a book idea I had. The pitch was simple: "Let us do a book filled with whatever crazy ideas we have floating around in our heads". He said "no". I said, "Wait though, allow me to explain, our crazy ideas might make the game better." He said "tell me more", and Pathfinder Unchained was born.

This book is just about to be released and it is time for us to give you a good idea of the crazy ideas you will find inside. Pathfinder Unchained is a book full of rules tweaks and alternate systems you can use to mod your game, changing the way it plays. While we suspect that everyone will find their own favorite rules subsystem, just about everyone take a long look through Chapter 1, detailing alternate versions of the barbarian, monk, rogue, and summoner. So to kick off our previews, I've asked designer Mark Seifter to give you some of the juiciest tidbits about the Unchained variant classes!

Barbarian: From a game-balance perspective, the original barbarian serves her role admirably, but her mechanics are math-intensive, forcing you to recalculate numerous values once she enters rage and keep track of a bevy of once per rage abilities. Worst of all, she's the most likely character of all to die in a fight due to the way that ending rage lowers her current hit points. The unchained barbarian keeps the adrenaline-pumping fun of her former self but significantly simplifies the gameplay by adjusting the final mechanics instead of the stats themselves. For example, she gains temporary hit points instead of raising and later decreasing her current and maximum health (woo, no more dying at the end of rage!). Finally, she gains stronger versions of some of the mechanically weakest rage powers like raging climber (now you get an actual Climb speed instead of a small bonus!).


Illustration by Michael J. Penn

Monk: The original monk has many disparate abilities. While these abilities may be useful, they don't always synergize, and they are extremely inflexible. The unchained monk loosens up, gaining ki powers that allow you to customize your monk to fit your vision, whether it be a kung fu genius or wuxia mystic (my favorites are the ones like ki visions that let you gain divination powers that affect the narrative out of combat!). The unchained monk also has a full base attack bonus, an all-new flurry of blows, and some martial arts style strikes that help him reach his true potential (my favorite is flying kick, which lets you perform a leaping kick out to a distance equal to your extra monk movement speed once per flurry—mobile combatant for the win!).

Rogue: The original rogue has plenty of skill points and a damage increase in the form of sneak attack, but she needed a way to rule her own niche, especially with all the other classes that have things like big skill bonuses and accuracy boosts. The unchained rogue has a powerful debilitation ability that dramatically alters her ability to hit or dodge her foe, rogue's edge, which allows her to do unique things with her favorite skills (figure out surface thoughts with Sense Motive, Bluff so well you bypass truth-telling magic, use Disable Device reactively to protect yourself from a triggered trap, and much more!), and a significant boost to some of her rogue talents (For instance, minor magic? Yeah, you get that cantrip at-will). She also gets Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat and the ability to add her Dexterity to weapon damage!

Summoner: The original summoner has plenty of innovative features, but he also lacks focus and theme. As Jason was fond of describing it "You just have this amorphous blob with ten tentacles and two butts." The unchained summoner gains an eidolon that fits among existing outsiders, gaining additional abilities but also focus and theme (and if you want ten tentacles and two butts, we've still got that—go protean all the way my friend!). Some of these outsiders gain some pretty juicy abilities, like the angel's protective aura (that double strength magic circle against evil/lesser globe combo) or constant true seeing. Additionally, he possesses the spell list originally intended for the summoner.

So there you have it. We are confident that some of these classes will find a home at your game table, even if the Eidolon no longer has two butts. Tune in next week when we move on to look at some of the exciting new options in the Skills and Feats chapter!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Balazar Barbarians Iconics Michael J. Penn Monks Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Rogues Summoners
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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That flying kick for the monk sounds awesome. Gimme more!


I like the sound of all of the listed changes; I was worried when the Barbarian was put on the list for things that needed changing in Unchained but a simplification of the class strikes me as a good idea as described.

I also am loving that Flying Kick. I assume it can be used for upwards movement to tag flying enemies, correct?

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Go on....


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As long as the ability to add Dex to damage works as a incremental thing (like the old Duelist's INT to AC), I can get on board with it.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have money just waiting to be taken.


I doubt it will be incremental. None of the other ways to get dexterity to damage have been after all, but thats just wild guessing. I am curious that the way it was phrased it sounds like the summoner summons, and the critter has spells.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Paizo broke the chain to my safe. And I'm okay with that.


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That version of Flying Kick sounds like the start of the long overdue Billy Quan build. :)

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm curious how the Unchained classes play with existing archetypes and prestige classes. With they seamlessly work, will they or the archetypes/p-classes require minor, house-ruled tweaks, or are they largely incompatible? Does the book address this at all or does it leave it to the GM/Players to resolve?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

What's it mean that the summoner "possesses the spell list originally intended for the summoner?" Does the originally published summoner have a spell list that wasn't the original one, and unchained is bringing back a spell list from a prior (unpublished or beta) version?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Robert Little wrote:
I'm curious how the Unchained classes play with existing archetypes and prestige classes. With they seamlessly work, will they or the archetypes/p-classes require minor, house-ruled tweaks, or are they largely incompatible? Does the book address this at all or does it leave it to the GM/Players to resolve?

Without seeing the book, it sounds like they might well still work - although the tradeoffs might not be balanced as well anymore. We're seeing references to class abilities that already exist (rogue talents, rage powers, flurry of blows), so in theory it would be possible to trade out things that impact those class abilities for the same exchanges we have now. However, since many of these abilities look to be beefed up from before, the tradeoffs might not be all that advantageous...


Sweet! I like.


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Big Lemon wrote:
As long as the ability to add Dex to damage works as a incremental thing (like the old Duelist's INT to AC), I can get on board with it.

It'll probably be a Rogue Talent. Not all Rogues are dex-based after all, plus that would delay it to level 2, meaning that classes that might benefits from dex-to-damage would be discouraged from dipping for it because they either have their own means that comes online faster or have class features that they really don't want to delay by two levels.


Nice. This sounds righteous!


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would love to know whether or not these rules are going to be utilized for PFS

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lamontius wrote:
would love to know whether or not these rules are going to be utilized for PFS

Might be a case-by-case - for example, the revamped summoner might be required, but the other three might be optional.


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Single Eidolon butt = I'm out. ;-)


I really like the sound of the new monk and rouge. I still think the Samurai was the one that really needed an unchained version over the Barbarian.


Yes, flying kick sounds awesome. The monk players will feel a lot more like they are contributing if these rules are used at the table! And Rogue's Edge sounds like a great way to separate the rogue from other classes that use their old abilities. Plus, getting DEX to damage will make them a lot more useful in combat. If these alternate rules play smoothly, the rogue is going to be a really fun class again. Can't wait to try these rules out.

Scarab Sages

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"Two butts? No that's just it's face and that it's butt. No wait the other one is the face and that's the butt. Wait it winked. Okay I'm really confused, and your eidolon is ugly a sea cucumber."


I'm liking the sound of everything here, but oddly enough what really stood out to me was Barbarians getting temp HP while Raging. Rage cycling may have gotten even more useful. Gotta love constantly renewing buffer HP. That said I really don't think the Barbarian needed any updating, but who knows, maybe it's something I always needed but just didn't know it at the time.


Now if we could just get unchained versions of sorcerer, bard swashbuckler, hunter, cavalier, samurai, etc.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JoelF847 wrote:
What's it mean that the summoner "possesses the spell list originally intended for the summoner?" Does the originally published summoner have a spell list that wasn't the original one, and unchained is bringing back a spell list from a prior (unpublished or beta) version?

Unpublished/beta. I believe spells like level 2 Haste were added late into the cycle. The summoner was not originally intended to have access to 9th level spells in disguise, just the summoning ones from full casters.


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I keep throwing my credit card at the computer but nothing's happening!

Contributor

This sounds cool, but the rogue getting Dex to damage is probably going to rile up some swashbuckler fans, especially considering that Slashing Grace is so restricted.

Edit: There's Unchained skills and feats chapter? My interest is additionally piqued ....

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Slashing Grace is so restricted.

Probably just until we get the ACG errata.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Sounds good so far.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
This sounds cool, but the rogue getting Dex to damage is probably going to rile up some swashbuckler fans, especially considering that Slashing Grace is so restricted.

Daring Champion Cavalier already murdered Swashbuckler and desecrated the corpse. Rogue has also been on the receiving side of many such depravities and thefts committed by other classes. Now the Rogue may or may not get to be on the thieving side, for the first time ironically enough.


Apparently Paizo doesn't remember that barbarians CAN get a Climb speed... So long as they take both Raging Climber and Bestial Climber. ;)

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ashram wrote:
Apparently Paizo doesn't remember that barbarians CAN get a Climb speed... So long as they take both Raging Climber and Bestial Climber. ;)

I think it's a bit more likely that they do remember... and like the rest of us, think two rage powers for that one benefit is really smurfing stupid. ;)

Scarab Sages

So, can anyone comment on how much (if any) of this book will be used in PFS?


Shisumo wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Slashing Grace is so restricted.
Probably just until we get the ACG errata.

Doubtful, since their idea of a "fix" was to publish an even more restrictive feat in a different book...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Two butts I can live without, but I sure do hope my cloud of tentacle/penises carries over...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Lamontius wrote:
would love to know whether or not these rules are going to be utilized for PFS
Tarrintino wrote:
So, can anyone comment on how much (if any) of this book will be used in PFS?

Once the content review teams get their reports submitted to Mike and John, and they have had time to formulate a decision on what to allow, you will get your answer.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

This is weird. I'm getting a strange feeling. Is this... wanting to play a rogue?


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Dragon78 wrote:

I really like the sound of the new monk and rouge.

Monk 'n Rouge. Starring Ezren McGregor and Nicole Kidsajan.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Tarrintino wrote:
So, can anyone comment on how much (if any) of this book will be used in PFS?
Once the content review teams get their reports submitted to Mike and John, and they have had time to formulate a decision on what to allow, you will get your answer.

I eagerly await this decision, because this product is why I dropped my Pathfinder rulebook subscription. If the bulk of this product is Society legal I will certainly revisit my decision.


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Ah, teaser posts. These always get me nice and excited for what's to come.

-Barbarian had me worried, but it will probably be good for my table if there's an unchained version that keeps the awesomeness of the classic Barbarian but simplifies the math. I have a number of players that adore smashy melee builds but are not big on complicated math for their character. Interested to see how it turns out.

-Summoner's got me interested. The class has been banned at my table forever, but I'm wondering if Unchained might create a version palatable enough to change that. I do like the idea of fighting with an angel at my back...fingers crossed the Master Summoner didn't make the jump, but maybe a neo-Synthesist, adjusted to be better-balanced...? As long as there's still some nice custom fun there I'm pretty jazzed about this.

-You had me at "full BAB Monk," but this teaser makes the Monk Unchained sound pretty promising. The class's meh BAB and weird class features have killed a lot of the monk characters I've tried to brew in the bud because I just got annoyed with the class, but this sounds like an appealingly customizable and capable new version of a classically troubled class. Looking forward to trying that flying kick myself!

-Unchained Rogue sounds neat, too. Being able to USE those skills for extra utility can help give him a niche over the bard, and updating some rogue talents would be a huge help. I also like the notion of the rogue being able to add some uniquely rogue things to combat besides just "look for a flank and sneak attack." Free Finesse is pretty good, and dexterity-to-damage certainly frees up some feats since so many rogues I've seen are just taking Fencing Grace anyway. I eagerly look forward to a half-dozen "UNCHAINED ROGUE OP, WHAT DO" threads over this class feature alone, which will be a nice change of pace for our friend the Rogue Thread.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Lemmy wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Slashing Grace is so restricted.
Probably just until we get the ACG errata.
Doubtful, since their idea of a "fix" was to publish an even more restrictive feat in a different book...

Not definitive, but cause for more hope than you seem to have at this point.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

Alexander Augunas wrote:
This sounds cool, but the rogue getting Dex to damage is probably going to rile up some swashbuckler fans, especially considering that Slashing Grace is so restricted.

I wouldn't really mind seeing the rogue revised so it can be a swashbuckler or ninja without the need for extra classes to fill those niches.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Shisumo wrote:
Not definitive, but cause for more hope than you seem to have at this point.

Hopefully they'll drop the "limited to one weapon' restriction, since it makes no sense and adds nothing to game balance or character flavor...

Well... Let's wait and see... I have a hard time having good expectations from Paizo erratas or anything ACG-related...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Exciting blog post!

One question: So this "rogue's edge" thing seems to both add to skill options and also "debilitate" an enemy. I'm going to venture a guess that the latter part (debilitating an enemy) is going to depend on hitting that enemy at least once first (I'd further guess the hit needs to be a sneak attack). So... is there anything at all to boost accuracy on that first attack? Because I'm not sure that going from "least-accurate class" to "least-accurate class until you hit" is much of a help. (Of course, I could just be completely misunderstanding Rogue's Edge in the first place.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems my super-secret preview copy got lost in the post.

Damnit.

WANT!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I like the Summoner following an outsider 'Model', because it provides some structure and prevent completely re-inventing the eidolon every other level (with Protean allowing the flexibility to make a tentacled monstrosity or a Padrig-like chicken-serpent.)

But I wonder which outsider model, if any, supports slightly less outlandish, but clearly supernatural creatures like Rummy-tum-tugger, or the eidolons of Sarkoran God-callers.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I read "rogue's edge" as just being the skill tricks element. Not that it really matters for the question of "do I have to hit once to do anything," but that's how I read it. Basically, I think there should be a semicolon rather than a comma after "dodge her foe" and "and much more!)"

If it's flavored as a superfeint or something similar, it could easily be a debuff that doesn't require making contact with the foe.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Also, not quite sure what is meant by this bit:

Quote:
Additionally, he possesses the spell list originally intended for the summoner.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I read that as no stupidly re-leveled wizard spells.

Grand Lodge

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Here, please, take my money, just take it.

Shadow Lodge

4 people marked this as a favorite.

The want is strong with this one.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

No butts no glory!

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