Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide Classes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now that Gen Con is over, it is time to look into the future of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Over the next year, we have a number of fantastic products in store for you, but the one that has me the most excited is the Advanced Player's Guide. We gave a few hints about this hefty 320-page tome at Gen Con during the Pathfinder RPG Q&A seminar, but I wanted to take a moment to bring the news to you directly.

First off, this book is set to release at Gen Con 2010. It will include a host of new options and avenues for characters built using the classes and features in the Core Rulebook. That means you can expect to find new barbarian rage powers, new sorcerer bloodlines, new bardic performance options, and a host of other tricks and tools to modify the 11 core classes. The book will also contain a number of feats, spells, and magic items to expand your game. We are providing all of these in one book so as to avoid spreading out the goodness over a host of tomes, which tends to just make things difficult to find and use. Some of this material will be leaked early through this blog to use right away (and to help us playtest some of the more tricky aspects).

In addition to the expansion of the core classes, this book will also contain six new base classes. They are called base classes because they go from level 1 to level 20, but they are not core classes. Confused? Allow me to explain. We are making an assumption that these new classes will take a role in our world (and possibly yours) that is less common. You will not find them in every adventure, nor will they appear in every product. That means that you can introduce them to your game in a more limited fashion, without having to retcon them into every facet of your campaign.

Of these six classes, I am ready to talk, in a limited fashion, about four of them. I should note that these classes are still being designed and everything you read here is subject to change. That said, we are really excited about the ideas, and hope that you will be too.

When working out some of the initial concepts for these classes, we had two primary criteria that each needed to fill: a conceptual niche and a mechanical niche. This means that each class we come up with needs to include mechanics that we do not currently explore with one of the 11 other classes, as well as its own conceptual space.

The first class I want to look at is the Cavalier. While traditionally, this class has been focused on mounted combat, we have learned that classes such as this suffer terribly by the circumstances of the adventure. As such, the cavalier is going to have some aspects that make it a great mounted combatant, but it will also focus on directing and controlling a battlefield through a system of class features that allow it to enhance allies, unnerve opponents, and challenge foes. Unlike a bard, the cavalier will focus on individuals instead of large numbers, allowing it to have some greater effects. The class will not rely on spells or magic to get the job done, but it will be a bit more skill-focused than some of the other martial classes, especially when it comes to Charisma-based skills.

Next up is the Alchemist. Now, I know what you are thinking. Brewing alchemist fire and crafting tindertwigs is not the stuff of adventurers, and hardly enough to build an entire class around. On that, I would agree, but we are taking this in a slightly different direction. Think of the alchemist a bit more like Dr. Jekyll. He brews up elixirs, mixes up unguents and powders, and crafts all sorts of tricks to use in a fight. While some of these will certainly mimic spells, others might allow him to gain fiendish qualities, breath fire, or even transform into a puddle of living ooze. At higher levels, he will be able to use some of his concoctions on others, granting them some of his strange abilities. This class will work like an arcane caster, in that he will prepare his alchemy for the day and use them as day goes on, as they most likely do not keep for long. There will undoubtedly be a host of new alchemical items in the book for him to tinker with as well.

Next up is the Summoner. I should note that the title for this one is still a bit temporary as it does not quite convey the concepts we are looking for. This class is focused on the creation or summoning of a monster combatant or guardian. Think of it as a sort of arcane animal companion that is a magical beast, outsider, or aberration instead of an animal. While the class will still be able to cast arcane spells, in a bit more of a limited fashion than a sorcerer, it will have a number of abilities to enhance and empower its creation. Some of these will be able to be applied on the fly, while others will happen only when the summoner gains levels. The class will have a list of abilities that can be added to a monster as you gain levels, with more powerful abilities made available to use in your monster's construction at higher levels. To top it off, the class will be a bit variable in theme. You could be a pious summoner, creating a divine champion to guard and protect you, or you could be a foul chirurgeon, creating your monster from the corpses of other dead monsters.

Finally, the last class I want to talk about is the Oracle. This class is a spontaneous divine caster that is not devoted to any one god. Instead it is devoted to a particular concept or domain. The oracle draws his power from all the deities that support that concept, but none of them particularly hold any domain over him. A great example here would be Hercules, who would make a great oracle of strength. The class provides spontaneous divine casting, but the focus provides a host of other abilities and powers. You could expect feats of great might from the oracle of strength, while the oracle of fire is probably going to be able to roast you alive if you anger him. Think of the oracle more as an expert on a single topic and less as a seer of the future and you are close to the theme we are going for. I am really excited about what this class could do and the roleplaying options it presents. I might even have to give my current character a break to play an oracle as soon as the class is ready.

That covers four of the six classes in the book. I am planning on releasing information about the other two next month, at a seminar taking place at Gen Con Australia, in Brisbane. These classes will be put up for public playtest well before the book goes to print, and as soon as the schedule is finalized, you will find it here on this blog. I hope to have some more news on these classes, as well as a few sneak peaks before the playtest, as they develop. Stay tuned.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Alchemists Cavaliers Oracles Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Summoners
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