Advanced Class Guide

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just a few weeks ago, we announced the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Class Guide, an exciting new addition to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game due out next summer. While we talked about it a fair bit at Gencon, this blog post is here to get you caught up on all the news!

This 256-page rulebook will contain 10 new classes, each a mix of two existing classes, taking a bit from each class and adding new mechanics to give you a unique character. Around the office we're calling them "hybrid classes." You can think of the magus (from Ultimate Magic) as our first test of this concept. It takes some rules from the fighter, some rules from the wizard, and then adds its own unique mechanics.

At this point, you're probably wondering what new classes you can expect to see in the Advanced Class Guide. So far, we've announced five of the ten classes.

Bloodrager: This blend of sorcerer and barbarian can call upon the power of his blood whenever he goes into a rage. He also has a limited selection of spells he can call upon, even when in a mindless fury!

Hunter: Taking powers from both the druid and the ranger, the hunter is never without her trusted animal companion, hunting down foes with lethal accuracy.

Shaman: Calling upon the spirits to aid her, the shaman draws upon class features of the oracle and the witch. Each day, she can commune with different spirits to aid her and her allies.

Slayer: Look at all the blood! The slayer blends the rogue and the ranger to create a character that is all about taking down particular targets.

Warpriest: Most religions have martial traditions, and warpriests are often the backbones of such orders. This mix of cleric and fighter can call upon the blessings of the gods to defeat enemies of their faiths.

Of course, those are just half the classes in this book. There are four more we have yet to reveal.

"Four?" you say. "But I thought there were ten!" And you would be right—because I'm about to let you in on another of the classes that will appear in this book, which we haven't announced until this moment!

Swashbuckler: Break out your rapier and your wit! The swashbuckler uses panache and daring to get the job done, blending the powers of the fighter and the gunslinger! For those of you who don't use guns in your campaign, fear not—the base class is not proficient in firearms (although there will certainly be an archetype in the book that fix that).

But that's not all! This book will also contain archetypes for all 10 new classes, as well as a selection to help existing classes play with some of the new features in this book. There will also be feats and spells to support these new classes, as well as magic items that will undoubtedly become favorites for nearly any character. Last but not least, the final chapter in this book will give you a peek inside the design process for classes and archetypes, giving you plenty of tips and guides to build your own! Since class design is more art than science, this won't be a system (like in the Advanced Race Guide), but rather a chapter giving you advice on how the process works.

So, there you go. That's six of the 10 classes that will appear in the Advanced Class Guide and an overview of what else you can expect from this exciting new book. While it's due to release next August, you won't have to wait too long to get your hands on these classes, because we're planning to do a public playtest here this fall! Check back here for more news as the playtest draws close!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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I am defiantly looking forward to the advice on creating Archetypes, for me that system has been a wonderful addition to the game (and reminiscent of Kits from 2nd ED D&D which I also loved).

Little worried about Class Bloat though as well as Power Creep. I think we are pushing close to 20 official classes already not counting variants like the Anti-Pally.

I think they have done a pretty decent job so far balancing things power wise but then my group hasn't tried to break things yet

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

We've been over how many classes were in 3.5 splats. We're barely halfway there if I recall correctly.

Shadow Lodge

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
We've been over how many classes were in 3.5 splats. We're barely halfway there if I recall correctly.

Yeah, but it went well beyond bloated, into grotesquely preposterous.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
We've been over how many classes were in 3.5 splats. We're barely halfway there if I recall correctly.
Yeah, but it went well beyond bloated, into grotesquely preposterous.

Not really.

It did go into bloat, but that was primarily due to Hasbro wanting them to put out a hardcover every month. You can't do good work under those time requirements. That led to a LOT of unbalanced stuff.

If you divide the classes out by world (dragonlance, default, eberron, etc), then there were weren't quite as many per setting as the total added up to. For example, Artificer REALLY didn't fit into Dragonlance at all.

In either event, I don't feel that another 10 will even come close to the 3.5 end life overbloat. Not just because we're still talking about less than 20 classes, but also because they're not being pumped out one to three per splat, with a splat per month.


I say more classes for all and maybe one day we will finally get psychic magic book. There a lot of classes I would like to see though this book might only really have a couple that I have been looking for.

Digital Products Assistant

Removed a post and the replies. Please refrain from excessive profanity.


I found there was a lot of toe stepping in the 3.5 extra classes. A lot of the classes they came up with were "the same only different" to what was already there. I think that is where Pathfinder's approach with Archetypes and Variant Classes has worked out better.

When they have made brand new classes they have made damn sure they felt unique even if there was some overlap with existing ones.


Where's the best place to watch for any new info that gets put out? This thread?


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Other than the window behind Jason's desk, probably this thread or the blog in general.

Spoiler:
Although there might be armored spikes blocking the line of sight to his computer


That's a long trip from Minnesota, and all he has to do is pull the shades. Blog and thread it is.


Or activate the traps.


They haven't said when the playtest will be, have they?

Liberty's Edge

mdt wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
We've been over how many classes were in 3.5 splats. We're barely halfway there if I recall correctly.
Yeah, but it went well beyond bloated, into grotesquely preposterous.

Not really.

It did go into bloat, but that was primarily due to Hasbro wanting them to put out a hardcover every month. You can't do good work under those time requirements. That led to a LOT of unbalanced stuff.

If you divide the classes out by world (dragonlance, default, eberron, etc), then there were weren't quite as many per setting as the total added up to. For example, Artificer REALLY didn't fit into Dragonlance at all.

In either event, I don't feel that another 10 will even come close to the 3.5 end life overbloat. Not just because we're still talking about less than 20 classes, but also because they're not being pumped out one to three per splat, with a splat per month.

I think it was a little of both. 3.5 at the end was an arms race rather than a game system, as it seemed it was almost the design to increase the power level to get people to buy new books.

I do think there is room for more classes, particularly if the new classes are being added as described, specifically as hybrid classes.

The only concern I have is if we reach a point where:

1) The new classes become more common than the classes that are thematically common in the game.

2) The new classes require GM's learn a series of new rules to properly adjudicate them.

I love what Paizo did with the Core classes in the role out. The new classes have been a bit more hit or miss, but that isn't any different than any other publisher since the dawn of time.

I'm here to advocate for shooting for the target of making a concept people want to play a viable option rather than trying to add new mechanics to the game.

I conceptually like all of the described hybrid ideas. I also conceptually like the stated goal/concept of the Magus and Gunslinger.

But I think the execution got away from the concept, and the classes ended up not being what was advertised and feeling like system constructs rather than conversion of flavor into mechanics.

I'm hopeful, and still optimistic. Just not as over the moon as I was before this blog post.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I don't think the grit mechanic of the gunslinger is a new mechanic, it's really just Ki pool with different abilities (same applies to the Arcana pool).

The gunslinger's biggest issue is that guns are either horribly underpowered, or horrendously overpowered as implemented (depending on whether you are doing primitive or advanced).

We're working up house rules for our local games (me and the other main GM) to cover firearms. Basically, we re-did the damage to make them more in line with standard weapons (like bows and crossbows and melee weapons). Then we gave them four distinct 'types', primitive, Cap & Ball, Advanced, and Modern. Instead of Touch to one range, then 5, it's 1 range, 2, 3, and finally 4 with Modern.

We're going to rewrite the gunslinger and then the archetypes next, and then begin playtesting. The guns seem ok so far, but they need more playtesting.

There were a lot of suggestions during the Playtest of Gunslinger that didn't get used by the Devs that I think would have made the class more balanced. As it is, you either have to be a min/max fool to play one, in which case it can end up overpowered compared to non-min/max'd characters, or you end up with something that just sucks at most levels.

Liberty's Edge

@mdt - I was going more with making guns follow touch AC than the grit, which is basically Ki.

Although I do think the grit wasn't needed to make a gunslinger. The concept in my mind was very simple.

Make a character skilled at using guns. Increase the ability to use them as the character levels so that the more levels you take, the more effective you are with guns and therefore the better gunslinger you are.

Other classes, not able to use guns very effectively. High misfire chance, weak/expensive powder. If you take a dip, you can use them minimally, but to use them effectively, you need to take lots of levels. If you do, guns become bad ass, on par with what other classes do with spells/weapons/etc...at a comparable level.

And that's it.

Hell if you want guns to be touch AC, make that a class feature or talent you can get somewhere along the line.

But again, over complication made a simple idea complex.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
They haven't said when the playtest will be, have they?

So far they have said nothing more precise than "this fall". Since fall just began, that would mean any time from now to shortly before Christmas.

Liberty's Edge

ciretose wrote:

@mdt - I was going more with making guns follow touch AC than the grit, which is basically Ki.

Although I do think the grit wasn't needed to make a gunslinger. The concept in my mind was very simple.

Make a character skilled at using guns. Increase the ability to use them as the character levels so that the more levels you take, the more effective you are with guns and therefore the better gunslinger you are.

Other classes, not able to use guns very effectively. High misfire chance, weak/expensive powder. If you take a dip, you can use them minimally, but to use them effectively, you need to take lots of levels. If you do, guns become bad ass, on par with what other classes do with spells/weapons/etc...at a comparable level.

And that's it.

Hell if you want guns to be touch AC, make that a class feature or talent you can get somewhere along the line.

But again, over complication made a simple idea complex.

Or as some of us see it an inspiring concept extrapolated made a simple idea awesome. Just pointing out that some of us disagree.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
They haven't said when the playtest will be, have they?
So far they have said nothing more precise than "this fall". Since fall just began, that would mean any time from now to shortly before Christmas.

Well, dammit, I guess I've been checking the Paizo blog twice a day for nothing. Let's hope it's "early fall", then.

Liberty's Edge

graywulfe wrote:
ciretose wrote:

@mdt - I was going more with making guns follow touch AC than the grit, which is basically Ki.

Although I do think the grit wasn't needed to make a gunslinger. The concept in my mind was very simple.

Make a character skilled at using guns. Increase the ability to use them as the character levels so that the more levels you take, the more effective you are with guns and therefore the better gunslinger you are.

Other classes, not able to use guns very effectively. High misfire chance, weak/expensive powder. If you take a dip, you can use them minimally, but to use them effectively, you need to take lots of levels. If you do, guns become bad ass, on par with what other classes do with spells/weapons/etc...at a comparable level.

And that's it.

Hell if you want guns to be touch AC, make that a class feature or talent you can get somewhere along the line.

But again, over complication made a simple idea complex.

Or as some of us see it an inspiring concept extrapolated made a simple idea awesome. Just pointing out that some of us disagree.

Which is fair and fine. Clearly the Developers disagreed :)

But I will also say neither class seems to have any danger of becoming a future core class like the Bard, Ranger and Paladin have...


Just my $.02. I stopped buying WotC sourcebooks early on because I noticed major power creep in new classes as well as the fact that only the PHB was supported in 3pp or even WotC released products.i never saw a villain or npc' in a supplement or module using feat x and class y from source z.

Paizo's new base classes, feats, etc, show up in supplements, AP's, and 3 pp material. Additionally, although I hate that new base classes get to make use of swift actions often and most core classes are limited to move and standard actions for class features, I still don't see base classes as suffering from power creep and leaving the core classes undesirable as 3.5 did.


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Please let one of these ten hybrids be a spontaneous caster of druidic magic. This would make me happy.


Cheapy wrote:
Marc Radle will be around shortly to give a link to Kobold Press' Shaman :)

But seriously, check it out. ACG won't be out for a year :)

Liberty's Edge

Thanks Cheapy!

Speaking of which ... Matthew Shelton, you might want to check the Expanded Shaman out - a 'spontaneous caster of druidic magic' is kinda exactly what that class is! :)

Liberty's Edge

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Is it Fall yet?

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Card Game, Maps, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

*sing-song voice* Are we there yet? Are we having fun yet?


I'm really hoping for something akin to a Spellthief. Even something close to a Bard, but with more focus on stealth than buffing. A Monk/Cleric mashup would be awesome too.

Liberty's Edge

Duraxis wrote:
I'm really hoping for something akin to a Spellthief. Even something close to a Bard, but with more focus on stealth than buffing.

Like the Blade bard kit from 2E days? That would be cool.

Quote:
A Monk/Cleric mashup would be awesome too.


I always thought that a perfect barefoot Franciscan friar should be a little cleric (or maybe inquisitor), a little bard, and a little monk. Spellcasting could be at 6th level, if not at 9th.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Bardess wrote:
I always thought that a perfect barefoot Franciscan friar should be a little cleric (or maybe inquisitor), a little bard, and a little monk. Spellcasting could be at 6th level, if not at 9th.

And I always took it more as Cleric or Adept, Alchemist or Witch (brewing), and Unarmed Fighter. Maybe with Paladin spell progression and the Alchemist's ability to put those spells into potions/extracts (wine!).


It is sad to see first paizo book i will have to ban in my games...


DarkPhoenixx wrote:
It is sad to see first paizo book i will have to ban in my games...

Err....why? The book hasn't even gone through playtesting, let alone been published! What scares you? The class names? ;) The overall concept? Is it a bridge too far after APG, UM and UC? I just don't get the nervousness surrounding this book...


DarkPhoenixx wrote:
It is sad to see first paizo book i will have to ban in my games...

I'm also curious. I'm probably not going to get this book, or use it in my home games, but I haven't seen anything in particular mentioned so far that is egregious. Or do you simply mean ban due to bloat?

Shadow Lodge

I can definitely see where the addition of 10 hybrid classes instead of a few classes to fill in some of the more gaping holes would be a turnoff to some. I think most people would be happier to see a an official Paizo inventor class than to see two random classes shoved together in a powered-down gestalt deal. Do we really need a class that's a paladin/monk ? Or a barbarian/witch?

Although, in the case of the other big hole, psionics, I'd advice people just go Dreamscarred.


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...Barbarian witch sounds really cool. A witch doctor whose instrument is PAIN!

Liberty's Edge

Kthulhu wrote:

I can definitely see where the addition of 10 hybrid classes instead of a few classes to fill in some of the more gaping holes would be a turnoff to some. I think most people would be happier to see a an official Paizo inventor class than to see two random classes shoved together in a powered-down gestalt deal. Do we really need a class that's a paladin/monk ? Or a barbarian/witch?

Although, in the case of the other big hole, psionics, I'd advice people just go Dreamscarred.

Yes because everything we have heard about this book has sounded like they pulled the classes, to make hybrids out of, out of a hat. /sarcasm

Random? Really? Come on, at least make real complaints instead of hyperbolizing the issue.

You think ten is too many, right? Okay fine, I disagree, but at least an honest discussion can arise out of that. I don't believe for one second that you actually think that Paizo chose classes at random to make the ten Hybrids. Claiming that you do, just makes you sound like an idiot.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Err....why? The book hasn't even gone through playtesting, let alone been published! What scares you? The class names? ;) The overall concept? Is it a bridge too far after APG, UM and UC? I just don't get the nervousness surrounding this book...

Many things. It is hard to explain but all current classes are filling some kind of "fantasy archetypical roles" in my vision of fantasy.

Lets say we have a Priest as squishy healer(cloistered cleric in pathfinder) and heavy armored Warrior (fighter in pf). Between them is religious warrior like paladin and inquisitor (who seems to me as paladin that more about zealous slaying of unworthy than about being good shining knight). Now cleric itself is wearing heavy armor and capable of bashing ppl's head with mace, if you want even more fighter-ness there is Crusader archetype. I dont see where Warpriest from new book would fit.

Same with hunter, between 1-9 druid and 1-4 ranger he will probably be 1-6 caster of druid spell list with animal companion for which i myself do not see need of.

Idea of mixing 2 classes into one do not seems appealing to me at all. Unlike, lets say, Magus who considered half wizard half fighter he does not just combines features of fighter and wizard. He does not have arcane bond, he does not have weapon and armor training (or rather his training is unique to allow him ignore spellcasting armor penalties). He combines MECHANIC like physical combat and arcane spellcasting. A lot of classes uses physical combat. A lot of classes uses arcane spellcasting. Rage is used only by barbarian and its unique feature (rage domain is just tap into barbarian powers, rage prophet is PrC made especially for barbarians). Not to mention he fills the role of "spell knight" or "spellblade", noble knight who is not just brute but and intelligent warrior to wield magic and bring it into close-and-personal battle.

Only thing i like is shaman, as it does not list animal companion (shaman = spirits, it should not have companion unless you can make some non-broken incorporeal animal companion, and even then it should be just archetype)

Many people are excited about new book. I am not. Probably because i have my own vision of "right" fantasy and pathfinder currently fits it perfectly, but new classes do not.

The Exchange

I don't care. As long as the classes are fun I'll let my players use them.

Liberty's Edge

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Cheapy wrote:
...Barbarian witch sounds really cool. A witch doctor whose instrument is PAIN!

Now I want a Bardbarian with a Heavy Metal Guitar/Axe

Liberty's Edge

TheLoneCleric wrote:
I don't care. As long as the classes are fun I'll let my players use them.

I think the classes will be playable and I'll allow them in my game unless something horrible happens. Even the summoner is only a problem in the hands of those seeking to create problems.

I just have a lot of hope invested in this book. I am legitimately excited about the idea of making the hybrid concepts many of us have tried to multiclass into existence be actually made into classes that...well...work.

I'm just trying to push the Devs to not make "unique" a value greater than "Good" in the equation.

If you give me a Barbarian Sorcerer, I will be very happy. If you give me kind of a barbarian sorcerer with a weird new mechanic that means I have to play a specific type of barbarian sorcerer and that will have a ton of FAQs about interactions with other things...

Meh.

But if they keep it simple, I will buy the hell out of this book. I want what they are proposing to give us, but I actually want what they are proposing to give us.

The Exchange

Truth be told I want to gut the Paladin, slide in speciality wizard tricks and give them arcane spells to match the speciality school.

Basically I want everything from an Illustionary Blade to Deathknight built on that concept.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

To all the people who don't like the idea of new classes because, well, they are new and weren't there before...

Please don't think of it like it's a rewrite to the world. It's not. The game system is just, at heart, a simulation of the world. And it's not a perfect simulation by any means.

Think of new classes as a refinement of the simulation, kind of like an upgrade to a flight simulator. All those 'classes' are really just the 'rules to simulate' what people in the world are doing. This is especially true of these new hybrid classes.

Things that had to be simulated (poorly) before by multiclassing can now be better simulated via these new 'simulation frameworks' that more closely follow what the person in the world actually is doing.

In our simulator example, these new classes are not new planes that didn't exist before. They are refinements of planes that did. For example, the first version of the simulator had 5 planes, Jumbo Jet, Small Prop, Large Prop, Commuter Jet, and Helicoptor. If you wanted to simulate a B1 Bomber, you had to mash (multiclass) the Jumbo Jet and Large Prop 'classes' together in the simulator, and it was clunky.

The last update (APG) added in things like 'Large Cargo Jet' and 'Harrier Fighter'. Now the new book is looking to do things like add in 'Amphibious Small Cargo' and 'Jumbo Prop Plane'.


Sorry mdt, but my brain only works in car analogies.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Sorry mdt, but my brain only works in car analogies.

American cars, Japanese cars or Euro cars?


DarkPhoenixx wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Err....why? The book hasn't even gone through playtesting, let alone been published! What scares you? The class names? ;) The overall concept? Is it a bridge too far after APG, UM and UC? I just don't get the nervousness surrounding this book...

Many things. It is hard to explain but all current classes are filling some kind of "fantasy archetypical roles" in my vision of fantasy.

Lets say we have a Priest as squishy healer(cloistered cleric in pathfinder) and heavy armored Warrior (fighter in pf). Between them is religious warrior like paladin and inquisitor (who seems to me as paladin that more about zealous slaying of unworthy than about being good shining knight). Now cleric itself is wearing heavy armor and capable of bashing ppl's head with mace, if you want even more fighter-ness there is Crusader archetype. I dont see where Warpriest from new book would fit.

Same with hunter, between 1-9 druid and 1-4 ranger he will probably be 1-6 caster of druid spell list with animal companion for which i myself do not see need of.

Idea of mixing 2 classes into one do not seems appealing to me at all. Unlike, lets say, Magus who considered half wizard half fighter he does not just combines features of fighter and wizard. He does not have arcane bond, he does not have weapon and armor training (or rather his training is unique to allow him ignore spellcasting armor penalties). He combines MECHANIC like physical combat and arcane spellcasting. A lot of classes uses physical combat. A lot of classes uses arcane spellcasting. Rage is used only by barbarian and its unique feature (rage domain is just tap into barbarian powers, rage prophet is PrC made especially for barbarians). Not to mention he fills the role of "spell knight" or "spellblade", noble knight who is not just brute but and intelligent warrior to wield magic and bring it into close-and-personal battle.

Only thing i like is shaman, as it does not list animal companion (shaman = spirits, it should not have...

Good news, according to Jason, the classes are going to be leaning more towards the magus in the style of a hybrid, rather than just a mishmash of two mechanics.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Sorry mdt, but my brain only works in car analogies.

To all the people who don't like the idea of new classes because, well, they are new and weren't there before...

Please don't think of it like it's a rewrite to the world. It's not. The game system is just, at heart, a simulation of the world. And it's not a perfect simulation by any means.

Think of new classes as a refinement of the simulation, kind of like an upgrade to a driving simulator. All those 'classes' are really just the 'rules to simulate' what people in the world are doing. This is especially true of these new hybrid classes.

Things that had to be simulated (poorly) before by multiclassing can now be better simulated via these new 'simulation frameworks' that more closely follow what the person in the world actually is doing.

In our simulator example, these new classes are not new cars that didn't exist before. They are refinements of cars that did. For example, the first version of the simulator had 5 cars, Sedan, Hatchback, Pickup, 18-Wheeler, and Motorcycle. If you wanted to simulate a Station Wagon, you had to mash (multiclass) the Sedan and Hatchback 'classes' together in the simulator, and it was clunky.

The last update (APG) added in things like 'Formula-1' and 'Panel Van'. Now the new book is looking to do things like add in 'Three-Wheeled Motorcycle' and 'Stationwagon'.

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