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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Quote:
Bloodrager

HNNNNGG

Quote:
Shaman

HNNNNNGGGG

Quote:
Swashbuckler

SYMPATHETIC HNNNNNG (I never particularly cared one way or another but I'm pretty sure I'm in the vast minority here).

MAXIMUM OVERHYPE.

Seriously if the Bloodrager is like a Barbarian with Bloodlines and a little bit of casting I will be on that. All day, every day, 'til the end of days. Those are like, my two favorite class features in the game (Rage and Bloodlines).


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Also - so happy to see the Swashbuckler that so many people asked for. If one of the remaining four isn't an artificer/engineer I'd completely understand but I'd also be very sad. The requests for each have been legion.


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Gunslinger already has a few abilities that they can only use when not wearing heavy armor, and the grit feature makes a lot more sense for a buckler of swashes than sneak attack does.

I think most people, including myself, assumed Fighter / Rogue because the rogue is actually a personality, and that personality also fits the usual swashbucklah archetype.

(Side note: if someone presented me with just the class abilities of the rogue, and without the name 'rogue' anywhere, that's probably the last thing I would think to name it.)


At the PaizoCon rules Q&A, I asked the design team about the possibility of a new Artificer class, since I've been clamoring for one for a long time and no one else was asking questions.

Outlook not good :(

The primary reason was they felt that it couldn't fit multiple 'jobs' in a party, and they usually don't like to pigeonhole classes that much as it would someone who 'creates magic items'. Personally, I thought a little imagination and divorcing themselves from the 3.5 artificer would open up many possible roles within a party, but that's what I recall as the reason.


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I never understood why people liked the artificer now if we had a engineer/inventor class that deals with gadgets like Edger from FFVI or can make golems/robots/clockworks/constructs and/or can use bombs that would be interesting.

Grand Lodge

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Rynjin wrote:
Seriously if the Bloodrager is like a Barbarian with Bloodlines and a little bit of casting I will be on that. All day, every day, 'til the end of days. Those are like, my two favorite class features in the game (Rage and Bloodlines).

You and me both, brother.

+1 for you.


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Dragon78 wrote:
I never understood why people liked the artificer now if we had a engineer/inventor class that deals with gadgets like Edger from FFVI or can make golems/robots/clockworks/constructs and/or can use bombs that would be interesting.

I could totally see an Engineer class combining Summoner and Alchemist ideas, hopefully with a gunslinging archetype (like the Swashbuckler).

Engineer is definitely one I've been waiting for.

Dark Archive

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Jason Bulmahn wrote:
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.

I hope this is not the approach they take when they finally release my wholly fabricated: Advanced Monster Guide (AMG) - set to be released sometime in 2016/my imagination.


Really looking forward to this!

Slayer, Swashbuckler and Warpriest are my favorites so far.


Cheapy wrote:

At the PaizoCon rules Q&A, I asked the design team about the possibility of a new Artificer class, since I've been clamoring for one for a long time and no one else was asking questions.

Outlook not good :(

The primary reason was they felt that it couldn't fit multiple 'jobs' in a party, and they usually don't like to pigeonhole classes that much as it would someone who 'creates magic items'. Personally, I thought a little imagination and divorcing themselves from the 3.5 artificer would open up many possible roles within a party, but that's what I recall as the reason.

Ok. Yes - with some vision and archetypes I can se every role fulfilled. I understand the general feeling though. Sadface 2.


Auxmaulous wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
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.

I hope this is not the approach they take when the finally release my wholly fabricated: Advanced Monster Guide (AMG) - set to be released sometime in 2016/my imagination.

Why not? I think either a system or an advice on the process would be fine. I think I'd actually lean towards advice and maybe some benchmarks (which are already present in the bestiary really) since monster creation is an art/science just like class design. At least it seems to be.

Liberty's Edge

Zombie Ninja wrote:


Swashbuckler = Normally just fine, but there is an archetype by that name. To avoid confusion consider buccaneer.

Buccaneer is already an archetype, just sayin'.


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+1 to all the comments that complained about the names of Bloodrager and Warpriest.

The rest are fine...


I see so the class building section will be a guide to build the classes not a point system like ARG. I can see how a point system could really be misused though it would have been interesting.


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WHOA, didn't see the Gunslinger coming!

I think that Grit is going to be an AWESOME class feature for the Swashbuckler, especially since the Gunslinger uses Grit to perform "daring deeds" and "amazing actions in combat" :D

So excited to see this one come out!


I'm very disappointed with the decision of not include a class builder, but that is something common on me about Paizo. On the other hand I'm very interested in Bloodrage I do not why this is calling me so much, Slayer i'm picturing an Assassin, Swashbuckler with grit mechanics I'm imagining something like ToB, that would be nice. Still hoping for an artificer, alchemist/summoner sounds good, the reasons Cheapy posted above sounds lame, the the Eberron Artificer was super versatile it was tier 1 for some reason.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Tirisfal wrote:

WHOA, didn't see the Gunslinger coming!

I think that Grit is going to be an AWESOME class feature for the Swashbuckler, especially since the Gunslinger uses Grit to perform "daring deeds" and "amazing actions in combat" :D

So excited to see this one come out!

I was actually having a conversation with a friend just the other week about how cool a melee class using the Grit system would be... This is cool.

Dark Archive

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Daethor wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
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.

I hope this is not the approach they take when they finally release my wholly fabricated: Advanced Monster Guide (AMG) - set to be released sometime in 2016/my imagination.

Why not? I think either a system or an advice on the process would be fine. I think I'd actually lean towards advice and maybe some benchmarks (which are already present in the bestiary really) since monster creation is an art/science just like class design. At least it seems to be.

Not to derail yet another player product thread (ah well..) but I would prefer a system over advice. It doesn't have to be exact, but something to quantify and measure various creature abilities so there are some guidelines when making new abilities.

Hell, I wouldn't even care if it didn't match up/break down against the current Bestiaries out there - if it just mostly aligned up with existing monsters and was around to serve as a DM tool when making or changing creatures. I don't want a rules lawyer guide of I told you so's - this isn't the standard player mentality of “which class sucks/dpr/you're doing it wrong”. I think most DMs would be pretty forgiving if everything in the final toolkit didn't align and they put in some caveats/disclaimers - I just want a system to mirror current creature design as close as possible.

Sorry for the derial, but someone has to fight for the monsters.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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AAAaaaaahhhhhhh...

Swashbuckler.

Prepares case for the change of his Skull & Shackles rogue into a swashbuckler...


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Holy rules bloat batman!

Not liking where this is going. -_-


Super Genius Games actually has a gunslinger alternative class that doesn't necessarily use firearms, but uses the grit class feature. The swashbuckler sounds like it'd be just like that :)

And if I am recalling the reason for the design team not being a fan of the artificer incorrectly, I hope they correct me, as I don't mean to put words in their mouths!


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Ravingdork wrote:

Holy rules bloat batman!

Not liking where this is going. -_-

3.5 had fifty base classes by the end. Pathfinder's nowhere near that.


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Auxmaulous wrote:
Daethor wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
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.

I hope this is not the approach they take when they finally release my wholly fabricated: Advanced Monster Guide (AMG) - set to be released sometime in 2016/my imagination.

Why not? I think either a system or an advice on the process would be fine. I think I'd actually lean towards advice and maybe some benchmarks (which are already present in the bestiary really) since monster creation is an art/science just like class design. At least it seems to be.

Not to derail yet another player product thread (ah well..) but I would prefer a system over advice. It doesn't have to be exact, but something to quantify and measure various creature abilities so there are some guidelines when making new abilities.

Hell, I wouldn't even care if it didn't match up/break down against the current Bestiaries out there - if it just mostly aligned up with existing monsters and was around to serve as a DM tool when making or changing creatures. I don't want a rules lawyer guide of I told you so's - this isn't the standard player mentality of “which class sucks/dpr/you're doing it wrong”. I think most DMs would be pretty forgiving if everything in the final toolkit didn't align and they put in some caveats/disclaimers - I just want a system to mirror current creature design as close as possible.

Sorry for the derial, but someone has to fight for the monsters.

+1 I'm with you Auxmaulous, but seem like we are a minority here.


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As I've mentioned elsewhere, I think this is a clever idea with regards to Golarion integration.

These concepts have already existed from the start. They were just multiclasses of two already existent classes. Nothing about Golarion necessarily needs to change.

This also still lets them keep true to their idea of getting all the base classes out the door ASAP so they can avoid the fragmentation and lack of support that new 3.5 classes had. If they're already using some of the same abilities as other classes, with some new ones mixed in...they have their support already. In fact, the support for those classes existed before they did! Which is kind of cool to think about.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Ravingdork wrote:

Holy rules bloat batman!

Not liking where this is going. -_-

Actually, they're being super smart about this. By making the classes key off of existing classes and using existing mechanics, these new classes will tie very neatly into existing material without requiring a whole new set of feats and rules just to accomodate their existance.

Dark Archive

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edduardco wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
Sorry for the derial, but someone has to fight for the monsters.
+1 I'm with you Auxmaulous, but seem like we are a minority here.

Patience my friend, patience….after enough posts, they will break!!!!!!!!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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MMCJawa wrote:

+1 to all the comments that complained about the names of Bloodrager and Warpriest.

The rest are fine...

I think the names are smart. They key off of the history of the game, and Bloodrager is almost too obvious to pass up for a Sorcerer/Barbarian hybrid. You know, Bloodline + Rage = Bloodrager.


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I'm a little concerned about the nature of the classes in this book. One of the things I admired about Paizo was that their classes adhered to classic fantasy archetypes.

Wizards of the Coast, on the other hand, crammed as many classes as they could into 4E.

I can see where some of these classes might fill missing fantasy niches. Barbarians and sorcerers have seemed like bread and butter since there inception, and swashbuckler's grit rules and optional gun rules fill the "Three Musketeers"/"Pirates of the Carribean" mix. That said, I can't help but be skeptical.

We'll see how it comes out in the playtests.

Liberty's Edge

Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Holy rules bloat batman!

Not liking where this is going. -_-

3.5 had fifty base classes by the end. Pathfinder's nowhere near that.

I don't remember the exact number but it was more than that.

Liberty's Edge

The "Unique feature" part worries me.

I love the idea, but to be blunt some of the "Unique features" have been what turned me off to some of the new classes.

I really just want hybrids that are well balanced.

Reserving judgment, but the "Unique Features" of the Gunslinger and Magus are exactly the parts I didn't care for...

Liberty's Edge

Ssalarn wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Holy rules bloat batman!

Not liking where this is going. -_-

Actually, they're being super smart about this. By making the classes key off of existing classes and using existing mechanics, these new classes will tie very neatly into existing material without requiring a whole new set of feats and rules just to accomodate their existance.

I would agree except for that "Unique Features" part.

It isn't rules bloat if it is just putting existing mechanics into new packages.

It is rules bloat when you add new mechanics.

As a GM if someone says the Rogue Ranger Hybrid has sneak attack and a favored enemy, at decreased value, you don't need to know or understand any new mechanics.

The Magus, however, does require an understanding of a whole new set of mechanics. Ditto the gunslinger.

I wasn't worried about bloat. Now I kinda am...


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What's the point of making new classes that are JUST "Existing class, but exactly what would happen if you multiclassed them"?

Marketing Director

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SLAYER!!!


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Jenny Bendel wrote:
SLAYER!!!

Buffy: "Slayee!"

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns Subscriber

Oh yes, let's bring on the Warpriest!!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Rynjin wrote:
What's the point of making new classes that are JUST "Existing class, but exactly what would happen if you multiclassed them"?

Because standard multi classing dosent work all that great at the moment?


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The Bloodrager sounds soooo cool. Want...WANT!!!!

Grand Lodge

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I never had an issue with adding new classes, but since it's such a hotly contested debate, I'm going with a let the designers decide what they want to create stance.

To me it just makes sense, with millions if not billions of sentient being living on Golarion, nobody ever thinks outside of the box of the core four, ever. Seems unlikely.

Let game designers design, I say.


You know a class builder is the perfect solution for multiclassing, just saying ;)


Swashbuckler. Sounds like my love of the Duelist is manifesting into something better!


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Mostly I can't wait to see Shaman. I was/am writing class that is doing similar, so I'm excited to see what they come out with. Same for the War Priest.


James Jacobs wrote:

AAAaaaaahhhhhhh...

Swashbuckler.

Prepares case for the change of his Skull & Shackles rogue into a swashbuckler...

It sucks when new awesome stuff comes out, RIGHT after you've made your character in an AP, doesn't it? :P

Good luck with your petitioning!

Paizo Employee Contributor

I really rather like the bloodrager name and class concept. Love me some sorcerers, and barbarians are probably my favorite non-casters, so I'm definitely interested to see where this class goes.

I'm also fascinated by how the bloodline aspect might work, if indeed that concept carries over to the bloodrager. The prospect of multiple "bloodlines" for bloodragers is exciting to consider.

And my husband will be quite excited to check out the swashbuckler class. He's playing a 3PP swashbuckler character in one of our home games now and just loves the roleplay aspect of it.

Liberty's Edge

They feel more like prestige classes than base classes. A lot of classes (maybe most of them) are front end loaded, so I have concerns about multiclass munchkinisms. How would a Ranger/1Hunter/1Slayer/1 look compared to a Ranger/3 and his companion for example.

Bloodrager/1Sorcerer/2 might be another example and what would it look like at 10th level (1/9)using those bloodline powers in a rage?

I have a long standing peeve with new books breaking old rules, Magus being one example, Summoner another. Home games can disallow certain classes or entire books, PFS not so much. My concern is new players to PFS seeing themselves as coatholders for UltiVanced PCs who wipe the encounter before init reaches the 15 count. Before finalizing the book, please look at the balance between game play versus publish or perish.


I believe that at one point, the Gunslinger had a clause that you couldn't take levels in fighter if you had levels in Gunslinger. That's one possibility.

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

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EricMcG wrote:
...I have concerns about multiclass munchkinisms. How would a Ranger/1Hunter/1Slayer/1 look compared to a Ranger/3 and his companion for example.

Bulmahn already mentioned at the GenCon seminar where they revealed their plans to do an Advanced Class Guide that choosing some of these hybrid classes may lock you out of being able to take levels in some of the other base and core class combinations...i.e., if a slayer already grants sneak attack dice at a lesser progression than a rogue and some ranger-esque abilities, as well (in addition to whatever new class abilities the slayer includes), selecting that hybrid class might preclude you from ever taking levels in ranger or rogue when/if you multiclass, because they don't want to get into the stacking of those abilities and the power-creep that would ensue with wide open multiclassing with the hybrid classes.

For those who want to hear the Paizo folks discuss the book's goals a bit more at-length, check out Know Direction's recording of the "2013 and Beyond" seminar. They don't get to it until a little further into the discussion, but it's worth hearing.

Liberty's Edge

edduardco wrote:
You know a class builder is the perfect solution for multiclassing, just saying ;)

Really? Gosh, I had no idea you wanted a class builder ...

Liberty's Edge

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Rynjin wrote:
What's the point of making new classes that are JUST "Existing class, but exactly what would happen if you multiclassed them"?

Having additional options that don't require GM's to have to learn new mechanics to run them.

A Magus is basically 3/4 BaB arcane caster class. This was something people very much wanted. Without the "Unique features" it could be added without requiring any additional rules knowledge or understanding from the GM and with a lower risk of odd interactions, since you are just moving existing rules around.

Instead, the Magus, while ok, is difficult to adjudicate with odd overlap.

There is bloat and there is creep, and neither is good.

You can add more classes with neither if you are re-purposing existing tested mechanics.

Adding new mechanics...that is a whole other monkey wrench in the works.

If they are actually hybrids, re-purposing existing mechanics to allow more options, awesome.

But IMHO the problem with the Magus and the Gunslinger was to many new "Unique" features rather that a more simple framework to meet what was called for.

A 3/4 BaB 6 level caster and a guy who can use firearms well.

Grand Lodge

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I know it sounds weird, but I think a cleric/bard hybrid would be interesting. A Divine herald class of sorts.

Liberty's Edge

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Cheapy wrote:
I believe that at one point, the Gunslinger had a clause that you couldn't take levels in fighter if you had levels in Gunslinger. That's one possibility.

Not a good one...

I am excited about the idea of mixing classes without the problems of multiclassing.

I am not excited about 10 new "Unique" mechanics and the FAQ and accidental synergies that will ensue...

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