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 don't like using buzzwords like power creep and rules bloat. But, I'd only call it bloat if it affects the game experience in a negative way. And that's difficult to tell when we are a year from release.

Contributor

On one hand, I feel the Swashbuckler is going to be an awesome class. Grit is a great mechanic that was never really flashed into its own niche in the same way ki was.

Really, my only problem with the gunslinger class was that there was very little "choice" in terms of constructing your character. But with more classes using the grit mechanic, we might see a wider spread of grit abilities that capitalize on A) what it means to be a gunslinger, B) what it means to be a swashbuckler, and C) what those two classes have in common that defines what it means to have grit / panache / whatever.

I'm honestly hoping that they call it swashbuckler's grit instead of changing the name to "panche" or something else for that reason.

Dark Archive

Odraude wrote:
I think of all the things you can make in the game (monsters, races, magic items), I feel class design is the one that we can't honestly tackle down to a point buy system without it becoming rife with abuse. Moreso than other point buy systems and the magic item creation system. I feel advice is the best way to go about it, as it helps the person come up with cool ideas for unique mechanics for classes, instead of cookie cutter ideas that boil down to "How best can I abuse these mechanics?" I definitely like to see this advice and would probably use it as much as I do the spell creation advice.

My concern is if they take this approach if the ever make my fictitious Advanced Monster Guide - which they have no plans for at this time or the foreseeable future.

As far as player classes are concerned - I think some semi-structured tools would be better than advice, for example: a point purchasing system to build classes and required trade-offs if some core functionality is mixed in an effort to min/max or exploit the system. It has been done for other systems, I don't see why it would be such a big deal to make something for PF. Then I could maybe use it to make NPC only threat classes and modify it to make monster classes/class levels (if it had a menu). If it's just ends up being "Moar Classes for PCs" (which it looks like it's going to be) without a toolkit that I can use as a DM then I will probably pass on this release.

My main concern isn't really this book, it's for a book that doesn't exist yet. If they ever make an AMG (in 2018) I don't want them to take an abstract approach to creature building like they are considering for the ACG. I would like a structured toolkit that allows you to closely (not exactly mind you) replicate creatures from Bestiaries 1 through 7 (remember, 2018).


Auxmaulous wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I think of all the things you can make in the game (monsters, races, magic items), I feel class design is the one that we can't honestly tackle down to a point buy system without it becoming rife with abuse. Moreso than other point buy systems and the magic item creation system. I feel advice is the best way to go about it, as it helps the person come up with cool ideas for unique mechanics for classes, instead of cookie cutter ideas that boil down to "How best can I abuse these mechanics?" I definitely like to see this advice and would probably use it as much as I do the spell creation advice.

My concern is if they take this approach if the ever make my fictitious Advanced Monster Guide - which they have no plans for at this time or the foreseeable future.

As far as player classes are concerned - I think some semi-structured tools would be better than advice, for example: a point purchasing system to build classes and required trade-offs if some core functionality is mixed in an effort to min/max or exploit the system. It has been done for other systems, I don't see why it would be such a big deal to make something for PF. Then I could maybe use it to make NPC only threat classes and modify it to make monster classes/class levels (if it had a menu). If it's just ends up being "Moar Classes for PCs" (which it looks like it's going to be) without a toolkit that I can use as a DM then I will probably pass on this release.

My main concern isn't really this book, it's for a book that doesn't exist yet. If they ever make an AMG (in 2018) I don't want them to take an abstract approach to creature building like they are considering for the ACG. I would like a structured toolkit that allows you to closely (not exactly mind you) replicate creatures from Bestiaries 1 through 7 (remember, 2018).

I don't think you'll have to worry about the Advanced Monster Guide being like that. Building monsters has more set benchmarks and abilities that allow them to be balanced. So I can definitely see a monster builder, but also with a section on advice on making completely original abilities. There will always be an amount of abstract thinking for making abilities that you have to accept. So I think it's good to have that advice in there with the monster builder for a future product.


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There's already a guide to making monsters too...It's Table 1-1 of the bestiary's appendix.


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

It concerns me greatly that I have not heard of a single concept in this blog (or even in the entirety of this thread) that isn't already represented quite well by a prestige class, archetype, or multiclass build. Is no one else concerned about the immense overlap that is bound to occur? The book isn't even out yet and we already have redundant naming conventions. -_-

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Alexander Augunas wrote:

On one hand, I feel the Swashbuckler is going to be an awesome class. Grit is a great mechanic that was never really flashed into its own niche in the same way ki was.

Really, my only problem with the gunslinger class was that there was very little "choice" in terms of constructing your character. But with more classes using the grit mechanic, we might see a wider spread of grit abilities that capitalize on A) what it means to be a gunslinger, B) what it means to be a swashbuckler, and C) what those two classes have in common that defines what it means to have grit / panache / whatever.

I'm honestly hoping that they call it swashbuckler's grit instead of changing the name to "panche" or something else for that reason.

Keeping it as just plain Grit is the best way to go, that gives them largest ability to pull from existing material to enhance the class.

Silver Crusade

I gotta say, Swashbucker has me excited. I'm very curious where this grit-mechanic melee class is going to go. :)

Bloodrager and Shaman are very relevant to my interests too.[/shoanti&orcfan]

Now I'm really wondering about any potential monk hybrids and where that could go....

I'd pull for paladin/monk, but Champion of Irori may have that niche locked.


Nope.


Monk/sorcerer would work as psionics...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Is no one else concerned about the immense overlap that is bound to occur?

Considering the immense overlap already existing I think that ship has sailed.

Liberty's Edge

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Ravingdork wrote:
It concerns me greatly that I have not heard of a single concept in this blog (or even in the entirety of this thread) that isn't already represented quite well by a prestige class, archetype, or multiclass build. Is no one else concerned about the immense overlap that is bound to occur? The book isn't even out yet and we already have redundant naming conventions. -_-

I think you are over reacting.

prestige classes are not the same thing as a base class which can be played from 1st level on

archetypes are cool but they are smaller changes to an existing class, not a completely new class

multiclassing is fine, but it's nowhere near the same as a single base class.

Seriously, I'd take a breath and give Paizo a chance to actually get the book out before you find fault.


Yeah, we haven't even seen the playtest yet. Let's wait for that. :D

Liberty's Edge

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Two words....Paladin-Monk.......

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Gunny wrote:
Two words....Paladin-Monk.......

Would be one of the few things to get me to buy it.

Silver Crusade

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Something that I'd like ever since I thought of just making an Eidolon base class was a Fighter/Summoner, a character based on morphing their body to give the Fighter some of the versatility of the Eidolon.

Silver Crusade

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Gunny wrote:
Two words....Paladin-Monk.......

The idea of an divine bond-style mechanic representing their enlightened ascetic discipline has a lot of traction with me. :)

I'd love to see such a thing not locked as LG only though, especially with NG Korada still needing to be hooked up with the class traditionally attributed to him.

(also still hoping for a gearless monk angle, and divine bond could help there)


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gunny wrote:
Two words....Paladin-Monk.......
Would be one of the few things to get me to buy it.

and not just a champion of iori rehash.


Paladin Monk would be awesome. Here's hoping for that!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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+5 Toaster wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gunny wrote:
Two words....Paladin-Monk.......
Would be one of the few things to get me to buy it.
and not just a champion of iori rehash.

Seriously. A paladin monk build that isn't a prestige class requiring me to have 5 primary attributes would be sweet.


It has already been said that Psychic Magic/Psionics will not be in this book.


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

Overreacting? You obviously haven't seen me overreact.

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard for it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

Why bother anymore? Everything's just going to be handed to today's entitled players on a silver platter.

I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
It has already been said that Psychic Magic/Psionics will not be in this book.

That's a shame. It would have been a great place for it.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Dragon78 wrote:


Swashbuckler- A fighter plus Gunslinger, Meh, now if you add rouge instead of gunslinger then I will be interested. What we really need is a dex based fighter class that is worth it and has some cool rouge abilities.

You're missing the big picture here. What do you want from a swashbuckling class?

Abilities based on pulling off heroic stunts- Grit based abilities perhaps?

A guy who can hold his own in combat while wearing light armor- Gee, I feel like there's this ability Gunslinger's get called Nimble that would be perfect for that....

The ability to add DEX to damage- Gee, if only there were a class that did that in the current framework of the game. Wait a minute....

Gunslinger makes perfect sense as the other part of the Swashbuckler equation. Throw in a few bonus feats, 4+INT skills, and Weapon Training in Light Blades and you've got everything you could want right there.

Shadow Lodge

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Ravingdork wrote:
I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.

1st level Archmages and Heirophants, at your service.

Silver Crusade

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Ravingdork wrote:

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard or it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

This is already the case with anyone just taking a level in wizard, paladin, or monk though.


Ravingdork wrote:

Overreacting? You obviously haven't seen me overreact.

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard for it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

Why bother anymore? Everything's just going to be handed to today's entitled players on a silver platter.

I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.

Honestly, I don't like prestige classes, at least ones that aren't organization based. I'd rather have a class idea ready from the get go, starting from level 1. Much more fun for everyone honestly.


Fine I will give the Swashbuckler a chance but I still do not like the Bloodrager and I am concerned over the direction the Shaman's design might take.


Hey, all anyone can do is give something a chance before talking smack about it. ;)


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

Call me old school I guess. There's just nothing prestigious in these new classes. They just "are."

Whoever said they thought it was a patch above had the right idea. That's exactly what it is.

I suppose that's better than a new edition though...


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Mikaze wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard or it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

This is already the case with anyone just taking a level in wizard, paladin, or monk though.

Relevant.

I'm looking forward to this because I see niches that my players will love. A lot of them are new to Pathfinder, and honestly, for newbies, archetypes and prestige classes are a bit confusing. "Oh, so you want to be a mobile, lightly-armoured, Zorro-type character? Well, there are a few archetypes you can look at, or you can try multiclassing fighter and rogue, or you could work towards going into duelist, or..." as opposed to "Okay, here's the Swashbuckler class, does this fit what you're thinking?" Not everybody wants to fiddle around with archetypes and prestige classes and multiclassing; some of us are lazy, or new, or just want to see what the new classes will offer.


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

I think I like you El Ronza. You know your way around a point.

El Ronza wrote:
Mikaze wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard or it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

This is already the case with anyone just taking a level in wizard, paladin, or monk though.
Relevant.

That comic is always so spot on with everything.

Shadow Lodge

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The downside of class-based systems.


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Ravingdork wrote:

Overreacting? You obviously haven't seen me overreact.

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard for it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

Why bother anymore? Everything's just going to be handed to today's entitled players on a silver platter.

I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.

Wait a minute....how is being a swashbucklerr even closely related to being a archmage or heirophant? That makes almost no sense. Especialy considering that anbody before this (like say a fighter) could say there are a swashbuckler( and before people complain about it...Still can) at 1st level. Heck there is currently a rogue archetype called Sawashbuckler which you take at first level.

This has to be one of the most empty headed arguements against this book I have heard yet.

I mean atleast the 'rules bloat' camp I can see it.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I don't see any monk hybrids. I'm wondering if there's a Monk Cleric mix. An Aesthetic, maybe.

Shadow Lodge

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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
N. Jolly wrote:
Something that I'd like ever since I thought of just making an Eidolon base class was a Fighter/Summoner, a character based on morphing their body to give the Fighter some of the versatility of the Eidolon.

If we're going that way, what I would like to see is a CAVALIER/Summoner.

Silver Crusade

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pH unbalanced wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:
Something that I'd like ever since I thought of just making an Eidolon base class was a Fighter/Summoner, a character based on morphing their body to give the Fighter some of the versatility of the Eidolon.
If we're going that way, what I would like to see is a CAVALIER/Summoner.

I'm okay with either one of these things. The thing I want is more of a mutable melee character who has the chance to modify their body. I would honestly play an Eidolon with a slightly higher evolution point loadout. And I think the Summoner is the most ambitious class Paizo has ever done, and I'd like to see it incorporated into more things.

Lantern Lodge

Any word on these classes being legal for PFS use?


Why do I have to wait?


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
John Kretzer wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Overreacting? You obviously haven't seen me overreact.

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard for it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

Why bother anymore? Everything's just going to be handed to today's entitled players on a silver platter.

I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.

Wait a minute....how is being a swashbucklerr even closely related to being a archmage or heirophant? That makes almost no sense. Especialy considering that anbody before this (like say a fighter) could say there are a swashbuckler( and before people complain about it...Still can) at 1st level. Heck there is currently a rogue archetype called Sawashbuckler which you take at first level.

This has to be one of the most empty headed arguements against this book I have heard yet.

I mean atleast the 'rules bloat' camp I can see it.

No need for name calling.

Archmage and heirophant are/were very prestigious titles. An archmage is essentially an extremely powerful wizard, the cream of the crop. A heirophant is the same thing, but for divine casters.

If you could play one as a 1st-level base class, the name loses all sense of prestige.

It has nothing to do with the swashbuckler other than that: the loss of prestige.


Dragon78 wrote:
It has already been said that Psychic Magic/Psionics will not be in this book.

Yup, that's probably summer of 2015.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The question is though, how has swashbuckler ever been as prestigious as either of those? If it was it would be Mythic Path like they are.


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

Thing about it. Every played a 1st-level fighter or rogue. One can hardly call them swashbucklers. It was something you had to work for, with interesting builds, prestige classes and the like.

I'm not saying the route Paizo is taking is necessarily a bad one...I just don't like it. I really feel the game will lose more than it will gain.

Still buying this book though.


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Ravingdork wrote:
swashbuckler

You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

---------------

swashbuckler (ˈswɒʃˌbʌklə)

— n
1. a swaggering or flamboyant adventurer
2. a film, book, play, etc, depicting excitement and adventure, esp in a historical setting

[C16: from swash (in the archaic sense: to make the noise of a sword striking a shield) + buckler ]

----------------

There is nothing prestigious about it other than a stereotype within your own mind. It's just as prestigious as "Gunslinger" which again you have as a base class. It's certainly less prestigious than "Paladin" which we already have as a core class. Definitely less prestigious than "Samurai" or "Cavalier" or even "Ninja". More prestigious than "Bard" and "Barbarian".

I personally am not sure what about "Swashbuckler" is prestigious.

Dark Archive

Cheapy wrote:
There's already a guide to making monsters too...It's Table 1-1 of the bestiary's appendix.

Trash, also might be a good idea to have Paizo follow their own guides. Check all the values on the CR 1 listing vs actual CR 1 monsters - almost none of them match.

But no, we need more player focused books and classes.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
Think about it. Every played a 1st-level fighter or rogue. One can hardly call them swashbucklers.

Sure I can. I have a friend who hardly played anything else.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

And a first level rogue with the swashbuckler archetype? How's that any different than a new base class?


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Ravingdork wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Overreacting? You obviously haven't seen me overreact.

No more "I've earned the right to be called a swashbuckler because I trained long and hard for it." Now any Joe Smoe and their grandmother can claim to be a swashbuckler from the day they are born! Ugh.

Why bother anymore? Everything's just going to be handed to today's entitled players on a silver platter.

I swear if they have a base class called archmage or heirophant, I really will overreact.

Wait a minute....how is being a swashbucklerr even closely related to being a archmage or heirophant? That makes almost no sense. Especialy considering that anbody before this (like say a fighter) could say there are a swashbuckler( and before people complain about it...Still can) at 1st level. Heck there is currently a rogue archetype called Sawashbuckler which you take at first level.

This has to be one of the most empty headed arguements against this book I have heard yet.

I mean atleast the 'rules bloat' camp I can see it.

No need for name calling.

Archmage and heirophant are/were very prestigious titles. An archmage is essentially an extremely powerful wizard, the cream of the crop. A heirophant is the same thing, but for divine casters.

If you could play one as a 1st-level base class, the name loses all sense of prestige.

It has nothing to do with the swashbuckler other than that: the loss of prestige.

To be clear...I am not calling you empty headed...I am just calling this particular arguement empty headed. There is a difference.

I get Archmage and Heirophant are prestige class(now even more as there are Mythic Paths). But a Swashbuckler being in this group? Come on really? I mean back in 2nd ed Swashbuckler was a kit that Fighters and Rogues could take(which were thing you choosed at 1st level by the way).

In 3.5 there was a Swashbuckler Base class...sure with PrCs you could build a awesome Swashbuckler(I did) but the character was a swashbuckler at 1st level( even before the swashbuckler class came out.)

Etc.

So I don't get your take on history as the idea of swashbuckler was something you 'earned'.


Auxmaulous wrote:
Cheapy wrote:
There's already a guide to making monsters too...It's Table 1-1 of the bestiary's appendix.

Trash, also might be a good idea to have Paizo follow their own guides. Check all the values on the CR 1 listing vs actual CR 1 monsters - almost none of them match.

But no, we need more player focused books and classes.

One of the nice things about being a designer is that you get to ignore rules.

I actually did do what you suggest for a monster thing I was working on, and everything I checked was pretty dang close. Perfect? No. You sometimes cant massage the numbers. But it's close.

Shadow Lodge

Cori Marie wrote:
And a first level rogue with the swashbuckler archetype? How's that any different than a new base class?

Because that's an archetype. Totally different. :)

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