Advanced Class Guide Preview: Arcanist

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The arcanist was one of the more difficult classes to design in the Advanced Class Guide. When the idea first came together, it was based almost entirely upon mechanics. As an arcane caster that can prepare spells like a wizard, but cast them like a sorcerer, the idea was an interesting one, but when we presented it in the first round of the playtest the deficiency became clear. What is an arcanist?

As the playtest rolled on, this problem became more and more clear. The class had an interesting basic mechanic, but it needed a story hook and mechanics to support that idea. It was clear that we needed to go back to the drawing board. Looking at the wizard as the arcane caster that learns through study and the sorcerer who masters magic by drawing upon the power in his blood, the arcanist needed to fall somewhere between the two.


Illustration by Subroto Bhaumik

Ultimately, we decided on making the arcanist about tinkering with the underlying forces of arcane magic, using a combination of study and innate talent to break magic down and shape it to fit her needs. Combining that concept with an arcane reservoir, a pool of power that the arcanist can use to fuel exploits that break the rules of magic, the class really started to come together. In the second draft of the playtest, we knew we were on the right track. Most playtesters were concerned about power balance, but the overall consensus was that the changes we made gave the class a place in the game all its own.

While the final version of the class is very close to the second playtest version, the big changes came to the arcane exploits (like all of the exploits that dealt energy damage got a boost). These abilities are what make the arcanist unique and in the final version we added a large number of them to the class, giving you a wider variety of character types you can build with the class. Take a look!

Energy Shield (Su): The arcanist can protect herself from energy damage as a standard action by expending 1 point from her arcane reservoir. She must pick one energy type and gains resistance 10 against that energy type for 1 minute per arcanist level. This protection increases by 5 for every 5 levels the arcanist possesses (up to a maximum of 30 at 20th level).

Quick Study (Ex): The arcanist can prepare a spell in place of an existing spell by expending 1 point from her arcane reservoir. Using this ability is a full-round action that provokes an attack of opportunity. The arcanist must be able to reference her spellbook when using this ability. The spell prepared must be of the same level as the spell being replaced.

In addition, we added a number of greater exploits to the class as well, adding powerful tool to the high level arcanist.

Suffering Knowledge (Su): The arcanist can learn to cast a spell by suffering from its effects. When the arcanist fails a saving throw against a spell cast by an enemy, as an immediate action she can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to temporarily acquire the spell. She can cast the spell using her spell slots as if it was a spell she had prepared that day. The spell must be on the sorcerer/wizard spell list and must be of a level that she can cast. The ability to cast this spell remains for a number of rounds equal to the arcanist’s Charisma modifier (minimum 1).

Of course, the Advanced Class Guide also features a number of fun new archetypes to use with the arcanist. There is the blade adept, who gains a sentient sword and select a limited number of magus arcana instead of arcane exploits. You can also play a brown-fur transmuter, whose reservoir can be used to bolster the power of her transmutation spells. The eldritch font gains more spell slots, but can prepare fewer spells per day. An elemental master focuses her power on just one element, but to much greater effect. While there are a number of other archetypes for the arcanist, there is one more that needs to be called out. The white mage can expend points from her arcane reservoir to allow her to cast cure spells with her spell slots, but at higher levels she can even cast breath of life.

Well that about wraps up the preview for this week. Check back in next week for songs of bravery and rage!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Arcanist Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subroto Bhaumik
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3 people marked this as a favorite.

Hmmm...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Hmmm...

That was way too ambiguous, Ambrosia...I'm going with:

Interesting...


Sounds about as awesome and powerful as everyone has been saying. Wondering how the sword archetype is going to land hits though.


Well, those exploits rock! I hope the class's flavor does too. :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

.......*BOOM* mind blown. this class is looking more and more awesome!

Can't wait to see it! :)


6 people marked this as a favorite.

Quick study is ridiculous.

But Suffering Knowledge is some Blue mage love...


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Out of the Iconics leaked in the blurred picture, I placing my bets on the Arcainist being the female halfling.

*Places 10 Gp in the center pile*


38 people marked this as a favorite.

Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Awesome. This was my favorite class and I might not ever play a wizard again.


Songs of bravery and rage? So I am guessing the Skald is next week? Also the class sounds great, I was going to play a Impossible Bloodlined Sorc for Mummy's Mask, but now I am thinking I will go Arcanist.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Digging that white mage archetype. Very Final Fantasy.


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Lemmy wrote:
Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.

Gotta love how the one class the majority agreed was too strong got a boost.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

So that is one messed-up glowy snake.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.
Gotta love how the one class the majority agreed was too strong got a boost.

Meanwhile the Warpriest that was iffy at best got nerfed.


I really like the sound of the white mage.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

At least we won't have to deal with people calling "Schrodinger's Wizard" on any caster/martial debate, since Schrodinger's Wizard now totally and officially exists.

I've been trying not to jump the gun on my criticism in these blog posts, but... c'mon Paizo. You even noted in the bloody write-up that the Arcanist was criticized for being overpowered in the beta. We would have actually appreciated news of a nerf on this one!


18 people marked this as a favorite.
Arachnofiend wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.
Gotta love how the one class the majority agreed was too strong got a boost.

Or you guys could wait to see what the entire class looks like before being snotty. Weird idea I know.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

If people think the class looked too overpowered based on what has been revealed and then they reveal that they've given the class even more to work with I think their criticisms are justified...


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not until they see the rest of the class they're not.


7 people marked this as a favorite.

Jason specifically pointed out that "most players were concerned about power balance".

Instead of giving us information to show that Paizo made changes to address those concerns, he showed us that the Arcanist can now memorize a spell on the fly. The fact that wizards cannot do this is the primary argument of many people who believe that wizards are fine.

If he honestly believed that this wasn't going to sound some alarm bells he may want to consider hiring a writer.


I don't think the rest of his class features will somehow limit his already impressive abilities...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.
Gotta love how the one class the majority agreed was too strong got a boost.
Or you guys could wait to see what the entire class looks like before being snotty. Weird idea I know.

Even if the only class features were their spontaneously-prepared casting and Quick Study, it would still be too strong.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Aaron Scott 139 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Quick Study: Because if a full caster isn't ridiculously overpowered, it isn't overpowered enough.
Gotta love how the one class the majority agreed was too strong got a boost.
Or you guys could wait to see what the entire class looks like before being snotty. Weird idea I know.

Another preview thread, another visit by me with my Umbrella Loan Offer for the falling sky.


14 people marked this as a favorite.

hhhmm...people criticized the last blog post for only covering a negative change

Now people criticize this post for only showing positive changes

Man, Paizo can't win.


9 people marked this as a favorite.

It doesn't really do Paizo much good to interact with the community if they're not open to criticism, y'know...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:

hhhmm...people criticized the last blog post for only covering a negative change

Now people criticize this post for only showing positive changes

Man, Paizo can't win.

Bloodrager didn't have any negative changes. This however kept the most overpowered class in the play-test still ridiculous.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
MMCJawa wrote:

hhhmm...people criticized the last blog post for only covering a negative change

Now people criticize this post for only showing positive changes

Man, Paizo can't win.

QFT my good sir.


17 people marked this as a favorite.

Maybe I should quiet my excitement for the Slayer, because apparently it's near blasphemy to state an opinion based on the information available.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

i LOVE this class. I lovely see this class mythic (class feature) in mythic mania but i no is too late. I like all class in ACG but arcanist its by far my best.

THANKS PAIZO...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Rathendar wrote:
Another preview thread, another visit by me with my Umbrella Loan Offer for the falling sky.

Dunno what are you talkig about. The class seem very overpowered in playtest version, and Jason reveals it got a boost.

The whole point of playtest is to find flaws in the class design. This one was overpowered in the 1st version, became even more powerful in the 2nd one and apparently got buffed yet again.

It's very, very reasonable to assume that it's going to be overpowered.


It sounds like everything Paizo believes a full caster should be!

I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Rathendar wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

hhhmm...people criticized the last blog post for only covering a negative change

Now people criticize this post for only showing positive changes

Man, Paizo can't win.

QFT my good sir.

Oh gee, I wonder if context could be relevant at all. Is it perhaps because the last blog post only showed negative changes to a reasonably balanced class and this one only shows positive changes to an already overpowered classes?

NO THE COMPLAINERS MUST ALWAYS BE WRONG

So, let's see. Paizo admits it's perfectly aware that arcanist is overpowered. It proceeds to buff it in the preview, instead of showing that they respond to fan criticism and nerfing it. There may possibly be nerfs that they're not showing. If so, why are they not showing the nerfs? Why are they not using the preview to prove that they've done something to balance a broken class?

Terrible job, Paizo.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?

I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?
I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.

Hah! They could use divine magic mechanics too! This way Arcanist would definitely be the supreme power of every class ever!


Arachnofiend wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?
I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.

Maybe a Domain and some rage powers.

Edit: Lemmy the Ninja.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Doom! Doom and gloom! DOOOOOM!!!!

Oy.

At any rate, the Arcanist holds a special place for me for a couple of reasons: It went from being the class that held the least amount of interest for me from pre-and initial beta to the class that most intrigued me with the second beta.

Plus, it basically amounted to a character class that I've been wanting to have (and have been tinkering with and trying to create on my own) for years- something on the order of near to a decade now, actually.

I can't wait to see the final version of this class. And I'm fairly confident that if they boosted some of the abilities that were noted in the playtest as being underwhelming, they more than likely nerfed those that were viewed as overpowered (and which they even acknowledge acknowledging in this post).

And Quick Study doesn't seem all that overpowered to me- full round action provoking AoO, must be same level spell, costs 1 arcane reservoir point.

Alas, ymmv for many. Que sera, sera.

Also, the picture for the Arcane Occultist looks cool. A divine arcanist, perhaps? Maybe some kind of Arcanist/Oracle?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chaotic Fighter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?
I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.

Maybe a Domain and some rage powers.

Edit: Lemmy the Ninja.

Please! I'm a Investigator. ;)

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Sweet! I get to bring my "Jump to Conclusions" mat from the Warpriest week out!


Lemmy wrote:
Chaotic Fighter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?
I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.

Maybe a Domain and some rage powers.

Edit: Lemmy the Ninja.

Please! I'm a Investigator. ;)

Sohei Monks are the ones that get the crazy initiative boost.


Atarlost wrote:
Lemmy wrote:
Chaotic Fighter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Insain Dragoon wrote:
I do wonder about that Blade Adept archetype though. Why would anyone want to melee with a 1/2 BAB class?
I almost want to see it get pseudo-full BAB with a favored blade just to really hammer it all in.

Maybe a Domain and some rage powers.

Edit: Lemmy the Ninja.

Please! I'm a Investigator. ;)
Sohei Monks are the ones that get the crazy initiative boost.

Kensai Magus?


Really Quick study? You have to reference your Spell book...which means it is at least a round and a half of actions...oh not to mention that actually brings your spell book out to be destroyed...

I don't see anything here that is broken to the extent some people are reacting to...but I do agree I would have liked to hear some of the nerfs the class got...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I imagine it's not something they'll do in combat.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

My one question is this: With the Arcanist around, what reason is there to play a wizard or sorcerer?

Other than that go crazy magic rule breaking!


2 people marked this as a favorite.
John Kretzer wrote:

Really Quick study? You have to reference your Spell book...which means it is at least a round and a half of actions...oh not to mention that actually brings your spell book out to be destroyed...

I don't see anything here that is broken to the extent some people are reacting to...but I do agree I would have liked to hear some of the nerfs the class got...

Unless your GM is the type to be constantly looking for chances to destroy your spellbook I don't see this being a problem.

Just forget about the in-combat implications for a moment. You know all those arguments about how the Wizard has to prepare the right spell to match a Rogue or another mundane skill monkey at something the Rogue can do "all the time"? Those arguments don't apply to the Arcanist. She doesn't even have to memorize those weird, obscure spells that will only come up once or twice in a campaign; they only have to find their way into her spellbook for her to have nearly as instant access to them as the Rogue to his skills.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Ralanr wrote:

My one question is this: With the Arcanist around, what reason is there to play a wizard or sorcerer?

Other than that go crazy magic rule breaking!

I'll let you know when I see the final class with all the adjustments as well as all the bells and whistles.

Shadow Lodge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Ralanr wrote:
My one question is this: With the Arcanist around, what reason is there to play a wizard or sorcerer?

They get less spells available at a time and less per day than the Sorc.

However, I will definitely never need to play a wizard again, because now I can get all the flavor of "learned caster who pulls magic out of a book" without having to deal with the hell that is prepared casting.


Arachnofiend wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Really Quick study? You have to reference your Spell book...which means it is at least a round and a half of actions...oh not to mention that actually brings your spell book out to be destroyed...

I don't see anything here that is broken to the extent some people are reacting to...but I do agree I would have liked to hear some of the nerfs the class got...

Unless your GM is the type to be constantly looking for chances to destroy your spellbook I don't see this being a problem.

Just forget about the in-combat implications for a moment. You know all those arguments about how the Wizard has to prepare the right spell to match a Rogue or another mundane skill monkey at something the Rogue can do "all the time"? Those arguments don't apply to the Arcanist. She doesn't even have to memorize those weird, obscure spells that will only come up once or twice in a campaign; they only have to find their way into her spellbook for her to have nearly as instant access to them as the Rogue to his skills.

A wizard doesn't have to memorize all his spells in his slots, so how is this different? Besides being a tad quicker?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Valantrix1 wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

Really Quick study? You have to reference your Spell book...which means it is at least a round and a half of actions...oh not to mention that actually brings your spell book out to be destroyed...

I don't see anything here that is broken to the extent some people are reacting to...but I do agree I would have liked to hear some of the nerfs the class got...

Unless your GM is the type to be constantly looking for chances to destroy your spellbook I don't see this being a problem.

Just forget about the in-combat implications for a moment. You know all those arguments about how the Wizard has to prepare the right spell to match a Rogue or another mundane skill monkey at something the Rogue can do "all the time"? Those arguments don't apply to the Arcanist. She doesn't even have to memorize those weird, obscure spells that will only come up once or twice in a campaign; they only have to find their way into her spellbook for her to have nearly as instant access to them as the Rogue to his skills.

A wizard doesn't have to memorize all his spells in his slots, so how is this different? Besides being a tad quicker?

Maybe it's just my group, but I've found in my experience that when someone pulls that trick with the prepared casters, it irritates the rest of the party something fierce. "Sorry, we need to drop everything and stop for fifteen minutes so I can get these one or two spells in here."

For not having that headache it'll already be an upgrade. Being able to do it in combat - even at risk to the spellbook - is just gravy.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am still looking forward to seeing the full arcanist.

As for Quick Study, I do worry about that as an ability, but with far less spell slots than even a Sorcerer I'm not sure it'll be as broken as people fear.

If I were to use Quick Study it probably would never be in combat (better to throw a magic missile than waste a round and a half repurposing a bad spell), it'd be a utility spell I'd swap in. Knock, Spider-Climb etc, whatever the party needed to get past an obstacle. Utility spells such as those aren't the kind you need to prepare every day but can make a big difference if you can swap them in. Which is really no different to a wizard (or even a sorcerer) keeping around some scrolls of spells they might need.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I am still looking forward to seeing the full arcanist.

As for Quick Study, I do worry about that as an ability, but with far less spell slots than even a Sorcerer I'm not sure it'll be as broken as people fear.

If I were to use Quick Study it probably would never be in combat (better to throw a magic missile than waste a round and a half repurposing a bad spell), it'd be a utility spell I'd swap in. Knock, Spider-Climb etc, whatever the party needed to get past an obstacle. Utility spells such as those aren't the kind you need to prepare every day but can make a big difference if you can swap them in. Which is really no different to a wizard (or even a sorcerer) keeping around some scrolls of spells they might need.

From the preview

Quote:
The eldritch font gains more spell slots, but can prepare fewer spells per day

Combined with Quick study sounds pretty rad.

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