Advanced Class Guide Preview: Hunter

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alright guys, this is it! The Advanced Class Guide releases next week and this is the final rules preview blog, featuring the hunter. When describing the druid class to a new player, you would often say something "She casts nature spells, turns into animals, and has an animal pet if you want". For the ranger, it might be "He fights well against certain foes in certain terrains and eventually gets nature magic and an animal pet if you want". The hunter is a hybrid of the two, and she pushes the pet up in that list, "She casts nature magic spells and has an animal pet with all kinds of synergies." Those of you who were watching my little teasers know that there's a tweak to the hunter that, while small in terms of wordcount, I think will have major repercussions in making the hunter awesome.Flavorwise, you might have been able to pull off some of the hunter feel before with a ranger or druid character. In fact, this class was the one that was the hardest sell to me as a playtester, as the first playtest version felt like you could make an archetype of druid that traded out wild shape for the hunter abilities and it wouldn't be too out of line for an archetype. Perhaps an alternate class at most. Basically, she was a prepared Wisdom-based caster like the druid, with the druid's BAB and skill points, mostly druid weapons and armor plus bows, using the druid spell list but casting with the 6th-level spellcasting advancement of a magus. She got a bunch of teamwork feats that the companion automatically shared, which was pretty cool, and a feature called animal focus that gave her and her companion a choice from a menu of small but generally useful buffs as a swift action with very limited uses.


Illustration by Subroto Bhaumik

Playtest feedback was mostly along the same lines—the teamwork feats were a good start, but hunter still had a way to go if she wanted to be able to hang out with the druids and rangers and hold her own. So she whistled for her companion and retreated into the woods to meditate on her nature. Though she hadn't made as many friends as she wanted yet, she wasn't lonely with her companion there. When she emerged, she had some substantial upgrades. For one, she could now use all martial weapons and despite the lack of proficiency, she wasn't restricted from wearing heavy armor if she wanted. More importantly, she gained earlier access on abilities like wild empathy, she scored free Precise Shot at level 2, and her animal focus now worked for about triple the number of minutes per day on her and permanently on her animal companion (she could still switch it out). She even cooked up a few new teamwork feats that worked great for a hunter.

But there was still plenty of good feedback about the hunter needing to change a bit more to find her niche. Many playtesters gave feedback that when running side-by-side comparisons of druids and hunters in their games, despite all the hunter had gained, she was still not doing as well as the druid. Unlike most of the other classes in my reveal blog, the hunter has plenty of new secrets to share, including multiple new class features involving using her link to scout and raising her companion from the dead. For melee hunters, that free Precise Shot freebie I mentioned can now be swapped for an extremely juicy early-access Outflank at level 2! If your companion dies in action, all the permanent animal focus powers instantly shift over to you, allowing you to stack up to four different powers onto yourself starting at level 8. The hunter even has 6 skill points per level now!

But the big change is so exciting, it gets its own paragraph. Remember how the hunter can cast spells from the druid spell list, up to 6th level spells? Well now, she can cast ranger spells too. And if they're on both lists, she casts them using the lower level. That's right, she's the only class in the game who can cast resist energy as a 1st-level character! Gravity bow, lead blades, and aspect of the falcon at 1st. Wind wall and spike growth as 2nd-level spells at 4th. The list goes on. She's also a spontaneous caster now, so she doesn't have to load up her slots with resist energy to still be able to cast it when you need it. So basically, for low levels, at least (particularly, 1, 2, and 4), the hunter is arguably a better caster than the druid in some situations (the druid still has the ability to prepare any spell from her list when you need that odd spell, so she still has her place), with better skills, better weapons, and a kickass companion. There's still plenty of reason to play a druid, but through one elegant change, the hunter has vaulted her way up to the point where I hope she will satisfy many of the playtesters who shape her new abilities.

Alright then, on to the archetypes! Today we'll be going on a hunt through the archetype section to stalk that cool-looking guy with the white tiger you see over there. He's definitely not the verminous hunter because he doesn't have a vermin companion, though he does look badass enough to be able to walk right through swarms. He's not the packmaster because he doesn't have several animal companions. While he definitely looks feral, he probably isn't the feral hunter because the feral hunter trades out the animal companion to gain permanent bonuses, wild shape, and boosts to summoned allies, though perhaps that's a summoned tiger by his side. He's also probably not the divine hunter, since even though I could believe he has access to a domain's powers and granted spells, that tiger doesn't look celestial or fiendish. So what's the conclusion? Well, I suppose he might be the feral hunter with a summoned tiger, but personally I think he's waiting to be your next PC! Anyone want to stat him up here in this thread? Perhaps it will help tide your salivating hunger for the final book. Soon, my friends. Soon.

Mark Seifter
Designer

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Tags: Hunter Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subroto Bhaumik
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Scarab Sages

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I like this. The changes sound very appealing.


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I am now hopeful.


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Jiggy wrote:
Spontaneous casting... still WIS-based?

exactly like the inquisitor.

Liberty's Edge

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The changes sound interesting. I would like to see more about archetypes. Is there an archetype that replaces the animal companion with something else? (If I played a hunter, I would likely go with a companion. However, it never hurts to have options.)

Also, Mark, can you maybe comment on the hunter's role? I can see hunters working well with druids and rangers, but perhaps being more focused on eliminating enemies. (Maybe a motto of the Green Faith is "Send a druid to teach and restore, a ranger to guide and defend, and a hunter to kill?")

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

D'oh!


Yes. Yeeeeeees.


Better. Still having a hard time forming the concept in my brain meats.

I guess I'll get the opportunity when I pick up the PDF when it drops!


Still not too into the class overall but the Feral Hunter is an interesting snippit, going to look into that one.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
William Ronald wrote:

The changes sound interesting. I would like to see more about archetypes. Is there an archetype that replaces the animal companion with something else?

The article says, "the the feral hunter trades out the animal companion to gain permanent bonuses, wild shape, and boosts to summoned allies," so the answer is "yes".


At last, the waiting was long, my expectacions were high... but I was not dissapointed !!!

Liberty's Edge

coyote6 wrote:
William Ronald wrote:

The changes sound interesting. I would like to see more about archetypes. Is there an archetype that replaces the animal companion with something else?

The article says, "the the feral hunter trades out the animal companion to gain permanent bonuses, wild shape, and boosts to summoned allies," so the answer is "yes".

Thanks. I imagine that the feral hunter is the "lone hunter" archetype. I must have read too fast.

Silver Crusade

Interesting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nice! Early access spells sounds pretty cool, especially since the Druid list on its own is pretty heavy on situational spells. Divine Hunter with some polymorph-line spells? That could be fun.

Shadow Lodge

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

This may be the Druid I always wanted. Psyched.


Glad to see lot of the changes we recommend went through on this the class was fairly weak before and needed these things we suggest as a boots and they happened it is awesome.


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Good job on this one. I particularly like the outflank change and switching anything to spontaneous casting is a huge win for me.

Very elegant way to handle the spell list too. I appreciate that a lot.

Cheers!
Landon


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oooo, I'm really liking this class now. Especially the Feral Hunter archetype, I want to try a Feral Hunter Skinwalker :D


Not entirely convinced yet, but now I at least have hope that this class won't be a complete waste of ink.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yeah this looks really exciting. I like that there's finally a spontaneous nature-themed divine caster. The Hunter will probably become one of my favorite classes, because I LOVE animal companions!

Contributor

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Question: What's stopping me from keeping my animal companion dead and reaping four succulent benefits? How does that ability work?


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I might just use the Feral Hunter as my base for the class, and pretend the regular one isn't there, because that sounds like what I was expecting from the Class to begin with. And we have a spontaneous Wis-caster now!


+1 to the druid I always wanted.


The spell list is a really interesting twist to make the Hunter a stronger caster. I hope that, as a whole, it does stand on the same level as its parent classes.

Counting the days until the ACG drops!

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

this is so awsome my first character was a ranger and this makes me want to recreate him so bad lol, and that picture is soo cool, he has TIGER HANDS!!! so epic!! woooooo!!!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

6 people marked this as a favorite.

With the conversion to spontaneous casting and the inclusion of a ranger's lower-level combat spells, I'd say the Hunter is now firmly cemented as the 'nature inquisitor'.

Cool.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Alexander Augunas wrote:
Question: What's stopping me from keeping my animal companion dead and reaping four succulent benefits? How does that ability work?

Probably nothing, just as a wizard doesn't have to replace a familiar, or a druid or ranger can choose a non-companion benefit.

I'd bet, though, that if you don't want a companion, a feral hunter will get better bonuses than a vanilla hunter with no companion.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Huzzah, and I think I know what my last remaining GM credit baby will be :)


And more skills!!!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Question: What's stopping me from keeping my animal companion dead and reaping four succulent benefits? How does that ability work?

I'm guessing that this is a temporary boost to help you in the battle where the animal died. That way you don't become immediately useless when you lose your teamwork pet ;)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The image is labelled feral hunter, so it could be a feral hunter with a summoned tiger, as Mark suggests.

I suspect the tiger is symbollic, though, of the feral hunter using his wildshape: check out his hands, and the body paint. He's already starting to transform.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Question: What's stopping me from keeping my animal companion dead and reaping four succulent benefits? How does that ability work?

Nothing! Go for it. Two permanent benefits you robbed from the corpse of the companion and the two temporary ones you normally have. But if you're going to miss out on the action economy and a buddy for your teamwork feats, you might as well go Feral Hunter. You won't get four animal focuses, but I hear wild shaping into a tiger is pretty good ;)

Actually, hey, maybe that white tiger is the feral hunter and the badass guy beside him is his understudy or alt form?

EDIT: Ross agrees, seconds before me!

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

This went from being a class that was heavily disappointing to one of my top 3 alongside Shaman and Brawler that I'm most excited to play. Slayer I like as well, though I consider it and the inquisitor as two more reasons to never play a rogue in pathfinder ever.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

wooo clap your tiger hands together for the Feral hunter!! :D Wooo! XD i am beyond excited lol


The Inquisitor is my favorite class (both mechanics and flavor-wise), so I'm excited to see that this is class is going to be shaping up to be a bit of a nature inquisitor!

The spont. casting, ranger spells, and 6 skills were all basic adjustments that should help it alot!

Also, I think half of the Hunters out there will be Feral Hunters, haha

Grand Lodge

Spontaneous caster as in they know a limited number of spells like an oracle/inquisitor/sorcerer/bard? or all ranger and druid spells?


Thanks for the feral hunter archetype!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Okay, I'm sold on the Feral Hunter. I always wanted a more combat oriented wildshaper. I'm ready to turn into an elemental and punch guys.


Uncommoner wrote:

The Inquisitor is my favorite class (both mechanics and flavor-wise), so I'm excited to see that this is class is going to be shaping up to be a bit of a nature inquisitor!

The spont. casting, ranger spells, and 6 skills were all basic adjustments that should help it alot!

Also, I think half of the Hunters out there will be Feral Hunters, haha

Completely agreed. Man I was so ready for disappointment from the hunter after the playtest and now I am back to being so excited!! Hooray!!

Paizo Employee Designer

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Albatoonoe wrote:
Okay, I'm sold on the Feral Hunter. I always wanted a more combat oriented wildshaper. I'm ready to turn into an elemental and punch guys.

Feral hunter gets 100% full speed advancement on wildshape (more than some druid archetypes can say), but to fit the feral flavor, it's animals only, not elementals. That still leaves a ton of amazing forms! :glances warily at the raptors: Wait, was that Zadim over there? :ducks out of the thread:


Okay, you have my attention Paizo. The changes are good and the Feral Hunter is about what I expected this class to be in the first place. I can see myself making a Hunter now.


Have the Animal Focus bonuses been changed to something other than enhancement? While nice at low levels and in low magic campagins, once the typical blets and headbands come into play the Animal Focus becomes useless to the Hunter himself and only help the companion in which case why give it to the hunter at all? Otherwise I love the class, can't wait to play it.


Davic The Grey wrote:
Have the Animal Focus bonuses been changed to something other than enhancement? While nice at low levels and in low magic campagins, once the typical blets and headbands come into play the Animal Focus becomes useless to the Hunter himself and only help the companion in which case why give it to the hunter at all? Otherwise I love the class, can't wait to play it.

Well, if the bonuses last long enough then that actually lets you use something other than enhancement bonus items in those item slots *gasp!*

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Davic The Grey wrote:
Have the Animal Focus bonuses been changed to something other than enhancement? While nice at low levels and in low magic campagins, once the typical blets and headbands come into play the Animal Focus becomes useless to the Hunter himself and only help the companion in which case why give it to the hunter at all? Other I love the class, can't wait to play it.

Do your groups generally buy belts of physical perfection? I've tended to see moreso characters raising Strength or Dex (whichever they use to hit) to as high as it can go. That still leaves room for raising the other of those two (for damage and switch-hitting on archers or for plenty of Dexy stuff like AC, Ref saves, initiative, and more on meleers) and Con, as well as other fun options like blindsense. evasion, and scent even if you do have the physical perfection belt. And since you can swift action apply those aspects, you can have the one you need when you need it.


Good job Mark & co. The concept of the hunter has always been a fun one for me, but I was wary due to the playtest one needing a good bit of work to be competitive. All the changes sound amazing. Can you say...Divine Hunter for a celestial mammoth? I knew you could.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

If Hunter turns out to be as cool as it sounds, my PFS tiefling will become it instead of being a druid (lion shaman). Not sure about the barbarian levels. ;)


Very true, I had forgetten about evasion and the use in switch hitting. I retract my previous position.

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Davic The Grey wrote:
Very true, I had forgetten about evasion and the use in switch hitting. I retract my previous position.

Yeah, evasion is always a nice add when you have a strong Ref save! Also, I can just see the feral hunter who channels the power of the bat and the mouse, running around as some kind of wildshaped tiger or raptor with rodent and chiropteran features, constant blindsense, and improved evasion. Seems pretty cool.


Really interested to see how this will play. My wife is going to roll one up for a Rise of the Runelords game we will be starting in a couple of weeks, and I think she is going to LOVE the new changes

Grand Lodge

KirbyEF wrote:
Spontaneous caster as in they know a limited number of spells like an oracle/inquisitor/sorcerer/bard? or all ranger and druid spells?

Mark is there are limited number of spell known (like an inquisitor)?

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