The Genius Guide to the Archon (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (based on 4 ratings)

Our Price: $3.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

The Archon is a new core class designed for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It is a hybrid combat class, designed to blend arcane power (including spellcasting) with martial skill. While an archon lacks the ongoing high damage output of most other fighting classes, and has neither the heavy armor of a fighter (at least initially) or the enhanced hit points of the barbarian, the ability to blend arcane and martial skills together makes up for this reduced durability.

An archon is a warrior-wizard, trained to master both magic and mundane fighting techniques. Most are members of powerful aristocracies, for only nobles can normally take the time required in youth to train for the rigors of both the mystic and martial worlds. In many lands archons are the only ruling class, with all other spellcasters and fighters relegated to secondary roles. In other lands only a few noble lines have archons, with each generation learning the rare art from their forefathers.

The style of magic practiced by archons is unique and, in its own way, limiting. An archon studies and masters spells through training and intellect, as does a wizard. However, archons cannot call upon the vast range of fighting talents pure fighters learn, nor do they have the breadth of spells of other pure casters. An archon can’t match a wizard in terms of spell level, spell slots per day, or spells known. Archons do learn to mix their arcane learning with martial skills, including ways to access their magic in a more raw and primal form, making them very versatile combatants.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPDFRGGOWC5010E


See Also:

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 4 ratings)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

Two years later, still an excellent addition to the game

*****

A lot of times as you look back on a product that has been out a while, especially something as self contained as a single base class, you wonder if it's still relavent. Long before paizo released the Magus in Ultimate Magic, super genius games sought to scratch that fighter/mage itch. There were a few homebrew ideas bouncing around, but this definately caught my eye. I picked it up and read it over. Part of me was thrilled. A full bab martial/caster that can cast spells from 1st level? Could it really work? After my first read through I wasnt convinced. I was underwhelmed by the class abilities. It seemed like too far a shift from high powered 3.5 attempts like the duskblade.

But I didnt have an issue with it in terms of balance, it just didnt seem all that impressive. Still, I printed it and put it in my ever growing binder of Super Genius material that I allowed into my game. Shortly after the start of my last campaign which lasted almost 2 years and spanned levels 2 through 12, a new player joined my group. He had in his head a concept of a fighter mage. So as I usually do with new Players I sat down and showed him different options in terms of classes and prestige classes. He chose (dispite my urging for something different) the Archon.

And he struggled at first trying to find his place in the game. We had several combatants in the party already, and he wasn't going to outdamage any of them. But over the course of the campaign I came to appreciate the sheer flexibility of this class. It can stand up and duke it out with all but the best of them, and it also has sufficient access to spells that it can have the 'batman anti thing spray' effect. As a full BAB combatant, it can afford to keep a more of its spells in it's pocket as saftey nets. AND riven spell effects allow the Archon to turn prepared spells that end up being not useful into a useful bonus (much like a cleric or druid's spontaneous casting).

The Archon ended up being one of the most versatile and important members of the party, able to fill in where there was need. And while the fighter, and paladin dished out more damage, they were often caught without options in complex encounters. The archon always seemed to have a spell up his sleeve that kept him able to bring the fight to the enemy.

That campaign has come to a close and I truly look back fondly on that character. In a large group, with multiple casters and combatants (and even a few mixes like an inquisitor and a super genius dragon rider) it did not seem to overshadow anyone, but still found room to shine. Even in the face of new releases since then, particularly the Magus by paizo, this class still has it' place in my game. The class isn't as flashy as a magus using spell combat, but it gets the job done, in a sort of rugged and slightly clunky way. Two years ago I would probably have given it 3 starts, maybe 2. But having followed one through its career as a dm, I think the class is way better then I originally thought. Given I and my player had fun with this class for a whole campaign, it gets 5 stars from me today.


Finally convinced that not all 3rd party is bad

****( )

People have been asking for a warrior/caster hybrid base class for a while and finally a good option.. The Archon. The class seems to be able to handle its self in melee and brings a great back-up caster to the table. It does invoke a quick knee-jerk reaction seing a class get full bab, d10 hd, and 6th level spells, but it seems to make a fun alternative to the standard Eldrich Knight, and is a great alternative to 3.5's Duskblade.

*Note i would give this a 3.5, but since I and another poster have the same view and they ranked it a 3 I'll give it the 4 to balance us out


For Gish lovers

****( )

This product is 9 pages long with 1 page for OGL.

d10, 2 skill, full BaB, all simple and 2 martial weapons(of choice), light armor and shields. Can cast with no spell failure in light armor.

This class functions like a wizard IE needs a spell book and memorizes spells. It gets fewer spells per level and only learns up to level 6 spells, but learns new spell levels at the same rate as wizards. It has it's own spell list. As the Archon levels they start learning to cast in better armor lowering the failure chance. It is not clear if they learn to wear the armor or still need to spend a feat on them.

It gets a few class abilities like Arcane Surge that allows the Archon to cast a spell as a swift action that normally was a standard action once per day(more times as they level)

Soul of the spellblade - this allows a Archon to cast a touch attack but not use it yet. The following round or up to 6 rounds later they can make a touch attack with their weapon. Doing the weapons attack and they spells attack if the melee attack hits. The Archon must decided when to use this and if the attack misses the spell is gone.

Rivenspell - It is a ability to sacrifice a spell to use one of the rivenspell abilities. I love the concept of this, my big compliant is that while at low levels it is great it doesn't really scale well. I don't see most using many of the abilities and fewer and fewer as they level. I wish this had been more of a major focus of the class and scaled a bit better.

Closing thoughts, taken as a whole it is a interesting take on the gish concept of a arcane casting fighter. I like a lot of the idea's and loved the Rivenspell ability. If you like Gish classes I recommend this to buy.


I actually wish I could give this a 3.5

***( )( )

I like this class. I like this better than the Duskblade or the Hexblade. I think this does what its suppose to do pretty well. Oddly, there were a few things aesthetically that bugged me about this, however.

First, I'm not really sure that it adds anything to the class to make it a prepared caster with a limited list and then further limit how many spells the class can actually learn at each level. Its just feels complex for no real extra purpose.

Second, I was kind of distracted, and not in a good way, with some "inside jokes" in the naming conventions of the class and its lore, i.e. "Gesh," "Soul of the Spellblade, "Hexsword," "Dusk Knight," which all kind of nagged at me by sounding like in jokes for 3.5 fighter/mage PrCs and Base classes.

Third, I don't like the class being named Archon. I know I can call it what I like, but calling it an Archon, which already has a definition in Pathfinder RPG, just kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Despite these problems, I like the class. I'm not completely convinced that there needs to be a base fighter/mage class instead of a PrC that facilitates the "build," but if there is to be one, I like this one better than a lot of them.


1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Super Genius Games

And it's up!

Hyrum.


I just downloaded this and read through it. I really like what I see so far. This class seems like a more balanced version of the duskblade. I do have a couple of questions though. There seems to be a few inconsistencies between the number of spells known. Initially the book states:

This book begins with three cantrips and two 1st level spells of the archon’s choice at 1st level

but the chart for max number of spells known says:

Table 2: Archon Spell Maximums
Character
Level Maximum Spells Known
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1 1

Which of these is correct?
There is a similar problem with cantrips. It is stated that cantrips are not expended, but it is said that only one cantrip may be cast at first level. Does this mean that that one cantrip may be cast repeatedly, or only once?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.


seems intriguing but I kind of prefer non-casting gish type classes like the Runeblade


MerrikCale wrote:
seems intriguing but I kind of prefer non-casting gish type classes like the Runeblade

where can I find this runeblade?


AlQahir wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
seems intriguing but I kind of prefer non-casting gish type classes like the Runeblade
where can I find this runeblade?

Most current is here

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

1 person marked this as a favorite.
AlQahir wrote:

This book begins with three cantrips and two 1st level spells of the archon’s choice at 1st level

but the chart for max number of spells known says:

Table 2: Archon Spell Maximums
Character
Level Maximum Spells Known
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
1 1

Which of these is correct?
There is a similar problem with cantrips.

So, the archon is unusual in that he must learn spells from outside sources (spellbooks) like a wizard, but still has a maximum number of spells known (like a sorcerer). He gains one spell learned at each level (just like a wizard gains two spells learned at each level).

It is true the archon starts with two 1st level spells in his spellbook, and can only know one of them. And at 2nd level, he gains knowledge of a 1st level spell that doesn't have to be in his spellbook. But at 4th level the archon can know three 1st level spells, and will likely use his one spell/level learned automatically for a 2nd level spell. At that point, the extra spell the archon has in his spellbook can be learned (as if it was a spell in a wizard's spellbook).

I should have been clearer about the intent here, which is to allow an archon to start with a spell in his spellbook he hasn't learned yet, making his first few levels of adventuring a tad easier, since he doesn't have to compete with the team's wizard to raid enemy spellbooks. Because of that extra 1st level spell, the archon won't need to raid outside sources for spells to learn until 7th level.

For cantrips, the rules are exactly like a wizard. The class chart (Table 1) shows the number of cantrips an archon may have -prepared-. Casting a prepared cantrip does not expend it. He may know as many cantrips as he wishes, which is why 0-level spells are not listed on Table 2.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

MerrikCale wrote:
seems intriguing but I kind of prefer non-casting gish type classes like the Runeblade

Fair enough!

I suppose I could use the rivenspell power tree to create a nonspellcastign version, if there was large enough demand for it.

Or I may polish my Justicar non-spellcasting divine fighter hybrid, and see how it's received.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

I suppose I could use the rivenspell power tree to create a nonspellcastign version, if there was large enough demand for it.

Or I may polish my Justicar non-spellcasting divine fighter hybrid, and see how it's received.

Both sound quite cool

start polishing


Urizen wrote:
AlQahir wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
seems intriguing but I kind of prefer non-casting gish type classes like the Runeblade
where can I find this runeblade?
Most current is here

yeah, on Black Friday paizo had it for 10 bucks. Nice buy!

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, I'm really diggin' this class! One of the things I really like about it is its simplicity. All of the similar classes on these board (search for "gish") feel overly complicated with too many options. The archon is more streamlined.

That said I think you could consider an add-on product that provides more rivenspell options (or option packages).


hmmmmm

maybe I will have to get this


MerrikCale wrote:

hmmmmm

maybe I will have to get this

I really recommend it. It is one of the better balanced fighter/mage classes I have seen. It gets some really unique abilities.


AlQahir wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:

hmmmmm

maybe I will have to get this

I really recommend it. It is one of the better balanced fighter/mage classes I have seen. It gets some really unique abilities.

unique is good. I like unique


Just downloaded this with several other "Genius" products. I like this class a lot; enough to where I will definitely make an NPC of this class.

My only pet peeve thus far is the rather limited class skills. No Use Magic Device?! I will be house ruling that one in. :)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

MerrikCale wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
I suppose I could use the rivenspell power tree to create a nonspellcastign version, if there was large enough demand for it.

Both sound quite cool

We're now looking at adding this idea (along with an expanded list of rivenspell options) to our schedule in a free pdf expansion, as a reward for all the amazing support we've been getting.

The schedule is pretty full, so I'd look for this around mid-February. But don't worry -- if you bought the Archon, we'll let you know when the free expansion is available!

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Denim N Leather wrote:

Just downloaded this with several other "Genius" products. I like this class a lot; enough to where I will definitely make an NPC of this class.

My only pet peeve thus far is the rather limited class skills. No Use Magic Device?! I will be house ruling that one in. :)

I'm really glad you enjoyed it!

And, as always, thanks for the feedback. I went back-and-forth on UMD specifically. In the end, I decided that in-game an Archon already had a LOT of material to learn, and a modest skill list was a good way to both keep them mortal, and to not steal thunder from bards.

But adding it back in won't -break- anything, and it's good to see people who know how to tweak things to match their own group's needs!


anyone else use this?


I rolled up a lvl 6 Archon today as a friendly NPC for my current campaign.

It's a very interesting class. Your campaign has to be high-magic for him to really shine. Otherwise you will have a very frustrated player trying to locate places to learn new spells.

The Archon occupies the middle ground, both in combat and in terms of mechanics, between a melee fighter and an arcane caster. They have a decent spell list with the emphasis being on buffing and last-ditch casting. (They also have a special ability, Rivenspell, which gives them a touch of specialization in the buffing arena) They do have one special ability, Favoured Spell, which -- when used on an offensive spell like ... fireball -- can make the Archon deal 1st round damage with the best of them. (Just make sure he yells 'fire in the hole' before the fighter charges in)

Amour class and proficiencies as well as saving throws are meh. Fast base attack progression and decent arcane spell casing combined with feats like Arcane Strike and Toughness will ensure that the Archon will actually succeed in keeping the back-line characters alive.

I think the Archon is a more useful class in a mixed class party over the dragonrider, especially if you don't want to deal with the tactical challenges that the dragon brings to combat encounters.

I would summarize this class as: An arcane Cleric. If you want something like a cleric but don't want to be the party's dedicated Band-Aid dispenser, and and don't care about specializing against undead, then this is a good, medium-difficulty class to go with.

Definitely worth checking out.

Dark Archive

Well I picked this up with the sale going on, along with a few others products. I have skimmed it and will give a review eventually of it.

At first glance though I really like the Rivenspell ability but felt some of them while neat where pretty weak abilities at first glance. I will do a full review after I give it a lot more thought.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Dark_Mistress wrote:
At first glance though I really like the Rivenspell ability but felt some of them while neat where pretty weak abilities at first glance. I will do a full review after I give it a lot more thought.

Rivenspell are, of necessity, fairly weak by themselves. They are also swift actions which don't provoke AoOs, which means you can do them in melee while making a full attack routine. Effectively they are like low-level spells that all have Quicken Spell built into them. That ability to do a rivenspell -and- somethign else is a big part of why they aren't too powerful individually.

That said there has been a lot of interest in offering some expanded rivenspell options, which is on my list of things to produce fairly soon.

Dark Archive

Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
At first glance though I really like the Rivenspell ability but felt some of them while neat where pretty weak abilities at first glance. I will do a full review after I give it a lot more thought.

Rivenspell are, of necessity, fairly weak by themselves. They are also swift actions which don't provoke AoOs, which means you can do them in melee while making a full attack routine. Effectively they are like low-level spells that all have Quicken Spell built into them. That ability to do a rivenspell -and- somethign else is a big part of why they aren't too powerful individually.

That said there has been a lot of interest in offering some expanded rivenspell options, which is on my list of things to produce fairly soon.

Yeah I get that they are swift and meant to be weak. I guess I should have been more clear. At low levels i think it is fine, but it really doesn't scale well at all at first glance. Two examples.

bolt - 1d4 per spell level. At first level thats not bad, at 3rd level giving up a 2nd level spell it is still not bad, at 5th level and above it really starts to fall down i think at only 3d4. I think a d6 might have been a better choice. making it at 1st level avg dmg wise as good as a magic missle but you still need to hit with it.

Counter Spell(I think is the name, adds to saves) - this one i would have liked to have seen it give the extra save for the same level spell. So if a 3rd level spell was cast at the archon it would take a 3rd or better to roll again, but for each level higher you added a +1 save. So if 1st level charm was used and the Archon used a 6th level spell they would get a +5 spell or something.

I really like the idea of this power I just think other than a couple of the abilities as the Archon gets higher level they will never use them anymore.


AlQahir wrote:


Which of these is correct?
There is a similar problem with cantrips. It is stated that cantrips are not expended, but it is said that only one cantrip may be cast at first level. Does this mean that that one cantrip may be cast repeatedly, or only once?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Official rule in 3.5 was text beats table (Chart):

So I'd say follow the text.

Pathfinder is mostly just an extension of 3.5 (follows most of its rules).


Just picked this up. I really like it, but there are some issues. I love the base class and concept, but the class abilities are underwhelming at best. First and foremost, the riven spell ability is absolutely useless. With the bolt ability, I can burn a spell for 1d4 damage per level, or I can use arcane strike, can't do both. Why would I ever burn a spell instead of using arcane strike? At low levels, 1d4 is barely better than the +1 damage of arcane strike and it costs you a spell. Using a second level slot is slightly better, 2d4 damage, but there goes your mirror image. At 5th level, you have the option of using a 3rd level spell slot for 3d4 damage, or caste haste and get an extra attack with arcane strike every round. Even after losing a round to cast the spell, haste is much better and potentially affects the entire party. Arcane strike applies to all attacks and now does 2 points of extra damage per attack, as well. The counterspell and dispel magic abilities might come in handy, but the other abilities seem useless. If they were free actions, they'd still suck, but might see SOME sort of use. As is, they'll never see use.

I also see the potential for abuse mixing with eldritch knight. Archon 9/wizard 1/EK/10. Lose 1 bab, gain two classes with 5th level spells using the same stat bonus, access to weapon specialization and a few bonus fighter feats. You lose out on the 6th level archon spells along with the special abilities which aren't all that good anyway (other than arcane surge, which you can do anyway every time you crit.)

I'd really like to see a web enhancement or some errata to address the Archon, or, hell, for 3 bucks, I'd buy "The Archon Expanded" or some such.


So, I rolled up an npc archon as a sort of bounty hunter and threw him at the 5 pcs in my Kingmaker campaign. The pcs are 3rd level, the archon was 5th. At low levels, archons are badass. This guy took the paladin out in two rounds, and would have tpked the party if not for a couple of lucky breaks. He blew his concentration check to get off his fireball. In retrospect, he probably should have just sucked up the aoos from casting in melee. His ac was high enough to handle it. Even so, he would probably have still killed them all had he not rolled a miserable 3 on a save vs the sorceror's sleep spell (I didn't realize the spell had changed, so I had the sorceror roll 2d4 for the hit dice it would affect, he rolled a 5. The archon should have been unaffected by the sleep spell, as it now only affects up to 4 hd. It was for the best, however, otherwise, they'd all have been rolling up new characters.)

I don't think the archon is overpowered, most of its abilities are quite weak, but at low levels, being able to toss off a fireball just like a wizard, combined with the combat abilities of a fighter with a couple less feats, makes the archon a bit too much at low levels. a blurred, mirror imaged fireball tossing archon is a BASTARD at fifth level. He can do everything a wizard can do and still mix it up with the fighter. At higher levels, I think the disparity will even out. Anyway, just wanted to share my experience.

Lantern Lodge

Now that the Magus has entered its second testing, how does this class compare with it, may I ask?

Dark Archive

To be honestly I haven't really followed the magus much. I have not had time to play test it. So i gave it a once over each time but that was it.


The magus is the archon's lapdog. Good for fetching slippers, but not much else.

Liberty's Edge

JRR wrote:
The magus is the archon's lapdog. Good for fetching slippers, but not much else.

Have you checked out the Vanguard, also from SGG?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts ... As long as they are positive that is! Haha ;)


Marc Radle wrote:
JRR wrote:
The magus is the archon's lapdog. Good for fetching slippers, but not much else.

Have you checked out the Vanguard, also from SGG?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts ... As long as they are positive that is! Haha ;)

I can't promise to be positive, how's constructive?

Yes, I have the vanguard. I like it, but I prefer the archon. The full bab is necessary for a fighter/mage imo. I see the vanguard as a caster who dabbles in melee, and the archon as a fighter who dabbles in spells. I simply prefer the latter. I do think the vanguard's spell progression could stand to progress a bit faster. I'd like to see sorceror progression, though fewer spells per day, still capped at 6th level spells. The full bab is a must for any character who is primarily a melee combatant. Not because of the 4th iterative attack, I could care less about that, but so much is tied to bab. Power attack, feat progression, cmb. In fact, if the archon lost all class abilities, retaining spell progression and full bab, I'd still prefer it over the vanguard. I'm aware the monk and rogue lack full bab, but the rogue brings sneak attack to the table, and the monk effectively has full bab with flurry of blows. And both are still relatively weak melee combatants. I love the flavor of the vanguard, but mechanically, it's rather weak. The arcane smite ability (much like the archon's riven spell), is pretty much useless. sacrifice a 3rd level spell for 3d6 damage that is wasted if my attack misses (see 3/4 bab), or use swift spell to lightning bolt someone for 10d6 and still attack? The only abilities I see getting much use are swift spell, weapon channel, and spell block (assuming it's now an immediate action, as suggested in the vanguard thread). The others are small perks that,, while nice, wouldn't be missed if they weren't there. That may be by design, after all, every ability neededn't have the "wow" factor, but he still seems underpowered to me, and more of a bard with fireballs. In fact, the best use of the class is as a stepping stone to eldritch knight. I'd build my vanguard as a vanguard 6/dragon disciple 4, eldritch knight 10. Or as a vanguard 7, wizard3 eldritch knight 10, using wizard for my ek spell progression. Either path nets a huge upgrade in terms of level appropriate functionality. The vanguard has a ton of flavor, and I'd probably like it a lot better had I not seen the archon first.

Sorry for the long diatribe, but you asked! :-)


Interesting insights in your review, Kolokotroni.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Caedwyr wrote:
Interesting insights in your review, Kolokotroni.

Glad to help, I think alot of times we make choices about classes or options right when we read them and write the reviews and move on. But I think you get a different view of things after actually using it in game. Theory crafting is all well and good, and I always try to give immediate feedback, but sometimes letting it gestate a bit helps.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Kolokotroni wrote:
Theory crafting is all well and good, and I always try to give immediate feedback, but sometimes letting it gestate a bit helps.

Thanks for your review! I always value your immediate feedback, but this is very cool as an actual-play review. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Theory crafting is all well and good, and I always try to give immediate feedback, but sometimes letting it gestate a bit helps.
Thanks for your review! I always value your immediate feedback, but this is very cool as an actual-play review. :)

You are welcome, its a great product. I am trying write more reviews of stuff that I have actually gotten to the table, because I have found, especially with a lot of SGG stuff, it can play differently then I initially expected when actually used.


How does the Archon stack up against the Magus then?

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Lictor Fedryn Mannorac wrote:
How does the Archon stack up against the Magus then?

That's an entirely fair question. I'll let people less baised than me answer who they stack up in play, but I thought you might be interested in the design philosophy of the writer.

To me, the magus is essentially the arcane version of the inquisitor -- that is, a hybrid spellcaster with a focus on balancing spellcasting and combat skills.

The archon is designed to be more like an arcane version of the ranger or paladin -- that is, a warrior-class with spells and magic abilities to augment the fighting role of the class.

The biggest differences of course are that the archon gets a full +1/level attack bonus, and a much more limited spell list and spell selection than the magus. They have some abilities to combine spellcasting and fighting, but nothing as potent as spell combat or spellstrike (nor do they need anything that good, with their better attack bonus).

Finally when I did a revised version of Marc Radle's Vanguard class, I included the following sidebar that discusses how the archon, magus, and vanguard interact.

Do We Really Need Vanguards and Archons?
Fans of the Genius Guide line are likely aware that we have already presented a base class that mixes arcane spells and martial prowess in the form of the archon class, from the Genius Guide to the Archon, and since the original release of the vanguard a new fighting-spellcaster class, the magus, has been introduced in the official game rules.

It’s a natural question (and one that came up in playtesting)to ask whether a campaign really needs both the archon and the vanguard, and is either necessary now that the magus exists? To which the answer is, of course not. Just like you don’t need both the sorcerer and wizard, both the cleric and oracle, or both the cavalier and the paladin. But if you want a broad range of options for players, the archon, magus, and
vanguard produce very different types of play experience and can co-exist in a single party without the characters feeling like repetitive duplicates of one another.

The most basic difference between the three is obvious—the archon has a higher attack bonus and must prepare spells in advance while the magus has a lower attack (but still prepares spells) and the vanguard is a spontaneous caster. In truth, the differences run significantly deeper. The archon’s class abilities are built around adapting spells to work better for a weapon-based combatant, especially with his rivenspell abilities. The magus is closer to a sword-specialized wizard, and has an entire suite of powers with his arcane pool than can alter either his combat or his spellcasting options. The vanguard actually uses the trappings of martial combat to enhance his spell ability, primarily through his bonded weapon and spell maneuvers, and is closer to a sorcerer with a weapon-based bloodline than a fighting wizard. While
there will obviously be some overlap between the three, they
operate very differently in combat and offer different benefits to any adventuring party that includes them.


I recall reading the Archon after the vanguard revision and something quite stood out to me. The Archon's 20th level ability is a weaker version of the magus' 1st level ability. That really hit me, and I now use it as the premier example of how different people view the same ability. (There are other factors, of course!)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Design Lead

Cheapy wrote:
I recall reading the Archon after the vanguard revision and something quite stood out to me. The Archon's 20th level ability is a weaker version of the magus' 1st level ability. That really hit me, and I now use it as the premier example of how different people view the same ability. (There are other factors, of course!)

Heh, good point. And as it is, I got told that was overpowered as a 20th level capstone when the book was first released.

For that matter, the archon's Soul of the Spellblade is pretty much a weaker version of the magus's 2nd level ability. If I hadn't written the archon first, I'd be worried it had influenced me too much.

Of course with a +20 base attack bonus, rivenspells as swift actions and arcane surge, the archon doesn't *need* full-strength versions of the magus abilities. And, thankfully, the archon still plays very differently.


That certainly answers my question, thanks Owen!


Hey! Just started playing this last night using the updated version found in the Adventurer's Handbook.

Can Archon's prepare read magic from memory like a wizard can? I'm guessing not, but in the "prepare spells" section of the rules for wizards, it says wizards always can prepare it from memory, and since the archons prepare as the wizard does...

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Good question. Although I was not trying to cleverly make that the case and just didn't call it out, I'd have to saw by RAW, your reading is correct -- archons can prepare read magic from memory.

And... I'm okay with that.


Thanks! Would this count against the number of cantrips they know?

Paizo Employee Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Yeah, it'd have to. So I should say if they know it they can prep it from memory.


Mr Stephens, I have a player who is leaning towards playing an Archon and I have a question about adding spells to the Archon's spell list. Is a good rule of thumb if its on the Magus list, then it would be on the Archon list? Although reading your post above I see you cited one of the big differences between the Archon and the Magus is a much more limited spell list and spell selection than the magus. I also see the Archon was revised for the Adventurer's Handbook. Was the spell list expanded in the revision? Has the pdf been updated to reflect the revisions?

Thank you in Advance!


We have not revised the archon's spell list. The limited spell selection should keep the archon's spell options appropriately restricted even if you expand the class spell list.

The magus spell list isn't a bad place to look, but I'd start with the bloodrager spell list, especially any spell the bloodrager gets that at least 1 other class also gets.


Ok thanks for the quick response And the suggestion!


The archon class still has only a single attack per round at 20th level, according to the pdf of it I downloaded a couple of weeks ago. I used to want to play an Archon, but only one attack at 20th level makes it undesirable and doesn't make sense. Is this correct?


Even a wizard gets 2 attacks/round at 20th level. How does a character who does a significant amount of fighting get only one?


The class has the normal attack progression. We were experimenting with only listing the highest bonus at each level to save space on the table (since a +15 attack bonus *means* you get +15/+10/+5), but because people didn't take to it we abandoned it in future pdfs.


Okay. Maybe you should change the table back!


Are there any plans to Revise this class or offer any future support? I really loved the feats supplement but feel like the class could use a revision and would love more supplementation for rivenspell abilities etc. I really love this class. With a few tweaks to the fluff and mechanics and more versatile options it can fill basically any fighter/mage concept.
TBH I enjoy it more than all of the 3.5 options and official pathfinder options combined.
I know the designer came out with this a long time ago and really wish he would do a revision (like the vanguard, another favorite) now that he’s probably more comfortable with design.

I know I’m super late to the party but after playing 3 campaigns over the last two years, in different groups, with this class I’d like to critique it using my personal experience.
Disclosure: in one campaign the DM allowed me/help me do a revision of the class and allowed me to choose converted Magus Arcana in place of Rivenspells that really improved this class, and was honestly the most fun I had with it over all, without ever feeling like the most powerful player at the table. Which is why I’m here.

TL;DR Conclusion
The class feels like the designer was extremely worried about being overpowered to the point of severely gimping Special Abilities. Keep in mind that the main balance factor is the severely limited number of spells. The class plays like an NPC warrior with the added versatility of 6 levels of spellcasting and some special abilities that ALL tie into his ability to cast spells. Once he casts the small number of spells available he has NO versatility left. NO Special abilities or bonus feats left. No damage or hit accuracy boosts. Zilch, Nada, Nothing. Which is a great balancing factor. Design wise it makes this class work great, without overshadowing anyone. which is why I just don’t see the reason for gimping the spellbook/spell list or main class feature on top of this for balance reasons. Also seeing Arcane Armor Training turned into a main class ability and stretched out to fill so many class special ability slots makes my eye twitch. The mechanics/fluff fit beautifully for the most part once you fix the gimping issues.

First what I like about the class.
Full BAB with 6th level casting at the wizards progression using a spell book. It was great getting spells at the relevant levels, and still qualifying as a decent combatant. While this may sound overpowered on paper, in play you usually either cast or attack and splitting your Abilities between these two actions naturally weakens both. Even in full nova mode it barely kept up combat wise, but it offered an awesome level of versatility to the class once you realize this and change tactics.
Rivenblade’s fluff. Honestly could have named this class after this ability. It’s a really cool explanation for the mechanics that most classes of this style class have. Way cooler that calling it arcane boost etc.

Where I feel it could use work.
First I’d like to make a very important observation that often showed up in play, especially in the early levels. While mixing Full Bab with 6th level casting can seem very powerful, the Archon as a class really only has 1 special ability, beyond Hexblade (but no one really cares about that one). Spells, every ability is either tied into the spell casting, Sacrifices spell casting, improves spell casting, or allows spell casting in special circumstances (in armor swift etc.). So when the Archons, very limited, amount of spells per day is depleted, I’m basically playing a NPC Warrior class. Sometime this can be done after 1 tough fight. While its a major balancer for a class that seems so powerful on paper (though in actual play he mostly feels more versatile than powerful). Its also important to remember that THIS is really the ONLY balancer needed. A bunch of abilities that offer versatility in different situations, but can only be used (as an entire group of all special abilities) are heavily limited by the actual number of spells (Once again a very limited number).

Saves; I feel the Archon deserves a good Fort Save. Considering his focus it fits the Fluff and should fit the mechanics for him to be as physically tough as a warrior on top of mental toughness. Most classes built towards this concept receive a version of the paladin’s grace ability or some form of stalwart. He should at least receive the base save.
Hexblade ability; changes damage type of a weapon for DR/ purposes. While it seems like it could be an interesting ability it is weak, highly circumstantial, received way to late, and has nothing to do with the class it pays homage to. I’d much rather the Hexblades grace/stalwart ability over this. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings to completely cut it from the class.
Spellblade/Desk knight; both of these abilities could be cut with little incident. One is a house rule every combat caster is usually given and the other is a version of Spellstrike. Spellstrikes strongest feature isn’t the hitting through your weapon (actually an inferior option for to hit purposes) or its increased crit range (It does increase damage potential though to offset lost to hit chance), It’s the Free Attack included with the spell. Which is what Desk knight gives you and Spellblade lacks. Combine them into spellstrike at levels where it will shine (5th level at the latest) toss both abilities and call it a day.
Arcane Armor Training; Major class ability. This ability feels like belongs to a multiclass Prestiges class. It also feels like it was stretched out into a major class feature out of sheer designer laziness (no offense) to fill holes in the special abilities. Its mostly pointless considering it only applies to spells from this class. And doesn’t offer any proficiency in the armors it affects. It should take up 2 slots tops (medium/heavy armor) and grant proficiency. Even better, if it’s going to be a major class defensive ability it would be so much cooler if it was like the Abjurant Champion’s Abjurant Armor ability, boosting shield (maybe an archetype with this would be awesome).
Arcane Surge; Works perfect as is and is basically a limited use per day version of the Magus Spell combat ability without hijacking main weapon choices. Major class feature. Maybe add one more use per day at the highest levels.
Favored Spell; I like it. I feel it could replace Arcane armor training as a major class ability progressing like a ranger’s Favored enemy bonus (Capping at +4 per spell of course).
Rivenspell; The Main Class feature. I actually like that it’s tied off Spells as the limiting factor and the way the Mechanics fit the fluff. It’s the one of the only abilities that blends your casting with your fighting prowess. Problem is it’s too weak to the point of useless. It’s the main class feature! and there is little reason to waste the time to choose a new one as you level. Considering how you only gain 1 ability every few levels and its limited by sacrificing your only real class ability, spells, which are already very limited, and not tied of some free pool of Arcane points or free times/day usage, I feel these abilities should AT LEAST equal Magus Arcana if not surpass them in power. And around 8th level should double your benefits per spells level (Superior Rivenspell ability 1st level spell gives a 2nd level spell bonus etc). Requiring a feat (of which this class has no bonuses of) to WEAKLY improve a mostly useless (without a very helpful DM) ability is a ludicrous trap, for something that should be given free in the special abilities. Vigor should be 5 hit points per level. Smite should work more like the Paladin Ability (against just one foe per use 1 to hit 2 to damage per spell level lasting much longer). Also I would like MORE. I’d gladly buy the hell out that supplement. Arcane Accuracy, a familiar maybe a bonus feat option etc.
Finally SPELLS; The (as explained earlier) ONLY real class special ability. Limited for balance? check, 6th level? Awesome. Spellbook/intelligent based? Sweet. Unlimited number of spell book? No?!?!?!?! Limited list? WHYYYYYY? No spell access levels where changed from the wizard list. No spells are from a list outside of the wizards list. The class already gets most of the optimal spells for this style of combat anyway, why limit/build another list? It does very little for balance purposes and only limits class build/character concept ideas for little to no benefit. Seems like a lot of wasted time/effort on the designers part. And the limited know?!?!?!? Complicated, useless balance factor considering the fact that the ONLY BALANCE FACTOR NEEDED, is playing a NPC Warrior class who can cast a very limited number of spells per day.

1 to 50 of 51 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / The Genius Guide to the Archon (PFRPG) PDF All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.