The Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes (PFRPG) PDF

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The “fighting man” is the anchor of a huge collection of myth, legend, and fantasy fiction. While it is wizards and dragons that make fantasy… well… fantastic, most often the heroes of those tales are loyal knights, dashing swashbucklers, royal guards, kung fu masters, grim gladiators, and duelists armed with quick wits and quicker blades. The image of the brave warrior is universal, an icon of fantasy adventure from gritty swords-and-sorcery stories to the highest of high fantasy literature. And often these fighting heroes have techniques, styles, tools and talents that go far beyond what can be reasonably represented by Combat Expertise and Weapon Finesse.

Of course, there is a limit to the number of options that can be presented in a single core rulebook, and players quickly crave more flexibility. Fantasy fiction is filled of daring whip-wielders in search of adventure, sage swordsmen who can run across water, prodigious paragons of physical power, and even wizards who use magic to augment their swords more often than they fling fireballs. Some of these characters can be built using the multiclassing rules and prestige classes, but such efforts often feel awkward and the patchwork of prerequisites and additional abilities may blatantly clash with the character’s intended back-story.

The Genius Guide to Martial Archetypes provides material designed to give fighting classes new techniques for running their foes through, or at least flashier things to do while making the effort. It does this through the use of archetype packages—a way to replace some of a base class’s standard abilities with new powers (in this case, powers tied to martial skill). An archetype package can present new kinds of combat options a character may learn (such as the Youxia), allow him to excel in the mastery of a single weapon (such as the Blacksnake), or just give him an extra edge in any fighting situation (such as the Physical Exemplar).

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3.30/5 (based on 3 ratings)

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Make any class a martial class!

4/5

I happen to be a big fan of this series of products. I really like the modularity of this system. I love the idea of being able to add a little martial prowess to any character in exchange for some of it's standard abilities.

Like others I thought the Harrier was a little clunky, and the spellhammer is a little underwhelming. I like all of the others.

I was one of those people who really liked the 3.0 prestige class the lasher. The idea of using a whip to grab stuff or to move around or other specialist things is really fun. Paizo introduced a little of this with the whip mastery feats in ultimate combat, but you dont get alot of choice. The blacksnake can make any character a whip specialist. And its worth the price of admission in my view.

I also especially like the youxia. It can add a little bit of monk flavor to any class. And that can be important. For instance if you are playing a campaign (or character concept) where armor doesnt make sense thematically, you can add the youxia to any class to offer non-magical (but supernatural) defensive options to replace that armor.

The weapon master and the physical exemplar are pretty generic, but solid. They are great for taking a class that might have a different focus and pushing it towards combat. If you wish your inquisitor or your ranger were a little bit more like the fighter, well have no fear, these two archetypes can push the class in that direction.

You can even have a build your own class kind of situation. Some of the classes have 2 suites of abilities that can be traded out (leaving a fairly bair bones class behind). You can then add 2 archetypes from this or other products in the line to more or less make your own class. Ever wanted a cross between a fighter and a monk? Take both packages out the cavalier and make him both a weapon champion and a youxia. Like the inquisitors skills but dont like tracking the fiddly judgements and spells? Trade out both their archetypes for more static sets of abiltis like the physical exemplar, blacksnake, and weapon champion.


Not bad per se, but somewhat bland compared to the others

2/5

This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page SRD and credits, 2/3 of a page front cover, leaving 12 1/3 pages of content fort the martial archetypes, so let’s check them out, shall we?
The basic concept of archetypes is explained in the first 4 ½ pages, after which we delve into the martial archetypes.

The first archetype we’re introduced to is the Blacksnake, a whip specialist (who may via a sidebar be converted into a cloak-fighting specialist) who not only makes whips a viable choice for a weapon, but via the ability to deal lethal damage as well as a selection of 8 special whip talents, for an interesting specialist fighter for those of you rather into smart and tricky fighting.

The Harrier is an interesting idea per se – a fighter centered on mobility and smart usage of the terrain. While a good idea on paper, the execution of this rather complex archetype is rather clunky, depending on the tracking of raid tokens which the player and DM have to track. There should be a more elegant way to represent such a mechanic in rules.

Next up is the physical exemplar, a paragon of health and physical prowess gets attribute-bonuses and physical feats to reflect an above-average physical condition. While general and easy to implement, I consider this one to be rather bland and boring.

The Spellhammer gets the ability to convert spell-levels into additional, scaling levels of damage. Due to Archon, Vanguard and of course Magus I don’t really see the necessity for this particular archetype. It feels like a very rough and tumble spell-burn approach.

Weapon Champions devote themselves to a kind of weapon, gaining additional bonuses to e.g. CMDs, threat-ranges etc. Ok, but again, rather boring in execution.

The final archetype we get is the Youxia, a type of fighter who gains access to Ki-points and talents (13 of the former are provided) – while I did like the concept of the Youxia, I would have loved to see more talents to choose from or a different take, as it felt more like a PrC or a set of classes to me.

The pdf closes with archetype-packages for base-classes by SGG.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column-standard and the full-color-artworks are fair. Unfortunately, the pdf offers no bookmarks, but at this length that’s still ok. All in all, this pdf left me underwhelmed, especially in direct contrast to the other installments of the series: While it provides easy to implement archetypes that may find places in almost any campaign, the archetypes didn’t manage to walk the tight line and rather fell on the side of being bland or mechanically clunky. While the blacksnake makes for an interesting take on the lasher, it’s not enough to warrant a recommendation of a file that lacks the elegant design of the other SGG-archetype-books. While the more generalist archetypes are ok, I feel that the spellhammer is superfluous at best and mechanically not too smart. In the end, the book is simply not a captivating or necessary resource and lacks the eureka-effect, the ingenious design, the elegance of the other installments. The Spellhammer’s mechanics didn’t feel balanced to me and, as I mentioned, rather superfluous. The general archetypes feel too general, the special ones rather narrow in focus or like PrCs and not archetypes.
Thus, my final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2.
Endzeitgeist out.


A solid collection or archetypes

4/5

The Genius Guide to: Martial Archetypes by Super Genius Games

This product is 14 pages long. It starts off with half a page of cover and a intro. Next page it moves onto explaining what archetypes are and how to use them, the next two page and a half is listing all the existing classes archetypes that can be swapped out for those in this book. (4 ½ pages)

Next it gets into the new archetypes. Not all of them are good picks for all classes. (7 ½ pages)

Blacksnake – Whip specialist (there is also a side bar with suggestions how to make this archetype fit with cloak fighting in place of a whip)

Harrier – Skirmish fighting style, hit and run tactics. They introduce a new token system. Raid tokens that can be earned by doing certain things and use to fuel their abilities. While it is a interesting concept I am not hip on the raid tokens, seems they could have made this work with out them. I just feel that the raid token system is one more thing the player and GM will need to track and I don't feel it adds enough. YMMV.

Physical Exemplar – Grants bonuses to fort/ref save, physical stats etc. Basically these are people that are the most fit athletes in the world. Think Olympic athletes.

Spellhammer – Trade spell slots for weapon bonus damage. 1D per spell level, die type gets bigger as they level up, up to a d12. So at high level trading a 9th level spell slot would add 9d12 in damage on a weapon attack. You decided if you want to expend the spell slot after the to hit roll is made.

Weapon Champion – Pick a weapon group (from the fighter weapon training group list). All weapons in that list gain the bonus from feats. Weapon focus taken for one of them effects them all. They earn more bonus with that weapon group as they level.

Youxia – Martial arts with a weapon. Gain access to ki powers and qualify for feats that require improved unarmed combat.

Next page list all the SGG classes from their own books and what archetype packages they can give up for those in this books. (1 page)

If finishes with a OGL.

Closing Thoughts. Like the last one I love the idea of the mechanic of this. I liked most of the archetypes given. I already touched on my problem with harrier and I am not so sure about Spellhammer, it seems fine. Just not sure it is worth it, maybe a ranger or paladin or the like. The artwork is fair, the production is top notch. I didn't notice any obvious errors or problems. At the price with what I have said I am giving this one a 4 star. I think 4 of the 6 are good choices, one is so so and one I am meh on.


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Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Hey Louis IX,

Not Owen, but if you're asking about the scorpion whip, it says in the description (LINK) that if you're proficient with whips you are also proficient with scorpions whips. I read that Improved Whip Proficiency should work the same way.

Scarab Sages Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Certainly Justin is (unsurprisingly) correct about the scorpion whip (so you can make scorpion whip attacks without provoking an AoO with Improved Whip Proficiency).

I don't think IWP gives you proficiency with other whip-like weapons, unless they have the same kind of rule stating they share whip proficiency.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Louis IX wrote:

Hello again :-) and thank you for the answers

After juggling with the Godling, I'm back with more questions for the Blacksnake... well, at least one: the Improved Whip Proficiency, does it give proficiency with "the" whip, or all kinds of whips?

I'm thinking of a character concept where one would wield two scorpion whips. Would the archetype be enough to gain proficiency with them?

The scorpion whip indicates if you are profficient with the whip you are proficient with it, the arhcetype gives you proficiency with the whip. Therefore you can use the scorpion whip. Keep in mind though that whips are not light weapons, so you would take the -4 penalty for 2 weapon fighting with 2 whips.


Hello again,

Aren't Scorpion Whips in the "light weapons" table? Just asking...


According to the Ultimate Equipment Guide Scorpion Whips are Exotic Light Weapons.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

you are right, hmmm i had always thought it was in the same category as the whip... interesting...two weapon fighting blacksnake...I like it.


Just a note, the scorpion whip has changed roughly five jabillion times since it was introduced. Hence the confusion.


Kolokotroni wrote:
you are right, hmmm i had always thought it was in the same category as the whip... interesting...two weapon fighting blacksnake...I like it.

I saw such a guy in Underworld and, despite the fact that he died eaten by a werewolf, the concept seemed cool. I was ready to eat the penalty when the scorpion whip jumped to my eyes...

Scarab Sages Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Louis IX wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
you are right, hmmm i had always thought it was in the same category as the whip... interesting...two weapon fighting blacksnake...I like it.
the concept seemed cool

It's a fascinating form of martial area-control, especially with the snap talent from the blacksnake.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

What's the maneuverability rating for the fly gained from ki stance? I'd guess average.

Scarab Sages Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Justin Sluder wrote:
What's the maneuverability rating for the fly gained from ki stance? I'd guess average.

You would be correct.


Can the abilities from Physical Exemplar be used as part of the Talented Monk?


Hello,

At second level, the Youxia archetype package grants Ki Talents. My question is about the one called "Healing Chi":
If the character also has 4 levels of Paladin (either without this archetype or with it replacing the Divine Guardian package), can he use the Lay of Hands uses from Healing Chi towards channelling positive energy (using 2 LoH per channel)?

Thanks.


Any idea?


Sorry, I missed this the first time around.

Louis IX wrote:
If the character also has 4 levels of Paladin (either without this archetype or with it replacing the Divine Guardian package), can he use the Lay of Hands uses from Healing Chi towards channelling positive energy (using 2 LoH per channel)?

RAW yes, but her channel energy still uses only her paladin level to determine her effective cleric level when channeling energy.


Owen KC Stephens wrote:

[...]

RAW yes, but her channel energy still uses only her paladin level to determine her effective cleric level when channeling energy.

Thanks for your answer. So, a Paladin with the Youxia archetype package replacing his Divine Guardian package still has Lay on Hands from his paladinhood, and also gains Lay on Hands from the Youxia archetype. Both with mercies and both useable to fuel his Channeling. This is nice.


Hi there! Long time, no see...

I have a question not answered by reading the Youxia page on d20pfsrd:
Is it possible to take a class with a listed archetype package and exchange that archetype for one described for another base class?
For instance, could a Fighter exchange his Battle Master archetype package for the Druid's Beastlord?

I was writing archetypes for a home campaign, where characters could become animals, but simply exchanging archetype packages as written should be sufficient. I think they were designed to be approximately the same power.

For the general question and a player's point of view, I suspect GMs would have to be involved in the process, from accepting it and resolving possible issues (like the aforementioned druid's spontaneous casting not having any effect on a non-caster class).

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Louis IX wrote:

Hi there! Long time, no see...

I have a question not answered by reading the Youxia page on d20pfsrd:
Is it possible to take a class with a listed archetype package and exchange that archetype for one described for another base class?
For instance, could a Fighter exchange his Battle Master archetype package for the Druid's Beastlord?

I'd allow it if it fits the concept of the character, but I'm also not Owen. In The Genius Guide to Archer Archetypes Owen speaks on this specific topic. His position there is "maybe."


Justin Sluder wrote:
I'd allow it if it fits the concept of the character, but I'm also not Owen. In The Genius Guide to Archer Archetypes Owen speaks on this specific topic. His position there is "maybe."

Yeah, "Maybe" is pretty accurate. Here's that section of Archer Archetypes.

"Allowing characters to swap their base class’s archetype packages for those of another base class is a great way to have ready-made customized classes,but it’s also fraught with peril. There are three main reasons why a GM might want to disallow this kind of archetype package exchange.
First, it can very quickly create overlap among PCs, which may lead
to some players feeling their character’s “niche” has been violated. The
skald sounds reasonable, but it means anyone playing an out-of-the-book
version of either a barbarian or a bard now has some of their class abilities duplicated by the skald character. If a player decided to play a ranger with neither the Scout nor Woodlands Spellcaster archetype packages, and instead takes the bard Performer and rogue Sneak archetypes, that one character now potentially overlaps abilities with three classes.
Second, while we’ve designed the archer archetype packages
to be balanced when compared to each other, the same is not true
about the archetype packages for the base classes. We’ve tried to
balance the archetype packages detailed above, but that balance
is both approximate and limited. The core rulebook base classes
weren’t designed for this kind of hair-splitting, so there’s no way
for us to achieve total parity between their archetype packages.
The new archer archetype packages were designed to be added
to any class that meets their prerequisites without causing
balance issues. But if characters mix and match the base class
archetype packages, there is the very real potential for creating
characters with overpowering combinations of abilities.
Lastly, it can create a group of characters that don’t mesh well as a team. Of course this is also true of any new class or ability (if a group already has three fighters, it’s better for a new character to be a cleric or wizard than a barbarian). But allowing characters to swap base class archetypes makes it much easier for characters to overlap, and more likely to miss options usually available to a mix of characters.
If a GM does decide to allow characters to swap base class
archetype packages, they should be evaluated on a case-by-case
basis. Below are some rules to help keep characters balanced and
playable.
• Don’t allow any class to gain spellcasting ability from an
archetype package from a class with a lower base attack bonus.
It’s not particularly unbalanced for a barbarian to pick up the ranger’s Woodland Spellcaster archetype (in fact
it’s a cool way to make a primitive shaman), but
it would be a mistake to allow a barbarian access
to a sorcerous bloodline or cleric domains. The
reverse is not true. If a sorcerer wants to pick up
the Berserker archetype package in place of the
Heritage package, that won’t unbalance a game
(though it’s not doing the sorcerer any favors,
either).
• Don’t allow a character to use base class
archetype package swapping to end up with
access to two separate spell lists. Allowing
a cleric to swap out Domain Servant for the
bard’s Performer is okay, but don’t let the cleric
take the Spellsong archetype package. For that
matter, a cleric shouldn’t gain access to the
paladin Divine Guardian, ranger Woodland
Spellcaster, or the sorcerer Heritage archetype
packages. Spellcasters are balanced by a lot of
factors, including what spells aren’t available to
them, and playing with that balance often leads
to overpowered, overly-flexible characters.
• Require any character that picks up an
archetype package from another base class to
follow all the restrictions of that second class.
A player wanting to play a Holy Choirmaster
by building a bard that swaps the Spellsong
package for the paladin’s Divine Guardian
package is fine, but the character should be
required to be lawful good, follow the paladin’s
code of conduct, and be limited to the same
kinds of associates. If the player had instead
built a bard who gave up the Performer package
in return for the druid’s Beastlord, the bard
should be of neutral alignment and prohibited
from wearing metal armor.
• Carefully consider party balance
before approving any requests to swap
archetype packages. If one player is already
playing a typical druid, you may not want
to allow anyone else to add druid archetype
packages to their characters. Of course this
sort territoriality over a character’s abilities
varies based on the group’s personality and
play style, so this is more of a guideline
than a rule. But be aware for the potential
for players to be annoyed if special abilities
from “their” core class are bolted on to
another player’s character. "


Hey, I haven't thanked you for this! So... thanks! :-)


I know this has been out for (quite literally) years, but I have a question regarding the Youxia; is there anything to prohibit someone taking (for instance) a longbow as their wushu weapon and applying Scorpion Style attacks from a distance of like 100ft? Because that seems quite powerful for something someone can take at level 1.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Has any thought been given to adding to this series? At the very least, defining archetype packages for the hybrid and occult classes plus the Vigilante would make these products usable with the newer classes.

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