The Genius Guide to Apprentice-Level Characters (PFRPG) PDF

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When you consider the number of things a 1st-level character can do in a Pathfinder RPG campaign, it’s pretty clear that even the lowest level characters have completed some intense training. But what do you do if you want to start an adventure before your wizards have mastered their 1st-level spells and paladins have discovered how to detect evil at will? The Genius Guide to Apprentice-Level Characters presents simple rules for creating 0-level or 1/2-level characters who have some instruction but aren’t yet fully trained members of their class.

There are two typical ways to use apprentice-level characters. The first is to run a campaign where the characters start at level 0. Such characters begin with half the starting gold they’d normally get at 1st level and usually represent characters that are still in training. If you want to begin a game at a training facility or in a village that is normally guarded by 1st-level warriors, having 0-level player characters would be appropriate. It takes 1/2 as many experience points to go from 0 to 1st level as it takes to go from 1st to 2nd level.

The other use of apprentice-level characters is to allow multiclass characters at 1st level. An apprentice-fighter/apprentice rogue is (roughly) the same as a 1st-level character, and allows the character to begin play with a mix of stealth and martial skill. When such a multiclass character reaches 2nd level, he becomes 1st level in both of the two classes, and proceeds normally from there.

While apprentice-level characters use the same basic rules for combat and actions as any Pathfinder Roleplaying Game character, there are a few specific questions that should be addressed in regards to these characters.

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Only the most basic crunch

2/5

This pdf is 7 pages long 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD and credits, leaving 5 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look at some heroes in the making!

I’ve always been a fan of the concept of 0-level characters, i.e. people who stumble into being a hero, be it via slave-revolt, ship-wreck or similar circumstances. In the end, a dramatic beginning, the trauma of combat etc. that separates the characters from fellow commoners or similar NPCs can not only make for a great bonding/plot-element, it can also be utilized for great satisfaction for the players, once they reach the true prowess of already better than average PC-classes.

The other classic usage of this system enables the apprentice to reflect a multiclass-character at first level. The latter has e.g. also been done admirably well in 4 Wind Fantasy Gaming’s “Strategists & Tacticians” via a 1-level PrC whose modularity ranks among the finest examples of designing-craft I’ve seen in quite some time, but I digress.
The basic approach in this guide to apprentice-level characters is to limit 1st-level abilities: PCs get half their hitdice, half their skill points, no feats, good saves get +1 and limited access to special qualities and spells. Usually, that means 1 first-level-spell or limitations on e.g. the Witch’s Hex.

That being said, a lot of classes are covered in minor blocks that sum their respective information up: All the base-classes are covered, as are the APG-classes. Additionally, we get coverage of SGG’s Archon, the Armiger, the Death Mage, the Dragonrider, the 4 Godlings, the SGG-Magus (arcane/divine caster), the Shadow Assassin, the Time Thief, the Vanguard, the War Master and finally the Witch Hunter as well.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column standard and once again, we get no bookmarks. While the writing and presentation are concise, I was SORELY disappointed by this book. First of all, no guidelines as to when (xp-wise, story-wise etc.) the characters should graduate to 1st level are given. More importantly, though, the execution, while mechanically sound, is just plain BORING.

Had I set out to make the most dry, bland approach to apprentice-level characters, I couldn’t have done a better job. All the potential for misfiring spells, misbehaving animal companions, mispronounced judgments, self-igniting fire-bloodline sorcerers etc. – squandered. The topic of apprenticeship lends itself to tremendous and plentiful creative ways to write adventures, from humorous, to traumatic, from pastel-shaded last days of innocence to the first journey to the lands of men to a struggle for survival – depending on the class, a plethora of cool handicaps springs to mind that limit abilities and make for compelling roleplaying.
This book offers nothing of the like. If you’re too lazy to do perhaps one of the easiest mathematical operations and use a bit of common sense, this might be 3 stars for you. For me and everyone else who was looking for more than this slew of numbers, though, this is not what we've been looking for and were I to review this for just me, I'd give it one star. My final verdict, though, will be 2 stars for the ultimate crime of being boring and yet acknowledging that for some people this might actually be useful.


Basic Crunch Data

4/5

This short booklet gives you some information on how to add Apprentice Level rules to your Pathfinder Campaign. It provides some interesting ideas but basically just takes every class and divides by 2. Half HP, Skill Points, Saves, etc. If you don't use all of the classes shown from all the genius guides, you will never need that info. If you are going to start your characters out at 0 level or 1/2 level as an apprentice, this is a good purchase for you. It felt very basic to me.


Pretty good.

5/5

I had some pretty decent ideas for how to play apprentice/children/0-level characters. I think it's safe to say those ideas are scrapped & won't be seen again for years(if at all). There's only one thing I'd do to expand on the system & it's just something I'd do for the Pathfinder system as a whole anyway.

Whether you want to do something like "starting off the 1rst session with the characters as children & having them end up banding together for some reason" or simply make more varied 1rst level characters, this booklet can get the job done.


The Genius Guide to: Apprentice Level Characters

4/5

The Genius Guide to: Apprentice Level Characters by Super Genius Games

This product is 7 pages long. It starts off with a cover and intro into what apprentice level characters are. (1 page) Next it gets into all the aspects of a class, feats, skill lists, spells, etc and how things are different for them. (1 page).

Next it lists all the classes with all the information on how to change the base class into a Apprentice level version of it. It covers all the base Pathfinder classes, all the classes from the new Advance Players Guide and all the classes so far published by Super Genius Games. (4 pages)

It finishes with a OGL.

Closing thoughts. The artwork is fair most of it all but one I have seen in other products of theirs. The book is pretty much what you would expect. Stripping the classes down to apprentice level versions of them. If you have always wanted to start characters off before they was first level then this is a good pick up. I am giving this a 4 star. While the product does just what it promises, giving you apprentice level characters to play. It also didn't wow me either, so it is a solid pickup for those wanting that.


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Scarab Sages

Fumihasa wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Pre-teens? Everyone has a Wis of 6. Full stop.
Full Stop?

Sorry, home slang. It means, no other rules needed.

But actually, there is always the caring, empathic character in the pre-teen group with other major failings.

I think honestly I'd do a modest point buy, and just require every character to have a 6 in a stat other than Cha (they aren't fully developed yet), and cap Strength at 14 or so.


Fumihasa wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Pre-teens? Everyone has a Wis of 6. Full stop.
Full Stop?

Another name for the period. Period.


Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. More SGG-material to come soon. Cheers!

Scarab Sages

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. More SGG-material to come soon. Cheers!

I missed this review as well. Again, thanks.


Random question but will there be rules for the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

Scarab Sages

Odraude wrote:
Random question but will there be rules for the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

Huh. Honestly I hadn't thought about it. Sure, I'll get on that. :D I may have to make the updates available here before the PDF gets them -- my layout staff is pretty busy right now.


Cool. I love the SGG books. Also this makes the second SGG book I've commented on that ended up in an update :D The first was the Shaman missing his wealth.


Just wondering, was this ever updated with the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

Scarab Sages Contributor; Developer, Super Genius Games

Odraude wrote:
Just wondering, was this ever updated with the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

That's a really reasonable question. I hadn't given it any thought at all.

Anyone else interested in seeing the newer base classes get included in this pdf?


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Just wondering, was this ever updated with the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

That's a really reasonable question. I hadn't given it any thought at all.

Anyone else interested in seeing the newer base classes get included in this pdf?

I think I'd like to see that.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
Odraude wrote:
Just wondering, was this ever updated with the Ultimate Magic and Combat classes?

That's a really reasonable question. I hadn't given it any thought at all.

Anyone else interested in seeing the newer base classes get included in this pdf?

I think I'd like to see that.

Ditto!


I'd like to see all the official paizo classes, all the SGG classes, and the best other 3pp classes all included!


A pleasant idea in theory, Dungeon Grrl, but the question then becomes, “how do we define ‘best’?” If that definition is too strict, people will be disappointed that their favourite(s) got left out; if it’s too broad, the amount of work involved would kill the idea (or those working on it!) dead as a doornail. :S

I mean, I’d love to see that too, but in all honesty, it might be more realistic to ask for ‘all of the official Paizo classes and all the SGG classes’ (especially the Anachronistic Adventurers line, for my tastes). If SGG choose to do ‘apprentice’ levels for 3PP classes above and beyond their own, consider it a welcome bonus. ;)


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Certainly with the Advanced Class Guide looming in the not-too-distant future, an update and expansion is in the cards.

If we DID cover other 3pp classes, are there some in particular folks would like to see?


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Owen KC Stephens wrote:

Certainly with the Advanced Class Guide looming in the not-too-distant future, an update and expansion is in the cards.

If we DID cover other 3pp classes, are there some in particular folks would like to see?

How about the Godling classes?

And you might want to consider spelling out some sort of guidelines as to how to split up first level class abilities for apprentice level characters to help people figure out whatever classes you don't cover.

Finally -- with ten classes in the Advanced Class Guide and six new classes coming out next year, I think you could get away with a sequel product rather than an update. While I would love it if I could get an updated version of this product, I would gladly pay for a whole new product if it covered 10+ new classes.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:
And you might want to consider spelling out some sort of guidelines as to how to split up first level class abilities for apprentice level characters to help people figure out whatever classes you don't cover.

One reason this part could be essential is the large number of class archetypes that exist in Paizo products alone. Obviously you can't define an apprentice level version of each and every archetype -- but guidance on how to create an apprentice level version of an archetype would be very welcome.


A note on archetypes shouldn't be too hard (if you take an archetype, you get any ability that is received in place of what the 0-level version of a class gets).

And the new base classes seem to me to belong in this book as an update, Hopefully that would draw in some new buyers.

I'd also like to see if it would be possible to do a variant of these with the Talented Class line of books, but I dunno when I'd have time...

Or which book I'd put it in. :P


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

Here is something that escaped my notice before now: You do not have apprentice level guidelines for the Magus from Ultimate Magic. The class features given for the Apprentice Magus in this PDF are actually for your own Magus class (later renamed Magister).

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