Alternate Class Features / Variant Classes


Advanced Player's Guide Playtest General Discussion


It's been mentioned before that the Advanced Player's Guide will feature alternate class features/variant classes with the only one I recall being announced so far being the Anti-Paladin. For those unfamiliar with these it is basically a new feature for a class at the expense of another. I'm a big fan of these as it brings back memories of the 2nd edition character kits and more recently the class variants from the 3.5 book Unearthed Arcana, which I thought were very useful to create different concepts from the same core class.

The question is how Paizo will handle these: Will the features be major or minor? Will we be seeing variant classes or just a feature or two replaced? Will every class get them? Does every class need them? How specific should they be?

The variant classes from Unearthed Arcana

I'm personally pretty satisfied to see the Anti-Paladin coming up as it brings up a lot of nostalgia. I remember someone mentioning that we'd get Chaotic Good and Lawful Evil variants as well, but I'm not quite sure, but that would be great as well. I'd also love to see a Skald variant for the Bard, which could be a more combat oriented style with less emphasis on illusions and charms.

Scarab Sages

I would like to see these too - I liked a few of the ideas that WOTC did for PHBII


Battle Sorcerer... I know the unearthed arcana version works quite well but it would be cool to see some additional changes to battle sorcerer on top of that due to the bloodlines.

Some bard or ranger variants that allow the classes to cover some of the rogues traditional territory (mostly trap finding).


*starts chanting "PALADIN OF FREEDOM!"*


Oroth Sunschild wrote:
*starts chanting "PALADIN OF FREEDOM!"*

I had heard there will be "Templars", variant paladins for each alignment.

It's not clear whether their class abilities will reflect their alignment or if there will be one set of "templar" class abilities which all the variants use.


Trapfinding as an alternate feature for some of the classes sounds great, since trap heavy campaigns are pretty much required to have a rogue as it is.


Variant Rules for Classes : create rules to allow all class abilities to everyone. Each of them would have requirements to meet (character level, other abilities) and a cost (gold/training/experience).

Variant Rules for Races : create rules to allow more race mixes. Bloodlines, for instance, and abilities for full-blooded, half-blooded, and quarter-blooded. As Templates, perhaps.

Variant Rules for Equipment : create "eras" and an equipment list for each. Bronze weapons for the Bronze Age, to artillery for the Renaissance, perhaps even Modern and Future. Adapt magic spell lists to each era (spells were invented, right?).

Additional Options : jobs and careers (more in-depth than the Profession skill).


Ceefood wrote:
I would like to see these too - I liked a few of the ideas that WOTC did for PHBII

I second this... there seems to be a lot of interest around the boards to have a more "shifty" druid type, much like the version included in the PHBII.

Sovereign Court

Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Oroth Sunschild wrote:
*starts chanting "PALADIN OF FREEDOM!"*

I had heard there will be "Templars", variant paladins for each alignment.

It's not clear whether their class abilities will reflect their alignment or if there will be one set of "templar" class abilities which all the variants use.

In a thread it was described as specifically one anti-paladin version and then a templar version that would work for all other alignments IIRC.

Dark Archive

Has the term 'Alternate Class Feature' been used in an OGL product? I'm not sure if it's something that could be considered IP, but perhaps something like 'Class Exchange' might be a better term.

MMOs call that sort of thing a 'Spec' (for Specialization) or 'Path,' but I'm not sure we want to go there. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I would love to see Paladin and Ranger options to swap out for their spells. maybe a sneak attack for ranger, and mayhbe a deflection bonus for paladin. or more feats or something.


Set wrote:

Has the term 'Alternate Class Feature' been used in an OGL product? I'm not sure if it's something that could be considered IP, but perhaps something like 'Class Exchange' might be a better term.

MMOs call that sort of thing a 'Spec' (for Specialization) or 'Path,' but I'm not sure we want to go there. :)

The SRD stuff from unearthed arcana used "variant character classes" not sure what the actual book wording was.


Dennis da Ogre wrote:
Oroth Sunschild wrote:
*starts chanting "PALADIN OF FREEDOM!"*
I had heard there will be "Templars", variant paladins for each alignment.

Templars will be the Paladins for every alignment but LG which is Paladins and CE which is the Anti-Paladin

Liberty's Edge

Arconz2000 wrote:
I would love to see Paladin and Ranger options to swap out for their spells. maybe a sneak attack for ranger, and mayhbe a deflection bonus for paladin. or more feats or something.

As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?


Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?

yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?

Liberty's Edge

MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?

;)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
Arconz2000 wrote:
I would love to see Paladin and Ranger options to swap out for their spells. maybe a sneak attack for ranger, and mayhbe a deflection bonus for paladin. or more feats or something.
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?

I have, I like it quite a bit. It is working quite well for one of my players that wanted to play a ranger from an anti magic region (like alkenstar). He also is and always will be a rogue at heart, so adding rogueish elements to the ranger was a big plus for him.


I prefer the KQ version to the Pathfinder version myself


Another alternate feature I'd like is Vermin Empathy for Druids, where they lose their ability to get animal companions but instead gain vermin companions. Also, every spell they have dealing with animals would deal with vermin instead. That'd be swell.

The Exchange

MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?

I can't seem to find these ranger talents. Is this the same KQ #12 with the monk varients?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Senmont wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?
I can't seem to find these ranger talents. Is this the same KQ #12 with the monk varients?

Nope. It's number 11 (Fall 2009). Page 66, the Spell-less Ranger

The Exchange

Paul Watson wrote:
Senmont wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?
I can't seem to find these ranger talents. Is this the same KQ #12 with the monk varients?
Nope. It's number 11 (Fall 2009). Page 66, the Spell-less Ranger

Then I am a sad panda who just wasted six bucks :(


Senmont wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
Senmont wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?
I can't seem to find these ranger talents. Is this the same KQ #12 with the monk varients?
Nope. It's number 11 (Fall 2009). Page 66, the Spell-less Ranger
Then I am a sad panda who just wasted six bucks :(

Here is the spell-less ranger at d20pfsrd.

Liberty's Edge

Senmont, I really apologize - I think I'm the one that first gave the wrong issue number. Hopefully you will find the current issue a good read even without the Spell-less Ranger. Issue 11 is also very good, so if you still decide to buy that one as well I don't think you will be disapointed.

Sorry again for the confusion!


Senmont wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
Senmont wrote:
MerrikCale wrote:
Marc Radle 81 wrote:
As far as rangers swapping out spells and gaining a sneak like attack ... Have you by any chance checked out Kobold Quarterly issue #12?
yes the spells for ranger talents was nice. I wonder who thought of that?
I can't seem to find these ranger talents. Is this the same KQ #12 with the monk varients?
Nope. It's number 11 (Fall 2009). Page 66, the Spell-less Ranger
Then I am a sad panda who just wasted six bucks :(

Its far from a waste

a great magazine with lots of PF stuff


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hm... let's see...

Warchanter was, by far, one of my favorite bard PRC's. Period. Perhaps something that allows at least bardic music to continue advancing while multiclassing, or a way for bardic music to be good while doing so.

More caster feats would be nice, too. Arcane Strike and the Arcane Spell Failure reduction feats were a start, but I NEVER like Metamagics (save for the low-cost ones). Maybe something that allows arcane spellcasters a greater variety, say... Giving a Wizard a feat that lets him get an extra spellbook that would be stored in an extra-dimensional space and can only be summoned when the previous spellbook is lost or destroyed, or something that grants the Still Spell feat to all bonus spells a Witch gets from her familiar without increasing spell level.

Some +0 LA templates would be nice. Things that make a race aquatic, or subterranean, etc., would really allow for some interesting concepts without having to introduce dozens of new races.

Along the previously mentioned Warchanter line, perhaps a way for Bards and maybe Summoners (When Published), as an alternative class feature, to get rid of spellcasting capabilities (or inhibit them to, say, Paladin/Ranger levels) in order to gain an increase to combat capability? Say... trade the spells for full BAB and maybe... a bonus feat every 6 levels, starting at level 2? It definitely wouldn't put the fighter out of business, just make the classes more feasible for melee combat, especially considering that Bard is as versatile as it is.

Food for thought, I'll keep thinking about some of these things.


I think a Monk-like armor bonus (including the Wisdom bonus and the loss of some class abilities in Armor) might be nice for Inquisitors as an Insight Bonus (if such a thing still exists). After all, if you are doing deeds in the name of your Deity, it might stand to reason that you would be gifted with a divine means of protection. Also, people seem to think of Inquisitors as a Solomon Kane class or as a more traditional "burn the witches/heretics" class. neither wears armor, so it might be something to think about.

I was also a big fan of replacing tactical feats with Sneak attack. these would both be good Variant abilities for the Inquisitor. Not overall class changes, mind you, but Variants.


Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


Here is the spell-less ranger at d20pfsrd.

Much obliged; I'm going to get great use out of that ranger, as my campaign setting is a low/no magic one, so class builds without magic do a lot to help me thin magic out while still leaving players with fun options.

That said, PFSRD doesn't list the issue in their section 15. If anyone with a copy of that issue of KQ could share the section 15 from the magazine I'd be much obliged!

Liberty's Edge

Nate Petersen wrote:
Enevhar Aldarion wrote:


Here is the spell-less ranger at d20pfsrd.

Much obliged; I'm going to get great use out of that ranger, as my campaign setting is a low/no magic one, so class builds without magic do a lot to help me thin magic out while still leaving players with fun options.

That said, PFSRD doesn't list the issue in their section 15. If anyone with a copy of that issue of KQ could share the section 15 from the magazine I'd be much obliged!

Glad you liked it! Not sure quite what you are asking though ... this comes from KQ issue 11 (the issue just before the new issue that just came out a few days ago)

Does that help at all?


Marc Radle 81 wrote:


Glad you liked it! Not sure quite what you are asking though ... this comes from KQ issue 11 (the issue just before the new issue that just came out a few days ago)

Does that help at all?

Nope~ Thanks for the response though!

What I'm looking for specifically is the Section 15 from the OGL statement that's (supposed to be) in all OGL material. Its the part the cites all works that particular item pulled from as well as itself and its author(s). I'm writing up a campaign setting, hope to get it out later this spring, and so for release purposes I need to make sure I have an accurate Section 15. I prefer getting them from the original source whenever possible, especially in the case of compilations like PFSRD and d20SRD.com because I'm only using one thing from one source that wasn't altered at all from that original source. Makes my Section 15 more manageable if anyone wants to use my materials.
If you have a copy of the issue, just find the OGL license and look toward the end; its the portion labeled "15. Copyright Notice", should list all of the wonderful stuff from the Paizo Pathfinder materials as well as itself.

*Edit* And reading the article again, I would assume I have the pleasure of speaking with the designer ^_^ Many thanks for that, as I said it should be of great help ^_^


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For anyone interested, I have removed the Spell-less Ranger from d20pfsrd.com. The class should never have been posted in the first place as it is *not* open content. I have been in contact with Wolfgang to see if there was some way to get this great class back up on the site but until I hear otherwise its down. As an aside, this was completely my fault for not paying as close attention as I should have to the open content statements in the various KQ issues. If you want to blame anyone you can blame the new d20pfsrd.com collaborator Nate (above me) as he inadvertently brought this to my attention. There. Its all his fault. Not mine. Certainly not mine. :)

j/k it was all me! waaahhhhhh!


I understand not putting pay-to-view material up there, but how is it not Open Content? It's game mechanics being sold for Pathfinder, which can only be done under the aegis of Open Content, I thought.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Not true. Each issue of Kobold Quarterly lists specific articles that are open content in that issue. In that particular issue the Spell-less Ranger was not listed, therefore it is not open content. Also, you have to understand that Wolfgang pays writers and artists to contribute work to the magazine so if their work were to be given away for free he could not afford to pay the creative people to come up with this content. The way to get this content and ensure that the creative people are rewarded for their efforts (and to ensure that they keep generating such awesome content) is to purchase an extremely fairly priced subscription to the awesome Kobold Quarterly magazine.

There really isn't a downside so far as I can see. Wolfgang contributes multiple articles from each issue of KQ as open content for the community to use so that's already more than fair.

This isn't on anyone but me :)

Shadow Lodge

Jreyst, the page linked to earlier in the article leads to a "page not found" page, but it still links to the spell-less ranger under a "here are similar pages form this site" link. Just so you know, its still accessible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was trying to keep the content on the site in case it somehow became allowed to repost. I see though that is impossible because Google Sites does not allow hiding a page.

The content is now officially removed, though it may still appear in Google or local browser cache.


Pretty much, a publisher can declare anything they like as open content in their own products but they do not have to declare it all as open content. Some items can be while others can't.
Interestingly, Paizo's product declaration paragraph renders entire texts of theirs open content with the exception of names of IP. Hence how projects such as d20PFSRD can exist in such a complete state. Other companies, however, release partial bits.
That said, I really hope this class variant is open content. I can craft my own version, what with sneak attack and a different list of talents in place of stealth attack and the stated list of talents, but I'd rather not make such a blatant rip-off. Its quite cool, Marc, and I'd be thrilled if it ends up open, though should it not just know its cool all the same ^_^

Liberty's Edge

Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the kind words regarding my Spell-less Ranger - it really is appreciated! As I've said before, creating it was a labor of love so it's great to hear that people like it and are using it. I'm actually playing one right now in our weekly Council of Thieves game.

It's too bad about the open content issue but don't forget ... if you'd like a copy of the class, you can still buy the issue PDF from the KQ site! The PDF actually even has the Animal Companion / Ranger Tracking Sheet included as a bonus.

FYI, I have more Pathfinder content in the works as well, stay tuned ... :)


Marc Radle 81 wrote:

Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the kind words regarding my Spell-less Ranger - it really is appreciated! As I've said before, creating it was a labor of love so it's great to hear that people like it and are using it. I'm actually playing one right now in our weekly Council of Thieves game.

It's too bad about the open content issue but don't forget ... if you'd like a copy of the class, you can still buy the issue PDF from the KQ site! The PDF actually even has the Animal Companion / Ranger Tracking Sheet included as a bonus.

FYI, I have more Pathfinder content in the works as well, stay tuned ... :)

I'm really looking forward to seeing more of those varient classes! I like to find ways to let a player make the exact character that he's looking for without resorting to prestige classes, so I'm always looking for varent classes and alternate abilities. I'm hoping to try out that spellless ranger sometime, though honestly I might nerf him a bit from your original design, lol. I already worry that a ranger would be too good at tearing apart a favored enemy with his potential +8 to attack and damage without adding sneak attack on top of that ;)

I just made a ranger/druid hybrid for one of my players, I took away lvl 7,8,9 spells, and some wild shape uses and gave him ranger combat style feats, favored terrains, evasion, and stealth abilities. It is going to be interesting to see how it works out.


Marc Radle 81 wrote:

Hey everyone!

Thanks for all the kind words regarding my Spell-less Ranger - it really is appreciated! As I've said before, creating it was a labor of love so it's great to hear that people like it and are using it. I'm actually playing one right now in our weekly Council of Thieves game.

How is that working out for you. The only criticism I have is that it was too short. I would like to see more talents to give the spell-less ranger more options.

Love the Favored Terrain feats as well. I would love to see more there

Liberty's Edge

I know there is a lot of talk about non lawful good paladins but has there been any thought on non lawful monks?

I know the general idea is that to achieve that kind of perfection you have to be "disciplined" but you could make the same arguement for a wizard pouring over great spells to be able to study that much and perfect your art ... or heck most classes as they gain levels for that matter.

Just curious ...


Misery wrote:

I know there is a lot of talk about non lawful good paladins but has there been any thought on non lawful monks?

Sounds interesting. There is a variant monk I think in the new KQ


I think there is less talk about monks because they don't have as heavy alignment based powers. Smite Evil is a good example. Monks don't have anything that requires them to lawful other than 1 rule, so dropping that rule is an easy houserule. Its much harder for Paladins.


Caineach wrote:
Its much harder for Paladins.

Not so bad. Usually, the simple one is to invert the Paladin's abilities. Smite Evil becomes Smite Good, Lay On Hands deals with "negative energy" and create a potent offensive, grappling-type power, the auras can bolster allies similarly or they could be used to debuff enemies, all the easier to cut them down.

Flip it to Chaotic for similar results.
What to me would be neat would be a paladin dedicated to a "neutral" state; ie maintain the status-quo. Their abilities neutralize the others and brings them to a screeching halt, their Lay On Hands ability relies on creating a balance between two, healing one and harming another so that they are at a similar, respective, level of health and well being. I could see these as being strong forces of a system who has leaders with lengthy, lofty goals who want things maintained just-so.


The problem with Lay on Hands becoming negative energy is it is no longer a self/party/mount heal. Unless you can generate undead mounts. Then you are still missing a self and party heal

Dark Archive

Cartigan wrote:
The problem with Lay on Hands becoming negative energy is it is no longer a self/party/mount heal. Unless you can generate undead mounts. Then you are still missing a self and party heal

Some sort of vampiric death-touch that inflicts X damage and heals the user of 1/2 X damage might be cool (or gives the user temporary hit points instead of healing, sort of like a False Life / Vampiric Touch variant). The ability to heal allies seems less thematically necessary for an evil champion, IMO.


Agreed~ Most evil characters wouldn't be too concerned with the well-being of others. That said, an evil paladin with an undead mount and a vampiric touch screams WICKED evil. Awesome.

Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Advanced Player's Guide Playtest / General Discussion / Alternate Class Features / Variant Classes All Messageboards
Recent threads in General Discussion