What classes could be merged / subbed without hurting the game?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion


Came across an idea in the tier discussion:

What classes could, with a little effort, be just archetypes of each other? Are there any classes that already meet that criteria?

My concern is that 3.5 suffered from "class diarhea", where rather than give existing classes options to "reflavor" them, they just created new classes. (Fighter-Samurai, Rogue-Ninja, etc.)

Admittedly, Pathfinder has been better; realizing the wu-jen (Elementalist wizard) is just an archetype of wizard, for example. But the main focus is: what have they missed?

Is ranger distinct from fighter/druid? Paladin from cavalier/cleric?

Please put prestige classes in a different thread. :) Thanks.


The Witch wasn't really necessary. It could've been arch-typed. The Magus could've been left out as well but too many people were jonesing for a gish class. I'm not yet sure what the Pathfinder Ninja will do that the Rogue can't but the old 3.5 Ninja was a joke and should've been left out.

If you want to get super technical, you could (and some systems do) break down all of the classes into Fighter, Rogue, Arcane Caster and Divine Caster. Every other class could be made from multiclassing these and adding on special abilities that suit the flavor of the desired class (Rage, Smite, Sneak Attack etc).

You're right though. Pathfinder has done a much better job of creating meaningful classes.


Frogboy wrote:

The Witch wasn't really necessary. It could've been arch-typed. The Magus could've been left out as well but too many people were jonesing for a gish class. I'm not yet sure what the Pathfinder Ninja will do that the Rogue can't but the old 3.5 Ninja was a joke and should've been left out.

If you want to get super technical, you could (and some systems do) break down all of the classes into Fighter, Rogue, Arcane Caster and Divine Caster. Every other class could be made from multiclassing these and adding on special abilities that suit the flavor of the desired class (Rage, Smite, Sneak Attack etc).

You're right though. Pathfinder has done a much better job of creating meaningful classes.

Idk, man. I see everyone saying the ninja was a joke, but I've seen a player destroy an encounter between his ninja and his buddy's Barbarian. they were about equal on damage, honestly. It was kinda crazy.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I'm pretty sure you could condense everything down to two classes, the Caster and the Warrior. Their class descriptions would be super huge however.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm pretty sure you could condense everything down to two classes, the Caster and the Warrior. Their class descriptions would be super huge however.

I advocate the three generic classes from the 3.5 UA; you can build whatever character you want.


I think that Paladins should be a subclass of a fighter...

No, wait, they should be a subclass of the cavalier...

Berserker should be a kit for fighters...

Wait, we could dual class...

Ah, shucks, we could just make a new system, take out all the positive math, and start subtracting negative numbers from positive rolls...

(End snarky irony post.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Technically, Pathfinder could have eliminated all classes save fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard. Is there a point to this thread? No one is going to nominate a class they enjoy playing. You're going to tell someone else that's playing a class they like that they should junk it because YOU don't think is necessary?

Sovereign Court

LazarX wrote:
Technically, Pathfinder could have eliminated all classes save fighter, cleric, rogue, and wizard. Is there a point to this thread? No one is going to nominate a class they enjoy playing. You're going to tell someone else that's playing a class they like that they should junk it because YOU don't think is necessary?

Not exactly where I believe the OP is going with this. I dont think the OP wants to get rid of classes but reduce them down to archetypes of a few base classes instead.

My problem with the idea is it forces people to think in role terms too much. Reducing base to the classic four then making all other classes just archetypes will just force people to think oracles are only healers and paladins are only fighters. People hate the bard because the class can heal, fight, and cast but cannot go gonzo in any one particular area. Not saying going the four route and adding archetypes prevent versatile builds but I just worry about moving in a classic four era I thought was left behind us.


At their absolute, all classes can be construed as archetypes of commoner. HD, BAB, and Saves are swaps, and dead levels are swapped for class features. In structure, no two classes are wholly incompatible. But I personally believe that the base classes as they stand are good, and would not reconstruct them as archetypes.

Liberty's Edge

If I'd been designing the game, and not changing all that much, I would have had a Fighter class, a Spellcaster class, and a Skill-monster class.

Everything else would have been Feats.

Pathfinder is fine the way it is, though.
-Kle.


Cavaliers could have been a Fighter or Ranger archetype. I think Maguses should have been more general. I would have said use the wizard/sorceror list limited to level 6 and three schools chosen at creation just so there wouldn't be any need later for a medium BAB 2/3 caster diviner/transmuter/abjurer or whatever role isn't filled satisfactorily by the existing 2/3 casters. Or at least so it could be a magus archetype without having to write up another new spell list.


Frogboy wrote:

The Witch wasn't really necessary. It could've been arch-typed. The Magus could've been left out as well but too many people were jonesing for a gish class. I'm not yet sure what the Pathfinder Ninja will do that the Rogue can't but the old 3.5 Ninja was a joke and should've been left out.

If you want to get super technical, you could (and some systems do) break down all of the classes into Fighter, Rogue, Arcane Caster and Divine Caster. Every other class could be made from multiclassing these and adding on special abilities that suit the flavor of the desired class (Rage, Smite, Sneak Attack etc).

You're right though. Pathfinder has done a much better job of creating meaningful classes.

You could just go Spiritual, Mental and Physical classes like Gary Gygaxx did in his game Dangerous Journeys.


Okay, then. I accept the rebuke, although my motivations are quite different.

Let's refocus the issue. Where, in your own opinion, should the line between archetype and class be drawn?

Also: How much "bleed over" should there be between classes? I'm in favor of options that allow for classes to, with the proper options, take on the role of other classes (though obviously not as well as the "base class" itself), but I definitely want to hear other opinions.


If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.


LilithsThrall wrote:
If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.

Then we could go further and price everything in XP to buy individually instead of using a level system to package feat and skill buys.

We could call it, oh, the Great Unclassed Revised Pathfinder System.


LilithsThrall wrote:
If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.

I've always felt that class-based RPGs, such as D&D, were arbitrarily restrictive in the types of characters that one can create, and that skill/trait-based systems, such as GURPS, allow a much broader range of possibilities. Whenever I'm creating a new character for a D&D/Pathfinder game, I think "what class do I want to play?", and then build a character of that class. When creating a new character for GURPS, I think "what do I want my charachter to be like?", and then choose the traits that define the character I envision.

That said, I think that if a system is fundamentally class-based, then it should embrace its nature, not try to circumvent it. D&D (and Pathfinder by extension) has always been class-based, and those who want to create trait-based characters should choose a different system to play. There are plenty out there. Let's not mutate this 30+ year old game too far from its fundamental core.


Doodpants wrote:
LilithsThrall wrote:
If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.

I've always felt that class-based RPGs, such as D&D, were arbitrarily restrictive in the types of characters that one can create, and that skill/trait-based systems, such as GURPS, allow a much broader range of possibilities. Whenever I'm creating a new character for a D&D/Pathfinder game, I think "what class do I want to play?", and then build a character of that class. When creating a new character for GURPS, I think "what do I want my charachter to be like?", and then choose the traits that define the character I envision.

That said, I think that if a system is fundamentally class-based, then it should embrace its nature, not try to circumvent it. D&D (and Pathfinder by extension) has always been class-based, and those who want to create trait-based characters should choose a different system to play. There are plenty out there. Let's not mutate this 30+ year old game too far from its fundamental core.

Sure. I'm not saying that Pathfinder -should- be classless. I was just saying that if it's spell system were represented like the skill system, then it -could- be reduced to one class.

The flexibility of a classless system can be nice, but Pathfinder (as the inheritor of the old DnD legacy) should be focused on being the intro game for people picking up the RPG hobby.
On the other hand, it is quite possible to have a classless system with a "modular" concept and some pre-built collections of those modules. This would give it the benefit of a class system while, at the same time, giving it the freedom of a classless system for those players who are ready to go beyond the pre-built collections of modules. It's worth noting that Pathfinder is already sort of moving in this direction what with PrCs, Archetypes, Variant Racial Class Bonuses, etc.


Rhishisikk wrote:

Came across an idea in the tier discussion:

What classes could, with a little effort, be just archetypes of each other? Are there any classes that already meet that criteria?

My concern is that 3.5 suffered from "class diarhea", where rather than give existing classes options to "reflavor" them, they just created new classes. (Fighter-Samurai, Rogue-Ninja, etc.)

Admittedly, Pathfinder has been better; realizing the wu-jen (Elementalist wizard) is just an archetype of wizard, for example. But the main focus is: what have they missed?

Is ranger distinct from fighter/druid? Paladin from cavalier/cleric?

Please put prestige classes in a different thread. :) Thanks.

Just play gurps then you can do whatever you want .

Shadow Lodge

Why does everyone always look to GURPS when it comes to non-classed systems? It's not the only one, it wasn't the first, and I damn sure don't consider the the best.

BRP >>> GURPS


LilithsThrall wrote:
If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.

That would be a different game, and would obsolete tens of thousands of pages of adventure content.

Seriously, games with skill-based magic and skill-based classless advancement exist. They're great games. They are not Pathfinder.

I simply do not understand this mindset — the only reason I can imagine that someone would want to keep Pathfinder but change these basic rules is that they want to use the adventures... but changing those rules would eliminate all of the adventures. Really, at this point, why not play another game? They are good games that need book sales and players... why continue to sink time and money into a system that does not and will not perform the way you're asking?

Please note that in another pie-in-the-sky thread I suggested exactly these changes — skill-based magic, modular advancement. My questions above are not dismissive, they are earnest! Why not play another game that offers the experience you want? True20 would be just one of dozens of suitable games...


Evil Lincoln wrote:
LilithsThrall wrote:
If Vancian were replaced, it could be replaced with a skill based system. Once that's done, it'd be easy to reduce the class system to one class modifiable by feats and skills.

That would be a different game, and would obsolete tens of thousands of pages of adventure content.

Seriously, games with skill-based magic and skill-based classless advancement exist. They're great games. They are not Pathfinder.

I simply do not understand this mindset — the only reason I can imagine that someone would want to keep Pathfinder but change these basic rules is that they want to use the adventures... but changing those rules would eliminate all of the adventures. Really, at this point, why not play another game? They are good games that need book sales and players... why continue to sink time and money into a system that does not and will not perform the way you're asking?

Please note that in another pie-in-the-sky thread I suggested exactly these changes — skill-based magic, modular advancement. My questions above are not dismissive, they are earnest! Why not play another game that offers the experience you want? True20 would be just one of dozens of suitable games...

I posted above as part of the idle thought experiment. There's nothing wrong with such thought experiments and, if we never had them, we'd still be playing the same game we played decades ago. I don't undertand your attitude about such thought experiments.

As for why some people take it beyond the idle thought experiment and start advocating/campaigning/evangelizing that certain changes be done to the core rules, I think that reflects on just how much mindshare Pathfinder has in the hobby. It's a form of praise that people like the game so much that they begin to take ownership of it.


Kthulhu wrote:
Why does everyone always look to GURPS when it comes to non-classed systems? It's not the only one, it wasn't the first, and I damn sure don't consider the the best.

It's probably the most popular/well-known. It's certainly the only one I've played, for example.

Quote:
BRP >>> GURPS

See? I had to google BRP. :-)


The classes I'm most skeptical about are the Cavalier (could easily be an animal companion Fighter variant while adding some cavalier-ish feats to the feat list) and the Magus (there are already a bunch of "arcane warrior" archetypes and/or prestige classes).

The Witch and the Summoner could probably be "alternate classes" (like the Ninja and the Gunslinger) of the Wizard and Sorcerer, IMO; the mechanics are too different for them to be archetypes, although there's nothing particularly in their mechanics that says to me "of course a witch should have at-will abilities!" or "naturally a summoner should have Teleportation Circle as a level 6 spell!"


Runequest (BRP) was the first RPG I ever bought. It was awesome I still have the box set. However, it was a rough game, my players died left and right, even stupid encounters that I thought were easy could TPK a reasonably powerful group, usually because of one roll.

However, if you want realistic fantasy based RPG I think it was the best one I have ever experienced.


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Rhishisikk wrote:


What classes could, with a little effort, be just archetypes of each other? Are there any classes that already meet that criteria?

None.

Rhishisikk wrote:


Is ranger distinct from fighter/druid? Paladin from cavalier/cleric?

Yes and yes.


Greetings everyone.

I think I know what the OP is aiming at, so I will give my 2 cents.

While I LIKE playing Druids (and love their fluff) I REALLY think the Druid could be easily incorporated into the Cleric.

Sure, the Cleric class will need a little overhaul to give the druid credit of his abilities, but nothing impossible.

Second, I think the Bard is rather unnecessary. I would like a Sorcerer/Wizard with the ability to MASK his (ususal) spells with Music/Song more. Multi-class with rogue and of you go.

The new Cavalier class should be a sub of the fighter, really.
And the Fighter should get some of the "Leadership" abilities as core.
(The fighter is still a poor ROLEPLAYING class - though much more fun for ROLLplaying...)

In the end, I am quite "over" class-systems. They are to restrictive in character-creation. At least until a completely working multi-classing system is invented.

I still love D&D/Pathfinder because I played it for more than 15 years.

That said, I think the best class summary would be:

WARRIORS
Fighter - Skill, Combat tricks, battle control
Barbarian - Raw power, resilience, undying

ROGUES
Rogue - Urban, contacts/social, thievery
Scout - Wilderness, survival, exploration

MAGES
Wizard - rational magic, reliable, only "level-appropriate" effects
Sorcerer - intuitive magic, unpredictable, possibility of "high-level" effects but also low-level effects

PRIESTS
Cleric - Serving a higher power, protecting faith/flock
Paragon (Monk) - Personal divine, self-perfection, ascension/transcendence


hogarth wrote:

The classes I'm most skeptical about are the Cavalier (could easily be an animal companion Fighter variant while adding some cavalier-ish feats to the feat list) and the Magus (there are already a bunch of "arcane warrior" archetypes and/or prestige classes).

The Witch and the Summoner could probably be "alternate classes" (like the Ninja and the Gunslinger) of the Wizard and Sorcerer, IMO; the mechanics are too different for them to be archetypes, although there's nothing particularly in their mechanics that says to me "of course a witch should have at-will abilities!" or "naturally a summoner should have Teleportation Circle as a level 6 spell!"

Frankly, as the Witch gains her powers from being the consort to some patron, it's always seemed like a design flaw that her spells are based on Int and not Cha. If they were based on Cha, then she could be a Sorc archetype.

It, also, seems like a hole exists in the Sorcerer spell list that there isn't a Planar Binding type spell at every other spell level. It seems to me that there should be. It, also, seems to me that a summoning circle should be able to be created using Spellcraft or Knowledge[the Planes] without need for Prot from Evil. If these two things were done, then the Summoner could be a Sorcerer archetype.

Liberty's Edge

Kthulhu wrote:

Why does everyone always look to GURPS when it comes to non-classed systems? It's not the only one, it wasn't the first, and I damn sure don't consider the the best.

BRP >>> GURPS

GURPS is better known. A surprising number of people hate percentile systems too, for some reason.

Runequest and it's progeny are cool too, though. I actually played the original RQ beforeI ever played unaltered D&D.
-Kle.


DracoDruid wrote:

While I LIKE playing Druids (and love their fluff) I REALLY think the Druid could be easily incorporated into the Cleric.

Sure, the Cleric class will need a little overhaul to give the druid credit of his abilities, but nothing impossible.

This was attempted in 2.0 and didn't work very well.

DracoDruid wrote:


Second, I think the Bard is rather unnecessary. I would like a Sorcerer/Wizard with the ability to MASK his (ususal) spells with Music/Song more. Multi-class with rogue and of you go.

I think the defining characteristic of the Bard should be all the stuff he knows that he shouldn't. I picture the ideal Bard as like Batman. His skills should range from finding weaknesses to being a poison master to being able to blackmail people. I'd be okay with the Bard having no magic or bardic music powers, but I think that he needs to have more shine time rather than just making other characters more effective.

DracoDruid wrote:


The new Cavalier class should be a sub of the fighter, really.
And the Fighter should get some of the "Leadership" abilities as core.
(The fighter is still a poor ROLEPLAYING class - though much more fun for ROLLplaying...)

I agree. I, also, think that the "intelligent fighter" should be better supported. Players of fighters should have to make a difficult choice between pumping up Str, Dex, or Int.

DracoDruid wrote:


In the end, I am quite "over" class-systems. They are to restrictive in character-creation. At least until a completely working multi-classing system is invented.

Multiclassing, particularly with full casting classes, just plain doesn't work well.

DracoDruid wrote:


I still love D&D/Pathfinder because I played it for more than 15 years.

I agree, though I've been playing much longer than that. DnD is like a "first love", it'll always hold a special place.

That said, I think the best class summary would be:

DracoDruid wrote:


WARRIORS
Fighter - Skill, Combat tricks, battle control
Barbarian - Raw power, resilience, undying

ROGUES
Rogue - Urban, contacts/social, thievery
Scout - Wilderness, survival, exploration

MAGES
Wizard - rational magic, reliable, only "level-appropriate" effects
Sorcerer - intuitive magic, unpredictable, possibility of "high-level" effects but also low-level effects

PRIESTS
Cleric - Serving a higher power, protecting faith/flock
Paragon (Monk) - Personal divine, self-perfection, ascension/transcendence

Most of this I can agree with. However,..

The Sorcerer should get their power through Charisma. By "Charima", I mean the ability to influence others and gain friends/allies. I hate the fact that DnD game designers try to redefine old words (such as saying that "Charima" means "internal power" in order to do crazy things like bring in bloodlines - bloodlines should represented with feats as they are now done in UM, not class features - tieing bloodlines to feats is something I advocated for back when Pathfinder was being created (along with arguing about the problems in tieing bloodline to class and building the Sorcerer on something (bloodlines) that has nothing to do with the standard definition of the word "charisma"). Leave the English language alone and try to fit the classses to their description.
I love the idea of Monk abilities being associated with vows. This should be expanded.
I'd make religion a feat or feat chain. A cleric is, then, simply a spell caster (or a fighter or some other class) that has taken that feat chain. A cleric of the god of thievery may be a Rogue who has taken that feat chain. A cleric of the noble warrior may be a fighter who has taken that feat chain. A cleric of the god of fertility and the hearth may be a rogue/spellcaster who has taken the feat chain.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rhishisikk wrote:

Okay, then. I accept the rebuke, although my motivations are quite different.

Let's refocus the issue. Where, in your own opinion, should the line between archetype and class be drawn?

Also: How much "bleed over" should there be between classes? I'm in favor of options that allow for classes to, with the proper options, take on the role of other classes (though obviously not as well as the "base class" itself), but I definitely want to hear other opinions.

I am of two minds of this particular challenge. First of all I like archetypes as a means to create a slight tweak to a class for a new take on the original concept. But if you are going to be changing out a majority of class abilities, or you have abilities that are not easily interchanged on a one to one basis it is time for a new class.

Basically archetypes are very rigid, you have to trade out one ability for one ability or you risk unbalancing the class at certain levels, where as a new base class can be built from the ground up. For instance.

But I also dont want to see a billion options for the same classes scattered all over the place. It makes it much harder to put together a character if all new concepts are covered by options for existing classes. A class is relatively self contained, sure there will be new options for the new class, but most of it is in the few pages that describe the class, making it easier to manage.

An example is recently a player decided to be a Super Genius Time thief. It is basically a prince of persia kind of character, with thief skills and buff/debuff based around manipulating time. This concept COULD have been done with new talents and feats and an archetype for the rogue. However it would have required changing out ALOT of the rogues abilities, and now the player would have multiple sources to look at. Instead I was able to hand him a print out of one short pdf and he made his character.

This is a player that has always (in 10+ years of gaming) had difficulty putting together a character on his own. But since the individual new baseclass not only inspired him with its relatively unique theme, but was also relatively self contained, he was able to not only make a character on his own, but enjoy it.


Hmmm...most of the AGP could go, but especially the Witch and the Cavalier. The Cavalier in particular is a waste of space.

As for the core, I see no real purpose for the Ranger (or Barbarian, for that matter). In fact, if I had my druthers, I'd probably reduce it down to Fighter, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue. Between multi-classing, prestige classes, feats, and archetypes, there are more than enough (too many) ways to address all the niches.


I would not merge classes. I like them as they are. I would merge archetypes.

No more than 5 per class, and radically different. The rest, is all made of exchangeable features a la Quinjong Monk.

Not all the archetypes would have access to all the features.

And respectfully, the cavalier is interesting and can be expanded in an even more interesting way. APG classes rock.

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