I have a newbie player showing up to check out Pathfinder, and I want to give him the option of jumping and playing rather than just observing and will make a few characters for him to pick from.
I know fighter or rogue is really easy to pick up, and caster classes, especially full casters, I should avoid.
Slayer too I'm thinking could be a good option.
Any other suggestions for classes for a newbie?
Fighter can actually be a little tough because they have so many options in terms of feats. From what I've seen, paladins are actually pretty easy to play, as they don't have very many early-game choices to make, but most full BAB classes are pretty easy to play. Fighters are definitely doable, but probably more complicated than the average melee character.
Slayers are the easiest, I think. Ranger Combat Styles are basically a fighting style in a can, making it very easy for you to make good choices for feat selections. They're slightly easier than Rangers because all of the Slayer stuff works against everything and you don't need as much situational awareness.
High-damage characters tend to be fun for newer players, I think. Especially ones that are "always on", AKA don't need special circumstances, like flank or charge, to be effective.
Barbarian, gunslinger, bloodrager, slayer, and swashbuckler all fit that bill.
Of course, it also depends on what the player wants. Some people like "BARBARIAN SMASH" characters, some people want to be sneaky, or be a face, or use magic. Spontaneous casters are good, and rogues are good (as long as they're totally OK with doing mediocre damage.)
Ranger is a good one. Heck, it comes with built-in feat suggestions, flavorful class bonuses that are pretty easy to remember, very few spells to easy the idea of a prepared spellcaster, and a pet to teach you about flanking and cooperative play, though managing the extra companion might be a bit too much for a new player.
Sorcerer is actually a pretty good choice as well, simply because you get a very limited number of spells known. Learning new spells can be a bit daunting, but at low levels you know so few that it's actually pretty manageable for new players.
Barbarian is another good intro class, but it's sometimes difficult to remember exactly how rage affects you, especially once you have a few rage powers under your belt. It might require a bit of extra help from the GM, but not much.
Agreed on the Barbarian and Slayer fronts. Gunslinger has to deal with all the wonky interactions of 5-foot steps, move actions, reloading, etc, so they might not be as good as a simple Bow & Arrow ranged affair.
If they demand to be a caster, have a sorcerer ready for them, but don't present it in the first set of options.
Above all else though, the nicest thing about Full BAB characters for new players is that they actually get to hit stuff.
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A dwarven fighter with crb feats is a great starting point. If they decide in a few levels that they want casting then they have sorcerer and dragon deciple to add casting into their character.
A simple build would be:
Improved iron will
That's all crb, and he will have something to do every round, if they decide that they want to try casting then use feat retraining to remove iron will and go sorcerer. Change uw to rapid shot and improved iron will to arcane armor training, then dragon deciple at 7th or 8th I can't remember all the pre requisites off the top of my head.
We had someone playing the pregen barb tonight (at PFS). The GM said repeatedly, "Are you sure you are counting that right?" Gotta love the 2d8+9 she has in rage.
In Silverhex, I played the Bloodrager Pregen, 30 damage was often and caused more then one exploded corpse.
Those 2 are easily the best for a totally new player. If they have some experience, a Bard is great for someone who likes to role play.
Avoid Wizard, Druid, Cleric, Sorcerer, Oracle, Shaman, Magus, Inquisitor, Summoner, basically anything that's main action is spell based. Bard only gets a pass cause it is great for a role player and the spells can be done in super simple mode.
hmm, I would not have thought of bard, but, I'll offer that as an option so I don't just have things that are focused mainly on hitting stuff available.
Gunslinger, yeah, I'll avoid, I've just noticed of all the non-caster classes that seems to be the one people stumble around with the most with.
Slayer, bard and one other... maybe barbarian or bloodrager. I all ready have a bloodrager built so that could work.
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I'm going to second the Ranger.
I've started thinking about it like the "Tutorial-Class".
It can be active in almost any scene because it has skills/spells/Good BAB/accepteble saves,
all the class features are introduced in a nice pace as you level up (a newb playing from 1st lvl should be ready for som minor spellcasting at lvl 4, and the AC at lvl 5 - which is optional),
and several of the places where you have to pick a direction it offers options.
All in all it's a great class for somebody learning the ropes, and regardless of system mastery it's a class that always will let you have something to do in a scene.
Actually, i would say Cleric is a pretty easy choice mechanically.
You only have to bother with the domain abilities and the channel...otherwise the cleric is pretty g!#%*+n dull other than their spellcasting. ( in this case Dull = Easy )
Rangers if they take the alternative that switch away their companion and thus they can be pretty good as a party buffer with their favored enemy.
Barbarians is pretty straight forward i feel, though they might require a little finesse if its a experienced party... but its pretty much "rush and crush" ^^;
I think the common noob traps one should avoid is: Rogues, Any "social" concepts, Wizards ( they actually have a lot to keep track of ) and in some cases paladin mostly due to player personality... if its a mmo-convert-to-paper... avoid paladin ^^;
As most people said, avoid full spellcasters as they can be quite daunting. Although sorcerer is pretty easy to play, he has to know what each spell does and how they affect the battlefield. That said, it's by far the easiest caster.
Some easy classes are:
Slayer (really, really straightforward with funny for a new player mechanics)
Fighter (can be a challenging with the amount of feats he gets, although straight forward. It wouldn't be my first option for a new player however as its a very limited class that contributes very little outside of combat, something you may want to avoid for a new player.)
Paladin (another easy and flavourful character. Strong mechanics and forgiving tankiness of all kind with minor spellcasting and powerful yet simple class features)
Barbarian (Slayer level easy. Interesting mechanics but he has to make some right choices to be effective later)
Rogue (easy to play as easy to mess up and feel weak. I would avoid it)
Ranger (My choice to go.The ranger is a little bit of everything. A flavorful fighter/sneaky kind of guy with full BAB, very minor and simple spellcasting he gets later to teach him how spells work, and an animal companion to teach him flanking and playing as a team without relying on his teammates capriciousness. Flavourful and simple mechanics for him to learn how to use. Gets a lot of skill to make him feel useful out of combat and has a great flavor for him to create an easy to go character. Rangers start strong and remain very relevant at all levels as a front line character. He can even play an archer type if he prefers)
Rangers are pretty friendly and very fun to play. I suggest the ranger because it's more versatile and more powerful than both the fighter and rogue while still being fairly simple to build and play.
You cannot go wrong with a ranger-archer. They get everything to give a good taste of the system: skills, spells, combat, and special abilities. Then they are hard to get wrong - when all else fails, just shoot whatever moves. It's my default for new players :)
For a new player you want a class that is simple to play, but is still fun and effective. Some classes are simple to build but playing them effectively is a lot more complicated. Most prepared casters fall in this category. Other classes may be difficult to build, but simple to play. A spontaneous caster is may be fairly difficult to build, but actual play is a lot easier. If you are building the character these are fine. What you want is a class that everything they do is on their character sheet, not buried in a rule book.
The rogue sounds like it would be a good idea for a first time player, but it is really not. It actually takes a lot of system mastery to play an effective rogue. Setting up a sneak attack is something that is difficult enough for an experienced player, much less a beginner. The rogue is also considered the weakest class in the game for a reason so the new player may not have as much fun.
Barbarians, Bloodragers, Oracles, Paladins, Rangers, Sorcerers will all be fairly easy to play.
There are really two secondary questions to consider: book access and build help.
Most newbies will only have access to core (Assuming they are playing PFS), at least for their first character. Also, most gaming groups will cheerfully build a newb's first character for them, but some players prefer to do it themselves.
Sorcerers, Bloodragers, Oracles, and Fighters are great if you have help creating your build.
Paladins, Barbarians, Rangers, and Swashbucklers are great if you do it yourself.
And that's two core options for each type. :)
Might give this a look over.
I usually think a fairly standard switch hitting ranger is one of the best new player builds.
Have some melee and missile fire to introduce both topics. Can keep the options very basic to keep from being too confusing.
A fair amount of skill to teach that aspect.
Later on get small number of spells to begin learning that.
May or may not get an animal companion if he wants to learn that.
Whatever the player wants to play. My girlfriend is new to gaming and ended up play a bard because she wanted to help other people be better and she wanted to shoot a bow. I sat with her and went over the available options, and she ended up with a core bard with a short bow and archery feats.
Even a more comicated class is not hard to pick up if the player is interested in that kind of character.
Obviously the best class for a new player is one that will make them want to play again! However, there are many great considerations listed in other posts. I second that certain martial options with fewer 1st-level "locked in" choices are good, such as paladin or brawler. But honestly, having an another impartial player discuss the ramifications of choices with them should do the trick. If the player wants to try out a spontaneous caster, let them replace a spell known at every level instead of at the normal rate.
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I think the most discouraging thing to new players isn't difficult mechanics, it's having nothing to contribute in certain situations, or dying. Because of that, and because I want new players to realize that there is more to the game than combat, I would suggest an archer bard. Out of combat, they're great. When the fight breaks out, archery is a wonderful combat style, and one that increases survival. And while being the one to identify the weakness of a monster is old hat to people who have played a while, I find it's really fun for new players. Compare "then I shot it with my bow for 7 damage" to "then I realized that while weapons did little, it was vulnerable to fire!" Which would seem more epic to a new player?
Unfortunately, many people see bard and assume party face. I've seen a group give a brand new player a bard and expect him to take the lead in all social situations.
That is really putting someone on the spot for a role they might not be ready to play yet.
Now if the group has another face character and the rest of the group is cooperative/considerate enough to not dump a huge responsibility on the new player, that might just work out pretty good.
Play a fighter, no questions asked. Help him pick feats and pick all feats that apply static bonuses to weapons, HP, and saves. Things like favored enemy, spell casting, or even the rage class feature will all severely complicate the basics. If he's a true newbie it's going to be hard enough for him to keep up with weapon reach, critical threats, attacks of opportunity, cover, flanking, charge rules, etc. Give him a bow and a big two-handed weapon and let him hammer on stuff. That's about as easy as it gets.
Just to be clear:
How invested is the new player?
How competent is the new player?
How enthusiastic is the new player?
How rules savvy is the party?
I think those are very big difference makers. If your new player has internet access, a burning passion to learn the game, and a 140 IQ, you're probably fine with any class.
Even experienced players without enthusiasm to learn need to play simplified characters.
I think new /= limited, and experienced /= capable. Also, easier isn't always better. If you start with the hardest class, then there's no limitation at the table.
I like the recommendations of Ranger, with BAB + skills + combat style + spells. Great all-around pathfinder experience.
From a roleplay perspective I think Cleric and Paladin are the best concepts for new players. Almost every deity has multiple paragraphs on the behaviors of the followers, from clothing to weapons to common phrases - Inner Sea Gods really establishes a great framework for how to roleplay. The more immersive the experience the more enjoyable the game will be.
I personally started in 2E with a planewalking multi-class fighter/wizard fated teifling focused on poison. The amount of paperwork and options with that character made every PC since feel simple. Limiting folks up front provides a perceived barrier to the 'real' game.
I've also seen 20 year veterans just play their ninja or druid without using spells or action economy. I would say the first three questions really dictate the options far more so than experience.
The fellow wants to find a long term group, but mine is pretty full, so basically they are coming to observe the game, and then pick up the character and play a bit (we've done this a few times with other players whom just wanted a chance to game with a group for a session or two, but they have been people comfortable with building their own characters). I'm not 100% against adding a 7th person, though I've ran games with up to 8, but I did make it clear to him it would really depend on how the game goes for the group if we add another. He's played the game before, but said, it's been long enough and few enough times he really doesn't know how to play or make a character. So this is kinda a chance for him to meet some other gamers in the area really.
The rest of the group is pretty rules savvy at this point, almost all the other players have been in the group for at over a year at this point and we game almost every week. We aren't perfect to be sure, but, have tools like combat manager and Hero Lab to help us too.
Thanks for the suggestions guys.
For now I have made a ranger (did go with the archer focus for the ranger, and no animal companion) and a bard for him. I've had a slayer and bloodrager sitting around so those are options too.
ranger is a great tutorial class, barbarian (and the slightly more complicated bloodrager) is a class for when you feel like hitting like a train, and slayer is the ranger once you've completed the tutorial.
sorcerer and oracle are great intro casters since you have fewer spells to remember/do bookkeeping for, while having a neat set of thematic options as well.
bard can contribute in lots of ways between skills/spells/performances (and most people forget that they can fight well too!).