Final Thoughts: Vigilante Playtest


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Lead Designer

Hey there all,

This thread is for you to post up your FINAL THOUGHTS on the Vigilante Playtest. To keep this thread manageable, we request that you post to this thread only ONCE with your final thoughts on the class and the playtest. Additional posts will be deleted.

Thank you for participating. This thread will remain open until August 17th, 2015.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer
Paizo Inc.


I am looking forward to the other subsystems in the book - especially because it has been hinted that this book will be just the opportunity to do so.

That said, though I dislike the Vigilante as a class, I do like a lot of the mechanics designed into it (especially the Stalker talents), and think that if there were ways for the other classes to utilize some of these abilities, that would be awesome. For example, a sidebar for powering up rogues that allows them to pick up Stalker talents.

I know that isn't the most helpful, but it's my honest opinion. Looking forward to this book despite. You guys might hit a homerun with Unchained > Occult > Intrigue for me personally. Cheers.


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I've expressed my feelings about the vigilante in another thread. To summarize; I really feel like it's core mechanic needs some kind of mechanic to solidify it's flavor and differentiate it from just any other class with a high enough disguise check. I had offered the concept of an 'origin story' or something along those lines. I was delighted to see the zealot specialization encompass that somewhat. I just feel like a lot of classes do a good job of defining themselves beyond their mechanics and delving deeper into their niche because of it.

I think that the casting specializations are locked in people's minds as specifically spell-casting specializations when really I'd like to see more of their non-casting abilities. Particularly with the Warlock it has interesting non-spell magic that makes me want to build around it. Mystic Bolt is a simple no-nonsense ability that isn't a spell but definitely feels magical and appealing. By getting casting at their base abilities they feel locked into getting more spells or being a terrible caster even though spells in any capacity is pretty powerful.

I very much enjoy the fact that your social identity has it's own pool of social talents even though the current list is kind of scant. I'd like to think that the final version will let me be able to craft alchemical items with my social talents that I can use as a martial vigilante. Overall I'd love to see that idea played out a lot more in the final version.

I was not a fan of the Appearance line of abilities. I only got to really playtest controlling other NPCs but I feel like its a very solo-tactic ability that is difficult to get off when you're in a group. I also greatly devalue abilities that generally happen once like that on martials. Its very flavorful but mechanically I don't think that too many types of vigilantes will value it if at all.


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I really feel that the class should be more towards non-casting.... using a Batman analogy - he is classed as a superhero but yet has no supernatural powers. Similar to Batman he should be highly skilled in several fields but not supernaturally so, skilled in combat but in the way of a rogue or monk not in the way of a fighter. Violence is a careful, academically considered process.

Most of all I would ask you not to fall into the trap that I believe happened with the ACG and the Shaman and the Arcanist. In your keenness to create a new class and give it identity, purpose and to make people interested in it, you go down the path of least resistance...... and make it unecessarily and unthematically powerful.

Silver Crusade

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After going through the Vigilante material and watching a few played, I can't shake the feeling that each version of the Vigilante is a less effective version of another class with a neat dual identity mechanic overlay.

I'm now wondering if they would be better off being four separate classes built from the ground up who share a few common mechanics. Each having a different base framework would help differentiate the four versions, and help streamline some of the clunkier mechanics, like having to "buy" spellcasting levels.

Or if four versions is too much, perhaps splitting it into a caster and non-caster base, with two different pools of abilities (caster and martial/stealth) to draw on? You could even allow pulls from the opposite pool for an additional cost.

Just my two cents. Good luck wading through this thread when people find it and the comments roll in like a tidal wave! :-)


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The Stalker is extremely interesting and appears fun. Mystic Bolt is cool (though, weak). I found nothing compelling in the Zealot or Avenger whatsoever, and even the Warlock feels kind of "eh" because of the weird casting progression/talent tax.

The Stalker is awesome, but has a few talents that kind of don't actually do anything despite sounding really great (for example, the one where you move and drag the guy), and ultimately, has too many talent taxes, because the good talents are necessary to be competitive, but eat up "fun" slots.

An "Extra Talent" feat is necessary. "The Talents are stronger than feats" is no excuse because Magus Arcana, Barbarian Rage Powers, Oracle Revelations, Alchemist's Discoveries, Witch Hexes, even Ninja Talents are stronger than feats, too.

You can't try and balance a class against Fighters, Cavaliers, Monks, and Rogues. I'm not saying you should balance against the full 9-level casters or anything, but at least try to match the general strength of the 4 and 6 level casters. Even though I like the Stalker, it's no where even near the strength of those classes. It's basically just a more interesting Rogue at this point.


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The class is a mess, frankly.

It's a mish-mash of abilities that don't work together, are poached from other classes, or both.

It attempts to be 4 classes in one, but only really succeeds in being 4 variations on half a class in practice.

Warlock is a sub-par caster, even for 6th level casters, and doesn't gain too many abilities that make you go "Wow, I want that!". Mystic Bolt seems like it wants to be the centerpiece, but lacks the sort of oomph to make it so.

Zealot is still a wanna-be Inquisitor, which is just pointless. We already have an Inquisitor.

Avenger is a Fighter with more skills.

Stalker, interestingly, is probably the best of a bad bunch. After playtesting up to 10th level they have a decent start, but are BRUTAL in combat once they hit their stride, since while they only have 3/4 BaB they can essentially get 2-3 attacks any time they want at their highest attack bonus. It put our Avenger to shame at 10th.

The Secret Identity thing is a mechanic that was initially painful, that moved to "Not hampering, but largely pointless" in round 2.

My biggest complaints is how the casting was handled, still. Talent based casting is an interesting concept, but lacks in execution, especially when set up in this manner. I have a Freeform class system I use for some games that handles spell progression in a similar manner, and it is universally called the worst part of that homebrew by my players, and works about as well here.

Finally, the lack of an Extra Vigilante Talent is just baffling. The "Talents are strong than Feats so you can't spend a Feat to get a Talent" ship sailed when you published the ACG with Extra Rage Power and its like. Going back on it now is pointless and does nothing but weaken a class because you think you made a mistake 5 years past that you have continued to make for every class with a similar mechanic published. For the record, nobody but you actually thinks this was a mistake.

The class needs work, and a LOT of work if it wants to be decent, much less excellent.

Dark Archive

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Stalker: I enjoyed the Stalker, it was fun to play and was actually viable with the talents Mark added as experimental. I feel that the Stalker option could be improved by giving it two base abilities to choose from: Hidden Strike, and an ability similar to Studied Target.

Avenger: I felt it really just needed some better combat related talents at lower levels to make it not a weird fighter. To improve the Avenger option it would be good to add a bonus talent at 1 that can only be chosen from a small list.

Warlock: It can be good, but it needs to not be locked into spellcasting as mentioned by others. To improve the Warlock option I think three base ability options would be a good idea: Spellcasting(reduce as if you had 1 less spell/level than a standard 2/3 caster but scales with level. This option also removes talents at 6, 12, and 18), Abilities similar to wild talents from the kineticist but not tied to elements(gained at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20), and a mystic bolt that scales equal to level but still works like the playtest II version. All of the other base abilities could be selected in a reduced form as a base and advanced talent(Access to 1st level spells as base and 2nd level spells as advanced; Current mystic bolt as base, scales up to 1/2 level as advanced; Level 1 Wild Talent-type ability as base, Level 4 Wild Talent-type ability as advanced)

Zealot: It could be really cool, the fey version in playtest 2 was actually not half bad. If the abilities given were scaled up to match the power of the Fey ability and it got similar choices for base ability to the Warlock as mentioned above(just spellcasting or wild talent-type abilities) then I feel it would be good.

Overall if some of the stalker talents became general Vigilante talents, the classes felt special at level 1, and the subsystems boosted the social side of the Vigilante I feel it could be in my top 5 classes.


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My personal thoughts have been, throughout the playtest, that the idea of the Vigilante class is fine, to a degree, but the execution has been, both from theorycrafting and in seeing it played several times now by my players, lackluster at best.

I could basically summarize the grievances in three points:

1. Being a pulp/superhero should be an option, not the shoehorned raison d'etre

I'm an absolute superhero freak, so you'd think that I'd jump at the idea of being able to PLAY a superhero, but the most glaring problem I've had with the Social side of the Vigilante is its insistence on basically FORCING the superhero aspects down players' throats, rather than being an option.

And to this end, I really, really dislike that nearly every option of the class in the first Round and even still many in the Second makes the Vigilante into "Zor-Bat-Shadow-Arrow-Man!" with very little deviation from the "rich guy fights crime at night" shtick. So not only are you forcing players to play a Superhero, you're not even letting get a choice as to WHICH superheroes you'd want them to play; the greatest level of deviation I can find and that I've seen demonstrated is that rather than a hero, you COULD make Hunter Rose, aka Grendel, IF you use the Stalker to make a

I don't think the focus of the Vigilante should be on being a superhero in the slightest; rather, it should be focused on being a master of disguise, a master spy or information gatherer, the ultimate Face and conman in a group, the ultimate faceless assassin, etc. Dual Identity and the various Guise abilities all allow for this to happen easily, and it would naturally ALLOW players to create superheroes without forcing that theme upon them.

2. The entire "Warrior, Thief, Mage, Cleric" thing should be thrown out and replaced

By now, the critique that the Vigilante just plays like weaker versions of the Stalker, Rogue, Magus, and Inquisitor have been stated ad nauseam. This was one of the things I really didn't like about the class - this just seemed lazy and amateurish, like something you'd expect from random forumgoers, rather than the creators of the Gunslinger and Alchemist.

If you honestly want to get people interested in the class, throw out this "it has to look and play like these four Base Classes" mindset and instead look to what has been done in the past that's worked out fantastically: use Prestige Classes for inspiration and make Base Classes based on them.

The motif of Warrior, Thief, Mage, and Cleric can easily be accomplished just as well and infinitely more-interestingly by basing the Specializations on the Stalwart Defender, Shadowdancer, Arcane Trickster, and Holy Vindicator; potentially also include a 5th Specialization based on the Mystic Theurge.

If I had any say, I'd say to basically all-but throw out the spellcasting entirely, honestly.

In addition to these, you should probably also experiment in making unique class designs through the specializations

I would much prefer a group of 5 Specializations that take the form of:

I) Stalwart Defender as a Base Class - THE hardest to accomplish, but still possible if modeled after a "secret bodyguard" idea.
II) Shadodancer as a Base Class (fits the best into this whole idea)
III) Mystic Theurge as a Base Class - spontaneous spellcasting, you have to know an equal number of Arcane and Divine spells (whenever possible), and a unique spell list that doesn't overlap divine with arcane.
IV) Spontaneous Alchemist with a focus on gadgets & gizmos rather than mutagens & bombs.
V) A Prepared Psychic that could take the place of the Arcane Trickster in many players' hearts.

And then there's the base Vigilante. the Second Round design was much better, but should be made to function more like a Base-Class-version of the Master Spy... this alone would get many more people excited about the class, and would be the theme the class is searching in the dark for.

3. This class REALLY needs to get a boost in power & usefulness

Again with the whole "plays like a weaker version of X", this class relies almost solely on Talents.

That is a TERRIBLE way to build a class - there's no two ways about it. The thing that makes Classes interesting and useful is their standard abilities, with Talents being icing on the cake.

And the reason is that every single time Talents are put out, they're assumed to be better than Feats, thus making up for a lack of peripheral or standard abilities. This is rarely if ever true, and the result is that you, the devs, horrendously overcompensate by making such classes that're heavily reliant on multiple-choice options lack standard abilities of any worth. Notice how the base Fighter is considered a dip-class at best? Or that the base Rogue required a whole host of extra abilities to make it truly useful (you must, the Unchained Rogue is generally considered a pretty smashing success).

The base Vigilante (i.e. the Social Persona) needs a standard ability every level that they don't gain a Social Talent; the Martial Specializations also need standardized abilities every non-Talent-granting level, and the Caster Specializations need to gain standard Spell progression - the inclusion of guaranteed spells would more than make up for the lack of extra abilities.

All 4 of the Specializations should also gain a scaling ability, in the same way the Stalker gains a minor version of Sneak Attack.

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These are my suggestions on the subject; they've been stated a few times elsewhere, but that's ultimately what I see.

This class has a lot of potential to be the skill and social-encounters master that a lot of people have been waiting for - one that also could serve as a major asset to campaigns besides intrigue-heavy ones.

Almost every party at some point needs an infiltrator, spy, information gatherer, scrounger, faceman, insurgent, hitman, secret bodyguard, etc. - the Vigilante CAN fill this role masterfully, but NOT in its current setup.

You need to seriously re-evaluate this class and its dependence upon the "masked hero" motif; look more to making it a general "faceless agent" sort of character, and you'll find that not only can you still have your Superhero character, but also a massive number of other sorts of characters as well.

The Exchange

I will be forthright in stating up-front that I did not read the entire Ultimate Intrigue document. I read the intro, the avenger and the stalker specializations. My wife read the entire thing, however, and I did play with other players who chose each specialization over the past weekend.

That being said, there are three main takeaways from my playtest experience:

1) As far as PFS goes (and that is the only style of Pathfinder I play--I know this is true of a lot of PFS players as well), I honestly couldn't care less about the dual identity feature/shtick. Most PFS scenarios, and the GMs that run them, focus almost exclusively on combat and a lot less on role-playing. Throw-in the time blocks in which PFS games are run and you have even less time/care to deal with a bunch of heroes running into outhouses to change clothes and suit-up. It really feels more like a gimmick and less like an actual mechanic. I do think it would be great for a home-brew game that allowed for that type of atmosphere, but again since I pretty much only care about PFS, it's kind of a non-starter.

2) The way the rules are written with regards to wands and the Vigilante, you are going to have to FAQ and even do a bit of backsliding (potentially) to rule whether any vigilante can use any wand without a UMD check. The way I read the rules, RAW, is that if a spell is on the spell-list of a CLASS then you may use the wand without UMD. This came up during one of our games this weekend. I argued that my Stalker Vigilante could heal himself without using the UMD skill with an infernal healing wand because the Vigilante class has that spell on its spell-list. Others of course said it was on the warlock specialization's spell-list, and I pointed out that that wording is incongruous with the wand use rules (again RAW). So, unless you arbitrarily say that a specialization is a class or something similar, you are going to run into more inter-woven rules problems (for instance, redefining what a "class" is). For instance, if you are going to rule that each specialization counts as its own class, then I should technically be allowed to take levels in different Vigilante Classes whereby I could be an Avenger level 3/Stalker level 4/Warlock level 2, etc. Personally, I don't think a Vigilante would be too powerful if you accept my ruling which is consistent with the wand use rules, RAW.

3) As has been noted a few times already, the Vigilante class is not very powerful or even useful compared to other classes. Here's the basic issue: say I'm a Venture Captain or other influential figure in the game world, and I have this important Pathfinder mission that needs to be handled now. It is my job to assemble a team of adventurers I can trust whom I know will get the job done. Why would I pick a Vigilante? The Avenger is nowhere near as good as a Fighter or Barbarian or even Paladin imo. The Stalker pales in comparison to a Rogue (unchained or vanilla) or even a ninja. Warlocks, only being able to cast 4th level spells at level 11, will feel left-out when their counterpart Sorcerors and Wizards are casting level 5 and 6 spells, respectively. And Zealots are a far cry from your cleric or oracle. There is no specialization that performs the particular role better than the other respective classes. There needs to be something to set the Vigilante apart, even if it results in the Vigilante being out-classed on the power level front.

To remedy this issue, I propose that at the start of every adventure, the Vigilante may select his/her specialization. So, if the party needs a healer, the Vigilante can be a Zealot. If there is no tank, (s)he can be an Avenger. Need someone sneaky? The Vigilante will play the Stalker role. I think this versatility is exactly what the Vigilante needs to be attractive and competitive. Clearly, there will need to be some balance inserted as far as feats/skills/etc. You could even expand the number of "identities" the Vigilante adopts over the course of his/her Pathfinder career (perhaps 1 role at level 1, 2 at level 3, 3 at level 8 and 4 at level 11 or something like that). Doing so can completely rework the "dual identity" gimmick issue that I noted above while making the Vigilante a desirable adventuring companion. Otherwise, I foresee many a player withdrawing Warhorn sign-ups the moment they see a Vigilante on the roster.

Dark Archive

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I had a LOT to say about all this in my webshow, both for the first playtest and for the second playtest .

And honestly, it boils down to, why play a class that does things other classes do. It feels like this was banking on the rising popularity on the vigilantes, thanks to shows like Arrow and Daredevil.

This whole double persona thing could have been fixed as a feat tree.

Or better yet, as a play style, where everyone in the party gets a vigilante persona that is tied to their class features and a social persona with its own powers, essential, playing two classes, but not combining them, you would just get to pick which one you are using at the time. And a 10, 5, and even 1 minute delay to complete the transformation completely obliterates any pacing the session might have been having.


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I have stated before in other threads and forums alike that with my experience recommend the following:

Keep the Vigilante Specializations, but:
o Pool all vigilante talents into a single pool that any vigilante can take so-long as they meet the prerequisites (which aren't based on specialization).
o Remove the Talent-Casting of both the Zealot and the Warlock, give them standard mid casting.
o Give Zealot access to a Domain instead of the limited Divine Powers.

Do not change the Dual-Identity. I like that it gives Mundane Villains the means to remain hidden until they reveal themselves. It also allows Mundane Heroes to infiltrate the enemies ranks and gather information without getting caught. Though I would recommend the following:
o Remove the alignment restriction between both the social and vigilante forms.

Include the feat Extra Vigilante Talent.

Remove or lower some of the Social Talent level prerequisites. As it is right now, there seems to be very few choices and most are obvious. Including more or lowering the prerequisites will prevent cookie-cutter social vigilantes.

Renown: Add social talents that allows it to expand to having renown over multiple metropolis-sized cities.

------------------------

Be sure to include rules inside the book that do the following:

Skill DC's or Rules for everything that a vigilante can do normally (i.e. Dual Identity, Renown, Safe House, Loyal Aid, etc)
o The reason for this is that the vigilante can do these things and can do so without skill checks (or with low DC's) in some cases. But not everyone can be a Vigilante, but may have followers or own property. And I dont want to hear GM's say that Player X cannot do Y unless they are a Vigilante. I want option Y to be available to all players, even if it means that it is much more difficult for player X than a Vigilante.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

The Infiltrator archetype of the Investigator lets me:
-have a rogue-like level of precision-based attacks
-have an alchemist-like level of casting (like the bard, inquisitor, magus)
-have the disguise and voice mimicry bonuses (SKILL BASED!) that low level illusionnists just WISH they had. Unlimited per day. It's just DANG awesome and it just replaces a few extra trap- and poison-related class features.

As a whole the archetype feels like an infiltration character I would want to play, like a Master Spy prestige class that can work at level 2 and up.

The Vigilante suffers from HAVING to take some abilities (I'm looking at the "spellcasting talents"), a lack of identity (apart from the social aspect which could be subsumed in a feat chain) and a lack of versatility. As has been suggested before, I would be up for a "once per day you can choose your specialization" in order to orient the class into a certain direction according to what's going on. So you could have your vigilante who one day chooses some stalker night vision or grappling rope related tricks while the other he gets some lvl 0 and lvl 1 spells to achieve certain goals. This level of versatility would bring it to the Shaman's level of flexibility.

Or have all Vigilantes be able to take talents from all categories--in this instance the Warlock's "take a talent to get some spells" would get close to the rogue's "minor magic" and "major magic" talents on purpose--this would indeed make more sense in that context.

I enjoy the social side of the class but firmly believe it could become a feat chain (or an Unchained-like multiclass system where you replace your lvl 3-7-11-15 feats with specific PERSONA-related social and superhero talents).


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I agree with others here; I think the Vigilante should be the 'base-class version' of the Master Spy, the way the Magus is the 'base-class version' of the Eldritch Knight.

I know the class is heavily-based on Batman, but I shouldn't feel limited to only BEING Batman; I really want to be able to feel like any number of superheroes, or something else of my own making that isn't a superhero but still works off of the mechanical concept.

There's a character in my head; a man who must hide his identity and so has crafted 3 new ones; the noble making political alliances, the bard singing the praises of the noble, and the mild-mannered scribe who sees how both the others are received. So far, the best way I've found to represent this character mechanically is to be a Street Performer Bard, and severely handicap myself (weapons only in noble form, magic only in bard form, neither in scribe form). I really, really want the vigilante to be the class that lets me finally make this guy, if it could.


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A few things I wanted to address here that people have brought up.

"There should be an Extra Vigliante Talent feat:" Agree. You pretty much lost the option to make this argument with the ACG.

"Vigilante should play like X Prestige Class, but as a Base Class:" Disagree. The base classes should still feel unique. The magus does, indeed, play like a base-class eldritch knight. And I've got to tell you, no one I have ever played with has played a standard magus. When asked why, the answer is a nearly unanimous, "It's just boring." Every single magus has been either a bladebound, a kensai, or both (with the exception of a single staff magus). Or, let's look at the other end of the spectrum: If the Avenger plays like a stalwart defender, why would you bother waiting 8 levels for the PrC when you could play one *right now*? When you make a class based on a prestige class, you essentially do one of two things: either you make a lesser version of the prestige class, making the class worthless; or, you make the base class into the prestige class, making the prestige class worthless. The vigilante SHOULD feel like its own class, separate from anything that has come before.

"Make the talents into a single pool of vigilante talents:" Agree and disagree. There should be a general pool of talents from which to choose, but if you're going to have specializations they need their own unique talents as well. Still, the lack of a unifying "general" talent tree made the specializations feel, not so much four aspects of the same class, but four entirely separate classes, which weakens the cohesiveness of the class overall.

"Forcing required talents weakens the class:" Absolutely, unequivocally, one hundred and one percent AGREE. When you have talents that HAVE to be taken or it weakens your specialization (e.g., the spellcasting talents for warlock/zealot), then they should be base class abilities. Period. Make the class a casting class. So what? There aren't talent-based classes with spellcasting? Uh-huh. Alchemist and investigator both use a talent-based system and have mid-range casting. No excuse.

"It's trying to be all four core roles at once:" Agree. Sort of. It's like trying to liken the bard to the sorcerer. Both are spontaneous arcane casters, but they go about it in different ways. Or likening the rogue to the slayer. Yeah, they both have a talent-based system and gain sneak attack dice, but the similarities end there. Honestly, despite all the mechanics, I feel the slayer is too close to the ranger, if anything. They fulfill very similar thematic roles. While there is a martial, sneaky, arcane, and divine specialization in place for the vigilante, none of them function quite similarly enough to an existing class to make a comparison. So such comparisons do make me leery, but in this case I think they're probably valid. This class should be, at the VERY least, two separate classes based on these specializations: a caster and a non-caster. Personally I would further break the caster down into a separate arcane and divine class.

Now here's my two cents on the whole deal, and it ties into that last statement. The warlock from 3rd edition was utterly broken; I have watched the eldritch blast turn into a battle-ending monster. But the thematic elements of the class were, and still are, absolutely wonderful, and the specialization presented here has absolutely the right flavor for that. It is more than deserving of its own base class, and the secretive nature of warlock casting would make them ideal for an intrigue-based adventure.

The zealot, sadly, really is just a lesser inquisitor, who is already fairly well-suited to an intrigue-based setting. The rogue also has a leg up on the stalker for stealth and tactics, both thanks to their plethora of skill points, and their already wide selection of talents and archetypes. The "social" system is utterly paltry in this regard, even with the whole you-can't-scry-me-I'm-Tyler-Durden-right-now aspect.

If you're going to have a stalker and avenger typeset for the class, then give them something that makes them unique to other classes, and make it something within the vigilante persona, not the mostly-fluff abilities of their social persona.

Okay, last point (I'm writing a freaking book here, sorry). Get rid of a social persona talent pool. There is no reason for it. You give the illusion of choice with ten talent slots and thirteen talents from which to choose. Cut three. Problem solved. The rogue doesn't choose what type of bonus her Trap Sense gives her. It doesn't make the ability less useful. Forcing a choice between major class abilities every single level gets tedious.

All in all, this class needs a serious overhaul if Paizo wants me to shell out forty bucks for this book, and I don't seem to be alone in this. I'm already skipping Occult Adventures entirely. Paizo is capable of amazing products; I'm waiting for those to come back.

Sovereign Court

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Put simply, the class presented to playtesters was too incomplete.

It is understandable that the designers wished to keep unfinished subsystems from being used in the playtest, but then explaining that the vigilante was tied to these unseen rules as an excuse for why the social side did very little left a sour taste in many of the playtesters' mouths.

Similarly, another factor working against anyone trying to build the class was the illusion of choice presented in the talents.
-Social Talents had barely any options, as there were only 2 that could be taken without prerequisites and almost all were just class abilities from the 1st round.
-Avenger is a mostly boring Fighter look-alike that gets to choose between feats or other feats with slight additions.
-Stalker fares the best, having several interesting abilities that all seem somewhat viable... Along with 2 or 3 that are head-and-shoulders above the rest.
-Warlock has a couple of unique ideas, but is forced to choose between getting some semblance of progression with spells or less-useful, but fun, talents that are about 50% traps.
-Zealot is like Warlock, but remove the words "unique" and "fun". The exceptions being 1 or 2 (Smite comes to mind) that are legitimately useful and compete with spellcasting.

I won't comment on the flavor of the class, as it seems potentially interesting but not something I personally want to include or build in most settings.

It is a shame that the playtest felt like it was showing off a fraction of a class, as it's current state lead to me getting frustrated with lack of options each time I tried to build one. This means I never got to playtest it proper, but I believe the fact that I couldn't bring myself to ever finish making one out of annoyance is some form of feedback in itself.

Ultimately, I think there is a neat place that this class can be taken, (a few various talent options got me really excited, despite my overall distaste of the class surrounding it) but it needs to be fleshed-out much more before I would consider building or including one in a game.


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I've been thinking about this class a lot over the last couple weeks, letting various points of view from the discussions I've had with people on the boards mull around in the back of my head.

My general thoughts are thus:

1. The 'Vigilante' is really four completely separate classes as currently written.

2. The 'base chassis' (by which I mean the abilities in table 1-1 not tied to the choice of specialization) feel disparate and weak.

3. As a result of 1 and 2 the class fails as a 'build your own' concept.

4. As a result of 3 the class lacks theme or utility.

5. I really like the Stalker as written.

6. My play-testers really enjoyed the class.

Elaborating on the above:

1. Currently 4 classes, should be one.

This is the biggest problem with the class. Fundamentally if something is written as a class it should be a single unit - not four different units posing as the 'same' one.

Personally:

The Vigilante was hyped as 'a unique class with different customization options,' so my expectation going into this is I'd be able to choose from different options and create an interesting and unique character with a mix of different martial and arcane abilities. It seriously fails at this, so I was immediately disappointed by everything. This is not to say there aren't interesting and innovative options available to the vigilante. It is merely to say that the class does not offer a unique theme, and that these new options would be better suited as feats or a giant rules addendum to expand the roles of existing classes.

I'd like to see specializations done away with Entirely.

2. Social Identity?

'Other Ablities' breaks into two sections; the first is the 'social identity,' the second is the 'appearance' line + vengeance strike.

I'll deal with the 'appearance' line + strike first since they're easier to discuss.

In a game of intrigue there will be only two ways to trigger the appearance line. The first is via stealth - the class has no mechanical support for this unless we are at least a 4th level Warlock or an 8th level stalker. In either of these cases we are still heavily restricted in what we can do. If you want Vigilantes to be swift silent justice in the night, they need some help.

The second way is by using your social appearance to gain access to a place, and then startle everyone by using your superman powers as clark kent. This works at best once, and then between 'speak with dead,' or just talking to/listening to gossip from other guests your cover is blown and that avenue is lost forever.

As such the many-guises line becomes critically important, but is unavailable for much of (at least 25%, closer to 100% for most campaigns) a vigilante's life. So again we're left with the existing options of 'play a spellcaster!' or 'use disguise.' In which case why am I playing a vigilante? Sure I get the appearance benefit from it (other classes have comparable benefits), but I don't have any nifty abilities to help me pursue this avenue so I'm better off playing a wizard and hurling spells about or being a sneaky rogue/ninja and using poisons/sneak attack to great effect. Or just ignoring the intrigue; which experience tells me players have a natural tendency towards. If you're writing a book on intrigue, you should make intrigue work for the flagship intrigue class. It both needs to be their thing, and needs to feel beneficial and necessary to the group. Currently it only feels necessary (and only circumstantially so) to the Vigilante, which causes friction over use of game time since the Vigilante player has to take things slow in order to use most of his abilities whereas a player of a traditional character will want to bypass all that 'boring' stuff. This leads to party friction, and frustrated GMs/players.

Finally while vengeance strike is cool, it is non-thematic/a misnomer; who is the vigilante avenging? He's just doing an assassination attack - this is entirely blase.

A point on Vengeance strike that someone else made: The whole point of the Vigilante is justice, so if they're bringing someone to justice for their actions and seeking vengeance then why do they only get this ability at 20th level? At first I didn't really care/like the line of thought, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like the class as a whole needs some sort of justice (my preference) or avenging (the preference of most others I've talked to) theme.

On to the Social Aspect

This is really hard to be honest. A Vigilante must be "a self appointed member of a group of citizens who undertake law enforcement activity within their community without legal authority." Going off this definition of a Vigilante the social aspect is extraneous, a convenience to those who do not wish to be known as a force of justice. The social aspect should definitely be an option; Ku Klux Klan or Boston Tea Party members for example dress(ed) all alike and hid(e) their identity both for intimidation purposes and for anonymity. There have equally been organizations which exist out in the open (The Texas Rangers, anecdotally Robin Hood and his Merry Men). In either event the disguises never succeeded for long. In the KKK's case this was because everyone knew everyone who was in it anyways, and could account for the presence or absence of known members during various activities. in the case of modern superhero comics heroes last maybe one season before everyone just knows who they are regardless of what role they're currently espousing. Further there are teams like the Fantastic Four where the costumes and names are again for intimidation purposes - they don't actually hide their real life identities.

That said there are other potions of the vigilante definition, namely to be a "member of a group of citizens...," and a "member of a community." Currently the only aspect of the vigilante that really embraces these two parts are the social.

"Member of a group of citizens..." could easily be extended to include the party, in which case it would be nice to have options which help the party rather than just the individual vigilante.

"Member of a community" gets difficult for a game as mobile as D&D. I can easily write a game based around the vigilante to get around this. I can't just play a Vigilante in most games and still benefit from being a 'member of a community.' I'd like this to be flexible; to extend to all of Texas as it were, rather than just my starting village of Hicksville. There should really be more social talents themed around this; providing diplomatic or requisition bonuses while interacting with those in the Vigilante's community. Creating subsets of communities along the lines of a Ranger's favored terrain list and granting bonuses scaling on level might be interesting.

3. The Class Fails.

A class is a unit. It can have any number of diverse features or elements, but it has a unifying theme that everything else is organized around. The Vigilante lacks that at the moment.

Conceptually the idea of specializations is neat. Archetypes have always been one of the major drawing points for the Pathfinder RPG line. You've written a class as an archetype with no clear parent.

The Specializations hurt this more than help the class in any thematic or mechanical way.

Further the class was billed as a 'build your own' concept. The social aspect was even tweaked between rounds 1 and 2 to reinforce this. Yet 3/4 of the talent options are unavailable to the Vigilante right out of the gate.

I could see doing this for an early play-test if you're just trying to get a feel for the individual power level of the different designer's talent lines. For the class to truly work however all talents must be available to every Vigilante. Let opportunity cost be the invisible hand guiding people towards specialized builds, but GIVE THEM THE TOOLS TO SPECIALIZE! The way they want to.

4. Lack of Theme

I've hit this a few times above. 'Choose your own' is the phrase of the day, and so the class is very theme-light. I appreciate having blank canvas to draw on (via Talents). I would like to have some crayons to color the blank canvas with (via... anything really; spells, scaling buffs, talents, abilities, dual identities).

The argument in bullet point 3 might seem contradictory here, as I argue that the 'specializations' need to be done away with, and currently they and dual identity are the only flavor to the class. It is not. The argument in bullet point 3 is that we need a blank canvass to start with if we want to make our own unique character. The argument here is that we need the tools to make the character on our newly minted blank canvas. The hard part will be filling in all the white space with nifty useful abilities (no dead levels!), and still feel balanced/appropriate for Pathfinder.

It would be nice if there was a little bit of order and organization added to the talents to give them a feeling of natural flow. It would be nice if there were some abilities tying social interactions into mechanical advantages and conversely mechanical advantages to social interactions.

I would love to be able to fully flesh out my character concept for the "vigilante" and feel that at the end of they day I was playing a balanced, yet fully functional version of my brainchild.

The current Vigilante falls far short of this.

5. Stalker == better written Unchained Rogue

Tangent:
I was unimpressed with the Unchained Rogue; yes it got nifty combat bonuses, no it received nothing of a flavor upgrade. It was still boring

The Stalker is the thing I love best about the current Vigilante, and arguing for the dissolution of Specializations in the preceding 4 bullet points has hurt considerably because I love the play-style of the Stalker Class. That said the stalker fills the unchained rogue role, not the Vigilante role and for that reason I have to argue for the conclusion of the preceding 4 bullet points; namely the dissolution of all the Specializations.

That said, thanks Mark! I'm going to be running the Stalker as an Unchained Rogue Archetype in my home games at least until the publication of U Intrigue.

6. The class(es) are enjoyable as written.

I've really enjoyed what play-testing I've personally done with the class, mostly because I just love the Stalker. My players have been happy with the Avenger as well. I offered them a reward session (anything - their choice), so we'll be playing a 20th level invasion of Hell sometime this week -- one of them will be playing a 20th level Warlock. I think mostly out of curiosity (the tester was disappointed with it at 10th level) since he felt the class to be highly item dependent.

I take this to mean that my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Be that as it may I think the Vigilante could be even better than it is currently and that abolishing Specializations and opening up Player Agency in their character creation is the best way to accomplish this.


In order for the Vigilante to make sense as a player character, there needs to be a robust system of renown for him, and other characters, to interact with.


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Renown needs to be better than A certain primadonna bard archetype ability


The level advancement chart is pretty spare for a 3/4 BAB class with non built-in casting. It also seems like a lot of concepts are going to be feat-poor. I would suggest killing two birds with one stone, by offering the avenger and stalker bonus feats starting at 3rd level, and then every three or four levels thereafter. Similarly, the zealot and warlock need more than a handful of customization choices over 20 levels, once they have taken their casting talents. I can't imagine any given vigilante delaying casting more than once.

Dual identity needs to be more robust if you don't want a lot of characters dipping 1 level in this class, and taking the rest of their levels in another class. Something about it should scale, so you don't get too much at 1st level, or get too little by staying with the class for 20.

I have yet to see a vigilante talent that would be broken if accessible via Extra Vigilante Talent. Even spellcasting would just mean you effectively burned a feat on the other talent you took instead of spellcasting.

Given that most of the zealot and warlock talents require standard actions to operate, they are effectively alternatives to casting, rather than augmentations. As such, I think it would not be a bad idea to offer the spellcasting vigilantes more talents, to balance the avenger and stalker receiving bonus feats (as I recommended above).


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Final thoughts on the Warlock, since that was my favorite class.

What I liked:
The "core" of it, honestly.
By core, I mean the 3/4 BaB Sixth Level caster thing with spammable bolts it has going on. I like the shadow themed talents, the battle armor is awesome, educated defense is great. On a whole, it really fits a lot of mental concepts.

What I don't like:
The execution doesn't always fit, though. I liked the core, but that's all the class feels like sometimes, a core.
If you make the class how it's "meant" to be made, you're basically vanilla caster with no flex room. The Arcane Training takes up all your Talents, and if you also want Armor Training then there goes anything you had left.
The bolts were also severely weakened between playtest 1 and 2.
I know that it's only half the class, and that the social persona must also be taken into account (Since you basically alternate between vigilante levels and social persona levels), but the social persona only grants so much, making you feel like a weak multiclass between a purely social character and a caster, and as most of us know, multiclassing with casters really hurts the caster.
The Warlock doesn't have much wiggle room. If you have a chance between taking Arcane Training or not, there should be other options for you to take, but as is, it's a false choice. You either take it, or you take it because there's nothing much else. The rest don't stand on their own, they only serve to enhance the 6th Level casting, but since the 6th Level casting takes up so many of your talents, they don't get to shine.

What I would change:
Instead of having Arcane Training II-VI all being separate talents, group them together.
Arcane Training II+III, Arcane Training IV-V, and Arcane Training VI+ an added bonus of some sort. Perhaps an upgraded form of Signature Spell?
That way, if you really want the class to have to buy its class feature, it at least is less painful and opens up more options.

Introduce Bomb Training II+. Bombs are an interesting direction for the Warlock to take, but as they are right now, there's really no reason to take them, since you'd be going away from Arcane Training. As I said before, Arcane Training shouldn't be the only option for the Warlock. This would give you the option of ignoring Arcane Training for something else that is also viable. This would also open up more character concepts. (Even though I don't know why Bomb Training would be with Warlock, but that's a different matter entirely.)

Return the Warlock's bolt damage back to what it was in the first playtest.

Just throw out Vengeance Strike. I know it's a capstone ability and most people won't ever reach it, but it just feels like a flop. I don't really have a suggestion for what to replace it with, sorry.

Stunning Apperance is split up with its two upgrades, Frightening and Stunning. Maybe combine them all into one scaling ability and then give another small bonus at 11 and 17? Maybe a bonus combat feat could work.

I don't like the spellbook. Familiars should be available as an alternate to spellbooks without the need of a talent. Maybe something like:
A Warlock begins play with either a Spellbook, Familiar, or Bound object from which he gains his power.

Debuffing options!
A vigilante sneaking through the shadows, using his magic to cripple the enemy before coming in to strike them down is something I'm sure a few people would like to play as. The Wizard/Sorc spell list gives you plenty of debuff, but what about talents that also grant buff abilities?
Such as a talent that can debuff an enemy when they're hit by a bolt?
A talent/archetype that gives the Warlock the Witch's spell list instead of the Wizard/Sorcerer (the way the zealot can get alternate spell lists) and gives the Warlock a small number of certain hexes (maybe 1 every three levels) would be cool.
The magus has the 3/4 BAB 6th Level Wizard/Sorcerer gimmick going on, with the added bonus of blackblade/kensei/arcane pool options, magus talents, extra feats, while the Warlock gets bolts and maybe a few other things, while being forced to use his class features to unlock what he's supposed to be doing in the first place. (again, if other directions are made available for the warlock, taking Arcane Specialization might not feel like such a forced choice.)
Witch/Hex options just seem like something that could thematically fit while filling in a niche.

There really needs to be an Extra Talent feat if the Warlock is going to be forced to give up his talents to do what he's being forced to do anyway, even if you can just take the extra talent feat once.

With having the option of taking talents OTHER than Arcane Training, you could do something like Battle Armor, Bombs, and Bolts (With buffs) and create an entirely different character concept than somehow who took all the Arcane Training.

And lastly, scaling AC without the need for Armor. How about something like Canny Defense/Monk's Wisdom to AC (But not with Wisdom.)

---

Final thoughts on the class as a whole:
I love the idea of switching between a regular person who gains bonuses on regular skill checks and a superhuman warlock who can use his powers.

But there weren't enough social talents to choose from in the playtest, so you might as well have just been given a specific social talent every other level instead of getting to choose, because choosing was largely pointless. Unfortunately, that's what a lot of the choices of this class feel like, pointless. You either take the obvious thing and play a character who's lost half the talents doing what they were supposed to, or you pick things that look cool and interesting, and lose access to the thing you should be able to do in the first place. It'd be like if the Barbarian had to give up Rage Talents to learn how to Rage, and had to continue to give up Rage Talents to get his Rage to scale. And also couldn't take Extra Rage Power as a feat. And 3/4 of the Rage Powers weren't available to him.
Yeah, that's a silly example, but the hyperbole is just to show how the class feels sometimes when looking at the choices.

I do understand that there will be many more talents in the finalized version, and that we were only seeing a small portion, but the portion we were allowed to see just wasn't enough and it left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths.

I really do love the concept of this class, even though most of what I said about it seems negative.

Scarab Sages

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I think there are a lot of problems with the Vigilante, but overall I like the idea. My last rogue (I love rogues, slayers, and others of the stealthy kind), took levels in sorcerer because it allowed the use of wands without the UMD check (at least some wands), and spells to assist his roguishness. I liked this addition to the class. I planned only to take a couple of levels but then ended up taking more for other spells, again to assist with my roguishness, not combat spells or even utility spells but spells like detect secret doors, reduce person, and invisibility.

I agree with a lot that was said about the social identity. I like the idea but making it mandatory for the class is a problem. It seems like it could work with an adventurer who took his social identity in town but where was that identity while he was out adventuring with the party. Or would it work better with the whole party had social identities. It is an idea but I think it is a hard one to put together.

I like the idea of combining class ideas as it was done in the Class Guide, and I like the idea of doing it as it was done in the play test but agree with a lot of people, that the classes should be close in power to classes from the advanced class guide.

I think this is a much better option than multitasking as I did with the rogue. Multiclassing dilutes the character too much, and these classes should be a good solution to that issue.

Having the vigilante does bring the idea to me that maybe a whole party based on stealthy characters is possible. Stealth is so often ruined by the armored characters following the stealthy one, or the stealthy one must move so far out in front of the party to scout that he dies before his help can arrive.

So, a vigilante, a slayer, a inquisitor, and another version of vigilante might be a way to put together a viable party build on stealth.

Like it over all but it sill needs some tweaks.

I will add, that I have read and played many of the playtests but this is the first time I have commented on any of them. I am very interested in the vigilante coming into it's own.

Contributor

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The Base Class
As written, the stalker has no real identity for itself outside of its specializations. There aren't enough base mechanics in the class that are common to the vigilante concept as a whole in order to give the class a meaningful identity. Sorcerers have diverse bloodlines and an a customizable list of spells, but they're all united by the fact that they cast spells spontaneously based upon their lineage. Stalkers need something like that, and through the presence of the [ X ] Appearance abilities, it seems like the attempt is to make the vigilante (i.e. not just the stalker) the king of the first round of combat. This is a cool niche, but if that's the design intent, it needs to be a niche that is explored at 1st Level, because at 1st level you're just a X [class] without Y [class feature].

Class Skills: The most common response that I heard about the vigilante was, "What?! X isn't a class skill for you?!" The reason is that the vigilante is trying to evoke the Super Hero trope currently, but there are a LOT of different Super Heroes with different tropes. For example, I wanted to play an action man as my warlock (meaning I could climb up stuff and case people and the like), but none of those skills were class skills for me.

Social Talents: These are cool; an excellent Round 2 addition to the class overall. With that said, based on designer commentary I think these abilities might be too heavily valued by the designers (most are extremely situational based on the fact that they're all out of combat abilities and most only apply in the social identity). Of all of them, social grace is by far the most powerful social talent, and I don't think that its likely that anyone will pass up on it. A +4 bonus is likely too good at low levels and might need to be dialed back to +2 in order to be on-par with other, similar abilities.

X Appearance: See my comments about the base class. These abilities are all cool, but the limited opportunity keeps them from being overtly powerful. (You can't spam conditions like a swashbuckler can, for instance.) Furthermore, these abilities are hurt in their usefulness by the lack of a strong definition for what it means to be "unaware." Currently, the GM decides if the vigilante is aware or not, and what eventually happens is that the GM is damned if he gives the vigilante his special bonus too easily (they are all VERY powerful) and damned if he is more restrictive. This ability is poised to cause many arguments at the table and if not addressed, there will likely be an FAQ with a few hundred up votes within a month of Ultimate Intrigue's release.

Vengeance Strike: I love this ability, but not as a capstone. The entire "study my enemy" mechanic is very vigilante, especially Batman. This is a capstone that deserves to be a class feature, and with a little bit of elbow grease it could very easily become that "unifying mechanic" that the vigilante needs in order to become a unified class. But as a capstone, it is unused potential.

Avenger
Every time I sat down to play with an avenger (or ran for an avenger), he either was knocked unconscious. (Note: In fairness, one of those times was in The Confirmation, which ends with the group of 1st level PCs fighting a minotaur.) This is due to the major defensive discrepancies between the avenger and other full BAB classes at 1st level. The avenger lacks the Hit Points of his comrade; at 1st level, he's a minimum of 2 points behind, and that number grows as his level increases. Also, he lacks the heavy armor of the cavalier, fighter, or paladin, the preemptive offense of the barbarian or bloodrager, or the general defenses of the brawler or monk.

Stalker
This was by far the most successful specialization that I saw in play. It was very close to the Unchained Rogue in power, and acted in many ways as a more offensively bent version of the rogue class, with the ninja fitting snuggly between the two of them. In my experience, offering rogue talents to the stalker was a bit of a moot point because by and large, the stalker has the most powerful vigilante talents; few players I played with even batted an eye at them. That said, I don't think all of the talents should be tossed; many like fast stealth are useful to the vigilante's theme.

Warlock
I had the most experience with this specialization, seeing as I played it, and as a result I have many thoughts on it, which I'm going to summarize briefly. First, talent-based spellcasting is NOT a fun mechanic. All of the currently warlock talents are not strong enough to contend with the versatility that an entire new level of arcanist spellcasting brings, and many of the talents are rendered redundant by the ability to use a few spell trigger items. This isn't saying that those talents are worthless; many are quite fun, but they simply can't compete with spellcasting. And in the long run, making them compete with spellcasting leaves the warlock without any decent class features of its own. By and large, the warlock seems to be designed like the arcaniist; nothing but new spells at even levels and minor, limited use-abilities at odd levels. The problem with using this same formula for the warlock is that 6th-level spellcasting is inherently weaker than 9th-level spellcasting, and the warlock lacks any major specialization-defining abilities such as a bard's bardic performance or a magus's spell combat, or arcane pool. On that note, the arcanist may have the best spell knowledge of any 6th-level spellcaster, but with fewer spells per day (the magus can churn them out all day long with spell recall) and a lack of anything else to do, the warlock is not a particularly enjoyable class to play, especially considering that you have three non-spellcasting talents to play with by 14th level; compared to any other 6th-level spellcasting class, that's simply appalling. Finally, the warlock lacks any real niche. The bard buffs. The magus deals damage. The summoner summons. What is the warlock supposed to do? He lacks the spell progression of the arcanist that allows him to be relevant in his flexibility and he lacks abilities such as spell combat or summon monster that allow him to hold a stride with 9th-level spellcasters in an area of expertise. More than any other class, the warlock needs work.

Zealot
In terms of his spellcasting, the zealot has the same problems as the warlock and for the same reasons, so I won't relist them here. In addition, the zealot's divine power ability is an all-new mechanic for a specialization of a broader class that doesn't actually bring anything new or exciting to the table. Case in point, how many times have we seen an abyssal option that grants claws? (This'll be the third.) There are some very good ideas here, however, such as the source of your power altering your spell list, and the idea of source-specific talents is a good one, but overall the talent-based spellcasting is going to keep the number of talents that the zealot gets down to three (until 16th level, when he gets a surge of available talents). Also, every zealot is going to take smite. All of them.

Suggestions
Here are some suggestions that will solve most of the problems that I listed above:

Class Skills: Drop class skills from the specialization list; we've seen that mechanic time and again and it infringes upon the vast, "personal choice" concept that the vigilante has going for it. Instead, give all vigilantes a small number of skills baseline and then allow them to pick their own list of class skills from there, like an expert. The current vigilante has 16 class skills baseline, so if you give them Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise, Intimidate, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth plus 10 skills of the vigilante's choice, you end up with the same number of class skills, save a few lines from each of the specializations, allow people to make the vigilante that perfectly matches their imagination (which is part of the Super Hero vantasy), and actually trim back the number of class skills that the class has overall.

Vengeance Strike & [X] Appearance: This is an awesome ability and it should be available at 1st level, scaled and split apart the vigilante's carrier in a manner similar to favored enemy. (1 round of study at 1st, 2 at 5th, 3 at 10th, and so on). Furthermore, the appearance abilities could be tied to round(s) of vengeance strike, which would give the entire chain of abilities an interesting dynamic, especially of applying an appearance ability cost a number of rounds of study. It would give vengeance strike a tactical dynamic that would allow the vigilante to react differently in different situations.

General Specializations: These (particularly the base abilities) need to be balanced against other base classes in addition to one another. Currently, all of the specializations are balanced with the expectations that you're worse then your counterpart classes at low levels and "catch up" at higher levels. (You don't really ever catch up as a warlock or zealot, however.)

Avenger: The hit point discrepancy needs adjusting, at least somewhat. At Level 1, the avenger is undeniably behind every other d10 Hit Die class, in part because Pathfinder ties the d10 Hit Die to full base attack bonus. In addition, the avenger needs options that don't amount to, "I'm a fighter with skills!" and it could use options that don't restrict themselves to, "Make it rain bonus feats." Signature weapon would be better off as a general vigilante talent, because just about EVERY Super Hero has a signature weapon. That signature weapon is a large part of how they inspire fear into their enemies. (For example, you know you're screwed if you see Cap's shield, Batman's batarangs, Static Shock's lightning blasts, and so on.)

Stalker: A good number of the stalker talents need to be made into general vigilante options; the big ones are the Disguise and Stealth-based rogue talents. As a whole, however, the stalker is almost surgically comparable to other skillful 3/4 BAB characters (namely the rogue and ninja). In my opinion, this is the specialization that the others need to be held to.

Warlock: The warlock needs to have something cool and unique to do at Level 1; something that defines how the specialization is supposed to play, such as how summon monster sets the niche of the summoner or spell combat for the magus. I would suggest making mystic bolt baseline; it is unique enough to be a draw of the class (which is what we saw during the playtest) without being too powerful. And yes, mystic bolt is not exceptionally powerful; people flocked to it becasie it fills a conceptual niche that has been absent thus far from the game. (The character who can make magical attacks as he would a weapon at will, all day, without limit.) If the rest of the warlock's talents focused on altering or improving mystic bolt or making it interact with spells, then we'd have the foundations of a very cool, unique spellcaster.

Zealot: The divine power mechanic is cool, but ultimately it is bound to eat up a lot of the zealot's page count. What's worse, the current mechanic uses new mechanics to do existing things. (I.e. abyssal claws again). Personally, I think that allowing the zealot to pick a cleric domain at 1st level, then adding that domain's spells up to 6th level to his spells known would make a plenty cool mechanic; no other Charisma-based divine class gets a domain baseline and no 6th-level spellcasting class gets domain spells. Furthermore, you could include the option to use the hunter spell list of the zealot chooses the animal domain, the plain domain, or a druid animal/terrain domain.

Looking forward to seeing the final class as well as a formal, "This is what we got from the playtest," thread in the future. Great job on a successful playtest, gentlemen!


My favorite thing about the Vigilante is that the "talents" are stronger than feats. I wish that class budgets were designed around "better-than-feats" talents so they don't feel like throwaway options.

I don't want to sound dramatic, and I know that if each class were the same it would be dull, but the idea of the "Extra Rogue Talent" feat or "Extra Arcana" is one of the things that I dislike the most from this game.

I think giving Vigilantes a feature that doesn't get an "Extra" is really well done, and I hope you could implement a system like that for each class. Feats and features should be their own thing. (Maybe in Pathfinder 2.0??)

Grand Lodge

I'm no expert and simply a GM all the time and a player occasionally. I did not playtest the Vigilante but wanted to impart my comments anyway, as Jason does want thoughts on the class.

So I figured the thoughts of someone who is only watching curiously- and as a customer who will pick up the Ultimate Intrigue book and glance through it and read the back- shouldn't be overlooked.

If I was picking this product up and looking through it, I would be interested. Despite the glut of new classes recently, the Vigilante looks interesting. The class type isn't my first choice, as my first thoughts are of Ghost Rider and Batman- neither of which I'm interested in. But glancing over the playtest and hearing people talk about it, I believe Paizo has made the class into something I would certainly try.

However, I then begin to think of character concepts for a Vigilante should I make one. The two above come to mind; Clark Kent and dual personas are interesting. But then I see something called the "Warlock."

What the heck is this doing in a book on intrigue and linked with a vigilante? The whole Warlock thing is very strange to me. I admit I may be missing something- I did come from 2nd Edition D&D straight to Pathfinder in 2010, so I admit I know nothing of the evolution of D&D 3, 3.5, so maybe the Warlock issue resides in that mess.

Plus 1 on the Zealot and specifically looking at Rahadoum. That idea is a very good one. I can't wait until an AP based there.

Grand Lodge

I would consider changing the safe house social trait. Here is the calculation based upon the following "a cube 10 feet per vigilante
level to a side", this translates that at 1st level a 1st level gets a 10 x 10 room a 3rd level gets a 30 x 30 room 900 sq feet equivilant to a small 2 bedroom apartment a 7th level receives a 70 x 70 room that is over 4900 square feet or about the size of a warehouse. all of this with no cost to the character.


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My quick thought on the vigilante is that I think you should focus on making each type of vigilante more based on some of the existing Prestige Classes in the game (such as arcane trickster, shadowdancer, and master spy) rather than basing them on the Base Classes. We already have 1-20 versions of the base classes, and they can just do a 1 level dip into Vigilante if they really want a secret identity.

Use the vigilante as a chance to give us something new and also continue your trend of giving us 20 level versions of the prestige classes. Heck, the vigilante is giving you a chance to make 20 level versions of THREE different prestige classes!


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There is so much above that I agree with. See Rynjin and ARMR Studios for examples.

It is difficult to state my exact experiences with this class.
I haven't played it, but I have read and re-read all of the material.
And here are my final thoughts (which mirror all of my initial thoughts):

This class doesn't need to exist. Worse, it barely works as-is.
It is trying to fill a niche that can be more easily be filled by just about any other class.

I admire the effort that the Paizo staff put into this, and I love the idea of a modular class, but I feel it would be better handled as follows:

1. Turn the "social persona" feature into a feat. Do the same for any social trait "chains." As in, one feat for each chain.
2. Turn each of the specializations into a progression that any character can take. These progressions would work like mythic paths.

Now, a fighter can be a warlock at night fall.
Or a rogue could become an avenger when they don their mask.
Or a monk can become a zealot, turning their quiet contemplation into a weapon.

I really wanted to see this class work, but I don't think it can.
And this is coming from a guy that owns more Batman shirts than anything.

Scarab Sages

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Haven't had time to playtest the class, but I agree that the whole concept would be better suited to a prestige class or a feat tree than a base class.

The only common use I foresee for the class as written is as a two-level dip for a Rogue to get unlimited touch-attack two-weapon fighting from Mystic Bolts (which is rather broken in this context, and pointless otherwise).


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I'm just going to say: I have no idea what to write here.

I don't know what concepts are already accepted. I don't know what is absolutely anathema. I don't know what is on the bubble and deserving of extra commentary to push it over. So really anything I write is quite likely to be a waste of breath. Other than Mark there really hasn't been a lot of commentary on this playtest, and I think that is tragic.

This is a confusing class concept, based on "have a secret identity" without giving reasons you specifically want a secret identity. I don't know if it is intentionally supposed to be an ultra-specific concept for specifically designed campaigns, the developers think of it in a different way, or they think the specializations are legitimately good enough to stand on their own and the secret identity is just flavor.

So basically, while others have gone the distance with massive commentary on numerous aspects, I just don't see what we are supposed to do. It feels like yelling off a cliff, hoping random words will happen to find appropriate ears. I enjoy Pathfinder and playtests, but without better feedback I've lost the will to participate on these forums.


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Yeah, I have to agree with a bit of this, mostly that taking one class that does four different things worse than four other classes, but saying "But it's the same class though! With specializations!" doesn't work. If I wanted to play a Zealot, I'd be an Inquisitor. If I wanted to be a Stalker, I'd be a Slayer (though I'd try to steal one or two Stalker talents). If I wanted to be a Warlock, I'd have just been a Magus before or, now, maybe even a Kineticist. If I wanted to be an Avenger, I'd probably just go with Ranger or Slayer. It's not that the class doesn't have some fun ideas--and the social persona really makes me want to run an intrigue-heavy campaign--but that it has no identity to the extent that it's just sort of superfluous, or an NPC class.

I said a couple times during the first playtest that the class is a really good opportunity to do Mystic Theurge as a base class, something that a lot of people I know personally would be interested in. I have to agree with some other posters that instead of trying to make this base class feel like other base classes, make it feel like popular prestige classes that don't come online until 7th or 8th level. The Magus does this brilliantly for Eldritch Knight, the Ninja and Slayer do Assassin pretty darn well, and the Bloodrager does Rage Prophet better than Rage Prophet does (though it's the wrong type of magic). Now if we had a class that could specialize into being a Shadowdancer, Arcane Trickster, or a Mystic Theurge from level 1, I know that would make a lot of my players really happy, and it would be a specific mechanical niche that's also got a unifying Persona thing going for it.

I don't want to be a weird rogue at level 1. I'd just play a rogue. But being a Shadowdancer at level 1? That sounds interesting. And I don't want to wait until level 10 before my Mystic Theurge character stops being a crappy version of both of its classes. Having a 3/4 BAB, level 6 casting class as the MT sounds great. I even started homebrewing my own since I was inspired by that idea, and it's so far looking pretty balanced. And an Arcane Trickster, though sort of doable with a ninja, I know is something that people constantly ask for. Now's the time! This is the opportunity!

Besides. Nobody I play with gives half a crap about prestige classes. Archetypes are too efficient a way to get the character you want, and PrCs are really a thing of the past and annoying to deal with; so what if a base class does a PrC as well or better than a PrC? If it means that I have someone enjoying their Shadowdancer from level 1 rather than waiting for 6 levels before they can even do a little bit of that, I'm sold.


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I keep thinking that this class would work better using the variant Multiclassing rules rather than standing on its own. Imagine a character who is a rogue, and gets his second identity at 3rd level instead of a feat. You wouldn't have to fight with archetypes, or think up talents for all the permutations of characters. Someone wants to play a Paladin/Vigilante? Go for it. A Brawler? Why not. It gives the flexibility and the flavor without shoehorning in.


As-is, there's still basically no reason for this class to be a class instead of a set of feats.


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My Thoughts on the Playtest I've been very critical of this playtest because there are aspects of it that I utterly despise and that I think are harmful for the future of the game. Namely, the split identity aspect of the Vigilante.

Previous to this class, playing a vigilante with a secret identity was always a role-playing part of the game. It required the player to be quick on his feet, have a sharp wit, and extensive use of his Bluff skill if he didn't want to be discovered. Now, you've given mechanics to a role-playing aspect of the game (beyond the skill system in the game) which opens up a precedent of the game that I am not a fan of.

I mean, who's to say this doesn't lead to the inclusion of a "Mercenary" class that can only use it's class abilities in defense of his own life, or when he's being paid to something. Perhaps he doesn't gain experience if he doesn't get paid for a job, such as if the client can't afford to pay him after it's been completed.

Totally an exaggeration, but that's what it feels like is going on here. You are actively detracting from the game, and hurting the future of it, by going through with the development of this class.

Paizo, you should be ashamed of yourself for even considering this class.

However, that's not to say that there aren't aspects of the class I do like. I really enjoyed the fact that Pazio is branching out and attempting a far more modular game design philosophy. I feel that the current 'class bloat' could have been curbed a lot if they had adopted this farther back. The move to a 'talent based progression' was a good one way back in the CRB with the Rogue and Barbarian and the classes that followed, but it could have been taken one step further.

You could have developed a 9th level Arcane, 9th level Divine, full BAB, 3/4 BAB caster, 3/4 BAB non-caster template and then built modular class abilities to simulate the classes you've built since then. You could have drastically cut down on the amount of classes in the game if, for example, the Bard, Magus, Investigator, and Summoner were all rolled together into a single chassis with various talents and modular abilities to flesh them out.

Granted, this is a 'too-little-too-late' sort of scenario, but it's something worth thinking about going forward.

I don't, however, think that the modular classes was down well with the Vigilante. A modular system requires that all of the classes built off a chassis be, for the most part, related to one another. Barbarian, Paladin, Fighter, Ranger, Slayer etc, could, for the most part, be reduced down to talents that could be swapped around on one chassis to another. However, mixing magic into the chassis would not work as the classes function far too differently to work.

The Vigilante simply doesn't work as a 4-way split class. It's too starved for talents, or the talents don't go far enough. Only the Stalker is 'good' option to choose from, thought he Avenger isn't a bad one, it's just not 'good enough' compared to classes with a similar role. Especially Rangers and Slayers.

The Warlock and Zealot are simply terrible. The talent based casting system is bad, and you guys should feel bad for even thinking about it. The Warlock and Zealot are all going to be cookie-cutter builds because there is simply no good reason not to spend all of your talents on advancing your spell casting progression.

Outside of spell casting, both classes only have 1 or 2 talents that are really even worth looking at, but everything else about them is just bad. Even worse, the limited spellcasting they do have is not enough to carry them through an adventuring day.

Look at classes like the Bard, Magus or Inquisitor. They aren't just spell casters. They each have a mix of combat and non-combat abilities that aren't tied into their spellcasting. Each class can, quite honestly, go through whole adventuring days without ever casting a spell.

The Warlock and Zealot can't do that. Unlike any of the other 3/4 casting classes, if the Vigilante wants spellcasting he has to sacrifice all of his other class abilities in order to do so. If you were to adapt this same model over to the Bard, Magus or Inquisitor, then at every even level, the Bard should have to choose between Barid Performance, or Spellcasting, or the Magus between Magus Arcana or Spellcasting, or the Inquisitor between Judgements and Spellcasting.

3/4 casting classes only function if they have both the 6th level casting list, and combat abilities to supplement their spells.

A Bard, Magus, or Inquisitor that focuses only on spell casting his entire adventuring career, is going to find himself very underwhelming because he quickly runs out of spells and has nothing to fall back on. Likewise, if they focused on only their non-spellcasting class abilities, they will find themselves quickly running out of those as well, or not having enough 'oomph' to get the job done.

They need their spellcasting and they need their class abilities to fully function as a class. As it stands now, the Warlock and Zealot are classes I would expect to see in a 3E/3.5E era of game design, where you have empty levels of class advancement and only the even levels are anything to worth noting.

But, one should note, that despite how bad the Warlock and Zealot are, the Stalker and Avenger aren't free from criticism. As it stands, the Avenger and Stalker are both, functionally, playable classes. The issue, there is nothing about the classes that makes them unique, outside of the horrible dual-identity system. But even then, not really.

Playing an Avenger, is going to feel very similar to playing a Fighter, or Cavalier or Swashbuckler or even Slayer and Ranger. There's just nothing unique about this guy, although, I'm fairly certain the Avenger steps all over the Fighters toes (I think it's possible the Avenger actually gets more feats than the Fighter if they choose the right talents). The Stalker is much the same, except with Rogues, Ninja, Slayers, Rangers, Investigators, Vivisectionists etc.

The Avenger needs mechanics to make itself set apart from the other full-BAB classes. As it stands, it's pretty generic, ability wise. The Stalker is probably the most powerful of the 4 class choices, and the most functional; but there really isn't anything the Stalker has that sets it apart from the other 'stealth' classes.

I will note, that this class strongly reminds me of a manga called Change 123. In it, a girl named Gettou Motoko is trained by her 3 fathers in different styles of martial arts. However, the training was so hellish that she developed multiple personalities (Hibiki, Fumiko, and Mikiri) for each martial art that she, collectively refers to as HiFuMi (an archaic form of 1, 2, 3, in Japanese). Hibiki is a strong and aggressive brawler and master of karate; Fumiko is a clam and collected assassin using her weapons and incredible speed in fights; Mikiri is bubbly and childlike, with strong defenses using her grappling and submission techniques to defeat foes.

If you were to have, instead, developed a class around the idea of multiple personalities, each with different skill sets that the others can't use, I think this class would have worked better. It would have a viable reason for the mechanical aspects of the rules (as each personality would, functionally, be a different character).

I honestly don't know what you're going to do with this class. Confirmational bias, maybe, but is seems the majority response to this class is one of a negative bent; most people seem to think the Warlock and Zealot are too weak, the Avenger is barely functional and the Stalker is only somewhat decent. Outside of the 4 types, consensus seems to indicate the dual-identiy is clunky and the social talents only give the illusion of choice and, in many ways, defy logic or reason in how the function (all part of the problem of giving rules to role-play).

This class feels like it probably needs another 2 or 3 rounds of playtest, but I'm not sure if you have enough time to do so. The end of this playtest has the Vigilante in a very bad spot, with much of it needing entire re-writes. If you actually ship the Vigilante with talent based casting, I can almost guarantee you're going to get a huge outcry from the community because it's just bad and awful. The amount of changes needed to bring the Vigilante up to part mandates another playtest, but I don't think you're going to do that.


I actually really really like the class. Obviously the class is meant for intrigue focused campaigns, but I could see running a medieval Marvel campaign where each character has a secret identity.

Each subtype seems to bring enough valid combat options while at the same time having a ton of features backing up it's social abilities.

My recent criticism of design decisions can not be levied towards this class. It's non-spell abilities actually do meaningful things. If that means we won't have an "extra X" feat for it then by all means keep it up!

Also, I do like the warlock. Sure casting is a tad weak, but magic bolt seems to be the offensive standby. Greater TWF + Rapid shot + haste leads to a potential of 8d6+40 damage from a touch supernatural attack. A summoned lillend could increase that damage to 8d6+56 and the warlock could have greater invisibility up. The warlock gains access to basic planar binding magic and undead hordes. You can be fairly competent.

Avenger and Stalker both suffer merely because they lack spells, but the actual class features are pretty strong. I like how many of the talents scale with level.


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Reading it again, the vigilant seems like a poor first try at the medium (a class that puts versatility first, at the cost of not having many interesting things it can do at once). Except that instead of being able to actually be versatile (ie, switch from day to day), the vigilants locks itself in to being poor at one thing... forever. Even if you inexplicably want to be a poor fighter, a poor wizard or kinetiscist, a joke inquisitor or an ok-ish rogue with split personality issues; this class isn't the way to do it.

Indeed, the fact that it is duplicating (poorly) classes that are already redundant or duplicated in the existing class bloat makes it even worse. There isn't just one better way of doing what little the vigilante does, but multiple ways of being better at the same schtick, and some of the original classes for those concepts are already redundant or obsolete.

It really provides nothing that isn't available elsewhere without all the baggage and nonsense. The secret identity is a joke and a burden, and a lot of the utility abilities are shoddy low level abilities treated as much more powerful than actually are. Being able to disguise yourself as random non-specific commoner... isn't a class feature. It is an outfit, rolling in the dirt a bit and making a disguise check. Many, many other abilities are in the same vein, and come across as traps or worse, horrible design decisions that eat into the conceptual space occupied by skills, feats and (gasp) roleplaying. Much like the design decisions of 4e D&D, where no one can disarm enemies because some class ended up with a disarm power, this undercuts a lot of social and disguise mechanics by simply writing them up as 'special powers' for a niche class.

Also, the superhero thing seems terribly about of genre, especially for the default setting, which is impressive given how much the genre wanders from country to country in Golarion.


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Favorited Rynjin above as he captures it quite well.

The classes are unnecessary. I'd rather see this as a supplement along the lines of Unchained - an alternate set of rules that can be incorporated by anyone wanting to run these types of adventures.

I like a lot of the ideas, but not the execution.


A bipolar class who isn't particularly good at the persona it occupies at any one time. It is either a poor man's combatant or a decent face character, but good grief don't get caught in the wrong one.

It's kind of like getting to play a gestalt character with a slower experience track than everyone else in the party and you can't use one side of the gestalt unless you take a minute to change, which kind of makes you ask yourself why you chose to gestalt in the first place.


I feel like the vigilante is horribly under powered (except for the stalker arch type). As such I feel the play test was sort of a waste of time. To get the most out of a play test, the character class should be near the power level of current classes, to where players can give feedback to tweak things to make it better. I don't think it's an accident that most of the feedback was for the stalker specialization.

In my opinion, the main mechanic of the character - dual identity - doesn't add anything for 99% of the character concepts I would come up with. In it's current form, I would stay in social identity all the time and not care if anyone figured out I was also that vigilante guy - i.e. - I would play the guy as if he only had 1 identity.

I don't find many of the social talents to be of much use (other than getting a bonus on some skill rolls). They are certainly not worth much to make one willing to accept how weak the specialization part of the class is.

I have played different gaming systems where this type of concept would work. In pathfinder, skills are weak in combat and spells can fix most situations where skills would be needed. The best out of combat type systems are those where the GM referees each player solo. Pathfinder APs are not geared for that. As such classes should not be balanced around how many skill points they get per level or what skill bonuses they get.

The class can be fixed, but it would take a lot of work and the question comes up, should it exist? It's my opinion that the center of the class - dual identity - is not interesting to me, and can be replicated by other classes with disguise.

I think the class would be better served as being a master spy base class with some modular training packages. I think that for balance, spell casting should be eliminated from modules.

I would say the worst part of this play test class is the spell casting talent tax to get reduced spell casting.


I really only ever played the Warlock, several times. So I’m looking at it from that view point

general stuff:

But first off the general design. I really in fact like the duel identify thing. It’s something that doesn’t detract from the class (with the 2nd versions rules, if one did not want to. One could ignore a whole identify without much loss. I did that in one of the games. I ignored the vigilante side completely (the only that that really states you need to be in vigilante form was the bonus to intimidate. The other class abilities were useable in social form. But risks revealing social (which wasn’t an issue because my vigilante wasn’t really around or well known). I still used social skills like safe house and costume changing because they are pretty damn useful (I love the various super useful disguises). So really it still can fit in games as well as any other class, even if they don’t want vigilante running around.(moreso if the various guises can use skills with the normal risks to costumes) In that game I used it once. And that was a special raid at night where we didn’t want to be caught. And that was about it.
I could see this as a feat line or variant multiclass style. But I actually prefer it stay in this form.
That being said.. the combat side HAS TO BE buffed up. The stalker is really the only competent combatant there. The rest fall so far behind it’s hard to justify it in many cases. The social stuff should be gravy to the combat. EVERY other class is like that. Even the other social heavy classes (like bards) . Unless this class is meant to be used only in intrigue nearly always nonviolent RP driven games, then it really needs to be built to the standard of other classes and not below it because of the social side. It needs to stand on its own for occasions where one plays a game where they rarely need some skills, but occasionally do. That way this class, like most can fit into any game without too much trouble. Its not like other classes have things that aren’t useful depending on the game (say alchemist and poison use; not every game allows for poison or crafting, or even that much spare money). But unlike most other things even in a game where they rarely change from one form to another some things are still useful. Like safe house and such. So if the combat side is strong enough to not be pointless compared to other classes, then the social is just icing on a cake. And really doesn’t seem like the social side will remotely break things. Some of it is strong and useful—but very niche. Niche enough that it’s a cool trick but not class defining. And I think it should stay that way the social side should be its own semi separated thing that has cool tricks but doesn’t take over the class. I’m assuming ultimate intrigue has some really cool social stuff, and those rules likely apply TO ALL CLASSSES so the vigilante be balanced in combat like the rest of the classes but they get slightly more oomph in their book’s specials. Sorta like how Magus and gunslinger were very very “ultimate mage” and “ultimate combat”

various specific comments:

Vengeance Strike really should be spread out over the course of 20 levels. Start at level one, you can study for 1 round and gain 1d6, or the other listed effects. Then at 5 2 rounds or the various effects. Then lv 10 2d6 or the various effects, then 4 rounds at 15, and 5 rounds at 20. This way it is areal draw point for the class and makes sense and combos very well with the appearance class effects. This would be a wonderful defining point that “pulls” the fragments together more. I would also think it is a good idea to include a line, that allows you to spend 1 round to make the attack completely nonlethal (maybe even make it so they can not accidently die?) that way you could really be like batman who will break and maim folks but never kill (by his own hand.. if the guy falls off the building later it isn’t his bad by his conscious)
That helper social talent (the one that lets you gain various helpers around the city to spread rumors, gather info, and buy stuff) should be buffed a bit. The higher the vigilante level the more the person should be allowed to buy you stuff. Like 100 a level or something so at high levels you could send them for things more easily and more useful. I doubt you’d use this skill for that detail past 4. The rest is nifty but that aspect should either be removed, up to gm fiat, or heightened.
Arcane Striker is amazing fun. But it needs to be altered a bit more. The enchantment portions should come online earlier.. Level 11 for the base level elements isn’t really that worth it, nor useful for most of your life time (MORE SO if you’re a bolter). Allowing to add the base 1d6 elements at leve l 5 or 6, and then unlocking burst at 11 would be far more useful.
Caster’s Defense. Ok. So this needs to be altered. You NEED to be able to cast in light for free at level 1. This talent should give casting concentration feat, and then gain medium casting as it already lists. That would be a good talent in of itself and with base casting in light armour it lets people actually make characters and frees up talents for folks with other ideas. As it stands this is one OF MANY absolutely REQUIRED talents for many many things (particularly bolters.. 30 ft max? yeah you need armour bad. And don’t have the spells to buff up each battle)
Arcane training (and I guess divine but not enough experience with that one). Warlock simply doesn’t have the talents to be unique and gain any form of spell casting. I’ve noticed that on all of my warlocks. Now I actually don’t mind that you have to buy the casting. I don’t mind it at all. But it needs to be cheaper by far. Make them; Basic Arcane training. This unlocks spell levels 1 and 2, at the appropriate vigilante levels. Intermediate Arcane Training. This unlocks 3 and 4. And Advanced Arcane Training. This unlocks 5 and 6. Don’t bother giving these a “A warlock can take this at level X” line. Just have the vigilante level that a spell level unlocks in the talent. If someone wants to spend all their talents early and pick up all the casting? Let them. They can’t use it until they get to the right level but it’s their choice.
Make the “spells prepared per day” and “spells known per day” into a chart that scales automatically so if I only ever take Basic, then at level 10 I should have expanding spells per day. If you want to give them bonus spell talents then each level can give the last one 1. But honestly save the space and just give the whole class standardized spells per day chart for both the warlock and zealot to use. Speaking of saving space. Combining the talents into 3 instead of 6, and just specify the level they unlock, then that saves you a lot of word count for other cool stuff.
I don’t mind paying 3 out of 10 talents for casting. This leaves me enough to do something fun and enough spaces in the progression for me to not feel like I have to postpone all the cool stuff for sooo very long. Of course it would be cool to have auto casting but I’m pretty ok with either version.
I love that they have arcanist style casting though. It fits the trope so very well that I can (and indeed should instead of the feat) use metamagic rods to prepare specific spells (of my so very few spells) with the rod in the morning. But if I run into trouble I can use rods in the moment too. It is great. This way I built myself (well this is with the 1 level spellslinger dip (see below) with specific spells I metamagic rod-d in the morning that were my “signature” spells (not the talent, just my style) but I could fill the rest of my prepared stuff with various utility which I could rod later if I needed to (like extend on various things). Please keep this style of casting! Though I would honestly prefer to change the spell book..but I suppose it is balanced as its losable? But I’d love the option of a spell book, a familiar, or “tattoos” on my body as my spell books or something weird like that. Though it’s not that hard to hide it in my tattoo.
Mystic Bolt. Now I love the idea of this. And it seemed reasonably useful in the first playtest version. But the 2nd version was basically useful for me at least. It does so little damage (and honestly I could not pick up spells, and arcane sticker and mystic bolt in any reasonable time frame) even with A.Striker it was not something you could build around.
I think to get it to work it needs to go back to doing d6+vigilante level and allow you to choose the element whenever you use it (either in the moment, or make you chose its element in 1 min increments) possibly even auto include Rider effects that scale with vigilante level 1d6+Level+a rider effect with a scaling DC is certainly a valid alternative to just “tons of damage” stuff. If your worried about applications. Limit one attempt per elemental debuff per target. So I could try setting a guy on fire once, but not try it again for a round. Then either allow each element one try a round or in general “one” mystic bolt debuff a round and the player just has to choose which one they want on that guy and use that element. (i.e. I bolt 4 bolts, one of each element at a guy. But I can only chose one debuff out of those 4)
Even with that set up, it is not broken at all. As currently there is no way to get past resistance (eventually everything has resistance and rarely will one element apply equally to a whole fight. Much less when spell casters get involved) and there is not any feat that works as clustered shots for them. Honestly I’d rather have effective and useful debuffs. And any element adhoc I want, instead of increased damage. But I’m debuff lover over a damage.
Simply put Mystic Bolt needs far far more in it to make it worthwhile. The possibility of a talent line for mystic bolt is a thing BUT there simply is not enough talents to make that line a real valid choice. (Even with my other suggestion) so I really think mystic bolt needs a lot more oomph in it (especially if it still will only come online at 4 and not 2).

things I want:

When I say architype. I’m sort of envisioning an archetype that basically says what it is based out of, and lists what talents it can take from where.
I really want an archetype for warlock that is a better version of SpellSlinger—but more open ended. Allow for use for guns or crossbow. My one level dip in spellslinger as a warlock made that class , and it’s so very limited casting, a lot more useful. It really helped with the DC (which can not compete with a focused caster who can dump to hit and con (lets face it you have to have con being so close all the time). Its cool flavorful and really fits with the Warlock and vigilante concept. Social side is some semi famous gunner, and vigilante at night shoots magic all the time. It’s a cool trope. But this really is vital sorta idea.. it made a warlock (as it stands now) from a boring very hard to play character, into a martial with magic like I think it was going for. I could manage enough damage with my firearm, and the few spells I have in a day are vastely more useful with it.

An archetype (that gets talents from stalker and warlock) that is focused on poisons. They’re the guy who sneaks into a castle and kills the king and takes his place. Or sneaks in and takes out the guy who is trying to poison the king. Basically they gain precision damage hidden strike but acts is if they always roll 1 (normal hidden strike restrictions) but gain the ability to use it to boost the DC of poisons, or alchemical items they are using. They could snag specific stalker talents, and specific warlock talents (like tattoo, arcane striker, I suppose perhaps bombs), and alchemist poison/item talents but they themselves gain infusion like constructs. But they’re used to replicate/empower specific alchemical items but they are based on the character’s stats. and use one of their infusions (lets just say 6th levels. Or make it a point system) to add Int damage to them.
I.e. They could take or create a liquid blade, or liquid caltrops, and use an empower ability (point or specific for the class spells) that increases damage or DC (when it applies). So they could theaorically use clever things like caltrops or lightning bottles with DCs and damage that actually keeps them valid at later levels even if not amazing. They could also buff the DC of poisons and or use points to get free poison that is temporary and unsellable.
but I know I’m that guy who always pushes this idea. But honestly it would be a stylish stylish idea. And really sorta fit this vigilante concept a lot.

A mystic bolt centered archetype of Warlock. They give up spell casting, and gain some properties similar to kinetcist but a bit different. They can


my last opinion on warlock after playing it a lot:
over all the warlock feels less like a caster, and more like a heavy item based class, with a few specific tricks. You don’t have the spells to be dedicated caster. Its more like you’re a “few times a day” blaster. And honestly I think it should just do that better if that’s what you want. I didn’t mind it really. But because of how that currently is my entirety as a persona was dependent on my items. I was more defined by my weapon, and magic items (wands, staves etc) than anything else. Which I don’t think was the design of the class. I didn’t really hate it persay but it felt different than other classes because of that (every other class has an in class thing that defines it. Except I suppose fighter.. but one could argue their breath of knowledge in combat is their’s)
Mystic bolt, currently is just not useful at all right now. I suppose if I ever had an extra talent (unlikely) I would use it with conductive but that’s about it.


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The Vigilante is still just a cut down version of other classes. It would best be served as an archetype for various base classes.

Dark Archive

I did not playtest this class myself, but I want to share some of my GMing observations. The people who played this class at my tables really emphasized the social elements, as well as the disguise and transformational aspects of this class. Perhaps magical transformation options could be added as universal vigilante talents? Would it be possible to become able to change your form a female to male, or any such variation; or take on an animal aspect, etc? In the current playtest, the vigilante gives their other identity power because they assume a different persona. How about an item, or something similar, giving a vigilante another identity or persona altogether?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Like several have said before, this class is unnecessary. Role-playing alone should make a Vigilante. The four personas are like half classes at best.

We don't need a Zealot when we have an Inquisitor.

The Warlock should have been an alternate base class at worst or at best an Archetype of the Witch.

Stalker is like a bad amalgamation of slayer/rogue/ninja and everything in between.

Same for Avenger except with Martials

I really dislike this class and I think this is the beginning of the end for Pathfinder 1.0.

It feels like we're trying to move out in directions just for the sake of it or worse just to sell product until the next edition of this game is announced. I hope this is not the case but the current class bloat tells me otherwise.

Honestly just can this book, and think of another hardback that can be made.


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I don't think this is the "beginning of the end" of Pathfinder's 1st edition. People have been doom-saying that since the Advanced Player's Guide came out, and it hasn't proven true yet in the slightest.

I love the idea of the book, just not the design of the Vigilante Class. Combat and Magic got their own book, while Skills and non-combat, non-dungeon-diving encounters haven't received an in-depth book themselves yet. Even if the Vigilante continues to be bad, I'll pick up the book (though if the Vigilante IS bad, I won't make it a top-priority).

But, I have felt all along that the class is trying to imitate the "success" of the Medium, even though the Medium hasn't been anything near a smashing success.

Like what a lot of people have said, I feel that the Dual Identity isn't something that should be placed on a single class. I feel that it should be a Universal Archetype added to other classes. Or better yet, maybe an entire sub-system option, the same way that Mythic Paths are handled.

How about something like this: instead of taking your Traits & Drawbacks, you trade out those for a Dual Identity, which gives you an initial effect (like Renown, or something like that), you gain Social Talents every even level just like in the playtest.

That would leave the Vigilante free to be something like a 20-level version of the Master Spy, or some other form of thing, and you could STILL add the Dual Identity onto it!

Pretty much every reason why I dislike the Vigilante Class is covered in detail by this post from another thread, albeit probably not as vehemently stated as that post.

Still, I agree with that poster that the sum and total of what the Vigilante Playtest is trying to be can be accomplished, and more effectively, by having:

1. a Master Spy base class which utilizes spontaneous alchemy as the default design of the "Vigilante" class,

2. with various archetypes which transplant the Shadow Dancer, Mystic Theurge, Arcane Trickster, and Stalwart Defender aspects and abilities onto that Master-Spy-Vigilante chassis, and

3. having an optional Dual-Identities rule system which is separate entirely from the Vigilante, which can then be added onto not only it, but every other class in the game should players and GMs choose.

I hardly think this book is beyond salvageable. In fact, I have quite high expectations for the book given that the Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Campaign books are each excellent books. But I also firmly believe that there's no saving the Vigilante as its presented in the playtest.

There are parts of the as-printed Vigilante that are great, don't get me wrong. I'd love to see several of the Stalker talents be taken and added to the Rogue Talents list so that the Slayer and Ninja can play with them, for example. I even like the idea of Dual Identities. But I don't think Dual Identities works as part of a Class... it should be a modular quality which can be added to each and every class separately.

The Medium is fine, and it's "one class to play them all" idea is novel... so long as it's the only class that does that. I don't think any other class should be a doppelganger class, or else it cheapens the novelty of the Medium and every class that the doppelganger class mimics.

Please just make the Vigilante what everyone wants it to be: a spy-like class who's great at hiding and sneaking in plain sight, wherever that may be, who's a master of all disguises and not just of one disguise, who can sneak attack, and who can be made into Ezio or Lupin (either Sr. or The Third) or James Bond or even Batman or anyone in-between.

I hope the developers will take to heart what everyone's written here and present an entirely new form of the Vigilante, given the massive amount of negative feedback so far. I really want to be overjoyed with everything about Ultimate Intrigue, especially a new class to play with.

Thanks!


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Quick couple of thoughts on the Warlock:

- Requiring 8 hours of rest to regain spells makes it very difficult to maintain two identities. It's an issue of time. I was playing around with a build because my GM will eventually be running a city-based campaign, and I love the idea of this class. But I'll have a heck of a time managing the "Bruce Wayne by day, Batman by night" sort of flavor if I have to rest for 8 unbroken hours. The playtest has already offered a mix of spontaneous and prepared casting as a boon; perhaps removing the resting period would sweeten this particular specialization further?

- Making spells into a tiered progression of talents intrigues me because of how different it is, but it doesn't seem like the sort of thing one dabbles in. Because you have to take the spell talents in order and because many low-level spells will eventually become obsolete, it's hard to mix n' match it with other talents. It seems to be the sort of thing you either commit to or avoid 100%. This seems to be a bit contrary to the idea of a talent pool.

Dark Archive

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I ended up getting my Avenger to level 4 in PFS; I'll try to give you my thoughts so far. I also played alongside my fiancé's Zealot, and our VL's Stalker, so I'll add some observations on those as well. I'm going to add spoiler tags, just to avoid the wall of text.

General Stuff:
First I want to hit upon a few things I noticed beyond the specializations:
  • I like the idea of Social Talents, but only 6 of the 13 aren't, or don't require, Renown. I hope there are more options when the book comes out for those who wander, and thus don't care about building a reputation within a town. While it's a cool concept, and very useful in a home game or AP, it's not very useful in PFS, as you're being sent all over Golarion. The only reason my Avenger took it was for flavor, as she wants the Safe House, to fit in with her story.
  • While I never reached level 5 to use Startling Appearance (and it's further progressions), it seems to me like this would be very dependent on which Specialization you took. Not all are stealthy, and so it seems very situational to me. Having chosen the Avenger, I see all the high level base Vigilante abilities being mostly meaningless for my character, as she would rarely be in that situation. This means she is totally dependent on her specialization for any unique, cool abilities for most of her career.
  • Getting 6 skill points per level sounds nice, but once you break it down, if you're doing your job, you're not really getting that many. Since you need to maintain your dual identity, you almost have to put max ranks into Bluff and Disguise, as that +20 (by itself) will become less and less of a help as your enemies get better Perception and Sense Motive. The +4 from Social Grace helps (assuming you put it into those skills), but that only applies when you're in your social identity. Going a step further, if you want to make sure your cover hasn't been compromised, you also need to put ranks in Sense Motive, to know if your adversary has seen through your ruse. This means you only have a few skill points to play with per level. Depending on your specialization, this could be slightly more or much less than comparable classes.

Avenger:
I very rarely play full BAB characters, so I thought this would give me a chance to play one, with a fun new twist. I have definitely enjoyed playing her, but I share the concern voiced by others that the Avenger is very squishy with a D8 hit die. As someone else suggested, giving them Toughness as a bonus feat at 1st level would help, though they'll still fall behind unless you invest heavily in CON. At 4th level, I'm starting to notice the gap, even though I have a 14 CON (as soon as she can, she's getting a belt), and I've been putting the FCB into hit points. I could have given her better CON in the beginning, but then I wouldn't have had the points for other stats, and I like my characters to be at least somewhat well-rounded. As she gets to higher levels, I'm going to have to invest in armor and items (which gets expensive) before I feel confident she can go up against classic front-liners and hold her own without dying within a round or two.
My Avenger is melee based, and so has lots of options to chose from when it comes to the talents. However, I noticed that there isn't much in the way of ranged options for those wanting to go that route. There's Signature Weapon, and Combat Skill (applied to ranged combat feats). That's it. The problem with Combat Skill is that the Avenger “loses” access to anything taken while in their social identity, so if they use their normal odd level feats to continue a progression, they would then lose access to their entire feat chain until they either put their social identity at risk by using them regardless, or change back into their vigilante identity. I hope that more ranged options become available in the future for those who want to play an Avenger, but would rather not get into melee.
As far as melee goes, I really like the direction the talents are going in. When I sat down to update my Avenger at level 2 (once the 2nd playtest version was released) and looked at the talents, there were four different paths I was interested in pursuing with her. After much debate, I decided to put aside a couple of the options and revisit them at higher levels, to see if they still fit as she advances. Given the limited talents available, I know I'll get to explore at least two of my ideas with her, and possibly a third if it still works with her concept. I like my characters versatile, so I appreciate that she'll be fairly good at a few things, instead of great at only one or two. However, I can see how some people might want the opposite, and so I imagine there'll be more talents available once the book comes out (and space isn't quite so limited).
I believe the Avenger will remain fairly consistent throughout the levels. How powerful and effective individuals will be will depend on their stat distribution, and the talents chosen.

Stalker:
This is the specialization our VL is playing, so I can only give feedback as to what I've noticed. At combat in lower levels, the Stalker seemed to be mostly support (though this may be because of the VL's style of play), but also effective when needed. He was not a 'walk up and hit it' type (unless they were flat-footed!). As we advanced in levels, he was starting to become more deadly in his own right, and I get the impression that at higher levels he'll be even more powerful. Unlike the Avenger, the Stalker can take advantage of the base vigilante abilities, as they have the talents to set up the circumstances needed to fulfill the conditions.
I think the Stalker will be outright terrifying once they hit their stride at higher levels, truly becoming the thing that strikes out of the darkness. Whereas the Avenger maintains an average advancement, the Stalker seems to go from 0-60 once everything comes together.

Zealot:
This is the specialization my fiancé is playing, so I can give a little more insight than the Stalker. At lower levels, the Zealot played like most spellcasters, but with a more limited number of spells before he had to rely on his weapon, and the rest of the party. This was the character the more melee types gave the wands to, as he was the one who could use them (which is still an incredibly useful person to have in the party). Things improved somewhat with his 1st talent (Zealot Smite), but not by much. Since his spellcasting didn't have a normal natural advancement, he was stuck doing pretty much the same thing at levels 2 & 3 as at level 1. His 2nd talent had to go towards continuing his spellcasting, as he wanted more spells. There is definitely a talent tax on the spellcasting vigilantes, as otherwise there is never a way to increase your spells per day. There are some really cool talents that his Zealot is going to miss out on, as it comes down to a choice between spellcasting, or not. Even if a Zealot still had to choose Divine Power II-VI to gain access to higher level spells, advancing the number of spells per day along with spells known would go a long way towards allowing more choices with this specialization. This way a Zealot who was happy with only level 1 or 2 spells could still have enough at higher levels to get through the day (and multiple combats), and also be able to take advantage of the other awesome options.
The Zealot is the hardest to judge of the three specializations I'm familiar with, as it depends heavily on the choices made. If the Zealot goes full casting at the expense of all else, than it's a very weak choice, and any of the other spellcasting classes are better. If the Zealot is able to explore the other talents, than it becomes a much stronger choice, and I can see any party being happy to have one along. I almost envision them acting as a field medic, dispensing healing and help (debuffing here, taking out an enemy there) as needed.

Overall, I enjoyed playing my Avenger, and enjoyed playing alongside other Vigilantes. I'll continue to play her until the book comes out, though not as heavily as these last few weeks (my other characters are crying for attention). I'm not sure I would have created her if it weren't for the playtest, though I would definitely have been...

:
Intrigued! (Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Sovereign Court

My final thoughts:

First, to give you some demographics, I only play PbP, and 95% is PFS. So if fit into a narrow niche of the overall potential, which I do think makes me less impartial. Ok, now for the feedback...

I love the idea, but was less than thrilled with implementation. I played a stalker, albeit low level which really doesn't let the class shine, but that was part of my problem with it. As a low level stalker, I felt like a "wanna-be" superhero rather than an actual hero. At best, I was side-kick material. And while I thought a lot of the talents certainly were fun and had flavor, by the time I would get enough of them to be well-rounded, I would have had to slog through a lot of levels of "meh". I probably should have tried something higher level, but as I only play PFS, you can't really just start at level 12.

Throughout reading the material and playing with the group, I just really felt like every one would have had more effective characters by using different classes to support their concept. This makes me think vigilante would have been better built as either a template you could some how add to a character (new talents added at the cost of new vulnerabilities, for instance), or even as a prestige class.

The ability to have 2 alignments was lost on me. I understand why, but I just didn't find much value there.

The change in persona to access different skills was the most interesting to me. I like the idea of high diplomacy as social identity and swap to high intimidate as vigilante, for instance. But again, in PFS, the ability to switch between identities was pretty much too difficult to even bother. Perhaps this could have been done with circumstance bonuses instead of swapping skill sets?

Overall, I just didn't feel like you could incorporate these characters into a good party unless the whole party was basically vigilantes. Would make for a good campaign (Justice League, Avengers, etc), but just weird to have one in a normal party of adventurers.

So, in summary: Some great concepts, fun talents, interesting in a higher level stand alone campaign, but I wouldn't play one very often, I think. I did appreciate the chance to playtest it, though! I hope this feedback helps...


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

My 2cps.

I've been mainly playing in PFS so I've come up with a lot of the similar issues others have mentioned: the switch between personae can be difficult to manage particularly in restrictive confines with a group of people you're not regularly playing with week-in and week out. Based on the eye-rolling around the table and the 'Oh look, the diplomat ran away AGAIN!' I get the feeling that half of Absalom knows my secret identity.

There are a bunch of really great talents, to the point where I feel kinda talent starved with just one every other level, even though that's fair. I think it's because at the moment the social persona is just not supported by any kind of mechanic other than some skill bonuses. The social talents have thus far been of no use to me at all because, as a Pathfinder, I'm moving from location to location all the time.

Dropping the level of Instant Recognition would help a LOT with this; it's currently unobtainable retirement level in PFS.

With regard to new mechanics I think that one which needs to be addressed is 'awareness of the vigilante's presence'. Mark discussed this a little with regard to leaving combat but what circumstances might include entering it? For example, a vigilante in vigilante persona under the effect of Disguise Person to look like a merchant; one could argue that an enemy might be aware of their presence, or that when the disguise is dropped and the vigilante attacks that Startling Appearance *should* apply.

The warlock had a number of very cool suggested alternate progression ideas made by people posting, which I'd love to see.

Unarmed combat should be looked at carefully; a brawler-y archetype would be really great to see.

Dirty Combat from the new toolbox book should definitely be taken into account in design for the Stalker and it's be interesting to see stalker variations that are not Sarenite-with-a-greatsword.

Skill unlock for Intimidate looks almost like a must for some stalker builds so it'd be great to see it as a talent. Other talents Mark posted look really great as well but, again each talent that looks like a must means very, very hard choices for the Vigilante, and some are so attractive for some builds (like dex to hit and agility for a talker) that they basically shut out some of the other desirable, but less essential options.

I really do see where you're going with the 'no extra talent feat'...but I think that's going to result in some talents just not being used.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I made quite a few posts during the course of the playtest including a pretty extensive summary on July 20 for the closing of the main playtest. I'll try not to be too repetitive with that, although I'll use that original summary to compare and contrast with.

The majority of my playtesting during all phases of the playtest were low level (1-4), although we did some adventures for mid (5-8), and high (9-12) level. During the second playtest we moved away from the "all vigilante" party playtests at low level, although we did create a set of level 12 vigilante multiclasses and played them through the phoenix tournament.

Social Mode: No real new feedback on this. For most scenarios, especially within the PFS framework, social mode isn't really bringing a whole lot to the table. When I or other vigilantes were at the table, it was almost always either all vigilante mode or all social mode (where a player says being exposed has no downside, so why not get social bonuses and vigilante bonuses at the same time.) I don't think that we ever had a social/vigilante switch after July 20th except in our all vigilante party for phoenix tournament, and even then, social mode was mostly a roleplaying tool than anything mechanical.

Additional Avenger Notes

Spoiler:

1) I played this and really liked this, and here is why.

I really liked multiclass fighters/vigilantes. We had a fighter 4/vigilante 8 in Phoenix tournament, and I think it was a better character than if it had either been a straight fighter or a straight vigilante. The fighter side of things gave some additional built in combat abilities (+1 combat feat, +5 hp, bravery, armor training or in this case stand firm and phalanx fighting, since fighter also opens up lots of interesting archtypes.) The vigilante side gave decent skills (56 total without race/int bonuses) and the ability to pick up abilities the fighter doesn't have access to. This was a really solid combination at level 12, but I think the same multiclassing would work at lower levels as well. (I could see Avenger/Slayer or Avenger/Ranger also being interesting options.)

2) I played this and didn't like this, and here is why.

Although multi-classing provided some interesting builds, I still usually found that any build I'd make for single class, I could usually do better with something else. We actually brainstormed a lot of level 12 builds for Phoenix Tourney, and we never found a straight up level 12 Avenger we liked as much as non-Vigilantes or mixed Vigilantes.

No real new data for low level. It pretty much plays like a weak fighter with more skill points. Rangers and Slayers still do that roll better.

3) I played this, and really wish I could do this.

The Avenger still needs both an attack and a defense booster to really compete at mid to high levels.

4) I played this, and really don't understand how this is supposed to work.

No new info.

5) I played this and felt like I really enhanced the party and this is why.

The 12th level fighter/vigilante mix was actually fun to see. It was built to try to take advantage of 4 things to be better than an straight fighter. Both Signature Weapon and Shield of Fury gave some economy of feats as long as you build your concept to use them. Vital punishment was nice for attacks of opportunity, and armor skin kept up maneuverability. The character was built as a phalanx fighter archtype with combat patrol and glaive/shield as a combo. It was decently tanky, could control the battlefield a bit, and did well moving around a lot. Although it was far from being an "optimal" build, the character was fun, effective, and could do the things it was built to do. I would definitely like to see that character on the table again, and have never seen another character on the table like it in pathfinder.

6) I played this and didn't feel like I added to the party and this is why.

Lack of attack/damage boosters and damage mitigation really showed at high levels. Although battlefield control was fun, the character simply didn't do enough damage for high level play, and since the 12th level game was all vigilantes, that lack of damage was true for the whole party.

Additional Stalker Notes

Spoiler:

1) I played this and really liked this, and here is why.

Confirming my impression from before, the talent selection is big, with lots of fun talents to try. I built away from the optimal build with my PFS stalker (who is now level 5) so that I could use some of the less tested talents, and although it didn't make for a really strong character, it gave moments of where the character shined. Our level 12 stalker (who was straight stalker to try out lots of talents) was also not built in the optimal fashion in order to use more less tested talents. Same results at high level, getting lots of fun things to do, but many of the "fun talents" aren't as relevant anymore once you get to mid to high level play and magic spells can do everything better.

At high level we tried out the "batarang" talent building a level 12 dagger thrower. That talent was fun, especially combined with rooftop runner, hide in plain sight, and perfect fall to get into lots of advantageous positions for the combat. Unfortunately, this seldom resulted in much as far as hidden strikes, making it weaker than even average archer builds when it came to combat. I could see this kind of build making for great encounters when NPC's are built that way though...annoying and harassing the party (until they just fly or use save or suck spells to shut things down.)

2) I played this and didn't like this, and here is why.

Up Close and Personal and Leave an Opening make for the obvious build. I don't think any other build even comes close to being as strong as taking these two talents. Unfortunately, this makes them almost compulsory and I hate that. I built my PFS stalker specifically avoiding those two feats (since I figure 90% of the test data was on how great those two feats are). What resulted was a sometimes fun character who was very weak in combat and had trouble contributing to fights a lot of the time. These two talents are likely on the too strong side, and might need to be given requirements forcing them later in the build, or those two particular abilities might need toning down.

I also don't like that two handed weapons are by far the strongest weapons for what is themed as more of a hit and run character. Limiting those same two talents to one handed weapons may be good as well.

At low and even mid-levels, even when avoiding the "must get" talents, I always feel like I can't get enough of the "fun talents". Most of them are very situational, which means they only come up about once per scenario, which means my level 2-3 stalker uses a class ability once a scenario, and at level 4-5, I'm only going to get in about twice. That seems really limiting.

3) I played this, and really wish I could do this.

There is plenty of breadth of talents...I just wish I could get more of them. I still think Social-Vigilante-Vigilante would be better for the class as a whole, and by knocking down the two "must haves" a notch, I don't think it would get overpowered for the stalker.

4) I played this, and really don't understand how this is supposed to work.

No new questions came up.

5) I played this and felt like I really enhanced the party and this is why.

Still lots of ways to contribute at all levels, although the obvious way is 3 attacks per round (up close and personal + leave an opening) with a 2 handed weapon and a strength build with the hidden strike damage just being a bonus on up close.

6) I played this and didn't feel like I added to the party and this is why.

I found by not taking up close and personal + leave an opening, my character was far less effective in combat than stalkers where I had it. It's not even close. The optimal build has more than 3X the damage output of the non-optimal build. That's just too much of a swing. Since my PFS character is built without those two talents, I found I never wanted to play him in 4 person parties where his lack of combat prowess was magnified. Twisting fear is an interesting build for subdual damage, and it's playable, but just not in the same class.

Additional Warlock Notes

Spoiler:

1) I played this and really liked this, and here is why.

Still a huge fan of tatoo chamber. Stays relevant at all levels. If we could have taken a second tatoo chamber for our Ruby Phoenix warlock, we would have, since this was ability that kept the character relevant. Educated defense was fun vs casters...when it lasted. 12 levels of counter spelling was nice, but it's only good for one encounter, then you are done for the day.

2) I played this and didn't like this, and here is why.

Warlocks and zealots are bad at level 2...worse at 3. The stepped spellcasting advancement puts huge gaps in the character advancement.

At level 12, the warlock was noticeably weaker than an alchemist, bard, or investigator. Although the spellcasting was somewhat similar in power, the warlock just didn't have a bag of tricks outside of that to keep up with all the other things those classes do. The character stayed useful by blowing through lots of wand charges, which isn't a sustainable strategy, as cool as it is in the short term.

3) I played this, and really wish I could do this.

Warlocks really need something else signature to differentiate them from other casters. Tatoo chamber is kind of a signature ability, but as I said earlier, blowing through magic items isn't a sustainable model. Some posibilities:
- Perhaps some metamagic advantage, where a limited set of metamagic could be applied (as a swift action)? Perhaps only pick some lesser used metamagic feats that were overpriced for most casters. Or just pick out a couple metamagics that warlocks can apply easier...a talent to use still spell on all spells at no level cost (but at the cost of a swift action) ... silent spell ... or elemental spell allowing changing spells to any element the caster can use mystic bolts with ... or add reach to all spells. Each of these feats (and maybe a couple others) could be their own talent. It would give interesting things for the warlock to do that others can't, making them more efficient casters, but by picking and choosing, balance can be kept, not getting into wayang spellhunter and magical lineage abuse type situations.
- Make arcane bolts better with additional talents. Been discussed before. I worry this is too close to kineticist though now.
- Expand on educated defense. That's a cool trick. A level 10 or 12 talent that lets you do more on that theme would be cool.

This summary still holds true though too...
I wish a mystic bolt chain of talents made a mystic bolt build a viable alternative.
I wish a bomb chain of talents could make a bomb build a viable alternative.
I wish a blood chain of talents could make a blood warrior build a viable alternative.
I wish a shadow chain of talents could make a shadow build a viable alternative.
I wish a simulacrum chain of talents could make a viable build as an alternative.
I wish a chain of defensive/counterspell talents (with educated defense as the cornerstone) would make an anti-caster build a viable alternative.

4) I played this, and really don't understand how this is supposed to work.

N/A

5) I played this and felt like I really enhanced the party and this is why.

Wands was the biggest contribution of the character. However, pulling out a couple of key counterspells to shut down enemy casters for a round or two was pretty awesome too...especially fun was killing quickened spells and resulted in party cheers.

6) I played this and didn't feel like I added to the party and this is why.

The stepped progression really hurt. My PFS warlock is level 3 right now. He'll probably never level beyond that unless I decide to GM credit the character to 4, because the character is just not good to play at level 3. His two spells go far too fast, and then he's a warrior with a wand and nothing more. The one game I did play at level 3 was not fun, as I felt pretty useless throughout.

Additional Zealot Notes

Spoiler:

1) I played this and really liked this, and here is why.

I actually played my PFS Zealot up to 4th level, my 2nd highest PFS vigilante. This was a big step up from playtest round 1, where I thought the zealot was the least interesting of the 4 types. I still say this is because the fey type made it much more interesting between druid/ranger spells and vanishing step.

2) I played this and didn't like this, and here is why.

Much like with the warlock, the character was not good at level 3. The spellcasting progression is pretty crippling by that point, still stuck on 2 spells. Fortunately for me, I had GM credited a module from 2.2 to 3.2, so I only had to play a single level 3 scenario. I probably wouldn't have come back for a second. 4th level fortunately fixed a lot of issues with the characters, with the huge jump of 2 level 2 spells and 3 level 1 spells, more than tripling my number of spells, in addition to more powerful spells.

3) I played this, and really wish I could do this.

I still wish that level 2 had more options for vigilante talents. I ended up going with smite, but I didn't feel great about that choice, as it wasn't what I was looking for in the character.

This class really suffers from not enough interesting talents. The addition of the divine powers kind of masked and distracted from that a bit, because they (especially fey) were much needed additions to make the class more interesting, and made it by far the most interesting vigilante option at level 1. As zealots advance though, they still have the same issues they had from the beginning, issues which are shared with the warlock. I'd love to see more options that are worth delaying or skipping spellcasting talents, but even without that, more signature abilities to fill in the gaps and make the class feel like it's own unique character on the battlefield instead of a subpar version of other classes is needed.

I'll repeat one ability here that I think could be unique for the divine side and warlock could cover this on the arcane side.
- Perhaps some metamagic advantage, where a limited set of metamagic could be applied (as a swift action)? Perhaps only pick some lesser used metamagic feats that were overpriced for most casters. Or just pick out a couple metamagics that warlocks can apply easier...a talent to use still spell on all spells at no level cost (but at the cost of a swift action) ... silent spell ... or elemental spell allowing changing spells to any element the caster can use mystic bolts with ... or add reach to all spells. Each of these feats (and maybe a couple others) could be their own talent. It would give interesting things for the warlock to do that others can't, making them more efficient casters, but by picking and choosing, balance can be kept, not getting into wayang spellhunter and magical lineage abuse type situations.

4) I played this, and really don't understand how this is supposed to work.

Empower symbol still stands as a question, but won't repeat it here.

5) I played this and felt like I really enhanced the party and this is why.

Ironically, my biggest contributions at level 3 and 4 was casting fairy fire on enemies. I was very glad I was level 4 and not 3 on my last adventure with the character, since 2 fairy fire spells wouldn't have been enough, and that might have been a loss at that point, since invisible enemies seemed to be extremely common for a tier 3-4 adventure. I felt like I should be able to help more in investigative/skill/knowledge portions of adventures, but it seems like I've always had the wrong knowledge skills recently in spite of 4 knowledge skills on my zealot.

The vanishing step ability always is nice at all levels.

At level 12 for Ruby Phoenix, revivifying touch has probably been the MVP ability of the whole party. Over that multi-day adventure, I think this ability resulted in 4 characters being saved from death.

6) I played this and didn't feel like I added to the party and this is why.

At level 3, the character was a warrior with 2 spells, and a few vanishes. I could hide, but at that point, vanish wasn't really the same kind of contribution to the party, because I had a lack of things to follow it up with once it got me in position.

At level 12, outside of Revivifying touch, this character really didn't seem to be a big contributor in ruby phoenix. 4 smites a day were nice, but stern gaze really seemed like a poor choice by that point for limited talents. The character was nowhere near as useful as a similarly leveled warpriest, cleric, oracle, paladin, or inquisitor would have been trying fill the same role. (Warpriest, paladin, or inquisitor couldn't have saved the lives the same, but I think there would have been less deaths if any of those 3 had been in the party instead of this character.)

I want to thank all the writers who put so much work into the vigilante quest, and all the players who acted as either GM's or players at my tables with vigilantes. I hope the data and insights collected are helpful as the designers take all the notes back for a final phase.

There are still things that needs some reworking, but I still believe this class has a lot of potential to be something special, and I can't wait to see what the final result ends up looking like.


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I just want to point out that you can technically just take one level of Vigilante and then multiclass from there in whichever class you prefer.

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