Archetype Tier List: A Guide to Picking Archetypes


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Obligatory link to the document!


One thing I'd like to see in the document would be a line (probably just a bit under the title) saying when it was last updated.


No-one has yet attempted Slayer Archetypes, so here is my take:

Bounty Hunter
Power +1 / Versatility +1
The ability to use Dirty Trick (one of the best combat maneuvers in the game) as a free action with a bonus to boot is very nice. The Submission Hold is an even trade for a talent, and incapacitate gives a little bit more versatility for those times you want to question the guards. It does lock you into a Dirty Trick and Grapple build to maximize effectiveness, which can be feat intensive.

Cleaner
Power -1 / Versatility +1
Could be helpful in a very specific campaign to hide dead bodies. More of an NPC archetype to thwart a murder mystery type adventure

Cutthroat
Power 0 / Versatility -1
The choice of skills to replace Track are good, but annoying to be only usable in an urban environment. The other class abilities are meh - normal slayer talents would be preferable.

Deliverer
Power +1 / Versatility -1
A god with a good favored would be a nice boost. Though the other powers depend on fighting an opponent with an opposing alignment. But without an effective way to determine alignment, it's uncertain how the Slayer would know what the opponents alignment is. It also makes it a bit circumstantial, but like a Ranger's favored enemy, if the campaign pre-determines a bunch of similar enemies (e.g. Devils in Hells Rebels), the Deliverer could be used to good effect.

Executioner (Sczarni Executioner)
Power +2 / Versatility -1
AKA The Assassin-as-a-base-class. Requires an evil alignment, but if in a campaign that allows this (e.g. Hells Vengeance) this is a nice archetype that tapers into the actual prestige class nicely, though the prestige class is not required to function well.

Grave Warden
Power +1 / Versatility -1
AKA The Undead-Slayer Slayer. The new abilities are focused to fight undead, though they do not overtake the archetype to make it useless against other foes too much. Being able to assassinate undead at 10th level is nice.

Pureblade
Power +1 / Versatility -2
AKA The Abberation-Slayer Slayer. Less useful that the Grave Warden as aberrations are usually more rare in a standard campaign. Also the replacement features are more specific. Though at 8th level, Steely Mind is very nice for the low Will save Slayer.

Sniper
Power +1 / Versatility 0
Perfect for the classic Sniper trope. Very few changes to the standard slayer but all quite nice for the shooters out there.

Stygian Slayer
Power 0 / Versatility +2
Invisibility as an SLA? Gaseous Form as an SLA? Yes please! Plus the ability to use spell completion and spell trigger items for all illusion spells up to level 4? Sign me up! But losing medium armor and shield proficiency does make you more squishy. But with this archetype you're more of a out-of-sight, in-the-shadows style striker, so maybe it evens out.

Vanguard
Power +2 / Versatility 0
Probably the easiest choice for a power-boost to the standard Slayer. Adding 1/2 level to initiative (replacing Track) is VERY nice. Tactician once per day is good. The Slayer's version of Ranger's Companion Bond is nice and always acting in the surprise round just tops it all off.


Slayer Archetype has been formatted and put in. Past couple months been crazy. Will make a better effort of communicating. Thank you all for still sending request emails!


Good to have you back. Note I rated a few newly released Wizard/Sorcerer/Arcanist archetypes.


I'd be quite curious to see someone tackle Vigilante archetypes.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Oh right, there are some new Magus archetypes.

Puppetmaster, power +0 versatility +1
This archetype gains full access to the Bard spell list, adding versatility and making him a very good debuffer. It loses the direct damage capacity of a regular Magus but gets better save-or-lose spells in return.

Armored Battlemage, power -2 versatility -2
Yeah, this is a big trap. You lose both spell combat and your enchant weapon ability, which are two of the biggest reasons for playing a Magus, and get almost nothing in return. The armor enchantments are overpriced and eclipsed by your defensive spells anyway.

Deep Marshal, power -1 versatility -1
Ironically, this defensive archetype actually has worse defense than a regular Magus, since the best defensive buffs are all illusions and the marshal can't use those. And it turns out that most of the good abjuration spells are on the Magus list already anyway.

Dark Archive

Sea Singer Bard?


Kurald Galain wrote:
Puppetmaster, power +0 versatility +1

On the other hand, its damage output suffers immensely. It can't spellstrike for damage and it lacks the normal arcane pool ability to improve its weapon. While it has more debuffing options than the regular magus, it loses a lot of power in that trade. I'd say power -1, versatility +1.

Quote:
Armored Battlemage, power -2 versatility -2

Totally agreed; totally anemic archetype. There are way better options if you want to stack a high AC.

Quote:
Deep Marshal, power -1 versatility -1

This archetype has some merit at low levels. It takes quite a while for 1/2 per level to overtake 1/3 per level by more than a single point, and the caster level boost is very handy until intensified shocking grasp is maxed. Definitely a bad archetype for higher level play, but it doesn't look too shabby for an E6 campaign. Not sure how much that should tilt its scoring, though.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dasrak wrote:
On the other hand, its damage output suffers immensely. It can't spellstrike for damage and it lacks the normal arcane pool ability to improve its weapon. While it has more debuffing options than the regular magus, it loses a lot of power in that trade. I'd say power -1, versatility +1.

Fair point. Considering that it also gets better skills and can easily pick up bardic performance with a one-level dip, I'd say that makes it pow -1, vers +2. There's quite a number of spells on the bard list that are either unique, or higher level anywhere else.

Secret Wizard wrote:
Not to mention the Deep Marshall is a great archetype, as it gets a massive list of spells added and plays as an excellent defensive Magus.

Please provide some examples of good abjuration spells that aren't on the Magus list already. I've found maybe two of those total, hardly a "massive list".

Other than that, this "defensive" archetype doesn't actually have defensive abilities. It gets marginally higher AC in exchange for losing Mirror Image, Displacement, and Greater Invis; meaning its defenses are much worse than that of a regular Magus.

Dasrak wrote:
the caster level boost is very handy until intensified shocking grasp is maxed. Definitely a bad archetype for higher level play, but it doesn't look too shabby for an E6 campaign. Not sure how much that should tilt its scoring, though.

Unfortunately, that ability locks you into non-synergistic weapons. Shocking Grasp at +2 caster levels is not an improvement over SG at a 15-20 crit range. Well, at least it doesn't get diminished spellcasting too :)


Kurald Galain wrote:
Unfortunately, that ability locks you into non-synergistic weapons. Shocking Grasp at +2 caster levels is not an improvement over SG at a 15-20 crit range. Well, at least it doesn't get diminished spellcasting too :)

I think you're underestimating what +2 caster level can do to your average-case, so I went ahead and crunched the numbers to see how it performs. Turns out at level 6 the numbers are extremely equitable between vanilla Magus with his favorable critical hit profile and Deep Marshal with his higher caster level.

For the purpose of the comparison, I looked at an intensified shocking grasp spellstrike. I presumed a strength-based Magus with 20 strength and a +2 equivalent weapon, and after applying arcane pool the weapons were a +3 Keen Scimitar and a +4 Battleaxe respectively. Because I'm explicitly talking about an E6 campaign, I'm going to presume Spell Specialization (shocking grasp) is on both builds so the comparison is CL 8 versus CL 10. This gives a damage profile of 1d6+8+8d6 for the vanilla Magus and 1d8+9+10d6 for the Deep Marshal. For the vanilla Magus this gives an average damage of 39.5 on a hit and 79 on a crit. For the Deep Marshal, it's 48.5 on a hit and 110.5 on the (very unlikely) crit.

I then plunked these numbers into a spreadsheet that calculated the chance of a critical hit and a hit given an attack bonus, crit range, and AC and multiplied through by the damage to get expected average damage. I've uploaded the spreadsheet to Google Docs. The default attack bonus values presume a spell combat attack (so 4 BAB +4 str +3/4 enhancement -2 spell combat), and the default AC is chosen based on the recommended guidelines for a CR 6 monster. Given these values the vanilla Magus has an expected average of 28.24 versus the Deep Marshal's 30.96. This slight advantage for the Deep Marshal holds for all AC values.

So, for an E6 campaign this archetype looks fine. It's still not great, and I'm not sure what its overall scoring should be given all that, but it's got a niche in low-level campaigns.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Thanks for the math. I find it funny that on a purportedly defensive archetype the best ability is an offensive one.

However, despite a slight advantage in DPR, the marshal still has much worse defenses than a regular Magus (because it can't cast illusion spells), which would be problematic in E6 as well. Aside from that, you're not guaranteed to get a +2 weapon by level six, and the advantage goes away at level seven because your SG is maxed out.

Overall, it's still a clear downgrade over the standard Magus, due to having weaker defenses and a worse spell list, and being down one arcana slot.


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Updated the page with additional archetypes. Will start writing and researching on my end as well. Slow and steady wins the race. Haven't heard anyone using this guide, but hopefully this is helping people.


I notice that the Weapon Adept is listed as a +2 for power, but aren't its only benefits Weapon Focus and Specialization until level 17?

Yes they get Perfect Strike instead of Stunning Fist but unlike the Zen Archer they don't have any ability to use Perfect Strike with other weapons, so if you actually want to make use of Perfect Strike you'll be locking yourself into a handful of really bad weapons.


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Icy Turbo wrote:
Haven't heard anyone using this guide, but hopefully this is helping people.

Now you have. Me. :)


New archetypes for classes I rated before: in this post (start with quoted text from avr), this post (actually notification of a typo in the rating of Siegebreaker Fighter already in the guide), and this post (especially -- new archetypes for Bloodrager, Fighter, and Witch).

That said, when I get more time I should go back through ALL Fighter archetypes and re-rate them now that Weapon Master's Handbook and Armor Master's Handbook have now both been out for a few months.

Edit: Just noticed earlier today that Gun Tank Gunslinger has a weird defect -- it trades out *5* bonus feats to get 4 ranks of Armor Training, but the trade is front-loaded in the character's favor, negating any balance considerations that might have taken part in making the uneven trade -- looks like sloppy editing to me.

Shadow Lodge

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Alrighty, I didn't see anyone do a write-up on the Investigator's archetypes, so here are my thoughts.

Cipher:
Power +2 / Versatility -2

This is probably my single favorite addition from Ultimate Intrigue. You lose bluff, diplo, and intimidate from you class skills, and most expend inspiration on knowledge skills, linguistics, and spellcraft. However, you get a list of sneaky-type skills that you can apply inspiration to instead.

At first level, you trade out Trapfinding, Trap Sense, Poison Lore, Resistance, and Immunity, for Inattention Blindness. This effect makes you functionally invisible to whoever you focus on, as long as you're in range. The target of your aura has to succeed on a perception check, with the DC equal to 10 + Class Level + Int Mod in order to perceive your presence, as long as you're not doing anything to draw attention to yourself. This is an amazing ability, which turns the Investigator from a melee frontliner, into the best stealth class in the game, bar none. To augment this, you trade out Investigator talents for evasion, resistance to Divination spells, and Hide in Plain Sight.

While this archetype is pigeonholed into being an infiltrator/assassin, it does it better than any other class in the game.

Conspirator:
Power -1 / Versatility +0

You start with Underworld Inspiration for free, but need to take a talent to get free inspiration on knowledge, spellcraft, and linguistics. You lose trapsense and a talent to get bonuses to spot scrying sensors.

Nothing in this archetype is worth losing a talent for, making it marginally weaker than a normal Investigator.

Cryptid Scholar:
Power -1 / Versatility +0

Getting Monster Lore on an Investigator is excellent, it'll make your already ridiculous knowledge checks even better. Losing studied combat however, really hurts if you want to be a Battle Investigator, but if you're more support focused the bonuses to AC and Saves could easily bump this up to Power +1.

Dread Investigator:
Pre-Seven: Power -2 / Versatility -1
Post-Seven: Power +0 / Versatility +0

There's not much to say about this archetype. You lose 3 Investigator Talents, have your Inspiration delayed until 4th, and your Studied Combat permanently weakened and delayed until 7th. In exchange, you gain resistance to negative energy and death effects, the Undead Anatomy Line, and a couple necromancy spells, including Animate Dead.

Really, I had to break this down into before and after level seven, because that's when all of this archetype's features are finally online. Prior to seven, you're noticeably weaker than any other Investigator, however, once you finally get Studied Combat and the ability to cast Animate Dead, then you're just a base Investigator (minus three talents) with better resistances and undead minions.

Empiracist:
Power +2 / Versatility +2

And now we get to the gold standard of Investigator archetypes, the Empiracist.

In exchange for Poison Lore and Resistance, you get to use Intelligence instead of the normal stat on Sense Motive, Perception, Use Magic Device, and Disable Device. When combined with a trait like Student of Philosophy, or a feat like Orator, Investigator becomes a completely SAD class. You can dump wisdom, you can dump charisma, and still be better at wisdom and charisma skills than any other Investigator. The amount of freedom this gives you when determining a build is completely unmatched.

If you don't have a compelling reason to use another archetype, be an Empiracist.

Forensic Physician:
Power -1 / Versatility -1

Trade out your first two talents to get some bonuses to identify disease, and do blood splatter analysis. Carry a scroll of Blood Biography and pass on this archetype.

Hallucinist:
Power -Do you, ever, like think, man? (-2) / Versatility: -mmm.... doritos (-2)

Lose all Investigator talents for the first 13 levels, trapfinding, trapsense, keen recollection, poison lore and resistance.

Gain the ability to brew a Hallucinogin, which gives bonuses to perception, and grants extraordinary vision. Low Light at 1st, Dark Vision and See Invis at 7th, Aura Sight at 11th, Blind Sense at 15th. While under the effects of your brew, you can also cast minor image and oneiric horror, by spending inspiration. At 6th, you can study multiple opponents.

This one is... uh... it's flavorful, but fairly weak. Dark Vision and See Invis are 2nd level extracts, Echolocation (which gives Blind Sight) is 4th. The effects of Hallucinogin are quickly out paced by your spells, and the loss of all talents means you can't get Mutagen, Quick Study, Combat Inspiration, Amazing Inspiration, or any of the other things that help Investigator scale into the mid and late-game. Pass.

Infiltrator:
Power +0 / Versatility +1

Lose nothing of value (other than trapfinding), to gain the ability to disguise really well, to the point where you can mimic other creatures' voices. If that comes up a lot in your campaign, then up the power level, but otherwise you're trading one situational ability for another.

Lamplighter:
Power +2 / Versatility +1

Lose two class skills you don't care about, swap everything related to poison, keen recollection, and trap sense.

In exchange, you get a decent spread of SLAs activated by expending spell slots(including Daylight and Judgement Light), Inspiration to Initiative checks, and Intelligence instead of Dexterity on initiative checks.

The only reason this isn't the default Investigator archetype, is because it doesn't stack with Empiracist.

Oh, and you can light fires by snapping your fingers.

Majordomo:
Power -2 / Versatility -2

This is an NPC archetype, meant to interact with the downtime rules. Even if the campaign uses them, losing Alchemy isn't worth the small benefits you get.

Mastermind:
Power +1 / Versatility +1

You lose Trapfinding and Trapsense, along with Swift alchemy and your 9th level talent.

In exchange, you can allow an underling to use your ranks in diplomacy/intimidate, add an inspiration die to AC, and become immune to any divination spell that grants a saving throw.

All these abilities are excellent, the only reason this isn't a +2 to power, is that they're designed with NPC usage in mind. When you're out and adventuring these abilities (except inspiration to AC) will rarely come up.

Psychic Detective:
Power +0 / Versatility +2

Lose poison stuff, swift alchemy, 3rd level talent, ability to take alchemist discoveries, and alchemy.

Gain: 6th level Psychic Casting, Phrenic Pool, slight bonus on saves vs. psychic effects.

Hoo boy.
This is an interesting, and excellent archetype, but it's very different than the normal Investigator. Whereas the normal Investigator is focused on buffing themselves, the psychic detective plays more like a bard. They get the ability to take a whole bunch of offensive spells, to hamper the enemy, area effect spells to buff their allies or even take summoning spells. You trade the raw power of the Alchemist list for the versatility of the Psychic list.

In my experience, the Psychic spell list isn't noticeably better or worse than the Investigator list, it's just focused on accomplishing different goals. If you want to be a battle Investigator, then stick with alchemy, if you want to be a support/caster Investigator, then Psychic Detective is an excellent.

Questioner:
Power +0 / Versatility +2

Lose: poison lore, ability to take alchemist discoveries, alchemy.

Gain: Bard casting, +1 to knowledge checks per 3 levels.

Basically everything I said about the Psychic Detective holds for this, except you're much better as a support than as a caster.

Lepisdadt Investigator:
Power -1 / Versatility -1

Lose: Trapfinding, trapsense, poison resistance, poison immunity, 3rd and 5th level talent.

Gain: 1/2 level to Sense Motive and Intimidate checks, +1 to perception and will per five levels, perceptive track investigator talent, +2 studied combat (as a 5th level slayer) against a creature whose tracks you've found.

None of the things you lose are equivalent to the things you gain. If you're spending a decent amount of time tracking down and interrogating suspects, then this might be worth it but other than that, there's little of use here.

Sleuth:
Power -2 / Versatility -2

You lose all spell casting. Enough said.

Spiritualist:
Power -2 / Versatility -2

You lose all spell casting, except a few very situational divinations.

Steel Hound:
Power -1 / Versatility +0

You trade a couple of class features for a gun and amateur gunslinger. You're never going to get dexterity to damage, so the gun is never going to be a particularly viable weapon. Overall it's a noticeable downgrade, solely because it prevents you from taking other, better, archetypes.


Adding one in for the cleric:

Elder Mythos Cultist
Power +1 / Versatility -1

Being Charisma-based and getting a damage-dealing channel does a lot to make up for the loss of spontaneous casting, and while the domain selection is limited, the domains you can get are pretty awesome. You're still a really crappy healer. But it's a small price to pay for getting to put Cthulhu as your deity and actually mean it.


Paladin

Oath of Vengeance
Power +1 / Versatility -0
You can trade Lay on Hand uses for Smite uses in exchange for just a bad Channel Energy. This gives you a LOT more uses of a limited ability and you don't even have to give up LoH uses when you don't want to. With the right (wrong?) party setup (charisma heavy weapon users) the 11th level "trade" might hurt a bit, but it won't matter for most.

Sacred Servant
Power +1/+2 / Versatility +1/+2 (deity dependent)
In exchanges for less smite uses (more on that in a bit), a fixed but solid choice of Sacred Bond and Aura of Resolve on the class with the highest saves in the game, you get more spells, more spell options, a domain. Oh and you get component free castings of three of the best spells in the game that alone can get you a huge effective spell list. What Planar Ally your patron grants can vastly up the power of this archetype, but even the worst is still a solid boost to the base Paladin.

Combined Sacred Servant+Oath of Vengeance is more than the sum of its parts. Sacred Servant gives additional uses of Lay on Hands, which can fuel Oath of Vengeance's ability to trade LoH for smites and more than makes up for Sacred Servant's reduced Smite progression.)

Combat Healer Squire
Power -3 / Versatility -1
Gives up some of the best abilities for awful ones. Explicitly intended as an NPC archetype.

Divine Defender
Power -2 / Versatility -2
A defensive archetype that gets rid of one of the best defensive abilities the class has! Spontaneously adding abilities to armor isn't as nifty as doing it to weapons as 1: Armor abilities aren't situational 2:Doesn't actually help you beat an effective cap 3: Are replicated by spells

Divine Hunter
Power ? / Versatility ?
It's an archetype based on a particular combat style. Seems good if you're going for that, bad if you're not. Can't comment

Empyreal Knight
Power -1 / Versatility -1
Some of the trades here might be OK on their own (Divine Grace for Celestial is awful though), but there's absolutely no focus. You can summon a bunch of monsters, but have traded away your abilities that could support them

Iroran Paladin (Enlightened Paladin)
+?/+?
Again, special purpose I can't judge.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Any going to do antipaladin?


IcyTurbo has been inactive for almost a year, so I don't think this is going anywhere. Someone will need to take up custody of this project if it's going to continue.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

guide has been very useful in getting second opinions on Archetypes. Would hate to see the project stop.


Maybe we should try getting this rehosted? It has a definite use when the overall/comprehensive guides for some classes are rather out of date or otherwise just ignore some of the archetypes.

Shadow Lodge

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Rehosted HERE.

When this hits a new page, please copy it to the top.

I may not see new posts here, so as you guys write new thoughts also send me a PM or write a comment on the blog reminding me to check the thread.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Thank you, BZ. I think that the bards could use some more reviewing. My favorite bard archetypes are not listed in the list!

Can we correct "Dervish of the Dawn" to its correct name, "Dawnflower Dervish"?

____

Some More Bard Archetypes

Animal Speaker

(Dip: Versatility +0, Dip: Power +0); Versatility +0, Power+1

Considered by most a "meh" archetype, it plays mostly like a standard bard who can also talk with animals. It does get two very interesting abilities, though. It can attract rat swarms like the pied piper and it gets Summon's Nature Ally spells just added to its spells known. More spells known is always a slight power up for a bard.

Arcane Healer

(2 level dip: Versatility +1, Power +0); Versatility +1, Power+0

Trades off the versatile performance skill boost for the ability to channel energy a few times a day. If this was based channels off of charisma like Clerics or even oracles, I'd like it a lot better. This may best be compared to Evangelist Cleric, which I think is a stronger cleric/bard hybrid. On the other hand, this will have much stronger skills+bardic knowledge, while the Evangelist Cleric will have more channels and 9th level spell casting.

Arrowsong Minstrel

(2 level Dip: Versatility -1, Dip: Power +1); Versatility -1, Power +1

This bard trades off a lot, including bardic knowledge, for being an exceptional ranged combatant and for having a few wizard spells added to her spell list, especially given the diminished spell casting. On the other hand, if your vision is to be a great bow bard who can dish out the occasional blast, this a pretty awesome archetype for you. I love that it gets precise shot as a bonus feat.

Averarakan Arbiter

(2 level dip: Versatility +1: Power -0); Versatility: 0, Power -1

Dip with something that can self-trigger or give away teamwork feats (I am looking at you, Cavalier) and this archetype becomes something. It is also not a bad archetype for a paired build with another PC who takes teamwork feats, or if you take a dip with bloodrager for a valet familiar. It can be very powerful with pre-planning or a teamwork buddy, but most players won't find the tradeoff of versatile performance for Teamwork feats useful without a reliable way of triggering those teamwork feats outside of your bardic performance.

Duettist

(Dip: versatility +1; power: 0); Versatility +1, Power +2

You trade off bardic knowledge for a familiar. This is a hard trade, but at fourth level your familiars can perform for you, giving you incredible action economy -- allowing you to get off other actions in your turn other than just the inspire courage. In addition, familiars offer a lot wonderful benefits and capability.

Flame Dancer

(Dip N/A) Versatility: +1, Power +2

This bard keeps all the best features that people look for in a bard: Bardic Knowledge, Inspire Courage, Versatile Performance. It also gets a third level ability that allows it to use a bardic performance to allow the entire party to see through fog and mist. If someone else uses obscuring mist, this can convey a huge advantage to the entire party. The addition of flame spells to your spell list at eighth level is just icing on the cake.

Studious Librarian

(PFS Dip: Versatility 0, Power +1); Versatility +1, Power +2

This is a straight upgrade to the core bard. At first level it gets a bonus scribe scroll feat (which in PFS turns into a bonus knowledge skill focus making it very easy to get familiars for this bard.) At sixth level, it gets the ability to cast spells once a day from a spellbook or scroll from the bard, witch, or wizard list. This ability is a free mnemonic vestment that stacks with mnemonic vestment. A very strong archetype that will want a spellbook of its very own. It also keeps most of what people look for in a bard: bardic knowledge, inspire courage and versatile performance.


What about the Inquisitor archetypes from Ultimate Intrigue?


Broken Zenith wrote:

Rehosted HERE.

When this hits a new page, please copy it to the top.

I may not see new posts here, so as you guys write new thoughts also send me a PM or write a comment on the blog reminding me to check the thread.

Thanks. I see that the interest is already ignited.

One of these days I'm going to have to redo Fighter (when I last did it Weapon Master's Handbook was out, but Armor Master's Handbook wasn't, and a few new archetypes have been added since then), but that's going to have to wait at least until I get done with traveling early next month.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
NenkotaMoon wrote:
Sea Singer Bard?

Sea Singer

[dip: Versatility 0, power 0]; versatility +1, power +0

I could really see this as a great option for a seagoing campaign like Skull and Shackles or Razor Coast. It gets some cute situational abilities that could make it quite a useful character in a sea-going adventure with lots of storms and weather effects. Sea-shanty is stronger than Countersong, Whistle the Wind could have a bunch of uses. Although it mostly trades off bardic knowledge, you keep the bonus to several skills that would be very useful in a sea campaign, and get the opportunity to reroll those skills. It is too bad that the list does not contain planes and arcana though. Although you're limited to monkey and parrot familiars, both of those are pretty useful familiars.


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Well, if we're back online then allow me to continue my role as contributor for Alchemist, Arcanist, Sorcerer, Summoner, and Wizard. These archetypes are from Magic Tactics Toolbox, Blood of Shadows, Cohorts and Companions (an older book that I missed previously), Horror Adventures, Haunted Heroes, Healer's Handbook, and Ultimate Intrigue.

Alchemist Archetypes:

Alchemical Sapper
Power: -1
Versatility: 0

This archetype trades off a bit much to do its thing. Reduced number of extracts per day, delayed mutagen (which you still need to pay a discovery for when the time comes), and all for class features that are difficult to put into use. The double damage bomb is very nice, but not worth these tradeoffs. On paper it would appear to offer the versatility of breaking holes in walls, but in practice the actual damage values are far too low to do this. Even a 20th level Alchemical Sapper's demolition bomb is barely powerful enough to breach a 6 inch wooden wall on an average roll, and you can just forget about masonry.

Blood Alchemist
Power: -1
Versatility: +1

Trading off bombs and mutagen (which can't be bought back) this archetype redeems itself by offering a large range of off-list spellcasting ability. While the Alchemical Circles class feature is a bit unwieldly, it still amounts to giving you at-will spell-like abilities. Exactly how useful this archetype is to you depends on just how far you want to cheese this ability. However, it's never going to be broken thanks to the highly limited list of spell-like abilities available.

Construct Rider
Power: -1
Versatility: -1

The Construct Rider is a double-edged archetype. On the one hand you gain an animal companion at the 1st level and it gains construct immunities, but on the other you lose mutagen and can never buy it (or cognatogen) back and you have to deal with diminished extracts. On its own this trade is fairly close to neutral, but the archetype is missing any rules text on how the companion can be repaired or replaced. This leaves it extremely weak by RAW, as it's dependent on wands or helpful party members to keep its animal companion healthy. Depending on how your GM rules on this matter, the archetype's rating could shift up or down.

Dimensional Excavator
Power: +1
Versatility: +1

This archetype is somewhat weird in that its biggest downside isn't actually a changed or lost class feature, but rather that it reduces your effective Alchemist level for the purpose of qualifying for discoveries (though thankfully not for the effect of those discoveries). Depending on your build, this may be a big inconvenience or a complete non-issue. However, what you get in return is well worth the trouble, giving you the ability to brew extracts of Create Pit and throw them like grenades.

Ectoplasm Master
Power: +1
Versatility: +2

The benefit of this archetype is not what it first appears. Adding every Necromancy spell from the Wizard spell list to your class list of extracts looks unbelievably good, but tge archetype does not give you the ability to deliver any of these harmful effects. As a result the vast majority of the extract options you gained are completely useless. An extract of Blindness/Deafness is only useful if you can somehow trick your enemy into drinking it. The real gain is the archetype-specific discovery Ectoplasmic Servant, which allows you to add Summon Monster I through VI to your extract list. All this for the cost of just your Brew Potion feat is amazing.

Gloom Chymist
Power: 0
Versatility: +1

The Gloom Chymist is an interesting archetype if you can make good use of lighting changes. With the ability to very quickly raise or lower light levels with bombs, a Gloom Chymist can put certain kinds of enemies at a substantial disadvantage while dealing bomb damage. However, the large number of monsters with darkvision but no vulnerability to light means the Umbral Gloom can be very circumstantial. In addition, it can be hard to get darkvision on a player character. This archetype works best if you have some way to reliably benefit from lighting levels, for instance by combining it with the Bramble Brewer archetype.

Interrogator
Power: -2
Versatility: -1

Trading off bombs and mutagen for the ability to inject your opponent with serums, the Interrogator gets access to a reasonably useful list of debuffs. Unfortunately, all of them are mind-affecting, all of them are melee touch attacks, and all of them can be replicated easily and more effectively by almost any arcane spellcaster class. With most of the reasons to play an alchemist in the first place traded off, it's probably not worth your time.

Mad Scientist
Power: +1
Versatility: 0

The Mad Scientist trades off two discoveries for two reasonably useful and potentially powerful abilities – but they come at a cost of wisdom damage (or sanity damage, if using that subsystem) and a lack of control over the results. Still, for those who like to play dangerous this is a reasonably easy way to get a nice roulette wheel effect from your extracts.

Metamorph
Power: 0
Versatility: -1

Trading off extracts and bombs for shapeshifting powers that are broadly similar to a druid's wild shape (focusing on humanoid rather than animal or elemental forms) this archetype delivers reasonably well for someone who wants to play a Hulk. However, the loss of extracts really hurts the class in the versatility department.

Sacremental Alchemist
Power: 0
Versatility: +1

Trading the raw power of Mutagen for the ability to select domain powers from their deity, as well as swap out one discovery daily to slightly change their build, the Sacremental Alchemist is quite flexible. The exact value of the Sacremental Alchemist depends on your deity's domain selection; this ranking presumes you have more or less free access to pick a deity with a favorable combination of domains.

Tinkerer
Power: 0
Versatility: 0

This gives you a clockwork familiar at the cost of mutagen (which can't be bought back). At higher levels you also get the ability to create a "clockwork" magic item, although you're limited to owning one at a time and others cannot use it so it's of limited value. With the bomb class feature untouched, this archetype will work well for an alchemist who wants a robotic buddy.

Wasteland Blighter
Power: 0
Versatility: +1

A superb healing archetype, allowing you to skip on the Infusion discovery and allowing you the ability to deliver your curatives to your allies as a standard action + swift action. Finally, it gives you the ability to break enchantments. The tradeoffs are minor, just giving up your poison resistances while letting you act as a mini-Cleric for a party without a proper divine spellcaster.

Sorcerer Archetypes:

Umbral Scion
Power: -1
Versatility: -1

The Umbral Scion is a flawed and niche archetype. Encroaching Darkness is a great ability – provided you have darkvsision and your enemies don't. Sadly, the opposite is usually the case and that makes it counter-productive for PC's. The reduced spellcasting is a rather steep price to pay (though mercifully you still get normal spells known) and it's not until 13th level that you finally get to the meat of the archetype – a DC bonus to the spells you want to be spamming. This archetype will only work well for specific characters in specific campaigns.

Summoner Archetypes:

Fey Caller (Unchained only)
Power: -1
Versatility: -1

This appears to be the Unchained Summoner's equivalent to the First Worlder archetype for the chained Summoner. It's an improvement over its predecessor, but it's still a general downgrade. The Summon Nature's Ally spell is inferior to Summon Monster, and the Fey Eidolon isn't a very favorable form – with the primary benefit of having access to spell-like abilities that simply duplicate spells your Summoner can already cast.

God Caller
Power: 0
Versatility: 0

This archetype gives you some decent ability to act as a party face – good for a charisma-based class like the Summoner – but the tradeoffs are all slightly negative. At low levels this isn't bad, but as the trades keep racking up throughout your career it starts looking like a worse and worse deal. How bad it is depends on how long you expect your career to go for; if you're looking forward to a capstone, you probably want to skip this archetype. If you think your campaign will end around 10th level, it's a perfectly fine way to get Diplomacy and Intimidate as class skills.

Wizard Archetypes:

Arcane Physician
Power: -2
Versatility: 0

A lot of verbiage for an archetype that functionally is just letting you use and craft wands of Cure Light Wounds. In return, however, you lose out on your arcane school. This is a massive cost for a very minor gain. Just invest skill ranks in Use Magic Device instead.

Bonded Wizard
Power: 0
Versatility: 0

This archetype trades off most of your bonus feats to gain a number of useful but minor spontaneous abilities. Most of these effects can be duplicated by spells the Wizard already knows, so the trade-off is negative for the most part, but there are enough generally useful effects here that can be called upon spontaneously that the tradeoff isn't bad.

Elder Mythos Scholar
Power: 0
Versatility: 0

This is a rather niche archetype whose values varies drastically depending on what kind of campaign you're in. All of its abilities are heavily double-edged, and are applicable only against specific kinds of enemies or specific kinds of situations. This makes it very difficult rate, since it's obviously intended specifically for those kinds of campaigns. Bottom line: if you aren't bothered by an increased cost to scribe spells, you can work with this archetype.

Hallowed Necromancer
Power: 0
Versatility: -1

While this archetype has a noble goal – a necromancy specialist that very specifically does not create undead – most of the abilities it offers just duplicate the effect of existing spells that any wizard can learn. You're essentially trading off useful class features and taking on additional restrictions in exchange for abilities you already have. While it's not too harmful if you already intend to avoid undead creation for RP purposes, there's really no point in taking this archetype.

Instructor
Power: +1
Versatility: +1

This archetype is rated on the presumption that the Leadership feat is not banned at your table. If Leadership is not banned at your table then it's +2/+2 and is essentially game-breaking. This archetype gets you the primary benefits of Leadership many levels earlier, lets you use Intelligence instead of Charisma for your leadership score, and guarantees you a Wizard cohort with the same specialization as you. The loss of your familiar is the only real trade-off, making it an easy tradeoff in any game that allows Leadership.

Pact Wizard (Haunted Heroes)
Note: This archetype is completely different from the Pact Wizard published in Familiar Folio, and is rated as a separate archetype. It is likely an oversight on Paizo's part that two unrelated archetypes were accidentally given the same name.
Power: +2
Versatility: +2

Did you ever wonder what it would look like if someone were to just cram all the most overpowered abilities they could think of into an archetype and give it no meaningful downsides? Wonder no more, because the Pact Wizard from Haunted Heroes is here! Featuring spontaneous conversion of spell slots, learning a limited selection of spells from another class list, metamagic reduction, gaining oracle class features, and the ability to reroll missed checks with massive bonuses to guarantee success. What do you lose out on? Just your bonus feats. How this monster ever made it into a published product will forever remain a mystery.

Undead Master
Power: 0
Versatility: 0

There is basically one reason to take this archetype: Animate Dead as a 3rd level spell. This allows an arcane Necromancer to get rolling at the same time as his divine counterparts. At higher levels, it's less useful since the difference between a 3rd and 4th level spellslot on a spell you'll only prep once or twice per day isn't a gamechanger anymore and is not worth the archetype's tradeoffs. If retraining is available at your table, this archetype should probably be retrained away around the 10th level since it no longer offers substantial benefits at that point.

Shadow Lodge


Archetype Tiers

All updated.

For consistency, if people could use the following format in the future, that would be great:

Archetype Name
Power: X, Versatility: X
Text

Archetype Tiers

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

Will do! BZ, can you add me to the list of contributors for Bards? Also the "Dervish of the Dawn" needs its correct name, "Dawnflower Dervish." Thanks.

Hmm


And where Wit bard archetype?


Spirit Binder Wizard should have (Dip: +1) next to power and something like this in the description:

As a dip Spirit Binder gives a lot at just the cost of Scribe Scroll. Thanks to the way familiar stacking works you only need one level for a familiar to have full BAB and 2 good saves, handy for any other class with a familiar that doesn't already have full BAB.


JakBlitz wrote:
Any going to do antipaladin?

Dread Vanguard. You aren't playing antipaladin correctly unless you pick this. It is so much better than the vanilla antipaladin. You don't need the bad spell list that antipaladin's get when you can pull off a cool version of inspire courage.


deuxhero wrote:
Spirit Binder Wizard should have (Dip: +1) next to power

Wizard is a very dip-unfriendly class; it would take a much larger benefit than this (on the order of Crossblooded Sorcerer) to get a positive rating. I disagree that the Spirit Binder Wizard merits a separate entry for dips. Maybe there's a very specific build out there that can make excellent use of the Spirit Wizard, but as a general guide I don't see this archetype having much applicability on a multiclass character.

Also, a minor correction to my analysis of the instructor Wizard. Please remove the following word from the second sentence:

This archetype is rated on the presumption that the Leadership feat is not banned at your table. If Leadership is not banned at your table then it's +2/+2 and is essentially game-breaking.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.


Archetype Tiers

Updated Bard Credits and Instructor wizard. I'll leave off the wizard dip for now unless we get a consensus.

I think the Dawnflower name is an OGL thing - I'm going to keep it as is to avoid any potential issues.

Archetype Tiers


I'm open to further discussion on the topic of the Spirit Binder, but I just don't see it (or the Wizard as a whole, for that matter) as a generally applicable dip option. If it's just a niche option that an obscure build finds useful then I don't think it merits a mention. I also think that +1/0 is way too generous for any Wizard dip, given how unfavorable wizard multiclass characters are.

If the consensus is to rate Spirit Binder higher, then the Spellslinger Wizard dip rating (currently at -1/0) would need to be revisited, as that would be much too low if the Spirit Binder is rated +1/0 as a dip. To be clear, I still stand by my original Spellslinger rating.

Grand Lodge

The modifiers are relative to the base class, not absolute, right?
Do Dip +1 would mean somewhat better than base Wizard? That sounds right to get full BaB and a feat for your familiar, on top of the normal Wiz Dip of an Arcane school (Foresight!) and couple of spells.


Markov Spiked Chain wrote:

The modifiers are relative to the base class, not absolute, right?

Do Dip +1 would mean somewhat better than base Wizard? That sounds right to get full BaB and a feat for your familiar, on top of the normal Wiz Dip of an Arcane school (Foresight!) and couple of spells.

That is a very good point.

You're absolutely correct that our standard has been to measure against the base class, and in that respect it would be most consistent to rate a dipped Spirit Binder against a dipped Wizard. However, this is misleading with regards to a class like the Wizard which is terrible for dipping in general. If we have a 0/0 rating for Spirit Binder with a +1/0 rating for dipped Spirit Binder next to it, it's implying that dipping is actually preferable to taking full levels in the class. That's potentially a dangerous misconception to give beginners.

There are only two full caster archetypes that have dip ratings, the Spellslinger Wizard and Crossblooded Sorcerer. These archetypes are exceptions due to the fact that they actually work better as a dip than when taking by a single-class character. This is not true of any other full caster archetype, which is why they have separate dip ratings. I don't feel it's appropriate to list a dip rating for a typical full caster archetype.

Sovereign Court

JakBlitz wrote:
Any going to do antipaladin?

I wrote up my thoughts on them in messages 476, 479 & 480.


Kegdrainer wrote:
JakBlitz wrote:
Any going to do antipaladin?
I wrote up my thoughts on them in messages 476, 479 & 480.

Hope you don't mind if I add on:

Iron Tyrant: Power = -2, Versatility = -2 (Dip: Power = 1, Versatility = 0)
You sacrifice one of your most powerful and unique attacks for a feat and some super-restricted bonus feats related to either your armor or your shield. Your fiendish boon is connected to your armor and acts like such. If the armor ability was the only thing you gained, this would have a better rating, but considering what you lose, it just isn't worth it. A 2-or-3-level dip, however, gets you a couple of feats, Smite Good, Detect Good, Unholy Resilience, and Plague Bringer, as well as those feats.

Tyrant: Power = 0, Versatility = 1 (Dip: Power = 0, Versatility = 0)
Instead of being Chaotic Evil, you are Lawful Evil. As expected, this changes your code of conduct significantly, turning you from an ultraviolent blood knight into more of a machiavellian manipulative bastard. You get Diplomacy instead of Ride as a class skill, allowing you to be a better face (and also to further your back-room machinations). Really, the only major change to your abilities is that you must use LE outsiders instead of CE ones for your fiendish boon, and even then, you can get around that by choosing the weapon version. Dipping isn't much different from the vanilla antipally, so zeroes across the board there.


Tyrant is actually worse if you go with Summon Monster for Fiendish Boon: There are no devils to pick on Summon Monster III or IV except Hellhound (which is bad from 3 and awful from 4) so it's strictly worse before level 9. Once you hit level 9 a normal Anti-Paladin gets a Babau, a rogue in a can and tremendous versatility boost, while a Tyrant gets two OK combat options. Once you hit 11 normal gets Shadow Demon (Great scout and Magic Jar with only minor risk. The Shadow spells are pretty good for versatility too.) or Succubus (Permanent +2 to any ability score for the entire party and an effective telepathy bond), both of which are fantastic while Erinyes is only a striker. I'd say it's easily -1/-1 at least.

For weapon boons the above is correct.

Tyrant:
Weapon Boon/Dip: Power = 0, Versatility = 1
Summon Boon: Power = -1, Versatility = -1


deuxhero wrote:

Tyrant is actually worse if you go with Summon Monster for Fiendish Boon: There are no devils to pick on Summon Monster III or IV except Hellhound (which is bad from 3 and awful from 4) so it's strictly worse before level 9. Once you hit level 9 a normal Anti-Paladin gets a Babau, a rogue in a can and tremendous versatility boost, while a Tyrant gets two OK combat options. Once you hit 11 normal gets Shadow Demon (Great scout and Magic Jar with only minor risk. The Shadow spells are pretty good for versatility too.) or Succubus (Permanent +2 to any ability score for the entire party and an effective telepathy bond), both of which are fantastic while Erinyes is only a striker. I'd say it's easily -1/-1 at least.

For weapon boons the above is correct.

Tyrant:
Weapon Boon/Dip: Power = 0, Versatility = 1
Summon Boon: Power = -1, Versatility = -1

You raise a good point. However, the poor summon list can be remedied by taking the Summon Evil Monster feat, which adds a lot more useful options for the Tyrant.


One thing of note for Cleric archetypes in general is that a lot of deities only have one good domain anyways. Losing your second domain as a cleric of one of those deities stings a lot less.

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