Archetype Tier List: A Guide to Picking Archetypes


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Slim Jim wrote:
avr wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
pad300 wrote:
Sylvan Trickster is power -1? Care to elaborate? Slumber Hex alone is probably worth a +1...
It forfeits Uncanny Dodge, and hex DCs are intelligence-based (whereas INT is a common dump in rogue builds).
Obviously a sylvan trickster doesn't dump Int. I wouldn't think that makes it power -1 alone.
He may not dump it, but it won't be his primary attribute, and if it's anywhere close to being so, he'd be better off as a 9-spells caster. Essentially his DCs will always be well behind a pure caster.

Is that the point of these ratings? I thought they were relative to the class sans archetypes. So the comparison should be to a core Rogue, not a 9-spells caster, otherwise a lot of archetypes should be getting a -2/-2 rating, as very little compares to the power and versatility of a full caster.


Yeah I agree it should be relative to the class it alters.


pad300 wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
avr wrote:
[ Obviously a sylvan trickster doesn't dump Int. I wouldn't think that makes it power -1 alone.
He may not dump it, but it won't be his primary attribute, and if it's anywhere close to being so, he'd be better off as a 9-spells caster. Essentially his DCs will always be well behind a pure caster.
Is that the point of these ratings? I thought they were relative to the class sans archetypes. So the comparison should be to a core Rogue, not a 9-spells caster, otherwise a lot of archetypes should be getting a -2/-2 rating, as very little compares to the power and versatility of a full caster.

A dex-rogue is basically living on borrowed time as an archetype without Uncanny Dodge; his uber awesome AC could go from 40 to 14 in an oh-snap instant, so what you trade that for had better be awesome. Most offensive hexes target saves, which means the associated attribute has to be really good. The Sylvan Trickster, therefore, forfeits an essential defensive ability for a benefit that requires a MAD point-buy scheme to deploy.

Barbarians can get away with cashing out Uncanny Dodge. Rogues, not so much.

Shadow Lodge

I have to chime in here about the vexing dodger, since someone earlier just gave them a bad rating. Having played one in pfs, it is my hands down favorite archetype in the game. Limb climber is amazing since it is just a climb check, part of a move, not a combat maneuver. So you can run right up to a guy, up his leg, and stick him in the back all in one round. There's so many ways to boost climbing, including a rogue trick to roll 2d20 every time, so it's almost a guaranteed success.
The dirty trick stuff isn't that great since you are going to be small, but at level 10, when I was getting hasted regularly, it was well worth using one attack for that. The stacking rebuffs of debilitating injury and dirty trick and climbing on them giving me an effective +15 AC.


A multiclass Vexing Dodger and Mouser Swashbuckler can do amazing things, especially upon achieving Signature Skill (Climb) or Rogue’s Edge (Climb).

Tip: even if you have goblin available to you as a race choice, halflings are better at this due to Sure-Footed, Underfoot Dodger, and a lot of other accumulated support over the years (e.g., Cautious Fighter, the Intrepid Volunteer trait, etc).

Note that Vexing Dodger forfeits Uncanny Dodge, so you may wish to explore other multiclass options to get it back.


gnoams wrote:

I have to chime in here about the vexing dodger, since someone earlier just gave them a bad rating. Having played one in pfs, it is my hands down favorite archetype in the game. Limb climber is amazing since it is just a climb check, part of a move, not a combat maneuver. So you can run right up to a guy, up his leg, and stick him in the back all in one round. There's so many ways to boost climbing, including a rogue trick to roll 2d20 every time, so it's almost a guaranteed success.

The dirty trick stuff isn't that great since you are going to be small, but at level 10, when I was getting hasted regularly, it was well worth using one attack for that. The stacking rebuffs of debilitating injury and dirty trick and climbing on them giving me an effective +15 AC.

Augh, yeah you're right. I misread the ability, and just assumed you didn't actually climb your opponent. This does raise some new concerns about the mechanics of the archetype, though.

If we're climbing we'll lose our Dex-to-AC and need both hands free.

Dex-to-AC can be solved by getting a climb speed, which is available to us as a Ninja Trick. The ability to use manufactured weapons would have to wait until lv 8 when we qualify for the Piercing Climb Weapon Trick (unless anyone else knows an earlier option).

Underfoot Trickster can be used even when you're not climbing, so that's actually pretty useful. If it wasn't a Swift action it would be great.

Updated Vexing Dodger:
Power: +1
Versatility: +1

As a Dexterity based climber, you absolutely need a climb speed to avoid losing your Dex-to-AC. This is available as the Ninja Trick Wall Climber which you'd be able to take at level 4.
Since you need both hands free to climb, you'd either need to depend on natural attacks, unarmed strikes, or weapons that don't use your hands.

You do lose Uncanny Dodge, but it is available to you as a Rogue Talent. And even if you don't climb anything, you still get the ability to make a Dirty Trick maneuver as a Swift action. If Dirty Trick maneuvers doesn't interest you, I'd not recommend this archetype at all.

***

*****

@ pad300

Yeah, relative to the class.

I am having trouble gauging the Power of Sylvan Trickster because I don't see the offensive strength increasing, thanks to action economy and low saves.

And while the option of Flight is just a straight upgrade, the loss of Uncanny Dodge is damaging. This archetype deserves a higher Power rating if you find a way to not be reliant on it.


Wonderstell wrote:
Dex-to-AC can be solved by getting a climb speed, which is available to us as a Ninja Trick.

Or any item offering Spider Climb will do, such as the slippers, or Claws of the Ice Bear.


Slim Jim wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:
Dex-to-AC can be solved by getting a climb speed, which is available to us as a Ninja Trick.
Or any item offering Spider Climb will do, such as the slippers, or Claws of the Ice Bear.

Oh damn, Slippers would be perfect. They also solve the "hands free" problem, too.


For the sylvan trickster, hex strike makes a hex a swift action addon to an unarmed hit. With an unchained rogue's debilitating strike (and preferably TWF) it's a doable tactic. A one level dip in monk may be useful to make unarmed combat work more easily but it's not required.


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I should probably put up something of my own for people to disagree with. There's more witch archetypes than in 2015 so here's some ratings for those currently unrated.

Witches!:
Ashiftah
Dip Power +2, Versatility -1
Full Power +1, Versatility -1
It loses the familiar which is a minor drop in power, but the next three abilities are all good. Ghostwalk is just great; at-will invisibility is good at any level but at 2nd it may be good enough to make a witch a 2 level dip for a martial character.

Coral Witch
Power 0, Versatility +1
Having your familiar be immune to mind affecting is a power increase but not enough of one to warrant a +1. Hexes from the waves spirit are just enough added versatility to give +1 there IMO; they are not more powerful than the witch hexes, usually less.

Demon-Sworn
Power 0, Versatility 0
Minor changes only & evil flavour but not an alignment requirement. If you want a quasit familiar regardless of alignment here's how to get one.

Flood Walker
Power -1, Versatility -1
Evil required and it looks like it's designed for a specific encounter somewhere rather than for general adventuring use. Possibly useful in a shipboard game? Possibly not.

Gingerbread Witch
Power +1, Versatility -1
Evil flavour (which probably tastes sweet here) but no alignment requirement. The changed/required hexes bounce around in terms of effectiveness, ranging from terrible to 'I can make a better grappler than a white-haired witch with this' to shadow conjuration. Use, but with caution.

Hagbound
Power 0, Versatility -1
Some powers which make you a better melee witch, but defence is a major problem for such and this archetype does nothing to alleviate that while also locking you out of the trickery patron (no mirror image). You lose most of your hexes for those powers too. Use, but with caution.

Havocker
Power -2, Versatility -2
You lose all your hexes and all your patron spells for terrible blasting ability. You'd be better just casting spells than using them for the spellburn which can enhance the blasts. Avoid!

Invoker
Power +1, Versatility 0
Assorted swift action buffs - to spellcasting, hexes, or to other combat abilities - in exchange for several hexes. You can build it several different ways, despite losing the hexes I'm not marking it down for versatility.

Jinx Witch
Power +1, Versatility -1
Three hexes lost, each has a solid replacement. I'm pretty sure there's ways to abuse the 6th & 10th level abilities with cooperation from your friends.

Mirror Witch
Power 0, Versatility 0
Lose your familiar, gain something very like a familiar with different but equivalent powers. If trading with other witches for spells is a likely means of gaining spells in your game drop it to versatility -1 though.

Nexian Spellspy (aka Spellspy, without Nexian)
Power 0, Versatility -1
Odd and specialised. Casting divination spells through your familiar is a minor plus, faking out divination spells is mostly a waste of your 4th level hex.

Pact Witch
Power 0, Versatility 0
Swap your patron spells for a new list of variable quality and replace your 6th level hex with improved familiar (7th level effect). Also you can't change alignment and get some cute cosmetic alteration of your choice. Fair changes in all cases IMO.

Putrefactor
Power -1, Versatility -1
Icky rather than evil. You don't get an actual hex until 8th level which sucks, the replacements are generally subpar and you're limited to one of 4 subpar patrons. Not a good choice, but not impossible to work with.

Rhetorician
Power 0, Versatility -1
Your patron spells get replaced with a different list. The new list is OK until 8th & 9th spell level. Also you lose your 1st level hex for a counter-Diplomacy ability which may never come up, though it's useful if it does.

Season Witch
Power 0, Versatility -1
In exchange for being locked to a certain patron and 1st level hex, you get a +1 DC with some class of spells. I'm not sure an effective +1 feat is worth Power +1, hence the rating. It's probably best with the Winter patron/season/prestige class.

Seducer
Power 0, Versatility 0
Paizo did eventually release a witch who isn't Int-based without getting cold feet and pulling back. Note that a seducer is a prepared Cha-based spellcaster, that part didn't change. While the list of patrons is limited, it covers enough areas that I don't think a versatility hit is justified. The hex swaps are OK and the level 1 swap is phrased so that you can pick up extra hex at that level if you want to. Also, yes you'll need to be willing to talk a bit about seduction if you are to get full use out of this archetype.

Tatterdemalion
Power 0, Versatility -1
Thematic & possibly fun. It does lock down a lot of your hexes, though the replacements are OK. There's a gentle push towards melee with the net and whip proficiencies and the prehensile hair hex.

Vellemancer
Power 0, Versatility -1
A required non-evil witch. You can loan the ability to use beneficial hexes to other characters - like your familiar if no one else. +1 CL (most situations) is a good replacement for your 6th level hex but I'm not sure that spontaneous casting of the +4 enhancement to an ability spells is a worthwhile replacement of your 8th level hex.

Venom Siphoner
Power -1, Versatility -1
Your familiar gets a weak poison and you can safely milk that poison from it, though without poison use you can't use it safely. Costing 2 hexes. Then at 6th level you can add that poison to your single target Fort save spells as a free action, or affect anyone attacking you in melee with a non-two handed weapon with it. If the poison wasn't so forgettable I'd rate this higher.

Witch-Watcher
Power -1, Versatility -1
Diminished spellcasting on a witches' spells/day, ouch. Then you get a few uses (witch level/2, min 1) of some minute/level buffs on one of your friends. It's not impossible but it is pretty bad.

Wyrm Witch
Power 0, Versatility 0
A familiar replacement which can still swap spells with normal witches' familiars, yay. This one acts most like a bonded item. It replaces your patron with a different one chosen off a list of six; there aren't great options but there are good ones.


avr wrote:

I should probably put up something of my own for people to disagree with. There's more witch archetypes than in 2015 so here's some ratings for those currently unrated.

** spoiler omitted **...

I am surprised that you are not listing season witch as a +1 for power. The wording is "as a bonus hex" which implies to me that season witches are up 1 hex over a normal witch... The DC bonus is just gravy.


pad300 wrote:
avr wrote:

I should probably put up something of my own for people to disagree with. There's more witch archetypes than in 2015 so here's some ratings for those currently unrated.

** spoiler omitted **...
I am surprised that you are not listing season witch as a +1 for power. The wording is "as a bonus hex" which implies to me that season witches are up 1 hex over a normal witch... The DC bonus is just gravy.

Could be, and definitely +1 power if so. I read 'This alters patron and the hex gained at 1st level' as that replacing the L1 hex, but I could certainly be wrong. It might be worth putting in a note about interpretations if there's uncertainty.


avr wrote:

I should probably put up something of my own for people to disagree with. There's more witch archetypes than in 2015 so here's some ratings for those currently unrated.

** spoiler omitted **...

Note that the Ashifta(*) gets Ranged Touch delivery of touch spells, meaning that this archetype shares with Cartomancer the relief from having to worry about sending your spellbook out to do the dirty deed, at the risk of it getting nuked. Actually, this is arguably even better for this than Cartomancer (although Cartomancer has its own advantages), since your veil that replaces Familiar mends itself and doesn't depend upon the torn-off piece coming back, whereas an opponent with Snatch Arrows has a chance to snag a card and then destroy it to hose the Harrow Deck.

(*)Just now saw this archetype -- thanks for pointing it out.


What's everyone's opinion on how the strength of Dips are explained in the guide?

I feel the Versatility evaluation is pointless since you're often dipping for one class feature, and Power will always be positive since that's why it is considered for Dips.

I'd favor a system where archetypes that are good for dipping simply have a tag, and that we then remove the Power/Versatility evaluation for Dips.


I feel that versatility in dips has to do with options. Ex a fighter dip gives a feat, but a slayer dip gives a static ability.

Speaking of fighter.

I give the Spear Fighter dips +2 Power, 0 versatility. Full +1 power, 0 versatility.

It gives up heavy armor proficiency, but it gives free dodge while not using heavy armor or shield. The parry feature trades out Armor Training/Mastery for a version of Parry and Riposte that gets better as you level.

It doesn't trade out Weapon Training (just forces the choice).


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Putting those changes in - a bit more detail on Ashiftah, and noting different interpretations on Season Witch:

revising 2 witch archetypes:
Ashiftah
Dip Power +2, Versatility -1
Full Power +1, Versatility -1
It loses the familiar which is a minor drop in power, but the next three abilities are all good. Ghostwalk is just great; at-will invisibility is good at any level but at 2nd it may be good enough to make a witch a 2 level dip for a martial character. The 3rd level power doesn't swap anything and may be part of losing the familiar, letting you use melee touch spells at 20' range (without making a familiar risk itself doing the dirty deed). Replacing the 6th level hex you get the barrow haze spell, apparently at-will.

Season Witch
Power 0, Versatility -1
In exchange for being locked to a certain patron and 1st level hex, you get a +1 DC with some class of spells. I'm not sure an effective +1 feat is worth Power +1 but if you read the hex change as giving you a 2nd hex at 1st level it certainly makes Power +1. It's probably best with the Winter patron/season/prestige class.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Link to the document, since we're on a new page now.

Wonderstell wrote:
I'd favor a system where archetypes that are good for dipping simply have a tag, and that we then remove the Power/Versatility evaluation for Dips.

Agreed; it's been a few years since we set the system in place, and dips have always felt like the clunky exceptional case. When you're dipping into a specific archetype, you're looking for something very specific and often aren't interested in the regular functions of the class at all. This makes it an apples to oranges comparison with the vanilla class.

The other tricky one is archetypes that are strong at some levels but very weak at others. Retraining rules means I'm personally inclined to rate them a bit higher, but those aren't necessarily available at every table. A good example is the Wizard archetype that gets Animate Dead as a 3rd level spell. Game-changer if you're playing at 5th level, basically inconsequential if you're playing at 10th and there's no reason to use the archetype.

Oh, and I did the summoner racial archetypes:

Summoner:

Blood God Disciple (Half-orc)
Power: +1
Versatility: -1
Trading off the summon monster spell-like ability for some more martial benefits, the Blood God Disciple can have his eidolon eat his enemies, then gains evolutions to bolster himself in combat. The very restrictive timing requirements on this ability means it's not particularly useful for utility, but along with this ability to rage at higher levels it makes the Summoner a potent front-liner in his own right. However, at very high levels he runs into the bane of all combat-focused summoners: he shares equipment slots with his eidolon. This means that one or the other of you will be under-geared, and suffer accordingly in combat.

Shadow Caller (Fetchling)
Power: +1
Versatility: 0
Gaining a modified summon monster list, the Shadow Caller loses out on a number of traditional options but gains some potentially gamebreaking ones: Shadows and Greater Shadows. These creatures have an alternate means of killing enemies, with touch attacks that deal strength damage and kill if the target reaches 0 strength score. This can cripple strength-based melee targets while threatening a quick death to those who lack a heightened strength score. Most of the other options are quite problematic, since their abilities affect everyone within range, and there is not necessarily an easy way to protect your allies.

Shaitan Binder (Oread)
Power: 0
Versatility: +1
This archetype gains a grab bag of useful utility options at a relatively moderate cost. The biggest problem isn't the archetype itself, but rather that Oreads suffer a charisma penalty. This is not ideal, and holds the archetype back.

Wild Caller (Half-elf)
Power: 0
Versatility: -1
This is just another in a long list of Summoner archetypes that trade the Summon Monster spell-like ability for Summon Nature's Ally, and simple fact is that the Summon Monster list is unambiguously superior. You do get some extra evolution points for your trouble, and the restrictions on your eidolon are not particularly onerous, and half-elf is one of the ideal races for a summoner, so overall it fares better than most other archetypes in this boat.

Shadow Lodge

Wonderstell wrote:
gnoams wrote:

I have to chime in here about the vexing dodger, since someone earlier just gave them a bad rating. Having played one in pfs, it is my hands down favorite archetype in the game. Limb climber is amazing since it is just a climb check, part of a move, not a combat maneuver. So you can run right up to a guy, up his leg, and stick him in the back all in one round. There's so many ways to boost climbing, including a rogue trick to roll 2d20 every time, so it's almost a guaranteed success.

The dirty trick stuff isn't that great since you are going to be small, but at level 10, when I was getting hasted regularly, it was well worth using one attack for that. The stacking rebuffs of debilitating injury and dirty trick and climbing on them giving me an effective +15 AC.

Augh, yeah you're right. I misread the ability, and just assumed you didn't actually climb your opponent. This does raise some new concerns about the mechanics of the archetype, though.

If we're climbing we'll lose our Dex-to-AC and need both hands free.

Dex-to-AC can be solved by getting a climb speed, which is available to us as a Ninja Trick. The ability to use manufactured weapons would have to wait until lv 8 when we qualify for the Piercing Climb Weapon Trick (unless anyone else knows an earlier option).

Underfoot Trickster can be used even when you're not climbing, so that's actually pretty useful. If it wasn't a Swift action it would be great.

** spoiler omitted **...

It definitely feels like an archetype that they didn't quite think all the way through. Assuming you use unchained rogue, at level 5 you pick up the climb skill unlock which takes care of the losing dex while climbing problem.


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Barbarians! Raaaaarrrrr! ...:

For purposes below, a "dip" is four or fewer levels, ideally only two or one levels. If an archetype listed below lacks a Dip entry, then the straight class offers nothing usefully different from core in its early levels. If the archetype has a Dip entry but not a non-dip entry, it means they are not dissimilar enough for differentiation -- for example an archetype whose differences are entirely front-loaded, such as Drunken Brute.

Core
Dip Power 0, Versatility +1
...stacking the core class barbarian into a martial build is actually a bit of a wash: you gain in offense but suffer in defense as fireplug resilience is traded for glass cannon firepower, and will find yourself needing the feat Raging Vitality at some point to stave off instant-death-syndrome. But you do get to move a little faster, and if you hang around for a second level, might find something handy on the Rage Power list that isn't easily duplicated by a feat or a wondrous item. Lastly, gaining Acrobatics, Perception, and Survival as class skills is a dollop of gravy for those who haven't sacked their intelligence too far.

Dip Power for all archetypes increases an additional +1 when +2 weaponry become available, as the Furious enhancement mimics a +3 weapon while raging. The core class is therefore Dip Power +1 in cash-rich PFS, but probably not in P6 until one's character is maxed-out and coasting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Armored Hulk
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
...there is little reason to dip this archetype as opposed to other choices unless one's other martial classes do not offer heavy armor, and heavy armor is what you want for the long haul.
Power +1, Versatility +1
...a straight upgrade for the full-metal rager, as heavier armor offsets the rage penalties to AC, leaving only the bonuses. A nice choice for the strength minmaxer, and slowed movement is eventually waived. Archetype forfeits Uncanny Dodge, which is like, whatever, bruh? to those with a 12 or even less in dexterity.

Beastkin Berserker
Power -1 until 8th, then 0 until 12th, then +1; Versatility 0 until 4th, then +1
...if an animal can do it, so can you. (But see Flesheater farther down.)

Breaker
Power -1 to 0, Versatility 0
...unless you're designing a Sunder maneuver specialist and/or an improvised weapon user, Breaker offers little at the expense of forfeiting fast movement.

Brutal Pugilist
Power 0, Versatility 0
...this archetype caters to those barbarians who've given up on armor-class entirely. Power +1 if Con is your highest stat, and you prefer to complete your monster-tooth-and-spine collection from the inside.

Brutish Swamper
Power -1, Versatility 0
...if you live in a bog and lack the 6000gp for Jungle Boots, this is your salvation.

Cave Dweller
Power -1, Versatility 0
...Increase power rating to +1 if a light-sensitive race without Darkvision stuck in a subterranean campaign.

Deepwater Rager
Power -1, Versatility 0
...yet another terrain-shackled archetype.

Dreadnought
Dip Power +1, Versatility 0
...half-strength rage benefits for no AC penalties is an attractive trade-off, and too bad you can't pounce now. But if you're dipping, you don't pounce anyway, so +1.
Power +myeh until 14th, then +1
...at high-level, gain fear immunity and effortless rage-cycling a bit later.

Drunken Brute
Dip Power 0, Versatility +1
...this archetype is one of the very few means in the whole game of being able to consume potions faster than as a standard action. (You could do so with the Accelerated Drinker trait, but that's a combat trait, and there are so very, very many other nice choices in that category.)

Elemental Kin
Power 0, Versatility 0
...for the discerning barbarian stuck in an no-rest dungeon-crawl with a less-than-normal distribution of traps. I'm tempted to dock the archetype a point just for largely being a waste of a cool name.

Fearsome Defender
Power 0, Versatility 0
...Unafraid Defender would be a more accurate title. Let's you dump your wisdom in point-buy, I guess, provided you have other will-save gear or attribute-redirection mechanics

Feral Gnasher
Dip Power +1, Versatility 0
...gain a bite attack (1st) and the grab ability (3rd) if you are a goblin whose other classes provide the forfeited armor and weapon proficiencies.
Power -2, Versatility -1
...this is what the goblin mooks your PC is easily killing are. Don't be a mook. (See True Primitive below.)

Flesheater
Dip Power 0, Versatility +3
...Step 1: buy a thrush (1sp) and make soup. Mmm. Step 2: rage. Step 3: FLY! (Other barbarians fly into a rage, you rage into flight!)
Power +1 to +all the plusses (scaling), Versatility +3 to +even mo betta' (scaling)
...Please, Sir, may I be a pouncer at 8th? Sure! You'd think this archetype would require you to be an evil cannibal or some other such onerous restriction, but nope, and it's even PFS-legal! And note that you are not required to eat raw flesh either. You can be a civilized member in good standing of the Epicurean PETM* Society. (*People Easting Tasty Monsters) So, bon appétit! Carry a bandolier full of teriyaki jerky of your favorite delicious creatures.

Geminate Invoker
Dip Power +1, Versatility +?
...an ideal one-level dip for the "strength rogue" starting to feel seriously suboptimal around 7th and thereabouts and casting about for retraining ideas, this archetype offers a beefy d12 for 1st-level HP, unmolested barbarian weapon and armor proficiencies, and rage benefits to Con, reflex saves and will saves (so, all your saves). There are no gains to an attack attribute, however, but neither is there a penalty to AC, and skill-usage is unaffected while "trancing".
Power -2, Versatility 0
...if pounce is your mambajamba, there are better means to acquire it than this strength bonus-forfeiting, rage power-butchering archetype.

Giant Stalker
Power -1, Versatility -1
...if you're around giants all the time, then those minuses are plusses.

Hateful Rager
Dip Power 0, Versatility +1
...Gain Favored Enemy (and hence access to the rich variety of items, feats, and other good stuffs involving that mechanic).
Power 0, Versatility 0
...You're essentially a ranger who has swapped his spells and combat styles for barbarian rage and hit-dice. From a barbarian perspective, you do more damage, but it eats up a third of your rage powers (so maybe you're doing less without them). Looks good on paper, but probably even in play.

Hurler
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
...if you're all about the tossing, this stacks with Savage Technologist for all sorts of dex-rage fun.

Invulnerable Rager
Power 0, Versatility 0
...In 2010, this might have seemed awesome, but it's quickly faded into the background behind more interesting archetypes all clamoring to cash out the same class abilities Invulnerable also forfeits.

Jungle Rager
Power 0, Versatility 0
...not as good as Brutish Swamper (of which it is similar to and does not stack with), but also paradoxically not as bad since it doesn't forfeit Fast Movement. Look elsewhere for your archetype unless you are the mooks and have no choice.

Mad Dog
Power +2, Versatility +2
...Imagine cavalier if it wasn't an annoying pain in the ass with suboptimal sidekicks, and this is it! Order your T-Rex or Megaloceros over Scry-Prime within the next 24hrs and get free shipping! Dip a few levels into Drill Instructor fighter and Primal Companion Hunter, and you're good to go with your Pack Flanking Paired Opportunists Ferocious Beast. Holy bugger is that thing vicious. (Keep your fingers out of the cage, kids, unless ya wanna lose 'em.) And, yes, you can stack Drunken Brute, because there are no DUI laws on Golarion. --This archetype is so balls-awesome that it doesn't even forfeit Fast Movement, so you can catch up to your critter if you fall out of the saddle.

Mooncursed
Power -1, Versatility +1
...Provides benefits that are similar to but considerably delayed and weaker than Flesheater's at every level save 1st (which is Flesheater's "tax" level).

Mounted Fury
Power 0, Versatility +1
...let's take the sucky part of Cavalier and add it to barbarian, and level-penalize it even further. No, wait, just be a Mad Dog. Yes, you should definitely do that instead. Make a will-save, DC 2, and reroll the 1s.

Numerian Liberator
Power -1, Versatility -1
...if you're around constructs all the time, then those minuses are plusses.

Pack Rager
Power -1 until 7th, then +(scaling); Versatility +(scaling)
...attend carefully to the following fine-print: "Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of these teamwork feats.". In a martial-heavy party, share Paired Opportunists with everybody and hand out +1/Fortuitous polearms. If they can rage (and they can, after the caster unspools Blood Rage), share Amplified Rage -- because who wouldn't want a +14 or even higher morale bonus to strength? If you're 13th level, share both!

Primal Hunter
Power 0, Versatility 0
...this is just inferior to Savage Technologist (which it will not stack with) in every way, and insulting in that the archetype came out two years after the Adaptive bow enhancement arrived to eliminate the costliest annoyance facing early archers. Can do more damage with arrows as a "bowbarian" if you spend a ridiculous amount of gold on a bow with a strength-rating higher than you'd ever possibly reach, but giving up the rage bonus to wisdom and +10 move will be a deal-breaker for most. You're much better off simply dipping SavTech in a Luring Cavalier build or a samurai with a Diakyu of Commanding Presence. Or being a Erastil warpriest and/or Evangelist, because those are things now, too, if you're pursuing the bleeding edge of archery DPR.

Raging Cannibal
Power -1, Versatility -1
...all the penalties that Flesheater doesn't have to gain none of its benefits!

Savage Barbarian
Power 0 to +(slow scaling), Versatility -1
...if your dexterity is so high (or low) that you don't bother wearing armor, this will steadily offset your raging AC penalty with leveling.

Savage Technologist
Dip Power +3, Versatility +2
...arguably the best pure martial dip in the game: this bestows the benefits of rage and more with none of the penalties (well, aside from inability to pick locks or cast spells while angry, but that's what Moment of Clarity is for), this is the equivalent of giving your straight-class fighter all of the following: Greater Weapon Focus (every weapon in the game, melee and ranged), Weapon Specialization (every weapon), Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, +10 move, +2 to AC and armor dexterity prospects, and +3 to Acrobatics and Perception. If your tank is taking any several of those (and you know damned well they are) as traits, feats, and item purchases, you could be getting them all for free with a single multiclass step out into this archetype and a feat plunk for Extra Rage. Add another +1 Power if you're a half-orc with an Amplified Rage shtick. You can even TWF with a gun in melee without eating AoOs; yes, this archetype is just stupid good, because we're not done handing out even more bling: let's be proficient in all firearms too while we're at it. Now I know what you're thinking: "What tickets do I punch to get on this fabulous swag-train?" Answer: medium-armor proficiency (which you're getting from another class, or not caring about because you'll be rocking mithral breastplate with Armor Expert trait for zero ACO) and Uncanny Dodge (which you don't receive at 1st-level anyway and which your other full-BAB classes don't provide either). So in other words: squadoosh. And people say martials can't have nice things.
Power +1, Versatility 0
...add +1 to both if Gunslinger deed abilities from other sources, and add another +1 at 7th.

Scarred Rager
Power 0, Versatility 0
...rightly regarded as anti-conceptual by dungeon-crawler GMs groaning over the incongruity of melding mentally-unhinged mania with time-increment rage-cycle bean-counting, they rest easy in their knowledge that, aside from blown save rerolling, this archetype offers the player no new powers for his character while rendering him flank-bait for the rogues hiding behind the stalagmites.

Sea Reaver
Power 0, Versatility +1
...for the poor sailor who cannot afford a Bottle of Air, Goz Mask, and Slippers of Spider Climbing, and desperately needs all of them at the expense of Uncanny Dodge (which he's also going to need since he only receives light armor proficiency and probably has pretty decent dexterity for that reason).

Sharptooth
Power 0, Versatility 0
...if you were a Flesheater who ate only sharks.

Shoanti Burn Rider
Power 0, Versatility +1
...you get a weak horse; yah! (Why are you not a Mad Dog?)

Superstitious
Power 0 to +(very slow scaling), Versatility 0 to +(very slow scaling)
...in contrast to the popular rage power of the same name, this archetype is of little interest save to those who desperately need to see in the dark sans equipment...at 10th level, and it's a terrible campaign where you can't afford gear by then. At very high level, more beneficent goodies await the extremely patient and easily-satisfied player.

Titan Mauler
Dip Power +1, Versatility 0
...a beautiful stack with Savage Technologist in a dex-bumping small race.
Power -2 to +(scaling), Versatility 0
...that nice ability granted at 1st? Now flush it at 2nd if you actually fight in the manner suggested rather than with standard gear for your size in most other archetypes. Provided you can survive many, many levels of whiffing all the time (because you're an probability-challenged fourteen year-old player also Power Attacking for truly crippling penalties), this infamous "munchkin-trap" archetype slowly rises to the level of not entirely sucking.

Totem Warrior
Power --, Versatility --
...a player doesn't choose this archetype per se, he merely becomes one (in addition to anything else) upon selecting certain sets of totem rage powers.

True Primitive
Power -2, Versatility -1
...Ewoks! Shoot them with your turbo-lasers! Shoot them with everything ya got!

Untamed Rager
Power 0, Versatility 0
...for those who'd rather exchange barbarian class abilities for Intimidate bonuses and the Dirty Trick feat-chain rather than feat slots.

Urban Barbarian
Dip Power +1, Versatility +1
...prior to Savage Technologist and Urban Bloodrager, this was the go-to archetype for dex-raging TWF crit-fishers, and may remain a better dip for certain rogue types tasked with frequently using otherwise prohibited skills while raging.
Power 0, Versatility +1
...of chief interest to dex-ragers, but may also appeal to elves and other Con-penalized races who cannot take Raging Vitality without suffering crippling MAD problems in point-buy.

Wild Rager
Power +2. Versatility 0
...Pathfinder's answer to 3e's Frenzied Berserker, this is the archetype consciously chosen by evil players who secretly yearn to murder their teammates while pretending to be only chaotic-neutral. Str 20, Wis 7...yeees, that's how you do it. Banned in PFS, because of course it is, you silly goose.

Wildborn
Power -1, Versatility -1
...see True Primitive. They're not as bad, but feel free to blaze away anyway.


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Slim Jim wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

This was a pretty funny read - you should write more of these...


Temperans wrote:
It doesn't trade out Weapon Training (just forces the choice).

A thing I noticed about the spear fighter is that it only forces the 1st choice, leaving you the ability to grab advanced weapon training stuff with your future choices or you can specialize in a 2nd weapon if you want. Compared to other "you gotta pick this one" weapon archetypes, that's huge. So weapon training 2, 3, and 4 are yours to do what you want with.


@Slim Jim: Mad dog barbarian has its points, but you lose half your rage powers and don't get rage at all until 4th level. It's a slow burn to get going; power +2 seems too much to me.

Also the range is +/- 2, +3 is just being a fanboi.

@Dasrak: as of the plane-hopper's handbook there are oread subraces, including one with a Cha bonus.

Also apparently SNA is not restricted to being usable only when the eidolon is not present like the SM ability is, and this behaviour is by design.


Slim Jim wrote:
...arguably the best pure martial dip in the game: this bestows the benefits of rage and more with none of the penalties (well, aside from inability to pick locks or cast spells while angry, but that's what Moment of Clarity is for), this is the equivalent of giving your straight-class fighter all of the following: Greater Weapon Focus (every weapon in the game, melee and ranged), Weapon Specialization (every weapon), Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, +10 move, +2 to AC and armor dexterity prospects, and +3 to Acrobatics and Perception.

The Great Fortitude part is the good Fortitude save from the class, right?

While my dip of choice is the Bloodrager for the familiar at first level, it is tempting to take the Savage Technologist.

***

Also, is anyone else unable to view the document?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
avr wrote:


@Dasrak: as of the plane-hopper's handbook there are oread subraces, including one with a Cha bonus.

Also apparently SNA is not restricted to being usable only when the eidolon is not present like the SM ability is, and this behaviour is by design.

Cool; strike that from the list of complaints then.

I also disagree on the Wild Caller's SNA being usable at the same time as the eidolon because:

Wild Caller wrote:
This ability otherwise functions like the standard summoner’s summon monster I ability and replaces that ability.

It doesn't say it lifts the restriction, therefor it inherits it.


avr wrote:
@Slim Jim: Mad dog barbarian has its points, but you lose half your rage powers and don't get rage at all until 4th level. It's a slow burn to get going; power +2 seems too much to me.

As noted in the core section at the top, I consider "normal" rage to be Dip Power 0 (i.e., a wash) because the lowered AC just means you're going to get your clock cleaned more often, especially at low level where you don't have a lot of hitpoints even as a barbarian. (In my experience, barbarians were the most commonly-croaked class in low-level PFS.) So, delaying it until 4th in exchange for an awesome animal you can use right away is just fabulous win. Even a standard horse with its extra attacks, AoOs, and meatwall soaking potential is a much, much better deal than rage at 1st-to-3rd level. (Heck, you'll get double damage lance-charging without any Mounted feats at all.) Regards losing some rage powers, you'll still pursue the good ones.

Wonderstell wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
...arguably the best pure martial dip in the game: this bestows the benefits of rage and more with none of the penalties (well, aside from inability to pick locks or cast spells while angry, but that's what Moment of Clarity is for), this is the equivalent of giving your straight-class fighter all of the following: Greater Weapon Focus (every weapon in the game, melee and ranged), Weapon Specialization (every weapon), Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, +10 move, +2 to AC and armor dexterity prospects, and +3 to Acrobatics and Perception.
The Great Fortitude part is the good Fortitude save from the class, right?
Yes.
Quote:
While my dip of choice is the Bloodrager for the familiar at first level, it is tempting to take the Savage Technologist.

It'll give you Alertness and some other ability, but it's hard to argue against SavTech for shear offensive gain in a one- or two-level dip with no further babysitting necessary thereafter. If one's Bloodrager archetype rages "normally", he's AC-4 behind SavTech while raging, and whatever free feat he's getting from his phantom's emotional focus is offset by the eventual need for Raging Vitality. Keeping a 1st-level familiar alive also becomes a chore by mid-level; you can put it in a satchel, but that doesn't protect it from poison gas, drowning, and so forth. If, otoh, it likes to ride in your haversack with its head poked out and ducks inside at the onset of combat, then it's in an extra-dimensional space and no longer "adjacent" to you (so goodbye Alertness and whatever other familiar-granting mechanics you had going on).


I'm still unable to access to document.
Any update, Hyland?


Hi Wonderstell,
I'm not sure what the issue might be, I haven't touched any of the permissions. here is the LINK to view again, just in case.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The edit link you sent me doesn't work anymore either; I can only view the document now. It might be easier to just add us by our Google accounts.


Apologies for that. Wonderstell & Dasrak, please pm me your addresses and I'll add you as editors.
For everyone, I think I've added most of the recent additions from this thread. To ensure overall quality (and make my work a bit easier,) please stick to this format:

Archetype Name
Dip Power X, Versatility X
Full Power X, Versatility X
Explanatory Copy. This should be stand alone copy, ie it shouldn't reference other archetypes (unless described in the copy) and shouldn't assume the reader understands the intricacies of the system.

Even if you don't have a score for the dip (or full) please include the line. You can use Dip Power -, Versatility - , for example, if you don't have a dip score.

Thanks!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We were actually talking about getting rid of the dip rating entirely. It's not relevant to the vast majority of archetypes, and even in the cases where it is relevant it's often an apples-to-oranges comparison since the kind of builds that would use the class as a dip are completely different from the ones that would take the class straight.


Huh, now the old links work again.
Just so you know, Hyland, the link you just provided is an Edit-link, not View. You can easily see this by simply copying the link address, as it clearly says "edit?usp=sharing" at the end of it.

It has speed up the editing process, but I think you should restrict it to commenting/suggest edits. That way people can contribute in a more orderly fashion, as you'd have to "okay" them.


I feel we've managed to get the interest going, and made some real progress during these last few days. So if there's anyone willing to make some contributions, here's some classes in desperate need of your love.

Untouched by the eons:
Antipaladin
Cavalier
Druid
Investigator
Medium
Mesmerist
Unchained Monk
Ninja
Occultist
Paladin
Psychic
Samurai
Shaman
Spiritualist
Warpriest

***

Half-Finished:
Arcanist
Bloodrager
Cleric
Fighter
Gunslinger
Hunter
Inquisitor
Kineticist
Magus
Monk
Oracle
Ranger
Skald
Slayer

***

Remember that even though the trend recently has been to work through one class at a time, it's perfectly fine to review just one archetype.

So if you want to share your favorite archetype, tell us why it's great even though it may not be the best, go right ahead.

If you want to bash that one archetype you're convinced is there only to make NPCs weaker, go right ahead (but keep it civilized).

If you want to challenge an existing review, that's also fine. Just explain why you think it's not "100% totally accurate".


Dasrak wrote:
We were actually talking about getting rid of the dip rating entirely. It's not relevant to the vast majority of archetypes, and even in the cases where it is relevant it's often an apples-to-oranges comparison since the kind of builds that would use the class as a dip are completely different from the ones that would take the class straight.

Well, that is exactly why many of use would find "dip" ratings to be very useful in highlighting front-loaded archetypes.


Yeah, but does every archetype need a rating as a dip? Most of the spellcasters shouldn't ever be used as dips IMO, or at least most of the witches - that was a thought I had when rating those. And if you did the archetype wouldn't likely affect the dip signficantly.


Accessed at link given above, dated "1/13/19". 2 problems that I see:
* For some reason all the text (not just the section headings) is still centered, with the exception of the Table of Contents.
* It didn't incorporate avr's Witch archetype reviews (I just did a real quick check for that particular section, so apologies if someone else's contributions aren't there and I didn't mention it here).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wonderstell wrote:

Remember that even though the trend recently has been to work through one class at a time, it's perfectly fine to review just one archetype.

If you want to challenge an existing review, that's also fine. Just explain why you think it's not "100% totally accurate".

Agreed; opinions about single archetypes, and alternate opinions on archetypes already rated, are definitely helpful to the guide. I'm always open for second opinions on what I've rated, especially if you think you have a way of working with something that looks unworkable.

avr wrote:
Yeah, but does every archetype need a rating as a dip? Most of the spellcasters shouldn't ever be used as dips IMO, or at least most of the witches - that was a thought I had when rating those. And if you did the archetype wouldn't likely affect the dip signficantly.

When it was originally proposed it was with the Fighter in mind, which is an extremely dip-friendly class and thus how it applies to dips was a major consideration. This never translated over well to other less dip-friendly classes.

It's fair to say that a lot of builds dip fighter or paladin or monk, and would do so even if it were unarchetyped, so it's fair to ask how an archetype looks from that standpoint. For classes like the wizard, though, no one dips them to begin with, so any build dipping into an archetype is doing so exclusively for what that archetype offers (ie, Spellslinger Wizard) so it's an apples-to-oranges comparison with the unarchetyped class and you really can't make a relative comparison.


Hi everyone,
First, thanks for your patience and input.

RE: Dips. We have a substantial number of archetypes that already have dip ratings. I don't want to lose that knowledge. If you don't have a dip rating for an archetype, that's fine. Just keep the same formatting and leave the dip section blank (ie, you haven't rated it) or with a dash "-" (ie a dip is meaningless.) That will help build us toward the holy grail of a uniformly formatted document.

RE: Links. The last link above is view only. The "edit" language in the URL actually doesn't mean you can edit. I tested by logging out of all google accounts and using that link to get back to the document, it was view only for me. Also (and interestingly, to me at least) I generated links for commenting, editing and viewing. They all end with "edit?usp=sharing"

Re: Witches. I'm not sure why you aren't seeing them, UnArcaneElection. I have them added as of 1:30 pm yesterday. (With the big caveat that I haven't yet followed by own rules for formatting, I will though!) That said, considering all the problems we've been having with links that work, don't work and then work again, maybe it's a google doc issue?


Hyland wrote:
RE: Links. The last link above is view only. The "edit" language in the URL actually doesn't mean you can edit. I tested by logging out of all google accounts and using that link to get back to the document, it was view only for me. Also (and interestingly, to me at least) I generated links for commenting, editing and viewing. They all end with "edit?usp=sharing"

This is just odd. Now I'm unable to edit the document, although I've previously been able to do so just fine. Would you mind allowing commenting?

And I guess I was jumping to conclusions about the "edit?usp=sharing" part, since it's still the same link.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
* For some reason all the text (not just the section headings) is still centered, with the exception of the Table of Contents.

Yeah I believe that was intentional. The OP of this thread (back in 2015) apparently liked it centered, and that design choice seems to have survived.


Slim Jim wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Is this supposed to be for PFS only? Because otherwise, I have no idea why Beastkin Berserker is rated lower than Flesheater (other than Fleasheater's kickass level 20 capstone, I admit). Outside of PFS and outside of level 20, Flesheater just seems like a weaker, more restrictive version of Beastkin Berserker.


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There's a lot of investigator archetypes and unlike psychic classes or Japanese-named classes they're not often banned, instead they're off the table about as often as the paladin IME. Someone needs to take a look at them.

Investigators, A-E:
Antiquarian
Power +1, Versatility 0
Arcane spells (though with no ASF) using the alchemist list and curse resistance in place of the poison abilities (resistance and lore) are the main changes here. Being able to cast spells on others easily makes it good, Haste is so much better when you can cast it on the whole party at once.

Bonded investigator
Power 0, Versatility +1
A familiar in place of the poison abilities, and it can use inspiration and gets to share extracts as if they were spells. Studied strike loses 1d6 damage also. Familiars are useful and alchemist polymorph extracts will make one more so.

Cartographer
Dip Power 0, Versatility +1
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
Lose a few minor abilities to be able spend 10 minutes to draw a map which allows you to use inspiration for free on physical skills while in the mapped area. Plus you get faster overland travel. This is an ability you'd notice most at low levels IMO, and would make a 2-level investigator dip slightly more useful.

Cipher
Power -1, Versatility 0
This archetype's about stealth. It's good at that but you have to be willing to sacrifice your investigator talents until L13, poison abilities and trapfinding, which last hurts stealth out of combat. Inattention blindness may seem cool but the save DC's too low considering that invisibility doesn't even have a save DC, and it affects too few targets. Maybe it's intended as a backup to invisibility? Don't rely on it alone anyway.

Conspirator
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power -1, Versatility 0
You lose trapfinding, the base skills you can use inspiration for free on, trap sense and one investigator talent for the underworld inspiration investigator talent, and a bonus to spotting scrying sensors later on. If you're only taking one level of investigator and won't be getting an investigator talent this might be useful, otherwise it's just a bad trade.

Cryptid scholar
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power -1, Versatility 0
You lose the poison abilities, studied combat and studied strike for a bonus to identifying monsters, a weak group buff and a sort of group studied strike. If you just want the bonus to identifying monsters that seems to come in immediately and might make an OK dip. Since studied combat is important to investigators who want to actually fight and the group buff is weak as I said, I couldn't recommend it in the longer term - but some people who play investigators just don't want to fight. It might be good for them.

Cult hunter
Power -1, Versatility -1
Random swaps to ensure no other archetype could be compatible with this, and studied combat is +1 better vs a cult you've just studied, 1 worse vs. everyone else. Unless you're expecting cults to be by far the main enemy this is bad.

Dread investigator
Power -2, Versatility -1
Inspiration and studied combat get a 3 level delay, studied strike is 1d6 less, and you lose the investigator's poison abilities. In exchange you get to animate dead (but not to command them in any way) and resistance to negative energy. Why would you do this?

Empiricist
Power +1, Versatility 0
You get to use Int as the ability mod for several skills, and you get bonuses vs. illusions including swapping Int for Wis on the save if you spend an inspiration point. You lose the poison abilities and swift alchemy. Good but possibly overrated by those who love Intelligence.

Engineer
Power 0, Versatility 0
You can give your inspiration to others for a few minutes by making a device and giving it to them. I think it's one use as an immediate action within those few minutes, which looks like it'd be useful only occasionally. You lose trapfinding and the poison abilities. Not worth it IMO, but not bad enough to be worth downgrading for power or versatility. For the flavour you might prefer the scavenger archetype.


Kaouse wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...
Is this supposed to be for PFS only? Because otherwise, I have no idea why Beastkin Berserker is rated lower than Flesheater (other than Fleasheater's kickass level 20 capstone, I admit). Outside of PFS and outside of level 20, Flesheater just seems like a weaker, more restrictive version of Beastkin Berserker.

You can fly at 2nd-level as a Flesheater. All you need is 1sp and time to make thrush soup. (Unless you're a goblin, in which case stuff that thing down raw, feathers and all.)

Flesheater is the far more versatile archetype because you don't actually turn into the animal while gaining its abilities:

Flesheater wrote:
At 5th level, the flesheater can take on any number of the creature’s abilities that are listed under beast shape I. At 8th level, the flesheater can instead take on one of the creature’s abilities listed under beast shape II. The flesheater’s appearance alters to resemble the consumed creature, but she does not change shape....

So at 8th, I'll pop a bite of big cat jerky and gain Pounce, Grab, Low-light vision, and Scent, while remaining a humanoid capable of using manufactured equipment to 2hPA klonk people in the head with my furious/fortuitous/leveraging polearm. And I have to option of declining Grab if the GM determines that that would require my hands to turn into paws without opposable thumbs.

It's so good that, in address to avr's comment earlier: "+3 is just being a fanboi." -- ...I give +3s to overly permissive archetypes that GMs have a good reason to keep an eye on in their campaigns. For instance, they may feel that PCs flying at 2nd level (without spells or magical equipment) not only breaks their view of verisimilitude, but also demolishes a lot of options they'd otherwise have in adventure-design. Walls, for example, become worthless as a barrier a lot sooner than they'd otherwise be for the party.


So I can do the occultist ones, but I have to ask- should I make assumptions about availability of panoplies?

Since in any environment where "trappings of the warrior" is available, the battle host is straight up a trap, since it's less casty and less fighty than a vanilla occultist that has access to the "full BAB patch" which is the panoply (even if Spirit Warrior is cool.)

But PFS does not allow fully half of the panoplies, so a melee focused occultist *could* be a battle host there without being at a huge disadvantage.


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That'd be fine Slim Jim, except that's not the ground rules for this document, which is a shared creation so needs such. Those read 'Great (+2), Good (+1), Average (0), Bad (-1) and Terrible (-2)'. Ignoring them, if I was too offensive with my comment earlier, is turning it up to eleven.

BTW the current doc takes an annoying while to load. Anyone else think it needs to be divided up?

@PossibleCabbage: I don't think PFS rules should be the default. You might mention them if you like but IMO you shouldn't ignore an option because PFS bans it. And even outside PFS battle host has a use as a dip I think.


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@Possible Cabbage: PFS is not the default. Previous reviews have just made mention of any differences in PFS. As to the occultist, I think your second line "Since in any...." and is perfect for the guide. I would just offer that type of advice. That is the kind of stuff that no-system-mastery lurkers like me love to read. Insightful and fun.

@Wonderstell: PM sent!

@avr: Thank you! Please do use this formatting even when there is no dip score:
Dip Power , Versatility
Full Power , Versatility
It saves me a bunch of time in aggregate.

RE: +3 (or any other variation) Please keep it to -2 to +2, or "-" if not relevant. avr nailed the rationale.

RE: Centering. My secret dream is to get this on Broken Zenith's site. I'm a big fanboy and I suppose I kept the centering to mirror his site... and my dreams. ;) There will be a ton of minor editing when this is closer to completion. Until then I'm mostly worried about content.


On Flesheater: You can potentially abuse how Polymorph means a material component pouch contains a piece of of all animals. Otherwise the archetype doesn't really take off till level 14. Till then you need of bookkeeping and prep time to transform into something useful if you don't want to be a boar, bison or normal bird.

Mooncursed is Power +2 for Androids, since they can actually use the bonuses it gives them.


Slim Jim wrote:
Kaouse wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...
Is this supposed to be for PFS only? Because otherwise, I have no idea why Beastkin Berserker is rated lower than Flesheater (other than Fleasheater's kickass level 20 capstone, I admit). Outside of PFS and outside of level 20, Flesheater just seems like a weaker, more restrictive version of Beastkin Berserker.

You can fly at 2nd-level as a Flesheater. All you need is 1sp and time to make thrush soup. (Unless you're a goblin, in which case stuff that thing down raw, feathers and all.)

Flesheater is the far more versatile archetype because you don't actually turn into the animal while gaining its abilities:

Flesheater wrote:
At 5th level, the flesheater can take on any number of the creature’s abilities that are listed under beast shape I. At 8th level, the flesheater can instead take on one of the creature’s abilities listed under beast shape II. The flesheater’s appearance alters to resemble the consumed creature, but she does not change shape....

So at 8th, I'll pop a bite of big cat jerky and gain Pounce, Grab, Low-light vision, and Scent, while remaining a humanoid capable of using manufactured equipment to 2hPA klonk people in the head with my furious/fortuitous/leveraging polearm. And I have to option of declining Grab if the GM determines that that would require my hands to turn into paws without opposable thumbs.

It's so good that, in address to avr's comment earlier: "+3 is just being a fanboi." -- ...I give +3s to overly permissive archetypes that GMs have a good reason to keep an eye on in their campaigns. For instance, they may feel that PCs flying at 2nd level (without spells or magical equipment) not only breaks their view of verisimilitude, but also demolishes a lot of options they'd otherwise have in adventure-design. Walls, for example, become worthless as a barrier a lot sooner than they'd otherwise be for the party.

You can fly at level 2. A Beastkin Berserker Barbarian can fly at level 4. Not a huge selling point.

As for the part about eating a Big Cat and grabbing Pounce, Grab, Low-light vision, and Scent, note that as written, you only get one of those abilities at a time. A Beastkin Berserker can get all of them, simultaneously.

Furthermore, it's not a particularly huge advantage to use manufactured weapons when the Beastkin Berserker Barbarian gets a natural attack routine with more attacks and less iterative attack penalties.

You can enhance your weapon easier, sure, but the (non-PFS) Beastkin Berserker is already working with a greater bonus to hit than the Flesheater ever gets until Level 20, when both will have fully enhanced weapons anyway.

Note, I'm not saying that Flesheater is bad, I'm just saying that I think that Beastkin Berserker Barbarians deserve a better score than what they have right now.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think there's a lot of hyperbole going on here, so I'll just drop my two cents on the Beastkin and Flesheater archetypes; I feel they are reasonably close to each other, and personally I'd rate them both at +1/+1 since they both offer a lot to work with but have some strong limitations that hold them in check. They differ mostly depending on whether you'd prefer a natural attack or manufactured weapon build. The Flesheater is restricted by what's available to eat, the Beastkin has an extremely limited selection of forms to pick from. There are other more nuanced points, but I see both as above-average and well-rounded options that fill similar niches.


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Continuing with investigator archetypes.

Investigators, F-M:
Forensic Physician
Dip Power -1, Versatility 0
Full Power -1, Versatility -1
You lose trapfinding to be better at the heal skill, and lose a couple of investigator talents to gain info via heal. Pretty obviously an NPC archetype.

Gravedigger
Dip Power 0, Versatility -1
Full Power +1, Versatility -1
Props for making a mildly functional necromancer unlike, oh, the dread investigator. It does lose a few abilities to do so, and working out exactly what it can do takes some thinking, but even at 1st level it can raise a necromantic servant to be a meat shield. If you want to give yourself a real headache try to figure out what happens if you multiclass this with occultist.

Guardian of Immortality
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
The fluff suggests this is NPC only but the crunch is workable for a PC. Much of the archetype is about gaining information (which investigator players may be fine with) and it trades out relatively little for that - the poison abilities and investigator talents at levels 7 and 13. You also get some other random abilities like resist fire and free inspiration on disguise.

Hallucinist
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power -1, Versatility -1
Good sensory abilities, limited illusions and abilities with drugs are what this archetype does, in exchange for 6 (!) talents, trapfinding, the poison abilities and some more. It's not worth as much as it trades but it doesn't look impossible to work with.

Infiltrator
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
Losing trapfinding and poison abilities to be better at disguise is a change in focus but not generally a gain or loss in power or versatility.

Jinyiwei
Dip Power 0, Versatility -1
Full Power 0, Versatility -1
You lose alchemy for Wis-based inspiration and spellcasting as an inquisitor, plus a weakened judgement. Trapfinding vanishes for some perception-type bonuses, trap sense for a save bonus. This makes you a lot like an inquisitor obviously; worse at combat, better at skills than one. It's probably more appropriate to compare to the inquisitor but the ratings above are my guess as to how it rates against a normal investigator, for consistency.

Lamplighter
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility +1
Some light related SLAs powered by extracts, and bonuses to initiative. You lose poison abilities, trap sense and keen recollection. No big deals there but it doesn't say your extracts - if you can buy 'castings' off an NPC alchemist or investigator you can extend your day noticeably at a fairly cheap cost.

Majordomo
Dip Power -2, Versatility 0
Full Power -2, Versatility 0
It's an NPC archetype (teamwork feats are not a serious substitute for extracts) but one that you'd really like to have on your cohort in a kingdom-building game. Useful to have but not useful to be.

Malice Binder
Dip Power -1, Versatility -1
Full Power -2, Versatility -1
Fetters and ranger traps aren't serious substitutes for extracts either, nor is the steal combat maneuver. It comes with loads of flavour but no particularly useful role in combat, and unlike the majordomo you wouldn't especially want one working for you.

Mastermind
Dip Power 0, Versatility -1
Full Power 0, Versatility -1
The fluff suggests NPC but with two clear NPC archetypes just above to compare you can see that this isn't one. It keeps alchemy for one thing. The quiet word ability might offend a PC asked to use it but isn't entirely un-useful, and mastermind defence & impregnable mind are worth having.


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And more.

Investigators, N-Sc:
Natural Philosopher
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
It looks like a survivalist more than a scientist, but I guess there is some overlap in RL. I should mention that these archetypes which change weapon proficiencies don't change which weapons can have the inspired magic weapon property, sadly. The changes here are not major and don't change the power level.

Portal Seeker
Dip Power -1 to +1, Versatility 0
Full Power 0 to +1, Versatility 0
Most useful in higher magic campaigns - there may be portals all over Sigil but they're likely rarer in a campaign which tries to emulate warts-and-all medieval life. The range I'm putting on power reflects that. The portal seeker's own teleportation later is better than the studied strike it replaces, but isn't amazing.

Profiler
Dip Power 0, Versatility -1
Full Power 0, Versatility -1
Trapfinding, poison abilities and more go and are replaced by extremely situational abilities. Losing the 7th level investigator talent for a better form of uncanny dodge (not improved uncanny dodge) is nice though.

Psychic Detective
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0 to +1, Versatility 0
Spells replacing alchemy is nice, but the psychic spell list is optimised for use as a 9-level caster, unlike the alchemist list. It does get phrenic amplifications (if barely), but the psi-tech discoveries aren't available. I'm on the fence about whether to give this archetype a +1 power rating.

Questioner
Dip Power -1, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility -1
The bard spell list is made for use with a 6-level spellcaster but since arcane spell failure is a thing here (you don't get a bards ability to cast in light armor) your defence takes a hit, or you lose your swift actions on arcane armor training which hurts when studied combat wants to use them. No bardic performance so you can't use that part of the bard spell list either. You also get a weakened form of bardic knowledge in exchange for poison lore. You can be an OK buffer and hide behind others a lot and/or you can go for absurd dexterity via mutagen + enhancement + anything else you can get, which makes it a definite power drop at low levels and a required specialisation (lower versatility) at high levels.

Reckless Epicurean
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
Do you like wild surges? That's this archetypes' special thing. I don't, but I'm willing to accept that there are those who do. A lot of D&D 5e players seem to love those tables for a start. Rolemaster fans probably like them too, and there are even those who think drawing from the deck of many things is a good idea. As such I'm not rating it down.

Ruthless Agent
Dip Power -1 Versatility 0
Full Power -1, Versatility 0
Long term intimidation for trapfinding, add a debuff to your studied strike (Fort save negates so it's minor, true), some SLAs in exchange for later investigator talents. All good or at least acceptable. Then there's your inability to use inspiration on saving throws or attacks. This is an important emergency ability for investigators and its loss pulls the archetype down.

Scavenger
Dip Power 0, Versatility +1
Full Power +1, Versatility +1
Interesting flavour, jury-rig adds versatility and being able to craft constructs later on adds power. Yep, pretty good.

(Don't include this bracketed part in the doc - missed this earlier. It's at least arguably in this range alphabetically though).
Lepidstadt Inspector/Relentless Inspector
Dip Power 0 Versatility 0
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
You don't get trapfinding which may hurt if your group needs someone to do that (sense motive and non-combat intimidation bonus instead), but the trades are acceptable if you're ever going to get to track and then fight something.


Regarding the Slayer Deliverer, while -1 for versatility may be fair, the description leaves out an important point. If you choose lawful good, the abilities will almost always be available. This is because lawful good will almost never be in conflict with lawful good or neutral good, and it will only very rarely be in conflict with lawful neutral. But, I’d say it’s still a -1 for versatility, if only just because you are basically restricted to one alignment to get the most out of it.

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