Archetype Tier List: A Guide to Picking Archetypes


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I'm not sure what the standard process is for editing this thing is and I don't want to muck with it. But the Fighter's "High Guardian" archetype description seems unrelated to the high guardian archetype. The real archetype trades away your first three fighter feats for a 5 foot move as an immediate action, a strength based combat reflexes and bodyguard and in harms way for one pre-selected ally.

I think it may be the Skirmisher archetype that's been placed under high guardian.


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@avr
@Temperans

I do agree with Temperans that the utility talents gives some versatility, but relying on your gimped Kinetic blast hurts both your power and versatility. In addition to your low damage you're hosed if something with high Cold Resistance/Immunity shows up. I'd give it a -2/-2 rating if it wasn't for the utility talents, which raises it to a -2/-1.

I also can't see the benefit of dipping three levels, as opposed to two. With the exception of adding 1d6 to your Kinetic Blast it's a dead level.

====

@ErichAD

Yup, seems like the Learned Duelist's review was placed under the wrong archetype (and the review itself was dated). Thanks for reporting it.


I will grant Slick isn't very useful in the late game, and Kinetic Healer becomes worse as the person taking burn levels up. I dont know what you mean with the familiar, is it the wand wielding improved familiar tactic?

Yeah okay I can see the cold damage being an issue. And the reason I say 3 is because I like fast movement and the extra AC (aka it's mostly a preference thing and you can just stop it at lv 2 like you said).

And yes I agree relying on the blast for damage really doesnt help, which is why I agree it gets -power. If you say it's also -versatility, I can at least say I gave it a try.

For some actual builds since you asked @avr, keep in mind that this were kind of hasty half asleep builds made by someone that doesn't really care about damage (unless it's the goal).

Cha to AC:
Using the Kinetic Blast as an optional attack when out of reach.
Half-Elf (or a race that has a charisma bonus)

Mystic Corsair 4/Water Dancer 3 (min)/Devoted Muse 4

Stats (15 point buy): 12 14+4+3 14 8 10 16+2
* I'm not the best at choosing stats

AC: 10+6(Monk)+8(dodge)+5(dex)+2(bracers)= 30
Fort: 10| Ref: 17| Will: 10
(Add +6 when using Charmed Life)

Magic Items: Cape of Daring Deeds, Monk/Swashbuckler weapon enchantment of choice, Bracer of Armor +2, Monk's Robes, Headband of Charisma +2, Headband of Dex +4, whatever else you want.

Free Feats: Weapon Finesse, IUS, 1 feint feat of choice.
Feats:
1) IUS, Skill Focus (Bluff), Combat Expertise
2) W. Finesse
3) I. Feint
5) Iron Will (just to be safe)
*The rest of the feats can really be whatever

Atk: 13(bab)+5(dex)+X(enchantment)>18
Dmg depends on the weapon and whether you got dex to hit. +4 due to swashbuckler.

**1 level of Kineticist Water (I know redundant) will add an extra +4 Armor or +2 Shield bonus and gives 1 infusion. Kinetic Knight should allow you to use conductive with melee weapons (Not sure).


Thrown Weapon:

I got tired so I'm not going much in depth. Basically, worship Desna get her Divine Technique, discus whether your GM allows paladins/monks who worship Chaotic Gods and how that affects things.

If he allows it, then you gain Cha to every important stat and can practically dump everything (no need to get stat boosting items unless you want more skills or HP). Its more or less Warpriest 1 (for W. Focus and divine technique)/Water Dancer 3-4/Paladin X

If he says no, grab Enlightened Warrior (using adopted if needed), this will prevent the GM from saying monks can't worship a Chaotic Deity. The clashes would be Warpriest 1/Water Dancer X/Flying Blade Y. The effect is similar to the paladin's but there is a limit to how often you get Cha to saves. Flying Blade also has more support for throwing build in general.
* I user more levels of Water Dancer here to really hurt as 1d6+Xd6+Cha+6 on the first target of startoss comet sounds fun to me.


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Filling in the Ranger:
Blightwarden
Power -1, Versatility +1

Your first (and forcibly maxed) Favored Enemy applies only to "Blighted" enemies, which is any creature affected by the templates listed in the archetype. Unless you're using Instant Enemy, you won't get much mileage out of it. The "blighted" Favored Terrain, in contrast, is very broad ("domains of evil" can be anywhere), and doesn't force you to improve it.
The other good ability is Emulate Taint, which allows you to steal abilities from any of the templates your Favored Enemy applies to. So if you manage to find a mutant rat in the sewers, then say hello to your new best friend that gives you a plethora of abilities to choose from. Fast Healing or Rage should give you the most combat prowess, making the Power rating rise. You're completely at the mercy of the GM to make this ability work, though.

It unfortunately doesn't stack with the Divine Marksman archetype, but it does with Fortune Finder which has a similar ability.

Cinderwalker
Power -1, Versatility 0

You trade your Animal Companion for fire resistance which scales slower than Resist Energy, which is on your spell list. Sure, it becomes immunity at level 20 but it's still not worth it.

Code Runner
Power -1, Versatility 0

No companion. In return you get a save bonus to withstand divination effects and can memorize text.

Dandy
Power -2, Versatility 0

A social archetype that includes Diplomacy in the skill affected by Favored Enemy, while also changing the ability to be Favored Nation. This isn't as good as it could be though, since it only applies to "high-borns" of the nation.
You're also prevented from taking an Animal Companion, and get charisma-based spellcasting from the Bard spell list but with spells known as a medium.

Deep Diver
Power 0, Versatility -1

Swim speed at lv 7, and Favored Terrain only applies underwater.

Deeplands Sailor
Power 0, Versatility -1

So if you're gonna be playing in an underwater campaign you'd get Uncanny Dodge and Blindsense in place of your Favored Terrain. But if you did, the Favored Terrain bonus would have been nice to have.

Drake Warden
Power -1, Versatility 0

Oh great. You get a nerfed version of the drake companion, which already is a nerfed version of a dragon. Since it won't grow larger than small-sized, you've essentially got a pet lizard.

Elemental Envoy
Power -1, Versatility -1

You're forced into taking the elemental combat style, and your Favored Terrain applies only to the elemental planes.

Flamewarden
Power -2, Versatility +1

The loss of your Animal Companion, (improved) Evasion, and Camouflage is harsh. But you do get access to more spells and can cast Breath of Life once per day starting at level 9.

Fortune Finder
Power 0, Versatility +1

You can study an enemy as a move action to apply half your highest Favored Enemy bonus to them, and at level 11 it becomes immensely better when you can do it as a swift action.
For this benefit, you trade away both your Animal Companion and your Quarry abilities.

Guildbreaker
Power -1, Versatility -1

You're much better at specific Bluff and Disguise checks made against members of a specific organization you've chosen with your Favored Enemy.

Lantern Lighter
Power -1, Versatility -1

Daylight is treated as a 3rd level spell, and creatures with light blindness will hate you. Not worth what you lose, though.

Lycanthrope Hunter
Power -1, Versatility -1

Your Favored Enemy applies only to Animals and Shapechangers, with the added "benefit" that it no longer counts as Favored Enemy.

Planar Scout
Power -1, Versatility -1

You get favored planes, and one plane-themed ability instead of your Hunter's Bond. Fly Speed at level 4 is possible, but keep in mind you'll not benefit from either Favored Terrain or Camouflage/HiPS if you're not exploring the planes.

Poison Darter
Power -2, Versatility -1

Sneak Attack starting at level 4 and increases by 1d6 every two levels after that. With Accomplished Sneak Attacker your SA is just one level behind a rogue.
You can also create a dexterity poison without paying for it, but you lose your Favored Enemy and Hunter's Bond abilities for all this. Also forced into using a blowgun, which is a total waste of your Martial weapon proficiency.

Raven Master
Power -1, Versatility +1

You're forced into taking an animal companion which has no business being in combat, and get the ability to add one Bard spell of each spell level you have to your spell list.

Sentinel
Power -1, Versatility 0

The good part of the archetype is that you can always act in the surprise round, but you do lose your 6th level combat style feat for an ability with far too short range to be remotely useful.

Stormwalker
Power -1, Versatility +1

I believe Flash Step actually a 60ft teleport, which is bound to be useful.

Summit Sentinel
Power -1, Versatility -1

You lose your Combat Style for a defensive stance that raises your AC and lowers your movement to 5. This means no 5-foot-step, so ranged weapons is pretty much a must.

Tidal Hunter
Power -1, Versatility -1

Swim speed and the ability to breathe water. Lose a lot, but at least you get Scent at level 1.

Toxic Herbalist
Power -1, Versatility +1

The healing effect of Nature's Mercy is unlikely to matter, as a wand of Cure Light Wounds is preferable and affordable. You do however get some free attempts to neutralize poison/disease per day, and a larger spell list.

Transporter
Power +1, Versatility +1

Actually a really good archetype if you don't want an Animal Companion. With Plot Course you'll get the maxed benefit of Favored Terrain, and you're giving this benefit to your allies constantly. Sure, the skill check DC may seem daunting, but there's no limit to how many attempts you can make and Aid Another is a thing.

Wild Soul
Power -2, Versatility -2

You swear to never make use of arcane magic (and other effects). Except beneficial party buffs, you know what else this would apply to? Magic items.

Wilderness Explorer
Power 0, Versatility 0

Uncanny Dodge and Spell Resistance is pretty neat. Too bad you lose Quarry and Hunter's Bond, especially since the SR comes very late.

Wilderness Medic
Power -1, Versatility +1

You get some condition removal abilities (best used on allies), and while you're forced to choose your companions for Hunter's Bond you can apply Remove Fear and Blessing of Fervor with the move action.


Nameless Shadow: could be +1 as a dip only for the ability to instantly change to your vigilante identity after targeting a foe for -2AC.

This could work very well if you were thinking of a Vigilante style Arcane Trickster build (The Stalker strike ability in Vigilante doesn't count for the +2d6 requisite), as you still get the +1d6 Sneak Attack (and Evasion if 2 levels), as well as a Seamless “humble merchant” disguise at +20.

Unfortunately doesn't stack with Knife Master for Kukri/Startoss build :(


As a one-level dip it gives you the Seamless Guise/Dual Identity class features in place of Trapfinding, which is noteworthy for those who only dip a single level.
For those going for 3-4 levels they lose rogue talents for nothing, as the Face in the Crowd ability won't help much since you're sure to have a good dexterity.

It is however one of just two ways to qualify for Arcane Trickster and get the Dual Identity class feature with a single level dip. The other being the Serial Killer vigilante.

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Some updates for the Magus class:

Armored Battlemage (versatility -2, power -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 (versatility -1, power -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.
Hexbreaker (versatility +0, power +0) - You can counter and reflect curses, which is nice but situational as well as unreliable. But you don't lose a lot for taking this archetype.
Iron-Ring Striker (versatility -2, power -1) - Diminished spellcasting, fewer pool enchantments, less feat choice, and an enlarge ability that's weaker than your spells. You should really go for the Jistkan Artificer instead.
Jistkan Artificer (versatility -2, power +1) - You get an AC bonus from shielding arm, and a damage boost from golem arm with size-increasing polymorphs. But these increases aren't so big, and you pay a lot of spells and arcana for them.
Magic Warrior (versatility +1, power +1) - You gain a Beast Shape ability activated with arcane pool, meaning you can fly as early as level 3. The pre-errata version lets you even use this at will.
Nature-Bonded Magus (versatility +1, power -1) - You get druid spells, and there are some pretty good druid spells out there; and an AC boost from merging with your familiar. But losing your arcane pool locks you out of the enchant weapon ability as well as most (but not all) good arcana.
Puppetmaster (versatility +1, power +0) - 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.
Sigilus (versatility -2, power -2) - Replaces by a situational +1 to hit, and gets weaker armor in exchange for a bit of energy resistance. Two straight downgrades and zero new abilities make this one of the weakest archetypes.
Sorrowblade (versatility +0, power +0) - This archetype just doesn't do much. You replace one arcana by a weaker and more expensive version of the Enforcer feat, and get a pool enchantment that you could have bought from cash. That's all.
Spell Trapper (versatility +0, power +0) - You don't lose much for taking this, but in most campaigns, it is pretty rare that you have time to trap an area before combat occurs. That makes the main benefit to this archetype highly situational.

(note, the guide currently lists 'bladed scarf dancer' and 'golemfist' and so on, these are just the d20pfsrd renames of 'kapenia dancer' and 'jistkan artificer')


Faceless Enforcer (Vigilante)
Power +1 Versatility +0
If you wanted to be a heavy armor Vigilante, you are locked into a generally good set of picks, with a few extra minor bonuses on top of it, without losing anything further. If you didn't want to be a heavy armor wearer, this archetype isn't for you. If nothing else this does serve as a reminder that while Vigilante screams "superhero", a man in identity concealing armor is a fantasy staple.

Heavy Armor is always better than shields if you aren't specialized in them since two handed weapons are so good in Pathfinder. On the Social Talent side you essentially get the great talent Any Guise much earlier in exchange for having to take it and the requirements. Similarly on the talent side you get Armor Skin and Heavy Training for heavy armor. You can't take Quick Change, but you can effectively buy it with gold (Armiger’s Panoply among other options) which is almost as good as getting an extra talent at mid levels.


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Magus has been updated and finished, so I think we finally have more than half of the classes done.

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High Guardian (Fighter)
[Dip]
Power +1, Versatility +0

Strength-based Combat Reflexes at level 2. While you do lose your 1st and 4th level bonus feats for effects that only apply to one ally, any reach build should consider this archetype.
Stacks with Mutation Warrior for more AoOs, so you'll have enough for both approaching enemies and Cut from the Air.

***

Oathkeeper (Inquisitor)
Power +0, Versatility +1

You lose Monster Lore and Track, but this is a lot of narrative power given to you at level 1.

You get the ability to mark agreements with your personal seal, and if they are broken your god smites the oathbreaker. They take a penalty equal to your wisdom modifier on all d20 rolls, and you can track them as per Discern Location. These penalties lasts for a number of weeks equal to your inquisitor level, does not allow for a save, and can only be removed earlier with Miracle/Wish.
There's also no duration on the contracts, and no limitation on how many of them you can have at the same time.


Sacred Servant
Power +1/+2, Versatility +1/2

In exchange for slightly less* smites, and Aura of Resolve (useful but not mandatory with your high will save and Charisma to saves) and your Divine Bond getting sidegraded you get a domain and better casting. The exact usefulness depends on what domains and planar allies a deity gives, but it's always an improvement.

*Combine this with Oath of Vengeance and you actually get more smites than a standard Paladin by using your Divine Bond.

Oath of Vengeance
Power +1 Versatility -0
Trade a largely useless ability for some extra spells and the ability to get more smites. At level 11 your Aura of Justice is nerfed slightly, but unless you're stuck in a party of high charisma damage dealers, nobody will notice.


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deuxhero wrote:

Oath of Vengeance

Power +1 Versatility -0
Trade a largely useless ability for some extra spells and the ability to get more smites. At level 11 your Aura of Justice is nerfed slightly, but unless you're stuck in a party of high charisma damage dealers, nobody will notice.
No. They will notice:
Aura of Justice wrote:
At 11th level, a paladin can expend two uses of her smite evil ability to grant the ability to smite evil to all allies within 10 feet, using her bonuses. Allies must use this smite evil ability by the start of the paladin’s next turn and the bonuses last for 1 minute. Using this ability is a free action. Evil creatures gain no benefit from this ability.
Powerful Justice wrote:

At 11th level, an oathbound paladin may spends one use of her smite evil ability to grant her allies within 10 feet the ability to smite evil, except they only gain the paladin’s bonus to damage, not her smite’s attack bonus or ability to bypass DR.

This ability replaces aura of justice.

In other words, they won't be getting the paladin's Cha bonus to hit (which could easily be +8 or more), and not ignoring DR (which would be robbing them of an average of 10pts per strike at early tweener levels). --Martials get their -10 iterative at 11th; turning all of those whiffs into hits really piles up.

"Powerful" Justice is as much of a misnamed joke as "Powerful" Sneak, and OoV is best left for those rare types who don't use charisma and therefore don't have much of a bonus to spread around -- such as dwarven Stone Lords...oh, no, wait, OoV won't stack with those, because LE Paizo writers were careful in sneakily nerfing the fine-print crap out of paladin archetypes across the board..

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Wonderstell wrote:
Magus has been updated and finished, so I think we finally have more than half of the classes done.

Thank you!

There appears to be a transcription mistake from the earlier google document: Bladebound, Card Caster, Eldritch Archer, Eldritch Scion, Mindblade, and Staff Magus should all have a positive versatility (as their descritive text suggests), not a negative one. So that's +2 for BB and EA, +1 for CC, ES, MB and SM.

The guide currently lists the description for Hexcrafter (which should be +2/+2 as above), with the name of Hexbreaker (a different archetype from my previous post, at +0/+0). Based on newer developments since I wrote the descriptions (years ago), please update Beastblade and Spell Dancer to +0 versatility, and esoteric to to -2 for power with a note that "If you want to play an unarmed Magus, the Jistkan Artificer archetype does a better job."

Perhaps it would make the guide stand out more if you made all +1 and -1 markers green and red respectively, and the +2 and -2 boldfaced green and red? I've found that numerous game guides are improved by color coding.

I'll see what I can do about updating Skald, Hunter, and Oracle.


Alright, thanks for pointing the mistakes out. While I'm not the owner of the document, I don't think he'd mind me adding color coding.

I made a quick search about color-blindness, and apparently green is a really bad choice since pretty much every type of C-B is affected by it. And I also learned that 1/12 men have some kind of C-B.
The more you know~~~

As per this article I think Blue and Orange would be the optimal choice.
So Blue for positive and Orange for negative I guess.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Thanks, I'd say the new color scheme looks much clearer.

Regarding the Magus, based on newer developments since I wrote the descriptions (years ago), please update Beastblade and Spell Dancer to +0 versatility, and esoteric to to -2 for power with a note that "If you want to play an unarmed Magus, the Jistkan Artificer archetype does a better job." Or would you prefer if I type this directly as suggestions in the googledoc?


It's probably quicker to add them as suggestions, but I don't mind doing small fixes.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wonderstell wrote:
I made a quick search about color-blindness, and apparently green is a really bad choice since pretty much every type of C-B is affected by it.

I'm color blind myself (moderately so) so I can let you know if you pick any problematic color combinations. Purple is another color to be watchful for and is almost as bad as green.

With regards to green in specific, there are some shades of green that aren't bad. In Google Docs I find that "light green 1" is particularly good.


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Filling in the Fighter:
Aerial Assaulter
Power -1, Versatility +0

You get a bonus on fly checks in place of Bravery, but gain no actual way to fly from the class. Unfortunately the archetype trades away Armor Mastery for a suicidal ability, so you can't also take Mutation Warrior for easy access to flight. If you have another way to fly, the increased bonus from Take the High Ground might be worth losing two feats.

Aquanaut
Power -2, Versatility -1

Avoid it. You lose access to Advanced Armor/Weapon Training, and all the normal instances of Armor Training. In return, you get abilities that interact with what I can only assume are optional rules, such as "buoyancy" and underwater currents.
And as with every other archetype that gives you a swim speed, the designers probably didn't know you'd want to breathe underwater too.

Border Defender
Power 0, Versatility -1

A small CMD bonus and even smaller CMB bonus in place of your Armor Training. It does still allow you to pick up Advanced Armor Training options through the feat, though.

Child of War
Power -1, Versatility +2

Spells! As a Ranger with the Bloodrager's spell list.

This archetype would have been a lot better if you kept Weapon Training. As it is you'll lose a lot of combat prowess to get access to spell buffs, resulting in something closer to a bad Wizard/Fighter multiclass than a Magus.

Gloomblade
Power +1, Versatility +1

Scaling enhancement bonus and a list of weapon special abilities to apply on the fly. Do keep in mind that you can still take Advanced Weapon Training options with the feat. Would probably shine the most in a low-wealth campaign.

Opportunist Fighter
Power -1, Versatility +0

The extra skill ranks are nice, but nothing else the archetype provides is a good trade. Maybe if you were gonna dip two levels for feats and wanted Improved Dirty Trick?

Scrapper
Power -1, Versatility -1

You salvage armor and constructs to gain a natural armor bonus dependent on the HD or Enhancement bonus of what you've salvaged. But since the "Armor Specialization" Advanced Armor Training option would give you exactly as much AC, in addition to the whole Armor Training class feature, it's a downgrade.

Seasoned Commander
Power -2, Versatility -1

While the Cavalier's Tactician ability might be fun to have, losing all instances of Weapon Training for a party buff with a duration based on your charisma isn't fair.

Sensate
Power -1, Versatility 0

No advanced options, but you gain some good defensive abilities like Uncanny Dodge and Evasion. The latter is a bit of a waste on a class with weak Reflex progression, but it's better than not having it.

Skirmisher
Power 0, Versatility -1

Forces you into a dex-build, gives you some situational save bonuses, and increases your skill ranks to 4/level.

Spear Fighter
Power 0, Versatility -1

Dodge as a bonus feat instead of heavy armor proficiency, making it a dip alternative for vanilla fighter when you need combat feats. The Spear Parry ability has potential, but the cumulative penalty makes it very unattractive before your 15th/19th level.

Steelbound Fighter
Power 0, Versatility -1

Intelligent weapon in place of your Weapon Training.

Swordlord
Power 0, Versatility -1

The archetype is all about the Dueling Sword, which makes it weird that you're not given proficiency with it. You're allowed to use a buckler, which should lead to a high AC since the archetype urges you to use Fighting Defensively and gives you a scaling AC bonus. Still worse than just giving you Armor Training, unfortunately.
The Steel Net abilities lowers the attack penalty by 2 instead of lowering it to -2, which means that it stacks with other such abilities. A Swordlord with Crane Style and three ranks in acrobatics would take no attack penalty and gain a +6 dodge bonus to AC.

Tribal Fighter
Power 0, Versatility -1

If you want to qualify for style feats with the measly 2 ranks/level that the Fighter has, then this archetype attempts to slap a band aid on the broken arm. You're considered skill ranks for style feat prerequisites, and pay for that with your additional weapon groups after the first.
Too bad that the fix already exists in the form of Advanced Armor/Weapon Training which gives you real skill ranks, making the archetype obsolete.

Venomblade (Nagaji)
Power +1, Versatility +1

This archetype makes the Spit Venom feat line a lot more attractive by solving the action economy issues with it, ending up as a Swift action at level 12. In addition, you get a slow progression of Sneak Attack that by itself makes up for the lost feats.

***

I still don't understand why the Dueling Sword is given so much focus and different options, when it by itself isn't that exciting of a weapon. You're paying for EWP when the rapier has better crit range and is a martial weapon, for the benefit of being able to apply 1.5 Str to your finesse weapon.

Too bad there already are such weapons with a 18-20 range (Estoc/Elven Curve Blade), and all designers apparently banded together and ignored its only redeeming quality by obsessively forcing players to wield it in one hand.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wonderstell wrote:

Aerial Assaulter

Power -1, Versatility +0

You get a bonus on fly checks in place of Bravery, but gain no actual way to fly from the class. Unfortunately the archetype trades away Armor Mastery for a suicidal ability, so you can't also take Mutation Warrior for easy access to flight. If you have another way to fly, the increased bonus from Take the High Ground might be worth losing two feats.

There is the Flight Mastery feat, which with some cheeky multiclassing can be taken as early as 3rd level (although with single-class or fractional progression the earliest you can qualify for it is 8th). In any case, a bonus to fly checks isn't exactly impressive, and nothing else here is really going to carry it as an attractive choice.

Wonderstell wrote:

Child of War

Power -1, Versatility +2

Spells! As a Ranger with the Bloodrager's spell list.

This archetype would have been a lot better if you kept Weapon Training. As it is you'll lose a lot of combat prowess to get access to spell buffs, resulting in something closer to a bad Wizard/Fighter multiclass than a Magus.

I think this is way too generous a rating, and personally I'd go with power -2, versatility 0. If this archetype had existed in the APG era it might have had some merit as a weaker niche option, but these days it's just so incredibly outclassed in every way as to be useless.

In addition to all the competition from the other gish options, the Child of War (also known as Child of Acavna and Amaznen, if playing in Golarion) also has the trouble of competing with vanilla Fighters that take the Item Mastery feats. It never really beats out a single-class Fighter who spends some feats and some gold to get some pseudo-spellcasting, and it's pretty heavily outclassed by the Bloodrager in the first place. With weapon mastery traded off, I don't feel it has any niche.

Wonderstell wrote:

I still don't understand why the Dueling Sword is given so much focus and different options, when it by itself isn't that exciting of a weapon. You're paying for EWP when the rapier has better crit range and is a martial weapon, for the benefit of being able to apply 1.5 Str to your finesse weapon.

Too bad there already are such weapons with a 18-20 range (Estoc/Elven Curve Blade), and all designers apparently banded together and ignored its only redeeming quality by obsessively forcing players to wield it in one hand.

I think it's the other way around; the designers realized the sword is useless mechanically and since it's an iconic regional weapon they decided to give it some exclusive support. It's just one of those Golarion things that looks a bit weird when you're viewing it through D20PFSRD with the Golarion lore stripped out.


Dasrak wrote:
There is the Flight Mastery feat, which with some cheeky multiclassing can be taken as early as 3rd level (although with single-class or fractional progression the earliest you can qualify for it is 8th). In any case, a bonus to fly checks isn't exactly impressive, and nothing else here is really going to carry it as an attractive choice.

Right. I keep forgetting most people don't play with fractional saves.

===

Dasrak wrote:
I think this is way too generous a rating, and personally I'd go with power -2, versatility 0. If this archetype had existed in the APG era it might have had some merit as a weaker niche option, but these days it's just so incredibly outclassed in every way as to be useless.

I'd never play this archetype in place of a Bloodrager, but you do get Fly, Haste, and attractive Polymorph spells at higher levels.

I can definitely get behind a power -2, especially if we consider the time you'll spend being "less-than-optimal", but doesn't the simple fact that you now have access to a spell list increase versatility?

===

Dasrak wrote:
I think it's the other way around; the designers realized the sword is useless mechanically and since it's an iconic regional weapon they decided to give it some exclusive support. It's just one of those Golarion things that looks a bit weird when you're viewing it through D20PFSRD with the Golarion lore stripped out.

Dumb, but understandable.

Still don't understand the one-hand fixation, though.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wonderstell wrote:
I can definitely get behind a power -2, especially if we consider the time you'll spend being "less-than-optimal", but doesn't the simple fact that you now have access to a spell list increase versatility?

The problem comes down to just how much the archetype gives up. To put it bluntly, a vanilla Fighter could simply skimp on his weapon enhancement level and spend that money on UMD'ing wands. Since he has weapon training his attack power doesn't suffer by comparison to the Child of War, nor does he trade off the feats or the option of advanced weapon training. 4-level spellcasting is still very good despite how delayed it is, but the fact is that the Child of War gives up so much that a vanilla Fighter can emulate it just fine.


By the time your Child of Acaana amd Amaznen/War can get fly and haste (10th) item mastery feats and/or WBLmancy can do the same, easily. Monstrous physique I is harder to duplicate but it also provides relatively little. At 13th MP II, elemental body I, ja noi aspect and undead anatomy I provide potential versatility but you have so few spell slots it doesn't amount to a lot.

Also note the Child is giving up their swift action every round they cast a spell. This should lower versatility because it cuts out so many other options.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
avr wrote:
Also note the Child is giving up their swift action every round they cast a spell. This should lower versatility because it cuts out so many other options.

In a backhanded way, I don't think this is a big issue; you only need to spend the swift on a round in which you're casting a spell, and you don't get enough spells per day with this archetype for that to be a real problem. It precludes using quicken rods, and that's about it.


And it prevents VMC magus being of use (which would otherwise be great for this archetype), and several feats.


If you want what a Child of Acavna and Amaznen/War does, play a Myrmidarch Magus instead. Even being suboptimal (because it trades out too much for what it gets, and making some what it gets good takes some significant investment), it still has better spellcasting, almost as many feats, keeps Weapon Training, has a few Magus Arcana, doesn't inherently eat your Swift Action, and has only slightly less effective attack bonus.

Myrmidarch Magus is merely suboptimal. Child of Acavna and Amaznen/War is absolutely abysmal.


Fair enough.

I rated it -1/-1 for the loss of Weapon Training, and then -2/-1 for the loss of combat feats. At higher levels the spells slowly shows their worth, but if we're expecting some degree of optimization the first three levels of spells lose much of their novelty.

So -2/0 sounds about right if we consider the first 13th levels.


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As many of the Unchained Monk archetypes are taken from the chained Monk, I figured I could do them without much trouble. Any archetype with the "same" in parenthesis is one that shares their review with the chained monk.

Unchained Monk:
Black Asp (Same)
Power +0, Versatility +1
You get the option to trade out certain monk class features for Forbidden Powers (TM). They are mostly focused on avoiding magical detection, so if you absolutely need Magic Aura to beat Detect Magic then consider this archetype.[/b]

Brazen Disciple (Same)
Power +0, Versatility +1

You'll effectively be given Improved Feinting Flurry at level 6, and can use Wisdom for Bluff/Disguise checks. You don't have to bother with Charisma or Dexterity, which makes a normally very MAD build just dependent on Strength and Wisdom.
Except losing Abundant Step, the biggest fault of the archetype is that you as a Monk don't really benefit from feinting enemies (as compared to a Rogue). Targeting Flat-Foot AC is generally worth +3 to hit, which means that you break even on your DPR first when you have eight attacks per round.

Disciple of Wholeness
Power +1, Versatility +1

As the UnMonk doesn't have immunity to poison, the Greater Hone Body ability at level 11 (if used on yourself) is a straight upgrade from the normal Diamond Body ki power. And getting access to a limited Greater Dispel Magic is well worth a Ki power.

Elemental Monk (Same)
Power -2, Versatility +0

You basically get four genie-themed Style feat paths as bonus feats, and can switch between them as a swift action. Unfortunately the Style feats based on Elemental Fist just aren't very good, while you give up too many class features for them.

Invested Regent
Power +1, Versatility +1

So you lose your first bonus feat for a pool of Investiture points scaling off your charisma. After that, you have the choice to switch out bonus feats for a list of Spell-Like Abilities (and feats).
Too bad it doesn't stack with Scaled Fist, but it's still worth it with a charisma score of 10.

Lifting Hand
Power +0, Versatility +0

You increase your list of available bonus feats with wrestling-themed grapple feats, and lose your 12th level Ki power for the ability to use the Savage Slam feat as an immediate action if you ready a grapple.

Perfect Scholar
Power +0, Versatility +1

You get a scaling bonus to all knowledge skills, and get them as class skills. The replacement for your 4th level Ki power is solid since it doesn't require Ki points, and will likely be used every round.

Sage Counselor (Same)
Power -1, Versatility +1

Your first four bonus feats are traded for the Greater Feint feat line and the ability to either swap out your first attack for a feint, or feint as a swift action. While feinting normally is a waste of time if you want more damage, the Greater Feint feat line makes the enemy lose their Dex-to-AC to both you and your allies.

Scaled Fist
Power +0, Versatility +0

Charisma instead of Wisdom for your class features, and your choices of bonus feats increases to include the Dragon Style feat line.

Serpent-Fire Adept (Same, but not mine)
Power +1, Versatility +2

You lose your Stunning Fist, Bonus Feats, and two Ki powers in order to gain Chakras giving scaling damage resistance, flight, a breath weapon that bypasses energy resistance, healing/condition removal, staggering opponents, and true seeing. Yes, this is worth it.

Softstrike Monk (Same)
Power -1, Versatility +1

You better be Lawful Good, because you'll lose Ki points if you let helpless foes get killed. You get the ability to remove the immunity to nonlethal damage held by Undeads and Constructs, which is helpful since you take penalties if you deal lethal (and bonuses with nonlethal).
If you somehow end up with a Sap Master rogue in an Undead-heavy campaign, they'll love you.

Soul Shepherd
Power +0, Versatility +1

Evasion is traded for DR and Energy Resistance, that unfortunately scales poorly after level 9. Blindsight as a swift action at level 12 is pretty nice, though.

Windstep Master
Power +0, Versatility +1

You can walk in the air as soon as level 4, in return for a Ki power. While not as fast as the Wind Jump power, you do not need to reach solid ground at the end of your turn.

***

Does anyone know who wrote the review on the Serpent-Fire Adept for the chained monk?


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Dunno, but I'd have to disagree with their rating. The awakening chakras system takes forever if you're trying to do it safely, takes too much ki (even with the bonuses from the chakra feats you'll need to burn some of your own), and is far too unreliable. And it'd be worse for an unchained monk due to the will saves required, to the point of being unworkable.

Power -1, versatility +1 for the core monk, -2/+1 for unchained IMO.


avr wrote:

Dunno, but I'd have to disagree with their rating. The awakening chakras system takes forever if you're trying to do it safely, takes too much ki (even with the bonuses from the chakra feats you'll need to burn some of your own), and is far too unreliable. And it'd be worse for an unchained monk due to the will saves required, to the point of being unworkable.

Power -1, versatility +1 for the core monk, -2/+1 for unchained IMO.

With Chakra Adept you can choose to only make one of the saves per round, instead of both. So since UnMonk still has a good Fort save I'd give them the same rating.

But looking closer at the chakras system I'm in agreement with your disagreement.

It just eats too much Ki and time for the abilities to be worth it, and is too unreliable with the scaling DC and the sheer number of saves thrown at you. Not to mention that you're now Charisma-dependent, too.
Stacking the chained archetype with Drunken Master solves the Ki problem, but you'll still be fighting an uphill battle racing after the DCs.


@Dasrak

It seems we're missing one archetype for the Alchemist to be finished. Would you mind giving us a rating for the Oozemaster?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Huh, could have sworn I got them all. Oh well, once more into the breach!

Oozemaster
Power -1, Versatility 0

This archetype is perplexing in some respects. It has the ability to create incredibly potent injury poisons and grenade-like alchemical weapons by harvesting the corpses of oozes, but those toxins only last for 1 hour after harvest making the archetype's main attraction useless unless you're constantly fighting oozes. If you have your own base of operations you could perhaps use the Craft Ooze feat to create your own and then "breed" them in captivity, and with an exceptionally lenient GM you could perhaps get away with the Bottled Ooze discovery to summon an ooze, kill it, and harvest it before it deteriorates. Overall, though, without an exceptional amount of investment and setup this archetype is offering niche abilities that you'll almost never be able to use at the cost of a steep downgrade to your bomb damage and as such should only be used by the most dedicated of ooze enthusiasts.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

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Ok, I've added some feedback in the document on a few existing rates. Most of the text is solid, but a few of the archetypes overlook a particular feature, or have become better due to new material in the last few years. HTH!

For instance, in the wizard section, most archetypes that lose arcane bond and/or school point out that this is a major downside and get a poor rating, but a handful either point this out in the text but omitted to adjust the rating, and one or two archetypes have overlooked this drawback entirely. Losing a major class feature usually makes an archetype less powerful and less versatile.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As far as arcane bond is concerned, there are plenty of alternative ways to get access to one. At worst it's costing you three feats to buy it back. While this isn't quite as easy as the alchemists buying back mutagen, it's really not hard to work around if you want a familiar.

I do agree with you on arcane school, however. Aside from spellcasting itself, it's more important than all the other wizard class features combined. Going over the archetypes you marked:

Fey Caller: I must have missed the fact that it gives up arcane school when rating it, as the rating seems way too generous for something that sacrifices arcane school. I will definitely revise the rating because it should be steeply negative. I'm thinking -2 power, -1 versatility.

Spell Sage: While the loss of arcane school is massive, it's gaining some truly tremendous powers in their place. The ability to spontaneously cast off of the cleric, bard, and druid list adds a huge amount of versatility, and the ability to add a +4 caster level bonus can potentially break some spells. The archetype has sharply limited usage per day of these abilities, but if you're playing a campaign with shorter adventuring days they're incredibly potent. I stand by the rating I gave it, although I would agree with stronger language to emphasize what a heavy tradeoff it is.

Spirit Whisperer: On second consideration, I think I over-valued the hex class feature here. It comes later, you're locked out of major and grand hexes like the shaman, and you get really few of them. If it were close to what the witch gets then that would be a worthy tradeoff for arcane school, but as it stands I'm leaning towards -1/-1.


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Kineticists. A popular character image, awkward name, unpopular mechanics. Some of the newer archetypes probably muck around with the last, let's take a look.

Spoiler:
Aquakineticist
Power 0, Versatility -2

An archetype which is focused on operating underwater. You're required to take water/water/water as your element and to devote a couple powers to that, and you lose your defence talent. On the plus side you get to ignore almost all the annoying rules in Aquatic Adventures.

Arakineticist
Power 0, Versatility -1

An archetype specific to changelings which gives them a few unique curse-related powers and requires them to take those powers, also that they take the void element with negative blast at 1st level.

Blightburner
Power 0, Versatility -1

Radiation themed powers, the most significant of which is losing elemental overflow and becoming dangerous to be near when overflow would have applied. Which seems awkward but possibly effective. If your GM will use radiation in the environment only on alternate blue moon Sundays, drop this to Power -1.

Blighted Defiler
Power +2, Versatility 0

You can evilly rip energy from the land for special benefits while gathering power, and you use Str instead of Con for your powers. The special benefits are good - extra burn reduction or some healing as you might expect, and the ability to reduce burn on utility talents which you might not. Still not overpowered compared to a full spellcaster but you're getting to the point where the comparison can be seriously made.

Cinderlands Adept
Power +1, Versatility -1

Yes, kinetic blade should work with spirited charge and gather power works just fine on a moving horse (though not both at once). This is the implicit message of this archetype. You get a mount (at level-3) and a couple of related abilities, losing an infusion and three wild talents. The trade might seem unfair but it does let you get everything online much faster than the animal ally feat would. Note that share spells is useless to you and look into animal companion archetypes.

Elysiokineticist
Power -2 until 7th, -1 from then, Versatility -1

Unless you know that you will only fight undead and evil outsiders this archetype cripples you from 1st-6th level. Even after that it's not amazing, with every change made by the archetype being on the weak side. Also you're required to choose wood/wood/wood for your elements.

Ioun Adept
Power 0, Versatility 0

A variation on the aether element which loses a number of the best utility talents, gains access to some offensive infusions and which can, yes, make some use of ioun stones. If you can't freely buy the ioun stones you want in your game drop this to Power -1.

Kinetic Chirurgeon
Power -1, Versatility -2

Paladin mercies instead of infusions and extra healing instead of metakinesis. You are very limited with what you can do in combat - no melee, no range beyond 30', and very few tricks - and your healing is still worse than a clerics'. In most parties the cost of burn will stop you from using kinetic healer constantly; you may find that there are rounds where you can do nothing usefully. IMO this archetype is just poorly designed.

Kinetic Knight
Power 0, Versatility -1

You're melee-only, are required to use heavy armor and a shield, get extra infusions to help make that work, and you get the resolve ability from the samurai class. Oh, and you can use Con to meet the Int requirements of combat feats.
Once you get extra attacks from BAB, haste, odd feats or whatever melee is a valid choice for kineticists. It's painful until then. Resolve is good enough to help mitigate that.
Heavy armor + shield on a class which is strongly incentivised to max dex, get weapon finesse and dump strength works oddly though. You certainly can save one feat by going Str-based, but presented with the costs and benefits no one IME chooses to do so.

Leshykineticist
Power 0, Versatility -2

An archetype specific to vine leshies which gives a few more but weaker powers, and locks them on to a very specific build (wood/wood/wood with several powers pre-chosen.) OK if that's what you want I guess.

Psammokinetic
Power +1, Versatility -1

Could you tell from the name that this is a very specific kineticist tradition with some monk added? I couldn't. Essentially you get a ki pool which replaces and serves much the same function as elemental overflow, and assuming you took the physical blast initially you get to treat it as cold iron and lawful as regards DR eventually. That's a dead ability if you took the energy (fire) blast and you don't get the fire's fury or burning infusion options which a real pyro gets, so don't go that way. So far no big deal but there are some powers added in the Martial Arts Handbook which require a ki pool, and if you're willing to invest in punching this archetype lets you get kundalini infusion or stylish infusion without multiclassing. Which looks fun.

Psychokineticist
Power 0, Versatility 0

You use Wis instead of Con for your kineticist abilities (OK), elemental overflow is changed to work with mental abilities (makes sense, but probably costs you Fort saves & a little Reflex, accuracy and AC), and instead of burn doing nonlethal damage you get an absolutely crippling penalty to your Will saves and Wis-based skills (...huh.) So long as your GM uses mostly mundane enemies this is workable, but even with a higher Wis than normal your poor base Will save and the penalty mean you will almost never make such a save when it does come up. Plan accordingly. It might be useful to combine this with kinetic knight to get the resolve ability.

Terrakineticist
Power 0, Versatility +2

You basically maintain six different characters (one for each kineticist element but void) and switch between them depending on the surrounding terrain, as determined by your GM. It's certainly not the focused concept associated with the kineticist previously.
It's...occasionally going to be a problem if your GM is a bastard. On the other hand being able to nip over to a river to do some healing, and/or having a set of talents like invisibility which you use in urban environments, woodland step in forests etc. is a lot more flexibility than a kineticist usually gets.


For Spirit Whisperer, I'm not sure how the rating would change, but the Arcane School is traded for similar abilities; Although yes they are probably not as strong as Divination School, but few things are. You do lose the bonus spell, but you now don't need to worry about opposition schools.

As far as hexes goes, yes the lack of major and grand hexes is not that good. However, a good portion are well worth the bonus, and it's not like it denies access to bonus feats or arcane discoveries (aka versatility is definetly improved).

*********************
For Kinetic Chirurgen I would say Power -2 Versatility -1 or 0. The reason being that the parts that were traded had to do with Attacking. The Buffer got an expansion, so they would be able to use Utility talents more freely. But overall, I agree the design of it was a bit poorly thought out.

Btw the combat range of the ability isn't too bad, considering you want to stay reasonably close to the front line.


For Spirit Whisperer, I'm not sure how the rating would change, but the Arcane School is traded for similar abilities; Although yes they are probably not as strong as Divination School, but few things are. You do lose the bonus spell, but you now don't need to worry about opposition schools.

As far as hexes goes, yes the lack of major and grand hexes is not that good. However, a good portion are well worth the bonus, and it's not like it denies access to bonus feats or arcane discoveries (aka versatility is definetly improved).

*********************
For Kinetic Chirurgen I would say Power -2 Versatility -1 or 0. The reason being that the parts that were traded had to do with Attacking. The Buffer got an expansion, so they would be able to use Utility talents more freely. But overall, I agree the design of it was a bit poorly thought out.

Btw the combat range of the ability isn't too bad, considering you want to stay reasonably close to the front line.

*********************
Are there supposed to be 2 Spell Sage in the Wizard section?

*********************
Promethean Alchemist cannot take the mutagen or conatogen discoveries so it should be Power -2. The Homunculus is treated a lot more like an Animal Companion then a familiar, being able to get feats; This also means that the Homunculus is a lot more diverse and combat capable than the standard familiar (thus keeping the Versatility at +1).

Regarding Constructs, yes the cost at low level is too high to do much even with the trait/s to lower construction cost.


Magaambyan Initiate is the Collegiate Initate and the Harrowed Society Student is the Tarrot Student; So this entries are duplicated.

Arcane Thinkerer:
Power -1 Versatility -1 or -2. You loose at least 3 exploits to get the ability to reduce constructs to hit, or get the ability to target Spell Immune constructs by targeting SR instead. By spending 5 exploits, you can make them slower or helpless for 1 round.
If you are fighting lots of constructs and golems, Power becomes +1 or +2.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
For Spirit Whisperer, I'm not sure how the rating would change, but the Arcane School is traded for similar abilities; Although yes they are probably not as strong as Divination School, but few things are. You do lose the bonus spell, but you now don't need to worry about opposition schools.

Oppositions schools aren't really a big problem. The schools are not equal, and about half of the relevant wizard spell list is concentrated in only two schools. This means taking two opposition schools isn't losing 25% of the relevant spells, it's actually closer to 10%. And if you take opposition research, that's maybe 5% of spells. On the odd situation where you want to prep one, you can just eat the extra slot cost.

Secondly, spell slots for Wizards are more important than they are for Sorcerers or Arcanists. No matter how many spell slots you have, the number of different spells you have access to as a wizard or sorcerer does not change. A well-played wizard, however, will use additional slots to prepare more kinds of spells. This means more spell slots isn't just more staying power, it's also more versatility.

Those extra spell slots are a game-changer, and while the Spirit Whisperer has some appealing abilities it doesn't match up to what those extra spell slots unlock.


Temperans wrote:

For Kinetic Chirurgen I would say Power -2 Versatility -1 or 0. The reason being that the parts that were traded had to do with Attacking. The Buffer got an expansion, so they would be able to use Utility talents more freely. But overall, I agree the design of it was a bit poorly thought out.

Btw the combat range of the ability isn't too bad, considering you want to stay reasonably close to the front line.

I see the expanded healing as a combat ability - don't you? - which is why I didn't take the power below -1. The kinetic chirurgeon gets no extra buffing ability over a base/vanilla kineticist and no ability to use utility talents more freely, I'm not sure what you're saying there.

A range of 30' offensively and touch with healing is pretty bad since you're going to be within move and attack range of the enemy at best, possibly within 5' step and attack. A kinetic chirurgeon has no means of attacking without provoking an AoO other than to use a simple melee weapon. I guess not having much use for gather power (no infusions and no metakinesis) has that benefit, you don't need both hands free the way a vanilla kineticist does.


If I’m reading Spirit Whisperer correctly, you only get to choose from your spirit’s list, which tend to be short with some spirits not really having any useful options. The main point of hexes to me is that they give you an unlimited supply of standard actions that substantially impact combat (slumber, evil eye, silk string snare), and the spirits generally don’t give hexes like that. Maybe lodestone is okay, but stone spirit abilities aren’t generally great for wizards (same with mammoth). For the most part it seems like you are choosing between bad spirits with mediocre hex options and mediocre spirits with bad hex options.


I don’t really get your kinetic knight opinion. Why wouldn’t you go with strength over dex? What does high dex even give you? A better initiative? But your flat footed AC is already covered. A better reflex save? You already have a good one, and can usually tank a failure.

The kinetic knight works surprisingly well with the air element, because you can supply your own haste and have all day flight for getting into melee.


Apparently someone already rated kinetic chirurgeon and did so similarly to mine. The text got put under elemental purist though.

someone else's rating for kinetic chirurgeon wrote:

Power -1, Versatility -2:

You give up all of your abilities to modify your kinetic blast (so no area, or burst damage, no debuffs etc.) in order to be better at using Kinetic Healing, which wasn't very good to begin with. If you really want to be a dedicated healer, don't pick this archetype, pick something that doesn't cause damage to itself or those it heals instead.

Also neither elemental purist nor dark elementalist actually have ratings at this time. So, here's my suggestions:

Spoiler:
Dark Elementalist

Power -1, Versatility 0

Int based instead of Con based, just one good save, and for burn past 3 points and for elemental overflow you have to kill a sentient (probably actually sapient) being of at least your CR. The last clause makes it a real problem for PCs who don't have a stable of prisoners to kill but it probably works for NPCs.

Elemental Purist
Power 0, Versatility +1

You can get a few infusions which don't match your blast types, but you have to take 1 burn to use them (for the next minute). Also you have to stick with one element and lose 1 point from your internal buffer. It's a nice option but not a big deal.

Melkiador wrote:
I don’t really get your kinetic knight opinion. Why wouldn’t you go with strength over dex? What does high dex even give you? A better initiative? But your flat footed AC is already covered. A better reflex save? You already have a good one, and can usually tank a failure.

Combat reflexes + kinetic whip for example, or the prereqs to a feat that wants dex, or just the bonuses you named (plus skill effects). It's not something I push, it's just what people choose - every time.


Unless you have some other way to generate attacks of opportunity, a 12 dexterity should be enough for the vast majority of situations. Even against multiples, I can’t think of an actual in-game situation where someone would have gotten more than 3 in one round.

Some tables just really overvalue dexterity. And the kinetic knight would like to have at least a 12 in that stat as any heavy armor class would. But if you’ve seen people trying to make dex based kinetic knights, I feel like they were missing the point.


3 from 3 I've seen on the advice forum went dex-based, yeah. I'll cut that line if you've seen one that didn't, here or elsewhere.


avr wrote:
3 from 3 I've seen on the advice forum went dex-based, yeah. I'll cut that line if you've seen one that didn't.

It’s weird to me that anyone tried that. It’s like using a screwdriver as a hammer. Sure, you can do it, but it wasn’t built for that. So many hoops to jump through, like the shield armor check penalty applying to weapon finesse.

I also can’t see why they wouldn’t just go with the vanilla kineticist if they want to go dex based. Maybe if they just really wanted a shield? Because the heavy armor wouldn’t be doing them any favors.


Dasrak wrote:

{. . .}

Spell Sage: While the loss of arcane school is massive, it's gaining some truly tremendous powers in their place. The ability to spontaneously cast off of the cleric, bard, and druid list adds a huge amount of versatility, and the ability to add a +4 caster level bonus can potentially break some spells. The archetype has sharply limited usage per day of these abilities, but if you're playing a campaign with shorter adventuring days they're incredibly potent. I stand by the rating I gave it, although I would agree with stronger language to emphasize what a heavy tradeoff it is.
{. . .}

Spell Sage looks to me like the kind of archetype that not everyone needs, but if you need it, you need it bad. If your party has no divine casters above 4/9, and no Witch, you probably need it bad.

Note that the Focused Spells and Spell Study ability can be synergistic: If you have to make a caster level check to get a bad status removal spell to take, this could be a life saver.

This archetype will work better if you can fit Craft Wondrous Item into your build (and campaign flow) and make a LOT of Pearls of Power.

In other threads, the consensus seems to be that you can use Spell Study in the course of using Scribe Scroll (which you still get for free -- the archetype doesn't trade it out), but then need a Use Magic Device check to use scrolls you made of spells that are not on the Sorcerer/Wizard list, so significant investment in Use Magic Device would be worthwhile. Of course, if you are in a party with no divine caster above 4/9 and no Witch, you are probably going to want to invest in Use Magic Device anyway.

Helpful Miniguide part 0

Helpful Miniguide part 1

Helpful Miniguide part 2

Helpful Miniguide part 3

An older guide


Zealot (Vigilante)
Power +1, Versatility +0
Being a spellcaster remains awesome. However unlike Warlock this is 1: Wisdom based, which means it's not as good a skill monkey 2: Loses more skills than it gains 3: A spontaneous caster 4:Casts from a weaker list

Magical Child
Power +1, Versatility -2
Since the nerf in Ultimate Wilderness which prohibited it from taking Mauler familiars, this archetype has gone from bad to worse. While you do gain spellcasting, it's a spontaneous caster from a list that's fairly lacking in utility and can't do the buff the beatstick thing it was designed around.

Cabalist
Power +1, Versatility +1
Largely the same as Warlock, but with a worse spelllist and no bolts.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:


This archetype will work better if you can fit Craft Wondrous Item into your build (and campaign flow) and make a LOT of Pearls of Power.

To be fair, that's true of pretty much any wizard. Craft Wondrous Item and Pearls of Power are awesome for Wizards.

Otherwise agree with everything you say; it's a difficult archetype to rate because it has some incredibly powerful bonuses at incredibly steep tradeoffs. While there seems to be a community consensus on the Exploiter, this one seems to be flying under the radar despite its power. What are people's thoughts on where it should be rated? I'm waffling a bit on the matter myself the more I think about it.


From what I saw, Cabalist is more of a Rogue/Shadowdancer (even gets Shadow Jump), while Warlock is more of DPS and kind of a pseudo Kineticist.

**********************

Empyreal Knight:
Dip Power -2, Dip Versatility -1
Full Power -1, Full Versatility 0
This archetype has great flavor, but it trades out way to many good/important things, for things that can be gained with spells and magic items.

At max lv you do get a good flight ability compared to what you can get through spells; and the Magic Circle against Evil can be quite useful in emergencies.

Warrior Poet:
Dip Power +1, Dip Versatility +1
Full Power +1, Full Versatility +1
Dip wise, this archetypes trades very little for some useful abilities. It is one of the few ways to get shot on the run with no pre-reqs and probably the only way to get it at lv 1. And the feint ability is a great engage for feint builds.

Full wise, the archetype is the only Archetype that can use Vital Strike and Spring Attack together; And, since it gets Spring attack and Vital strike virtually for free, it is free to spend its feats on things that normally wouldn't be possible.

Hermit:
Power 0, Versatility +1
This archetype has great mobility, being able to not provoke from one square and a spacing (instead of distance or lighting) based Dimension Door ability. The Fade from Memory Revelation can be quite useful to evade ranged attacks while out in the open.


Melkiador wrote:
Unless you have some other way to generate attacks of opportunity, a 12 dexterity should be enough for the vast majority of situations. Even against multiples, I can’t think of an actual in-game situation where someone would have gotten more than 3 in one round.

There are a lot of inexpensive ways of generating AoOs in the game, and if your build pursues it, no amount of dex is enough -- even if you're primarily 2hPA.


Slim Jim wrote:
Melkiador wrote:
Unless you have some other way to generate attacks of opportunity, a 12 dexterity should be enough for the vast majority of situations. Even against multiples, I can’t think of an actual in-game situation where someone would have gotten more than 3 in one round.
There are a lot of inexpensive ways of generating AoOs in the game, and if your build pursues it, no amount of dex is enough -- even if you're primarily 2hPA.

Weapon finesse, (free combat expertise from kinetic knight), improved trip, (free feat), combat reflexes, greater trip. By the end (L9) your kinetic knight while hasted can trip three people getting AoOs if successful with their kinetic whip, take AoOs again when they stand up, then take AoOs again if they move more than a 5' step. And kinetic whip AoOs hurt. It's more often a less specialised build and wishful thinking, true.

Edit: I believe this is what Magda calls a reach weapon shield.

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