Archetype Tier List: A Guide to Picking Archetypes


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Dasrak wrote:
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.

True, but even more true for Wizards that have no specialty Arcane School, due to the lower number of spells per day, and yet even more true for Spell Sage, due to needing to consume 2 spells at once to cast an off-list spell, as well as likely needing to cast more spells (especially off-list spells) for situational reasons (like no divine caster over 4/9 in the party).

Dasrak wrote:
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.

I'd call Spell Sage +0 Power, +1 Versatility, due to all the spells you can cast that a normal Wizard can't, but at the cost of replacing Arcane School ability with a very limited use fixed Caster Level boost (which is very good, but only if you use it for just the right thing), and having fewer spells per day. Then I'd add a note about how you have to be really thoughtful about how you build it and use it (if you do everything right and use it in the right situation, it's really good, but it's easier to mess up than a regular Wizard).


Link to Table of Contents

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The document has been updated with new reviews, the duplicate Spell Sage review has been done away with, and the mismatched Kineticist reviews have been fixed.

You might have noticed that the Table of Contents looks a bit different, and I figured I should make it a bit easier to see where reviews are needed.

So the "r" means "reviews needed".


This is just a side note on the Kinetic Knight, but just taking Artful Dodge (+1 AC and use int for Dex pre-reqs), you can make a full Str and Con Kinetic Knight, built like any other paladin. Obviously, worse save.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Dasrak wrote:
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.

A powerful bonus at a steep cost, that strikes me as an even trade; so I would rate that +0 to power. With the Magus archetypes, I've reserved +2 ratings for powerful bonuses that do not have a noticeable cost.

And unlike arcane bond, the spell sage is hampered by the action cost (one full round per level of the spell) which effectively means you can't use it in combat. So I'd agree with UAE's suggestion of +0 Power, +1 Versatility. $.02.

Dasrak wrote:
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.

Well, casting any spell in your spellbook is very strong in terms of versatility (as is +1 spell of your highest level); and it strikes me that losing three feats is also a big hit in versatility. So I agree that it's not as bad as losing your arcane school, but it's a much greater drawback than losing some bonus feats (as with the HH pact wizard).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I finished off the Psychic since no one else seemed to have insights on the Psychic Duelist archetype. I also fixed the Familiar Adept Wizard archetype. When I'd originally rated it I'd done so based on how it appeared in D20PFSRD, which does not correctly communicate the rules for the archetype. The actual tradeoff is that the archetype nerfs your wizard, but gives your familiar access to the exclusive School Familiar archetype. Looked at in isolation the archetype looks useless as a result. While the downsides still outweigh the benefits quite significantly, my original snarky review was misleading so I replaced it.

Kurald Galain wrote:
So I'd agree with UAE's suggestion of +0 Power, +1 Versatility. $.02

Sold, for $0.02

Dasrak wrote:
Well, casting any spell in your spellbook is very strong in terms of versatility (as is +1 spell of your highest level); and it strikes me that losing three feats is also a big hit in versatility.

If you want to get the bonded item through feats, your only option is eldritch heritage with the arcane bloodline. It's only 2 feats, but it has a charisma prerequisite and skill focus (any knowledge) is a significantly worse prerequisite tax than iron will, so personally I think the familiar bond path is better for most builds.


Wonderstell wrote:

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.

Losing the ki bonus attack is a notable decrease in power, though, and RAW unMonk can select the chained version of Diamond Body as a Qinggong Power.

deuxhero wrote:

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.

In what universe is getting access to 6/9 spellcasting a -2 in versatility? Aren't we mostly doing the rating in comparison to the base class? In which case all three of these must definitely be +2 versatility. Just because Warlock is better still doesn't stop them from being a huge upgrade.


Derklord wrote:
Wonderstell wrote:

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.

Losing the ki bonus attack is a notable decrease in power, though, and RAW unMonk can select the chained version of Diamond Body as a Qinggong Power.

I missed the loss of the bonus attack, which will affect the rating. And while I don't think it's intended for you to get the chained version from Qinggong, it seems like it works.


Temperans wrote:
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.

It's a nice teleportation SLA, but that hardly makes it a rogue replacement. Especially when it loses perception and disable device and doesn't get Invisibility or other great Arcane Trickster spells on its list like Warlock does.


deuxhero wrote:
Temperans wrote:
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.
It's a nice teleportation SLA, but that hardly makes it a rogue replacement. Especially when it loses perception and disable device and doesn't get Invisibility or other great Arcane Trickster spells on its list like Warlock does.

I didn't say it was a Rogue replacement, I said it functioned closer to one. Just like a rogue needs stealth or feinting, Cabalist needs the same. Perception and Disable Device are not Rogue only things; Also, I dont expect all class wanting to be stealth assasins/scouts, to get Disable Device, specially when traps are often not used/can be bypassed.

As for spells, sure the Witch spell list doesn't get Invisibility or traditional Arcane Trickster spells. However, it does get lots of curses and debuffs so it's a lot easier to stack on penalties and control the battle field, even from the shadows. You also get things not on the Wizard list (Ex: Cure spells) so there is less need to invest in UMD to get wand usage.


Note that the Deception and Spirits Witch Patrons get Invisibility (both at 4th level) without needing to pick an archetype (although some archetypes replace the Patron spell gained at 4th level, so you still have to be careful).


A cabalist doesn't get a witch patron though UAE, just the general witch spell list. They can terrify from the shadows but being outright invisible is not a thing they do.


D'OH! Got mixed up and thought we were talking about Witch archetypes . . . .


Mutated Defender (Vigilante)
[Dip]
Power -1, Versatility -1

So this archetype gives you access to a restricted list of 1-point Eidolon Evolutions, which you can replace your Vigilante Talents with. Unfortunately you can't take the most noteworthy, Pounce or Skilled, and when it comes down to it most 1-point Evolutions just aren't that exciting. The strongest choice would be 'Reach', which could make a dip worth it for those that feel 5 ft short.

To pay for this, you'll suffer a mutant deformity (of your choice) in your Vigilante Identity. I'd recommend the 'Poor Ability' in a mental stat or the 'Light Blindness' deformity, the first because ability score penalties can't bring you down below 1.
Although you lose your Vigilante Specialization, your BAB is upgraded as if you've chosen Avenger, which is a saving grace. Even so, you'll probably just feel like a more restricted Avenger in most cases.


Well there is no real need for skilled given the bonuses Social Talents give. Pounce is weird, a centaur vigilante could possibly grab it (Natural Charge multi attack lance of doom?).

But yeah the archetype seems to be more for flavor than anything else.


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Bards, bards, bards. There's far too many of these archetypes, but their sheer number implies that it's a popular theme. Some thoughts:

Bards A. Yes Really. A.:
Animal Speaker
Power -1, Versatility 0
You lose a variety of performances which can be hard to use under a skeptical GM - fascinate, suggestion and inspire competence - and get to be a summoner. The rat swarms via performance look useful, the summon nature's ally spells not so much. The big downside, well, can you say 'Disney Princess'? Under a normal GM those performances are solid though so this is overall a power drop.

Arbiter aka Averaka Arbiter
Power 0, Versatility -1
The AoN text implies this archetype is for half-orcs but there's no hard restriction.
Instead of inspire competence you get a performance which duplicates solo tactics, and dirge of doom by a weak mass charm effect. A fair amount of bonus teamwork feats replace versatile performance. I like versatile performance though...more feats are probably more combat effective I admit. Though needing a performance to make solo tactics work generally means that inspire courage isn't happening, so it isn't that good unless you're working with friends who actually have the same teamwork feats.

Arcane Healer
Power 0, Versatility -1
The big change here is channel positive energy in place of versatile performance, with a very limited number of uses/day. This is probably most useful used with channel foci charged the day before, a use or two a day won't change a lot otherwise. It should work with variant channeling too but again, not enough uses.

Archivist
Power -1, Versatility 0
Archivists get a lot of on-theme abilities about being a stereotypical professor, and with the knowledge focus and losing versatile performance they're going to need some Int. They have a well-concealed trapfinding ability from 2nd level, it's hidden inside a 'magic lore' ability. From level 10 they get to take 10 on any d20 roll once/day, slowly increasing uses/day beyond that level.
Their version of inspire courage requires them to succeed at knowledge checks to identify monsters which means that it can't always be activated, and which doesn't work against mixed groups of enemies. It rates down on power mostly due to that.

Argent Voice
Power +1, Versatility -1
Finally, an archetype which doesn't just keep versatile performance, it boosts it, if only a little. Also the devilbane refrain performance lets them make allies weapons act as silver from 8th level and evil outsider bane from 14th. The other changes give abilities situational enough that they're all but insignificant, losing fascinate and suggestion along the way.
Power +1 assumes you're in a game where evil outsiders will feature. Some specific games won't and in these drop the power rating.

Arrowsong Minstrel
Power 0, Versatility -2
You're a shooty bard as an arrowsong minstrel. The archetype is built around this and strips away anything it considers nonessential, including some of your spells/day. It's probably best if you take 6 levels then jump straight into arcane archer and don't look back; arrowsong minstrel lets you do that.


Averaka Arbiter: Seems like it might actually be helped by a dip inn Cavalier or something giving the Tactician class feature. A 1 level dip into Cavalier does this, but the once per day usage limit kills it. A 3 level dip into Holy Tactician Paladin apparently gives unlimited uses per day (although I wonder if this was actually a mistake in the text of Holy Tactician), although the 3 level day in Bard progression really hurts. Replacing the dip with VMC Cavalier gives more than 1 use per day and no delay in Bard progression, but eats a lot of feats and only comes online at 11th level.

Arrowsong Minstrel: If you go Arcane Archer, remember that it is progressing your 6/9 spellcasting with Diminished Spellcasting at 3/4. Yuck. In addition, since Arrowsong Minstrel doesn't change your BAB from 3/4, you can't start after 6 levels of Bard -- you need 8 levels of Bard, due to the prerequisite BAB +6.


Ah, but the arrowsong minstrel does have an archetype feature which lets you treat bard level = BAB for archery prereqs, including those of the arcane archer PrC. 6 levels. Should I spell it out more clearly? And yeah, you're obviously very focused on shooting things rather than on spells as an arrowsong minstrel / arcane archer.

None of those ideas seem worth mentioning specifically for the arbiter. There's the ring of tactical precision I guess, but it costs and it's awkward.


While I'm not sure why the Arbiter would want to dip for the ability to give out (one) teamwork feat, I'd say a one level dip into Guiding Blade Swashbuckler should be considered before Cavalier.

It costs Panache to give out the teamwork feat, but ally killing blows replenish your pool so you'll basically never run out if the feat is used during combat.


Um I guess it would be best to make a note saying Arrowsong Minstrel gets power +1 if using Arcane Archer. Gets earliest access with a class, and better bow/aoe spells.


The arrowsong minstrel's not more powerful than a standard bard though, just different. Power +1 is just not appropriate IMO. Even in the super-narrow field of bard arcane archers, confusion is a good spell to use with imbue arrow and a vanilla bard gets it, and not entering the PrC until later means move action starting performances and a couple of other tricks; this cuts the difference down to less than a point on the scale we're using I think.

The arbiter is going to have teamwork feats which they can only use with a performance which conflicts with inspire courage, or if someone in the party takes the same teamwork feats. I'll note the guiding blade swash.


avr wrote:

Ah, but the arrowsong minstrel does have an archetype feature which lets you treat bard level = BAB for archery prereqs, including those of the arcane archer PrC. 6 levels. Should I spell it out more clearly? And yeah, you're obviously very focused on shooting things rather than on spells as an arrowsong minstrel / arcane archer.

{. . .}

You're right -- I had to go back and look at it a 3rd time to see this, because it is packed into the second part of the Arcane Archery feature (I saw the stuff that it has first about spells and thought no, this isn't it).


It would appear that the owner of the document has deleted it. Might be a mistake, so I'll wait before posting an updated link.


Weird -- at first it displays normally, but then after a LONG delay it gives the "in the owner's trash" warning.


Well this is weird, it doesn't say that for me. Maybe I'm not waiting long enough or the problem is fixed.

* I used the link in the top of page 15 to access the document and opened it in chrome not the drive app.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm getting the warning that the author has trashed the document, as well. I've made my own copy just in case, but otherwise we'll wait and see if Hyland returns.


Still getting the warning "in the owner's trash", actually now after only a moderate delay.


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Updated Link to Table of Contents.

Comments should have been transferred, but those from yesterday might not have made it.


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Bards B-C. Only 23 letters to go.:
Brazen Deceiver
Power +1, Versatility 0
Lies and shadow spells and a little for stealth, but nothing for knowledge and you lose versatile performance. I may dislike the last but it's hard to argue with the extra spells including shadow conjuration. You are set up to be a sneaky lying bastard here.

Buccaneer
Power 0, Versatility 0
You lose mostly minor abilities for minor (by the level you get them) nonlethal effects.

Busker
Power 0, Versatility 0
You lose bardic performance for something functionally equivalent but with different actual effects, and with just 4 + Cha mod rounds/day - lingering performance will be required. The inspire courage equivalent targets only you but includes haste from 5th level, and there are a variety of cute other effects (like getting to threaten a large area with thrown weapons).

Celebrity
Power -1, Versatility 0
The inspire courage replacement is terrible but the other two changes are passable.

Chronicler of worlds
Power 0, Versatility 0
At the very end Paizo made an Int-based bard. No one that I know of has claimed this breaks anything. The other changes are about equivalent to that they replace, with versatile performance replaced by something almost as good based off linguistics, and the other effects likely being better in planar adventures and worse on the material plane.

Clockspeaker
Power -1, Versatility -1
A number of your performances affect constructs/golems and those only. And you can raise constructs from the dead in place of soothing performance. I have no idea why a PC bard would find these useful changes.

Court fool
Power 0, Versatility 0
Bardic knowledge giving a bonus to acrobatics, bluff, climb and disguise instead, and getting to take 10/occasionally take 20 on acrobatics and bluff from 5th level instead of lore keeper are the significant changes in mechanics here. I think these are equivalent for a bard since they have relatively little use for getting enemies flanked or denied their dex bonus, and the take 10/20 thing is buried too far in for a dip.

Cultivator
Power +1, Versatility +1
No, nothing to do with inner strength/ki, this is about plants. You can affect plants with your mind-affecting performances (not spells) instead of getting bardic knowledge, and get some useful plant-based spells known for free. Instead of countersong you can create weak, temporary cover as a performance. None of the changes is big but they all add up to a very useful package.


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Bards D:
Daredevil
Power -1, Versatility -1
The largest change here is that inspire courage is replaced with something so forgettable that you may not bother using it. IMO this outweighs the potentially nice combat maneuver bonus and will save bonus to the point that the daredevil is not worth troubling with.

The skill bonuses might be nice but losing versatile performance is worse than their potential benefit. There are other archetypes for doing a more physical bard, look at those first.

Demagogue
Power -1, Versatility 0
An NPC archetype; the famous ability is as bad here as on the celebrity, and inciting a riot is not something PCs often find it useful to do.

Dervish Dancer
Dip Power +1, Versatility -1
Full Power +2, Versatility -1
The second dervish bard by order of release. It has similar abilities to the Dawnflower Dervish (d20pfsrd: Dervish of Dawn) but loses different bard abilities to gain them, and in particular trades more later to gain some useful late-game abilities including a move and full attack.

Diva / Chelish Diva
Power +1, Versatility 0
You're an opera singer. Not an adventurer, right? It works surprisingly well as one though; costumes translating to armor proficiency, scaling up bardic performance save DCs/perform checks with extra effort and the scathing tirade performance which replaces dirge of doom are all pretty good. Famous still isn't good as a game mechanic, but at least you're not trading inspire courage to get it on this archetype.

If you want to play against type but still be recognisable as a bard this archetype works.

Dragon Herald (Kobold)
Power +2, Versatility 0
So there is a way to make a diplomancer in PF. You just need to be a kobold bard and serve or worship dragons, and diplomacy as a full round action becomes possible as well as taking 10 on diplomacy. I did not know this until reading up for this guide.

Besides the potential diplomancy there are a number of defensive abilities here which are better than the abilities they replace. Rebuke foes is worse, true.

Dragon Yapper (Kobold)
Power 0 to -2, Versatility 0
A debuff in place of inspire courage is the notable change here. If there's no save - none is mentioned but offensive bardic performances usually have one - it's OK, if a save is required don't bother.

Duettist
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power +1, Versatility 0
You get a familiar. This has little useful effect besides the usual use of a familiar until 8th level, when your bardic performance gets a boost and then 14th level, when you and your familiar can use different performances.

Dwarven Scholar
Power +1, Versatility -1
A wisdom based bard who can share combat feats as a performance and gains some bonus combat feats. You do lose inspire courage and versatile performance to do that, but it's a neat trick all the same. I want to make a dwarven scholar / brawler some time to use martial flexibility with this. While there's nothing in the archetype requiring you to be a dwarf, expect to be mocked if you choose to play a human dwarven scholar.


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Bards, F is for Fey:
Faith Singer
Power -1, Versatility 0
Getting what amounts to domain spell slots sounds OK, but they arrive late enough on the faith singer that they're not going to be level-appropriate effects when they do. You get them at exactly twice the level a cleric would. The versatile performance you sacrifice to get these is definitely better.

Fey Courtier (Gathlain)
Power +1, Versatility 0
Besides some abilities which must be mainly for flavour the fey courtier gets to be a surprisingly good summoner. Besides augment summoning they get fey creatures added to the list their spells can summon which are more powerful than usual for that spell level. You can't rely on those summons alone...but that's OK, you've got plenty of other options as a bard.

Fey Prankster
Power -1, Versatility 0
One of the more physical bards, with bonuses & the ability to take 10/sometimes 20 on bluff, disguise, sleight of hand and stealth, and no bardic knowledge. The fey prankster also gets improved dirty trick and a virtual combat expertise free. Unfortunately their inspire courage replacement is not good which undermines their use of combat maneuvers.

Filidh
Power -1, Versatility 0
A bard with a touch of druid. It looks at first glance as though they have a means of getting extra rounds of bardic performance, but a closer look shows that they will need those if they use their divination or speak with animals/plants abilities just to make up the extra cost. Sadly this is another archetype which has a worse replacement for inspire courage.

The filidh is a divine spellcaster which mainly means if they can get proficiency in medium or heavy armor they can wear it without ASF. It does also mean you'd be able to take feats like blessed hammer or divine interference I guess, but a cleric or oracle would still get more use out of those.

First World Minstrel
Dip Power +2, Versatility +1
Full Power 0, Versatility +1
Yet another fey-flavoured bard. In this case we see one of the rare replacements for inspire courage which is actually good; taking powers from the fey creature template has some useful options including a few which are unexpected at low character levels.

Flame Dancer
Power +1, Versatility 0
Flame Dancers get several flame-themed powers but the big one is letting everyone affected by a particular performance see through smoke, mist and fog. It may not sound amazing but creating mist/fog is the easiest way to change the environment in PF, and if everyone in the party can see through it you likely have a major advantage over the enemy. If the enemy can see through mist/fog too then at least you're on an even footing and the enemy can't gain that advantage over you.

Flamesinger
Power 0, Versatility 0
More direct flame-themed powers than the flame dancer. If it wasn't for fire damage being so frequently resisted in PF it'd be better.

Fortune Teller
Dip Power 0, Versatility 0
Full Power +1, Versatility 0
Most of the changes are minor (and annoyingly fiddly) until 8th level, when the Fortune Teller gets to give significant bonuses to anyone attacked by nearby enemies, and to make those enemies frightened if they reach HP=Con score or below.


Bard has so many archetypes as to cause noticeable General Relativistic effects on time . . . say, that's an idea for another Bard archetype . . . .

Shadow Lodge

A lot of bard archetypes are very situational. I played an animal speaker in the serpent skull AP and my GM thought it was op. There was so many animal encounters that I was literally immune to and could easily wild empathy into friendship. My favorite was befriending a giant crocodile and convincing it to raid our enemies camp and completely decimate them. But in any campaign without lots of animals, the archetype would be garbage.

Shadow Lodge

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Blossoming light cleric:
Power +1, Versatility -1
This archetype is built for one thing. It gives the most uses of channel energy per day and greatly expands your list of enemies you can harm with channel energy making it the best channeler in the game. You will want to max charisma over wisdom, making offensive spells not worth using, but throw in the purifying channel feat and you can be healing and harming at the same time all day long. The biggest downside is that you lose armor and gain nothing to replace it in the way of defenses. Not recommended for dipping as the penalties are front loaded and the benefits build over levels.


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Just one bard could have that effect UAE. Ever seen a pic of Pavarotti?

With imaginative use and a good situation many weird abilities can be good, but I think the ratings here have to be more general. Do you think the power ratings should include the best use/situation possible Gnoams?

Without such a consideration,

Bards, H-L:
Hatharat Agent (not on d20pfsrd)
Power 0, Versatility +1
A bard as a secret policeman, makes sense I guess. You don't sacrifice anything vital to become well-connected and manipulative, the biggest loss is bardic knowledge.

Hoaxer
Power -1 to +2, Versatility -1 to +1
A lot of weird performances related to giving people objects with a hex 'curse' in them, which can be a beneficial one like fortune or healing. Not great IMO. And then you get bonus item crafting feats with specific permission, in fact a requirement to use the cursed item rules. Which is brokenly good in the sense of 'triple your wealth by level' for a start.

If your GM tries to counter this by making the cursed crafted items negative, problem ones only or something like that this archetype could be anywhere down to Power -1, Versatility -1; you sacrifice a fair bit for this archetype. If you have a free hand to use the cursed item rules to your advantage and can maybe sell your cursed items at half the uncursed price then it could be up to Power +2, Versatility +1; WBLmancy is power in PF.

Impervious Messenger
Dip Power 0, Versatility -1
Full Power 0, Versatility 0
Getting to memorise stuff and to resist divinations (but only when using a performance) is an NPC power, surely. +4 vs language-dependent effects or glyphs/symbols is rarely useful. You don't lose anything critical for it but still.

Then at 8th level you get an actually useful performance increasing your mobility. It's enough to close the difference to be near as good as a standard bard.

Lotus Geisha
Power +1, Versatility -1
Not the same as the geisha archetype. The lotus geisha gets free spell focus (enchantment), later greater spell focus, and an ability which adds 2 to the save DCs of a performance or 1 to the bonuses granted, so long as the performance is focused on one target. Obviously this could be great for a self-buffing only bard.

Luring Piper
Power 0, Versatility -1
The Pied Piper of Hamelyn in archetype form. You're better vs. animals and fey, mildly weaker against others. Clearly it will be better in some campaigns than others.


avr wrote:

{. . .} Lotus Geisha

Power +1, Versatility -1
Not the same as the geisha archetype. {. . .}

Speaking of which, this is surprisingly the only archetype between F and H. Neither Fowl nor Hagfish, it seems to have slipped between the cracks . . . .


I'm not rerating archetypes which others have already done UAE. There's enough bards in there without making even more work.


^Oh, okay. Your list was so extensive already that I thought you were doing a complete rework -- just seemed kind of odd that Geisha (not Lotus Geisha) was missing, when you had so many of the others.


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No, no, there's just that many archetypes. I've skipped geisha, arcane duelist, archaeologist etc. because someone has picked up some of the more notable archetypes.

Just wondering if others think I should summarise the changes of the archetype as I have done (for some archetypes at least), or if it's a waste of space?

Bards, M-P:
Magician
Power 0, Versatility -1
A magician bard gets abilities which can boost allies spells or suppress enemies'. They're better at the former than the latter. Though...some of the abilities they lose, dirge of doom and frightening tune effectively boost allies spells which is less than an ideal change. They get some extra spells known and an arcane bonded item to boost their own casting, and wands using their own Cha and level at high levels.

Overall a magician would be welcome in some spellcaster-heavy parties and less in other such, and wouldn't be good in a martial-heavy party either. I'm rating this as lower versatility rather than lower power but YMMV.

Masked Performer
Power -1, Versatility -1
The dual identity vigilante class feature is the obvious change here. The text suggests that most would know that the masked performer's identities were the same person, but there's nothing in the mechanics to back that up. Aside from that you get a few skill bonuses and a performance which does martial flexibility (for one feat only, for the bard only, at 6th level), losing versatile performance, bardic knowledge, inspire competence and some minor stuff.

It's another more physical bard. Losing versatile performance hurts those because even with 6 base skill points, needing ability scores in physical stats and Cha leaves little for Int, losing bardic knowledge reduces the incentive for Int, and there are so many skills that a socially capable gymnast adventurer wants. Performances which you'd use in combat compete directly with inspire courage and I'm not sure one flexible feat (at a level where inspire courage gives at least +2) is enough to be useful more than once in a blue moon. Not great design IMO.

Mute Musician
Power 0, Versatility -2
You can't talk ever (except via telepathy or sign language), and you get a bunch of extra spells, 10 by 18th level. Your musical instruments can provide verbal spell components but not language-dependent effects. There's some useful stuff here but it's mostly more to make a mute musician possible to play rather than good to play. Like having hands, being able to talk is one of those superpowers we humans take for granted.

Negotiator
Power -1, Versatility 0
A social master who loses inspire courage, the negotiator is not going to be great in a fight. A few rogue talents help but don't really change this.

Phrenologist
Power -1, Versatility -1
Maybe I'm biased against this, phrenology being an old pseudoscience which gets my hackles up. I still can't see how some extra sonic damage (if and only if you're doing sonic damage already) is a viable replacement for inspire courage. Spells which do sonic damage generally suck, and you're no sorcerer who can boost blast spells otherwise. This archetype isn't compatible with sound striker so there's no help there. The other abilities aren't great either.

Plant Speaker
Power 0, Versatility 0
It's implied that you need to be a vine leshy to take this archetype but not actually specified unless that's in some text in Ultimate Wilderness which never made it to the internet. One ability does require plantspeech so you'd better be one at least.

Divinations and affecting plant creatures with mind-affecting spells and performances are nice but not great; good for the cost but not enough IMO to raise this above the original bard in the ratings.

Provocateur
Power 0, Versatility -1
Provocateurs rely on boosting some rarely used mechanics from Ultimate Intrigue. Unless those are a significant part of your game that makes it a loss, but not a big one. If they are... I'm not familiar enough with them to say how good these boosts would be, so I've rated for the minor-to-nonexistent situation.


^Having a changelog is good.

It occurs to me that Magician would be quite good in an all-Bard/Skald band party, in which some of the other Bards/Skalds mix it up more in combat but still find it useful to cast, and at least one of the other Bards has Dirge of Doom and Frightening Tune covered. Magician covers some non-Bard spells that are needed very often, while the Skald covers a greater variety of off-list spells that are each not needed as often.


I feel like the Mute Musician should get a note saying it becomes better in horror type campaigns where language, insanity, and silence effects are more likely.

Maybe Power 0, Versatility -1 to 0. The reason being you at high level you can continue a bardic under most conditions even in death (I dont believe another bard has that ability).


So the Hoaxer also gets actual witch hexes. It is additional that the hexes can be invested in an item. While inspire courage is great, having hexes definitely enhances its staying power over an adventuring day at low levels. No Cackle unfortunately, but getting Slumber or Evil Eye is still quite good.


Re the hoaxer, 'the hoaxer can only use his hexes by investing them into objects.' & relevant to that, 'The hex triggers immediately upon being willingly accepted by another creature, targeting its new owner.' No usual use of hexes is allowed. For that matter the hoaxer can't use fortune or healing on their self.

Re the mute musician, being unable to speak pushes it hard against -2 versatility. If there was a special -3 for the worst archetype in class I'd use that. If you have telepathy available at will that frees it up to 0 versatility or so, maybe -1 if you have a more limited telepathy. I'll think how to phrase that.

In a horror campaign where those effects were more likely would it make it up to +1 power? I'm not sure.

The lingering performance feat and a couple of other archetypes I can think of will continue performance effects after the performance ends. It's not that special.

Re the magician, I'll change it to note the bonus spells are off-list.


The hoaxer might qualify for the extra hex feat, but their effective witch level would be 0.


That might work, might not, and if it did the GM might rule that the extra hex would be part of the same pool of hexes they get from the archetype (with full witch level but needing to be invested into objects.) Too many uncertainties to note I think.

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Temperans wrote:
I feel like the Mute Musician should get a note saying it becomes better in horror type campaigns where language, insanity, and silence effects are more likely.

I don't see why these effects would be more likely in horror campaigns. I've played several of Paizo's horror scenarios and I don't remember any of them containing language or silence, or even insanity effects. I'd say that ability is way too situational to save the archetype.

avr wrote:
If you have telepathy available at will that frees it up to 0 versatility or so, maybe -1 if you have a more limited telepathy.

As far as I know there are no practical ways of getting telepathy at will, so that doesn't strike me as relevant to the rating.


avr wrote:

Re the mute musician, being unable to speak pushes it hard against -2 versatility. If there was a special -3 for the worst archetype in class I'd use that. If you have telepathy available at will that frees it up to 0 versatility or so, maybe -1 if you have a more limited telepathy. I'll think how to phrase that.

In a horror campaign where those effects were more likely would it make it up to +1 power? I'm not sure.

The lingering performance feat and a couple of other archetypes I can think of will continue performance effects after the performance ends. It's not that special.

Well okay I can see your point as to why its so low, I can't deny it.

Regarding Lingering performance part, I know that there are effects that let you continue after you are finished. The mute musicians ability however is about not ending the performance in the first place, even when you physically can't. This means that it works even on Bardic Masterpieces.

Ex: A Mute Musician has 10 rds of performance left when he is knocked unconscious/killed, he can continue to use those 10 rds before he needs to use Lingering Performance.

*******************************
This doesn't have to do with any rating just something I wanted to point out. The Hoaxer is basically the creepy person in stories that goes around selling/gifting cursed items to people caught unaware. My point being that this looks like another, "it was made for story purpose" archetype.


Kurald Galain wrote:
avr wrote:
If you have telepathy available at will that frees it up to 0 versatility or so, maybe -1 if you have a more limited telepathy.
As far as I know there are no practical ways of getting telepathy at will, so that doesn't strike me as relevant to the rating.

The lashunta race is practical if available & a slightly impractical way is a helm of telepathy. There may be others, that's just off the top of my non-telepathic head.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I feel like the Mute Musician should get a note saying it becomes better in horror type campaigns where language, insanity, and silence effects are more likely.

I don't see why these effects would be more likely in horror campaigns. I've played several of Paizo's horror scenarios and I don't remember any of them containing language or silence, or even insanity effects. I'd say that ability is way too situational to save the archetype.

avr wrote:
If you have telepathy available at will that frees it up to 0 versatility or so, maybe -1 if you have a more limited telepathy.
As far as I know there are no practical ways of getting telepathy at will, so that doesn't strike me as relevant to the rating.

I was referring to the likeliness of encountering such an effect, specially the insanity effects. Also I mentioned it because the archetype is originally from the Horror Realms campaign setting book. I wont disagree that its a situational ability, most boosts to saves are situational abilities.

Regarding Telepathy there is the Helm of Telepathy, that should work for most uses of telepathy. Besides there is no pressing need for Telepathy except for complicated commands and maybe diplomacy, a simple piece of paper and some ink/chalk should do fine for most purposes. Even charades works fine and is flavorful.


Charades while fun & flavorful in the short term don't work just fine. My experience overseas suggests that trying to write when you don't speak the language well but can write it better, is something that people don't tolerate at all. A bard is a Cha-based character who loses quite a bit by not being able to use social skills.

As my ninja of you just above suggests, a helm of telepathy is a bit clunky to use - standard action, the person you're talking to has to choose to fail a save vs. a rather invasive effect or they have to actually fail that DC 13 Will save. And it costs 27K. The lashunta race is a better workaround, though they're from off Golarion which makes their use a bit iffy.


the other only option for telepathy type effect is the bonded mind feat but that has the problem of people needed to opt in to the feat spending.

Also how is not being able to speak a language well similar to not being able to speak at all? I mean I get why people would get annoyed waiting for someone who can speak to write a sentence.

The charades part was mostly trying to add a bit of comedy. Also there are surprisingly a lot of flavorful options that work fine at first, but quickly becomes a chore. Having said that, speaking would probably only affect spoken part of social skills, so things like complex on the spot lies, trying to smooth talk someone/thing, or using your voice/choice of words to intimidate.

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