What archetypes do you wish were better?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Just out of curiosity, I was wondering what archetypes you guys think were either cool concepts that fell flat in execution or need to be updated to make them more relevant with newer official content.

I think for me, the White-Haired Witch is one such archetype. My very first time looking through the witch's hexes, I saw Prehensile Hair and thought, "I'd love to have this be permanent..." And lo, from on high came the White-Haired Witch... except it has a number of problems that make it a lackluster archetype. Since their attacks still rely on Strength/Dexterity and their 1/2 BAB progression to hit, but require Intellect to deal damage and make successful grapples, it makes them somewhat MAD, and they completely lose out on hexes, many of which would prove useful to allow them to hit more competently. Personally, I'd have given them a bonus to their attack rolls on their hair attack equal to 1/2 their Witch levels (giving them pseudo 3/4 BAB with such attacks), and perhaps allowed them to take a limited selection of hexes as well as rogue talents at 10th level or higher, and maybe even give their hair a 10 ft. reach out the gate and have it gain an extra 5 ft every 5 levels.

Anyone else have some archetypes they would like to use if it was just better mechanically?


I want to change one word of the Deep Walker ranger archetype. Currently the ability Deep Knowledge replaces favored terrain. Since it essentially functions as favored terrain (all the modifiers are identical to favored terrain) I would change the word replaces to modifies, which would then bring all the ranger spells and items that require a favored terrain into effect.


Havoker Witch is another common one, I think.

Same with a lot of the Wizard archetypes, Siege Mage, Arcane Bomber, Familiar Adept, and Sword binder, come to mind.

Then you have the Soul Forger Magus. That one's also pretty sad.


Living Grimoire Inquisitor is mine.

It's still one of the hard decisions I make between picking an actually good archtype or being Lord Mozgus...


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The Spellslinger, it horribly nerfs the class it applies to, but buffs any other spellcasting class you advance into after a 1-level dip.


A few more:

Overwhelming Soul kineticist. Currently only useful for gathlains that have fallen to undeath.

Interrogator, Metamorph, and Construct Rider Alchemist.

Eldritch Font Arcanist (Seriously... it's just bad), and the Unlettered Arcanist, also the White Mage. The Spell Specialist just really wants to be good, but can't manage it.

Then we have the Breaker, Drunken Rager, Primal Hunter, and Savage Barbarian are all pretty sad.

Oh, and any and all archetypes that get a Drake companion. They are universally considered awesome in potential, useless in practice.

More coming soon.


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Part three:

Cloistered Cleric. Scroll Scholar. Merciful Healer. Undead Lord. Clerics get the short stick when it comes to archetypes, it seems...

Aldori Swordlord Fighter. One of the only ways (some say THE only way) to actually be good in the prestige class of the same name, it's still kind of lacking for a supposedly unbeatable fighting school. Dragoon fighters try to be a cavalier, but the mount... is lacking.

Oh, the Titan Mauler for Barbarian. It just wants to be so cool....

Scarab Sages

Master of Many Styles monk. The wildcard feats really need to ignore prerequisites. That one change would make it perfect.


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Reliquarian Occultist: you change your casting to divine, base focus and domains off of wisdom, still an INT based spellcaster.

Brute Vigilante: "Being the Hulk" is a great concept, but "taking control away from the player" is a line too far.

Every fighter archetype that replaces weapon training with pseudo-weapon training with a specific weapon that doesn't include the language that would allow them to qualify for things that require weapon training: this one's self explanatory.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ditto on the White Haired Witch and the Reliquarian Occultist. Such good ideas. Such poor writing and editing.


Unbreakable fighter. It was kind of lackluster even before Weapon Master's Handbook, but had its niche. Now it falls clearly behind unarchetyped fighter.
It's a fine idea for an archetype, just needs more of a boost (though NOT Weapon Training). Maybe giving Stalwart earlier, a larger boost to Unflinching, or some additional defensive abilities.


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The Drake archetypes.

The concept behind them is so cool. "You have a dragon buddy!" But you trade away a lot of class features, and the Drakes themselves are worse than some animal companions. Which sucks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

The Samurai Sword Saint archetype.

An archetype which removes the mount stuff and adds in some sword-master kinds of abilities? Awesome! Oh, wait. All of the extra class abilities are constructed so as to be completely worthless? So that there's really no difference in playing a Sword Saint and a plain samurai who just chooses not to have a mount?... never mind.


Metamorph Alchemist is #1 for me. Such a cool idea, but should have alchemy returned.

Armored Battlemage is #2. I had such high hopes of being a caster wearing heavy armor, inspired by Chaos Sorcerers from Warhammer/40k. Turns out, not good at all.

Scarab Sages

Poison Dusk wrote:
Metamorph Alchemist is #1 for me. Such a cool idea, but should have alchemy returned.

I actually really like Metamorph Alchemist. It can have an insanely high STR bonus, and is a truly martial shapeshifter that I have always wanted. It has a lot of good options, and still can take discoveries. Listing spells and bombs does make it a lower tier than a normal alchemist, but it's a better fighter.

It's likely going to be outclassed by the shapeshifter coming soon, but maybe not. As it is, it's the only character that can "wild shape" from first level.


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Dαedαlus wrote:

Part three:

Cloistered Cleric. Scroll Scholar. Merciful Healer. Undead Lord. Clerics get the short stick when it comes to archetypes, it seems...

Undead Lord could be so awesome if the Corpse Companion were fleshed out to work something akin to an Animal Companion. As it stands, the rules for making one are too vague and undefined.


Well, I suppose there's the Ghost Sovereign for Spheres of Power's Soul Weaver if you want to go that route... or, really, the Death sphere in general. *Coughs*

I, too, wish that the Sword Saint archetype was more workable.


Saldiven wrote:
Undead Lord could be so awesome if the Corpse Companion were fleshed out to work something akin to an Animal Companion. As it stands, the rules for making one are too vague and undefined.

Played a undead lord in my first ever pathfinder game, It did not end well. Necromancers are already a bundle of kinda confusing rules, and the corps companion is a trap option if I ever saw one.


Living Grimoire Inquisitor and is mine.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Esoteric magus. Unarmed Spellstrike should (IMO) be changed to a version of Spellstrike that can be used with unarmed strikes and any weapon with the "monk" quality; don't change the weapon proficiencies, though. Then it becomes decent, instead of poor.


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Onyx Tanuki wrote:
I think for me, the White-Haired Witch is one such archetype. My very first time looking through the witch's hexes, I saw Prehensile Hair and thought, "I'd love to have this be permanent..." And lo, from on high came the White-Haired Witch... except it has a number of problems that make it a lackluster archetype. Since their attacks still rely on Strength/Dexterity and their 1/2 BAB progression to hit, but require Intellect to deal damage and make successful grapples, it makes them somewhat MAD, and they completely lose out on hexes, many of which would prove useful to allow them to hit more competently.

I'm with you 100% on the White-Haired Witch. I want it to work so badly! I spent a couple hours once trying to come up with a build that made sense, but I couldn't make it work. Too bad . . . so flavorful!


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PossibleCabbage wrote:


Brute Vigilante: "Being the Hulk" is a great concept, but "taking control away from the player" is a line too far.

Oh, Brute has way more issues than just control.

It has limited/daily. Limited hours of being a Brute (which you are likely to just turn back anyway)
No armor, etc.

They nerfed it likely due to fear, but they should have realized it should be fun too.

Grand Lodge

Sandman, Bard Archetype. Bard spell list, sneak attack, all that needs is some tweaking to the Spellstealing ability.
Until 7th lvl, it's a massive time sink. even then, it's a time sink.

There's no way to steal spells from other casters, and i would really like this archetype to shine.


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Magical Child Vigilante. imo the archetype missed the magical girl concept by quite a bit.


Starbuck_II wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


Brute Vigilante: "Being the Hulk" is a great concept, but "taking control away from the player" is a line too far.

Oh, Brute has way more issues than just control.

It has limited/daily. Limited hours of being a Brute (which you are likely to just turn back anyway)
No armor, etc.

They nerfed it likely due to fear, but they should have realized it should be fun too.

Not to mention the distinct lack of any stat changes from growing large. The Hulk needs to be strong, too!


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Feyspeaker Druid and Armored Battlemage Magus are my two.

For the former, it gives up an awful lot and doesn't get a ton back. A couple more skills, wild empathy bluffing charisma casting and a slightly expanded spell list are all nice, but giving up most wildshape forms, decent BAB, spontaneous summoning, and medium armor really cuts down combat potential before spells cover an entire day. Especially since druids don't have many offensive casting. Its not unworkable (and is on my list of possible new characters) but its sadly a downgrade overall.

For the latter, it would be perfect if it gave up something like spell recall and greater rather than spell combat. Giving up the ability to cast spells and full attack in a turn is harsh, and a bonus to AC (which normal Magi get eventually anyway) and concentration doesn't compete. The armor enchanting instead of weapon enchanting I don't really mind, but I also play with groups and games which put an above average emphasis on defense. As is the case with feyspeaker , I think I could make it work but it is still objectively worse than a vanilla magus.

There are other archetypes which could do with a power bump, and I do think its unfortunate when archetypes are downgrades rather than side grades (I also dislike upgrade archetypes) but these are the archetypes I am genuinely interested in playing and thus am actually saddened by.


Sleuth Investigator is the right choice to this question.

It has a ton of potential, but it's wasted on what looks like a half-baked archetype that completely ignores the high level restrictions of most studied strike talents.


derpdidruid wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Undead Lord could be so awesome if the Corpse Companion were fleshed out to work something akin to an Animal Companion. As it stands, the rules for making one are too vague and undefined.
Played a undead lord in my first ever pathfinder game, It did not end well. Necromancers are already a bundle of kinda confusing rules, and the corps companion is a trap option if I ever saw one.

I totally agree. The concept has so much potential awesomeness, but the execution in the rules frankly suck.

I've considered experimenting with changing Corpse Companion in my home games. The effect would be for the character to gain an Animal Companion as per the Druid Class ability with an effective Druid level equal to Cleric Level - 1, and this cannot be improved beyond that level by any means. When creating the Animal Companion, the character can apply the Skeleton or Zombie acquired template to the companion. There would be the following modifications to those templates:

* The Companion would retain its intelligence score and would be considered intelligent Undead.
* The Companion would keep the normal Companion ability to gain skill ranks and Feats.
* HD, BAB, and Natural Armor bonuses would follow the Animal Companion progression, rather than the Skeleton or Zombie template progression.

I think it would be an improvement, but would be difficult to try to create a humanoid, weapon wielding type companion.


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Lore Warden. Was supposed to be a fix to the Fighter class. To me it really not. The updated version was made worse in the Adventurers Guide. Nothing really interesting in terms of class features. I can do better taking a Arcane Duelist. It's not a bad archetype but I would not take it or recommend it.


The Rondelero Swashbuckler is another one I wish were better, especially since the class feature:

Quote:
Rondelero Flexibility (Ex): At 6th level, as a full-attack action, a rondelero swashbuckler wielding a falcata in one hand and a buckler in the other can alternate between using his falcata and his buckler for each attack.

appears to do nothing at all (any character with a thing they can attack with in either hand can do this). Sure, there's a clause later than doing this doesn't cause you to lose your shield bonus, but a Swashbuckler doesn't really want to be attacking with 2 different weapons anyway since this shuts off Precise Strike and Slashing Grace (which are almost certainly adding more damage than buckler bashes.)

It's not that the archetype needs to be amazing but devoting several lines of rules text to saying "you can do a thing any character can do by default" is weird.


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The Thing From Another World wrote:
Lore Warden. Was supposed to be a fix to the Fighter class. To me it really not. The updated version was made worse in the Adventurers Guide. Nothing really interesting in terms of class features. I can do better taking a Arcane Duelist. It's not a bad archetype but I would not take it or recommend it.

The question is what is a lore warden?

Is it supposed to be a intelligent Fighter?
Why not give him Inspiration for a few skills, 4+ Int skills, free Combat Expertise, Use Str or Dex instead of Int for Prereqs for Combat Expertise feats, Know Thy Enemy, Swift Lore,
And from Adventurer's Guide: Exploit Weakness and Swift Assessment.

The Combat Maneuver ability doesn't really mix well with the text's flavor.


Starbuck_II wrote:
The Thing From Another World wrote:
Lore Warden. Was supposed to be a fix to the Fighter class. To me it really not. The updated version was made worse in the Adventurers Guide. Nothing really interesting in terms of class features. I can do better taking a Arcane Duelist. It's not a bad archetype but I would not take it or recommend it.

The question is what is a lore warden?

Is it supposed to be a intelligent Fighter?
Why not give him Inspiration for a few skills, 4+ Int skills, free Combat Expertise, Use Str or Dex instead of Int for Prereqs for Combat Expertise feats, Know Thy Enemy, Swift Lore,
And from Adventurer's Guide: Exploit Weakness and Swift Assessment.

The Combat Maneuver ability doesn't really mix well with the text's flavor.

Neither combat expertise then, because is not like the use/take the feat is the smartest thing ever.

The combat maneuver thing was there, I guess, to reflect the fact that the lore warden could have other ways to deal with enemies than full attacking/damage dealing.


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Hedge Witch is rather underwhelming. The spontaneous healing ability is great, but the "Empathic Healing" is flavorful but of limited use. Definitely not worth giving up a hex for.

I would happily trade it for straight-up Remove Disease as a hex. Or even better, Neutralize Poison as a hex.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

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I wish most of the bard archetypes didn't take away bardic knowledge.


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Dragon shaman, to make the class deals with dragons instead of lizards.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dαedαlus wrote:
Same with a lot of the Wizard archetypes, Siege Mage, Arcane Bomber, Familiar Adept, and Sword binder, come to mind.
Cantriped wrote:
The Spellslinger, it horribly nerfs the class it applies to, but buffs any other spellcasting class you advance into after a 1-level dip.

Wizard archetypes that trade away the arcane school class feature are, with only one notable exception, pretty much trash. For whatever reason this class feature is severely undervalued and archetypes that trade it away virtually never get anything equitable in return. The Ultimate Combat archetypes are the worst because, for some reason, they decided that Wizard archetypes needed a bajillion opposition schools. Really good way to ensure no one ever uses those archetypes...

As for the Familiar Adept, it's so bad that I consider it likely that it's the victim of an editorial accident and some text was accidentally deleted. The number of downsides this archetype exhibits implies that there are substantial benefits, but there's about the equivalent of a single feat worth of benefits here. Certainly not worth trading off three bonus feats, taking an extra opposition school, delaying access to familiar abilities (which is just plain obnoxious on an archetype that's ostensibly about making you more familiar-focused), and greatly increasing your cost to learn new spells while also turning your familiar into a massive strategic liability. It's not hard to imagine that there was meant to be additional benefits.

I did take a crack at fixing some of these archetypes in another similar thread.


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Starbuck_II wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:


Brute Vigilante: "Being the Hulk" is a great concept, but "taking control away from the player" is a line too far.

Oh, Brute has way more issues than just control.

It has limited/daily. Limited hours of being a Brute (which you are likely to just turn back anyway)
No armor, etc.

They nerfed it likely due to fear, but they should have realized it should be fun too.

Wow, that does suck. ANY class that makes you attack your buddies is just plain stupid.


DrDeth wrote:
Wow, that does suck. ANY class that makes you attack your buddies is just plain stupid.

This sort of "you lose control of your character and do horrible things" is appropriate in some games (particularly horror games), but is really inappropriate for most games of Pathfinder (particularly ones where "being the Hulk" would otherwise work.) Having this feature be something that only very few characters will be like is a problem, if you want "lose control" to be a thing your players you care about, you make it a basic fundamental mechanic in your game. But even then if you're playing a medium and you get completely possessed by the spirit you're channeling, you're going to behaving in a bizarre or unproductive manner, but you're probably not going to start killing innocent bystanders or stabbing your pals.


Vexing Daredevil

It goes all in on flanking but the dazzling feint powers are not that strong.
On top of that the class seems to air towards being Dex focused (light armour prof, acrobatics class skill, bonuses to acrobatics for moving through threatened spaces) but doesn't have the bonus feats to make Dex to damage work.
It's bonus damage mechanic is like a reduced damage sneak attack that you can take a feat to improve and you can only use it on one attack a round, so yet more feats to make it multiple uses for a round.

On top of that it's Mind effecting and you lost bold stares so your spells and your damage doesn't work on mindless creatures, eventually you can feint them (level 10) but again you're dazzling feint powers are not that strong and your damage still can't really scratch due to the loss of painful stare.

If I was to do it bold stares would be striiped back to a few melee focused abilities, and you'd still get then feinting feats and you could apply painful stare and a feat that modifies painful stare to feinted targets without using up your one use of painful stare for the round.

They also need a way to feint people from range, maybe through their stare because otherwise they're giving up their opportunity for a full round action to feint.


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The Herb Witch forcing you to take the Cauldron hex which grants a now redundant +4 bonus to craft alchemy. The terrible Empathic Healing of the Hedge Witch. These two archetypes can be combined which is thematically awesome but results in superfluous features i.e. Empathic healing. Fortunately I have a good GM who agreed to some changes for my Herb/Hedge Witch i.e. the bonus from the cauldron hex is now a +4 to herbalism and Empathic Healing was replaced by the Witch's Bounty hex. Also instead of a standard familiar I get a spirit in a skull that enables me to cast touch spells at range in addition to a few SLAs.

I was disappointed with the Living Grimoire. What I was expecting when I read the name was not when I got when I read the mechanics. With a name like 'Living Grimoire' I was expecting something like the Tattooed
Sorcerer but with un/holy scripture tattooed/branded/scarred into their flesh. 'Beating things to death with a book', while definitely interesting, was not something evoked by the name the name 'Living Grimoire'.


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Overwhelming soul Kineticists could really use a tightening up in the language of mental prowess: Like when they reduce the burn cost of a wild talent (with it) they count as having taken burn for the purpose of wild talents. Because everyone likes getting their defense talents activating.

Shadow Lodge

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Elemental Ascetic. Given that the kineticist is at least partly influenced by elemental martial arts, you'd think the martial artist archetype would be a bit more effective. Unfortunately kinetic fist is weak to start with and the archetype doesn't do enough to fix that. They give up a lot more than the Kinetic Knight (the other melee archetype) but get a lot less. Also, they can't use their Elemental Flurry with armour, but don't get Wis to AC until level 2 (because it replaces the defense talent) - making level 1 painful because they can either have an extremely low AC or give up their primary offense.

To fix I'd:

  • Give them Wis to AC at level 1, and they still get their elemental defense at level 2 but only when unarmoured.
  • Let them keep elemental overflow. This mitigates the fact that the ascetic is much more MAD than most kineticists, and helps with the "flurry of misses" issue they inherit from the Monk. Being able to flurry basically just compensates for the fact that kinetic fist isn't as good in melee as kinetic blade.
  • Powerful Fist replaces metakinesis instead of three infusions. It makes more thematic sense and even lines up at the right levels.
  • Maybe trade a few infusions for thematic stuff like style feats or a ki pool?

Decimus Drake wrote:

With a name like 'Living Grimoire' I was expecting something like the Tattooed

Sorcerer but with un/holy scripture tattooed/branded/scarred into their flesh.

They do get a handful of tattoos eventually... but you're right that it would be much cooler if that were a bigger part of the archetype.


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I was massively annoyed by them splitting up the talents of the warlock vigilante into the separate and mutually exclusive warlock & cabalist archetypes from playtest to finished product. It pretty much killed my concept for a magic-using vigilante dead in the water.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not so much any one archetype in particular, but rather every archetype for the Cavalier that offers a flying mount. The designers seem to have gone out of their way to deny Cavaliers flight, and when they finally relented it was only permitted with severe restrictions. By RAW there's simply no way to make a cavalier that has a decent flying mount... but plenty of ways to do it with other classes. And then there's that cringe-worthy drake companion. I get that flight is one of those things that can be disruptive in some games, but flight is already a common part of Pathfinder that appears in the level 5-10 range. The Cavalier is a class defined by being the mounted combat class, and there's no rational justification to deny them airborne mounted combat when so many other classes do get it.


armor master fighter


Saldiven wrote:
derpdidruid wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Undead Lord could be so awesome if the Corpse Companion were fleshed out to work something akin to an Animal Companion. As it stands, the rules for making one are too vague and undefined.
Played a undead lord in my first ever pathfinder game, It did not end well. Necromancers are already a bundle of kinda confusing rules, and the corps companion is a trap option if I ever saw one.

I totally agree. The concept has so much potential awesomeness, but the execution in the rules frankly suck.

I've considered experimenting with changing Corpse Companion in my home games. The effect would be for the character to gain an Animal Companion as per the Druid Class ability with an effective Druid level equal to Cleric Level - 1, and this cannot be improved beyond that level by any means. When creating the Animal Companion, the character can apply the Skeleton or Zombie acquired template to the companion. There would be the following modifications to those templates:

* The Companion would retain its intelligence score and would be considered intelligent Undead.
* The Companion would keep the normal Companion ability to gain skill ranks and Feats.
* HD, BAB, and Natural Armor bonuses would follow the Animal Companion progression, rather than the Skeleton or Zombie template progression.

I think it would be an improvement, but would be difficult to try to create a humanoid, weapon wielding type companion.

I would probably treat it similarly to the Promethean Alchemist's companion, except undead instead of a construct.


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The Skinshaper Druid , the Mutation Mind Psychic, the Magical Child Vigilante, the Spirit Dancer Medium, the Blightburner Kineticist, the Dark Elementalist, the Kinetic Chirugeon, the Psychokineticist, among others.


shadowdancers.
it's my favorite concept EVER - but in reality after 1-3 levels you only lose in staying in the class.
they should have had sneak attacks growing with levels and the shadow needed to to re-written.

my next character planned (if\when my paladin dies...) is a Lore warden fighter 3\thug rogue 3 shadow dancer 4 rest fighter .

read the descriptor :
"Spellcasters use their abilities to safely cast spells from hiding and then move quickly away, while classes devoted to hand-to-hand combat enjoy the ability to attack foes with the element of surprise
"

yet, caster get no bonus..... and melee enjoy the hiding very little...


Dasrak wrote:
Not so much any one archetype in particular, but rather every archetype for the Cavalier that offers a flying mount. The designers seem to have gone out of their way to deny Cavaliers flight, and when they finally relented it was only permitted with severe restrictions. By RAW there's simply no way to make a cavalier that has a decent flying mount... but plenty of ways to do it with other classes. And then there's that cringe-worthy drake companion. I get that flight is one of those things that can be disruptive in some games, but flight is already a common part of Pathfinder that appears in the level 5-10 range. The Cavalier is a class defined by being the mounted combat class, and there's no rational justification to deny them airborne mounted combat when so many other classes do get it.

I see your point, having tried to make a flying Cavalier (not too hard for a small rider), but I dont know why it is so much easier for other classes?

And some DMs just HATE long term Flight.


Titan Mauler. Oversized weapons should be awesome!

Brute. You're either Hulk or Hyde... and you fairly well suck at it.

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