Worst Archetype?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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At least Wildsoul doesn't make you actively harmful to your party, unlike Brute.


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Or enjoy a 35% chance to eat your turn like the gunslinger archtype.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The weird thing is that falcon wildsoul gets true flight at 12.

All of the level 18 abilities are a bit questionable though. Ursine gets beast shape 2 limited to a single form. A restricted version of a fourth level spell at the same time casters are getting ninths is a bit strange even if it is at will.

And the previously mentioned Falcon... gets to add some extra damage to charges a limited number of times per day if they’re diving. Except they aren’t really charges so you don’t get any normal charge bonuses and can’t benefit from anything that modifies a charge.


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The Feline natural course wildsoul is decent (of course, it was printed in a different book). You're trading four vigilante talents for: Scent, Low-Light Vision, (Improved) Uncanny Dodge, Pounce, and Defensive Roll.

So while you're bad at being Peter Parker, you can do a passable Ted Grant.


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Squiggit wrote:


All of the level 18 abilities are a bit questionable though. Ursine gets beast shape 2 limited to a single form. A restricted version of a fourth level spell at the same time casters are getting ninths is a bit strange even if it is at will.

Witches (and anyone else who gets access to Major Hexes, like Sylvan Trickster Rogues) can get that at 10th, and they're only limited in choice to "do I have a pelt or something made from a pelt of this creature?"


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Derklord wrote:

While we're on the topic of completely screwing up, on literally the same page starts the most mind-boggling fighter archetype, Dragonheir Scion.
It's probably the worst written archetype in the game. Not only does it grant Arcane Strike without a caster level to progress it, it grants class feature in exchange for "the bonus feat gained at 3rd level"/"the bonus feat gained at 5th level". Like, what the hell, Paizo? Can't you hire writers who've actually played the game?

Minor typos are relatively common in Pathfinder so I wouldn't knock them for that. My favorite worst written archetype in the game is the Chirugeon simply because the fix for it is so hilariously oddball.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Far from the worst archetype but the Ice Chemist from Ultimate Wilderness is kind of silly when you look at the frost bomb discovery it gives you and contrast its bombs with a regular alchemist taking that same discovery.


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MannyGoblin wrote:
Re:White Haired Witch. A WW with good support can be pretty boss, 'Shadows Over Westcrown' AP adventure on the boards has a WW who used 15' of hair to trip and grapple while the ranger and rogue laid down stabbings from the front rank. Ass in magic spell for support and she was very effective.

Yep, remember also that when a white-haired witch grapples you with her hair, SHE IS NOT GRAPPLED like normal grappling rules. Though I've now remade her as a star shaman in Starfinder, the original version of this character was a gunslinger 5/White haired witch 15 who would grapple you with her hair, pull you in close, then "shoot you in the face." Not only does she hit touch AC but you're grappled so you lose your Dex bonus. All those nasty rogue talents just add insult to injury.


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Captain Olivia Quinn wrote:
MannyGoblin wrote:
Re:White Haired Witch. A WW with good support can be pretty boss, 'Shadows Over Westcrown' AP adventure on the boards has a WW who used 15' of hair to trip and grapple while the ranger and rogue laid down stabbings from the front rank. Ass in magic spell for support and she was very effective.
Yep, remember also that when a white-haired witch grapples you with her hair, SHE IS NOT GRAPPLED like normal grappling rules. Though I've now remade her as a star shaman in Starfinder, the original version of this character was a gunslinger 5/White haired witch 15 who would grapple you with her hair, pull you in close, then "shoot you in the face." Not only does she hit touch AC but you're grappled so you lose your Dex bonus. All those nasty rogue talents just add insult to injury.

Hate to tell you this, but the grappled condition doesn't make them lose their Dex bonus. It just gives them a -4 penalty to Dex.

The pinned condition does what you want, but that may be more actions than you want to spend.

Sczarni

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No mention for kinetisits archetypes? Shame! Lol crap class with archetypes that often make it worse!


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lantzkev wrote:
No mention for kinetisits archetypes? Shame! Lol crap class with archetypes that often make it worse!

While a lot of the early kineticist archetypes are a downgrade to the class in a vacuum, they are each and every one of them at least playable (though may require a specialized campaign, but this is a fine space for archetypes) so they don't really merit mentioning.

One's opinion of the base class should have no bearing on what archetypes are bad, after all.

Like the Siege Mage is a worse archetype than the Elemental Annihilator, even though the Wizard is a much stronger class than the Kineticist.


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I'll also go with the Brute if only because it's a terrible thing to force someone to attack their companions. However, my personal peeve is the Archaeologist. It's not terrible in the way most of the archetypes mentioned are, but it replaces so much of the Bard's class stuff that it would be better off as its own class.


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The Qinggong Monk (Monk; Ultimate Magic) might deserve a mention, mostly because the writing just doesn't match...

slow fall (4th)
high jump (5th); now a 6th-level ability
wholeness of body (7th); now a 8th-level ability
diamond body (11th); now a 12th-level ability
abundant step (12th)
diamond soul (13th); now a 14th-level ability
quivering palm (15th); now a 16th-level ability
timeless body (17th); now a 18th-level ability
tongue of the sun and moon (17th); now a 18th-level ability
empty body (19th); now a 20th-level ability
perfect self (20th)

That would ahve been so much easier to just say: "when you receive a monk ability you may replace it with another ability from the given list."


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Qinggong has writing issues, absolutely, but it works fine and is nowhere near the worst archetype. It's one of the better monk archetypes, in fact, as it mixes with pretty much anything provided you only select what doesn't conflict. The way they tried to write it means that you don't have to swap your 5th-level high jump, but if you do, you can still get it back starting at 7th. I wish other classes had an "a la carte" archetype like this. We're starting to get there with things like advanced weapon training and bloodline mutations, but imagine a modular druid...!


The real problem with Qinggong is that 8th level powers can't be obtained before 11th level. That, and the description mentions replacing Purity of Body, but doesn't actually allow that.
It's a bit ironic that the archetype works way better as a part of unMonk than as a cMonk archetype.

MadScientistWorking wrote:
Derklord wrote:

While we're on the topic of completely screwing up, on literally the same page starts the most mind-boggling fighter archetype, Dragonheir Scion.
It's probably the worst written archetype in the game. Not only does it grant Arcane Strike without a caster level to progress it, it grants class feature in exchange for "the bonus feat gained at 3rd level"/"the bonus feat gained at 5th level". Like, what the hell, Paizo? Can't you hire writers who've actually played the game?

Minor typos are relatively common in Pathfinder so I wouldn't knock them for that.

Once is a typo. Twice is a screw up.


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Once is a typo. Twice is... two typos.

And both are screw ups, kind of by definition.


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I feel as though stuff like the Dragonheir Scion deserves a pass because it's absolutely trivial for the GM to fix it in about a minute and a half. If you don't cling to "the thing that made it to the page is holy writ" some of these things are fine.

Things like the Brute or the Oozemorph are a lot less clear in this regard.

Silver Crusade Contributor

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Yup. "Worst archetype" vs. "worst-edited archetype", basically. ^_^


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Kalindlara wrote:
Yup. "Worst archetype" vs. "worst-edited archetype", basically. ^_^

one could argue the brute looks like both tbh... most of the drawbacks scream "well in order to counter all these size bonuses... we're gonna need this and this and this"... then someone went in and pretty much removed most of the size bonuses trying another approach to balance the same thing and then it looks like they just mashed it together thinking they worked as words in English... so they must be fine.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel as though stuff like the Dragonheir Scion deserves a pass because it's absolutely trivial for the GM to fix it in about a minute and a half. If you don't cling to "the thing that made it to the page is holy writ" some of these things are fine.

Things like the Brute or the Oozemorph are a lot less clear in this regard.

Actually, in a way it's the hardest to adjust, because while it's easy to make it work, it is absolutely impossible to deduct what the original intend was. Should the archetype replace the 2nd/4th level feats, or the 4th/6th level feats? Should the archetype get the abilities at those level, or actually at 3rd/5th level (yes, that's possible, cf. Motunui Arsenal Chaplain)?

My beef with it is that it's a mistake that should not be possible. It's not the scope of the mistake, is that it's so rediculously obvious that I can not even fathom the chain of events that led to it being printed.
For most badly written/edited archetypes, to realize the problems, you'd need either advanced knowledge with the class or think up a mock combat to use it in. Not so for Dragonheir Scion - one doesn't need to have played a Fighter, have played with a Fighter, or even have build a Fighter to instantly see that mistake. We're talking about the basic workings of the main class feature of one of the three to four signature classes in the core game. The signature class feature of the PC class with the lowest page count in the game. A class feature that is unchanged from 3.0!

Let me put it this way: 2+2×2=8 is "bad at math" - your average badly written/edited archetype, failure to re-read or understand the basic underlying rules*. Dragonheir Scion is 2+2=5.

*) Example: RAW, a 5th level Deinonychus Shifter has 8 natural attacks because the description says, "While in this form, you gain (...) a bite attack, and two talon attacks (...)" and then the polymorph rules say "In addition to these benefits, you gain any of the natural attacks of the base creature (...)".


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If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?


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Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.


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captain yesterday wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?

Legacy of Dragons.

Gulthor wrote:
Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.

As well as all the archetypes that replace spellcasting of 4/9 casters.


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Derklord wrote:
Actually, in a way it's the hardest to adjust, because while it's easy to make it work, it is absolutely impossible to deduct what the original intend was. Should the archetype replace the 2nd/4th level feats, or the 4th/6th level feats? Should the archetype get the abilities at those level, or actually at 3rd/5th level (yes, that's possible, cf. Motunui Arsenal Chaplain)?

But it's still trivial to fix it. All you need to do is ask the player who wants to play one "okay, you don't have 3rd and 5th level bonus feats, so which feats do you want to trade out- 2 and 4 or 4 and 6?"

Then you're done.

Or if you look up on one of the major SRDs, they've already done this for you. The thing is- it really doesn't matter which of 3 possible levels or 2 possible feats you trade for an ability, so just pick one and go with it.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I feel as though stuff like the Dragonheir Scion deserves a pass because it's absolutely trivial for the GM to fix it in about a minute and a half. If you don't cling to "the thing that made it to the page is holy writ" some of these things are fine.

Am I missing something here? I can't tell what the problem with the archetype is. It seems to work fine. In fact, it seems pretty good given that it doesn't get rid of weapon training and gives some pretty good stuff in exchange for what it takes away.

Edit: Okay, so the reason why I thought it seemed weird that you mentioned it is because the d20pfsrd site has adjusted the levels at which you gain/lose features. The archiveofnethys site has the actual written rules. Holy crap that is messy but yeah, clearly very easy to fix.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The Dragonheir Scion archetype was fixed in the (free) PFS Campaign Clarifications document, which d20pfsrd.com copied.


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The PFS campaign clarifications doesn't add a "your fighter level counts as your caster level for purposes of Arcane Strike" which I would recommend as being consistent with the intent of the archetype, but otherwise it's what I would do.

If an archetype can be fixed with a single line of text and changing a few numbers to adjacent integers, it's not all that bad.


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Derklord wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?

Legacy of Dragons.

Gulthor wrote:
Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.
As well as all the archetypes that replace spellcasting of 4/9 casters.

Oh, I dunno. Sometimes spells just aren't part of the concept. Ranger spells are nice but I could get by without them, so might as well get something more relevant instead. It might not be a "fair" trade, but it's hardly "the worst" compared to some of the running examples in this thread.


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blahpers wrote:
Derklord wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?

Legacy of Dragons.

Gulthor wrote:
Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.
As well as all the archetypes that replace spellcasting of 4/9 casters.
Oh, I dunno. Sometimes spells just aren't part of the concept. Ranger spells are nice but I could get by without them, so might as well get something more relevant instead. It might not be a "fair" trade, but it's hardly "the worst" compared to some of the running examples in this thread.

Most paladins I see are "I have all lesser restoration's prepared, I've used like 2 over my 12 levels"

And most rangers I see are "lv1 I guess I'll use a longstrider and lead blade/gravity bow or cure depending on how much they like short buffs. Lv2 is for barkskin and lv3 is instant enemy"
So for most, losing these spells isn't a huge loss. The paladin loses like nothing and the ranger loses some AC and instant enemy.


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Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:

The PFS campaign clarifications doesn't add a "your fighter level counts as your caster level for purposes of Arcane Strike" which I would recommend as being consistent with the intent of the archetype, but otherwise it's what I would do.

If an archetype can be fixed with a single line of text and changing a few numbers to adjacent integers, it's not all that bad.

PFS probably wanted to limit the changes to making the archetype functional (replacing bonus feats that the fighter actually would get). Arcane Strike for this archetype can still work (albeit not as well for a single-classed fighter) even without that fix.


Trapper ranger is dope, and wins over ranger spells to me. That's a planners archtype.


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Derklord wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?

Legacy of Dragons.

Gulthor wrote:
Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.
As well as all the archetypes that replace spellcasting of 4/9 casters.

The Virtuous Bravo paladin archetype would beg to differ, being basically a better Swashbuckler by stealing all of its class features and slapping them onto the significantly more powerful Paladin chasis, albeit without spell casting.

Metamorph is also quite good even without extracts, as they keep mutagen (sorta), and their shapechanging power is actually quite significant. Calikang-shaped metamorph says hello.

But the Sleuth? Wow, that is honestly the worst archetype I've ever seen. For the cost of your extracts, which go up to 6th level spells, you gain a bunch of deeds that only scale up to 4th level. Which use Charisma to fuel its Luck pool. Who came up with this crap?!


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Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
Metamorph is also quite good even without extracts, as they keep mutagen (sorta), and their shapechanging power is actually quite significant. Calikang-shaped metamorph says hello.

Metamorph also gets rid of every Int based class ability (extracts, bombs, Throw Anything upgrade), meaning you suddenly have some free points at point-buy. Personally I appreciate the streamlining of alchemist (which is an odd combination of distinct abilities) to a really focused archetype.

[/standard metamorph advertisement posting]


Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:

The Virtuous Bravo paladin archetype would beg to differ, being basically a better Swashbuckler by stealing all of its class features and slapping them onto the significantly more powerful Paladin chasis, albeit without spell casting.

Metamorph is also quite good even without extracts, as they keep mutagen (sorta), and their shapechanging power is actually quite significant. Calikang-shaped metamorph says hello.

These two are actually my favourite archetype* from the respective classes, and I totally agree on all but the last sentence of this quote, but they're still significant nerfs to the base class. Paladin for instance loses in-class flight.

Deathsnatcher completely annihilates Calikang, by the way.

Metamorph is also very badly written, which I talked about here (although that was before Bestiary 6), and proposed a fix for here.

*) Edit: Although the Gun Chemist from People of the Wastes is super cool and the first time I'm really tempted to play a firearm user.

Shadow Lodge

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EDIT: How much you care about loss of 4/9 spellcasting depends largely on playstyle and party composition. I think our party paladin uses Ironskin about once a session, and Angelic Aspect once every few sessions. If he didn't have casting, he'd probably just ask the alchemist for an infusion of Barkskin and Fly every day.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Derklord wrote:
Actually, in a way it's the hardest to adjust, because while it's easy to make it work, it is absolutely impossible to deduct what the original intend was. Should the archetype replace the 2nd/4th level feats, or the 4th/6th level feats? Should the archetype get the abilities at those level, or actually at 3rd/5th level (yes, that's possible, cf. Motunui Arsenal Chaplain)?

But it's still trivial to fix it. All you need to do is ask the player who wants to play one "okay, you don't have 3rd and 5th level bonus feats, so which feats do you want to trade out- 2 and 4 or 4 and 6?"

Then you're done.

Or if you look up on one of the major SRDs, they've already done this for you. The thing is- it really doesn't matter which of 3 possible levels or 2 possible feats you trade for an ability, so just pick one and go with it.

It kinda does matter because some builds want feats at specific times. If I'm playing a whip fighter, I'd probably want my 2nd level bonus feat so that I can get Whip Mastery ASAP. If I'm playing a human archer then I'd rather have the 6th level feat for Manyshot, since I can grab Point-Blank Shot and Precise shot at level 1, and Rapid Shot can wait until level 3.


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Derklord wrote:
Although the Gun Chemist from People of the Wastes is super cool and the first time I'm really tempted to play a firearm user.

I so want to play that archetype. It is probably the sole decent gun archetype in Pathfinder, and works really well despite not using deeds.


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Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
Derklord wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, where is the Dragonheir scion from?

Legacy of Dragons.

Gulthor wrote:
Ragechemist, Brute, and Majordomo are the three obvious top contenders, which have all been mentioned, but I'm surprised not to see Sleuth and Metamorph listed, both of which trade away your spellcasting.
As well as all the archetypes that replace spellcasting of 4/9 casters.

The Virtuous Bravo paladin archetype would beg to differ, being basically a better Swashbuckler by stealing all of its class features and slapping them onto the significantly more powerful Paladin chasis, albeit without spell casting.

Metamorph is also quite good even without extracts, as they keep mutagen (sorta), and their shapechanging power is actually quite significant. Calikang-shaped metamorph says hello.

But the Sleuth? Wow, that is honestly the worst archetype I've ever seen. For the cost of your extracts, which go up to 6th level spells, you gain a bunch of deeds that only scale up to 4th level. Which use Charisma to fuel its Luck pool. Who came up with this crap?!

+1 on the Sleuth Investigator being bad. It is hard to replace 6/9 spellcasting with something that actually makes up for it (other than a different 6/9 spellcasting). It is easier to replace 4/9 spellcasting with something decent (for instance, Warrior of the Holy Light Paladin), although this doesn't always work (for instance, Untouchable Bloodrager -- better to just play a Barbarian instead).


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Garbage-Tier Waifu wrote:
Derklord wrote:
Although the Gun Chemist from People of the Wastes is super cool and the first time I'm really tempted to play a firearm user.
I so want to play that archetype. It is probably the sole decent gun archetype in Pathfinder, and works really well despite not using deeds.

No, it works really well because it's not using deeds. The deed system is crap, because it doesn't allow choices (I talked about that a bit here). No choices basically means the class can't have above average abilities.

Because not everyone Gun Chemist has them, discoveries can have above average effects (like an in-class third hand to reload your dual wielded pistols).

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