Your favorite archetypes?

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Some of mine are Nature Fang, Halcyon Druid, Sacred Huntsmaster and Empiricist.

Nature fang for all the druids that don't want to transform into animals. it can make good archers for example.

Halcyon Druid for when you want a spellcaster druid with some extra goodies. Especially nice when playing a Samsaran.

Sacred Huntsmaster inquisitor for when you want to play a hunter and don't like the nature theme.

Empiricist investigator is a straight upgrade from the normal class in my opinion.

Archaeologist bard great for rogueish characters with magic.

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Dashing Hero: b-games-paladin-archetypes/dashing-hero/

As written, you can pick up your elephant mount and move it across the room as an immediate action. No sane GM would allow it. I love it anyway.

Martial master for fighter. That and the stamina rules from unchained make me actually want to play a fighter one of these days. I'd write up a list of all the feats I might conceivably need . . .

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Eldritch Scoundrel for the Unchained Rogue. Basically turns it into an entirely new class, and proves that you can tack 6-level spellcasting on a traditionally non-casting class and it can be perfectly balanced.

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

I think my favorite archetypes divide into two categories.

One category of favorites are what I think of as "default" archetypes -- archetypes that improve on the original class by making it more like what the original class should have been like.

Archetype that does the Swashbuckler better - Noble Fencer:
The basic swashbuckler is supposed to be a mix of an unarmored fighter and a charisma-based face-type of character who can laugh in the face of terror.

The basic swashbuckler does an OK job at this, but besides the skill point boost, there isn't much (besides incentivizing charisma) that the class does to really emphasize the "face" angle. And with bad will saves, the swashbuckler is usually going to be the first one running when the party runs into fear effects. (They have Charmed Life, but that's a pretty mediocre ability.)

The Noble Fencer is better. Social Panache gives them a big boost to some key face skills, and Incredible Aspirations makes this even better. Top that off by replacing Charmed Life with a scaling boost to mind-affecting effects, and an ability that makes them immune to intimidation, and we get something which is a strictly better fit with the idea of a swashbuckler.

Archetype that does the Ranger better - Guide:
The standard ranger is a bit finicky. The Favored Enemy ability, requiring you to focus on a particular kind of creature, seem a bit idiosyncratic -- it's not clear why a ranger (qua "nature/tracker/woodsman warrior") would be focused on some particular kind of enemy. And the Guide archetype replaces the Favored Enemy ability with something you can apply to any target, which makes the class less finicky. (A bit like the Cavalier's Challenge.)

The ranger's Hunter's Bond ability *kinda* fits the ranger theme if you go the animal companion route, though it's a lackluster ability at best. But the Guide archetypes Terrain Bond, which replaces it, is a distinctly better fit with the "nature/tracker/woodsman warrior" theme.

Archetype that does the Cleric better - Divine Paragon:
The basic cleric is supposed to be all about worshiping, deriving divine power from, and advancing the interests of your god.

With the basic cleric, the god you worship doesn't have much mechanical bearing on your abilities -- mechanically, there's not much of a difference between a cleric of Desna and a cleric of Asmodeus. Likewise, besides your alignment restrictions, there isn't much by way of role-playing or religious requirements that relate to the particular deity you worship. A cleric of one deity will play much like any other.

The Divine Paragon is a strictly better fit with the idea of being devoted to a particular deity. By giving you access to the unique obedience boons associated with your deity, it gives clerics of different deities unique distinguishing abilities. And by requiring you to perform daily obediences, it makes clerics of different deities have a clearly different feel, with a constant role-playing requirement to remind you of who you worship, and how a worshiper of that god should behave.

EDIT: These were mentioned above, but also falling into this category (IMO):

Archetype that does the Investigator better - Empiricist

Archetype that does the Fighter better - Martial Master

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

My other category of favorites are those that make playing the class a very different experience. Some good examples:

Dandy (Ranger)
Id Rager (Bloodrager)
Terrakineticist (Kineticist)
Eldritch Scoundrel (Rogue)
Phantom Blade (Spiritualist)
Material Manipulator (Mesmerist)
Hexenhammer (Inquisitor)
Feyspeaker (Druid)

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Sanctified Slayer Inquisitor: It fits the roguish-clergy niche I've wanted for years. No sneak attack till 4th is a little annoying (Precise Strike @ 3rd helps off set it.) Throw in Accomplished Sneak Attacker @ 5th and your even with a Rogue till 10th. Studied Target doesn't have the versatility of Judgements but it's infinite use and saves time & calculation @ the table.

Phantom Blade Spiritualist: A dip in monk is practically mandatory but it makes for a monk w/ psychic spells and magus spell combat that actually works with the psychic magic rules (unlike the Ectoplasmatist.)

Kinetic Knight Kineticist: The elemental warrior/knight done right that doesn't lose the core fun of the class (side-eyes Elemental Annihilator) Sword & Board is mandatory but the scaling weapon damage & tricks/riders to add to it make for a fun spin on the fighting style.

Spirit Guide Oracle: Depending on the Mystery this is a no brainer for day to day versatility on a a spontaneous caster.

alot of good ones here :)

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A friend of mine has recently turned me onto the Vanguard Slayer Archetype. It's nice for getting stupid initiative, being essentially immune to surprise, and getting to use a teamwork feat without having to be super coordinated with someone else.

The Brawler fighter archetype is about the only archetype I feel gives you a worthwhile tradeoff for weapon training. Using it with unrogue and monk, I was finally able to throw together a sufficiently hard hitting unarmed character to get the big tough fighting game endboss feel I've been trying to do for awhile.

The Exchange

Hexcrafter Magus and Spirit Guide Oracle for me.

I like allrounders and they got the stuff that brings me to play these classes.

Archetypes that get other classes features

Spirit summoner
Gives the summoner some class features other than the eidolon

ID rager
Adds a lot of new character options to work with

Death druid
Druid with a phantom

Divine casters with bonded objects (great when you know your whole spell list)
Eccccccant spell cleric
Name keeper shaman
Hyclon druid

Just interesting class changing archetypes
Like the ID rager but with more casting

Warrior of holy light for Paladin & Skirmisher for Ranger.
In fact I like them so much that they have become the default Paladin and Ranger in my home game.

I read most of the once you mentioned that I haven't read before.

Dandy ranger looks like a lot of fun in a social campaign :)

Phantom Blade Spiritualist is interesting. it changes out almost all class features for magus once. it might have been shorter as a magus archetype. I will definitely look at this one again later.

Spirit Guide Oracle and Spirit summoner gives them shaman stuff. I like versatility and shaman stuff is versatile.

Bandit rogue.

Zautos' wrote:

Phantom Blade Spiritualist is interesting. it changes out almost all class features for magus once. it might have been shorter as a magus archetype. I will definitely look at this one again later.

The edge for Phantom Blade as opposed to a real Magus is probably the really cool and interesting Spiritualist spell list. They probably could have gone either way, but making a Spiritualist archetype rather than just swapping the Magus' spell list and casting ability score is definitely more worth the design space, and it would be mostly redundant with Bladebound as a Magus archetype.

Some of my favorites I didn't see mentioned include:

Ashifta Witch
Dirge Bard
Monster Tactician Inquisitor
Nithveil Adept Druid
Questioner Investigator
Unsworn Shaman

I rocked an Arcane Duelist Bard to great effect through an AP, and loved every second of it.

Exploiter Wizard is clearly just stupid good.

Evangelist Cleric is fun and flavorful, and really strong.

I have a soft spot for Superstitious Barbarian.

Grenadier Alchemist is crazy fun.

Empiricist Inquisitor

Tattooed Sorcerer is just *steeped* in Varisian flavor, which I love.

Fiend Keeper Medium for Good/Neutral characters

Outer Channeler Medium for Evil characters, you become a weird type of summoner hybrid

Insinuator Antipaladin

Psychic Detective Investigator

Exciter Spiritualist

Vexing Trickster Mesmerist

Vox Mesmerist

Material Manipulator Mesmerist

Eyebiter Mesmerist

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The Vindictive Bastard ex-paladin from the Antihero's Handbook. It's like they made an archetype just for me... even the name is my most common gaming epithet...

Channeler Of The Unknown, cleric
Vindictive Bastard, paladin
Deep Warden, magus
Spell Sage, wizard (will be playing a spell sage soon, can't wait to see what kind of mischief I can get up to)

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Molthuni arsenal chaplain (warpriest). Already acknowledged as the highest DPR ranged build, try it out with a two-handed weapon. Awesome.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
HedwickTheWorldly wrote:
Empiricist Inquisitor

Did you mean investigator? If so, yes. Great support, good power, very fun.

taks wrote:
HedwickTheWorldly wrote:
Empiricist Inquisitor
Did you mean investigator? If so, yes. Great support, good power, very fun.

Yes, apologies. Investigator. I was reading something about Inquisitors while I was typing. Crossed the streams >.<

Liberty's Edge

As tempting as an Empiricist with Magdh's Fey Obedience is, I was always a little irked by the sheer 'X to Y' load of the archetype.

That said, I love the lamplighter - very efficient package with some cool flavour to it.

I'm gonna second the Insinuator Antipaladin, and the Spell Sage Wizard.

To raise a new one, I really love the Nornkith monk. It's very underwhelming in terms of actual power, but the flavour is glorious. Helps that I am a big fan of the sisters norn in general.

Thanks for mentioning Vindictive Bastard it's good to know there is a paladin archetype for ex-paladins. I think you can play it with any alignment but might be wrong.

Arsenal Chaplain looks good. But I don't see why it would have the highest archer DPR.

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Zautos' wrote:

Thanks for mentioning Vindictive Bastard it's good to know there is a paladin archetype for ex-paladins. I think you can play it with any alignment but might be wrong.

Arsenal Chaplain looks good. But I don't see why it would have the highest archer DPR.

There have been numerous threads about it. A fighter's weapon training plus bonus feats treating warpriest level as fighter level, the ability to self-buff (divine power, others). It dominates. You can apply the same ideas to other weapons.

Dirty Fighter (Orc racial archetype) - ter-fighter-orc/ - ultimate dirty trick badass

1. Flame Dancer - I love the ability to grant "smoke sight" to all allies and it opens up awesome SWAT like "smoke and clear" tactics.
2. Street Performer - Gladhanding is hilarious, especially with abilities that let you adjust disposition by more than two steps with diplomacy.
3. Brazen Deceiver - dem lies and also infinite knowledge with Pageant of the Peacock.
4. Dirge Bard - dem necromancy spells
5. Thundercaller - that practically at-will "save or suck, and oh so minor damage too"

Elder Mythos Cultist Cleric ( c-archetypes/elder-mythos-cultist-cleric-archetype/) - it is just so beautiful... and grants the coveted Madness domain.

Dual Cursed - Misfortune!
Cyclopean Seer ( e-archetypes/cyclopean-seer-oracle-archetype/) - Literally everything except it is not compatible with Dual Cursed.

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Some of these have already been mentioned above, but:

Fighter with no archetype (unless you're a Dwarf): Armor Training and Weapon Training are just too good to give up.
Lore Warden Fighter (if you're a Dwarf): Armor Training is semi-wasted on you, so go ahead and get something good in exchange for it.

Tetori Monk: Oh, you have Freedom of Movement, do you? No you don't. (Too bad this never got an official Paizo conversion for Unchained Monk.)

Holy Tactician Paladin: A better tactician than Cavalier.

Exploiter Wizard: If you want a Universalist Wizard and you AREN'T going into the Arclord of Nex prestige class or going hog-wild with Item Crafting, and you DON'T need a Spell Sage, this is the way to do it.
Spell Sage Wizard: Not for everyone, but if you need it, you need it bad.

Sacramental Alchemist (just discovered this): If you're not going to use Mutagen, and you want a wildcard Discovery, this is for you.
Vivisectionist Alchemist: An excellent Rogue replacement, both as a full progression option and as a Sneak Attack class dip option.

Living Grimoire Inquisitor: Because the image of whacking your enemies upside the head with your Holy Book is just too funny. Also probably the only 6/9 spellcasting class worth dipping in for a Wizard-based Mystic Theurge.
Monster Tactician Inquisitor: For when you want to do tactics with monsters.
Tactical Leader Inquisitor: For when you want to do tactics with the rest of your party. You'd think inquisitorially-minded churches and theocratically-minded governments would try to train a LOT of these . . . .

Hexcrafter Magus: Which Magus? Witch Magus! (By the way, I didn't make this up.)
Mindblade Magus: You get to be a Protoss Zealot combined with a High Templar.

Dual-Cursed Oracle: For when you want a bit of Witch in your Oracle.
Spirit Guide Oracle: Makes the most versatile class even more versatile.

Cartomancer Witch: Ultimate Varisian flavor.
Dimensional Occultist Witch: If you want to use Contact Other Plane and not have to worry about hosing yourself for weeks on end, this is for you. The other abilities are also not too shabby.
Gravewalker Witch + optional Hex Channeler: For when you need a really EeeeEEEviiill Necromancer.
Ley Line Guardian Witch: If you're REALLY worried about running out of spells, and you don't want to have to worry about your Familiar getting ganked, this is for you.
Hedge Witch + optional Herb Witch or Hex Channeler: Who needs a Cleric?
Medium Witch: Ghostbuster Witch.
Pre-Errata Scarred Witch Doctor: R. I. P.
Winter Witch + Winter Witch prestige class: If you want to be Mr./Ms. Freeze/Frozone.

Blood Arcanist: For when you can't make up your mind between Arcanist or Sorcerer.
Magaambyan Initiate Arcanist + optional Magaambyan Arcanist prestige class: As with Spell Sage Wizard, not for everyone, but if you need it, you need it bad.
Harrowed Society Student (Tarot Student on Ultimate Varisian flavor.
Occultist Arcanist: Be a 9/9 spellcasting Summoner.
School Savant Arcanist: For when you can't make up your mind between Arcanist or Wizard.

Blood Conduit Bloodrager: Ultimate dip bait if you're not Dexterity-based.

Phantom Blade Spiritualist: You get to be a Protoss Zealot combined with a High Templar, only more subtle than the Mindblade Magus.

Scarab Sages

Beastmorph Vivisectionist! :D

Jungian, bards, jacks of all trades, foils, little guys that end up humbling table commanders by doing weird stuff (I love Meliski). I love magicry of all kinds, but tend to like it to have some mystery. Barbarians were my favorite thing when I was a kid, but don't feel too much of a connection to the deck of same name, something I wish I could fix with a custom class deck of my own.

Dark Archive

These archetypes are intriguing. I have a suli race boon from PFS and I'd like to try something different with it.

For Bard, I still like the Soundstriker best. No, it is not optimized. But for what you give up (and I like this archetype because so little is given up!), those WeirdWords can be useful. Not much has Sonic resistance.
Thundercaller gives up too much, IMO.

I would agree with Eldritch Scoundrel for Rogue.

Investigator? Winner for me, even more so than Empricist is the Lamplighter. It's Alchemical Illumination is really cool (Searing Light @ level 8 and Judgement Light @ 11!) but not even the best part. The best part is the ramping Initiative bonuses. Fantastic!

Inquisitor? Ravener Hunter

Druid? Tough. Either Green Scourge or the Planar Extremist (ex-Druid from Antihero's Handbook).

Ravener Hunter looks cool.

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Zautos' wrote:

Ravener Hunter looks cool.

Nobody expects the cat's inquisition!

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Eldritch Guardian Fighter: With a figment parrot to use wands on me or a sage hedgehog (or box-turtle) to make knowledge checks for me. "What's your great sword wielding fighter doing talking to a hedgehog in his pocket?""He says it tells him all about magic and monsters. And he's usually right."

Also a surgeon alchemist, assuming your GM "ok"s a house rule or two, so that it's class features actually function.


Synthesist Summoner, super customizable and can make any flavor work.


btw synthesist evil? hell no, early surgeon learning about anatomy in a professional sense. take it with chuirgeon lol

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have always liked the Armored Hulk for barbarian. You give up some speed (though the increased speed in armor helps make up for that) & uncanny dodge (it' not a good save for you anyway) but you gain a lot in AC, which is a barbarian's biggest weakness. Plus it gives you a boost to CMD & we know how much DM's like to throw wolves at low level characters. barian-archetypes/armored-hulk


Zen Archer monk and Scout rogue have a special place in my heart, not only because they're good, but because they call back to some of my favorite gems from old 3.5 splatbooks.

I also have a soft spot for Monk of the Sacred Mountain. No, it's not the best archetype, but it gives up so very little and I love the idea of using it with a ranged character. I believe it's compatible with Far Strike Monk anyway.

Arcane Duelist, as mentioned, is pretty awesome.

I've kinda been itching to try out the Arcane Gun wizard-- haven't seen it in action yet, but I always pick the bonded item for wizards anyway.

Separatist cleric basically gets any two domains he wants, which is pretty sweet.

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I just got Blood of the Coven. May I take a moment to rave about the Hagbound Witch? You trade out hexes, but with the ever-increasing Strength bonus and correct choice of spells, I'm inspired to make a melee combat witch. Einar the Thrice-Cursed, whose grandmother was a hag... a strong Ulfen warrior who finds himself getting bulkier, wartier, and growing claws no matter how many times he trims his nails...

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Using an archetype for my own characters (other than the unmodified class) more than once is just theorycrafting for me. I like to try things out and I just don't play enough games for them all.

Still, besides some mentioned above - psychic searcher oracle, a druid with the monkey domain or seeker shadow bloodline sorcerer makes for quirky, full-casting skill-monkeys. Puppetmaster magus is another along those lines though it's not full casting. Black blade magus has a flavour which people have wanted for many an edition.

avr wrote:
Black blade magus has a flavour which people have wanted for many an edition.

I GM'd for a black blade magus and it was a lot of fun from that side of the screen too. The player had a hilarious crude and sarcastic style and I RP'd his blade as giving it right back to him point-for-point.

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warrior poet is awesome as well

The Death Druid gives up quite a few class features, so it’s definitely not the strongest archetype. That said, the archetype’s whole schtick of sending your current phantom companion on to the afterlife after you’ve helped said phantom complete its incomplete business on the material plane is something I find incredibly cool.

I've been enjoying playing a white-haired witch. Trading hexes for a melee combat technique is challenging at times (she needs better AC and HP than most arcane casters), but when it works, it's awesome.

I also have a stonelord paladin whose defensive stance ability makes him an excellent tank. The only thing I really miss having is smite evil (which is where my daughter's non-archetyped paladin really shines).

I think my wife actually has more active characters with archetypes than I do, and most are quite good at their own particular schticks:

- Archivist bard: The other PFS regulars love getting her naturalist bonuses--which stack with inspire courage, when we have a second bard at the table. And it has a fun "professor lecturing students during combat" flavor.

- Polearm master fighter: Frequently one-shots any mook foolish enough to charge anyone in her reach.

- Underfoot monk: Not a high damage-dealer without magical help, but devastating at setting up opportunity attacks for allies.

Personally, I love the Ectoplasmatist Spiritualist. A ghost weapon with 15' reach? Yes please! I also like the Urban Bloodrager, because I love the flavor of Bloodrager but can do without the wonky disappearing extra hit points or the AC penalty.

Finally, Panoply Savant Occultist. It's so good for a melee bruiser. Just so good.

I recently discovered the Oath of the People's Council Paladin and the Evangelist Cleric.

The OotPC Paladin trades all smite-related abilities for Bardic Performance, which is kind-of a side-grade. I'm a big fan, but I understand people not wanting to lose Smite. My big thought is that it makes a better base for an Oradin than the Hospitaler, but i haven't had a chance to try it yet.

The Evangelist Cleric seems to take the best parts from the 2 best support classes in the game. 9th level spell-casting with bardic buffing is crazy good. I'm also a HUGE fan of the alternate spontaneous-casting that the Evangelist gets. My current Evangelist is pure support, but I also want to give a shout-out to Magda Luckbender who has a pretty beastly melee-focused Evangelist, and has given a lot of great advice concerning this archetype (and Clerics in general).

Another one that I just found is the Daring General Cavalier. I love the idea of this character, but I can't really imagine playing a campaign where you really get the benefits.

I really like the more unconventional archetypes that offer you some story to accompany the fluff and replace the vast majority of your classes abilities. Stuff like the Insinuator.

The Antipaladin Insinuator is a freaking excellent archetype that functions as a morally flexible paladin. A bastion of greed and self-interest, the Insinuator is something I would love to play in a Pathfinder game because it offers such a good source of fluff for your character

EDIT: I mostly find myself not enjoying the archetypes and options for 9th level classes as their spell-casting is too strong to allow for any meaningful side-grades. However, the Druid and Shaman seem to manage to avoid this little incident and I quite like a number of their options. The one I want to talk about though is the Green Scourge.

The Green Scourge is a really fun archetype that turns your Druid into a powerful force to be reckoned with thanks to conjuring powerful weapons that scale completely unrelated to your wealth. Plus, I love the concept of conjuring up a Flame Blade, adding some properties and going to town.

Nothing like a Flame Blade Dervish Green Scourge build.

So many have mentioned my faves already so I won't repeat them.

But a couple that haven't been mentioned yet :

Negotiator Bard. "Hey there buddy! Wanna make a deal?"

Seducer + Mirror Witch. "Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the hottest of them all? Oh look it's me!"

Hinyasi Brawler. Basically Jackie Chan.

Wishcraft Ifrit Sorcerer. "You ain't never had a friend like me" {I miss Robin Williams :( }

Almost all my favourites are due to flavour/roleplay opportunities reasons.

How do I pick just one?

Okay, okay, fine. Reincarnated druid. : D

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