What are the best archetypes?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I figured the other thread could use a partner that inspires a little more positivity.

In terms of evaluating "best" let's exclude "most powerful" from consideration, since an archetype which makes an already powerful thing even more powerful probably enhances the game experience for the one person playing it, but because these games are a cooperative endeavor exacerbating preexisting balance problems is not really an overall good.

So let's instead evaluate "best" as in "has the most positive impact on the game" in that it fixes a problem with a class, it expands the set of viable concepts within a class, it is fun to play, or just any other reason to like an archetype which is not solely "it is more powerful."

Some of my favorites:

Scout Rogue: Sneak attacks can be fiddly, and "setting them up" can cause problems if the rogue is relying on other party members for the rogue to be able to use their class feature. So giving the rogue a reliable way to trigger sneak attacks by themselves is good. Also rogues are squishy, so the archetype encouraging them to not stand in one place is a positive.

Fiend Keeper Medium: Flavor for this one is just so cool, and the concept of "you are possessed by an evil thing which can't escape but tempts you with power" is kind of easier to wrap your head around than the regular medium. Having the same entity be who you always channel allows the player and GM to flesh out that being with a personality in a way the normal medium's grab bag of whichever spirits are handy doesn't really.

Urban Barbarian: Fully decouples the Barbarian from "specific cultures", and enables you to build a Barbarian as any sort of person from anywhere at all. Works well too.

Ley Line Guardian Witch: In being able to switch the class from prepared to spontaneous (and also trading away the familiar) we make the witch class much easier to play while still retaining the essential witchiness.

I could go on, but I will yield the floor to others.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Eldritch Scoundrel URogue: this could have seriously been a base class with its own archetypes, since it really stands toe-to-toe with the other 6-level casters and offers a very unique niche with its two-handed dex-to-damage mixed with 6-level spellcasting and ninja powers.


Separatist Cleric
This is nice because it allows you to make a cleric with any 2 domains you want without trivializing the normal options. From a power standpoint you are always better off finding a deity that has the domains you want, but this helps fill those edge cases where it just doesn't exist or the ones that do exist don't work with your character concept. While at the same time, the imposed penalties aren't so terrible that it becomes a "trap" option.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Arsenal Chaplain Warpriest.

Nothing like getting weapon training and the option for Advanced Weapon Training abilities.

Liberty's Edge

Vivisectionist Alchemist

It's really quite hard to beat this combination in terms of sheer versatility and use for dips to qualify for a number of different things.

Grand Lodge

Invulnerable Rager Barbarian

Synthesist Summoner

Vivisectionist+Beastmorph Alchemist

Pact Wizard (HH)


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I’m a huge fan of the Inquisitor archetypes that trade judgements for what I feel is a strict upgrade in terms of simplicity and equal in terms of power until very late levels. We’ve never played past 13th which definitely informs my opinion on this. YMMV

Inquisitor: Sanctified Slayer, Monster Tactician and (slightly less so due to Hunters being a thing) Sacred Huntmaster.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.

My personal favorites:

Vanguard (Slayer): It's a fun "leader" option for the slayer that meaningfully changes the way the class plays and gives it some more tactical options.

Vexing Daredevil (Mesmerist): I really like the whole "magical swashbuckler" thing this archetype has going on, as well as the fact that it does a really good job of blending movement, debuffing, and general obfuscation into a really cohesive whole.

Necroccultist (Occultist): This archetype picks a theme and then leans into it at full tilt with thematic abilities that come online very evenly spread throughout the most commonly played levels of the game.

Zealot (Vigilante): This is a pretty significant engine tweak to the vigilante base class that does a solid job of presenting a particular theme that branches off the base class in a flavorful and accessible way, giving you something that you couldn't really piece together terribly well with multiclassing.


Adaptive Shifter: It actually works!
Eldritch Archer: Simple, logical change to a base class without complicating it with a bunch of unrelated changes.
Mooncursed Barbarian: A variant rage that works. Allows Androids to play barbarian too.
Zen Archer, Sensei (+Hungry Ghost): Only reason for chained Monk to exist past level 2.

Seconding Eldritch Scoundrel, even if it is inferior to acessing Arcane Trickster early via Accomplished Sneak Attacker (I'd have give it light armor casting and some support talents). Also Vivisectionist.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:

Seconding Eldritch Scoundrel, even if it is inferior to acessing Arcane Trickster early via Accomplished Sneak Attacker (I'd have give it light armor casting and some support talents). Also Vivisectionist.

I've seen both Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Scoundrel (not at the same time), and in my opinion they're completely different builds that have fundamentally incomparable playstyles. They both have spellcasting and sneak attack, and that's pretty much where the similarities end.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dasrak wrote:
deuxhero wrote:

Seconding Eldritch Scoundrel, even if it is inferior to acessing Arcane Trickster early via Accomplished Sneak Attacker (I'd have give it light armor casting and some support talents). Also Vivisectionist.

I've seen both Arcane Trickster and Eldritch Scoundrel (not at the same time), and in my opinion they're completely different builds that have fundamentally incomparable playstyles. They both have spellcasting and sneak attack, and that's pretty much where the similarities end.

I would liken it to "the Eldritch Scoundrel is to the Arcane Trickster as the Magus is to the Eldritch Knight." Main difference being that the Arcane Trickster generally works better than the Eldritch Knight.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:


I would liken it to "the Eldritch Scoundrel is to the Arcane Trickster as the Magus is to the Eldritch Knight."

I would completely agree with that comparison, although since the Eldritch Knight is also fairly rare to see in actual play a lot of people aren't familiar with its playstyle and how it differs form the Magus. So while it's an apt comparison, it might not be understood.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Main difference being that the Arcane Trickster generally works better than the Eldritch Knight.

I'd disagree on this one; the Eldritch Knight is certainly difficult to build effectively, but it has a lot of really good support these days. You're basically getting a 9-level arcane casting 3/4 BAB character out the other end, and since we now have sufficient feat support to make up for the lost class feature's it's not doing too badly at all. Prestigious Spellcaster was the big one, since one extra spellcasting level goes very far towards shoring it up (ultimately the reason to pick EK over Magus is that it gets better spellcasting... so a feat that makes your spellcasting better is really good for it).


The eldritch scoundrel is great to play as a class that gets the versatility of spell casting, but you really wanted sneak attack. There's even a spell to get you back the SA progression you lost.

It's definitely a better rogue, but still has rogue survivability problems.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I have to give a shout-out to Silksworn Occultist.

I've not seen any other archetypes that push the casting aspect of a 6/9 caster, and this one gives the class a huge boost to flexibility and longevity. It bugs me that the spell DC increase comes so late, but I'm so happy it exists. Especially because I like the Occultist's spell progression in general.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'll make my usual plug for Warrior Poet :-).


Time for me to shill for the Razmiran Priest Sorcerer.

It starts by giving a handful of useful upgrades, like False Focus, bonus to UMD and some off list spells. The real golden ticket though is the 9th level ability Razmiran Channel which basically lets you add any Divine spell you want (8th level or lower) to your spells known. The breadth of access this grants alone would be amazing, however is also allows you to reuse scrolls with expensive material components over and over. Not to mention you can use lower leveled versions of spells to get "early access" to powerful spells before any other class, like casting Greater Angelic Aspect at 10th level, five levels before anyone else can cast it.

Not to mention the flavor of the archetype is really really cool.

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Anzyr wrote:

Time for me to shill for the Razmiran Priest Sorcerer.

It starts by giving a handful of useful upgrades, like False Focus, bonus to UMD and some off list spells. The real golden ticket though is the 9th level ability Razmiran Channel which basically lets you add any Divine spell you want (8th level or lower) to your spells known. The breadth of access this grants alone would be amazing, however is also allows you to reuse scrolls with expensive material components over and over. Not to mention you can use lower leveled versions of spells to get "early access" to powerful spells before any other class, like casting Greater Angelic Aspect at 10th level, five levels before anyone else can cast it.

Not to mention the flavor of the archetype is really really cool.

For me, this is far closer to "Worst archetype" rather than best. Its INSANELY overpowered. Suddenly the character has access to all the divine spells for the cheap cost of scrolls.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
Anzyr wrote:

Time for me to shill for the Razmiran Priest Sorcerer.

It starts by giving a handful of useful upgrades, like False Focus, bonus to UMD and some off list spells. The real golden ticket though is the 9th level ability Razmiran Channel which basically lets you add any Divine spell you want (8th level or lower) to your spells known. The breadth of access this grants alone would be amazing, however is also allows you to reuse scrolls with expensive material components over and over. Not to mention you can use lower leveled versions of spells to get "early access" to powerful spells before any other class, like casting Greater Angelic Aspect at 10th level, five levels before anyone else can cast it.

Not to mention the flavor of the archetype is really really cool.

For me, this is far closer to "Worst archetype" rather than best. Its INSANELY overpowered. Suddenly the character has access to all the divine spells for the cheap cost of scrolls.

Not only do they get access to those spells, but they get to cheat material costs for them, since you pay the material cost when you purchase the scroll, and the scroll itself is never expended. Your party mates dying no longer matters when Raise Dead is free. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Razmiran Priest Sorcerer with the Sylvan archetype is probably the most powerful thing you can be in Pathfinder. And it's even PFS legal!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably my favorite archetype that I haven't had a chance to play yet is the Green Scourge Druid. I'm not really a fan of the way Wildshape works for druid due to the awkward timing and inflexibility of when you can and can't shift, and the Green Scourge not only makes the Druid good at using weapons but it makes it good at using a weapon that usually sucks. That all the shillelagh stuff is attached to aberrant fluff is unfortunate (reaaaally bad that it can only bane aberrants) but it's still very usable and makes bashing people with your mundane club quite a credible strategy.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I figured the other thread could use a partner that inspires a little more positivity.

{. . .}

I assume you mean this one?

Anyway, my favorites (all of which I haven't gotten to play yet):

Core Classes

Barbarian (including Unchained): Urban Barbarian -- don't lose the use of a lot of your skills when Raging.
Bard: Magician -- get great versatility and eventually be able to make decent if not outstanding use of metamagic as a spontaneous caster; useful if you don't have a 9/9 or 6/9 divine caster in the party and don't want to be a Skald.
Bard (honorable mention): Chronicler of Worlds -- be an Intelligence-based Bard, and thereby an ultimate skill monkey rivaled only by Alchemists and Investigators.
Bard (Dwarf): Dwarven Scholar (Wisdom-based) or Stonesinger (Charisma-based, and unfortunately you can't combine it with Dwarven Scholar).
Cleric: Ecclesitheurge -- hard to put together, but if you do, you get great versatility, appreciated if you don't have an arcane caster in the party.
Cleric (again): Herald Caller -- be a Cleric and a Summoner at the same time.
Druid: Menhir Savant -- if you want to be a defender of nature, it helps to be able to detect the unnatural.
Fighter: No Archetype -- Armor Training and Weapon Training are what make the Fighter great.
Fighter (honorable mention): Martial Master -- if you're going to trade out Weapon Training, Martial Flexibility is the thing to trade it for.
Fighter (another honorable mention): Lore Warden -- if you're going to trade out Armor Training, making combat maneuvers more likely to stick is the thing to trade it for, even with the recent nerf.
Monk (Classic): Tetori -- be able to do grappling that actually works.
Monk (Unchained): Perfect Scholar -- Learn From Failure sounds good.
Paladin: Chosen One -- I've got to see that Eddie Murphy movie of the same name . . . and Lay On Paws is too, um, cuddly to pass up, even though it isn't optimal due to the double cost.
Paladin (honorable mention): Warrior of the Holy Light -- if you want a non-spellcasting Paladin, this looks pretty good.
Ranger: Freebooter -- fixes the problem with Favored Enemy being too situational.
Ranger (honorable mention): Skirmisher -- if you want a non-spellcasting Ranger, this looks pretty good.
Rogue (including Unchained): Scout -- get Sneak Attack that actually works.
Rogue (honorable mention): Underground Chemist -- since this trades out everything that is outright hosed by Medium/Heavy armor (not considering the effect of Armor Check Penalty), you can make a viable Hellknight Rogue with this; also, it makes the normally bad VMC Alchemist good.
Rogue (for Halflings): Filcher -- the ultimate pickpocket.
Sorcerer: No Archetype -- most of the archetypes replace Bloodline Powers, so I would tend to steer away from them.
Sorcerer (honorable mention): Tattooed Sorcerer -- this is how to be Seoni.
Sorcerer (Evil): Razmiran Priest -- brokenly overpowered, and tried to an utterly Evil deity-wannabe.
Wizard (Specialist): No archetype -- most archetypes just make things worse.
Wizard (Necromancer, Good): Hallowed Necromancer -- for a Good Necromancer.
Wizard (Necromancer, Evil): Undead Master -- for an Evil Necromancer.
Wizard (Universalist): Ex;loiter -- if you want a Universalist Wizard, and you DON'T need a Spell Sage (see below) and you AREN'T going into the Arclord of Nex prestige class, Exploiter is the way to do it.
Wizard (honorable mention): Spell Sage -- the ultimate in arcane versatility; not everyone needs this, but if you need it (no divine caster and no Witch in party?), you need it bad.

Base Classes
Alchemist (Mad Bomber): Grenadier -- trade out some stuff you probably aren't going to miss to make your Bombs better.
Alchemist (Goblin Mad Bomber): Fire Bomber -- be the Goblin Tinker.
Alchemist (Jekyll/Hyde/Dr. Moreau): Vivisectionist -- self-explanatory.
Cavalier: Ghost Rider -- no room for your Mount in that cave up ahead? No worries.
Cavalier (honorable mention): Daring General -- if you want your own army of people rather than summoned creatures, here you go.
Cavalier (unmounted): Daring Champion or Musketeer -- combines some of the advantages of Cavalier with some of those of Swashbuckler or Gunslinger (respectively).
Gunslinger: Mysterious Stranger -- despite changing Grit from Wisdom to Charisma, you wind up with a better Will Save in the long run, and you get an almost free equivalent of Vital Strike.
Gunslinger (if you don't like or can't use guns): Bolt Ace -- self-explanatory.
Inquisitor: Tactical Leader -- grant teamwork to the party instead of just using it for yourself.
Inquisitor (honorable mention): Monster Tactician -- the divine Summoner.
Inquisitor (another honorable mention): Urban Infiltrator -- the divine detective.
Magus: Hexcrafter -- be a Witch as well as a Magus.
Oracle: Spirit Guide -- can you tell that I like versatility?
Oracle (honorable mention): Dual Cursed -- can you tell that I like versatility?
Oracle (Elf): Ancient Lorekeeper -- can you tell that I like versatility?
Summoner (including Unchained): Evolutionist -- if you need to reconfigure your Eidolon every mission, this is for you.
Summoner (honorable mention): Master Summoner -- if you want your own army of summoned creatures rather than people, here you go.
Summoner (Unchained only): Devil Imposter -- when you are in the Land of the Damned, you'll need this just to stay alive.
Witch: Cartomancer -- instead of a Familiar, you have a Harrow Deck, and it can deliver Touch spells without much danger to itself once you hit 3rd level.
Witch (Good): Hedge Witch -- if you're the only 9/9 caster in the party, or even if the party just lacks a divine caster, you need this.
Witch (Evil): Gravewalker -- be a better Necromancer than a Necromancer Wizard, and the flavor is just what Dr. Evil ordered.
Witch (add to either of the above): Hex Channeler -- not good if you want multiple Channeling dice, because these do not scale unless you trade out additional Hexes, but becomes good to add to either of the above archetypes if you stick with the 1d6 damage/healing and use Variant Channeling and/or feats to add rider effects on top of it, because the DC does scale with level even if you do not trade out additional Hexes.
Witch (alternate Evil): Seducer -- now you can have a Witch who can't spell.
Witch (honorable mention): Ley Line Guardian -- spontaneous casting, more spells per day, and no worries about a Familiar.

Alternate Classes

Antipaladin: Iron Tyrant -- become an armored supervillain.
Antipaladin (honorable mention): Insinuator -- not just a rampaging villain, but a careful plotter (note: no spellcasting).
Ninja: Hunting Serpent -- get Sneak Attack that works.
Ninja (honorable mention): Gunpowder Bomber -- if you can't Sneak Attack stuff, blow it up . . . of course, it's better when you can do both.
Samurai: Ward Speaker -- unusually versatile.
Samurai (honorable mention): Sword Saint -- because sometimes finesse is no substitute for brute force.

Hybrid Classes

Arcanist: Brown Fur Transmuter -- put Polymorph spells that you could normally use only on yourself on somebody that can actually get the full benefit of them.
Arcanist (honorable mention): Occultist -- for when you want to be an Arcanist and a Summoner at the same time.
Bloodrager: Urban Bloodrager -- don't lose the use of a lot of your skills when Raging.
Bloodrager (honorable mention): Blood Conduit -- get down-and-dirty and deal spell mayhem with your attacks.
Brawler: Exemplar -- be a leader rather than just a thug.
Hunter: Courtly Hunter -- can't take a big scary animal into that palace? No problem.
Hunter (honorable mention): Forester -- grant teamwork to the party instead of just using it for an Animal Companion (which you don't have).
Investigator: Empiricist -- for when you absolutely can't afford to get fooled; the ultimate detective.
Investigator (honorable mention): Infiltrator -- for when you absolutely have to work undercover.
Investigator (another honorable mention): Steelhound -- get gunslinging, and you can pick and choose between Deeds.
Investigator (yet another honorable mention): Questioner -- add VMC Bard, and you're now an Intelligence-based Bard.
Shaman: Unsworn Shaman -- can you tell that I like versatility?
Skald: No Archetype -- the original class abilities are just too good to pass up.
Skald (honorable mention): Fated Champion -- getting better initiative and easier access to divination spells is not bad, although losing Well-Versed could really hurt.
Slayer: Vanguard -- use teamwork with your party instead of being a lone wolf.
Swashbuckler: Noble Fencer -- Aristocratic Discipline to get a decent Will Save.
Swashbuckler (Small): Mouser -- you can really take the fight to larger opponents.
Warpriest: No Archetype -- the original class abilities are just too good to pass up, unless you fit into one of the categories below.
Warpriest (Andoren): Liberty's Blade -- be a big help in keeping your whole party free.
Warpriest (Elf): Calamity Caller -- you give the gift of Calamity that keeps giving.
Warpriest (Molthuni): Molthuni Arsenal Chaplain -- Weapon Training is very good (warning: much less good in PFS).

Occult Classes

Kineticist: No Archetype -- the original class abilities are just too good to pass up.
Kineticist: Terrakineticist -- I like versatility, although the lack of control over your adaptability keeps this one from getting first prize.
Medium: Spirit Channeler (for staying power) or Spirit Dancer (for rapid flexibility) -- either way, a fix to a class that just isn't very good.
Mesmerist: Vexing Daredevil -- best Mesmerist in a fight.
Occultist: Reliquarian -- so that you don't get shut down by mere case of the heebie-jeebies.
Occultist (honorable mention): Battle Host -- best Occultist in a fight.
Psychic (Good): Magaambyan Telepath -- add some Druid spells.
Psychic (Evil): Terror Weaver -- technically not required to be Evil, but pretty scary; nevertheless, it doesn't hose your own party like Psychic Marauder does.
Spiritualist: No Archetype -- none of the archetypes are compelling compared to the original class features.
Spiritualist (honorable mention): Fractured Mind -- just plain nuts.
Spiritualist (and now for something completely different): Phantom Blade -- be sort of a Wisdom-based Magus.

Intrigue and Wilderness Classes

Vigilante: Can't select a best archetype here, since the archetypes are all actually different classes. Just whatever you do, DON'T select Brute . . . .
Shifter: Adaptive Shifter -- best flexibility on what simply isn't a very good class.


^Editfail for above: It has been pointed out to me in another thread that Sword Saint Samurai can only use Iajitsu Strike only once per challenge -- I read it wrong before this. That severely limits the quantity of brute force you can use, so remove it from honorable mention above.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Some of my personal Favorites:

Tetori Monk: Enables grappling as a viable character concept.

Mindblade Magus: Basically a soulknife!

Phantom Blade Spiritualist: Wisdom based Psychic Magus with fighter feats and an interesting spell list. Also a ghost sword.

Silksworn Occultist: Turns the occultist into a fairly viable caster


2 people marked this as a favorite.

There are a number of archetypes I'd love to shill for, but my favorite is the Insinuator Antipaladin. While mechanically weaker than a traditional Paladin or Antipaladin the class is so flavorful, and allows you to tailor your outsider/smite choice every day depending upon your foes that day. They are very fun to play if you can get a DM to let you play as an "evil" character. I just love the idea of a person so self absorbed that they can duplicate the benefits of being associated with a deity, and not spooked at telling a deity "up yours I'll go get help from elsewhere" because you're so confident in your own abilities you believe these outsiders exist to serve you not visa versa.

Losing 1/2 your smite damage and the AC buff hurts, as with spells, but the payoffs are so flavorful. Plus, Paladins can afford to lose a few abilities because they are packed to the gills.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
UnArcaneElection wrote:


I assume you mean this one?

That particular thread is the true neutral to go along with the neutral good of the best archetype thread and the neutral evil of the worst archetype thread.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I love me some archetypes, so here are a few of my favorites:

Dawnflower dervish (bard) - The flavor of this one is really neat, and I especially like the battle dance.

Silksworn occultist (occultist) - Again, great flavor (and a hilarious mental picture of the occultist in question decked out in full regalia). I haven't played this one as a player, but I gave a devil a bunch of silksworn occultist levels and sent it against my PCs. (Yes, they got an absurd amount of loot off him.)

Sacred fist (warpriest) - I just really like the concept of punchy warpriest.

Gloomblade (fighter) - I haven't actually played this one yet, but I'll be doing it in my next campaign. This one's actually inspired me to play a fighter! (No offense intended to fighters, but they don't have nearly as much built in flavor as some of the other classes, so they've always kind of passed under my radar.)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Reincarnated druid. Because who doesn't want to play a Time Lord?


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I've got quite a few I really love. To me flavour wins out. If I see something that makes me excited to see the concept brought to life, I'm all about that. Here's some from classes I've played. If I skip classes it's because i have little experience (arcanist) or want to learn (psychics) or just havent bothered to delve (vigilante)

Alchemist archetypes
Bogborn Alchemist: what a great Skull and shackles or other water themed archetype! Nothing but extra options with the exception of losing throw anything. Versatile and fun.
Bramble Brewer: is there anything more fun than total battlefield control? The idea of thick vines and brambles giving you total control over a battlefield is so wonderful. I love the idea of a forest in a bottle.
Crypt Breaker: playing a game where you delve into catacombs? Sealed away from the world what else WOULD you find but undead and constructs, making this a total upgrade. And replaces the need for rogues with trapfinding. Amazing and fun archetype for the right game.
Eldritch poisoner: backstab, poison on the fly and amazing DC. Play a rat folk pair with a buddy (barbarian or rogue maybe? Why not!) Having poisons with DCs to almost 30 by 7th level, and the cost in GP is NOTHING. Some people like the other poison based archetype better. I get that. But I love this tailor made poison one.
Juggler: total hands free versatility. This is underrated in how useful that is.
Perfumer: this one is relatively new so word hasn't gotten out about it. But it's just incredible to me. No longer is there a tax to pass out elixirs. No longer is it one per person, so haste can be for a full group again, or multiple uses for a single use power. And you can really buff up the party Face with +4 to bluff and diplomacy!! That's like a +8 to charisma item that stacks. Totally opens new paths for groups to explore. And persistent puddles of death? Lock down enemies to a spot and watch them melt. How can you not love that.

Bard:
Archeologists: luck bonuses and trapfinding and playing Indy Jones! This is just AWESOME.
Argent Song: holy crap diplomacy bonus. I think I did the math in another thread showing a +300 diplomacy roll. Because why the hell not.
Arrowsong Minstrel: ranger plus bard equals archer plus versatility.
Court Bard. This is one of my absolute favs. It's the ANTIBARD. Sometimes you can't kill them in one round. But making it so the enemy can't even touch you on their round is fantastic. This archetype plus a few other bards can make the all bard group not only possible but a sure bet. And all bards is the best of games.
Dwarven Scholars: finally not penalized for being a dwarf that gives a damn about their own history. And passing out combat feats? You know that's fun.
Mute Musician: some lovecraftian horror that allows you to SING AFTER BEING KILLED. WHAT??!?!?!?!? I mean... that's just beyond crazy. And everything they do is a total twist on bards.
Ringleader: you're hannibal from the A Team. HOW IS THIS NOT COOL.

Brawler
Mutagenic Mauler: one day you will meet the Bat and break him and give him permission to die. This is the Archetype for Bane and it is friggan cool.
Shield Champion: one day you will fight nazis. It's ok to punch a nazi in the f!@$ing face. It's even better to throw a shield at a nazi's f+#$ing face.

Cavalier:
Beast Rider: focus on that pet, have a blast. This adds some flavour into you're most loyal companion.
Sister In Arms: look, there are times where it's ok to play two of the same kind of character. I have said it before and will say it again, 2 sisters could be some of the most brilliant and wonderful fun you'll have in a party. This archetype just WORKS. I would encourage anyone to try 2 sisters and have 2 loyal and bound teammates who can frontline and lock down the battlefield. This is what teamwork is about.

Cleric:
Blossoming light: look, clerics a powerful class. This takes one of the lesser used features and blows it out to outrageous proportions. Channel 12 times a day at starting levels. Use channel feats to buff your allies weapons and armour on the fly with way more uses than the game ever intended. With quicken channel you can completely negate AoE damage all day at the cost of zero spells. ZERO. There are great cleric archetypes. This is the only one that changes the game for me in a way the others don't.

Druid
Drovier: turn your party into your "animal companions". This is shaman WOW in pathfinder. Drop totems and buff party. Versatile as hell and fun as hell.
Kraken Caller: your face becomes a kraken. I can't describe how cool this is. What a great archetype for both flavour and execution.
Menhir savant: Ley lines? On a class bound to the magic of the natural world? WHY ISN'T THIS A MAIN OPTION. And it's a free action that buffs up your caster level for a whole round. Feel free to swift cast and spend the whole pool and enjoy massive caster level buffs to 2 spells that round. You could combat in a single round on your initiative.

Paladin
Virtuoso Bravo: this may be actually an archetype I am loathe to admit but it basically makes one question why play a swashbuckler at all. I mention it here because it could be a contender for actual best archetype though. I just am not a fan of making other classes seem lesser.

Ranger
Freebooter: picking favour enemy sucks. Choosing with no limit who you're favoured enemy is? Better. Giving that bonus to everyone and it stacks with bard song? Best. This is a hell of an archetype.
Skirmisher: spells come late and have a caster penalty. Skirmisher is a GREAT archetype for those who want to learn to play pathfinder and you dont want spells to bog them down. Very appealing.
Trapper: see above for spells. Want to change how you play the game? Play a scouting party. Trap the battlefield and get the jump on them with your sneaking rogues and hunters and slayers. Throw the traditional "this is a party" way we view the game out the window and play a new way to do things. Patient. Lethal. Cruel. Dominant.

Samurai.
Yojimbo: everyone will talk about the warrior poet and for good reason. But a warrior order Yojimbo samurai with unconquerable resolve and chain challenge? Could very well be the most perfect tank in the game in both mind and body, and still able to boost your allies.

Skald:
Dragon skald: great flavour for Vikings. Very fun. Ours was the captain for skull and shackles and was the only one to never suffer death, despite my many attempts to kill him.
Totem channeler: ok look. Spell kenning may be the greatest ability in the game outside paladin saving throws. This is the only archetype that makes me say "it could be ok to trade that away". That's saying something. Totem options group wide allows you to take spirit totems and then switch to celestial for heals... or any number of incredible combos.

Summoner:
Blood god disciple: barbarian summoners with cannibal pets. I mean what's not to love.
Wild caller(half elves): I have my issues with this class but I like the idea of summoning a pet that's not a 30 tentacled horror all the time. Sometimes it's cool to have a really awesome elephant or something.

Theres dozens more but I typed enough. These are not numerically the strongest or whatever. This isn't "most optimized" archetypes thread (paladin archetype excepting). I don't have any bread to throw into the ring of that circle jerk. This is just what makes the game most fun or changes how we look at party builds. Many of these archetypes aren't even how they play, but how they play with OTHERS that make them the most fun for me. And that makes them the best.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Editfail for above: It has been pointed out to me in another thread that Sword Saint Samurai can only use Iajitsu Strike only once per challenge -- I read it wrong before this. That severely limits the quantity of brute force you can use, so remove it from honorable mention above.

Chain challenge and multiple cheap swords. And done.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
deuxhero wrote:
Zen Archer, Sensei (+Hungry Ghost): Only reason for chained Monk to exist past level 2.

Sohei is also an archetype that challenges the unchained monk.

With weapon training and the ability to flurry with polearms, you are going to be hitting at your best attack bonus very, very often. Add on gloves of dueling, and it outstrips unchained monk for attack bonus, even with its TWF penalty. And all that adds onto damage too.

UnArcaneElection wrote:
Medium: Spirit Channeler (for staying power) or Spirit Dancer (for rapid flexibility) -- either way, a fix to a class that just isn't very good.

Medium can be great... just not for what it is designed for.

It is not good for the play style switching versatility it is built around. It is the problem of investment- stats, feats, equipment. Trying to satisfy them all means you end up middling in all of them. And the time needed to switch makes it less viable (although hierophant means you can have a pocket cleric to help patch things up the next day). You need something like the spirit dancer for the versatility to be useful.

Now... if you focus on just champion? It can be a class with a terrifying amount of melee attacks that hit at its highest BAB (I can easily make one with 4 2 handed attacks with its best BAB). So it can easily hit as hard as full BAB characters. And while it has less health... but it has some decent spells- buffs like haste, and ill omen is a rather nice misfortune style debuff that doesn't need a save (good for setting up a caster).


Tetori, too. They have all the necessary parts of a good grappler without needing to be or have on hand a spellcaster. There are some other monk archetypes which might have use like invested regent, nornkith, and of course the ubiquitous qinggong.


lemeres wrote:
deuxhero wrote:
Zen Archer, Sensei (+Hungry Ghost): Only reason for chained Monk to exist past level 2.

Sohei is also an archetype that challenges the unchained monk.

With weapon training and the ability to flurry with polearms, you are going to be hitting at your best attack bonus very, very often. Add on gloves of dueling, and it outstrips unchained monk for attack bonus, even with its TWF penalty. And all that adds onto damage too

Not to mention being able to wear light armor without losing monk abilities, and capacity for snarfing Mounted Skirmisher at 1st level (you'd want dip enough Cavalier to qualify for the Horse Master feat in order to optimize such a monk-rider build).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
avr wrote:
Tetori, too. They have all the necessary parts of a good grappler without needing to be or have on hand a spellcaster. There are some other monk archetypes which might have use like invested regent, nornkith, and of course the ubiquitous qinggong.

In general, the lack of prior archetype support is one of the main things that held back unchained monks. I always got the impression "unchained monk is good, but it doesn't [insert specialty of a chained monk archetype here]".

Monk was not blessed like the rogue- there are a ton of 'rogue fixes' that each provide their own unique flavor and playstyle that allows them to be valid (ninja, slayer, eldritch scoundrel, unchained rogue, etc). I don't get the feeling they are competitors trying to fill the same space.


Monks don't fill as large a space of ideas in my head as the rogue and its friends do, but the single concept of a specialist trained in some exotic style of combat (unarmed or not) can have some variety in mechanics. So long as some of those specialists work the monk doesn't need a fix IMO. Well, if the particular specialist you need is unarmed and unarmoured, maybe.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Cavall wrote:
Argent Song: holy crap diplomacy bonus. I think I did the math in another thread showing a +300 diplomacy roll. Because why the hell not.

You have peaked my interest how does one get +300 diplomacy with that build?


Cavall wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

^Editfail for above: It has been pointed out to me in another thread that Sword Saint Samurai can only use Iajitsu Strike only once per challenge -- I read it wrong before this. That severely limits the quantity of brute force you can use, so remove it from honorable mention above.

Chain challenge and multiple cheap swords. And done.

Chain Challenge usually won't cut it, because in order for it to work, yuu have to kill or KO the target of your Challenge.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

If we're going with archetypes that change things up for a class, I'd say both the Gloomblade and Venomblade fighter archetypes fit the bill. The Gloomblade because holy crap, you can just make a weapon out of nothing and it's actually good. The Venomblade because it actually works with the other Nagaji venom feats to make it feel like you can actually play a character whose poison spit actually feels kinda useful.

And of course, you can stack both.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The fact that within 2 hours this thread gets 8 posts while the worst archetype thread gets 50 (including a mod intervention and a healthy dose of nerdrage) is pretty much a textbook example on how negativity is easier to generate than positivity :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

You might be a little confused there Gorbacz, the worst archetype thread has neither 50 new posts nor listed mod intervention, at least today. I don't think they've deleted dozens of posts without my noticing either. Nerdrage...yeah, OK. Maybe it's some other thread that caught your eye though?

Anyway, the bard has quite a lot of good archetypes. Dervish dancers and Chelish divas and archaelogists, and weird fey stuff like the First World minstrel. That last has one of the weirder replacements for inspire courage that I've seen and it looks fun.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Watersinger Bard.

It’s incredibly cool to me, it replaces some of the less used performances with basically the ability to make water do what the ocean does in Moana.

You get mobile terrain and cover, obstacle generation, effectively extra limbs and a flanking buddy.

Shortly after it gives you a remote control way to fight in melee, yes it requires a 5 by 5 cube of water which I think turns people off.

But! They get Aquas Orb at level 4! Not only is this early acces to am immense spell, giving you a mobile grappling unit, you control as a move, attack with as a standard and maintain the song as a free.

It’s just so much fun and actually works as you imagine it in your head, without clunky work around, by level 4.

The only downside is it wants you to be Undine, a restriction I actively ignore as I strongly believe had Naiad existed when it was printed it would have been given to them (and definitely should have)


Bard: Archivist: The naturalist ability is both flavorful and useful, though it does require a decent investment on Knowledge skills to make it work. (And if you happen to have a second bard with standard inspire courage at the table, they stack!)

Magus: Mindblade: Manifesting the weapon doesn't get faster for quite a few levels, and psychic magic's weird concentration rules makes spell combat tricky to pull off, but the psychic weapon's versatility more than makes up for it.

Investigator: Empiricist: Apply Int to more skills.

Rogue: Scout: Adequately covered by other posters. ;)

Liberty's Edge

Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:
The only downside is it wants you to be Undine, a restriction I actively ignore as I strongly believe had Naiad existed when it was printed it would have been given to them (and definitely should have)

Yeah, watersinger loooong pre-dates the Naiad.

Wicked cool archetype though, I just wish its mechanics were more clearly written.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Tim Emrick wrote:
Magus: Mindblade: Manifesting the weapon doesn't get faster for quite a few levels, and psychic magic's weird concentration rules makes spell combat tricky to pull off, but the psychic weapon's versatility more than makes up for it.

I like the mindblade, but it's super weird to me that you have to wait until like 13th level to be able to combine spell combat with a 2H weapon, despite the fact that psychic magic doesn't do anything with your hands.


Luring Cavalier does what it's intended to do without overcomplicating it.

Gorbacz wrote:
is pretty much a textbook example on how negativity is easier to generate than positivity :)

Or that, like with everything, bad content greatly outnumbers good content. This is especially when "best" is restricting to both mechanically good and good designed while "worst" only needs one of those to be bad.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
deuxhero wrote:
Or that, like with everything, bad content greatly outnumbers good content. This is especially when "best" is restricting to both mechanically good and good designed while "worst" only needs one of those to be bad.

I think part of it may be that "I saw a cool archetype but when I went to build with it I discovered that it was bad" is something that can happen to you 3 or 4 times in an afternoon, while "I saw a cool archetype, built the character, and went on to enjoy a long and prosperous campaign" is a once-in-a-campaign sort of thing. Even for a GM that whips off NPC's quickly, the successes are fleeting and ephemeral (you cannot allow yourself to get attached to NPC's, unless your players get attached first) while the failures send you back to the books to find an alternative.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Vexing dodger rogue, because having a fighting style of climbing all over people like a little kid is awesome. Plus you get to say things like "I stick my foot in his mouth, give me a fortitude save or be nauseated."


Just realized that Vexing Dodger would potentially let you hitch a ride on willing or Dominated creatures even when they're not suitable mounts, except that the text doesn't provide for letting you off the hook for some of the Climb DC if the target isn't trying to keep you off.

This one's a little weird in the early levels, in that when you first get Underfoot Trickster at 4th level, it doesn't scale with your Sneak Attack, but at 8th level, all of a sudden it does. Pretty good once you do get there, since it makes your Combat Maneuver Bonus effectively 5/4 BAB . . . IF you can solve the problem of getting Sneak Attack to stick. Too bad both Vexing Dodger and Scout both replace Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge.


Vexing dodger can take uncanny dodge as soon as 4th level and improved as an advanced rogue ability so it's not like it's that bad.


"Best" is subjective, but...

I really love the Brawling Blademaster (Samurai; Martial Arts Handbook). You trade your mount, banner and archery for the ability to TWF with both your fists and your weapons.

The Grenadier (Alchemist; Monster Codex) is also pretty good. You replace poison-related abilities with extra bomb-related abilities. I personally never understood having poison stuff for base alchemists, outside of feats and archetypes.

The Elementalist Shifter (Shifter; Ultimate Wilderness) is good one too, mostly for the extra elemental damage. That might not sound like much, but... TWF this bad boy and you're in for a treat.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's another good one: the Animist Shaman has a really unique and flavorful way of helping their allies out of tough spots.

Is there any other class or archetype in the game that lets you go up to a nauseous ally, tell that ally "Hey. Nausea. I know you're in there. Stop it!", and then make the ally better?

That's what I thought.


Do you mean best or you mean our Personal Favorites? Cause I'm gonna list some that probably aren't the best but I had a lot of fun playing/coming up with ideas.

Preservationist (Alchemist, Ultimate Magic) - Cause you really wanted to play Pokemon. You get to add Summoning to your kit at the cost of Poison abilities(Which let's be fair, we ALL trade out if possible). What's more is that you might be able to combine the Summons with Infusion and Preservation Flasks. Go into battle and have each person drink one for your own guard/flanker/buddy.

The cons are well it's Summoning so GMs might stop that and it's Nature Ally, not Summon Monster though you CAN get a feat to let you pick it up. Still, dumb idea is to Summon a Fire Elemental to tie up enemies while you carpet bomb them with FIRE Bombs. What friendly fire?

Wild Child (Brawler, Advanced Class Guide) - Cause you want to punch something your pet is holding down. This greatly changes how Brawler plays, removing a lot or all of your bonus feats along with Close Weapon Mastery. You get however, an animal Companion at Druid Progression(Your brawler level counts as Druid), and Hunter Tricks from the Skirmisher Archetype for Rangers.

The Hunter Tricks vary in use but can help out though you can't use any Ranged ones. But with a pet buddy, you can build them with Teamwork feats and then Flex into those as you see fit. And Your pet also gets tricks for free to use Maneuvers. Set up right you might be able to get a Dirty Trick loop set up and just lock down one big target between the two of you.

1 to 50 of 69 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / General Discussion / What are the best archetypes? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.