please explain "unchained" classes


Beginner Box


I've read references to "Unchained" versions of certain classes, for some of the classes previously published in either the Core Rules or the Advanced Player's Guide.

Presuming these are references to errata for those books, how does one get a copy of these revisions, please?

And, if these are not errata for those books, then where were these revisions published, please?

Thanks,
Franklin


It's an additional rule book, "Pathfinder Unchained"

You can buy a pdf or a hardcover copy here
Pathfinder Unchained

You can also read it online for free as a Pathfinder Reference Document

Pathfinder Unchained

Grand Lodge

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As Pathfinder developed, with new feat and class options for everyone, the team wanted to take another look at the four classes shown. Barbarian, Summoner, Monk, and Rogue all had pretty glaring things that would break games, slog them down, or make the player feel significantly less powerful than any other player simply because of the class.

To summarize, Barbarian had some needless bookkeeping with the fluctuating str/con buffs and some rage powers needed some tweaking. Not that Pf:Unchained solved anything after introducing Bloodrager and Skald in to the mix but oh well.

Summoner was at a weird point where it was overtuned compared to other classes. The eidolon and spell list needed some pull-back; Summoners were making pouncing, shapeless monstrosities with a thousand attacks per round and oh they also got Haste as a 2nd level spell. Unchained Summoner forces the eidolon to take a base form that limited what kind of evolutions it got, and their spell list was pretty heavily altered.

Monks have so many weird things going on that it wasn't keeping up with other martials. d8 hit dice, no native attack bonuses and a fairly annoying fluctuating BAB. Unchained Monk made things much more simple in terms of stuff to keep track of and made it more in line with other martials like Slayer and Ranger.

Rogues just needed a massive buff. They were falling behind other classes, even the Spiritualist, and is widely considered the worst (combat) class in pathfinder. Unchained Rogue is honestly still fairly weak compared to other martials but still a huge upgrade to core (on a personal level I think they should have gotten full bab and d10 HD like any other martial). I'm still very salty over the fact that Unchained Rogues do not have access to a ki pool through rogue talents, though.


TL;DR: People complained about stuff, so Paizo released a book that made things worse. : D


blahpers wrote:
TL;DR: People complained about stuff, so Paizo released a book that made things worse. : D

Lol. It feels that way. I hate most of the unchained summoner. It broke more than it fixed. Barbarian felt more like “why bother”. Unchained monk was close to ok but could have used a playtest. And the unchained rogue is probably ok but it’s too tempting for dexterity based dips.


Unchained summoner altered the list so they weren't creating things like wands of level 2 haste.

Barbarians alteration makes dual wielding barbarian more of an option than simply picking up a big 2 hander.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Unchained summoner altered the list so they weren't creating things like wands of level 2 haste.

Seems unnecessary. You can still have a wand of haste. It just costs a little more. Though I didn’t like the feel of the summoner getting that particular spell early. That’s bard stuff. The summoner should be more about conjuration.


Melkiador wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Unchained summoner altered the list so they weren't creating things like wands of level 2 haste.
Seems unnecessary. You can still have a wand of haste. It just costs a little more. Though I didn’t like the feel of the summoner getting that particular spell early. That’s bard stuff. The summoner should be more about conjuration.

A wand of Haste from a Summoner costs 6000g, at least a full one. A Wizard wand of Haste would cost 11,250g, nearly double. A character at character creation can spend no more than half their gold on a single item.

A summoner wand of haste is nearly in the hands of a 5th level character, and it is in their hands with GM approval or a crafting feat to get them 50% more starting gold. A wizard created wand of haste would first be available at 7th.

On topic.

Summoner - too OP, tried to fix. Didn't really.
Barbarian - made math easier, fixed barbarian exploding death syndrome and stopped abuse of rage cycling with once/rage powers.
Monk - it was bad and didn't have any choices for players. Made less bad with meaningless choices.
Rogue - it was bad and given a way to be better than a wizard without spells in combat, but not as good as any normal martial cause that'd be OP.


Melkiador wrote:
Unchained monk was close to ok but could have used a playtest.

I think in this case, lack of a playtest made things better, because this way, no one caught that Empty Body was listed without a level requirement. And thanks to that, unMonk has a cool but not overpowered ability that grants the class much needed versatility.

The cSummoner's playlist is a mess, making the class way stronger than it should be (as it's de facto a full caster with reduced spells per day), and it opens the doors wide for abuse (like wands and Mystic Past Life Samsarans). It's still too strong, not the least because they didn't even touch the super strong Summon Monster SLA.

unBarb is a much better made class than cBarb, with a higher floor (i.e. better at low optimization levels) and lower ceiling (worse at high optimization levels). Ragecycling was always a cheezy abuse. The class could do with a) a rage power to fly, and b) some way to enter a Rage Stance as a swift or free action, though.

unRogue still has the problem that a melee with d8 HD; medium BAB, no accuracy boost (before hitting), and the worst saves a PC class can possibly have is quite frankly an utterly stupid idea. It still isn't actually good at skills (because almost all unlocks suck and it has no boost to skills), and lacking any way to actually be a rogue-ish character. Indeed, they actually emphasized teamwork, so much for the "loner" type!

Ryan Freire wrote:
Barbarians alteration makes dual wielding barbarian more of an option than simply picking up a big 2 hander.

A +1 damage to off-hand attacks doesn't really change anything. One less feat needed helps, but TWF's main problems persist.


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It still surprises me that people don't like the unmonk. I kind of think they're a tone of fun.


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The unchained barbarian can go dex-based, which would certainly make two weapon fighting easier.


Melkiador wrote:
The unchained barbarian can go dex-based, which would certainly make two weapon fighting easier.

They can go dex based AND the accuracy stance exists.

Also its +1 damage from 1-11 +2 damage from 11-20.

Ubarb can build a TWF pounce from beast totem, crit fishing character that ends up with a net bonus to hit.

Lets go 11th level, ignoring any magic items or feats.

Base: +11/+6/+1

TWF + ITWF : +9/+9/+4/+4/-1

With Rage: +12/+12/+7/+7/+2

With Rage + Accurate Stance: +15/+15/+10/+10/+5

Pretty damn solid for not including a Str bonus to hit, any magic weapon, any feats or anything.

Frenzy barb > Immortal king barb


I'm pondering if I should respond, or just wait until Slim Jim gets into Savage Technologist fanboy mode...

Seriously though, I'm not saying unMonk wasn't (slightly) better at TWF than cMonk, I'm saying that thte difference is so small that it doesn't really help - Barb is just not that good at TWF, no matter which version you use*. For the record, a Savage Technologist with Reckless Abandon would have the exact same attack roll, only with an AC malus instead of needing to spend a move action after entering the rage to activate the stance.

*) Doesn't even get a usable unarmed archetype to use the "10-finger-discount" (a.k.a. handwraps).

Ryan Freire wrote:
Frenzy barb > Immortal king barb

Dual grief WW > both.


Derklord wrote:

I'm pondering if I should respond, or just wait until Slim Jim gets into Savage Technologist fanboy mode...

Seriously though, I'm not saying unMonk wasn't (slightly) better at TWF than cMonk, I'm saying that thte difference is so small that it doesn't really help - Barb is just not that good at TWF, no matter which version you use*. For the record, a Savage Technologist with Reckless Abandon would have the exact same attack roll, only with an AC malus instead of needing to spend a move action after entering the rage to activate the stance.

*) Doesn't even get a usable unarmed archetype to use the "10-finger-discount" (a.k.a. handwraps).

Ryan Freire wrote:
Frenzy barb > Immortal king barb
Dual grief WW > both.

TBH i was marrowwalk smite cheese.


The unmonk is just a little better at flurrying. But it’s also better at mobility. It can hit more reliably outside of flurry and has flying kick for semi pounce.


Melkiador wrote:
The unmonk is just a little better at flurrying. But it’s also better at mobility. It can hit more reliably outside of flurry and has flying kick for semi pounce.

IIRC it also includes the quigong monk archetype which most people just auto picked up anyway cause it had no cost associated with it.


It does include the Qinggong Powers as Ki Powers. The Ki Power class feature is overall much better than what a cMonk gets, anyway: Empty Body is aviable 15 levels earlier, Abundant Step is aviable four levels earlier (which also means earlier access to Dimensional Dervish), Restoration is aviable three levels earlier, and Ki Leech is aviable one level earlier and doesn't have to compete with Restoration. There are also a bunch of new abilities, e.g. Insightful Wisdom which can easily save party members.

@Melkiador: Don't forget the 1.5xStr bonus for two-handed weapons, and free proficiency with reach weapons.


I've always felt that the unchained went basically like this

Barbarian :cleaned up the math to make it simple, and got rid of the worst part of being a barbarian, blowing up once you stopped being angry.

Monk: flurry math was a mess and it was the biggest offender of having no choices.

Rogue: nifty concept for skills and finally some options for sneak attacks and free feats. Very much needed boost. As mentioned does seem to punish strength builds though, which I dont like funneling concepts into only one kind of option. See below.

Summoner: basic summoner is a mess. The spell list took whatever a wizard needed and made it into a 6th level caster with no regard for how that effects the game as a whole (like the haste wands). The system for the pets was a total mess because all the options one could have had instead came down to all pets being exactly the same. Tentacle beasts with reach and pounce.
The new system gave some more rigid forms to that, but also locked away some choices seemingly for no reason. Like not having some forms allow quadrepeds for some reason, etc.
It was a little too restrictive in this sense but all and all a much needed retooling for a great concept. Had this been the original class, no one would have batted an eye.


Derklord wrote:
@Melkiador: Don't forget the 1.5xStr bonus for two-handed weapons, and free proficiency with reach weapons.

Yeah, and that can be nice, but then you have flying kick which is very good, but requires at least one of your attacks to be unarmed anyway. So, focusing on something other than unarmed strikes just feels bad to me. It's part of why I think that the uMonk could have benefited from a round of playtesting.

Grand Lodge

There's nothing stopping you from specializing in manufactured weapons. Only style strikes and extra attacks from Ki points have to be unarmed so a majority of attacks can still be through manufactured weapons.

It also seems a bit more monk-like to mix it up with unarmed strikes anyway.


I mean, flying kick is essentially pounce even if the "kick" part misses. A lot of classes would like to have that.


It's not that the ability isn't strong. In fact, part of the problem is that it's so desirable. It's that it works better for one play style than any of the other styles that could be really fun. It's not bad. It just doesn't feel right.


Melkiador wrote:
Yeah, and that can be nice, but then you have flying kick which is very good, but requires at least one of your attacks to be unarmed anyway. So, focusing on something other than unarmed strikes just feels bad to me.

I get what you mean, which is why I like Ascetic Style a lot. Mathematically, using the ki bonus attack for Flying Kick when needed works well enough so that weapon based unMonk without Ascetic Style is on par with Dragon Style or Jabbing Style.


blahpers wrote:
TL;DR: People complained about stuff, so Paizo released a book that made things worse. : D

I don't know about that. The summoner and monk could not have been made worse, IMO. The monk is an especially terrible offender, as it had been sitting in a terrible state for more than a decade (from the WotC days).

My current PC was almost an unchained monk. I am currently playing a brawler though, as I wanted to avoid the mystical flavor.

Another PC is an unchained summoner. If the DM had let him play a chained summoner I would have left the game.


Kimera757 wrote:
Another PC is an unchained summoner. If the DM had let him play a chained summoner I would have left the game.

That seems silly. Especially since the power level difference is very small. The only meaningful nerf was making pounce slightly harder to get. But instead of getting to make fun combinations of things, the eidolon has been roped into arbitrary limits that don’t actually make it any weaker. And the multi limbed pounce monstrosity is still the flavor of the day, which was the one thing I’d hoped they’d try to fix.


They did do a fix for it by giving less points and some form focused abilities. I dont known if they were the right fix, but it was a fix. I like the does of forms having a say. I just didnt like how some kinds couldn't be some shapes.


But they did nothing to stop the multi armed pounce builds. They just delayed it a couple of levels. Single attack eidolon’s should have been at least close to as meaningful. It was literally the only thing I wanted fixed in unchained.


Melkiador wrote:
But they did nothing to stop the multi armed pounce builds. They just delayed it a couple of levels. Single attack eidolon’s should have been at least close to as meaningful. It was literally the only thing I wanted fixed in unchained.

Single attack builds aren't anywhere close to meaningful for any class in the game, why would eidolons be different though?


I get that the Monk and Rogue got unchained, but... were there serious issues with the Summoner and Barbarian?

The Fighter should have been unchained prior to those two...


Barbarian only had the serious issue of exploding once he finishes using his class core mechanic. No big deal there, just the opportunity to make a new character every time you stopped being angry.

And I think theres been enough notes about what was wrong with the summoner to realize yes in fact there were some issues.

As for fighter it got better than unchained. It got armour and weapon class options that are actually not "rule suggestions" like unchained is. That's core built in. To say it didnt get an overhaul is laughable.


Melkiador wrote:
Kimera757 wrote:
Another PC is an unchained summoner. If the DM had let him play a chained summoner I would have left the game.
That seems silly. Especially since the power level difference is very small. The only meaningful nerf was making pounce slightly harder to get. But instead of getting to make fun combinations of things, the eidolon has been roped into arbitrary limits that don’t actually make it any weaker. And the multi limbed pounce monstrosity is still the flavor of the day, which was the one thing I’d hoped they’d try to fix.

The previous summoner was complicated and confusing. I am convinced that, much like previous editions of psionics, it got a bad reputation because players were, either accidentally or on purpose, not following the rules as written and making overpowered character.

If I were a GM I would just start foaming at the mouth if a player wanted to play one of these things. I would just say no. I would point out I only have so many hours in the day to plan a campaign, and I don't want to spend half the time on just learning the capabilities of one PC. (The GM for a generic cleric has the same problem though!)

JiCi wrote:

I get that the Monk and Rogue got unchained, but... were there serious issues with the Summoner and Barbarian?

The Fighter should have been unchained prior to those two...

The fighter could have used unchaining earlier in its career. The style feats seem pretty good, IMO, but it's a bit sad that the fighter is missing some out-of-the-box abilities.

I like bravery, but most of the fighter's abilities that it gained beyond what 3.x fighters had (out-of-the-box) are just numbers. It's nice having higher AC, but ... fighters already had pretty good AC. That kind of bonus doesn't give them something like Pounce.


JiCi wrote:
I get that the Monk and Rogue got unchained, but... were there serious issues with the Summoner and Barbarian?

cBarbarian's problems were mostly two-fold, the Sudden Barbarian Death Syndrome (drop to negative HP -> rage ends -> you lose the con bonus -> you're dead), and the ridiculous abuse that is ragecycling. Both present very undesirable jumps in the natural system mastery vs. effectiveness scaling. A beginner's character might randomly die because the player didn't know the importance of Raging Vitality. On the other end of the spectrum, even with high system mastery, you need to know a very cheesy trick to archieve full potential (and even though the list of rage powers that are actually worth it to rage cycle isn't that big, the ability to repeatedly remove enemy spells or reroll failed saves is huge).

cSummoner is basically broken left, right, and center. The spell list is a joke - as I've said above, cSummoner is de facto a full caster with reduced spells per day and the strength of its casting is significantly ahead of those of other 6/9 casters (helped greatly be the amazing spell selection). The Eidolon is quite frankly just absurd, it can go toe to do at dealing damage with all but the very best martials. The problem is basically that the spellcasting is good enough to make it a functional tier 3 class (6/9 caster), but when you play it, you also put a fully functional tier 4 class (good martial) on the table for basically double a normal character's action economy. Druid/Hunter can run into the same issue, but an animal companion is way harder to get up to PC levels of effectiveness (well, making it more powerful than a Rogue is probably not that hard...); even more so for a Spiritualist's phantom or all the "mount" class features. Both the Summoner and the Eidolon are pretty easy to build effectively (the spell list has unusually few weak options, and picking pounce and maxing out primary natural attacks is all it takes), which means that the combination easily overshadows characters at the same level of system mastery.
The Summoner Monster SLA is in itself OK, but it grants a notable amount of versatility on top of what the class already has, and is rather powerful for a back-up feature.

Kimera757 wrote:
The previous summoner was complicated and confusing.

I never understood this. What was it that was "complicated and confusing"? The unclear evolution discriptions is something unchained did not fix.

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