Free Archetype Variant- what about players who don't want


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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AestheticDialectic wrote:
I also would try to get them to look at every archetype. There really isn't an equivalent comparison. Try and find one that works with the kind of build they want to do and suggest that

I'd probably flip the script and ask what sort of cool theme or capability they want to pursue as their character grows. Then suggest several archetype options that will help them achieve their concept.

(Then you probably need to remind them that "free" means they don't have to choose between a class feat and the option, since maybe there is a misunderstanding about that?)


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WatersLethe wrote:

If one player doesn't want to use Free Archetype because they're overwhelmed by the rules and aren't confident in being able to handle it,

If one player doesn't want to use Free Archetype for personal preference reasons,

A possible third reasonable option that I have at least heard of is that they want their character to be dedicated to their one simple concept. Like a Cleric that is only a Cleric. Not a Cleric/Bard, a Cleric/Captivator, or even a Cleric/Blessed One.

My solution for that is (instead of double class feats) is to bend the rules and let them take their own class's archetype in their free archetype slots. So they could be a Cleric/Cleric. For some multiclass archetypes, I might also give them a second class feat slot at level 2 if the class's dedication feat is redundant with what they already have.


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Yes this always make think why not instead of FA just give class feats every level?


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YuriP wrote:
Yes this always make think why not instead of FA just give class feats every level?

Doubling the number of high level class feats that a character has is probably more power than Free Archetype gives.

With Free Archetype you can get the high level class feats of your primary class and the low level class feats from both your primary class and your multiclass archetype.

But as far as a different alternative build houserule to run the entire party with instead of Free Archetype, that works quite well.


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I would let the other players use Free Archetype and let the uncomfortable player get some experience under their belt before choosing their Free Archetype. They can pick a Free Archetype later on. Free Archetype isn't much of a power up and you can add it on later when the player gets an idea they might like to add on.


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The obvious solution to me would be letting the player pick a second class feat of half their levels. That way, the player is indeed "dedicated" to their class fantasy, and it doesn't have the power imbalance of them being able to pick two max level class feat, in effect it would be as if they took dedication in their own class.

Since first level feat exist, it would mean taking a second and first level class feat on level 2, a level 4 or less and 2 or less on level 4, etc. Flavor is conserved with no balance issue that I've noticed, and it doesn't have the weirdness of "taking their own class archetype" (which for some class come with the dedication granting you stuff you already have, like the fighter dedication).


breithauptclan wrote:
YuriP wrote:
Yes this always make think why not instead of FA just give class feats every level?

Doubling the number of high level class feats that a character has is probably more power than Free Archetype gives.

With Free Archetype you can get the high level class feats of your primary class and the low level class feats from both your primary class and your multiclass archetype.

But as far as a different alternative build houserule to run the entire party with instead of Free Archetype, that works quite well.

The idea was more to be able to satisfy those who explicitly don't want to pick up an archetype.

The main problem of the FA for me is this obligation. Because, for example, you're playing a druid, and you don't exactly want to be forced into a strange archetype in your character. You would like to make a pure druid only. But the game is with FA so you are forced to choose an archetype.

It's this kind of obligatory situation that exists in FA that I'd like to avoid, also because most archetypes have some prerequisite, whether stats in the case of multiclasses, or skills or feats in the case of many other archetypes.


IMO, depends the reason.

In my experience, players that demanded not to use FA meant "I'd rather prefer a campaign without FA for the whole party" for balance issues, that goes from power creep to lessen the differences between the party ( aka, moving from "does any have that skill? " To " Everyone has that skill" ).

Anyway, we end up sticking with the DM decision or the majority of the people.

But if one person out of 4 would ever prefer not to play with FA while the others are ( though I still have to witness a similar situation), I'd probably let they do as they please ( 1 out of 4 is not a huge deal).


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Speaking from experience and concerns about the power of free archetype, most on the forum were right: it's not much of a power increase. It is barely noticeable between normal classes and free archetype added on. Mainly it increases versatility and not power.

I would not allow a second class feat as that would be more like dual class which does increase power. Not hugely, but enough it would be noticeable, especially high level feats in the 14 to 20 range. Some of those feats are quite potent and meant to be class defining feats. It would be a noticeable increase in power to allow a player to choose two of them.


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I really don't like FA, but I'd never ask a game to play without it if I'm the only who dislikes it. But I obviously have the system mastery to handle FA, so it's only a matter of personal preferences.

Now, with beginners, I think FA is clearly breaking the game assumption that system mastery doesn't bring much power. Without FA, a beginner can play his beloved character without much forethought and end up fine in terms of power level. A lot of feat lines are pretty straightforward and work as expected so even a beginner should be able to master them. With FA, on the other hand, the content you have access to explodes (as there are just so many archetypes and archetypes have their own rules that impose harsh conditions on character building). For a beginner (or a player who doesn't care strongly about character building), I can clearly understand why it pushes them away from the game.


Deriven Firelion wrote:
I would not allow a second class feat as that would be more like dual class which does increase power. Not hugely, but enough it would be noticeable, especially high level feats in the 14 to 20 range. Some of those feats are quite potent and meant to be class defining feats. It would be a noticeable increase in power to allow a player to choose two of them.

It isn't that bad. Many feats even from 14 to 20 are non-cumulative. For example mostly fighter feats are activities or requires that you are using some specific kind of weapon or shield or having a free-hand. This usually is true for majority of classes and feats and isn't like many of these things are no possible with non-mc archetypes once they usually gives access to many class feats of same class just 2 levels higher (archer archetype for example).

My main problem with FA has always been decision paralysis and the obligation to choose an archetype. Decision paralysis is something that affects a lot of my players on a regular basis. Several times I had to insist that they complete the list of spells or choose a feat when they leveled up, but they kept dragging their feet for days and several times after leveling up they had to play with missing spells or with open talent slots because they didn't want to or didn't have time to pore over the available options or simply haven't been able to make up their minds yet.

That's why I only adopt the FA if everyone at the table wants it. Otherwise, I prefer to go without it. However, as an alternative, I give this option to gain extra class talents as an alternative to lessen the impacts (but normally, most tables chose to simply dismiss the FA, only 1 played like this).


Personally, I would not use free archetype. However, when all of my players are vets, I'm also inclined to start them at level 2 instead of 1, which effectively provides the choice of "take an archetype" at the cost of a feat.

I think my main issue with free archetype, is you're giving a free level 2 feat to a level 1 character. You probably need to offer the choice of, everyone gets one free level 2 feat, which can be an archetype dedication in order to properly balance things.


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Jacob Jett wrote:


I think my main issue with free archetype, is you're giving a free level 2 feat to a level 1 character.

How so?

FA kicks in by level 2, so a level 1 character won't have a level 2 extra archetype feat until they hit level 2.


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Jacob Jett wrote:

Personally, I would not use free archetype. However, when all of my players are vets, I'm also inclined to start them at level 2 instead of 1, which effectively provides the choice of "take an archetype" at the cost of a feat.

I think my main issue with free archetype, is you're giving a free level 2 feat to a level 1 character. You probably need to offer the choice of, everyone gets one free level 2 feat, which can be an archetype dedication in order to properly balance things.

I think you are misunderstanding Free Archetype. You don't get it at level 1.

Quote:
...the character receives an extra class feat at 2nd level and every even level thereafter...


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think the biggest related issue I've come across is "what if the player want an archetype, but the archetype they have their heart set on isn't available at level 2". If you want to be an eldritch archer, there are archetypes which have 3 feats available before level 6 so you can get out of it in time by spending a skill feat on an archetype feat (e.g. Medic can do this).

But one of the "Strength of Thousands" characters we've discussed is someone who is world class at rituals but can't manage to cast during the stress of combat, which would naturally be modeled with the ritualist archetype on a rogue or investigator chassis. The problem is that the Ritualist dedication isn't available until level 4.

So how do you handle this character who is granted archetype feats from the Free Archetype Variant at levels where they do not want to use them? Buying another archetype would delay Ritualist progress, so is this character just "one feat down" compared to everyone else?

Are you running free archetype on top of the free archetypes you get in strength of thousands? Because that game is specific that you need to pick Wizard or Druid as your archetype


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm looking over this thread and wondering why the GM can't just let the player have fun their own way.

Don't build a new subsystem, don't try to force them to use the free archetype. Simply allow them to play their PC how they want.

Creating a custom upgrade path for one player increases the risk of breaking game balance and disrupting table harmony. It also seems like a lot of extra work for the GM, which might not be fair to them.

If the player decides they want to add a free archetype later on, make it part of the narrative.

This is what I would do. It's not like losing the free archetype on one PC is going to drastically unbalance encounters anyway.


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Doug Hahn wrote:

I'm looking over this thread and wondering why the GM can't just let the player have fun their own way.

Don't build a new subsystem, don't try to force them to use the free archetype. Simply allow them to play their PC how they want.

Definitely the best option (IMO) once you're sure that's the informed choice. I think the other suggestions are geared towards helping the player who is rejecting the free feat(s) because they are overwhelmed by options, or just don't like the name of something, or some other weird misconception. Because it's such an odd request, it's worth checking out if it's coming from a problem the GM could help them through.

But if it's not coming from any problem or lack of understanding, then you're right, just let them do it.

(Assuming there's not a compelling campaign reason they need it. The old "you're sailing around on a boat for the next two years. Everyone please take the free 'scalliwag' archetype to represent what you learn in this time, and also because you'll need the 'doesn't fall off the boat' feat.")

Scarab Sages

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Without knowing why a player doesn't want to use free archetype I can only offer some broad suggestions.

If they're new the game or just don't want to deal with that many options, just have them play a regular character. While they'll lack in the power that comes from a wider tool-kit, the math all mostly works the same. The power from free archetype is mostly horizontal, so vertical progression stays the same.

If they just don't know what they want to play, I'd sit down with them as a GM to go over ideas and options.

If they feel like their concept doesn't vibe with an archetype, I'd probably point them to whatever the nearest thing that just does what they do. Mauler Barbarian, Blessed One Cleric, Wizard Witch, etc.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the 'second class feat' option because to me, the whole point of the free archetype rule is to have characters branch out a bit in directions that may not be completely optimal. I feel that more often than not, a second class feat would compel players to pick from their own class at certain levels with very strong options. For players that really want to home in on their base class, I feel that most (if not all) classes have archetypes that are close enough in flavor to still allow this.

I also recognize the problem in combining free archetypes with the lockout conditions and the issue of archetypes not having a feat at every even level, but also being a bit wary about just taking dips into a large number of archetypes, I am using the following house rule for my home games: At any point, a character may have two dedication feats that are still 'locked' (rather than just one).


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SuperBidi wrote:

I really don't like FA, but I'd never ask a game to play without it if I'm the only who dislikes it. But I obviously have the system mastery to handle FA, so it's only a matter of personal preferences.

Now, with beginners, I think FA is clearly breaking the game assumption that system mastery doesn't bring much power. Without FA, a beginner can play his beloved character without much forethought and end up fine in terms of power level. A lot of feat lines are pretty straightforward and work as expected so even a beginner should be able to master them. With FA, on the other hand, the content you have access to explodes (as there are just so many archetypes and archetypes have their own rules that impose harsh conditions on character building). For a beginner (or a player who doesn't care strongly about character building), I can clearly understand why it pushes them away from the game.

I agree that you should start the game without Free Archetype.

It is just simpler and less choices. It is easier to get going.

Any survey on this or any other forum is going to be biased in favour of people who like more details and enjoy working through the mechanics of character building.


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With the standard rules for Free Archetype, they don't get much choice anyway. We agreed to play pirates, so everyone gets Pirate archetype for free. Done. You don't have to use those feats if you don't care.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My personal favorite solution to that is just to pick up archetype feats that purely give more proficiency <_< like rogue and skill mastery five times then the reflex save bonus


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In my games, FA feats can also be used to take class feats from your own class at half level. This is to cover situations where the archetype the player is interested in kicks in at later levels (for example, Eldritch Archer), archetypes that have holes at certain level (such as Sentinel and bastion), as well as for players who don't want to archetype.

One of my players didn't want an archetype, so he just kept taking extra sorc feats and ended up being able to pick up a bunch of extra metamagic feats and other stuff and it worked out well.

One of the main complaints about FA is that it does make characters more complicated, so it's a nice solution for everyone


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I really don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want FA, but if it is that big an issue for a player the answer is to just not take it. Simple and done.

A GM can adjudicate however he or she wants and if a player doesn’t want to use FA if being offered, that player isn’t owed a substitution. Maybe the GM is willing and does provide an alternative, but to expect or demand one likely means that player will cause other issues in play. That type of attitude generally falls under an entitled mentality that will become a poison in any game.


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Some of my players when we switched to PF2 didn't want Free Archetype because they weren't really sure how it all worked together. Now that they are familiar with the system, the always want Free Archetype. Once the player gets up to speed, they will likely want Free Archetype.

That's why I recommended let the players familiar with the system use it and the other player can add it when they feel more comfortable with the system.


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HammerJack wrote:
Why? Fighter is a remarkably easy class to fit archetypes into under standard rules, since the class chassis does so much heavy lifting.

It’s more so about cool themes and such. Fighters don’t have “subclasses” like sorcerers or champions or thaumaturge.

Instead of having themed abilities like thaumaturge or different rogue rackets that do different things, the base class feats is just hitting things. To compare to D&D, dnd has stuff like psi warrior fighter who has telekinetic abilities for use out and in combat, and rune knight who can place runes on stuff

Often times, with my characters in any ttrpg, they have a set theme or “feel” to them, and as such I want an archetype to add more flavor to fighter

Liberty's Edge

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Owen KC Stephen put this out there, which might be relevant to this discussion:

Class Paragon.

Simplified version, maybe let a player who isn’t otherwise interested in an Archetype to simply take the multiclass Archetype for their primary class. They’ll get a little less out of the Dedication, and then get a few extra class feats, each coming online a bit later than they otherwise would.


It's an interesting solution but have many excessive restrictions and some dangerous feats.

The dedication feat prerequires no MC feat and don't have Special line to prevent take a new dedication just after it. IMO there's no need for such prerequirements except instead would put a Free Archetype into prerequirements to just make it clear and add normal special line to prevent to take another archetype just after it.

Basic Paragon Training is redundant with Dedication. IMO dedication has to be restricted a lvl 1 feat or will become only a repeated tax feat.

Advanced Paragon Training with half-level feat feels too much to a non-mc archetype. MC archetypes usually have such restriction because they are more flexible and can be inderectly obtained (via heritage, ancestry feats or other class feats). IMO the normal feat lvl-2 from non-MC archetypes are better here.

Skill Mastery is a generic rogue like specific feat. Doesn't make senses for most classes.

I think that some of Class Paragon Mastery options a bit danger and need more work to prevent to be too good, too bad or too ugly. I probably didn't allow it.


YuriP wrote:


Basic Paragon Training is redundant with Dedication. IMO dedication has to be restricted a lvl 1 feat or will become only a repeated tax feat.

Advanced Paragon Training with half-level feat feels too much to a non-mc archetype. MC archetypes usually have such restriction because they are more flexible and can be inderectly obtained (via heritage, ancestry feats or other class feats). IMO the normal feat lvl-2 from non-MC archetypes are better here.

The point of the dedication and basic/advanced feats is to mimic the way multiclass dedications work, since it's intended to effectively let characters take their own MCA. If anything, the dedication is a bonus above the typical MCA structure, where you get barebones class features and a couple of non-scaling proficiencies.

No other disagreements, though. Skill Mastery should probably require rogue/investigator skill scaling. Barbarians especially seem frightening with Class Paragon Mastery, as the final bump to damage requires greater weapon specialization rather than a class level, so at level 15 you have 2x bonus rage damage.

I think it's just simpler to let existing MCAs be taken by members of that class.


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Luke Styer wrote:

Owen KC Stephen put this out there, which might be relevant to this discussion:

Class Paragon.

Simplified version, maybe let a player who isn’t otherwise interested in an Archetype to simply take the multiclass Archetype for their primary class. They’ll get a little less out of the Dedication, and then get a few extra class feats, each coming online a bit later than they otherwise would.

Looks good.


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Alchemic_Genius wrote:
In my games, FA feats can also be used to take class feats from your own class at half level. This is to cover situations where the archetype the player is interested in kicks in at later levels (for example, Eldritch Archer), archetypes that have holes at certain level (such as Sentinel and bastion), as well as for players who don't want to archetype.

Yes. I think this is probably the best solution to all of Free Archetype's problems. It fixes pretty much everything.

* Archetypes that are too sparse to fill the 2nd, 4th, and 6th slots.
* Archetypes that start at level 4 or level 6
* Players that don't want archetypes for their character.

And it doesn't have the strange effects of taking the class's own dedication feat - which could give practically nothing (Fighter - they get one skill), or could give you something that doesn't make sense (Summoner - they get a second Eidolon? That can't use Tandem actions?).


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breithauptclan wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

If one player doesn't want to use Free Archetype because they're overwhelmed by the rules and aren't confident in being able to handle it,

If one player doesn't want to use Free Archetype for personal preference reasons,

A possible third reasonable option that I have at least heard of is that they want their character to be dedicated to their one simple concept. Like a Cleric that is only a Cleric. Not a Cleric/Bard, a Cleric/Captivator, or even a Cleric/Blessed One.

My solution for that is (instead of double class feats) is to bend the rules and let them take their own class's archetype in their free archetype slots. So they could be a Cleric/Cleric. For some multiclass archetypes, I might also give them a second class feat slot at level 2 if the class's dedication feat is redundant with what they already have.

Honestly I think this should be allowed for monk. Monk ahs so little stappled to its chasis and needs feats for everything. You need a feat jsut to get your own critical specialization. You need feats for ki stuff, feats for stances, a feat to be able to switch stances better, and then normal buff your stuff feats. I think monk should ahve more stapled to it, so if I was playing free archetype and the person that really didn't want it was playing a monk, I'd be all for them getting it in their own class.

In general though, many classes already have archetypes that are not quite their class but gives access to some of their class feats. For example, if you are already playing a archer fighter or ranger, there is an archer dedication. If you were palying a two-handed fighter there is the mauler dedication. These are dedications that just make you better at what you already do. I suppose casters don't ahve as much of that. I don't think a dedication in your own class would break things too much.

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