What Class is Most Versatile?


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I'm wondering what peoples' opinion on what class is most versatile. This could mean the class is best at doing just about everything within one build or is the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role.


Order Explorer Druid probably, with wild shape. Primal is a strong spell list, battle forms can make up for a lack of raw base stats, Druid focus spells are on the whole quite potent, and they have good proficiencies.

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I think that the Druid is the most versatile spell caster (using either definition) and the rogue the most versatile martial.

The rogue doesn't actually match either of your definitions for versatility but their skills and skill feats combine to make them very, very flexible (but not quite the best) both within a build and in terms of being capable of handling many roles well.

But the rogue can't handle ALL roles. You can't make a good tank out of a rogue, for example. Fist and foremost they are likely a very good damage dealing skirmisher with at least 1 or 2 other strong sidelines according to build.


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Primal list sucks at debuffs and targetting will saves.

I would say probably Bard, if you don't play like a turret the class manages to be very versatile, occult list have solid support and debuffs, with some damage as well. The class even have some decent weapon proficiencies and Inspire courage makes you very close of natural martial weapon hit rate while at the same time buffing the other martials.


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Monk for martial IMO.
It can hold the frontline (if built for it), skirmish (always), and fight in 3D environments. It has debuffs, maneuver feats, and persistent damage options. It has good action economy and Reaction choices too. And now it has an archer option too.

Its ki abilities allow it to add energy damage, teleport, self-heal, blast an AoE, and get a good spell proficiency (divine or occult) for any side abilities it picks up (innate or in one of those traditions) w/o having to invest in the whole chain. This means it can go gish perhaps the best.

And I haven't touched on the Stances.

Of course that's in terms of roles, not versatility of weapons/weapon styles though it's not particularly limited there with the newer feats bringing them up to normal.


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I'd have to vote for the druid too. It can do most caster things pretty efficiently while also having better ability to occupy martial spaces than any other non-martial. Alchemists and warpriests are jealous of the wildshape druid.

Bards are a really strong force multiplier, but I'm not sure I'd call them versatile. Every bard pretty much has the same basic gimmick.

Castilliano wrote:
Its ki abilities allow it to add energy damage, teleport, self-heal, blast an AoE

While true, for a big chunk of the campaign you only really get to pick one of those things to do in any given combat. A monk isn't just be able to spam out AoE attacks to clean up mooks, they'll do their one ki-blast and then they're just an okayish martial.


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pauljathome wrote:

I think that the Druid is the most versatile spell caster (using either definition) and the rogue the most versatile martial.

Druid: Can front-line with wild shape. Can blast with spells. Can heal with the heal spell or even goodberry. Definitely a top pick for one-build; do lots of stuff well.

Rogue was actually what I thought of first because of their massive amount of skills and skill feats. They can also do physical damage. They really can't be built for front-line tanking though. Adding in alchemist archetype can let them add even more options for a single build.


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Not sure I agree with the notion that a rogue can't be a frontline tank. You're basically tanking by dealing too much damage to be ignored.

A human ruffian can start with Shield Block and heavy armor. Pick up Bastion at level 2 for a powerful defensive reaction. Get Sentinel Dedication at level 12 and you're basically set.

You're only "missing" two HP per level compared to the sturdier martials. But since you don't really need anything besides srength, it should be easy to start with 14 or even 16 Con.

It's not the the most sturdy thing ever, but I think it can work.


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Blave wrote:

Not sure I agree with the notion that a rogue can't be a frontline tank. You're basically tanking by dealing too much damage to be ignored.

A human ruffian can start with Shield Block and heavy armor. Pick up Bastion at level 2 for a powerful defensive reaction. Get Sentinel Dedication at level 12 and you're basically set.

You're only "missing" two HP per level compared to the sturdier martials. But since you don't really need anything besides srength, it should be easy to start with 14 or even 16 Con.

It's not the the most sturdy thing ever, but I think it can work.

Thats not really tanking if you have less HP and AC.


Temperans wrote:
Thats not really tanking if you have less HP and AC.

Heavy armor and a shield are the same AC as a fighter. Well, except for 4 levels. But really, those 4 don't matter that much. The only ones able to surpass this AC are the Monk and the Champion.

The HP are an issue, but you do get Evasion somewhat early and scale up to legendary in Reflex Saves. That helps. And heavy armor plus shield will make a significantly more durable than a "regular" rogue.

I'm not saying a ruffian is the best tank there is. But I think he's capable enough - while still dealing much more damage than many other dedicated tank builds.


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Investigator. While you do miss the spells (though you can always multiclass), the sheer number of skills and other useful abilities is dazzling.


Blave wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Thats not really tanking if you have less HP and AC.

Heavy armor and a shield are the same AC as a fighter. Well, except for 4 levels. But really, those 4 don't matter that much. The only ones able to surpass this AC are the Monk and the Champion.

The HP are an issue, but you do get Evasion somewhat early and scale up to legendary in Reflex Saves. That helps. And heavy armor plus shield will make a significantly more durable than a "regular" rogue.

I'm not saying a ruffian is the best tank there is. But I think he's capable enough - while still dealing much more damage than many other dedicated tank builds.

None of that is empowered by the Rogue Class, meaning that versatility is in the game itself, not in the class which, as you noted, has a specific detriment to tanking (8 h.p./level). That's coming in damaged.

(And I'm saying this as a guy wanting to play a Ruffian/Sentinel semi-tank.)
Meanwhile the Fighter that you're saying has the same AC, should have better defense via a Stance and more &/or better blocking.


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Castilliano wrote:
None of that is empowered by the Rogue Class

The OP said "or is the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role." So it doesn't matter if it's in class or out of class as the question never stated in class abilities where required just a build.

Castilliano wrote:
Meanwhile the Fighter that you're saying has the same AC, should have better defense via a Stance and more &/or better blocking.

The OP wasn't asking who was the BEST tank but the best at filling any role. As such, a fighter being a better tank isn't relevant: what is is how well does a particular build all of the roles in total. It's a 'who's the best jack of al trades' question not a 'who's the best tank' question. A semi-tank rogue might fit the bill for that better than a fighter skill monkey.


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Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.

They are versatile in their niche but they have a hard time filling in the skill monkey role.

For myself, Investigator can easily skill monkey and healer [Forensic Medicine/medic]. Wizard archetype and a good pick of spells could let you fill in for your caster roles. Tank sits at the worst role IMO.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.

Can a party of 4 fighters fill all adventuring roles as well as a party of 4 druids, 4 champions, 4 inventors? Looking at the class I don't think it can. It's fantastic at front lining and dealing damage but seems a step behind in debuffing and confronting hordes and completely out of its depth at dealing with level +2 traps and other such skill challenges.


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graystone wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.

They are versatile in their niche but they have a hard time filling in the skill monkey role.

For myself, Investigator can easily skill monkey and healer [Forensic Medicine/medic]. Wizard archetype and a good pick of spells could let you fill in for your caster roles. Tank sits at the worst role IMO.

It's comparable to the rogue tank situation. You could build a skill monkey fighter like you could build a tank rogue.

You could even build a fighter to find traps.


graystone wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
None of that is empowered by the Rogue Class

The OP said "or is the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role." So it doesn't matter if it's in class or out of class as the question never stated in class abilities where required just a build.

Castilliano wrote:
Meanwhile the Fighter that you're saying has the same AC, should have better defense via a Stance and more &/or better blocking.
The OP wasn't asking who was the BEST tank but the best at filling any role. As such, a fighter being a better tank isn't relevant: what is is how well does a particular build all of the roles in total. It's a 'who's the best jack of al trades' question not a 'who's the best tank' question. A semi-tank rogue might fit the bill for that better than a fighter skill monkey.

If most classes can be built as a tank, then "Rogue being a tank too" is nothing special to note about a Rogue's versatility. May as well not consider tank or any other role that a Dedication can help fulfill, since most all classes would have that box checked. Yet that would eliminate most roles and defeat the intent of the question: to find a class that outshines the others.

(Though the caster/martial divide would remain for the most part.)

I'm not just saying a Fighter's a better tank, I'm saying higher-level tanks will have progressed past the Rogue at later levels. Of course, with two Dedications the Rogue could keep up, but again, that seems not a virtue of the Rogue.

Not that I'm knocking Rogue as a prime contender since those skill feats are liking having a second class! It takes little effort for them to fulfill any non-combat role. Trouble is, if you include Dedications, any MCD Rogue/Investigator can also fill any non-combat role (and their normal role too).


Verdyn wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.
Can a party of 4 fighters fill all adventuring roles as well as a party of 4 druids, 4 champions, 4 inventors? Looking at the class I don't think it can. It's fantastic at front lining and dealing damage but seems a step behind in debuffing and confronting hordes and completely out of its depth at dealing with level +2 traps and other such skill challenges.

4 Druids is absolutely better, didn't mean to imply otherwise and mentioning Fighter was just an honorable mention in what is obviously a one-horse race. I do think the 4 Fighters composition is pretty serviceable though, the Duelist Fighter's single target debuffing ain't bad at all. I'm not sure what the Champion has that covers blasting, at least Fighters can get Swipe for some aoe.


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I got results that I liked with a Spirit Dancer Medium. I loved the lazy genius personality implications of a character who could do just about anything, but for no more than a couple of minutes per day.


Arachnofiend wrote:
Verdyn wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Fighter is pretty high on the versatility between different builds, I think. A Fighter's role in the party is completely different depending on what weapon type they're bringing.
Can a party of 4 fighters fill all adventuring roles as well as a party of 4 druids, 4 champions, 4 inventors? Looking at the class I don't think it can. It's fantastic at front lining and dealing damage but seems a step behind in debuffing and confronting hordes and completely out of its depth at dealing with level +2 traps and other such skill challenges.
4 Druids is absolutely better, didn't mean to imply otherwise and mentioning Fighter was just an honorable mention in what is obviously a one-horse race. I do think the 4 Fighters composition is pretty serviceable though, the Duelist Fighter's single target debuffing ain't bad at all. I'm not sure what the Champion has that covers blasting, at least Fighters can get Swipe for some aoe.

Champion has Focus Spells for AoE blasting, but very few options, and starting at 8th and they can only recharge max 2 at 10th (which is ahead of others, but capped). So limited unless they choose a different (also limited or late level) route like via a Dedication.

But boy, at highest levels that would be funny to have all four spam a pair of AoE's each to begin battles.

One could argue that though a Champion only does minimally well w/ AoEs, their other abilities work at their best vs. the minions that one uses AoEs on: Their shields would take absorb more attacks before breaking and their Champion's Reactions would nullify most damage rather than 1/2 or less, and if at max AC, they might nullify quite a lot before even resorting to their Reactions. And if each has Lay on Hands (maybe w/ spare Focus Points), it'd take a lot of firepower to bring one down.
It may not be pretty, but they could persevere.
They'd have to specifically build to face creatures hard to battle w/ weapons or those with regeneration, but many mixed parties have troubles there.
And they could all get different auras, etc. It'd be a tough gang.
Then you distribute the non-combat roles and you're good. One might even be an archer (though likely still in full plate eventually!) and they could handle the Dex skills.
Perception might be an issue. Or bluffing. :)

---
Separately I'm beginning to think that (if one includes Dedications), all martials (not including Alchemist in that) can fill all martial roles and most spellcasters can fulfill most spellcaster roles.

Druid can cross the divide to become a skirmisher martial w/o a Dedication. Via battle forms, they might be the only casters that can get past the "Expert Proficiency cap".
Bards, since their buffs help themselves too, can do okay, though would need a Dedication for tank and maybe more.
Neither seems to excel though, so one would have to decide what's the minimal qualification to qualify a build as capable. Seems like opinion.

A 16 Dex Barbarian w/ Archer Dedication can be a good ranged striker, but only the proficiency comes from being a Barbarian.
So does Barbarian count for that role? Or do we toss out the role because anybody can take Archer and does fine as long as their weapon proficiency advances.
(That would be sort of funny on an Animal Barbarian; makes enemies want to close.)

On the flip side of those casters above, a martial splurging on caster feats and Focus Spells can cross the martial/caster divide, yet also caps out at mediocre due to limited uses and being behind in spell level.
How many AoEs does a blaster need per battle to qualify?
How much variety in damage types? Or maybe shapes? How much range?


Yeah you can make every class versatile, but I think only the druid has the ability to do every role competently, from healer to blaster to frontline to skill monkey, by a reasonable level with reasonable investment (i.e. Untrained Improvisation, Order Explorer, etc.).

They get shield block and medium armor. They can scout as a cat, eventually as a flying bird, and still pop over and launch a fireball then transition over to smack things as a bear or dinosaur or whatever, then afterwards they can cast heal or make goodberries, all with a max casting stat.

Is Primal the best list? I dunno. Arcane probably. But you get haste and slow, you can make people fly, and you can heal and resurrect allies, you can fear, you can do all sorts of social shapechanging... And every day they can pick any spell on the Primal list, so they can adjust to what's presented and fall back on scrolls/wands/staves like anyone else.

So are they the best tank, striker, healer, blaster, skill monkey, debuffer, buffer? Probably not all at once, but they can do all of those things with at-level competence starting at like level 3.


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Alchemist has plenty of versatility.


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Decimus Drake wrote:
Alchemist has plenty of versatility.

IMO, alchemist struggles at it's own role let alone someone else's. :P

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graystone wrote:
Castilliano wrote:
None of that is empowered by the Rogue Class

The OP said "or is the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role." So it doesn't matter if it's in class or out of class as the question never stated in class abilities where required just a build.

Castilliano wrote:
Meanwhile the Fighter that you're saying has the same AC, should have better defense via a Stance and more &/or better blocking.
The OP wasn't asking who was the BEST tank but the best at filling any role. As such, a fighter being a better tank isn't relevant: what is is how well does a particular build all of the roles in total. It's a 'who's the best jack of al trades' question not a 'who's the best tank' question. A semi-tank rogue might fit the bill for that better than a fighter skill monkey.

This was pretty much my mentality of the post. If you feel archetypes could legitimately give one class an edge on versatility over others while no archetypes would not give them that same edge, that's fine. Not sure what case that would work but it's whatever. Generally though, I think since every class has equal access to archetypes, I feel like archetypes have a negligible affect on a class's versatility over others.

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David knott 242 wrote:


I got results that I liked with a Spirit Dancer Medium. I loved the lazy genius personality implications of a character who could do just about anything, but for no more than a couple of minutes per day.

I was posting based on PF2, but yes, if we were talking PF1, this would probably be one of the more obvious candidates for "can fill many roles within one build". And I would love to see the Spirit Dancer Medium come back in PF2.

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Not saying they are or are not the most versatile but I do think the Rogue and Investigator do have a huge advantage in their doubled skill progression and skill feats. Sure, you can take their archetype for more skill increases and feats but that's A LOT of class feats to use up to maybe get only half way from your skills for just your base class to the skills of the Rogue/Investigator.


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John R. wrote:
Generally though, I think since every class has equal access to archetypes, I feel like archetypes have a negligible affect on a class's versatility over others.

Well, archetypes have different values to different classes. For instance, Sentinel gives a lot to an alchemist or rogue that a fighter or champion, or a champion taking the fighter archetype or vice versa. So it can be easier to simple weapons, martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor than it is to grab the extra skills and skill feats the skill monkey classes have.


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investigator is probably the answer.

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graystone wrote:
John R. wrote:
Generally though, I think since every class has equal access to archetypes, I feel like archetypes have a negligible affect on a class's versatility over others.
Well, archetypes have different values to different classes. For instance, Sentinel gives a lot to an alchemist or rogue that a fighter or champion, or a champion taking the fighter archetype or vice versa. So it can be easier to simple weapons, martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor than it is to grab the extra skills and skill feats the skill monkey classes have.

You're saying something like the Sentinel path is an easier investment than taking the initial Rogue/Investigator dedication and then Skill Mastery to the the max of five, therefore making the role of Tank an easier investment than the role of Skill Monkey? If I understood you correctly, then yeah I can see that as very valid.


Kyrone wrote:

Primal list sucks at debuffs and targetting will saves.

Druids can melee effectively with wild shape or an animal companion, they can attack effectively at range with direct damage from blast spells, they can heal. These are the main roles in the party and they can do them all reasonably well. They are not as good as specialists, and can't do it all at once, but that is only fair.

For buffing they have haste, fly, longstrider, stone skin
For debuffing they have fear and slow
For control they have gust of wind, obscuring mist and all the walls
For utility they have all the polymorphs, charm and summoning

Oh and they can turn into a Dragon.

There are not many will based debuffs on the druid list, but how many do you need? Fear is good.

Druids are awesome.


Fighter has the strongest base kit for combat imo and the classes' power is also not very feat dependant so you can go deep on archetypes.

Druids are very versatile for spellcasters but they often lose AC when wild shaping (and that doesn't even include raising a shield) and animal companions can't take many hits either.


I feel like Druid and Polymath Bard are tied for versatility.

Druid has more melee power, but Polymath Bard quite literally has the most flexible casting. Afterall, Polymath Bard is the closest thing to Arcanist casting, while being able to use all spell lists.


Temperans wrote:
Polymath Bard is ... able to use all spell lists.

How does that work? Did I miss something? I am not seeing anything in the Polymath feat list that mentions being able to use spells from other spell lists. Still Occult only as far as I see.


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breithauptclan wrote:
Temperans wrote:
Polymath Bard is ... able to use all spell lists.
How does that work? Did I miss something? I am not seeing anything in the Polymath feat list that mentions being able to use spells from other spell lists. Still Occult only as far as I see.

Impossible Polymath:

https://2e.aonprd.com/Feats.aspx?ID=210


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Impossible Polymath lets you add spells from other traditions to their bard spellbook.

But it's one spell per day at level 18.


OK. So I did miss that one.

But I don't think I missed much. Cleric/Oracle can both poach off-tradition spells better than that. Witch even better than either of those two since it isn't locked to deity spells. Still a bit limited, but I expect that to improve as more Lessons get created.


Squiggit wrote:

Impossible Polymath lets you add spells from other traditions to their bard spellbook.

But it's one spell per day at level 18.

Yes I'm wondering why people are so impressed by a level 18 ability. Yes you do get to pick a level 9 spell for you situation if you actually know what to expect. There is quite a bit at that level which is insanely powerful. I'm generally expecting combos to be over the top at that level.

But Sorceror gets Crossblooded Evolution at level 8 for any spell of any tradition, and at level 18 they have 3 with Greater Crossblooded Evolution. . Plus they have been using a spell book once per day anyway since level 4.

Ok the class chasis is not the same as the Bard but its much more reachable for the majority of games.


To my knowledge, the most "poaching" of spells you can do is to take Magaambyan Attendant (Lv 2), Halcyon Speaker (Lv 6), and perhaps Cascade Bearer's Spellcasting (Lv 10), along with the "more spells" feats as usual (the 1st of which is also at Lv 10, annoyingly). It takes a while, it's a bit feat-intensive, and there are a few caveats or limitations, but you get to pick several Arcane/Primal(/Divine/Occult) spells and tie all of them to your existing Arcane or Primal proficiency.

The archetypes have a bunch of other cool feats, too -- and though they're uncommon, all you have to do is lean into the flavor and make a Magaambyan character to have automatic access to at least Attendant. Conversant (and thus Halcyon Speaker) might take a bit more work, but a magic school as prestigious as the Magaambya doubtlessly offers remote learning and values the field lessons any mage earning levels is acquiring.

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So I tried making a spreadsheet to see where each class is at for each particular role (or what I found the different roles to be).

The roles I used were:
-Single Target Damage
-AoE Damage
-Tank
-Skills/Out of Combat Utility
-Healer/Buffer
-Debuffer

I also used the following ratings:
-Competent or Better (2 pts) - The class is naturally competent in this
role
-Niche (1 pt) - The class can be built for this role without taking
archetypes but it will be mediocre
-Archetype Required (0 pts) - The class cannot naturally fill this role
without an archetype

I'm not going to give the full outcome because this is mostly based on what I've found to be majority opinion but may not be completely accurate. Also, some classes I generally have no interest in and know little to nothing on them (Swashbuckler). That being said, the top 3 were Druid for most versatile, then Alchemist and Oracle tied for second. The bottom 4 were Barbarian as least and Fighter, Ranger and Investigator tied for second to last.

[Totally fine if you disagree with any of this. I don't want people to end up in arms about things (like Alchemists outshining Fighters in a minor area). These aren't even my favorite or least favorite classes respectively. Just wanted to let y'all know my input as OP, as flawed as it might be.]


Oracles and versatility isn't a combo I'd arrive at naturally, but if we're going off of "the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role," I see it. Each mystery is practically its own class. This is my main guess as to why, out of all classes, the Oracle is the only one we still don't have a comprehensive guide on yet.

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PlantThings wrote:
Oracles and versatility isn't a combo I'd arrive at naturally, but if we're going off of "the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role," I see it. Each mystery is practically its own class. This is my main guess as to why, out of all classes, the Oracle is the only one we still don't have a comprehensive guide on yet.

This was pretty much the reasoning. The mysteries made the Oracle at least moderately capable in just about every role. Whether or not they are actually that good at those roles was more of an educated guess though. Figured if a class is going to have a subclass to focus on a role, they should be competent in that role.


John R. wrote:

So I tried making a spreadsheet to see where each class is at for each particular role (or what I found the different roles to be).

The roles I used were:
-Single Target Damage
-AoE Damage
-Tank
-Skills/Out of Combat Utility
-Healer/Buffer
-Debuffer

I also used the following ratings:
-Competent or Better (2 pts) - The class is naturally competent in this
role
-Niche (1 pt) - The class can be built for this role without taking
archetypes but it will be mediocre
-Archetype Required (0 pts) - The class cannot naturally fill this role
without an archetype

To me this sort of ranking is useful but I'd spread the ratings a bit more so I could tease out the difference between compentent and better.

I'd also double the value of "Tank" or melee sustainability in your rankings because its is the only defensive rating you have.

It also is not clear in this, that skills are very useful in combat especially for debuffing.

If going to an archetype is going to signficantly change your ranking then you should rank it as a separate thing.


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The thing about the Oracle is that a battle oracle can be an okay frontliner and a flame oracle is can be a pretty good blaster, but a battle oracle doesn't have much to help them blast and a flame oracle isn't going to do much with a weapon.

I'm also not sure "archetype required" is a particularly important metric either. Grabbing whatever dedication is just as valid a level 2 choice as grabbing a class feat and putting archetypes off-limits takes us further away from actual character builds, which makes this thread less practical.

Plus it's not like archetypes are a cure-all anyways.


Puna'chong wrote:
Order Explorer Druid probably, with wild shape. Primal is a strong spell list, battle forms can make up for a lack of raw base stats, Druid focus spells are on the whole quite potent, and they have good proficiencies.

Have they fixed size problems for druid wild shapes yet? Better hope your adventuring career doesn't include many dungeons or buildings.

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John R. wrote:
I'm wondering what peoples' opinion on what class is most versatile. This could mean the class is best at doing just about everything within one build or is the most capable of all classes to be built to fill any one role.

My human bard has every lore at +7. They speak 12 languages. Have 10 skills (although two are lores so its more every love at +7 and then 8 more skills)

This is at level 1

By level 5 they will have access to wizard spells and have every skill at a minimum of +3 able to use the options for trained only.

Versatility only applies in the areas you count as important. I mean you might have a bard who carries 12 instruments who thinks they're pretty versatile. Maybe a super crafter? A healer with 6 different options to heal you. *shrugs* At the end of the day versatility can only be measured by the exact need you have at that very moment.

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