What if I don't want item-based Ikons?


Exemplar Class Discussion

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Let's get this out of the way. While I can certainly see some legends being intimately associated with a worn or wielded object, I find it thematically limiting, uncomfortably similar to the Thaumaturges, and running counter to the idea of being essentially a godling.

The first idea that came to mind when I heard of this class was to play a Dragon Exemplar, and I always play dragons to have as little dependence on gear of any kind as possible. The second idea, after hearing about Fishing from the Fall's Edge, was to play as an Awakened Bear, with the similar goal of being a paragon of it's kind which naturally lends itself toward reduced thematic dependence on items.

Should there perhaps be an option to allow you to choose 3 Body icons to switch your power between, or something along those lines?

Thoughts?


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I think there's 20ish other classes if you don't want to be defined by signature items. You're asking for a foundation-level revision to this class's shape, which I don't think is likely to happen.

Instead of bringing a concept to the playtest and then being upset that it can't do that, meet it halfway - try making a character it's actually meant to enable before demanding it changes.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

While I somewhat agree with keftiu, it does feel at least an unarmed option could fit somewhere in there.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

I think there's 20ish other classes if you don't want to be defined by signature items. You're asking for a foundation-level revision to this class's shape, which I don't think is likely to happen.

Instead of bringing a concept to the playtest and then being upset that it can't do that, meet it halfway - try making a character it's actually meant to enable before demanding it changes.

Hoo boy. If you're jumping this hard to the defense of a playtest class you might want to start pacing yourself.

Playtests are about poking and prodding and making sure the class is delivering what it promises. From my first pass over the class, it looks like my suggestion wouldn't be that far out of line, certainly not something you should be dismissing out of hand like you have.

A character who wants to focus their granted spark of divinity solely on their self fits a whole lot more concepts than you seem to be giving credit for. I mean *gestures broadly at Irori*.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
WatersLethe wrote:

Let's get this out of the way. While I can certainly see some legends being intimately associated with a worn or wielded object, I find it thematically limiting, uncomfortably similar to the Thaumaturges, and running counter to the idea of being essentially a godling.

The first idea that came to mind when I heard of this class was to play a Dragon Exemplar, and I always play dragons to have as little dependence on gear of any kind as possible. The second idea, after hearing about Fishing from the Fall's Edge, was to play as an Awakened Bear, with the similar goal of being a paragon of it's kind which naturally lends itself toward reduced thematic dependence on items.

Should there perhaps be an option to allow you to choose 3 Body icons to switch your power between, or something along those lines?

Thoughts?

FWIW, I had the same reaction. Although there are plenty of mechanical differences, it's uncomfortable similar to the Thaumaturge thematically-speaking. And a lot of the Exemplar ideas that I want to try out don't fit well with the idea that they're item-dependent.

I like your suggestion though, of having something like body-part-options. Or perhaps each ikon might itself be associated with both an item and a body part, and you can choose which one gets imbued with your power?

Something like this would be nice to have thematically. And since it doesn't really make many *mechanical* demands on what the class is like, it seems like a relatively easy change to make.

Here's hoping something like this makes it into the final version!


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Given how the Exemplar can switch from item to item with a bit of downtime, I don't see a reason for not being able to have item-less Exemplars provided the Ikons chosen meet the prerequisites. There could even be dedicated Ikons for item-less Exemplars, like an armorless-only Ikon.


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WatersLethe wrote:

Hoo boy. If you're jumping this hard to the defense of a playtest class you might want to start pacing yourself.

Playtests are about poking and prodding and making sure the class is delivering what it promises. From my first pass over the class, it looks like my suggestion wouldn't be that far out of line, certainly not something you should be dismissing out of hand like you have.

A character who wants to focus their granted spark of divinity solely on their self fits a whole lot more concepts than you seem to be giving credit for. I mean *gestures broadly at Irori*.

I bristle a fair bit at "I wish the premise of this thing was different" being used as feedback, as I generally think it's not that helpful for a game designer to receive. I come from a PbtA background, where people bringing expectations to games and playbooks/classes that they were never meant to satisfy, then blaming the mechanics for that.

Body, Weapon, and Worn Ikons all satisfy very different gameplay niches; Bodies offer survivability in unique ways, Weapons let you do fun offensive tricks, Worns help the party out around you. "What if three Body Ikons" is taking a class about the turn-by-turn choice between those three former options and turning it into a much more limited, 'selfish' class design.

I don't think "please, give the playtest-as-written a shot" is an unreasonable response an hour and 20 minutes into things.


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Yeah I noticed pretty quickly that unarmed stuff just wasn't supported which feels weird, I feel like at least humble strikes should buff your fists to a d6 like unarmed deities do.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I do think the items are a core aspect of the class, after all a level 20 feat is dedicated to being able to transform anything into your ikons. Idk if that feat should be level 20 but i think that does indicate how significant it seems to be the theme of the class.

I wouldn't say itemless would go against the theme but i can see why maybe it wasnt included.

Perhaps unarmed fighter that can channel divine power but doesnt need to follow a diety felt a bit too close to monk's with divine ki spells feelwise. Perhaps its because a lot of figures they took inspiration from have iconic pieces of equipment. Perhaps something else.


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I wouldn't want to mess with the cycle element to this, or get rid of all items. The class makes plenty of sense for most human legends, but it really does feel like a gnoll legend should be able to have legendary teeth.


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id like unarmed/unarmored to be supported

i dont want a entire revision to the class though


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QuidEst wrote:
I wouldn't want to mess with the cycle element to this, or get rid of all items. The class makes plenty of sense for most human legends, but it really does feel like a gnoll legend should be able to have legendary teeth.

It's also weird when many of the mythical inspirations for this class often fight unarmored or unarmed like Herakles strangling the Nemean Lion or Gilgamesh wrestling with Enkidu.


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I would not be at all opposed to a 'handwraps' Weapon Ikon that could also apply to Ancestral natural weapons.

Sovereign Court

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Given the way weapon icons seem set up, I think allowing a specific natural weapon (yes, even fist) makes sense.

Also, to me it seems like the "big idea" is having multiple ikons of different types; that they're specifically body/raiment/weapon seems secondary to that.

I think shield ikons might be interesting as well, for example.


No specific ikons seems to be a very very high level option at least.


There definitely should at least be a weapon ikon for unarmed strikers, even if it still ends up some physical item that represents the power.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
keftiu wrote:

Body, Weapon, and Worn Ikons all satisfy very different gameplay niches; Bodies offer survivability in unique ways, Weapons let you do fun offensive tricks, Worns help the party out around you. "What if three Body Ikons" is taking a class about the turn-by-turn choice between those three former options and turning it into a much more limited, 'selfish' class design.

I don't think "please, give the playtest-as-written a shot" is an unreasonable response an hour and 20 minutes into things.

If the class as written fails to deliver on the narrative it was sold on, then I would have to disagree. 30 days is not going to change that, so may as well say it on day on. It's not like Waterslethe is declaring the entire class a failure the way some are carrying on about SF2 before we've even seen the playtest there, she's simply pointing out a gap in the design.

I'm also less than swayed by your argument regarding the different ikon types. I do agree that is what they're supposed to do, and also that division is important, but why not just go with those specific divisions instead of Body/Weapon/Worn? "Heart, Hand, Harmony" maybe? Or something else that might work, but something that gets you to choose one offensive, one defensive, and one ally?


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Again, it’s a central issue with the theme being kinda specific and not allowing for a breadth of imagination. I agree with Water’s Lethe, though I understand there may be mechanical limitations to how the class is set up and evolves over levels.

I think this is excellent feedback at such an early stage. People want to explore the concept. Let them.


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keftiu wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Hoo boy. If you're jumping this hard to the defense of a playtest class you might want to start pacing yourself.

Playtests are about poking and prodding and making sure the class is delivering what it promises. From my first pass over the class, it looks like my suggestion wouldn't be that far out of line, certainly not something you should be dismissing out of hand like you have.

A character who wants to focus their granted spark of divinity solely on their self fits a whole lot more concepts than you seem to be giving credit for. I mean *gestures broadly at Irori*.

I bristle a fair bit at "I wish the premise of this thing was different" being used as feedback, as I generally think it's not that helpful for a game designer to receive. I come from a PbtA background, where people bringing expectations to games and playbooks/classes that they were never meant to satisfy, then blaming the mechanics for that.

Body, Weapon, and Worn Ikons all satisfy very different gameplay niches; Bodies offer survivability in unique ways, Weapons let you do fun offensive tricks, Worns help the party out around you. "What if three Body Ikons" is taking a class about the turn-by-turn choice between those three former options and turning it into a much more limited, 'selfish' class design.

I don't think "please, give the playtest-as-written a shot" is an unreasonable response an hour and 20 minutes into things.

I think we need to begin with quoting a frase from all playtest documents:

Quote:
Anything can change based on the results of the playtest!

That said I don't really expect that the designer will do a completely change in how the class will work but I don't discard large changes in how Ikons works.

Currently there's already very popular opinions for the initial playtest impressions from many difference people that's the lack of unarmed support and the lack greater armor proficiency limits the current available options to make the proposed concept of create a demigod like inspired character.

I also saw some complains that the spark system being able to only active only 1 type of Ikon at same time (similar to stances) may subutilize a lot your other Ikon options (specially body and worn Ikons that receives much less feat improvements) basically forcing you to forget that your other Ikons exists.

Let us remember that in Kineticist playtest we had 2 entire systems thats was heavily changed. The number of element options that changed from 3 subclass options (single, dual and universal) to a way more flexible system where you can choose if and how you will add elemental options and a pseudo-weapon mechanics for blasts that was completely discarded in favor of a more spellcasting like solution.

IMO we may get a more flexible solution here for Ikons. The current options are interesting because give more flexibility than a normal subclass but still lack of a better integration. It's currently suffers from similar problems of monk stance where you can get many but in practice their lack of integration between them what forces you to focus in only one.

I think that we get something more closer to kineticist where you can merge your different elements to get a wider range of options (in the case of kineticist this comes form of a mix of junctions, composite feats and Two-Element Infusion) allowing Ikons to work togheter instead of being restricted to pseudo stances.


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Slightly related: it would be nice to know what happens to the spark when the ikon isn't in your possession. There's that ability to leave your weapon and make it unmovable, but you could also just be disarmed, or not have your shoes on.


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keftiu wrote:
WatersLethe wrote:

Hoo boy. If you're jumping this hard to the defense of a playtest class you might want to start pacing yourself.

Playtests are about poking and prodding and making sure the class is delivering what it promises. From my first pass over the class, it looks like my suggestion wouldn't be that far out of line, certainly not something you should be dismissing out of hand like you have.

A character who wants to focus their granted spark of divinity solely on their self fits a whole lot more concepts than you seem to be giving credit for. I mean *gestures broadly at Irori*.

I bristle a fair bit at "I wish the premise of this thing was different" being used as feedback, as I generally think it's not that helpful for a game designer to receive. I come from a PbtA background, where people bringing expectations to games and playbooks/classes that they were never meant to satisfy, then blaming the mechanics for that.

Body, Weapon, and Worn Ikons all satisfy very different gameplay niches; Bodies offer survivability in unique ways, Weapons let you do fun offensive tricks, Worns help the party out around you. "What if three Body Ikons" is taking a class about the turn-by-turn choice between those three former options and turning it into a much more limited, 'selfish' class design.

I don't think "please, give the playtest-as-written a shot" is an unreasonable response an hour and 20 minutes into things.

Unarmed attacks could be weapon icons. Scars, tattoos, and birthmarks could be "worn" icons. I don't consider that bad feedback as *additional options*

Verdant Wheel

Megistone wrote:
Slightly related: it would be nice to know what happens to the spark when the ikon isn't in your possession. There's that ability to leave your weapon and make it unmovable, but you could also just be disarmed, or not have your shoes on.

I imagine the little "spark" just flitting around from ikon to ikon, never extinguishing, and never actually leaving your person.

That said, there should probably be text to clarify that, if it is intended.

+1 for more flexible ikons, including the option to be a totally "itemless" exemplar - i betcha one of the playest questions will be something like "Do you like that ikons should be constrained to 1 of each type to start, or do you wish them to be more flexible?"

That said, it would require a reshuffle / rewrite of the epithets...

=)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Going by the previous playtests, I would not be surprised if there will be additional options for ikons, epithets, and class feats when the published version of the exemplar is released. And probably even more options in later publications; see the PF2 champion, for example, or more recently the kineticist.


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rainzax wrote:
Megistone wrote:
Slightly related: it would be nice to know what happens to the spark when the ikon isn't in your possession. There's that ability to leave your weapon and make it unmovable, but you could also just be disarmed, or not have your shoes on.

I imagine the little "spark" just flitting around from ikon to ikon, never extinguishing, and never actually leaving your person.

That said, there should probably be text to clarify that, if it is intended.

I mean, the spark doesn't extinguish of course; as of never leaving your body, there's the exception of the ability that sends it to a dying ally to save them. Anyway, we don't know what happens if it's in your weapon, and you get disarmed: does it go somewhere else on its own? Can you move it without picking the weapon back up? This should be clarified.


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Apparently Michael Sayre confirmed elsewhere that Unarmed will be fully supported. So in theory that would leave only a single "item" ikon with Worn.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragonchess Player wrote:
Going by the previous playtests, I would not be surprised if there will be additional options for ikons, epithets, and class feats when the published version of the exemplar is released. And probably even more options in later publications; see the PF2 champion, for example, or more recently the kineticist.

The first part is not only expected, I would consider that to be guaranteed. “More options in later books” I would consider to be more of a toss up.

Thinking further, I really do think the “body/weapon/worn” division is too limiting when “Defense/Offense/Allies” might be a better framework. I assume that “Ikons” are pulling on the Art History concept of “Attributes” which are specific visual cues used to make clear what character is being depicted (normally used when talking about pictures/statues of saints and deities). Examples being the peacock with Hera, a lyre for Apollo, foxes for Inari, keys to heaven for St Peter, and so on. Notice none of those, which are each some of the most important and commonly depicted attributes for their respective religions, would fall into the three current categories? But add an option for a familiar as a defensive ikon (probably with a class exclusive familiar power) and ways for non weapon held items for the offensive and allied slots, and the narrative opens up a bit more.

I am under no illusion this would be easy of course, but I think the character concepts it enables while still keeping things more or less playing the way the class is written to play would be worth it.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Examples being the peacock with Hera, a lyre for Apollo, foxes for Inari, keys to heaven for St Peter, and so on. Notice none of those, which are each some of the most important and commonly depicted attributes for their respective religions, would fall into the three current categories? But add an option for a familiar as a defensive ikon (probably with a class exclusive familiar power) and ways for non weapon held items for the offensive and allied slots, and the narrative opens up a bit more.

The more I'm thinking it over and coming up with character concepts the more I feel that the Weapon Ikons are needlessly thematically limiting.

If we're coming at the class from the perspective of a player who wants to be a fledgling deity, having parts of your character's power external to you is wholly superfluous. You *have* to have these objects or you're basically a slightly tougher Joe Nobody until 20th level.

If we're coming at the class from the perspective of making a mythological hero class, then the Ikons fail a surprising number of example heroes. Mythological heroes sometimes have a weapon that's important to their story, but in many cases they just use whatever is at hand because those stories are usually about showcasing how the hero is better than most in wit, strength, or skill. It would be extremely odd, for example, if Heracles turned into a scrub in combat because he lost his bow.

The Body Ikons seemed to have cool, thematically appropriate effects for a godling, and the Worn Ikons effects are also similarly appropriate and are easy enough to handwave as coming from your self, but the Weapon Ikons are locking you into A) a Fighter-like focus on a type of weapon for no good class-fantasy reason, and B) over-reliance on an external object that can be taken away.

I'd much prefer Weapon Ikons be converted into a kind Divine Fighting Style that granted the special effects to any weapon that meets the criteria when wielded by you, and that each weapon group would include melee and ranged combat options, and ideally some of those Divine Fighting Styles leaned more into support, so you could play a Nascent God of the Harvest or something slightly less damage oriented (though still being a martial obviously).


WatersLethe wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Examples being the peacock with Hera, a lyre for Apollo, foxes for Inari, keys to heaven for St Peter, and so on. Notice none of those, which are each some of the most important and commonly depicted attributes for their respective religions, would fall into the three current categories? But add an option for a familiar as a defensive ikon (probably with a class exclusive familiar power) and ways for non weapon held items for the offensive and allied slots, and the narrative opens up a bit more.

The more I'm thinking it over and coming up with character concepts the more I feel that the Weapon Ikons are needlessly thematically limiting.

If we're coming at the class from the perspective of a player who wants to be a fledgling deity, having parts of your character's power external to you is wholly superfluous. You *have* to have these objects or you're basically a slightly tougher Joe Nobody until 20th level.

If we're coming at the class from the perspective of making a mythological hero class, then the Ikons fail a surprising number of example heroes. Mythological heroes sometimes have a weapon that's important to their story, but in many cases they just use whatever is at hand because those stories are usually about showcasing how the hero is better than most in wit, strength, or skill. It would be extremely odd, for example, if Heracles turned into a scrub in combat because he lost his bow.

The Body Ikons seemed to have cool, thematically appropriate effects for a godling, and the Worn Ikons effects are also similarly appropriate and are easy enough to handwave as coming from your self, but the Weapon Ikons are locking you into A) a Fighter-like focus on a type of weapon for no good class-fantasy reason, and B) over-reliance on an external object that can be taken away.

I'd much prefer Weapon Ikons be converted into a kind Divine Fighting Style that granted the special effects to any weapon that meets the criteria when wielded by you,….

I agree with you 100% though I think Weapon Ikons are fine in and of themselves for those who want that fantasy.

Make the Divine Fighting Style either a Weapon or Body analog/choice I’m not sure whether it could be either, or needs necessarily to be one - I’m still not really sold on the Epithets only advancing Body, then later Weapon, then later Worn, - but if there is a mechanical reason (the types of abilities and what they are doing when in various modes) then that might be what determines it.

Unless of course this is all secretly designed already as we have heard the unarmed style is being supported.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I think having feat that gives you a specific weapon that's a big part of your story would be a great opt-in choice. Maybe package it in with the Only The Worthy ability.


WatersLethe wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Examples being ...
The more I'm thinking it ...

I agree with you. If they are going to make this a demigod and based on mythological heroes they should go full on that instead of just stopping half way. Most mythological hereos did not care about their weapon and if they did care it was because it was a special weapon.

When you mentioned Divine Fighting I also realized how to fix the rarity and demigod issue. Make this class into the "warpriest" go full on with the divine fighting techniques. Make it so you don't have to follow the god, but that you copied the technique from other followers: So you can specialize on a single technique by following a god, or diversify into any technique by not following one. That also solves the over the top name issue by making it based on the myth of the technique's deity. Also has a more clear break from Monk and their theme of enlightment.


I think it's pretty clear the intention is for the Exemplar to have their own version of Mjolnir, Gáe Bulg, Ruyi Jingu Bang, and other such examples from the classes inspiration. Unarmed definitely being supported is great, but its clear a big aspect is having that divine weapon - and indeed, a lot of those mythological figures also had the other ikons (Thor's belt comes to mind).

I also don't think Paizo finds the Rarity and the 'demigod' vibes an issue, considering that its the entire point of the class.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I will say, I agree. I want an unarmed option, because I specifically want to make a dragon exemplar.

However, all the gods in pathfinder have a favored weapon. The baby divinity exemplar to have their own favored weapon too. Fists and natural weapons should absolutely be options though.


Given there are multiple feats that make taking your ikons from you harder, an itemless Exemplar would have to retain the possibility of losing their ikons in some way.

Like say we make the Bestest Bear Exemplar. Maybe its ikons are its jagged Teeth (weapon), its otherworldly paws (worn) and a divine symbol on its fur (body). If I were putting that in a game, then I'd ask the player to come up with ways to "disable" the ikons. Maybe the fur symbol can be covered up to disable it, maybe getting the paws stuck in something sticky can disable their powers, and maybe there's a symbol the bear fears that disable its teeth.

So long as the ikons remain instantly recognizable and can be taken away / turned off in some way, there shouldn't be any issue balance-wise.


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For what it's worth if this thread hasn't heard yet, Unarmed support is confirmed for the final release, it was just held back from the playtest.

Meanwhile, I have to rather hard disagree on making signature weapons not the default. One of the things that draws me most to the class is the way the Exemplar is in part defined by a few iconic items which are symbols of their legend, which strikes me as a very mythological hero vibe.

Unarmed and Unarmoured should be fun and viable options. I'm skeptical of eschewing all the paraphernalia of legend, but on the other hand I very much wouldn't mind a weapon ikon that was more to the effect of 'whatever they happen to have on hand', a warrior folk hero who can defeat you with whatever weapon they pick up. Perhaps by keeping a talisman of some kind to hold the runes, but their Transcend ability causes them to destroy the weapon and the next time they shift their spark into their weapon ikon they have to harvest another tool, either from the fallen or from their environment (if necessary could cause it to fly to their hand depending on power budget).

... Lost my train of thought in the middle there...


Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

For what it's worth if this thread hasn't heard yet, Unarmed support is confirmed for the final release, it was just held back from the playtest.

Meanwhile, I have to rather hard disagree on making signature weapons not the default. One of the things that draws me most to the class is the way the Exemplar is in part defined by a few iconic items which are symbols of their legend, which strikes me as a very mythological hero vibe.

Unarmed and Unarmoured should be fun and viable options. I'm skeptical of eschewing all the paraphernalia of legend, but on the other hand I very much wouldn't mind a weapon ikon that was more to the effect of 'whatever they happen to have on hand', a warrior folk hero who can defeat you with whatever weapon they pick up. Perhaps by keeping a talisman of some kind to hold the runes, but their Transcend ability causes them to destroy the weapon and the next time they shift their spark into their weapon ikon they have to harvest another tool, either from the fallen or from their environment (if necessary could cause it to fly to their hand depending on power budget).

... Lost my train of thought in the middle there...

The fact that they see the "anything you wield is an Ikon" as a level 20 ability really makes me question of they would ever allow that baseline.

I also cannot see how the unarmed and unarmored support could be done, while having the mechanics be so focused on items.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Here's a thought on weapon ikons: The mind smith or soulforger archetype could be a thematically appropriate choice for an exemplar. The mind smith's mind weapon, in particular, can easily be flavored as unarmed (glowing fist/gauntlet) or natural attacks (claws) instead of manufactured weapons; granted, the mind weapon is locked into the club, spear, or sword weapon groups for critical specialization effects.

I could also see an exemplar with the living vessel archetype (for those that want to lean into the "power at a price" theme).


Temperans wrote:
I also cannot see how the unarmed and unarmored support could be done, while having the mechanics be so focused on items.

Again, unarmed is already confirmed, so we don't need to stretch our imaginations that hard. All we need is a way to keep your AC up without armour for the folk hero look. Worn ikons aren't armour so there's no conflict there. The only explanation required is for the weapon which they presumably already have a plan (I lowkey expect a handwrap-like or armband ikon which applies your divine spark to unarmed attacks etc)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:
Temperans wrote:
I also cannot see how the unarmed and unarmored support could be done, while having the mechanics be so focused on items.
Again, unarmed is already confirmed, so we don't need to stretch our imaginations that hard. All we need is a way to keep your AC up without armour for the folk hero look. Worn ikons aren't armour so there's no conflict there. The only explanation required is for the weapon which they presumably already have a plan (I lowkey expect a handwrap-like or armband ikon which applies your divine spark to unarmed attacks etc)

I think Temperans has a point regarding unarmored. The problem with using ikons for this is that you're not going to have your spark in that ikon all the time. Palisade bracers are going to be bad enough for round to round AC fluctuations, and that's only 1 point. Getting 3 or 4 points from an item and it going away when you pop the ikon seems not great.

Using Palisade and "bracers of armor" on a Dex Exemplar might be the best option for that type of hero. Though perhaps they can get access to an equivalent of Mountain stance.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Temperans wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

For what it's worth if this thread hasn't heard yet, Unarmed support is confirmed for the final release, it was just held back from the playtest.

Meanwhile, I have to rather hard disagree on making signature weapons not the default. One of the things that draws me most to the class is the way the Exemplar is in part defined by a few iconic items which are symbols of their legend, which strikes me as a very mythological hero vibe.

Unarmed and Unarmoured should be fun and viable options. I'm skeptical of eschewing all the paraphernalia of legend, but on the other hand I very much wouldn't mind a weapon ikon that was more to the effect of 'whatever they happen to have on hand', a warrior folk hero who can defeat you with whatever weapon they pick up. Perhaps by keeping a talisman of some kind to hold the runes, but their Transcend ability causes them to destroy the weapon and the next time they shift their spark into their weapon ikon they have to harvest another tool, either from the fallen or from their environment (if necessary could cause it to fly to their hand depending on power budget).

... Lost my train of thought in the middle there...

The fact that they see the "anything you wield is an Ikon" as a level 20 ability really makes me question of they would ever allow that baseline.

Regarding this...I kind of don't like the dependency on a physical item. I get what they're going for and the balance considerations, but again it kind of flies in the face of the class narrative. Plus its just doesn't add much fun to the class. It makes sense for the Thaumaturge to be this restricted regarding their items; the class power comes from those items. But on the exemplar it would fill more satisfying if power came from you and any object you pick up (that fulfils the requirements) would work for your spark. The higher level itemless feats could then be more about ignoring your ikon's restrictions; like being able to use a hammer or spear, or a simple blade of grass, for Gleaming Blade.

THAT seems way more fun and meaningful.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Regarding this...I kind of don't like the dependency on a physical item. I get what they're going for and the balance considerations, but again it kind of flies in the face of the class narrative. Plus its just doesn't add much fun to the class. It makes sense for the Thaumaturge to be this restricted regarding their items; the class power comes from those items. But on the exemplar it would fill more satisfying if power came from you and any object you pick up (that fulfils the requirements) would work for your spark. The higher level itemless feats could then be more about ignoring your ikon's restrictions; like being able to use a hammer or spear, or a simple blade of grass, for Gleaming Blade.

That's exactly where I'm at.

I feel like some character concepts could care a lot about one weapon, but in many cases that concept is better handled by having a Relic or leveling Artifact. Thor isn't Thor because of his hammer, anyone worthy could actually pick it up and use it, it's just a piece of equipment (albeit cool) that he acquired over the course of his story.

This is supposed to be a class, one oriented around demigodhood, not a means of backdooring the PF2 equipment system to make it more interesting.


Temperans wrote:
Sibelius Eos Owm wrote:

For what it's worth if this thread hasn't heard yet, Unarmed support is confirmed for the final release, it was just held back from the playtest.

Meanwhile, I have to rather hard disagree on making signature weapons not the default. One of the things that draws me most to the class is the way the Exemplar is in part defined by a few iconic items which are symbols of their legend, which strikes me as a very mythological hero vibe.

Unarmed and Unarmoured should be fun and viable options. I'm skeptical of eschewing all the paraphernalia of legend, but on the other hand I very much wouldn't mind a weapon ikon that was more to the effect of 'whatever they happen to have on hand', a warrior folk hero who can defeat you with whatever weapon they pick up. Perhaps by keeping a talisman of some kind to hold the runes, but their Transcend ability causes them to destroy the weapon and the next time they shift their spark into their weapon ikon they have to harvest another tool, either from the fallen or from their environment (if necessary could cause it to fly to their hand depending on power budget).

... Lost my train of thought in the middle there...

The fact that they see the "anything you wield is an Ikon" as a level 20 ability really makes me question of they would ever allow that baseline.

I also cannot see how the unarmed and unarmored support could be done, while having the mechanics be so focused on items.

Gauntlets/handwraps probably think the incarnation of Hercules in god of war


Yeah, I just think that all the deities in PF2E have a favored weapon (including unarmed, which I'm glad will have Exemplar support) so it makes sense that the demigod class would follow the same lines.

I just think it's clear that Paizo's specific narrative conceit for the class is that its built around their Ikons and Epithets, and whatever forms those take.

Thor may not be Thor solely because of his hammer, but Mjölnir, Megingjörð (his belt), and Járngreipr (his gloves) are so crucial to his character in the Prose Edda and some other sources. The iconic Sun Wukong also isn't Sun Wukong without his staff, or his magical hair, or the attire given to him by the Dragon Kings. I guess to me, I can totally get using items and the specific way they do for the class.

I think its neat there's a class that gets their own Relics, really, and while Thaumaturge has items, they aren't of the same kind, and not so specifically tied to the character's narrative growth in the same way that they're identical.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I guess part of it is that every class has had access to magic items which were ostensibly supposed to fill the roll of those kinds of things from the stories. PF2 characters are *often* designed around the concept of various heroes including Thor and Sun Wukong, and now we're kind of saying "hey, that magic extending staff on your monkeykin monk character? that's *baby* stuff. you gotta be an exemplar to get the *real* magic items."


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
GameDesignerDM wrote:

I just think it's clear that Paizo's specific narrative conceit for the class is that its built around their Ikons and Epithets, and whatever forms those take.

Thor may not be Thor solely because of his hammer, but Mjölnir, Megingjörð (his belt), and Járngreipr (his gloves) are so crucial to his character in the Prose Edda and some other sources. The iconic Sun Wukong also isn't Sun Wukong without his staff, or his magical hair, or the attire given to him by the Dragon Kings. I guess to me, I can totally get using items and the specific way they do for the class.

Don't get me wrong, I also get what they're going for. I even mostly agree with how it's been implemented (I'm even coming around on leaving "Body/Weapon/Worn"). I simply also dislike your weapon being more important than you, at least some rounds.

Perhaps that might be the disconnect for me. Mjölnir would be powerful in anyone's hands and at any moment; a weapon ikon is only extra powerful in the rounds you're empowering it. That part of it I like and agree with, but I think a divine fighting style (as others have suggested) where your spark can empower any weapon that fits the criteria, not just a specific weapon, would convey that better.


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GameDesignerDM wrote:

Yeah, I just think that all the deities in PF2E have a favored weapon (including unarmed, which I'm glad will have Exemplar support) so it makes sense that the demigod class would follow the same lines.

I just think it's clear that Paizo's specific narrative conceit for the class is that its built around their Ikons and Epithets, and whatever forms those take.

Thor may not be Thor solely because of his hammer, but Mjölnir, Megingjörð (his belt), and Járngreipr (his gloves) are so crucial to his character in the Prose Edda and some other sources. The iconic Sun Wukong also isn't Sun Wukong without his staff, or his magical hair, or the attire given to him by the Dragon Kings. I guess to me, I can totally get using items and the specific way they do for the class.

I think its neat there's a class that gets their own Relics, really, and while Thaumaturge has items, they aren't of the same kind, and not so specifically tied to the character's narrative growth in the same way that they're identical.

Except that is not true at all. Those characters aren't important because of their items. Their items just allow them to do more than what they could already do. Thor is not the god of thunder because he has items, Wukong is not Heaven's Equal because he has a column from a specific temple and special clothes, Arthur is not special because he has the sword and the scabbard, Perseus is not special because of his shield, Achilles is not special because of his equipment, etc.

The class narrative is "you are a demigod" but the class mechanics are "you are a spell-less magus/warpriest/monk that relies on items". All while the feat names/descriptions makes it seem as if you are stronger than all other characters, while actually not being any better.

This is "narrative whiplash" the class. Its also why it raises so many red flags.


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I am more than aware of all of that, but the popular depictions of these characters - and what people identify in symbolism - have to do with these items. They are symbols of these characters, emblematic of their myths and legends - the symbols that persist through the ages and through cultural erasure. Thor isn't "guy with red hair", he is "guy with red hair who wields his hammer".

There's a reason Thor's hammer is such an iconic symbol, like how Perun's Axe is in Slavic regions of the world that have Perun in place of Thor.

Thus, they have chosen to go this route with the Exemplar - and the feat names are meta, they aren't 'in-world' and they evoke the themes of the class just as much as anything else. Mythology is chock full of those kinds of names, and they do well here.


WatersLethe wrote:
This is supposed to be a class, one oriented around demigodhood, not a means of backdooring the PF2 equipment system to make it more interesting.

I don’t think that is a fair assumption. Not every demigod/hero is *only* about their Ikonic equipment, and not every demigod/hero is *only* about not needing any Ikonic equipment. There’s clearly room for both kinds of Exemplars. Or at least, one would hope.


The fighter's earth breaker gets passed down in legends because it was wielded by the fighter. Not because the earth breaker was any special.

The mythological stuff has great names because they are describing the actual actions of the people in the myth. Not because "that's how myths are".

So once again you are putting the cart before the horse. If you read the story of wukong the special part was not the pillar, it was not the clothes, it was not the fancy names, it was the fact wukong was doing crazy stuff. But here you are putting all the value on the items and superficial names without any backing for any of it.

It being "meta" is not a good reason for something.


GameDesignerDM wrote:
I am more than aware of all of that, but the popular depictions of these characters - and what people identify in symbolism - have to do with these items. They are symbols of these characters, emblematic of their myths and legends - the symbols that persist through the ages and through cultural erasure. Thor isn't "guy with red hair", he is "guy with red hair who wields his hammer".

Well, to be fair, those are some depictions, that some folx identify with. And yes, that is the route the designers have gone with. But there are those of us..asking for…..more? Or actually, less. Less items, or less reliance.

"GameDesignerDM wrote:
Thus, they have chosen to go this route with the Exemplar - and the feat names are meta, they aren't 'in-world' and they evoke the themes of the class just as much as anything else. Mythology is chock full of those kinds of names, and they do well here.

Yep. I really need to take the time to make a thread where I repost all the abilities and feats stripped of the meta to see if that makes the class more palatable to those of us turned off by the “narrative whiplash”.

Really though, I could see plenty of people saying: if you don’t like so much of this, just don’t play it. My rejoinder would be: it’s not that I don’t like it and more that I want it to be broader/more widely applicable. Also, personally, I’m focused here because while I’d prefer the Animist’s theme, it’s a complex caster which isn’t really in my wheelhouse, while a narratively powered, interesting martial is something I can see myself playing.


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Show someone a old Norse warrior. They will see a old Norse warrior.
Show someone a old Norse Warrior with a hammer. They will see Thor

Show someone an ancient Greek warrior. They will see a ancient Greek warrior.
Show someone an ancient Greek warrior with a bronzes shield, winged saddles, and the head of a gorgon in a sack, they will see Perseus.
Show someone an ancient Greek warrior with a breast plate of a lion, and they will see Heracles.

Show someone a English knight with blond hair, they will see a English knight with blond hair.
Show someone a English knight with blond hair and a very fancy sword, they will see King Arthur.

For many people of legend, there equipment is what turns them from people to legends in the public consciousness.

The thing is, there are exceptions. Sun WoKong's staff is like the 5th most important part of his iconography. Beowulf lacks anything consistent, and most heros here except Perseus have like one thing thats vital to their iconography, not 3. The question, is how much can we cater to the exceptions without destroying the very cool mechanical aspects of the class?

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