Monday, September 08, 2014

Pathfinder's Stuff That is New to Me

The Pathfinder RPG now has an Advanced Class Guide.

The list of character class guides will need many additions!

As usual, the explosion of new feats, spells, and archetypes means the League of the One Trick Pony will be gaining many new members.

New Classes and Archetypes

But I am more interested in what new well-rounded character concepts are available.

Note: I have not played Pathfinder in about a year, so there are a few other Paizo publications besides the Advanced Class Guide among the links below of possibilities that are new to me.  Please do not fuss.  This is what is new to me, not what is all new stuff.

The Unlettered Occultist Arcanist finally allows a character to excel a both healing and standard-action summoning.  (Here are two summoning guides.)  The feat Evolved Summon Monster allows adding tiny "evolutions" such as pounce, reach, bypassing DR/magic, a pair of claw attacks, or 1d6 bleed damage.

The Wild Child Brawler allows a "cleaned up monk" to have an animal companion.

A neutrally aligned Hex Channeler Gravewalker Witch with the Healing Patron and traits Student of Philosophy and Pragmatic Activator resembles a super-Cleric.  Heal your friends!  Take control of undead!  Be diplomatic and charming!  Cast both arcane and divine spells!  Use magic items superbly!  And at tenth level she can start using a flavorful version of the Druid's wildshape ability.

Student of Philosophy and Pragmatic Activator really helped that Witch.  There are yet more traits that move skills to Intelligence: Clever Wordplay, Precise Treatment, and Bruising Intellect.

The new feat Orator also can help an intelligence-based character excel in social situations.

The Psychic Searcher Oracle gains a big bonus to social skills and can use the Empathy ability for an absurdly large bonus to the Sense Motive skill.  He does not really read your mind and predict your future, but it seems that way.  If he has the Lore mystery with the new trait Irrepressible and new feats Noble Scion (War) and Divine Protection, he has incredible saving throw and initiative bonuses.  (Thanks, Andrew.)

An Undine Steam Caster Waves Shaman (or Spirit Guide Oracle) can knock down foes with any water or fire spell.  But the Spirit Guide archetype is more often used with the Lore Spirit to give the Oracle Wizard spells each morning.

An Empiricist Investigator with the Student of Philosophy trait uses Intelligence for every mental skill.  And judging from the picture above, he has good taste in boots, too.

The sixth level Buccaneer Arbiter Bard retains inspire courage while also excelling at subduing foes and/or making extra attacks.  He uses Paired Opportunists (level 2 bonus), Broken Wing Gambit, and Outflank (level 6 bonus).  Once per day he can "nova" using his Knock Out ability while doing typically lethal damage.

The prestige class Evangelist is almost an archetype.  It advances the character's original class abilities as the new class advances in level (with a one-level delay).

Many classes have an archetype with the new Martial Flexability ability.

Sorcerers can now use either Intelligence or Wisdom instead of Charisma.  An Orc Witch can use Constitution as a casting ability score!

Crossblooded Bloodragers can threaten with 25 feet of reach.  Cast the long arm and enlarge person spells.  Have the aberrant and black blood bloodlines for two abilities both named "abnormal reach".

The Soul Warden prestige class turns any spellcaster into an undead-fighting hero.

The Harrow Warden monk, at fifteenth level, can punch someone to polymorph them into a small and harmless creature.  The archetype also stacks with Master of Many Styles.

Barbarians can now multiclass as Monks.

The Fighter archetype Savage Warrior begs to gestalt with Druid.

The recent ruling about early entry to prestige classes provides several nice Eldritch Knight options, described here, and several very quick Mystic Theurge options, described here.  Those two prestige classes are now very nice instead of a debilitating trap.

Other New Options

There is now a feat to reward a character for dramatically kicking in a door.

Some story feats look like a lot of fun.  My favorites are Truth Seeker and Artifact Hunter.  It is easy to imagine a character who uses both of those, with the discovered ancient knowledge including the location of a long-missing artifact.  Automatic checks to notice secret doors is a novel and useful ability.

(The low-level spell and item that detect secret doors are seldom used because they require concentration.  The high-level spell has limited range.)

The human-only feat Racial Heritage now has many more race feats, race traits, and class archetypes to work with.

Barbarians have two new ways to get extra rage rounds.  But they also seldom need this...

A character with the Optimistic Gambler and Community Minded traits has morale bonuses from his or her spells and abilities last an extra d4+2 rounds.

(Barbarians and Bloodragers dance with joy, because most combats do not last more than four rounds, so they only need to spend one round of rage or bloodrage for those morale bonuses.  The Group Leader and a Flagbearer also smile.)

The feat Raging Blood allows anyone to rage!  It can also help when charging, or can add staggering, sickened, or confused to a critical hit.  What a great deal for any character wanting who specializes in critical hits.

Continuing the raging goodness, the teamwork feat Spirit of the Corps might allow any nearby ally to share in the rage/bloodrage!  (But it is clearly meant to instead share the spells wrath, aid, heroism, righteous vigor, and especially the Paladin spells rally point and saddle surge.)

The feat Feral Heart can increase the rage morale bonus to some ability and skill checks (including initiative) from raging by +2.

The feat Experimental Spellcaster can allow a Cleric or Oracle to use the word-equivalent spell of animate dead at third level (two levels early).

Druids could already use wild shape to pounce at level six (including with five attacks as a deinonychus).  The new Pummeling Charge feat means Monks and Brawlers at level eight could effectively charge then full attack.  Other martial characters need to wait to level twelve to get Pummeling Charge.  (Somewhat similar--and perhaps mixable--is the Scout Rogue, who can add sneak attack damage to a charge at level four.)

With two feats any character can have an animal companion.  (Three feats if you count Boon Companion.)

There is a new wolf combat style that allows a ninth level melee character the equivalent of casting bestow curse.  Combine this with the new feat Dirty Trick Master to do a ton of melee debuffing!  The rage power Savage Dirty Trick adds even more for a barbarian!

Want to play with darkness?  A weretiger, tiefling or fetchling can now see in supernatural darkness, as can some barbarians.  (There is also a spell.)  Cast deeper darkness or throw an Alchemist's darkness bomb and attack your foes who are lost in the dark!

The feats Summon Good Monster and Summon Neutral Monster are both strong alone and add more summons with alignment subtypes for the feat Sacred Summons.

There are some stupidly potent spells.  The most ridiculous is emergency force sphere.  Wizards are no longer fearful and fragile!  Also tied for first is a spontaneous caster using paragon surge to get the feat Expanded Arcana, making available any needed utility spell.

How about ice magic that takes advantage of some overpowered spells?  Use the Marid or Rime-Blooded bloodline for a Sorcerer or Blood Arcanist.  The new spells snowball, flurry of snowballs, and frost fall are very potent.  Add Rime Spell metamagic.  At sixth level a Rime Spell flurry of snowballs fills a thirty foot cone with 4d6 damage and two rounds of entangling!  That calls out for the Magical Lineage trait to keep it in second-level spell slots.

The ice spell ice slick replaces grease as the best spell to make foes flat-footed.  Your spellcaster can be the sneak attacker's best friend!

Here is a silly example with only slight early entry.  Let's make an extra strange and spooky necromancer Big Bad Evil Guy for sixth level.  Use a Half-Elf with the Drow Magic alternate racial trait who can cast darkness, to qualify for arcane early entry into Mystic Theurge.  Take one level of School Savant Arcanist with the Undead school and then four levels of Blight Druid with the Death domain to put animate dead on its Druid spell list.  Start Mystic Theurge at sixth level.  No one expects the necromancer to spend four hours of the day in the shape of a animal!  At sixth level it can be a Dire Badger able to dig through stone to flee and become a recurring villain.  As with any Mystic Theurge who has animate dead on two spell lists, it will enjoy two "buckets" of caster level for amassing a double-sized horde of minions.  (Personally, I would alter him to be an Arcane Bomber Wizard who drop-kicks the bombs while a Dire Badger.  But that is probably not legit.)

Also, let's count the ways a spellcaster can boost its caster level for the animate dead spell without magical equipment.  Traits: Gifted Adept and Signature Spell.  Feats: Undead Master, Spell Specialization and Theurgy.  Spells: death knell.  That's +10 caster level, available as early as fifth level with the human bonus feat.  And because of the odd wording of animate dead, if (5+10) x 2 = 30 hit dice of undead are animated in one casting they all stay under the control of that fifth level character.  Yes, that exceeds the 5 x 4 = 20 hit dice a fifth level character can normally control using animate dead, but only any undead created with previous castings of the spell become out of control.

Finally, there is a feat named Eldrich Researcher to encourage PCs to design spells.

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