Iconic Design — Can’t Catch This Rat(folk)

So if you’re in the know, this past rotation for Pathfinder Society conventions offered ratfolk boons to GMs, and I was lucky enough to get to GM at a convention while the boons were being offered. (Shout out to Scranton’s MepaCon! Hopefully we get more people next year.)

So I started thinking hard on what I wanted to do with my ratfolk. Playing up the swarming racial trait with a rogue sounded fun, but I didn’t want to do the build that literally ALL of my friends were talking about. (Rogues, slayers, investigators—skill monkeys with Stealth, basically.) Now, I LOVED the ratfolk lore about their conjuration and teleportation powers in Blood of the Beast, but I’m not a big fan of their warp discipline. So, what to do?

Obviously, find a different teleportation mongrel that worked. So that’s what I did, and this is what I came up with. Enjoy!

Build Concept

Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.

  • Ratfolk (swap rodent empathy for cheek pouches)
  • Classes: arcanist (school savant) 12
  • Feats: Spell Focus: conjuration (1st), Augment Summoning (3rd), Extra Arcanist Exploit: quick study (5th), Versatile Summon Monster (7th), Dimensional Agility (9th), Greater Spell Focus: conjuration (11th)
  • Abilities: arcane reservoir, consume spells, school focus (conjuration [teleportation])
  • Arcanist Exploits: quick study (Bonus), dimensional slide (5th), potent magic (9th), swift consume (11th)

Play Description

So the basically, the idea was to capitalize on the power and effectiveness of teleportation spells. I wanted to get as many as possible so I could constantly be moving myself and others around the battlefield at my whims.

In order to accomplish this, I decided to go arcanist and take the school savant archetype. In addition to giving me an extra prepared of my chosen spell school each day, school savant allows me to pick up the arcane school powers of one school (or subschool) of my choice, and I picked conjuration (teleportation). This replaces the acid dart domain power with shift, a nifty short-range teleportation spell that doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Then at 5th level (my first arcanist exploit) I pick up dimensional slide. These abilities look similar, but they shine in different scenarios—before 9th level, using shift effectively ends my turn because of how dimension door works but it will allow me to move further for that swift action. Dimensional slide, however, never costs me later actions and only works when I’m already moving. In other words, shift is for when I need to move without provoking for a long distance, while dimensional slide is for short-range escapes. Furthermore, shift can move me through more walls and obstacles than dimensional slide can, but dimensional slide is ultimately less restricted in its use. (I need only give up an arcane point, and those are easier to get than uses of shift.) Similar, but different uses.

Then at 8th level, I get the awesome dimensional steps ability for party movement—very cool, very awesome. At 9th level, I get Dimensional Agility, which significantly improves shift, dimensional steps, and dimension door itself. That’s a great list of movement-themed powers, which seems pretty great to me.

But wait, there’s more!

Between my school abilities and my feats, I have a bit of a summoning flair going on. I figure being as good at conjuration as I already am, Spell Focus (conjuration) was a decent pick that would stack with my arcane reservoir boosts (later improved even more by my potent spells exploit). This made taking Augment Summoning an easy choice, and picking up Versatile Summon Monster so I can summon flying lions and other delightful creatures seemed almost too good to be true! (For my second template, I’m planning on taking aqueous because it makes ANYTHING amphibious while also adding cold damage to attacks. AQUA LIONS GO!

And of course, I’m burning a feat to pick up quick study ASAP. Because that’s just what you DO as an arcanist. That’s your biggest strength right there.

So with that, I’m planning on having a super nimble ratfolk who can move wherever is best and (eventually) move his party members places too. I’m planning on taking conjuration spells that allow saves, spells that summon creatures, and spells that move myself and my allies around the battlefield. (Telekinetic charge seems fun!) This is still very much a work in progress, but if you’re looking for a spellcaster that can’t be kept down, this’ll do it pretty darn well for you.

That’s it for this week’s Iconic Design. Tune back in two weeks for more ideas for your next PC or NPC! Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alexs Twitter, @AlJAug.

Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.


  1. Robert King

    Is there any chance for a Channel Negative Energy Shaman and/or Oracle from happening any time in the future? Rules Question: If a Spirit Wanderer Oracle of Life with Channel Negative Energy Shaman, or vice versa, how would the Channel Pools interact? Would you have two separate channel pools for both Negative and Positive? How would Holy Vendictor and/or Envoy of Balance stack with these two Channel energy pools?

    And with all of those questions asked – Do you have a Channel Energy themed build that focuses on the light and darkness of energy? Maybe a follower of Nethys that focuses on the destructive and restorative magics of energy?

  2. Alex Augunas

    Hey Robert, if you did WAY back, I did a Lich King build that makes heavy use of channel negative energy, and my living grimoire inquisitor build does too.

    Channel pools always stay separate; there’s an FAQ about it under the Core Rulebook. (So you would have 3 + Cha of positive and 3 + Cha of negative, using your class level for each to calculate DC and healing/damage done.)

    I don’t have a build like that yet, although the Versatile Channeler feat could make it happen!