Welcome back to the continuation of the Advanced Player’s Guide special review blog! If you missed the beginning, you can find it here! We looked at new options for ranger through wizard as well as animal companions and familiars yesterday. Today take a look at archetypes, and boy are there a lot of them.
Chapter 3 – Archetypes
There are forty-two (yes, 42!) archetypes in this book (including the 4 multi-class). The majority of them are a single page, consisting of a description and at least 4 feats (I don’t recall one having fewer than 4). Many of them include a list of other class feats, either CRB or APG, that also count as being an archetype feat if you have the dedication feat. I was glad to see them finally stop reprinting feats! Beyond this, there are a couple archetypes at 2 pages long, those usually being popular carry-overs from 1e, such as Cavalier and Dragon Disciple.
The multiclass archetypes follow the same basic formula of the CRB: Dedication provides a couple skills and the basic/defining class feature. A single “Basic” use 4th level feat that allows a 1st/2nd class feat and one or more that offers another class feature. At 6th you get a reusable “Advanced” feat for getting class feats at half your level. The others vary, but if you have seen the CRB multiclass archetypes, you will get the idea.
Investigator (multiclass) You get On the Case (which includes Pursue a Lead and Clue In) with the dedication and can get Devise a Stratagem, Keen Recollection, increase skill proficiency, and Master in Perception with feats for each. I feel like this is a nice slice for getting the feel without removing the need to play a full investigator to be the real deal.
Oracle (multiclass) Like other caster dedications, you get two cantrips and two skills. I like that you also get the minor curse effects (those without mechanical effects). Aside from more spells, you can gain a revelation, and because you don’t go too far down the rabbit hole, they altered the curses accordingly, which I thought was a nice tweak.
Swashbuckler (multiclass) Gaining panache and acrobatics with the dedication is that little bit of taste that will have you coming back for more. You can also get a Basic Finisher, Opportune Riposte, and speed increases in addition to taking other swashbuckler feats. I have a feeling this is going to be a popular choice to spice up a non-fighter’s combat options.
Witch (multiclass) You start out with a familiar (with one less familiar ability) that has two cantrips. These options are all pretty much about class feats and spells.
Acrobat I was expecting more duplication with rogue/swashbuckler for some reason, but as I read through I came up with a couple fun concepts for dipping into this archetype. The dedication feat and two others involve moving through an enemy’s space. It has class feats options at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and a skill feat option at 7!
Archaeologist I was expecting to read this one and wonder why it was an archetype and not just a couple feats in the skills section. This is NOT a combat archetype, make no mistake. But it does combine trap finder options with mundane and magical methods of identifying things, and it grew on me as I read.
Archer The archer is one of the sign post archetypes we heard a lot about, and I think it hit the mark. (groan) Dedication provides bow training, instead of requiring it, which is nice, as is an option to enhance crossbows. It also comes with a list of other feats (I think 8) from both CRB and APG that you can choose from (aside from the 5 here).
Assassin Guess who’s back! This set of 5 new feats pairs with 4 from the CRB to let you make a totally not evil super efficient killing machines.
Bastion This isn’t anything I am familiar with, but I do like the variety of new options and CRB options collected into an archetype for those that really want to disarm after a block or hold things in their shield hand. It does require Shield Block though, so it likely won’t be picked up by casters.
Beastmaster The first 2 page spread, complete with a side bar for the activity to switch companions (Call Companion [Exploration]) and a focus spell (Beastmaster Trance – Focus 3). Besides the Dedication feat, there are 9 new feats combined with 5 others from CRB and APG that combine to put together something I am trying to figure out how to rework my current PFS character for. I had been expecting a mechanic for handling and controlling multiple animals in combat, and was curious to see how they did it while keeping the balance of play. They do it by only having one active companion at a time, and allowing you to swap them in Exploration mode using Call Companion. At first I balked, but this really turns into the right tool for the right job … and it has grown on me (I also need to adjust my eidolon rules now).
Blessed One This was another one that struck me as odd, especially since there are only 4 feats. But once you read the additional feats list and all the new feats, it really adds up. Being able to lay on hands and apply mercies by spell or reduct conditions by reaction make a pretty solid healer, regardless of base class.
Bounty Hunter Just one of the archetypes that is also a background. Hunt prey to track somebody down? Train a posse to help? I can see this being a popular dip, even if only for flavor.
Cavalier Our second two page spread and the playtest archetype poster child. I didn’t play one in 1e, but I very much got the feel of what I remember them being by reading through these options: banner, charging (stride/strike), trampling, jousting, and defense/shield to call out a few. Based on the animal companion rules, you twelve feats to choose from, and they include high level options at 14th and 20th! I felt it was a good mix of options to let you dip or dive as your character concept dictates. I have a PFS character that I am trying to figure out if he should respect to have beastmaster or cavalier … and they both provide good options for different reasons.
Celebrity and Dandy I turned to the page to see these two and thought “Aren’t they similar?” … and boy was I wrong. I mean, I know the difference between the two, but I never thought about it because I often see them overlap. Celebrity is every bit the attention seeker, thriving on it, commanding it. The Dandy is much more the other side of the coin … dignity, etiquette, flattery, gossip, and connections. Also, of note, three of the Dandy’s feats are skill feats.
Dragon Disciple Here we are, the good stuff (and another 2 page spread). This was going to get a lot of play for the flavor and theme regardless of how well the mechanics worked. I am not super familiar with the barbarian dragon instinct nor the sorcerer dragon bloodline, so I don’t know how well they mesh together … yet. But, I will be building a dragon disciple kobold, and I cannot wait to mix and match the ancestry options with those here in this archetype. From energy resistance with the dedication feat to claws, scent, scales, and spell options at 4th you can really customize your build with your ancestry and class well. The higher level powers duplicate sorcerer bloodline focus spells, so we know the power level should be on par, and some of the feats even alter barbarian/sorcerer gained options, which I thought was a nice touch.
It is getting pretty late here, so let’s end on that high note! Tune in tomorrow as I continue my hit and run summaries of the archetypes!
And, as always, please join us at our Discord server https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj to let me know what you think or simply have a chat!