There is a bunch of amazing product coming out for Pathfinder 2e. And in all the hustle and bustle of Paizocon and Gencon, it can be easy to miss some of the incredible stuff coming out from the independent publisher scene. Stuff is often written, tested, and edited by the same freelancers who create your favorite Paizo material. That being said, I’d love to highlight some of the best “3pp” books released for 2e in the past year and show the world what you’re missing out on with my platform here on Fox’s Cunning.
Before we begin, I feel it’s professional to thank Alexander Augunas for his friendship and guidance these last two years. In the interest of full disclosure, I have no financial interest in the success of any product I review. The words written here is an expression of pure gratitude for Nathan Senteni and Alexander Augunas’ product. I’d also like to thank Propagandalf for the awesome pipe fox drawing I’m using for this banner!
Three years ago the network’s own Alexander Augunas introduced the world of Starfinder to the Zoomer, and I was an instant fan. The idea of an entire base class themed around “Super Speed” filled a niche so well that I was shocked it hadn’t been tackled before. Oh sure, we’ve seen the occasional prestige class or archetype, but even then you were still largely defined by your attack actions, not your movement. And I’ve been thinking for a while now about how Everybody Games was going to convert the Zoomer to 2e. Would it be a versatile multi-path base class? Or maybe just an archetype like the cavalier?
The answer? Yes.
A few days before Gencon, Everybody Games dropped The Zoomer Archetype for Pathfinder 2e! And let me tell you: This product is a game-changer for Pathfinder Second Edition Design!
What is the Zoomer?
The zoomer is a 20-level branching archetype that allows a character to further their speed, agility, and mobile skirmishing. With 3 methods, 39 archetype feats, and 16 additional feats, it provides the depth and customizability of dozens of different archetypes all within a single modular chassis. The breadth of options is wide enough to allow a PC to take nothing but zoomer class feats from level 2 to 20. Even using the “Free Archetype” system and getting twice as many class feats, you can take nothing but Zoomer feats for every level (except level 2), assuming you don’t mind using levels 18 and 20 for lower level feats.
The dedication feat lets you choose one of four “methods”: Clockwork, Mystic, Gear, or Training. Each method has its own unique benefits, in addition to giving you bonus movement speed and access to a few different feats at higher levels. A clockwork zoomer has mechanical limbs (or augmentations) and can jump, haul more bulk, and get some bonuses against magic. A mystic zoomer gets focus spells that allow it to turn into lightning, manipulate space-time, and even run so fast that it generates tornadoes. A gear zoomer drives a custom vehicle and can play loose and fast with the default vehicle rules. And a training zoomer can learn zoomer feats sooner than any other zoomer, and pick up temporary zoomer feats similar to the 1e brawler’s “martial flexibility”.
So what feats jump out at you?
So with over 50 feats there is no way I can analyze the entire archetype, so I’m just going to compile a quick list of my favorite feats that aren’t restricted to a single method. Devastating Momentum lets you punch harder when you move at least 10 feet. It has a number of feats for a “feint” build like Zoomer’s Advance, letting you stride twice and strike, or stride, feint, and strike for two-actions. Racing Attack lets you substitute any “Strike as a subordinate action” from a zoomer feat with some combat maneuvers, which is some crazy new design space I love to see explored in PF2e! Stride-By Strike lets you play out your iaijutsu/anime-style-slash fantasies running past an enemy, drawing a weapon, and striking during a stride without triggering reactions. Splintered Time lets you optimize readying actions.
Many of these feats let you move so fast you have supernatural effects, even if you aren’t a mystic! Blazing Trail ignites your footfalls into a one-round wall of fire. Displaced Motion has you move so fast you leave behind mirror images. Tail Wind allows you to leave behind a gust of wind. And Phase Dash lets you move through matter!
Many of the class feats the zoomer gets are like “skill feats, but better”, such as Fast Crawl (giving you Nimble Crawl, and letting you stand as a free action if you crawl less than half your speed). I was surprised these weren’t done as skill feats, but after giving it some more thought I think this was a responsible way to approach the design of the archetype. These feats are all very well balanced as “stronger than a skill feat”, and the first four zoomer feats you take all contribute to the Dedication ability that nets you +5 feet of movement speed for every two other zoomer feats you have. There are also some feats that function as existing class features, like Surprise Attacker that gives you the rogue’s surprise attacker class feature.
The zoomer archetype has a ton of great stuff going for it that can help you live out your speedster dreams. It has the flexibility to work with almost any class, only requiring that you have a Speed of 30 feet or faster to take it. The 20-level chassis means it can completely replace an existing character, or simply be taken at low, mid, or higher levels to pick up the select feats you want for your PC. I can’t wait to see more independent designers take advantage of this sort of product; 11-pages of awesome ideas that help customize your character without any word count wasted repeating the same necessary but boring class features you’ve seen again and again on every base class. The zoomer will naturally shine in “Free Archetype” games, giving players an opportunity to pick a flavorful archetype without having to pick a new one ~8 levels into their adventuring career simply because they ran out of archetype feats. It also makes for an awesome supporting NPC, as players will be sure to make use of someone who can zip around the battlefield and, well, zoom.