The Peer (A Vigilante Alternate Class for PF1)
Posted by Owen K.C. Stephens
The vigilante class has a lot of cool stuff, but it’s all built around a specific, Scarlet Pimpernel/Robin Hood/Zorro kind of secret-identity-based character. It works extremely well for that type of character, but that type of character doesn’t work well for every player concept and campaign setup. In my experience, vigilantes are among the least-played (and least-allowed) base classes.
Seriously, I’ve run into more people outlawing vigilantes than gunslingers, psionics, and synthesist summoners.
That makes sense — a vigilante puts a certain cognitive load on GMs and can be huge spotlight-time hogs that leave other players feeling left out — but it’s also a shame. A lot of the vigilante’s abilities totally aide from their dual identity are iconic for another classic character type — the hyper-competent-but-otherwise-typical hero. This isn’t the chosen one, or the archmage, or the master thief. Instead it’s someone who is just good at getting things done, often as a emissary, legate, spy, or advisor. And, separated from the vigilante’s very pulp dual-identity, this character theme works well in a much wider range of campaign setups and playstyles.
For purposes of game rules, consider this an alternate class for the vigilante. We’ll call it the peer.
Hit Die: d8.
Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175 gp).
All skills are class skills for the peer.
Skill Points at each Level: 10 + Int modifier.
Peer Class Features
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Peer’s edge, peer specialization, social talent|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Peer’s edge, social talent|
|8th||+6/+1||+2||+6||+6||Peer’s edge, social talent|
|12th||+9/+4||+4||+8||+8||Peer’s edge, social talent|
|16th||+12/+7/+2||+5||+10||+10||Peer’s edge, social talent|
|20th||+15/+10/+5||+6||+12||+12||Capstone, peer’s edge, social talent|
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Peers are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, and medium armor.
Peer’s Edge: A peer gains an edge at 1st level, 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter. A peer can select any of the following abilities by selecting it as a peer edge: dangersense (as unchained rogue of the same level), evasion, finesse training (as unchained rogue of the same level), improved evasion (must have evasion and be at last 8th level), trap sense (use peer level as rogue level), trapfinding, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge (must have uncanny dodge and be at least 8th level), unshakeable (as the vigilante feature of the same name).
Alternatively, a peer can select an additional skill point/peer level (including retroactively to previous peer levels), or a bonus feat (must meet its prerequisites, cannot have a feat type other than general). A peer can select these latter options multiple times. A peer with the theurge specialization can take an arcanist exploit as a peer’s edge. The peer must meet all the exploit prerequisites and treats their peer level as their arcanist level for this exploit. The peer cannot select any exploit that requires a class feature they do not have
Peer Specialization: As vigilante specialization. A peer must choose to be an avenger, stalker, or theurge. Once this choice is made, it can’t be changed. While many vigilante talents are usable by any specializations, some are unique to each specialization
An avenger gains a base attack bonus equal to their peer level instead of using those listed on Peer Class Features table. They add this value to any other base attack bonus gained from other classes or racial Hit Dice as normal. An avenger can take a combat feat in place of any vigilante or ninja/rogue/slayer talent, using their peer level as their fighter level for any prerequisites when doing so.
Stalkers gains an ability called hidden strike, which allows them to deal an extra 1d8 points of precision damage on melee attacks (or ranged attacks from within 30 feet) against foes who are unaware of their presence, who consider him an ally, or who are flat-footed against the attack. This extra damage increases by 1d8 at 3rd level and every 2 peer levels thereafter. A stalker peer can also deal hidden strike damage to a target that he is flanking or that is denied its Dexterity bonus to AC, but in these cases, the damage dice are reduced to d4s. A stalker can deal hidden strike damage against targets with concealment (but not total concealment).
A stalker peer can apply only one talent marked with an asterisk (*) to a given hidden strike, and only when that hidden strike is dealt against a foe that is , and only when that hidden strike is dealt against a foe that is unaware of the stalker vigilante’s presence (or who considers him an ally), unless otherwise noted. A stalker can also select a single form of debilitating injury (as the unchained rogue class feature) as a vigilante talent, treating it as a talent with an asterisk*.
Unlike vigilantes, peers have a third choice — theurge. A theurge gains spells known and spells per day as a bard of the same level. Their spell DC, bonus spells, and maximum level of spell they can cast is based on Charisma. When the peer first selects this ability, they must choose to cast spells from the bard, inquisitor, or magus list. Theurges that pick the bard or magus list are arcane spellcasters (though they do not suffer arcane spell failure for their peer spells in light armor–this ability extending to medium armor at 4th level and heavy armor at 7th level), and those that pick the inquisitor spell list are divine casters. A peer theurge cannot know or cast a spell that requires a class feature they do not have.
Social Talent: Starting at 1st level, and again at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, a peer gains a vigilante social talent, using their peer level as their vigilante level. Unless otherwise noted, a talent can be selected only once. Some talents require the peer to meet other prerequisites before they can be chosen, such as having another social talent or attaining a minimum peer level. Once a talent has been chosen, it cannot be changed. A peer is always considered to be in their social identity for social talennts.
Vigilante Talent: Starting at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, a peer gains a vigilante talent, using their peer level as their vigilante level. Unless otherwise noted, a talent can be selected only once. Some talents require the peer to meet prerequisites before they can be chosen, such as possessing another vigilante talent, possessing a particular specialization, or attaining a minimum level. Once a talent has been selected, it can’t be changed.
Lacking a dual identity, there are no special rules about a peer using any of these talents while in a “social identity.”
Ninja/Rogue/Slayer Talent: Starting at 5th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, a peer gains a talent taken from the ninja, rogue, or slayer class talent lists. The peer must meet all talent prerequisites and treats their peer level as the appropriate class level for this talent. Beginning at 12th level, the peer can take advanced talents. The peer cannot select any talent that requires a class feature they do not have, with the exception that abilities that affect sneak attacks can be selected by stalker peers to add to hidden strike attacks (and are considered vigilante talents with an asterisk* for this purpose).
When a peer reaches 20th level, they select one of the following capstones.
Past Your Limits (Ex)
At 20th level, the peer has learned to stretch themself to do what they never thought they could before. The peer gains one additional social talent and one additional vigilante talent. This bonus vigilante talent is not subject to specialization requirements—a stalker can select an avenger-only talent, and vice versa. At the GM’s discretion, the peer can instead select an archetype-only vigilante talent, such as the cabalist’s living shadow.
Perfect Body, Flawless Mind (Ex)
At 20th level, the peer’s endless training and study has resulted in an unmatched mastery of the self. The character increases her ability scores by a collective total of 8. For example, she can increase one score by 8, or one score by 5 and another by 3, or four scores by 2, and so on.
The Boss (Ex)
At 20th level, the peer has become more than just a lone hero—they have become one of the senior figures of her field, with powers and responsibilities to match. They become one of the leading figures in some manner of group or organization, as appropriate to the campaign and the setting. The player and the GM should work together to determine the specifics. The peer gains the Leadership feat if they do not already have it, and the number of followers that the feat grants is multiplied by 10 (although depending on the campaign and setting, the position may grant other powers as well).
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About Owen K.C. StephensOwen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens
Posted on April 20, 2022, in Game Design, Pathfinder Development and tagged Base Classes, Class Options, gaming, Geekery, Pathfinder First Edition, PC Options. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Thank you for this!! I never disallowed the Vigilante in my campaigns but no one wanted to play one. This is perfect.