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Return of the Illusionist/Thief!

There aren’t a lot of classic “old school” multiclass combinations left I haven’t addressed, having done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladincleric/assassincleric/fighter/thief, cleric/rangerfighter/magic-user/thiefthief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon. At least—there aren’t a lot left I think actually need any help to be used in Pathfinder. There are good ways to create characters filling the roles of the cleric/fighter (warpriest, inquisitor), cleric/magic user (Rogue Genius Games’ magister class), fighter/magic-user (magus), fighter/thief (just do a multiclass fighter/rogue), fighter/assassin (a fighter/rogue can take the assassin prestige class, or you can just play a slayer), and magic-user/thief (the eldritch scoundrel rogue archetype).

But there is still at least one I think would be tricky to build in a satisfying way in Pathfinder—the illusionist/thief. Being an illusionist has specific keynotes in Pathfinder, and it’s hard to hit those with any class with good rogue ability without losing significant effectiveness.

So, taking notes from the unchained rogue, the eldritch scoundrel, the arcanist, and my own fighter/illusionist, here’s a hybrid class for the illusionist/thief.

The Illusionist/Thief

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The illusionist/thief’s’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Illusionist/Thief

Level  Base Attack Bonus    Fort Save        Ref Save         Will Save        Special

1st       +0        +0        +2        +0        Finesse training, sneak attack +1, trapfinding

2nd      +1        +0        +3        +0        Rogue talent

3rd       +2        +1        +3        +1        Finesse training, sneak attack +1d6

4th       +3        +1        +4        +1        Debilitating injury, rogue talent, uncanny dodge

5th       +3        +1        +4        +1        Sneak attack +2d4

6th       +4        +2        +5        +2        Rogue talent

7th       +5        +2        +5        +2        Sneak attack +2d6

8th       +6/+1  +2        +6        +2        Rogue talent

9th       +6/+1  +3        +6        +3        Sneak attack +3d6

10th     +7/+2  +3        +7        +3        Advanced talents, rogue talent

11th     +8/+3  +3        +7        +3        Finesse training, sneak attack +4d6

12th     +9/+4  +4        +8        +4        Rogue talent

13th     +9/+4  +4        +8        +4        Sneak attack +5d6

14th     +10/+5 +4        +9        +4        Rogue talent

15th     +11/+6/+1       +5        +9        +5        Sneak attack +6d6

16th     +12/+7/+2       +5        +10      +5        Rogue talent

17th     +12/+7/+2       +5        +10      +5        Sneak attack +7d6

18th     +13/+8/+3       +6        +11      +6        Rogue talent

19th     +14/+9/+4       +6        +11      +6        Finesse training, sneak attack +8d6

20th     +15/+10/+5     +6        +12      +6        Master caster, rogue talent

Class Features

The following are the class features of the illusionist/thief.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Illusionist thieves are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the hand crossbow, rapier, sap, short sword, and shortbow. They are proficient with cloth light armor (but no armor with a significant amount of metal or leather), but not with shields. Their illusionist/thief spells suffer no ASF when they wear light armor composed primarily of cloth.

Favored Class Bonuses

A character that takes a level of illusionist/thief as a favored class can select any favored class bonus the character would receive as a rogue or a wizard, as long as the selected favored class bonus does not grant or modify a class feature the illusionist/thief lacks.

Spellcasting and Illusions

An illusionist/thief has access to a broad range of magic, but can only cast a very few spells per day. This requires her to depend on her skills and talents for much of her adventuring effectiveness, while giving her the option to use spells when a situation becomes dire or when she can find some long-term synergy to deal with a problem.

At 1st level the illusionist/thief casts spells drawn from the bard class list (though she cannot cast any spell that requires or modifies a class feature she does not have, such as bardic performance), and all wizard illusions spells. The illusionist/thief gains the arcane school wizard class feature (including being able to prepare one additional spell of the specialized school for each spell level she can cast), but may only select the illusion school (or its associated focused schools) to specialize in, and automatically has evocation as its opposed school (but does not have to select a second opposed school). The illusionist/thief uses her illusionist/thief level as her wizard level for the illusion arcane school abilities.

An illusionist/thief can prepare a number of spells per day as a magus of her level, and uses Charisma to determine her bonus spells, maximum spell level she can learn or prepare,

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the illusionist/thief must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against an illusionist/thief’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the illusionist/thief’s Intelligence modifier.

An illusionist/thief can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Illusionist/thief under “Spells per Day.” In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score.

An illusionist/thief may know any number of spells, but the number she can prepare each day is limited. At 1st level, she can prepare four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells each day. At each new illusionist/thief level, the number of spells she can prepare each day increases, adding new spell levels (using the same chart as the spells per day of the magus). Unlike the number of spells she can cast per day, the number of spells an arcanist can prepare each day is not affected by her Charisma score. Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an illusionist/thief can prepare.

An illusionist/thief must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the illusionist/thief decides what spells to prepare and refreshes her available spell slots for the day.

Like a sorcerer, an illusionist/thief can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats). However, she may also prepare a spell with any metamagic feats she knows and cast it without increasing casting time like a wizard. She cannot combine these options—a spell prepared with metamagic feats cannot be further modified with another metamagic feat at the time of casting.

Table: Illusionist/thief Spells Per Day

Class               Spell Level

Level   1          2          3          4          5          6

1          1          –           –           –           –           –

2          1          –           –           –           –           –

3          1          –           –           –           –           –

4          2          1          –           –           –           –

5          2          1          –           –           –           –

6          2          1          –           –           –           –

7          3          2          1          –           –           –

8          3          2          1          –           –           –

9          3          2          1          –           –           –

10        3          3          2          1          –           –

11        3          3          2          1          –           –

12        3          3          2          1          –           –

13        3          3          3          1          1          –

14        3          3          3          1          1          –

15        3          3          3          1          1          –

16        3          3          3          2          1          1

17        3          3          3          2          1          1

18        3          3          3          2          1          1

19        3          3          3          2          2          1

20        3          3          3          2          2          1

Sneak Attack

If an illusionist/thief can catch an opponent when he is unable to defend himself effectively from her attack, she can strike a vital spot for extra damage.

The illusionist/thief’s attack deals extra damage anytime her target would be denied a Dexterity bonus to AC (whether the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not), or when the illusionist/thief flanks her target, or when the illusionist/thief has convinced the target she is something other than an armed humanoid (normally with an illusion)—in which case the illusion ends with the first sneak attack. This extra damage is +1 point at 1st level, 1d6 at 3rd level, 2d4 at 5th level, 2d6 at 7th level, and increases by 1d6 every 2 illusionist/thief levels thereafter. Ranged attacks can count as sneak attacks only if the target is within 30 feet. This additional damage is precision damage and is not multiplied on a critical hit.

With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (such as a sap, unarmed strike, or whip), a illusionist/thief can make a sneak attack that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in a sneak attack—not even with the usual –4 penalty.

The illusionist/thief must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot. A illusionist/thief cannot sneak attack while striking a creature with total concealment.

Trapfinding

An illusionist/thief adds 1/3 her level on Perception checks to locate traps and on Disable Device checks (minimum +1). An illusionist/thief can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps.

Finesse Training (Ex)

At 1st level, an illusionist/thief gains Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. In addition, starting at 3rd level, she can select any one type of weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse (such as rapiers or daggers). Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Whenever she makes a successful melee attack with the selected weapon, she adds her Dexterity modifier instead of her Strength modifier to the damage roll. If any effect would prevent the illusionist/thief from adding her Strength modifier to the damage roll, she does not add her Dexterity modifier. The illusionist/thief can select a second weapon at 11th level and a third at 19th level.

Rogue Talents

As an illusionist/thief gains experience, she learns a number of talents that aid her and confound her foes. Starting at 2nd level, an illusionist/thief gains one unchained rogue talent. She gains an additional rogue talent for every 2 levels attained after 2nd level. An illusionist/thief cannot select an individual talent more than once. She may select evasion (as the rogue lass feature) as a talent and, if she does, may select improved evasion as a talent beginning at 8th level. She may also select uncanny dodge as a talent and if she does, may select improved uncanny dodge as a talent beginning at 8th level.

Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to an illusionist/thief’s sneak attack. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual attack, and the decision must be made before the attack roll is made.

Debilitating Injury (Ex)

At 4th level, whenever an illusionist/thief deals sneak attack damage to a foe, she can also debilitate the target of her attack, causing it to take a penalty for 1 round (this is in addition to any penalty caused by a rogue talent or other special ability). The illusionist/thief can choose to apply any one of the following penalties when the damage is dealt.

Befuddled: The target becomes befuddled, taking a –2 penalty to saving throws against illusions and to Perception checks, and being considered distracted for purposes of creatures being able to make Stealth checks against it. The target takes an additional –2 penalty to saving throws against illusions cast by the illusionist/thief and to Perception checks regarding the illusionist/thief. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalties increase by –2 (to a total maximum of –8).

Disoriented: The target takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls. In addition, the target takes an additional –2 penalty on all attack rolls it makes against the illusionist/thief. At 10th level and 16th level, the penalty on attack rolls made against the illusionist thief increases by –2 (to a total maximum of –8).

Hampered: All of the target’s speeds are reduced by half (to a minimum of 5 feet). In addition, the target cannot take a 5-foot step.

These penalties do not stack with themselves, but additional attacks that deal sneak attack damage extend the duration by 1 round. A creature cannot suffer from more than one penalty from this ability at a time. If a new penalty is applied, the old penalty immediately ends. Any form of healing applied to a target suffering from one of these penalties also removes the penalty.

Advanced Talents

At 10th level and every 2 levels thereafter, an illusionist/thief can choose an unchained rogue advanced talents in place of a rogue talent.

Master Caster (Ex)

At 20th level, once per round an illusionist/thief can combine the casting of a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less with a sneak attack. The spell affects only the target of the sneak attack, the number of sneak attack dice done is reduced by the level of the spell cast, and the spell does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the spell has a range of touch, the attack roll for the sneak attack counts as the touch attack roll.

If I May Steal a Moment of Your Time.

I have a Patreon. I even posted two illusionist/thief talents there, as bonus content, currently exclusively for patrons.

Check it out!

Return of the Cleric/Ranger!

Since I seem to be slowly going through all the Old School multiclass options to create archetypes, hybrid classes, or alternate classes to cover the concept in Pathfinder, there’s no real surprise (having done the anruth [an old school druidic bard], cavalier-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/thief, fighter/magic-user/thief, thief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon) that I have gotten to the cleric/ranger. While it’s never the first thing that gets mentioned when I talk about tackling fighters/magic-user/thieves and thief-acrobats, I’m actually a little surprised how popular it is. And it’s true, there’s not a great way to build this concept as a satisfying character in pathfinder.

But it shouldn’t be too hard to build one.

And given the warpriest is already a cleric/fighter hybrid, that seems a solid place to start. We just need a giant syringe to suck out all the fightiness, and then we can add rangerocity.

Cleric/Ranger

A warpriest archetype

Proficiency

A cleric/ranger does not gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Spells

Your spell list includes all 0-6th level cleric spells and most ranger spells. You cannot cast spells that modify a class feature the cleric/ranger does not possess (such as hunter’s bond).

Blessings

A cleric/fighter/thief does not gain a blessing at 1st level, or greater blessing at 10th level.

Sacred Weapon

You do not gain the sacred weapon class feature.

Bonus Feats

Rather than a warpriest’s bonus feats, the cleric/ranger selects a ranger combat style at 3rd level, and must select all its bonus feats from the associated list of combat style feats. The cleric/ranger treats its class level as its ranger level to determine what feats it can select, but need not otherwise meet the feat’s prerequisites.

Favored Foe

At 1st level, a cleric/ranger selects a creature type from the ranger favored enemies table. He gains a +1 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against creatures of his selected type. Likewise, he gets a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against them. A cleric/ranger may make Knowledge skill checks untrained when attempting to identify these creatures. Favored foe counts as favored enemy for prerequisites, and effects that modify favored enemy.

At 5th level and every five levels thereafter (10th, 15th, and 20th level), the cleric/ranger may select an additional favored foe. In addition, at each such interval, the bonus against all favored enemies increases by +1.

If the cleric/ranger chooses humanoids or outsiders as a favored foe, he must also choose an associated subtype, as a ranger does. When selecting outsiders, he may only pick outsiders with a alignment that does not match the alignment of the cleric/ranger’s deity. If a specific creature falls into more than one category of favored enemy, the cleric/ranger’s bonuses do not stack; he simply uses whichever bonus is higher.

Wild Empathy

At 1st level the cleric/ranger gains wild empathy as the ranger class feature.

Favored Environment

At 4th level the cleric/ranger selects a favored environment from the ranger favored terrain class feature. The cleric/ranger gains a +1 bonus on initiative checks and Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival skill checks when he is in this environment. A ranger traveling through his favored terrain normally leaves no trail and cannot be tracked (though he may leave a trail if he so chooses). Favored environment counts as favored terrain for prerequisites, and effects that modify favored terrain.

At 8th level and every four levels thereafter, the cleric/ranger may select an additional favored environment. In addition, at each such interval, the skill bonus and initiative bonus in all favored environments increases by +1.

Master Hunter

At 20th level the cleric/ranger gains the master hunter class feature of the ranger, rather than the aspect of war class feature.

 

 

 

Return of the Thief-Acrobat!

I have no idea how long this old-school-concepts-for-Pathfinder kick will continue, but it does seem to be popular (it’s even involved the French!). Having done the cavalier-paladin, cleric/assassin, and fighter/magic-use/thief (and even a patron-exclusive fighter/illusionist, on my Patreon), I thought I’d tackle the stories thief-acrobat.

The thief-acrobat is an alternate class of the rogue, and its class features with the same names as rogue class features work as those class features (though it’s sneak attack is weaker).

Alignment: Any

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.)

Class Skills: The thief-acrobat’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Thief-Acrobat
Level  BAB                Fort     Ref      Will     Special
1st       +0                    +0        +2        +0        Acrobatic movement, sneak attack +1d4
2nd      +1                    +0        +3        +0        Evasion, nimble defense, trapfinding
3rd       +2                    +1        +3        +1        Sneak attack +2d4, escapist +1
4th       +3                    +1        +4        +1        Acrobatic strike, uncanny dodge
5th       +3                    +1        +4        +1        Sneak attack +2d6
6th       +4                    +2        +5        +2        Rogue talent, escapist +2
7th       +5                    +2        +5        +2        Sneak attack +3d6
8th       +6/+1               +2        +6        +2        Improved uncanny dodge, rogue talent
9th       +6/+1               +3        +6        +3        Sneak attack +4d6, escapist +3
10th     +7/+2               +3        +7        +3        Advanced talents, rogue talent
11th     +8/+3               +3        +7        +3        Sneak attack +5d6
12th     +9/+4               +4        +8        +4        Rogue talent, escapist +4
13th     +9/+4               +4        +8        +4        Sneak attack +6d6
14th     +10/+5             +4        +9        +4        Rogue talent
15th     +11/+6/+1        +5        +9        +5        Sneak attack +7d6, escapist +5
16th     +12/+7/+2        +5        +10      +5        Rogue talent
17th     +12/+7/+2        +5        +10      +5        Sneak attack +8d6
18th     +13/+8/+3        +6        +11      +6        Rogue talent, escapist +6
19th     +14/+9/+4        +6        +11      +6        Sneak attack +9d6
20th     +15/+10/+5      +6        +12      +6        Master strike, rogue talent

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Thief-acrobats are proficient with all simple weapons, plus the rapier, sap, and short sword. A thief-acrobat can use a 10-foot pole as a club with the reach special weapon quality that requires 2-handed to use and can benefit from Weapon Finesse (and any similar ability that replaces Strength with Dexterity, if it would apply to the rapier). When wielding such a pole in 2-handed, they gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all Acrobatics checks. They are proficient with light armor, but not with shields.

Acrobatic Movement (Ex): You are a virtuoso at moving your body fluidly and twisting, flipping, hopping, and undulating however you must to get where you wish to be. You gain a bonus to Acrobatics checks equal to half your class level, and you may make Acrobatics checks in place of the following skills—Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Stealth, and Swim. You are considered trained in all these skills if you are trained in Acrobatics.

Additionally you can move in ways and to locations others simple cannot reach without magic. At the beginning of your turn, you may make a single Acrobatics check as a free action. You gain a climb, fly, or swim movement rate (your choice) equal to your skill check. This movement rate lasts until the beginning of your next turn. If you end your movement in a spot you cannot remain at without this movement rate (such as in midair, or on a sheer wall that cannot be climbed without a climb speed), you fall at the beginning of your next turn.

Also, whenever you fall (whether on your turn or not) as long as you are conscious and able to move freely, you may make an Acrobatics check as a free action. If the check meets or exceeds the number of feet you are falling, you land on your feet and take no damage. Otherwise you subtract the skill check from the number of feet you fall when determining how much damage you take.

All acrobatic movement checks can only use a number of ranks in Acrobatics equal to your class level. Thus a multiclass fighter 7/thief-acrobatic 2 may have 9 ranks in Acrobatics, but can only use 2 of those ranks to calculate the bonus of skill checks for this class feature.

You must have no armor check penalty and be in light encumbrance to use this ability.

Nimble Defense (Ex): As long as you are not suffering an armor check penalty (either from wearing no armor, or by wearing armor with an armor check penalty of 0), you gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC. This dodge bonus increases to +2 at 4th level, and by an additional +1 every 4 additional levels thereafter.

Escapist: You are particularly difficult to slow or pin down. At 3rd level you gain a bonus to your CMD against bull rush and trip maneuvers, to Acrobatics checks made to escape from bindings or move through small spaces, and to your saving throws against any effect which would slow you, reduce your movement rate, or hold, entangle, or paralyze you (though not things that stagger or stun you, knock you out, or command you to decide not to take movement, such as command). You can also ignore a number of spaces of difficult terrain each round equal to your escapist bonus. This bonus begins at +1 at 3rd level, and increases by +1 every 3 levels thereafter. You must have no armor check penalty and be in light encumbrance to use this ability.

Acrobatic Strike: At 4th level you are so good at flipping and spinning that you can flip over, roll under, or cartwheel past a foe to position yourself to strike the foe in a vulnerable location. If you successfully make an Acrobatics check to move through a foe’s space, and you are able to make a melee attack against that foe in the same round directly after taking that movement, the first attack you make counts as flanking the foe. You gain all the normal bonuses of flanking the foe, which normally includes a +2 bonus to your attack roll and the ability to do sneak attack damage. You must have no armor check penalty and be in light encumbrance to use this ability.

Patreon Exclusive

Since the thief-acrobat is an alternate version of the rogue it can mostly just use rogue options for things like talents. But I did think of two talents a thief-acrobat might find useful a rogue wouldn’t have access to, and I wrote them up for backers of my Patreon.

Check it out!

 

Return of the Cleric/Assassin

Continuing my design trip to the ancient past of the game system (specifically the fighter/magic-user/thief, and continuing the previous trend of the earlier cavalier-paladin), I realized there are several old ideas that can be designed as alternate character classes. For example, the inquisitor is already a class that combines fighting, divine spells, and some stealth, all focused on judgment and punishment. But with a tilt of focus, the same basic frame can be used to recreate the old cleric/assassin multiclass character of early editions of the game.

A great deal of the class’s features are swapped out, but it still counts as an inquisitor for other purposes. However, it cannot select any option (spell, feat, magic items, or other option) that modifies a class feature the inquisitor has but that the cleric/assassin does not.

For extra old-school, the GM can restrict the cleric/assassin to half-orcs. 🙂

Favored Class Bonus: In addition to being able to select racial favored class bonuses for the inquisitor, the cleric/assassin can select racial favored class bonuses for the cleric or the rogue. The cleric/assassin cannot select a racial favored class bonus that modifies a class feature the cleric/assassin does not have.

Alignment: Either the cleric/assassin, or the cleric assassin’s god, must be evil. The cleric/assassin’s alignment must be within one step of her deity’s alignment.

Proficiency: Cleric/assassins are proficient with light armor, simple and martial weapons, and the favored weapon of their deity.

Spells: The cleric assassin casts spells drawn from the inquisitor spell list or antipaladin spell list, but cannot cast any spell that has an alignment element that is directly opposed to their own alignment or their deity’s, or that modifies a class feature the cleric/assassin does not have.

Sneak Attack: Cleric/assassins do not gain judgement. Instead, they gain +1d6 at sneak attack, and gain another 1d6 of sneak attack at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

Poison Use: The cleric/assassin does not gain the detect alignment class feature at 2nd level, instead gaining poison use as the assassin class feature.

Talents: The cleric/assassin does not gain solo tactics or teamwork feats. Instead, she gains a rogue or ninja trick of her choice (using her cleric/assassin level as her rogue/ninja level) at 3rd level, plus one additional talent every 3 levels thereafter.

Death Attack: The cleric/assassin does not gain the bane or discern lies class features at 5th level, instead gaining the death attack assassin class feature. The cleric/assassin also does not gain greater bane at 12h level.

Evasion: The cleric/assassin does not gain the stalwart class feature at 11th level, instead gaining evasion as the rogue class feature. The cleric/assassin also does not gain the slayer class feature at 17th level, instead gaining improved evasion.

Patreon Exclusive

There are LOTS of old-school character ideas that can’t be easily and effectively recreated in Pathfinder, and I had an idea for a simple magus archetype that should be able to recreate the old school fighter/illusions character concept. I wrote it up as (for the time being) patron-exclusive content.

Check it out!

Return of the Fighter/Magic-User/Thief

Older editions of the game handled multiclassing much differently, and as a result triple-class characters were not only viable, in many cases they were significantly stronger than single-class characters. There’s good reason to move away from the way that rules edition handled the concept, but it does mean the fighter/magic-user/thief (a staple, especially for elves and half-elves) ceases to be an effective, easy class to build, and that’s kind of a shame.

However, with the advent of hybrid classes (from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide), there’s no reason a balanced, fun and effective f/m-u/t can’t be re-introduced into the game. It just needs some creative application of the design rules, some way to avoid the pitfalls such multi-focus characters often suffer, and some careful balancing. Such an effort is presented below. (And I did something similar with the cavalier-paladin, some time ago, if you want to look at that.)

For extra flavor, a GM might consider limiting the class to half-elves. 😀

Fighter/Magic-User/Thief

A hybrid class.

Hit Die: d8

Parent Classes: Fighter, Rogue, Wizard

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills: The fighter/magic-user/thief’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, each taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Table: Fighter/Magic-User/Thief

Level   BaB     Fort     Ref      Will     0th        1st        2nd       3rd        Special

1          +0        +1        +1        +1        2          –           –           –           Broad training

2          +1        +1        +1        +1        2          –           –           –           Sneak attack +1 point, trapfinding

3          +2        +2        +2        +2        2          –           –           –           Knack

4          +3        +2        +2        +2        2          0          –           –           School (1st)

5          +3        +3        +3        +3        3          1          –           –           Sneak attack +1d4

6          +4        +3        +3        +3        3          1          –           –           Knack

7          +5        +3        +3        +3        3          1          0          –           Evasion

8          +6*      +4        +4        +4        3          1          1          –           Sneak attack +2d4

9          +6*      +4        +4        +4        4          2          1          –           Knack

10        +7*      +5        +5        +5        4          2          1          0          Uncanny dodge

11        +8*      +5        +5        +5        4          2          1          1          Sneak attack +3d4

12        +9*      +5        +5        +5        4          2          2          1          Knack

13        +9*      +6        +6        +6        4          3          2          1          Bravery +2

14        +10*    +6        +6        +6        4          3          2          1          Sneak attack +4d4

15        +11*    +7        +7        +7        4          3          2          2          Knack

16        +12*    +7        +7        +7        4          3          3          2          School (6th/8th)

17        +12*    +7        +7        +7        4          4          3          2          Sneak attack +5d4

18        +13*    +8        +8        +8        4          4          3          2          Knack

19        +14*    +8        +8        +8        4          4          3          3          Improved uncanny dodge

20        +15*    +9        +9        +9        4          4          4          3          Sneak attack +6d4

*The fighter/magic-user/thief receives iterative attacks as normal, the chart does not show them to simply presentation

Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and light and medium armor. Because all your fighter/magic-user/thief spells are considered to have the Still Spell feat (see “Spells,” below), you can ignore arcane spell failure.

Spells: You casts spells drawn from the wizard spells list, and keep a spellbook, learn and prepare spells like a wizard, and gains 2 new spells known of a level you can cast at each new class level . Your caster level is equal to your class level. All your spells automatically gain the benefit of the Still Spell feat, allowing you to cast spells in armor without dealing with arcane spell failure and while wielding 2-handed weapons.

Because of your training in methods of combat and the ways of stealth and subterfuge, your spells are powered less by how smart you are than by how nimble you are. You use Dexterity to determine what level spell you can cast, your spells’ save DCs and bonus spells, and any calculation that uses Intelligence in a spell (or your school, see below) is instead calculated using your Dexterity.

Broad Training: You are considered to have a base attack bonus of +1, the ability to cast 1st level spells, and 1d6 of sneak attack, for purposes of meeting prerequisites and drawing a weapon as part of a move action when moving. You treat your class level as your fighter level, rogue level, and wizard level when meeting prerequisites including feat prerequisites). If this is your favored class, you can take a racial favored class bonus for fighter, rogue, or wizard at each level. Although you do not have the armor training or weapon training class features, for purposes of prerequisites you are treated as having them if a fighter with a level equal to your class level had them (and of having them with the same bonus as a fighter of your class level when calculations use that information). For weapon training, you also select weapon groups it would have applied to, if you had it, for use with the Advanced Weapon Training feat, even though you do not actually gain the normal bonuses from weapon training with those groups.

Sneak Attack: As the rogue class feature, except when you first gain this ability it deals only +1 point of damage (though it qualifies for any sneak attack talent you select with your knack). This increases to +1d4 at 5th level, and by an additional 1d4 every 3 levels thereafter.

Trapfinding: As the rogue class feature.

Knack: At 3rd level, and every 3 level thereafter, you gain a bonus combat feat, a bonus metamagic feat, a bonus item creation feat, or a rogue talent. You must meet the selection’s prerequisites, and have any relevant class feature it modifies. Each time you gain a new knack, you may choose to learn a new knack in place of a knack you have already learned. In effect, you lose the knack in exchange for the new one. The knack cannot be one that was used as a prerequisite for another feat, prestige class, or other ability. You can only change one knack at any given level and must choose whether or not to swap the knack at the time you gain a new knack for the level.

School: At 4th level, you select one wizard school. You are not considered specialized in the associated school, and you to not pick opposition schools—this has no effect on how many spells per day you can prepare or your chance to learn spells of various schools. You do, however, gain the abilities from this school that a wizard gains at 1st level. Your class level acts as your wizard level for any calculations of these abilities.

At 16th level, you also gain any abilities from the school that a wizard would have by 8th level (regardless of what level the wizard would have gained them, if it is before 8th level).

Evasion: At 7th level you gain evasion, as the rogue class feature. It functions if you are in no armor, light armor, or medium armor.

Uncanny Dodge: At 10th level you gain uncanny dodge, as the rogue class feature. At 19th level this upgrades to improved uncanny dodge. Both functions if you are in no armor, light armor, or medium armor.

Bravery: At 13th level your gain bravery, as the fighter class feature, with a flat +2 bonus.

Speaking of Old school Ideas

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Sagani, a Pathfinder Base Class in Two Paragraphs and One Sentence.

Sagani. A sagani is a mystic who has made a connection to the elemental powers, and attuned their soul to the four elements. This allows them to draw on elemental power and eventually even take on elemental forms. A sagani uses the hit dice, proficiencies, class skills, skill points per level, base attack, base saves, starting wealth, and starting age as a hunter. A sagani has spells per day and spells known as a bard and is a divine spellcaster. The sagani’s class spell list is comprised of all wizard elemental specialist spells, and all druid spells (which are treated as being one spell level higher than they are for a druid). At 1st level and every odd level thereafter a sagani gains a favored terrain or terrain mastery from the horizon walker class features. If at least 11th level the sagani may instead select a terrain dominance or the ranger abilities of camouflage or (if camouflage has been taken) hide in plain sight.

At 4th level, a sagani gains the ability to turn herself into an elemental back again once per day. The effect lasts for 1 hour per class level, or until she changes back. Changing form is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. A sagani does not lose her ability to speak while in elemental form, and can automatically speak the elemental language connected to her elemental form (even if she doesn’t normally know it). A sagani can use this ability an additional time per day at 6th level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight times at 18th level. At 20th level, a sagani can use this ability at will. At 8th level, a sagani can choose to become one size category larger or smaller when assuming an elemental form. At 12th level, a sagani can choose to become two sizes larger or smaller when assuming an elemental form. At 16th level, a sagani can choose to become three sizes larger or smaller when assuming an elemental form. This acts as monstrous form I, II, or III (for modifiers based on size, without granting the abilities of any specific monstrous humanoid). The sagani builds its four elemental forms by gaining the base form of an unchained summoner elemental eidolon and adding the base evolutions of an eidolon of a summoner equal to the sagani’s class level. The base form does not gain any other evolutions. A sagani cannot cast air spells as an earth elemental (and vice versa), or fire spells as a water elemental (or vice versa).

The sagani gains no other class features. #QuickBaseClass

Return of the Cavalier-Paladin!

It’s become something of a joke among my friends and online followers that when I am suffering from massive sleep deprivation, or am on powerful narcotic painkillers, or both, I tend to be more creative in my online writing. I think some of this is the killing of my internal censor, that often squelches ideas before they have a chance to grow. It’s also been suggested that these ideas may be the fleeting flashes of inspiration I’m always having, but must postpone to be responsible and get my work done. Obviously when I can’t focus for more than a few minutes at a time and don’t trust my ability to do quality work, I tend not to worry about restricting myself to crucial projects.

So it is, tonight.

I had a flash of nostalgia tonight for the cavalier-paladin class from the days of Dragon Magazine. One of my early rpg experiences was playing a fighter in thrown-together night of gaming, where all the characters were competing in a tournament. Someone who became one of my very best friends played a cavalier-paladin who, despite my rolling something like 5 natural 20s in 10 rounds of combat, still kicked my ass. But she also decided my character was valiant and worthy, and the two PCs became good friends.

Just like the two players.

So most of the actual features of the cavalier-paladin aren’t things that would work well as a focus mechanic for a Pathfinder class. But in my mental haze, I decided I really wanted to create cavalier-paladin hybrid class, and one with very little “new” mechanical consideration. I expected to jot down some notes to maybe work on some other day. Instead, 30 minutes later it was done. (Writing this foreword has taken longer than writing the hybrid class rules.)

So I am proud to present the world’s first Hybrid Nostalgia Class: the cavalier-paladin.

Cavalier-Paladin

A select, worthy few are called to be warriors for the divine, and seek to perfect their skill by dedicating themselves to an organization fighting for a cause. Though still entirely devoted to the service and justice and righteousness, these crusaders believe they can best serve as part of a larger whole. Known as cavalier-paladins, these fearless knights are blessed with boons to aid them in their quests, but also ceaselessly train to improve and inspire others. The cavalier-paladin’s power comes from adherence to ironclad laws of morality and discipline, the conviction of her ideals, the oaths that she swears, and the divine power to smite the wicked.

Role: Cavalier-paladins serve as beacons for their allies within the chaos of battle, marshalling allied forces and controlling the flow of the fight. While deadly opponents of evil, outside of battle cavalier-paladins can be found advancing their cause through diplomacy and, if needed, intrigue. Their magical and martial skills also make them well suited to defending others and blessing the fallen with the strength to continue fighting.

Alignment: Lawful good

Hit Die: d10

Parent Classes: Cavalier and paladin

Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The cavalier-paladin’s class skills are Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Knowledge (religion) (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

TABLE: CAVALIER-PALADIN

Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells Per Day
1st 2nd 3rd
1st +1 +2 +0 +2 Aura of good, order, smite evil 1/day
2nd +2 +3 +0 +3 Divine bond, order ability
3rd +3 +3 +1 +3 Aura of courage, divine health, tactician
4th +4 +4 +1 +4 Lay on hands, smite evil 2/day
5th +5 +4 +1 +4 Banner
6th +6/+1 +5 +2 +5 Bonus feat
7th +7/+2 +5 +2 +5 Smite evil 3/day
8th +8/+3 +6 +2 +6 Aura of resolve, order ability 0
9th +9/+4 +6 +3 +6 Greater tactician 1
10th +10/+5 +7 +3 +7 Smite evil 4/day 1
11th +11/+6/+1 +7 +3 +7 Aura of justice 1 0
12th +12/+7/+2 +8 +4 +8 Demanding challenge 1 1
13th +13/+8/+3 +8 +4 +8 Smite evil 5/day 2 1
14th +14/+9/+4 +9 +4 +9 Aura of faith 2 1 0
15th +15/+10/+5 +9 +5 +9 Greater banner 2 1 1
16th +16/+11/+6/+1 +10 +5 +10 Smite evil 6/day 2 2 1
17th +17/+12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10 Aura of righteousness 3 2 1
18th +18/+13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Master tactician 3 2 1
19th +19/+14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Smite evil 7/day 3 2 2
20th +20/+15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Holy champion 3 3 2

Class Features

All cavalier-paladin class features function as normal for the class feature of the same name from the cavalier or paladin class, except as noted below.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Cavalier-paladins are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), and with shields (except tower shields).

Order: Abilities from her order that state they function when a cavalier of the order is using her challenge ability instead function when the cavalier-paladin is using smite evil.

Every cavalier-paladin follows a paladin code (either the standard code from the base paladin class, or a special code determined by the deity the cavalier-paladin worships). A cavalier-paladin must select an order that has edicts that do not violate the paladin’s code. If a cavalier-paladin violates her code, she loses all cavalier-paladin spells and class features (including the service of the cavalier-paladin’s mount, but not weapon, armor, and shield proficiencies). She may not progress any further in levels as a cavalier-paladin. She regains her abilities and advancement potential if she atones for her violations (see atonement), as appropriate.

If a cavalier-paladin violates the edicts of her order without violating her paladin code, she loses the smite evil benefits from her order, and all order abilities (though not the order’s skill benefits) for 24 hours.

Divine Bond: If the cavalier-paladin selects a weapon bonus, initially enhancing the weapon only causes it to shed light as a torch and count as a magic weapon for those purposes where a magic weapon functions differently than a mundane weapon (such as bypassing DR). Beginning at 5th level, the weapon bond functions normally.

If she selects a bonded mount, this works normally as the paladin option.

Spells: Beginning at 8th level, a cavalier-paladin gains the ability to cast a small number of divine spells which are drawn from the paladin spell list. A cavalier-paladin must choose and prepare her spells in advance.

To prepare or cast a spell, a cavalier-paladin must have a Charisma score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a cavalier-paladin’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the paladin’s Charisma modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a cavalier-paladin can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Cavalier-Paladin. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Charisma score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells). When Table: Cavalier-Paladin indicates that the cavalier-paladin gets 0 spells per day of a given spell level, she gains only the bonus spells she would be entitled to based on her Charisma score for that spell level.

A cavalier-paladin must spend 1 hour each day in quiet prayer and meditation to regain her daily allotment of spells. A cavalier-paladin may prepare and cast any spell on the paladin spell list, provided that she can cast spells of that level, but she must choose which spells to prepare during her daily meditation.

Through 7th level, a cavalier-paladin has no caster level. At 8th level and higher, her caster level is equal to half her cavalier-paladin level. Unlike a paladin, a cavalier-paladin never gains 4th level spells.

Bonus Feat: The cavalier-paladin gets a single bonus feat at 6th level. No additional bonus feats are gained every 6 levels thereafter.

Warcaster, a Pathfinder Base Class in Two Paragraphs and One Sentence

Warcaster. A warcaster is a powerful tool of divine retribution answering to a god or some other spiritual power. Use hit dice, proficiencies, class skills, base attack, base saves, starting wealth, and starting age as a cleric. Gain 4 skill points/level. Gain spells known and spells per day as a medium, selecting spells from the cleric or inquisitor spell list.

The warcaster gains a spirit blade as a supernatural ability at 1st level. This functions as the spell spiritual weapon except as follows: the base damage is equal to the sacred weapon damage of a Medium warpriest of the same level (rather than 1d8); it threatens on a 20 and has a x2 crit multipler; the weapon has a range of 10 feet + 10 feet per class level; it uses your caster level as its base attack bonus (including multiple attacks as caster level 6th or higher); it strikes as a weapon rather than a spell (ignoring SR but subject to DR, and subject to spells and feats that augment weapons); it may take the appearance (and deal the damage type) of any weapon you wish (but once selected this cannot be changed). The spirit blade takes a full round action to summon, can be summoned an unlimited number of times per day (though never more than 1 at a time), and remains until dismissed or dispelled (as a spell). The warcaster has an arcane pool as a magus of the same level, which can only be used to augment the spirit blade. At 2nd level the warcaster gains spell combat as a magus of the same level, but attacks made when using this ability can only be made with the spirit weapon. (This functions as improved spell combat at 9th level, and greater spell combat at 15th level.) At 4th level the warcaster gains spellstrike as a magus, but attacks made when using this ability can only be made with the spirit weapon. When using spellstrike, the warcaster may choose for the spirit blade to deal no damage.

The warcaster gains no other class features. #QuickBaseClass

Spellbinder, a Pathfinder RPG Base Class in Two Paragraphs and One Sentence.

Spellbinder: A spellbinder is a powerful spellcaster that can manipulate and adjust spells on the fly, producing magic effects more powerful than other spellcasters of the same experience. Use hit dice, proficiencies, class skills, base attack, base saves, starting wealth, and starting age as a wizard, and 4 skill points per class level. The spellbinder casts spells as a wizard, with the following exceptions. The spellbinder does not need a spellbook – while the spellbinder takes the same time and cost and skill checks to learn a spell as a wizard does to scribe it into a spellbook, and the spellbinder succeeds the spell is known and can be prepared without referring to any other source. The spellbinder prepares two spells in every spell preparation slot, but can only cast one of them (selected when the spell is cast). The spellbinder gains four spells known when gaining a class level (rather than the two spells known of a wizard). The spellbinder can select spells from the druid or wizard spell lists for these four spells known, and can learn spells from alchemist formula books and wizard spellbooks. The spellbinder treats his class spell list as including all wizard spells, and any alchemist extract or druid spell he knows.

At 1st level and every level thereafter, the spellbinder gains a bonus metamagic feat. These metamagic feats cannot increase the spell slot of spells cast with them by more than half the spellbinder’s class level (minimum 1). A spellbinder cannot prepare spells with metamagic feats, but instead adds them later using a metamagic pool. A spellbinder has a number of points in his metamagic pool equal to half his class level (minimum 1) plus his Intelligence modifier (to a maximum of half his level, minimum 1). When a spellbinder casts a spell he may add a metamagic feat (as if a spontaneous spellcaster) by spending a number of points from his metamagic pool equal to the additional spell levels required by the metamagic added (minimum of 1 metamagic point per metamagic feat added, and to a maximum spell adjustment equal to 1/3 her caster level – minimum of 1). A spellbinder cannot add metmagic feats to a spell if she lacks the metamagic points to cover it’s spell level adjustment.

The spellbinder gains no other class features. #QuickBaseClass

Virago, a Pathfinder RPG Base Class in Two Paragraphs and One Sentence.

Virago: Viragoes are skilled combatants who focus on victory through cooperation and wise decisions. Though able to fight valiantly on her own, a virago is at her best when she has tools and allies to direct to the defeat of her foes. Because most of the cultures that commonly train viragoes treat men and women equally, many scholars of more patriarchal lands claim viragoes are exclusively female, though this is untrue. Use hit dice and base attack bonus as a fighter. Use the base saves, class skills, skill points/level, starting wealth, and starting as a skald. At 1st level the virago gains a Wise Bond. This may be a mount (as the cavalier class feature, using her virago level as her cavalier level), the ranger favored terrain class feature (gaining an additional terrain and +2 bonus to any one favored terrain at 5th and every 4 levels thereafter), a bond with her hunting companions (as the hunter’s bond ranger class feature), or a druidic animal/terrain domain (with granted spells gained from the domain cast once per day as spell-like abilities). Also at first level she gains the ability to declare a specific foe a favored enemy as a standard action (as the ranger class feature) but with a +1 bonus. It remains a favored enemy until killed or 24 hours, whichever comes first. She can do this a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Wisdom bonus, and the bonus increases by +1 at 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter.

At 2nd level, the virago gains the cavalier’s tactician class feature. She gains an additional bonus teamwork feat, and an additional use per day of this ability, at 4th level and every even level thereafter. At 3rd level she gains the inquisitor’s solo tactics class feature. At 5th level she can use tactician as a move action. At 7th level she can change her more recent teamwork feat (as the inquisitor teamwork feat class feature). At 9th level tactician’s range expands to 60 feet. At 11th level she can use tactician as a swift action. At 13th level she can change her last two most recent teamwork feats. At 15th level tactician applies to any ally able to see and hear her. At 17th level she can use tactician to grant any two teamwork feats she knows. A Virgo is treated as being trained in Use Magic Device at 3rd level (with a skill check of class level + Wisdom bonus) and meets prerequisites as if she had ranks equal to her class level. At 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level she gains a bonus Item mastery feat (for which she must meet the prerequisites). A number of times per day equal to her Wisdom bonus, she may use an Item mastery feat without it counting against her maximum uses per day of that feat. At 20th level, she can use Item mastery feats as swift actions.

The virago gains no other class features. #QuickBaseClass