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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 Druidic Bard: The Anruth

Continuing my recent trend of looking at Old School Character Classes, I’m going to take a stab at an old favorite for a lot of folks. Back in the first edition of the game, there was a character class in the back of the main player’s book. Called a bard, it noted that the class had been modified since its original appearance (in materials prior to the codification of everything into a hardback book), and that GMs might not allow it. Taking the class also required a character to take levels in fighter, thief, and druid before they could take levels in bard.

Really, it was the precursor to later “prestige classes” that got codified in the third edition of the game.

This original bard is considered by many players to be very different from the Pathfinder version, at least in part because it gains druid spells rather than wizard-like bard spells. But also, the class could (at least early on) double in for fighters or rogues, continued to advance some of those skills, and focused as much on lore and leadership as it did music and charm. There’s at least one branch of players who miss the part of the bard that is more strongly associated with druids, Irish heroes, and the tradition of the fili who combined the functions of magician, lawgiver, judge, counsellor to the chief, and poet (before some of those functions were taken over by brehons becoming judges and druids being more aligned with supernatural roles).

Now obviously those Irish roots are only inspirations for either the original “druidic bard” or its modern replacement, or for that matter druids and various forms of fuchlucan. I am far from a scholar of Irish history, mythology, or culture, so any effort to capture the old “druidic bard” flavor is going to be similarly limited to inspiration and fantasy translations, with no claim of accuracy or even equivalency of any real-world terms.

Further, unlike things like the fighter/magic-user/thief I don’t want to just use the old name for this new take on the character concept. The bard in pathfinder is a popular and valid class, and not something I want to encourage people to replace. At the same time while the “druidic bard” had strong tied to the fighter, thief, and druid, I don’t want to build the new class as either a hybrid class or a prestige class. That leaves me wishing to create an alternate class for the bard, which means it needs a new name. Drawing from the same tradition as the fili, bard, druid, and fuchlucan, I’m naming this new alternate class the anruth.

Alignment: Anruth are trained to see all sides of a question, and to consider many different philosophies and moral systems. At least one element of an anruth’s alignment must be neutral.

Hit Die: d8

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

Class Skills: The anruth’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Table: Anruth
Level  BAB                Fort     Ref      Will     Special
1st       +0                    +2        +0        +2        Bardic knowledge, fighting spirit, versatile performance
2nd      +1                    +3        +0        +3        Anruth performance (1st pick), trapfinding
3rd       +2                    +3        +1        +3        Lore master 1/day, oral tradition, wild empathy
4th       +3                    +4        +1        +4        Bonus feat, sneak attack +1d6
5th       +3                    +4        +1        +4        Spell kenning 1/day, versatile performance
6th       +4                    +5        +2        +5        Anruth performance (2nd pick), lore master 2/day
7th       +5                    +5        +2        +5        Jack of all trades

8th       +6/+1              +6        +2        +6        Sneak attack +2d6, woodland stride
9th       +6/+1              +6        +3        +6        Lore master 3/day, spell kenning 2/day, versatile performance
10th     +7/+2              +7        +3        +7        Anruth performance (3rd pick),
11th     +8/+3              +7        +3        +7        Bonus feat, trackless step
12th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8        Lore master 4/day, sneak attack +3d6
13th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8        Spell kenning 3/day, versatile performance
14th     +10/+5            +9        +4        +9        Anruth performance (4th pick),
15th     +11/+6/+1       +9        +5        +9        Lore master 5/day
16th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10      Sneak attack +4d6
17th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10      Spell kenning 4/day, versatile performance
18th     +13/+8/+3       +11      +6        +11      Anruth performance (5th pick), lore master 6/day
19th     +14/+9/+4       +11      +6        +11      Bonus feat, timeless body
20th     +15/+10/+5     +12      +6        +12      Sneak attack +5d6, spell lore

Proficiency: The anruth is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and all light and medium armors.

Favored Class Bonus: If anruth is your favored class, you can take any favored class bonus that you would be allowed to take for the bard, druid, fighter, or rogue classes, as long as it does not modify a class feature the anruth does not have.

Spells: You are a spontaneous arcane spellcaster who gains the spells per day and spells known of a bard of the same level. Your class spell list includes all 0-6th level bard and druid spells, and all 1st-4th level ranger spells. You cannot learn a spell that modifiers a class feature the anruth does not possess (such as instant enemy, as you do not have the favored enemy class feature). Your Wisdom ability score determines the maximum level of spell you can cast, your bonus spells per day, and your spell DCs. Any spell you cast that uses Intelligence or Charisma as part of its calculations you may instead calculate using your Wisdom. You do not suffer arcane spell failure for your anruth spells while wearing light or medium armor. You suffer ASFP normally for shields or heavy armor.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex): At 1st level you gain bardic knowledge, as the bard class feature.

Fighting Spirit (Su): You do not depend on the might or your arm or the speed of your body when you fight. You fight from the heart, and it is that inner power that grants your attacks accuracy and potency. At 1st level you may use your Wisdom bonus in place of your Strength and Dexterity modifiers to determine your attack bonus and damage bonus with weapons, unarmed, and natural attacks. This bonus cannot exceed your anruth class level. If your Strength of Dexterity modifier is better, you can continue to use it. If an ability score modifier is normally halved or doubled (such as the Strength bonus to damage with two-handed weapons), you halve or double your Wisdom bonus when you use it instead.

Versatile Performance (Ex): As the bard class feature, but gained at 1st level, with an additional choice every 4 levels thereafter.

Anruth Performance (Su): At 2nd level you gain the anruth performance ability, allowing you to use your knowledge of sagas, lore, epics, poems, and songs of last ages to inspire, fascinate, or change the flow of battle. This functions as the bardic performance class feature (and counts as that ability for purposes of prerequisites and abilities that modify bardic performance), but you only receive a number of round per day equal to your class level plus your Wisdom bonus, and your performances always start your performance as a move action and maintain it as a free action.

You select a single form of performance you can create with your anruth performance from the following choices, each duplicating the performance ability of the ability of the same name from the class or archetype listed in parenthesis after the ability: distraction (bard), inspire courage (bard), or inspired rage (skald). |You also automatically gain the performance ability fascinate (bard).

At 6th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: devastating aria (diva), inspire competence (bard), song of marching (skald), or song of strength (skald). You also automatically gain the performance ability suggestion (bard)

At 10th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: dirge of doom (bard), inspire greatness (bard), scathing tirade (diva).

At 14th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: frightening tune (bard), song of the fallen (skald), or soothing performance (bard).

At 18th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: inspire heroics (bard) or mass suggestion (bard).

Trapfinding (Ex): At 2nd level you gain trapfinding, as the rogue class feature.

Lore Master (Ex): As the bard class feature, but the ability to take 20 on a Knowledge skill is useable once per day at 3rd level, +1 additional times per day every 3 levels thereafter.

Oral Tradition (Ex): At 3rd level, you can memorize magic writing for use by yourself, or to reproduce later. When you encounter a scroll, you can attempt to create a poem, song, or allegory that imbeds the information and magic of the scroll in your mind. This takes one hour per spell on the scroll, and removed the spell from the scroll. You can use these spells as you would when they were scrolls (including needing to make caster level checks for spells that are too high level, or UMD check for spells not on your class list), though used in this way the spells have a minimum casting time of 1 round. Once you use a spell from your oral tradition, it is gone. You can have a maximum number of spells from scrolls stored in oral traditions equal to your class level plus your Wisdom bonus.

You can recreate these spell scrolls by writing out the spell from your oral tradition, a process that takes 1 hour per spell and materials equal to 10 gp per spell level. Doing so removes the spell from your oral tradition.

Alternatively, you can store the magic of a magic book, tome, or manual. This takes half the time it would take to use the book or manual, and it counts as two spells toward your maximum number of spells stored in your oral tradition. This destroys the magic book. You can use the book or manual yourself from memory, exactly as if you were reading the physical book, and this removes it from your memory, Or you can create it, which takes as long as it took to record it into your oral tradition and materials costing 10% of the book’s cost. This also removes it from your oral tradition.

While the ability to store the magic writings of scrolls and tomes in your head is extraordinary, the effects created by such magic writings remain magical.

Your oral traditional also allows you to use your Wisdom modifier in place of your Intelligence modifier for Knowledge skills.

Bonus Feat: At 4th level you gain one bonus feat. You must meet the feat’s prerequisites, but treat your class level as your bard, druid, fighter, and ranger class level for purposes of this feat. You gain additional bonus feats at 11th and 19th level. Alternatively at each of these levels you may select a rogue talent (but not advanced talent). You must meet this talent’s prerequisites, but use your anruth level as your rogue level.

Sneak Attack: At 4th level you gain sneak attack, as the rogue class feature. It increased by +1d6 every 4 levels.

Wild Empathy (Ex): At 4th level you gain wild empathy, as the druid class feature.

Spell Kenning (Su): As 5th level you gain spell kenning, as the skald class feature, but it is useable once per day at 5th, plus one additional time per day at 9th level, plus once more per day every 4 levels thereafter.

Jack of All Trades (Ex): At 7th level, you can use any skill, even if the skill normally requires you to be trained. At 13th level, you consider all skills to be class skills. At 16th level, you can take 10 on any skill check, even if it is not normally allowed.

Woodland Stride (Ex): At 8th level, you gain woodland stride, as the druid class feature.

Trackless Step (Ex): At 11th level you gain trackless step, as the druid class feature.

Timeless Body (Su): At 19th level you gain timeless body, as the druid class feature.

Spell Lore (Sp): At 20th level, your mastery of lore and mysteries expands your spell repertoire even further. Add one additional spell known at each spell level you can cast, drawn from the bard, cleric, druid, ranger, or sorcerer/wizard spell list. These spells are considered to be on your class spell list, as well. Also, select one 7th level spell from one of these spell lists. You can cast that spell once per day as a spell-like ability, using your Wisdom bonus to determine any of the spell’s calculations normally based on Intelligence or Charisma.

Patreon

While I simply grabbed existing forms of performance for the various anruth performance options, and that works great, it occurred to me that there might be at least one option an anruth should have other performance-using classes don’t: shame.

So I wrote up a shaming performance for the anruth and put it up on my Patreon as (for the moment) 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

I can only take the time to write whole new classes because I have patrons, who support me. want more of this stuff? Check out my Patreon!

Fantasy Khanda for Pathfinder

Welcome to more things inspired by Forged in Fire. I already did a full fantasy Pathfinder version of the fascinating Akrafena (and a quick conversion for the Ida on my Patreon), both swords I was introduced to by the television show Forged in Fire. Given how cool many of the weapons they feature on that show are, I decided to do another one. And while doing so, I thought I would explore the design space created by using odd-sided dice (d5s, d7s, and so on) such as those available from Impact Miniatures.

This is an effort at a fantasy pathfinder version of the Khanda, a weapon from India with deep ties to various religions and philosophies. I am certainly not an expert on India, its history, or its religions. This is a game option inspired by the real-world history of the weapon, and is designed to be no more accurate than the Pathfinder versions of the longsword or falchion.

The Khanda is a one-handed martial weapon that is a double-edged straight sword, with a blade that widens near the tip (which is blunt). A Khanda’s grip guard is sufficiently encompassing to allow the weapon to deal damage as a gauntlet (though it still counts as a one-handed, rather than light, weapon). The blade has a reinforcement partway along the back, which is both stronger and dull (allowing the weapon to be grabbed at this point to reinforce the user’s grip for parrying powerful blows). A Khanda often has ornate religious iconography on its guard and blade, and a masterwork Khanda can act as a holy symbol for one specific deity.

Cost 20 gp     Weight 4 lbs.

1-handed: Dmg (S) 1d5     DMG (M) 1d7     Crit 19-20, x2  blocking, reinforced, trip

Reinforced: Reinforced weapons have their hardness increased by +1, and their hp increased by +25%.

Patreon Exclusive

While I was playing with odd-dice design spaces, I invented a new weapon, the “light bastard sword,” inspired by nothing but mathematical possibilities. It’s currently a patron-exclusive bit of content over at my Patreon.

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Fantasy Akrafena for Pathfinder

So, I am a huge fan of the show “Forged in Fire.” And, to my surprise, they sometimes forge weapons I am unfamiliar with. One of those is the Akrafena.

I can’t claim to be a scholar of the Akrafena, though I am fascinated by what little I have learned so far. So this is only a stab at a fantasy version of the weapon, no more accurate than the Pathfinder versions of the longsword or falchion.

Akrafena

The Akrafena is a sword with a curved blade roughly 2-1/4 feet long with heavy round elements in the handle, and cut-outs within the blade. It can be wielded as a 1-handed martial weapon, but if Exotic Weapon Proficiency is taken with it, it also can be used as a 2-handed weapon with different damage dice (noted below). Additionally, the markings on an Akrafena and how it is carried can convey information about its use and the intent and position of its user. Anyone with Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Akrafena) can make a single special Bluff check to convey a specific message about their intent and status when they strap on an Akrafena each day. Only people with 1 or more ranks in Knowledge (nobility) and those who also have Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Akrafena) can receive this message. The character wishing to send this message can make a base attack bonus check, rather than a Bluff check, to make the desired message clear.

Cost 40 gp     Weight 8 lbs.

1-handed: Dmg (S) 2d3     DMG (M) 2d4     Crit 19-20, x2
2-handed with EWP: Dmg (S) 2d4     DMG (M) 1d4+1d6     Crit 18-20, x2

Patreon

I also have a Patreon, which helps me continue to offer this free content, and has some exclusive material as well. In this case, I made a quick rule set for another weapon from the show, the Ida.

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New Pathfinder Race: Medusine

I was working in a design space on how to create a new PC race without having to create a huge number of race-specific options, such as favored class bonuses, traits, and so on. And in doing so, I accidentally wrote a whole race. So, here it is.

Medusine

Though normally all children of a medusa are themselves medusa, there are exceptions. Sometimes a parent who was petrified for a long time by a medusa before being saves has children who have snaky hair and intense eyes. Sometimes the original divine curse that created medusa sparks back to life in a minor way, creating lesser medusa-like creatures. Sometimes a medusa gains a desire to have a different form, and becomes a parent while polymorphed into another form, and the offspring is not entirely free of the original medusa bloodline.

These are the medusine.

Medusine appear to be tall, attractive, lean men or women with amazingly bright eyes (often green, but also sometimes red, yellow, silver, gold, or flat black), with snakes for hair. Some have exclusively snake hair, while others have a mix of serpents and normal follicles.

Medusine are Medium humanoids with the medusine subtype.

Ability Scores Medusine have -2 Str, +2 Wis, and +2 Cha.

Medium Medusine are Medium, and have a 30 ft. movement rate.

Elflike/Humanlike (Ex) Select elf or human. You gain that as a subtype, in addition to your medusine subtype. You count as a member of this race for prerequisites and can take the race’s favored class options. You can Disguise yourself as a member of that race out of combat with a DC 10 Disguise check by concealing your hair serpents. A close examination reveals this disguise, and if you make an attack or are hit by an attack, your serpent’s reactions makes your medusine nature obvious.

Serpents (Ex) Your hair serpents can bite your foes. You can choose for your unarmed attacks to deal lethal piercing damage, in which case they do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Additionally if you drink a dose of injury poison, and make a successful save against it, you do not suffer any effect from the poison. Instead it becomes a dose of poison you can inject into a target with a successful unarmed strike using your serpents. You can only have one such dose of poison ready at a time—drinking a new dose and making the save replaces any previous dose.

Stoneproof (Ex) You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against petrification. Once you make a successful save against a specific source of petrification, you are immune to that source for 24 hours.

Stunning Gaze (Su) A number of times per day equal to your level, as a standard action, you can attempt a stunning gaze. This is a gaze attack, but it affects only a single creature within 60 feet you can see and that can see you. Stunning gaze forces a foe to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Cha modifier). A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn). A stunned character drops everything held, can’t take actions, loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, and takes a –2 penalty to AC. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be stunned.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Of course, just because the medusine don’t NEED race-specific options, doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some. I sketched out two such options as exclusive content (meaning only that this is the one place it’s available for the moment) over at my Patreon.

Check it out!

Tailorthurgy

I don’t know if I have a lot of tailorthurgy spells in me, but one came to mind.

Bundle Up

School abjuration; Level bard 0, cleric 0, occultist 0, shaman 0, sorcerer/wizard 0, witch 0

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target one outfit

Duration 1 hour

Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

You cause one touched outfit to grant to its wearer the benefits of any one other outfit with a base cost of 10 gp or less. It retains any of its normal benefits. An outfit can only have a single bundle up spell on it at a time. If a new bundle up spell is cast on an unattended outfit, it replaces any older bundle up spell. If a new bundle up is cast on an outfit someone is wearing, the wearer knows what outfit benefit the spell grants the outfit, and can choose to allow the new spell to take effect, or not.

Only worn items referred to in their title as outfits benefit from this spell.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Okay, while writing that one MORE came to mind, the repattern spell, which I opted to offer as exclusive content to my patrons.

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Castle “Vania” Whip Feat

No, I’m not going to explain that title. 🙂

Just a new whip feat, inspired by a game, and its anime.

Whip Wield

You can wield weapons. You can wield whips. You can wield weapons using whips.

Prerequisites: Improved Whip Mastery, Weapon Focus (whip), Whip Mastery, base attack bonus +2.

Benefit: As a move action you can use your whip to grab a light bludgeoning or slashing melee weapon appropriate for your size, that you are proficient with, that is in your possession or within your threatened range and unattended. (Alternatively you can also use this feat with an appropriate weapon you have disarmed from a foe.) You can make attacks with this weapon using the range of your whip and using any feat that applies to your ship, but deal damage with the weapon and all its relevant feats and abilities. If you have the same feat for both whip and wielded weapon (such as Weapon Focus), you can only apply one of the feats. You cannot use Improved Whip Mastery to hold any other item with your whip while it has a weapon grabbed. If you roll a 1 on an attack roll using Whip Wield, the light weapon it had grabbed falls in a randomly determined space adjacent to you.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Given how fast anime heroes tend to wade through low-level foes, and how easily spellcasters can deal with such foes with mid- and low-level spells, I also added a “Slay” feat over at my Patreon.

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The Ogre of Battle

Spurred on by a discussion where someone suggested monster tactics as a product line, I took a quick pass at looking at some tactics for iconic monsters, to see if I think they can be useful and generic enough to make a good product. I’m not convinced wither way yet, but sharing my first draft seemed a great way to test the waters. Thus, here I present my ideas for ogre tactics. As the first giants PCs are likely to run into, ogres make a good stand-in for all Large humanoids, though obviously things like spell-like abilities and rock-throwing may give true giants better options. (Or you could use this with ogres that have orc ferocity, and call them orrocs!)

First, many GMs intentionally give ogres terrible tactics because they have an Intelligence of 6. But remember that this is three times as smart as a wolf. Would the smartest wolf you can conceive of make the bad tactical choice you are considering? No? Then neither should an ogre. Further their typical Wisdom of 10 and the fact they have Perception as a skill suggests ogres can recognize and analyze a situation even if they may do a terrible job describing it with good grammar. Certainly an ogre can recognize a spellcaster, see the issue with allowing foes to heal, know when to press the attack o have one unconscious foe and one healthy foe as preferable to two injured foes who can both fight back, and so on.

Indeed, recognizing spellcasters will often drive ogre tactics. With reach (which you can augment with various options below) an ogre has a decent chance of being able to strike a spellcaster in melee, and an ogre should know that they let their guard down when they cast spells, so desire to keep spellcasters close enough that they must cast defensively to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity from the ogre.

If facing foes without reach, an ogre with no adjacent enemies can safely attempt combat maneuvers against foes 10 feet away without provoking attacks of opportunity, and their Large size and high Strength makes them reasonable likely to succeed. Tripping foes can help with battlefield control (especially as the foe is likely to provoke an attack of opportunity when it stands), and disarming an enemy at least reduces the chance of suffering a full-attack action.

Some tactics are more like customizations, in that they move the ogre away from the base stat block of the bestiary, while staying a legal monster build.

Even if using slow progression, an ogre should average 550 gp of treasure, There is no need for this to all be gold and gems it hoards away in a pocket to be looted off its body. An ogre can have some of its treasure as gear it might use. As simple a choice as allowing it to carry a Large longspear (10 gp) gives the ogre an impressive 20 foot melee range, and it can drop the weapon and draw its greatclub if needed. With that much reach melee foes might well feel the need to risk a charge, and that means the ogre can brace to receive charge. (If this seems likely, consider a boar spear, which costs the same and gives a bonus to AC in that situation).

Similarly a Large heavy crossbow (100 gp) may only fire once every two rounds, but it gives the ogre a much heavier, longer-range initial punch. Since an ogres hide armor proves it is proficient with medium armor, upgrading to a Large breastplate (400 g, though it can save by not also buying Large hide armor for 30 gp) gives it +2 AC. A cure light wounds potion, thunderstone, tanglefoot bag, or other alchemical weapons can also increase it’s flexibility in battle, and are useful to 3rd level PCs as treasure.

If using multiple ogres, one throwing javelins and one with a boar spear can be an effective ranged-combat options until PCs manage to close in. If you have three or more ogres, you might consider giving one a kumade (which is a simple weapon with the grapple special weapon property) or a sickle (a simple weapon with the trip special weapon property) to keep foes worried about combat maneuvers.

If considering adjusting the ogre’s feats, Toughness can generally be swapped out for better choices. Improved Iron Will makes the ogre less likely to be defeated with a single bad Will save, or Power Attack gives it an excellent trade off of damage for a little reduced accuracy. If your campaign allows retraining, consider having two or more ogres with the Crowd Control teamwork feat to make it harder for foes to get inside their reach. If an ogre is going to be alone, the Desperate Battler feat may be useful.

And Now, A Tactical Mention of my Patreon

I have a patreon, I helps me justify the time spent writing all this free content. Sometimes it even has bots of exclusive bonus content. Go check it out!

The Martial Summoner

The summoner (in either its standard or unchained form) is a neat idea that allows a broad range of spellcasters with odd allies. Taught magic by a demon? Half-sister-sorcerer to a celestial badger? Gnome magician who can call forth creatures from the fey realm? The summoner has you covered.

But, weirdly, characters in fiction with a strong bond to a strange creature often AREN’T spellcasters. The child that bonds to an enormous monster. The orphan with a monster from under his bed. The knight with a monstrous steed. Those would all work well as summoners, if it weren’t for the total lack of any other sign of spellcasting power.

Enter, the martial summoner.

The martial summoner is a simple alternate class (or, arguable, a really invasive archetype) that keeps the eidolon and many related powers, but gives up 6 levels of spellcasting ability in favor of more sturdiness and combat-related abilities.

Eidlon

The martial summoner (which can be based on standard or unchained summoner) retains the eidolon, life link, bond senses, shield ally, maker’s call, transposition, greater shield ally, and merge forms ability and gains them as the same class levels. The eidolon may take the Mount and Large evolutions at 1st level, even though these require 5 evolution points and it only has 3. This does not reduce the cost of those evolutions, just allows 1st-3rd level martial summoner eidolons to gains these abilities using all their evolution points. The martial summoner’s eidolon recovers a number of hit point equal to double its HD the first time each day it is summoned.

The martial summoner does not gain any other summoner class features.

Base Statistics and Proficiencies

The martial summoner’s Fortitude save upgrades to be good, she gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor, and all shields except tower shields. It gains 6 skill points/level, and may select any eight skills as class skills.

Martial Power

At 3rd level, the martial summoner gains one of the following benefits of the character’s choice:
*The arcane pool class feature as a magus 2 levels lower than her martial summoner level.

*The favored enemy (and later favored terrain) class features as a ranger 2 levels lower than her martial summoner level.

*The judgement class feature as an inquisitor 2 levels lower than her martial summoner level.

*The rage class feature (though no rage powers) as a barbarian 2 levels lower than her martial summoner level.

Soothing Presence

At 5th level, the martial summoner can grant her eidolon fast healing 1 for a number of rounds equal to double her class level once per day. She can use this ability twice per day at 10th level, and one additional time per day every 5 levels thereafter. The fast healing increases to fast healing 2 at 7th level, and by one more at 11th level and every 4 levels thereafter.

Unbreakable Team

At 7th level the martial summoner gains any one teamwork feat she meets the prerequisites for as a bonus feat. Her eidolon also gains this bonus feat. She gains an additional bonus teamwork feat at 9th level, and every two levels thereafter.

Second Martial Power

At 10th level the martial summoner can select a second martial power option, but this one functions with an effective class level equal to her martial summoner level -9.

Swift Call

At 16th level, once per day the martial summoner can perform the ritual to summon her eidolon as a full-round action.

True Martial Power

At 20th level, the martial summoner’s 3rd level martial power now functions using her full class level, and her 10th level martial power functions using her class level -5.

Patron Exclusive!

Over at my Patreon page, I had a thought for a single one-point evolution for a martial summoner’s ediolon which is currently available only to Patreon backers.

Check it out!