Gestalt Prestige Class
Multiclassing doesn’t always work well in d20 games. Many class combinations work fine, but others end up giving the character that takes the wrong selection of classes too many weak abilities and not enough class features appropriate for their total character level.
There are two popular fixes to this issue. The first is prestige classes that are designed to allow two specific types of class to work together, such as eldritch knight and mystic theurge. These have shown to work reasonable well with narrow combinations of classes, but don’t work well for a broad range of otherwise-reasonable class combinations. The second option is to allow gestalt classes, where at every level the characters gets the best numeric option of the two classes (the best saving throw bonus, the best hit die, and so on), and all the spellcasting and special features of both classes. This obviously works well with any combination of classes, but is significantly overpowered compare to any non-gestalt character.
There should, of course, be a way to blend these two concepts, to create a prestige class that allows any two classes to be combined into an effective character, without being massively overpowered. This is an attempt at such a prestige class (with 14 levels, so your character can progress through a full 20-level campaign).
Gestalt Prestige Class
You have learned to blend two sets of training into one.
Prerequisites: You must have at least 3 levels in two different character classes.
Skill Ranks per Level: See the “custom skill progression” class feature.
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Customized attack bonus, favored class bonuses
hit dice, saving throws, skills; focus character classes
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 +1 focus character class level
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 +1 focus character class level
4th +3 +4 +1 +4 +1 focus character class level
5th +3 +4 +1 +4 +1 focus character class level
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 +1 focus character class level
7th +5 +5 +2 +5 +1 focus character class level
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6 +1 focus character class level
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 +1 focus character class level
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7 +1 focus character class level
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7 +1 focus character class level
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 +1 focus character class level
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 +1 focus character class level
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9 +1 focus character class level
The following are the class features of the gestalt prestige class.
Customized Attack Bonus: If both your focus character classes (see below) have the same base attack bonus progressions as one another, and it is different from the base attack bonus progression of the gestalt prestige class, this prestige class’s base attack bonus progression changes to match that of your focus character classes.
If both classes have base attack progressions that are different from each other and both different from (and better than) this class, this prestige class’s base attack bonus progression changes to match the slower of the base attack progressions from your focus character classes.
Customized Favored Class Bonuses: If either of your focus character classes (see below) is your favored class, the gestalt prestige class counts as a favored class for you. In this case whenever you gain a level in the gestalt prestige class and get a favored class bonus, you may take a favored class bonus from either of your focus character classes.
Customized Hit Dice: Add the maximum result of the hit die from each of your focus character classes, and divide by 2. This is the hit die size of your gestalt prestige class. (Note that odd-sized dice, such as d7s, can be found, such as from Impact! Miniatures).
Customized Saving Throws: Although the gestalt prestige class shows you have good Fortitude and Will saves and poor Reflex saves, at 1st level you may choose to instead have good reflex saves and make wither your Fortitude or Will saves poor. If you make this choice, switch the bonus to your Reflex and one other saving throw category that you gain from this prestige class. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed.
Customized Skill Progression: Add the skill points per level you gain from your focus character classes (see below), not including your Intelligence modifier, and divide by 2. You get that many skill points per level of gestalt prestige class, plus your Intelligence modifier, at each level. You do not gain any additional class skills.
Focus Character Class (Ex): Select two classes you have levels in which you can use to meet the prestige class’s prerequisites. These are now your focus character classes. Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed.
Using a proficiency, spellcasting option, or class feature from one of your focus character classes normally doesn’t invalidate or remove the ability to use a proficiency, spellcasting option, or class feature from your other focus character class. You can cast arcane spells from a focus character class in any armor you gain as a proficiency from another focus character class without worrying about arcane spell failure. You can follow a code or edict from one focus character class without being penalized for violating a code or edict from your other focus character class. You can use metal weapons and armor from proficiencies in one focus character class without losing the abilities of a class that forbids the use of metal weapons or armor.
Focus Character Class level (Ex): At second level you add +1 to your effective class for each focus character class when determining your spell level, spells known, spells per day, and class features (anything mentioned under the “Special” column of your focus class’s class table). You add another +1 at 3rd level, and every gestalt prestige class level thereafter.
Speaking of Gestalt
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When I get on a “old-school multiclass concepts for Pathfinder” kick I generally do several in a row as ideas rattle around in my head. So far I’ve done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/magic-user, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, druid/fighter, fighter/magic-user/thief, illusionist/thief, thief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon.
If we restrict ourselves to “legal” old-school multiclass combinations that means our list of options grows thin… but it DOES leave us the underrated druid/magic-user.
When looking at ways to do a dual spellcasting character in pathfinder official material gives us two broad routes. One is to create a prestige class, such as the mystic theurge, to try to make multiclass spellcasting less terrible and specifically combine arcane and divine classes. This route traditionally gives lots of spells-per-day, at the cost of little to no increase in class features. That works fairly well for a cleric-wizard combination, but not as well for anything wishing to build off the druid, which carries a great deal more of its class identity in class features.
The other option is to create a hybrid class, such as the arcanist or shaman. (Technically the hunter also combines two spellcasting classes, but the ranger’s spellcasting is so minor as to not have a major impact on the hunter’s DNA except to give it very early access to spells the ranger normally doesn’t get until the mid-game.) These methods generally give a more typical spellcasting power level, and can blend in class features, but don’t traditionally allow arcane and divine classes to combine.
However, given I think druid-based classes in particular need access to class features to feel druidic, I believe a hybrid class is the better route.
Druid/magic-users have one foot in the natural world, and one foot in the arcane world, and both color their worldview. A druid/magic-user must have a neutral element to her alignment, but cannot be true neutral.
Hit Die: d8
Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.)
Class Skills: The druid/magic-user’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Spellcasting
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3
3rd +2 +3 +1 +3 Eldritch bond
4th +3 +4 +1 +4
5th +3 +4 +1 +4
6th +4 +5 +2 +5 Woodland Stride
7th +5 +5 +2 +5
8th +6/+1 +6 +2 +6
9th +6/+1 +6 +3 +6 Bonus Feat
10th +7/+2 +7 +3 +7
11th +8/+3 +7 +3 +7
12th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8 Venom Immunity
13th +9/+4 +8 +4 +8
14th +10/+5 +9 +4 +9
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +5 +9 Timeless body
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +5 +10
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +6 +11 Bonus Feat
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +6 +11
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Second Bond
Proficiency: The druid/magic-user is proficient the following weapons: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear. She is also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form she assumes with wild shape (see below).
Druid/magic-users are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. A druid/magic-user may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. Druids/magic-users are not proficient with shields, but if they gain proficiency they must use only wooden ones.
A druid/magic-user who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to cast spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter. She can cast arcane druid/magic-user spells while wearing nonmetallic armor without suffering a risk of arcane spell failure. If she casts spells from other classes, she suffers normal ASF chances.
Prerequisites: The druid/magic-user treats her class level as her druid level and her wizard level for purposes of prerequisites.
Favored Class Bonus: If druid/magic-user is your favored class, you can take any favored class bonus that you would be allowed to take for the druid, shaman, or wizard classes, as long as it does not modify a class feature the druid/magic-user does not have.
Spells: The druid/magic-user casts spells drawn from the druid and wizard spell lists. When casting a spell from the druid spell list, it acts as a divine spell. When casting a spell from the wizard spell list, it acts as an arcane spell. If it is on both spell lists, the druid/magic-user selects whether it is arcane or divine each time it is cast. A wizard/magic-user’s bonus spells and maximum spell level cast are determined by her Wisdom score, while her spell DCs are determined by her Intelligence bonus. If using a feat or ability from a soruce other than this class that affects spells or spellcasting that has a calculation or check based on Intelligence or Wisdom (including any calculation that is part of a spell she casts, such as the ability check in detect poison), she may use the higher of the two scores.
A druid/magic-user keeps a spell fetish, which records all her spell knowledge. This follows the rules for a wizard’s spellbook, including weight and cost, but may take any of a number of forms. Many druid/magic-users carve their spell knowledge on sticks, or have long cords with informative knotwork, or store the information on fingerbones kept in a bag which can be arranged in many different ways. A druid/magic-user may learn spells from the spell fetish of other druid/magic-users, the spellbooks of wizards, or scrolls. Wizards cannot learn from the spell fetishes of druid/magic-users.
A druid/magic-user begins play with a spell fetish with all 0-level druid and magic-user spells, plus a number of 1st level spells drawn from the list equal to her Wisdom or Intelligence modifier (whichever is higher). At each new druid/magic-user level, she automatically adds one wizard spell, and a number of druid spells equal to her Wisdom bonus. These may be any spells of her choice of a level she can cast.
A druid/magic-user has spells per day equal to a wizard of her class level, and must prepare her spells in advance. Her spellcasting, spell recovery, and spell preparation otherwise follow the rules for a wizard.
Eldritch Bond: At 3rd level the druid/magic-user forms a special bond with the mystic forces of the universe. This bond takes one of three forms.
At 20th level, the druid/magic user selects a second bond.
Beast Bond: The druid/magic user gains an animal companion, as a druid 2 levels lower than her class level. The animal companion also gains the abilities of a familiar of a wizard 2 levels lower than her class level.
Change Bond: The druid/magic-user gains the transmutation arcane school, as the wizard class feature, treating her wizard level as 2 levels lower than her class level. Additionally, beginning at 6th level, the druid/magic-user can wild shape once per day (as the druid class feature) into a Small or Medium animal. This functions as beast shape I. At 8th level she can assume the form of a Large or Tiny animal, and the ability functions as beast shape II. At 10th level she can wild shape twice per day, and can assume the form of a Huge or Diminutive animal, and the ability functions as beast shape III. At 16th level, she can use this ability three times per day, and it functions as beast shape IV.
Elemental Bond: The druid/magic-user gains an elemental arcane school, as the wizard class feature, treating her wizard level as 2 levels lower than her class level. Additionally, beginning at 8th level, the druid/magic-user can wild shape once per day (as the druid class feature) into a Small elemental. The druid/magic-user can only take the form of an element matching her elemental arcane school. This functions as elemental body I. At 10th level she can assume the form of a Medium elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body II. At 12th level she can wild shape twice per day, and can assume the form of a Large elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body III. At 14th level she can assume the form of a Huge elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body IV. At 18th level, she can use this ability three times per day.
Woodland Stride, Venom Immunity, Timeless Body: These act as the druid class features.
Bonus Feat: At 9th and again at 18th level, the druid/magic-user gains a bonus feat. This must be a metamagic feat, and item creation feat, or a feat or ability a wizard may take in place of their bonus feat.
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A Pathfinder-compatible multiclass character concept. Definitely NOT a “classic” multiclass combo, but if the number of people I see playing monks with wands is any indication (and yes, I know it isn’t), this is a popular concept. Maybe you are from a post-apocalyptic future and have a martial art style named after a constellation. Maybe a monkey taught you to fight and do magic tricks. Maybe you punched a dragon in the heart while training. Who knows? You’re a spell-fist now.
Begin with Unchained Monk.
Your monk level counts as your sorcerer level for any prerequisites. Any monk class feature (or feat with special rules for monks) that makes calculations using Wisdom, instead use Charisma. Your base attack bonus uses the normal monk chart, rather than the unchained monk chart.
Force of Ki: When unarmed and unencumbered, you may use your Charisma modifier in place of your Dexterity modifier for any calculation that normally uses Dexterity, including your AC, Initiative Bonus, and ranged attack rolls. Additionally, when unarmored and unencumbered, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC, Initiative, and CMB and CMD at 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter.
This replaces the normal monk AC bonus.
Spells: You have spells known and spells per day as a bard of the same level, but you draw these spells from the sorcerer spell list. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 1st level, 2nd level, and every 4 levels thereafter and flurry of blows.
Spell-Fist: At 2nd level when you use Stunning Blow, you may replace the stunning effect with a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less. This spell must affect an area or one of more targets, and deal damage, require an attack roll, or force targets to make a saving throw. This spell affects only the target of your stunning first. Casting this spell does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If it is a melee touch spell, if your attack misses you retain the charge and may add it to the next unarmed strike your hit with, as long as you take no action beforehand that would cause you to lose the charge.
You do not gain the ability to add other effects to your stunning fist beginning at 4th level.
This ability modifies Stunning Fist.
Ki Pool: At 3rd level you can spend 1 ki to gain one additional attack when you take a full attack action, even if you are not using flurry of blows. This ability modified ki pool.
Flurry of Blows: At 10th level you gain flurry of blows, but treat your monk level as your spell-fist level -9.
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When I get on a “old-school multiclass concepts for Pathfinder” kick I generally do several in a row as ideas rattle around in my head. So far I’ve done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, druid/fighter, fighter/magic-user/thief, illusionist/thief, thief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon.
That doesn’t leave a lot of “legal” old-school combinations… but it DOES leave the dreaded cleric/fighter/magic-user!
When looking to combine the spell power of two of the most powerful spellcasters with the weapon and armor expertise of the fighter, there are two obvious places to begin – the magus, and the warpriest. Either makes sense as an opening class for a cleric/fighter/magic-user, but having built the druid/fighter off the magus yesterday I’m going to start with the warpriest this time.
A warpriest is a fine cleric/fighter, but obviously has no magic-user in it at all. It also has some things we can likely cut while still feeling fairly divinely-inspired and martial, which gives us room to expand its spell list and class features to include some wizardly material.
The cleric/fighter/magic-user is an archetype for the warpriest that also counts as a hybrid class of the cleric, fighter, and wizard classes.
Spellcasting: You cast spells drawn from the cleric and wizard spell lists. You cast cleric spells as divine spells, and wizard spells as arcane spells. You have access to all cleric spells of a spell level you can cast, but must add wizard spells to a spellbook as a wizard does. You begin play with a spellbook with all 0-level wizard spells, and a number of 1st level wizard spells equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. At each new class level, you can add any 1 wizard spell of a level you can cast to your spellbook. You otherwise learn new spells and scribe them into your spellbook as a wizard does.
Your Wisdom determines what level spell you can cast, your bonus spells, and the save DCs of any cleric spell you cast. Your Intelligence determines the save DC of any wizard spell you cast.
You can cast any spells you gain as a cleric/fighter/magic-user in armor without having to deal with arcane spell failure, but suffer normal ASFfor arcane spells you gain from other sources.
All your spells gained from this class (cleric and wizard) count as warpriest spells for purposes of other class features (such as fervor).
This modifies the cleric/fighter/magic-user’s spells.
Fight Smarter (Ex): A cleric/fighter/magic-user has learned to fuse his training with gods, spells, and fighting into a single art. At 1st level, you can add your Intelligence bonus, instead of your Strength bonus, to attack rolls and weapon damage rolls. When using a weapon that would normally only allow you to add half your Strength bonus to damage you may only add half your Intelligence bonus, but when using a weapon that would normally allow you to add x1.5 or x2 (or more) of your Strength bonus to damage, you can only add x1 your Intelligence bonus. (If your bonus to damage from Strength would thus be better than your bonus to damage from intelligence, you may use your bonus to damage from Strength.)
Additionally, treat your cleric/fighter/magic-user levels as fighter levels when meeting prerequisites for feats.
This ability replaces focus weapon and sacred weapon.
Domains and Schools: At 1st level you select one cleric domain granted by your god, and one wizard school. These have no effect on your spells per day, spells known, chance to learn spells, and so on. One of these selections is your primary selection, and the other is secondary. For your primary selection, you gain special abilities as if your cleric/fighter/magic-user level was your level in the appropriate class. For your secondary selection, you treat your cleric/fighter/magic-user -3 as your level in the appropriate class.
This ability replaces all minor blessings and sacred armor.
Bonus Feats: You gain a bonus feat at 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, as a normal warpriest does. In addition to combat feats, you may select from any item creation or metamagic feat you meet the prerequisites for as bonus feats.
This ability modifies bonus feats.
Spell Combat (Ex): At 10th level, you gain spell combat as the magus class feature. You can use it with any light or 1-handed melee weapon, or with your deity’s favorite weapon. If your deity’s favorite weapon takes 2-hands, you can cast spells when wielding 2-handed it as if you had one hand free.
This ability replaces major blessings.
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Yep, we’re back to doing old-school multiclass concepts for Pathfinder. 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-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, fighter/magic-user/thief, illusionist/thief, thief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon.
But we haven’t done a druid/fighter.
You could emulate a lot of druid/fighter builds with the hunter, but that saddles you with an animal companion, and doesn’t give you any wildshape. Plus, we already have a magus, so a true hybrid 9-level caster/fighter seems in reach.
The Druid/Fighter (Strider)
A strider is a magus archetype that also counts as a hybrid druid/fighter class. The strider has the following changes.
Armor Proficiency: The strider cannot wear metal armor or use a metal shield. A strider who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to cast strider spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter.
Spells: A strider knows all spells of the spell levels he can cast from the druid and ranger spell lists, rather than the magus spell list. She treats this as the magus class list for purposes of what class features and magus arcana work with her spells.
Unarmed Arcana (Su): At 3rd level a strider can apply any magus class feature that she could apply to a held melee weapon to her unarmed and natural attacks. (Once she can shapeshift this includes using spellstrike with natural attacks, though she would need Natural Spell to complete the verbal and somatic components of spells while using wild shape.)
This ability replaces the magus arcana gained at 3rd level.
Wild Shape (Su): At 4th level, a strider can wild shape as a druid of the same level.
This ability replaces spell recall, knowledge pool, improved spell combat, improved spell recall, heavy armor, greater spell combat, counterstrike, greater spell access, and true magus.
Natural Weapon Master (Ex): A strider can apply any feat she has taken that normally applies to only one weapon or one set of weapons to any natural attacks she has that would have been legal selections for the feat.
This replaces the bonus feat gained at 5th level.
Woodland Ways: Beginning at 6th level, a strider can select the following druid class features as magus arcana: wild empathy, woodland stride, trackless step, venom immunity, a thousand faces, timeless body. The strider must have a class level at least equal to the level that a druid gains the selected ability, and treats her class level as her druid level for such abilities.
A strider cannot select any magus arcana that duplicates a spell from the magus or wizard spell list (unless it is also on the druid or ranger spell list), or that involves gaining additional spells known, regaining spells, or using spells from other class lists with magus class features.
This ability modifies magus arcana.
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-paladin, cleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, fighter/magic-user/thief, thief-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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A warpriest archetype
A cleric/ranger does not gain proficiency with heavy armor.
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).
A cleric/fighter/thief does not gain a blessing at 1st level, or greater blessing at 10th level.
You do not gain the sacred weapon class feature.
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.
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.
At 1st level the cleric/ranger gains wild empathy as the ranger class feature.
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.
At 20th level the cleric/ranger gains the master hunter class feature of the ranger, rather than the aspect of war class feature.
Okay, so it’s back to Old School Character Concepts. I never played a cleric/fighter/rtheif that I can recall (though some of those games were more than 30 years ago, so I’m willing to believe I just forgot a character or two), but it interests me as another idea it’s hard to pull off in Pathfinder. Given there’s already a warpriest for cleric/fighters, it seems clear an archetype for that class is the way to build such a class.
A warpriest archetype
A cleric/fighter/thief does not gain proficiency with medium or heavy armor.
Your spell list includes all 0-6th level cleric spells and most inquisitor spells. You cannot cast spells that modify a class feature the cleric/fighter/thief does not possess (such as judgment).
A cleric/fighter/thief does not gain a blessing at 1st level, or greater blessing at 10th level.
You cannot use fervor to heal yourself or harm foes. You can still use it to cast a spell on yourself as a swift action.
You do not gain the channel energy class feature.
You do not gain the sacred weapon class feature.
You may, in place of a bonus feat, select a rogue talent (but not advanced talent). When selecting feats (even non-bonus feats), treat your warpriest level as your fighter level and your BAB for purposes of prerequisites. When selecting rogue talents, treat your cleric/fighter/thief level as your rogue level for prerequisites and calculations made by the talent. You cannot select a rogue talent that modifies a class feature you do not possess.
Divine Finesse Training (Ex)
At 1st level, you gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. In addition to the normal list of weapons it functions with, you can use it with your deity’s favorite weapon. In addition, starting at 3rd level, you can select any one typ e of weapon that can be used with Weapon Finesse (such as rapiers or daggers, though you may also choose your deity’s favorite weapon). Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed. Whenever you make a successful melee attack with the selected weapon, you add her Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to the damage roll. If any effect would prevent you from adding your Strength modifier to the damage roll, you do not add your Dexterity modifier. You can select a second weapon at 11th level and a third at 19th level.
At 4th level you gain sneak attack, as the rogue class feature. This increases by +1d6 at 8th level, and by an addition 1d6 every 4 levels thereafter.
The cleric/fighter/thief archetype for the warpriest mostly functions fine without any additional feats or talents, since it can borrow from those designed for fighters and rogues. But it seems a sneaky warrior of a deity out to have at least one trick that combines hurting, sneaking, and spellcasting up her sleeve. Thus, the Divine Retribution feat was born and presented (as least for now) as Patreon-exclusive content.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.