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.
This Post Brought to By:
Seriously, this amazing-looking Kickstarter campaign (which I have nothing to do with) supported me through my Patreon, and earn themselves this plug! Go check it out, and see if it looks like something you want to support! You have until September 9!
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. 😀
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.
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!
A Modest Alternate Hybrid Class: The War-Locke
So, what if we decided to use the bloodrager as the basis for an extensive archetype (*one that rose to the level of alternate class) to trade out sorcerer- and barbarian-like abilities in return for fighter-like abilities and retaining basic spellcasting? As a thought experiment, we’ll call this the war-locke. As with any archetype, we need to look at each swap-out individually, to make sure we don’t create a more powerful class. So we’ll look at what fighter class features we want to add, and what bloodrager features we need to lose to gain them. Let’s see if we can tack on all fighter abilities when they are gained for the fighter, as a starting point.
Skills. Bloodragers get 11 class skills. Fighters get 10. I think you can swap those lists with no increase in power, and obviously keep the 4 skill points/level.
Armor and weapon proficiencies. Bloodragers get light, medium, and shields other than tower shields, and can cast in light and medium. I think we’ll just leave that alone for our fighter-like archetype. If you want heavy armor, take the proficiency and deal with the ASF.
Fighters get bonus feats beginning at 1st, and have a total of 11 over 20 levels. Bloodragers get 5 bonus bloodline feats. We can also trade in fast movement, uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, indomitable will, and tireless bloodrage to make the trade 11 feats for 10 feats & abilities at least some of which are provably better than equivalent feats. That looks like a fair trade.
Bravery is much maligned, but it’s not terrible. We don’t want to give up anything gained at the same level you first get bravery, but we can give up the 1st level bloodline power, which is at least as good, on average. As bravery increases, we can also give up the bloodline power gained at 8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th. That clearly covers the benefits of bravery.
Armor training comes in for the fighter the same time blood sanctuary does for the barbarian. That’s 1 better armor check penalty and max Dex to AC, AND movement at full speed in medium armor, compared to a untyped +2 bonus against saves cast by the PC or allies. +2 is nothing to sniff at though it’s only going to come up when allies peg you in an area… but then increased max Dex to AC isn’t always helpful. Still, that seems like armor training 1 is slightly better.
When armor training 2 comes in, the bloodrager gets a bloodline spell (we’ll handle DR separately, in a minute). A bonus 1st level spell is nice, but it’s not as good as full speed in heavy armor plus a reduced armor check and increased max Dex.
Armor training 3 stacks against greater bloodrage. Greater bloodrage is the clear winner here. So much so we can use that to cover armor training 4, as well.
That still leaves an imbalance at 4th and 7th. But if we decide we trade in the bloodline powers gained at 4th, and all bonus spells, that clearly makes up for any power gap.
Weapon mastery is offensive and so is rage, so let’s compare those two. The berserker ability for the viking fighter archetype tells us that weapon mastery 1, 2, 3, and 4 are as good as the ability to rage as a barbarian 3 levels lower. Since the bloodrager class has a bloodrage ability that is as good as barbarian rage, we can call that an even swap. So get rid of rage, and add weapon mastery.
Armor mastery vs barbarian DR is tricky, since so few archetypes remove it from the barbarian, or add it to the fighter. The savage barbarian replaces DR for an AC bonus when not wearing armor… but that archetype also has naked courage (which is clearly better than trap sense), which suggests that’s NOT an even swap. There isn’t a magic armor ability that gives you DR/–, though invulnerability does DR 5/magic (which is pretty good against monsters, but not humanoids) for a +3 cost, and adamantine full plate gives you DR 3/– for 15,000 gp (roughly the same cost as a +3 bonus laired onto existing +1 magic armor, though the stacking issue makes this murky). Still we can likely safely call that a wash and just sap them out.
Weapon mastery looks like a fair swap for mighty bloodrage.
We give up any ability to take bloodrage- or bloodline-related feats or abilities or prerequisites in trade for counting as a fighter for fighter-only feats and prerequisites.
So what does that leave us?
The war-locke, a class with all a fighter’s special abilities, almost as much armor, more skills, and 4 levels of casting. And Eschew Components. Perfectly balanced for Pathfinder. I’d even allow war-lockes to take fighter archetypes, as long as the archetype didn’t give up heavy armor or tower shield proficiency.
Feel free to swap the bloodrager spell list for magus (spell levels 1-4 only, obviously).
(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support more free material!)