First-Class Archetypes

December 31st, 2012

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

            It’s a new year (or, at least, it will be tomorrow), and a time of new beginnings. And nothing says “new beginnings” like 1st-level characters, which is why today marks the beginning of First Level Week, a week devoted to the lowest rung of adventuring (but one of the ones seen most frequently at the table).

            For today’s article in particular, I’ve got a number of archetypes designed specifically to let you start seeing their effects in the very first level of play, and with an overall concentration of abilities at lower levels, rather than higher ones.



New Barbarian Archetype
Reckless Charger

            It may be true that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but these mighty warriors are confident rushing into any situation, counting on their battle prowess to get them back out again if things get too hairy.

            Reckless Charge (Ex): Whenever a reckless charger takes the charge action, she may choose to make a reckless charge. If she does, she may move up to three times her movement speed, rather than up to twice her movement speed. She also gains a +2 bonus on any damage rolls made as part of a reckless charge, in addition to the normal bonus on attack rolls, though she suffers an additional -2 penalty (for a total penalty of -4) to AC as a result.

            This ability replaces the fast movement class feature.

            Heedless Charge (Ex): At 2nd level, a reckless charger is able to charge through situations others could not. She may move through squares that slow movement or contain creatures as part of a charge action (she still cannot charge if one of the squares she would travel through blocks movement, as normal). In the case of squares that slow movement, her movement is slowed accordingly, and she must still have enough movement to reach her target, or she cannot charge. In the case of squares that contain creatures, if those creatures are hostile to the reckless charger, she must make an Acrobatics check to move through their square, as normal. If she fails the check, her movement is stopped and she is unable to complete the charge.

            This ability replaces the uncanny dodge class feature. At 5th level, when the reckless charger would normally gain improved uncanny dodge, she gains uncanny dodge, instead.



New Bard Archetype

            While the saying might be “jack of all trades, master of none,” these canny dilettantes are capable of drawing on their areas of expertise in any circumstance, and give even so-called masters a pretty good run for their money.

            Dabbler (Ex): A generalist may not be a master of every skill, but he’s pretty good with them in a pinch. A number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), a generalist can gain a bonus equal to 1/2 his class level on any skill check, and can make that skill check untrained, even if he would not normally be able to. The generalist must declare that he is using this ability before making the skill check.

            This ability replaces the bardic knowledge class feature.

            Play to Your Strengths (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, a generalist can draw upon his talent in one field to cover for a lack of talent in another. Once per day, when he would make a skill check of any kind, he may choose to use his bonus from a different skill that uses the same ability score modifier (for example, he could use his bonus to Knowledge [arcana] instead of his bonus to Appraise, or he could use his bonus to Profession [sailor] instead of his bonus to Heal). The generalist must declare that he is using this ability before the check is made. At 6th level, and every 6 levels thereafter, the generalist can use this ability one additional time per day.

            This ability replaces the versatile performance class feature.



New Cleric Archetype
Channeling Conduit

            Though all clerics are in some way a conduit for their deity’s influence in the world, a channeling conduit is more closely attuned to the forces that power her magic, and can draw on those energies directly more frequently.

            Spontaneous Channeling (Su): A channeling conduit can “lose” any prepared spell that is not an orison or a domain spell in order to channel energy. This functions identically to the channeling conduit’s channel energy class feature (including whether the energy channeled is positive or negative), except that the amount of damage healed or damage dealt is equal to 1d6 per level of the spell that was lost, and the saving throw DC (if applicable) is equal to 10 + the spell’s level + the channeling conduit’s Charisma modifier. The channeling conduit may use this ability once per day per spell level (for example, she could sacrifice one 1st-level spell, one 2nd-level spell, and one 3rd-level spell, but not two 2nd-level spells, etc.).

            This ability replaces the spontaneous casting class feature.



New Fighter Archetype
Exotic Weapon Master

            These warriors know the value of exotic weapons—not only can such weapons be powerful in their own right, but their very nature makes them unusual, and therefore makes it easier to catch one’s opponent off-guard. As such, he trains with exotic weapons of every sort.

            Weapon and Armor Proficiency: An exotic weapon master is proficient with all simple, martial, and exotic weapons, as well as with all armors and shields, except tower shields.

            Bonus Feat: An exotic weapon master does not gain a bonus feat at 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, or 12th-level.

            Exotic Fighting (Ex): At 4th level, an exotic weapon master becomes an expert at taking advantage of the unusualness of his weapons, wielding them in exotic ways which catch his foes off-guard. He gains a +1 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 bonus on damage rolls for attacks made with exotic weapons. These bonuses do not stack with Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Greater Weapon Focus, or Greater Weapon Specialization.

            At 8th level, the bonus on attack rolls increases to +2, and at 12th level, the bonus to damage increases to +4.


            You may notice that these classes are listed alphabetically, and clustered pretty close to the beginning. That’s because there’s more archetypes coming, but the article was too big! Next week I’ll have four more new archetypes, to round out (at least the majority of) the core classes. Until then, enjoy this week’s first-level festivities, and have a happy new year!