Last week was First Level Week, and, as a result, I made four archetypes for core classes which were designed specifically so that they made at least one change at 1st-level, and with an overall aim of having most of the changes be “weighted” towards earlier levels. I didn’t do all of the core classes, though—I skipped the druid, which doesn’t lend itself very well for that particular project—and I also promised that I would be back today with more early-level archetypes. And so I am. But I won’t keep you in suspense. Here are four more archetypes designed to matter as early as 1st level.
New Monk Archetype
While all monks develop their bodies into seemingly superhuman hardness and are capable of great feats of athletic prowess, iron-body warriors specifically devote themselves to being as tough as possible, in order to withstand nearly any attack.
AC Bonus: An iron-body warrior adds his Constitution modifier to AC and CMD, rather than his Wisdom modifier. Additionally, the +1 bonus to AC he gains at 4th level (and subsequent increases to this bonus) is a natural armor bonus. As such, it does not apply against touch attacks, but the iron-body warrior does not lose it if he is immobilized or helpless, nor does he lose it when he carries a medium or heavy load.
He still loses both bonuses if he wears a shield or armor of any kind. The natural armor bonus stacks with all other natural armor bonuses.
This ability modifies the AC bonus class feature.
Kiai Strike (Ex): Starting at 1st level, an iron-body warrior can make a kiai strike as a full-attack action. When doing so, he makes a single melee attack with either his unarmed strike or a special monk weapon (kama, nunchaku, quarterstaff, sai, shuriken, and siangham). The iron-body warrior suffers a -2 penalty on the attack roll, but, for the purposes of this attack, the monk’s base attack bonus is treated as being equal to his monk level, and, if the attack hits, he rolls the damage dice for the attack twice and adds the results together before adding bonuses from Strength, weapon abilities (such as flaming), precision-based damage, and other damage bonuses. Further, for the purposes of a kiai strike, the iron-body warrior always adds twice his Strength modifier to the damage roll, regardless of whether the weapon he’s using is wielded in the offhand or is wielded using both hands.
At 6th level, the iron-body warrior no longer suffers a -2 penalty on the attack roll when making a kiai strike.
At 10th level, the iron-body warrior rolls the damage dice for the attack three times and adds the result together, instead of rolling them twice.
At 14th level, he adds three times his Strength modifier to the damage roll, instead of twice his Strength modifier.
At 18th level, the iron-body warrior rolls the damage dice for the attack four times and adds the result together, instead of rolling them three times.
This ability replaces the flurry of blows class feature.
Bonus Feat: In addition to the bonus feats that can be selected by any monk, an iron-body warrior may select one of the following feats: Diehard, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Improved Great Fortitude, and Toughness. The iron-body warrior must still meet any prerequisites of the feat in question.
Adamantine Body (Ex): At 13th level, an iron-body warrior gains damage reduction 5/adamantine.
This ability replaces the diamond soul class feature.
New Paladin Archetype
Archon of Justice
Archons of justice do not possess the standard smite evil ability of most paladins. Instead, they can wreathe their weapons in holy energies that can be even more debilitating to evil creatures, but which do not last as long.
Blessed Blade (Su): Beginning at 1st level, an archon of justice can make a holy strike. As a swift action, the archon of justice can bathe a single weapon she is holding in holy energy, causing it to be more effective against evil creatures. If she does, then until the end of her next turn, whenever she attacks an evil-aligned creature, she gains a bonus on the attack roll equal to her Charisma bonus, and adds her paladin level to the damage roll. Additionally, during this time, if the weapon successfully hits an evil-aligned creature, that creature must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the archon of justice’s paladin level + the archon of justice’s Charisma bonus) or be dazzled for one minute.
At 4th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be shaken for one minute, instead of dazzled.
At 7th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be dazed for 1 round, instead of dazzled for one minute.
At 10th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be frightened for one minute, instead of dazzled.
At 13th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be blinded for 1d6 rounds, instead of dazzled for one minute.
At 16th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be exhausted for 1d4 rounds, and then fatigued for 1 minute, instead of dazzled for one minute.
At 19th level, if an evil creature fails its saving throw, the archon of justice may choose to have it be stunned for 2d4 rounds instead of dazzled for one minute.
The archon of justice may use this ability three times per day at 1st level. At 3rd level, and every two levels thereafter, she gains an additional daily use of this ability.
This ability replaces the smite evil class feature.
New Ranger Archetype
Big Game Hunter
Big game hunters specialize in taking down the largest and deadliest of prey. As a result, they are at their best when going up against creatures much deadlier than themselves.
Challenge Seeker (Ex): A big game hunter gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls on attacks made against creatures whose CR is one or more higher than his total class levels (including levels from other classes). For every two additional points by which the creature’s CR exceeds this amount, this bonus increases by an additional +1.
At 6th level, and every 6 levels thereafter, the initial +1 bonus (but not the additional bonus for creatures of exceptionally high CRs) increases by an additional +1, to a maximum of +4 at 18th level.
Additionally, at 8th level, the big game hunter adds this bonus to her AC and CMD against attacks and combat maneuvers made by such creatures, and at 15th level, the big game hunter adds this bonus to saving throws made to resist the spells, spell-like abilities, supernatural abilities, and extraordinary abilities of such creatures.
This ability replaces the favored enemy class feature.
Beasthunter (Ex): Big game hunters usually get their start hunting animals and similar creatures, and so are especially skilled at slaying these creatures. A big game hunter gains a +1 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival checks against creatures of the animal or magical beast type. Additionally, for the purposes of identifying animals and magical beasts, the big game hunter is treated as having a number of ranks in the appropriate Knowledge skill equal to his ranger level. Finally, the big game hunter gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls made against animals and magical beasts. This bonus stacks with the bonuses granted by the challenge seeker class feature.
This ability replaces the wild empathy class feature.
New Rogue Archetype
Slippery blades forgo the standard sneak attack abilities of most rogues in order to focus on being able to deliver their underhanded strikes on their own terms, rather than waiting for an opponent to make a mistake.
Underhanded Strike (Ex): As a swift action, a slippery blade can put herself in position to get past the defenses of a single adjacent creature. If she does, then until the end of her turn, any attacks she makes against that creature are resolved as touch attacks. Additionally, until the end of her turn, the slippery blade gains a bonus on all damage rolls made against the target equal to her rogue level. Creatures immune to precision damage are immune to this additional damage, but attacks made against such creatures while under the effects of this ability are still resolved as touch attacks. The bonus damage is not multiplied in the event of a critical hit.
With a weapon that deals nonlethal damage (like a sap, whip, or an unarmed strike), a slippery blade can make an underhanded strike that deals nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. She cannot use a weapon that deals lethal damage to deal nonlethal damage in an underhanded strike, even if she takes the usual –4 penalty.
At 1st level, the slippery blade may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Intelligence modifier. At 6th level, and every 6 levels thereafter, she gains an additional daily use of this ability.
This ability replaces the sneak attack class feature.
Master Strike (Ex): This ability functions identically to the rogue class feature, except that the bonus applies whenever the slippery blade deals damage with an underhanded strike, rather than when she deals damage with a sneak attack.