Friday, August 30, 2013

Advanced Class Guide Classes: Initial Thoughts

A few weeks ago at Gen Con, Paizo announced one of the products they plan to release next summer called the Advanced Class Guide. It will be a 256-page rulebook that will contain ten new classes, each a mix of two already existing classes, similar in many ways to the Magus class from Ultimate Magic. On Wednesday, Jason Bulmahn (the Lead Designer for Pathfinder) revealed six of the ten classes and I thought I'd give my initial thoughts on these classes and some predictions for some of the other classes that might show up in the final product.

Bloodrager: Basically, it will be a blend of the Barbarian and the Sorcerer. As the name implies, the class will be able to call upon their bloodline powers while raging and probably be able to cast spells as well. Many people on the boards believe the Bloodrager is going to be a full BAB class with a 4-level spell progression like the Paladin and the Ranger, and I think that's a pretty reasonable prediction. Personally, I think the concept sounds interesting enough and I want to see what it looks like mechanically, but I think the name just sounds stupid. While it fits the concept, "Bloodrager" just sounds like a cheesy metal band name to me.

Hunter: At first, I was really apprehensive to this class since I felt it was trying to fill a niche that frankly is already filled by the Ranger. I've always subscribed to the philosophy that you should only design a class when you can't play the niche without extensive multiclassing, taking a lot of feats, or advancing into a prestige class. However, after learning more about the class, its starting to sound like a more nature-based Inquisitor that also happens to have an animal companion. So, I've gone from strong apprehension to mild curiosity about the Hunter.

Shaman: This is one of the classes I'm looking forward to the most. I have always loved the idea of the Shaman class, dealing with spirits and other mystical forces and I love the Shaman class Kobold Press released as part of their "New Paths" series. While that class fills the niche really well, I'm kind of interested in seeing what Paizo does with the idea, and the fact that its a hybrid of the Oracle and the Witch makes me even more curious.

Slayer: I was rather apprehensive about this class as well when I first heard it, and I'm still somewhat apprehensive about it now. To me, it seems like they are trying to make a base class version of the Assassin that doesn't have to be evil and gets the Favored Enemy mechanic from the Ranger. My apprehension stems from the fact that you could really just pull this off with a Rogue archetype instead of a whole new class. However, I might be blown away when I see the mechanics and do a complete 180, so I guess I should reserve any actual judgments until the playtest for the class comes out.

Swashbuckler: This is, without a doubt, the class I am most excited about at the moment. I've mentioned before that I've always wanted an official Swashbuckler class for Pathfinder since there really is no good way to build the kind of character without a lot of multiclassing and taking levels in the Duelist prestige class. Also, I love the fact they are going to be using the Gunslinger's grit & deeds mechanic (calling it panache and hopefully basing it off Charisma instead of Wisdom to fit the theme better), which I think is a perfect fit for the concept.

Warpriest: To be honest, I think this class is being added to give those people who would like to play Paladins, but don't want to be Lawful Good an option. I think the idea could be interesting and think I'll remain on the fence about it until I see the mechanics. However, like the Bloodrager, the name Warpriest just seems weird to me. However, unlike the previous class, I can't figure out why. If I were to name the class, I think I'd go with Templar instead of Warpriest. Like some of the other classes, Templar has that real world context and I think it just sounds a lot cooler. However, to each their own I suppose.

As I mentioned before, there are still four classes that haven't been announced yet. I've seen a lot of people on the Paizo forums making some predictions about what those four classes will be and I thought it would be fun to throw my two cents as well. Here are some classes I personally would like to see in the book.

Artificer/Gadgetteer: This one would be a weird mixture of the Alchemist and the Summoner. Like the Alchemist, they would create items that replicate certain spells. However, instead of potions, they would create different devices and gadgets. However, it would also have a construct companion (based on the Summoner's Eidolon) that it creates at 1st level and "upgrades" as they advance in power.

Mountebank: In my head, this would be a Rogue/Wizard hybrid focused on enchantment and illusion spells. It would be similar to the Beguiler class from the later days of 3.5, using deception and a number of tricks to bypass obstacles. They would basically be magical con artists, and I think it would be a pretty fun class to play.

So, what do you guys think of the six classes that have been revealed? Are you excited for some of them, or are you more apprehensive? What are some of the classes you'd like to see in the book?