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 A Guide to Choosing Classes

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PostSubject: A Guide to Choosing Classes   Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:33 pm

Classes are just as important as your character's Race. Classes are basically what a character does in battle and is essentially their occupation/job. Each class has specific abilities and skills that they can use and draw upon.

There are a vast array of classes, so for the sake of being helpful and making it easier on players, we have taken the liberty of providing a list of Core Classes, Base Classes, Alternate Classes, and Hybrid Classes.

Core Classes
Core Classes are classes that are easier to play for beginners and are classes that every fantasy lover can recognize.

These classes are as follows:

  • Barbarian: For some, there is only rage. In the ways of their people, in the fury of their passion, in the howl of battle, conflict is all these brutal souls know. Savages, hired muscle, masters of vicious martial techniques, they are not soldiers or professional warriors—they are the battle possessed, creatures of slaughter and spirits of war. Known as barbarians, these warmongers know little of training, preparation, or the rules of warfare; for them, only the moment exists, with the foes that stand before them and the knowledge that the next moment might hold their death.
  • Bard: Typically masters of one or many forms of artistry, bards possess an uncanny ability to know more than they should and use what they learn to keep themselves and their allies ever one step ahead of danger.
  • Cleric: In faith and the miracles of the divine, many find a greater purpose. Called to serve powers beyond most mortal understanding, all priests preach wonders and provide for the spiritual needs of their people. Clerics are more than mere priests, though; these emissaries of the divine work the will of their deities through strength of arms and the magic of their gods.
  • Druid: Allies to beasts and manipulators of nature, these often misunderstood protectors of the wild strive to shield their lands from all who would threaten them and prove the might of the wilds to those who lock themselves behind city walls.
  • Fighter: Lords of the battlefield, fighters are a disparate lot, training with many weapons or just one, perfecting the uses of armor, learning the fighting techniques of exotic masters, and studying the art of combat, all to shape themselves into living weapons.
  • Monk: For the truly exemplary, martial skill transcends the battlefield—it is a lifestyle, a doctrine, a state of mind. These warrior-artists search out methods of battle beyond swords and shields, finding weapons within themselves just as capable of crippling or killing as any blade.
  • Paladin: Through a select, worthy few shines the power of the divine. Called paladins, these noble souls dedicate their swords and lives to the battle against evil. Knights, crusaders, and law-bringers, paladins seek not just to spread divine justice but to embody the teachings of the virtuous deities they serve.
  • Ranger: For those who relish the thrill of the hunt, there are only predators and prey. Be they scouts, trackers, or bounty hunters, rangers share much in common: unique mastery of specialized weapons, skill at stalking even the most elusive game, and the expertise to defeat a wide range of quarries.
  • Rogue: Life is an endless adventure for those who live by their wits. Ever just one step ahead of danger, rogues bank on their cunning, skill, and charm to bend fate to their favor. Never knowing what to expect, they prepare for everything, becoming masters of a wide variety of skills, training themselves to be adept manipulators, agile acrobats, shadowy stalkers, or masters of any of dozens of other professions or talents.
  • Sorcerer: Scions of innately magical bloodlines, the chosen of deities, the spawn of monsters, pawns of fate and destiny, or simply flukes of fickle magic, sorcerers look within themselves for arcane prowess and draw forth might few mortals can imagine.
  • Wizard: Beyond the veil of the mundane hide the secrets of absolute power. The works of beings beyond mortals, the legends of realms where gods and spirits tread, the lore of creations both wondrous and terrible—such mysteries call to those with the ambition and the intellect to rise above the common folk to grasp true might. Such is the path of the wizard.

Base Classes
A "Base Class" is any class with a full 20 level progression that does not have prerequisites for entry (as a Prestige Class does). Game Masters are encouraged to allow players to choose freely from these classes, but each GM must make a personal decision about what is and isn’t allowed in his campaign, and the relative prevalence of such character classes in his or her world. Each new class presents interesting new character themes and special abilities.

  • Alchemist: The alchemist is the master of alchemy, using extracts to grant him great power, mutagens to enhance his form, and bombs to destroy his enemies.
  • Cavalier: Mounted upon his mighty steed, the cavalier is a brave warrior, using his wit, charm, and strength at arms to rally his companions and achieve his goals.
  • Gunslinger: For a renegade few, battle sounds different than it does for the typical fighter. The clash of steel and the sizzle of spell energy are drowned out by the thunderous rhythm of gunfire—the pounding beat of the gunslinger.
  • Inquisitor: Scourge of the unfaithful and hunter of horrors, the inquisitor roots out the enemies of her faith with grim conviction and an array of divine blessings.
  • Magus: There are those who spend their lives poring over ancient tomes and texts, unlocking the power of magic, and there are those who spend their time perfecting the use of individual weapons, becoming masters without equal. The magus is at once a student of both philosophies, blending magical ability and martial prowess into something entirely unique, a discipline in which both spell and steel are used to devastating effect. As he grows in power, the magus unlocks powerful forms of arcana that allow him to merge his talents further, and at the pinnacle of his art, the magus becomes a blur of steel and magic, a force that few foes would dare to stand against.
  • Oracle: Drawing upon divine mysteries, the oracle channels divine power through her body and soul, but at a terrible price.
  • Summoner: Bonded to a mysterious creature called an eidolon, the summoner focuses his power on strengthening that connection and enhancing his strange, otherworldy companion.
  • Witch: Lurking on the fringe of civilization, the witch makes a powerful connection with a patron that grants her strange and mysterious powers through a special familiar.

Alternate Classes
Alternate classes are standalone classes whose basic ideas are very close to established base classes, yet whose required alterations would be too expansive for an archetype. An alternate class operates exactly as a base class, save that a character who takes a level in an alternate class can never take a level in its associated class—a samurai cannot also be a cavalier, and vice versa.

There are three alternate classes:

  • Antipaladin: Although it is a rare occurrence, paladins do sometimes stray from the path of righteousness. Most of these wayward holy warriors seek out redemption and forgiveness for their misdeeds, regaining their powers through piety, charity, and powerful magic. Yet there are others, the dark and disturbed few, who turn actively to evil, courting the dark powers they once railed against in order to take vengeance on their former brothers. It’s said that those who climb the farthest have the farthest to fall, and antipaladins are living proof of this fact, their pride and hatred blinding them to the glory of their forsaken patrons.
  • Ninja: When the wealthy and the powerful need an enemy eliminated quietly and without fail, they call upon the ninja. When a general needs to sabotage the siege engines of his foes before they can reach the castle walls, he calls upon the ninja. And when fools dare to move against a ninja or her companions, they will find the ninja waiting for them while they sleep, ready to strike. These shadowy killers are masters of infiltration, sabotage, and assassination, using a wide variety of weapons, practiced skills, and mystical powers to achieve their goals.
  • Samurai: Few warriors are more dedicated to honor and the code of the warrior than the samurai. Trained from an early age in the art of war and sworn to the service of a lord, the samurai holds a position of power and respect in many lands, often serving as the voice and justice of the local noble. The samurai takes on his training with zeal, learning the way of the blade (typically a katana), the bow, and the horse. Some even learn how to effectively use firearms, if they are available. The samurai is often the most trusted soldier in his lord’s employ. In him, the common folk see honor and sacrifice. He is an honorable warrior, dedicated to the realm and the leaders that guide it.

Hybrid Classes
Most heroes progress along a single path—choosing to become a fearsome fighter, pious cleric, or mighty wizard—but some are drawn to many roads. For them, it can be hard to find a balance between abilities offered by disparate classes. Hybrid classes solve this dilemma by blending features from two classes, adding rules to make them work seamlessly together.

Parent Classes: Each one of the following classes lists two classes that it draws upon to form the basis of its theme. While a character can multiclass with these parent classes, this usually results in redundant abilities. Such abilities don't stack unless specified. If a class feature allows the character to make a one-time choice (such as a bloodline), that choice must match similar choices made by the parent classes and vice-versa (such as selecting the same bloodline). The new classes presented here are all hybrids of two existing core or base classes.

The new hybrid classes are as follows:

  • Arcanist: A melding of sorcerer and wizard, the arcanist is an arcane tinkerer and spell-twister, reshaping magic to her whims. Players who like options and variety in their spellcasting should consider this class.
  • Bloodrager: Blending the wrath of the barbarian with the innate magic of the sorcerer, the bloodrager taps into his rage to create brutal magical effects. Players who enjoy eldritch savagery and want their magic to support them in combat should consider this class.
  • Brawler: Unifying two of the game's greatest pugilists, the fighter and the monk, the brawler forgoes mysticism and spiritual training to focus on raw physical mastery. Players who want to take on their opponents in fierce hand-to-hand combat should consider this class.
  • Hunter: Combining the natural skills and animal mastery of the druid and the ranger, the hunter teams up with a devoted animal ally to confront the enemies of the wilds. Players who want an animal companion to be their character's focus should consider this class.
  • Investigator: Mixing the alchemist's arcane insight with the shrewdness of a rogue, the investigator uses his knowledge and a wide range of talents to overcome any conundrum. Players who enjoy clever characters who are always prepared should consider this class.
  • Shaman: The occult mysteries of the oracle and witch combine in the shaman, an enigmatic spirit-speaker who calls upon powers from beyond. Players who seek new routes to eerie divine powers should consider this class.
  • Skald: The skald blends the passion and relentlessness of the barbarian with the voice of the bard, inspiring his fellows from the front lines. Players who want to both join their allies in battle and bolster their might should consider this class.
  • Slayer: Deft stalkers of the most dangerous prey, slayers merge the ranger's combat training with the rogue's crippling attacks. Players who seek to deal death from the shadows should consider this class.
  • Swashbuckler: Bringing together the martial mastery of the fighter and the style of the gunslinger, the swashbuckler uses fast weapons and bewildering melee skills to lay her opponents low. Players who enjoy quick, daring combatants should consider this class.
  • Warpriest: Adding a fighter's physical might to the force of a cleric's convictions, the warpriest strikes against enemies of his faith. Players who want to play a battle-hardened divine champion should consider this class.

Occult Classes
Beyond the worship of the divine and the studies of arcane scholars lies the mysterious terrain of the mind, accessed through psychic magic. Classes that draw upon psychic magic do so via innate mental abilities, whether they directly cast spells, create elemental effects, or focus psychic energy through objects. Members of these occult classes find themselves drawn to the strange and the hidden; they have connections to the timeless Astral Plane, the haunted bleakness of the Ethereal Plane, and the history of the Material Plane chronicled as psychic impressions in places and objects.

Psychic magic is a third type of magic that functions differently from arcane and divine magic. The occult classes' spell lists include many new spells allowing them to fully express their mental powers.

Occult classes all use psychic magic. In most cases, this means they cast psychic spells. The occult classes are as follows:

  • Kineticist: With a connection to the elements, a kineticist can bring forth energy in the form of kinetic blasts. Instead of casting psychic spells, the kineticist uses unique psychic spell-like abilities called wild talents to manipulate elemental energy and matter.

    Masters of the elements, kineticists wield a strange and ill-controlled power as their bodies strain to act as vessels for the roaring might of the Elemental Planes. A kineticist can manipulate the elements both in combat to destroy her foes and out of combat to aid her team. By straining her body past the limits of safety, she can increase her ability beyond what she can ordinarily achieve. If you want to play a mystical non-spellcaster who can pay a great personal price to boost her abilities in emergencies, you should consider playing a kineticist.

  • Medium: By contacting spirits in places of power, the medium allows the personalities of legendary heroes to overcome his own, vastly changing his abilities and spells. He holds seances to benefit himself and his allies.

    The Astral Plane is home to entities of thought that are shaped and empowered by tales of those who came before. The medium channels these legendary spirits, idealized versions of the original stories' protagonists, and uses the spirits' varied powers to change his own so he can fill any role a party might need. If you enjoy versatility and the ability to be exactly what the group needs in a given situation—as well as roleplaying interactions with spirits and the drawbacks of being influenced by them—you should consider playing a medium.
  • Mesmerist: A mesmerist's piercing stare lets him insinuate himself into other people's minds. A master of enchantment and illusion, the mesmerist controls and influences the behavior of others.

    Master mentalists and consummate liars, mesmerists use their eerie stares to weaken their foes and contingent hypnotic tricks to prepare their allies in advance for bad situations. The mesmerist fills the support role of the bard, but instead of strengthening and protecting his allies, he weakens and disables his foes. If you enjoy playing a skillful character who can support the party but are interested in shaking it up by being more on the offensive, you should consider playing a mesmerist.

  • Occultist: To make use of his powers, an occultist channels psychic energy into a varied collection of antiques and mementos with storied pasts. Every type of implement allows him to use a different school of magic.

    Steeped in esoteric lore but still strongly tied to the physical world and its trappings, occultists access magic through the power of their implements, which may be magic items or even ordinary objects with psychic significance, such as a saint's finger bone, a dagger used in ritual sacrifices, or a necklace belonging to the occultist's mother. With resonant and focus powers from his implements, plus psychic spells, a large set of skills, object-reading powers, and powerful binding circles, the occultist has something to add to almost any situation. If you enjoy playing a well-rounded character whose abilities revolve around a collection of unique items, you should consider playing an occultist.

  • Psychic: With her incredibly potent mind, the psychic can cast spells that are more powerful than those of members of any other occult class. She accesses these spells through a specific discipline, and can bend and amplify psychic spells as she casts them.

    Powerful and enigmatic, psychics are the primary spellcasters of the occult world, and the sole practitioners of certain psychic spells of great power. Each psychic approaches her magic through a chosen discipline that grants her special abilities, and her mastery of the art of phrenic amplification allows her to alter and adjust her spells on the fly to suit her needs. If you like playing spellcasting characters such as sorcerers and also enjoy versatility and tinkering, you should consider playing a psychic.

  • Spiritualist: Attuned to the spirits of the dead, a spiritualist forms a bond with a phantom—a returned spirit that has unfinished business but did not become undead. This spectral ally can alternate between forms, emerging from the safety of the spiritualist's mind to take on an incorporeal form or an ectoplasmic body.

    When the dead are chained to the mortal world by strong emotions, they inevitably descend toward the Negative Energy Plane, warping and twisting into undead. A spiritualist bonds with one of these spirits before that transformation is complete, providing a safe haven for this phantom and gaining a powerful servant in exchange. If you want a companion with the ability to switch between a variety of forms and even meld into your character's form to increase her options, you should consider playing a spiritualist.
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A Guide to Choosing Classes
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