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Every once in awhile, you get that urge to make that perfect character. But how do you do it? Will you copy fictional works and go for a Conniving Thief? How about a Stupid Bard?

Perhaps you will try to do something less overdone than a Drizzt Do'urden clone, or perhaps you will choose a simple meat shield fighter to give your wizard less to complain about. Either way, here is an incomplete list of published classes and prestige classes. Good luck.


Note: For the iconic characters based on some of these classes, see Pathfinder Iconics. Back to the main characters page.

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Pathfinder Classic

Core Classes

Veterans of Dungeons & Dragons would recognise these familiar faces; these are the core eleven classes that have formed the basis of many a tabletop campaign for years. Able to utilise them thanks to D&D's open licence policy, Pathfinder takes these iconic classes and adds their own spin to them, adding a number of improvements that add power and versatility to them, and since the game's inception they have been further enhanced with a plethora of archetypes that allow you to play them however you want.


A brutal berserker warrior that uses raw savagery and passion to hew down all that stands in their way, most associated with primal and barbaric lands beyond the reach of civilization. The barbarian is a non-magical Glass Cannon character, capable of hitting hard and fast, but not as adept at soaking up damage as its cousin, the Fighter. It emphasizes attack over defense and is better at evading or shrugging off effects, through straightforward hitpoint damage will drop it faster than the Fighter.

  • Badass Normal: No magical powers, but can still compete against all of the mystical monsters and creatures. Some archetypes avert this and include magical buffs, though.
  • Berserk Button: The Hateful Rager archetype loses some general access to Rage for the Favored Enemy ability, and abilities allowing the Hateful Rager to rage more easily/effectively by fighting their Favored Enemy.
  • Barbarian Hero: The bog-standard Barbarian is assumed to be one of these, naturally.
    • Emphasized by the True Primitive archetype, which represents a barbarian from the most primeval, savage cultures — Stone Age type cultures, indeed.
    • Zigzagged by the Urban Barbarian (specialized in fighting with barbarian abilities adapted for use in the city) and Armored Hulk (specializes in wearing armor whilst raging) archetypes.
  • The Berserker: As is standard depiction for the Barbarian in roleplaying games. The class revolves around its "berserker rage" class feature. The Wild Rager takes it Up to Eleven and is designed as being even more of a crazy, frothing-mad berserk maniac than the standard barbarian.
  • BFS: Barbarians tend to carry the biggest weapons they can in general, be it swords, axes, hammers or anything else, since their specialty is dealing as much damage as quickly as possible. The emphasis of the Titan Mauler archetype, which is a barbarian whose specialization in fighting much larger creatures such as giants and dragons has led them to developing techniques for wielding the absolute biggest weapons they can. This results in humans carrying and wielding weapons that are designed to be used two-handed by creatures one size category larger than it.
  • Character Alignment: invokedAs in Dungeons & Dragons, Golarion's barbarians cannot be Lawful in alignment, as the rage inside of them is incompatible with it.
  • Covered with Scars: The Scarred Rager archetype always is, and actually gains powers based on them; they're so used to getting hurt and toughing it out that they can ignore certain debilitating effects and cancel bleeding damage. They're also much better at intimidating others because of all the scars they have.
  • Creepy Souvenir: The True Primitive archetype has a class feature called "Trophy Fetish", which lets them make talismans from the teeth, bones, hair or other remnants of vanquished enemies, which can be attached to the barbarian's armor or weapons to grant an enhanced effectiveness.
  • Death Glare: One of the "rage powers" that a barbarian can take is Intimdating Glare, which lets them shoot one of these against an adjacent foe to demoralizing them temporarily.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Some of their rage powers clearly go a little beyond the natural, causing the barbarian to sprout horns, claws, and wing, or allowing them to sever magical powers.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Savage Barbarian archetype throws armor out and grants the Barbarian dodge bonuses and natural armor.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Body Bludgeon rage power allows a barbarian to use a grappled opponent as a makeshift club.
  • The Horde: The Pack Rager archetype specialises in fighting in groups of likeminded allies.
  • Hot-Blooded: The Barbarian's special skillset is their rage, which they learn to use in various ways to enhance their physical and mental prowess.
  • The Power of Hate: The barbarian's Rage lets them tap into superhuman physical and mental feats due to the sheer power of their rage and hate.
  • In a Single Bound: Certain rage powers allow a barbarian to make prodigious bounds and leaps across the battlefield.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Savage Technologists of Numeria are barbarians who use technological devices, including fighting with Sword and Gun.
  • Made of Iron: As they level, barbarians naturally get untyped damage reduction, reducing the damage by any non-magical source that can't be mitigated. There are several rage abilities and at least one archetype devoted towards improving this further.
  • Man Bites Man: The Feral Gnasher archetype reflects a barbarian so savage and vicious they specialize in biting their enemy to death. Needless to say, it is most common amongst monstrous races, such as goblins and gnolls. One of their powers, 'Animal Fury', grants a raging barbarian a bite attack.
  • The Nose Knows: One of the rage powers a barbarian can take gives them the scent special quality whilst raging, which allows them to track other beings by their scent. The Primal Scent rage power increases the effectiveness of their scent power.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: The Titan Mauler archetype has a class feature called Jotungrip that allows them to wield two-handed weapons in a single grip. In a bit of sanity, this does not overlap with their Massive Weapons feature; a human Titan Mauler could wield a human-sized greatsword in one hand, or wield a giant-sized greatsword in two hands, but he could not wield a giant-sized greatsword in one hand.
  • Sizeshifter: The most powerful class feature unique to the Titan Mauler is the Titanic Rage, which lets them mimic the effects of an Enlarge Person spellnote  on themselves for the duration of their rages.


Wandering entertainers who weave together magic and music into a single skillful whole. With a diverse array of skills and abilities, Bards are a difficult class to define. They typically aim for shoring up weak spots in the overall party, or else focusing their abilities on an area that the party lacks. Their innate tie-in with the diplomatic skills, not to mention their innate ability to manipulate emotions and minds, makes them excel in the role of the Party Face.

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: There's an archetype actually called the Archaeologist in Ultimate Combat. It has a Luck Manipulation Mechanic, can take Rogue Talents, and has special abilities relating to perception, dodging, disabling devices and detecting traps.
  • The Beastmaster: The Animal Speaker archetype. It has natural affinity with the Handle Animal ability, Speaks Fluent Animal, can cast the Summon Nature's Ally spells, and their two unique types of bardic performance are performing a Pied Piper routine by summoning rat swarms via music and actively using Music Soothes the Savage Beast.
  • Casting a Shadow: The Shadow Puppeteer archetype does this, and their chosen bardic medium is, as one might suspect, using shadow puppetry.
  • Celebrity Star: One of the Bardic archetypes in Ultimate Magic is actually called the Celebrity. Its basic class feature is being famous in a given area, giving a bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks in that area.
  • Charm Person: The Bard's forte, to the point that they can use their Magic Music to create such effects of varying levels without actually spending their spells. The Animal Speaker archetype is instead able to do this to animals.
  • Dance Battler: The Dervish Dancer archetype is this trope played straight. The related Dawnflower Dervish archetype, on the other hand, specializes in dances that invoke their magical spells, especially healing spells.
  • The Dead Can Dance: One archetype is the Dirge Bard, who is essentially a bardic necromancer — a performance unique to them is the Dance of the Dead, which animates zombies and skeletons through the power of the Bard's music.
  • Geisha:
    • There's an archetype named this in the Ultimate Magic sourcebook. It even has the ability to perform a tea ceremony to boost those who partake with assorted benevolent effects.
    • A second archetype, the Lotus Geisha from the Dragon Empires Primer of the Players Companion line, has the ability to enrapture onlookers with their performance.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: They have a few abilities that encourage them to spread out their builds instead of focusing:
    • They gain a bonus to all knowledges, allowing them to attempt any knowledge check.
    • They have medium progression in both magic and combat, allowing them to flex between the two.
    • They have a large number of skill points and eventually gain all skills as class skills (giving them a bonus if it's invested in at all)
  • Magic Music: Quite literally. Though the archaeologist archetype loses most of the actual music part, being thematically more of a magical rogue (they do still have the need for words in their magic).
  • Making a Splash: The Watersinger archetype has the ability to manipulate and control water via their Magic Music.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Sound Striker archetype specializes in dishing out sonic damage. Its unique bardic performances invoke Words Can Break My Bones.
  • Necromancer: The Dirge Bard archetype dabbles in this, first gaining bonuses relating to Necromancy, then a dance that reanimates dead bodies and bones to fight for them.
  • The Prima Donna: The Chelish Diva archetype is based around this concept and, as the name implies, is even tied to the In-Universe Opera traditions of Cheliax. Their 2nd level class feature is even called Prima Donna, and allows them to spend additional rounds of their bardic performance to augment their countersong, deadly performance, fascinate, frightening tune and scathing tirade special performance styles.
  • The Red Mage: The fundamental idea behind the Bard is that it can fight with weapons and cast healing, offensive, buffing and debuffing spells, all at the same time.
  • Shout-Out: The Silver Balladeer archetype is one to Silver John.
  • The Speechless: The Mute Musician showcased in Horror Realms can't speak or for that matter sing, but they can do instrumental Bard performances that use silence to great and terrible effect.
  • Swashbuckler: The Daredevil archetype essentially falls under this, favoring quick wordplay, dashing swordplay, clever repartee and acrobatic feats.
  • Troll: The spirit is alive and well with the Dragon Yapper, a kobold-focused Bard archetype that specialises in annoying the hell out of people with its yapping, yammering songs.
  • Utility Party Member: While they don't have as many skill points as the Rogues, Bards have several class abilities that make them excellent skill monkeys in their own right, such as being able to make all Knowledge checks untrained. A multiclassed Rogue/Bard is a popular skill monkey build.
  • White Mage: The Songhealer archetype specializes in the bard's healing magic.


Servitors of the gods who wield divine magic to spread their influence upon the world. With access to all of the various spells of divine magic, Clerics excel at augmenting and healing the party.

  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Averted deliberately with the Cloistered Cleric archetype, which is based upon/inspired by the actual monks of Medieval Europe. It trades armor and weapon proficiencies, and a significant amount of spellcasting ability, for knowledge-related perks (bonus to Knowledge checks in general, bonus to checks relating to written things, ability to help others pass skill and ability checks by giving them instructions).
  • Always Lawful Good: Averted, clerics can devote themselves to any divinity regardless of that divinity's alignment. As such, you can play as a cleric of a demon lord or a god of torture just as easily as you can be a cleric to a god of law or love.
  • Church Militant: The default cleric archetype is proficient with light and medium armor, has a decent attack bonus, and is proficient with their deity's favored weapon. Clerics of gods such as Iomedae, Sarenrae, and Gorum especially tend to be this.
    • The Mendevian Priest archetype emphasizes the warrior aspect of the Cleric's abilities, and is thematically associated with the ongoing crusade against the Worldwound.
    • One of the archetypes from Ultimate Combat is actually called the Crusader.
  • Easy Evangelism: There's an archetype called the Evangelist who focuses on spreading the good word by any way they can, up to and including Knocking on Heathens' Door. They tend to have a fairly high success rate... well, that's only to be expected, given they have the ability to spontaneously cast all of the clerical Charm Person type spells — Command, Enthrall, Suggestion, Greater Command, Geas/Quest, Mass Suggestion, Sympathy and Demand. They can also spontaneously cast the Tongues spell, making them an Omniglot, so they can preach to anyone they meet.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Forgemaster clerics gain a number of metal-focused spells in their arsenal.
  • The Fundamentalist: Clerics of the Theologian archetype tend to be this, as they focus intensely on a single particular area of their patron god's religion. The Seperatist archetype, meanwhile, also tends to be this, as they are dedicated to forging a new branch of their parent religion.
  • Necromancer: The Undead Lord archetype is a Clerical necromancer, always devoted to deities who have power over death and the undead.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • Clerics of Calistria, Lamashtu and Urgathoa all tend to be this way. Calistria is the goddess of lust and thusly supports prostitution; a cleric may have been - or may still be — a prostitute. Lamashtu's portfolio covers miscegenation and perverse fertility, and thusly she commands her faithful to have children as often as possible, with no mandate towards monogamy. Urgathoa's holy creed encourages her followers to be a particularly dark form of The Hedonist, and thusly sleeping around is quite common for her clerics — at the same time, though, she expects those who married to stay together for eternity. Divorce is not allowed. Killing your no-longer-wanted spouse and reanimating them as an undead slave is A-OK, though.
    • Expanding into clerics of the less-prominent deities, the clerics of two empyreal lords can fit this trope as well - those of Arshea (god/goddess of, among other things, sexual freedom) and Lymnieris (god of, among other things, prostitutes). Both of these deities are Good-Aligned ones as well (Arshea's Neutral Good while Lymnieris is Lawful Good ), providing an interesting contrast to the examples above.
    • Expanding further to clerics of Demigods, this trope would almost surely apply to Clerics of the Demon Lord Nocticula, who is the Demon Lord of Lust and Darkness. However, Nocticula has a particularly horrifying twist to her; she is concerned with the darkest aspects of Lust, and as such she is gleefully worshiped by rapists, sexual sadists, and other sexual criminals, and she takes immense pleasure in what they do, cruel sadist that she is herself. Now apply this to her clerics, and remember they have access to Charm Person spells and other forms of magic...
  • Religion Is Magic: Their spells come from their faith in their patron god(s).
  • The Strategist: The Divine Strategist archetype.
  • Spell Blade: The Forgemaster archetype specializes is being able to imbue arms and armor with temporary magical abilities by drawing magical runes on them. This averts Instant Runes, though, as it takes a full-round action to craft a single rune.
  • Unequal Rites: The Hidden Priest archetype ultimately plays into this trope, as its basic concept is a Cleric who disguises themselves as an arcane casters in order to avoid being recognized as a cleric. Equally common amongst worshippers of the various Gods Of Evil and amongst worshippers of more benevolent deities who are working in regions dominated by a Religion of Evil, or who have to travel in the more anti-theistic kingdoms.
  • Walking the Earth: The Varisian Pilgrim archetype is based on the concept of a Cleric who spends most of their time travelling from place to place, worshipping on the move rather than at stable temples.
  • White Mage: The Merciful Healer archetype loses access to a lot of the combat-related abilities of the class, but is really, really good at healing people.


Mystical servants of the forces of nature. Though capable of mimicking the Cleric's role to an extent, the Druid's ability to summon and communicate with animals, assume far more physically imposing bestial forms, and command the loyalty of a mighty animal companion make it far more suited to direct combat.

  • Animal Motif: Many archetypes specifically associate themselves with one kind of animal, and get powers relating to this animal. Examples include apes, bats, boars, dinosaurs, dragons, and sharks.
  • The Beastmaster: Druids have a number of spells relating to summoning or otherwise interacting with animals, and class features that let them talk with animals, become animals, and form a bond with a Loyal Animal Companion.
  • Character Alignment: invokedAs in Dungeons & Dragons, Druids must be Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral or Neutral Evil in alignment.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: Invoked by the Menhir Savant archetype, which erects these in order to manipulate Ley Lines, which it can tap into for various powers.
  • Druid: Well, yeah.
  • Elemental Powers: Certain archetypes focusing on bonding with one element in particular over plants, elements and nature as a whole. The Sky Druid, for example, is a Druidic Air Elementalist, with powers revolving around flying creatures and learning to fly. The Undine Adept, meanwhile, is a Water Elementalist Druid.
  • Elemental Shapeshifting: The high level Druid has the ability to shapeshift into elementals as well as animals.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: One archetype from Ultimate Magic is the Saurian Shaman, who draws upon the powers of dinosaurs and even has dinosaur animal companions.
  • Green Thumb: The Treesinger archetype, which specializes in communicating with and controlling plants.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: A part of the standard class abilities, though various archetypes will modify this somehow. Treesingers can have killer plant companions instead. Pack Lords have multiple companions at the same time.
  • Lunacy: The Mooncaller archetype specializes in powers drawn from the moon and its cycles.
  • Nature Hero: Their power (spell casting and Wild Shape) comes from nature, much as a Cleric's comes from their god. They also get a set of abilities themed on surviving in nature.
  • Plant Person: A Treesinger druid can shapeshift into plants and plant monsters instead of animals.
  • Raised by Wolves: A possible origin for druids. The Feral Child archetype, infact, specifically represents Druids who acquired their natural powers by being raised by a specific kind of animal, forsaking shapeshifting for a more potent animal companion and bestial-focused abilities.
  • Reincarnation: The focus of the Reincarnated Druid archetype, who tends to consistently reincarnate and focuses on embodying nature's eternal powers of renewal. From fifth level on, this druid automatically reincarnates whenever slain, so long as they haven't died more than one time in the past seven days.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Druids are likely to avert this in general, but the Naga Aspirant archetype really averts it; these druids revere the human-headed Snake People known as Nagas, and eventually transform themselves into one permanently.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: By default. Specialist archetypes usually can only communicate with specific kinds of animal — Aquatic Druids that can only talk to aquatic animals, for example. The Treesinger changes this for the ability to instead talk to plants.
  • Summon Magic: One of the class's specialties.
  • Threatening Shark: The Shark Shaman draws upon the powers of sharks and seeks to emulate them, complete with the eventual ability to turn into a Shark Man (or Shark Woman, depending on gender).
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Via the Wildshape class ability, Druids can transform into various animals.
  • Walking the Earth: There's an archetype dedicated to it called the World Walker.
  • Weather Manipulation: The specialty of the Tempest Druid, which is most associated with the Sodden Lands, wracked as they are under a permanent hurricane. The Storm Druid has a similar power set.


Masters of arms in all shapes and sizes.

  • Armor Is Useless: Averted, as Fighters naturally make better use of armor than other martial classes which might equip similarly heavy armor. With enough practice, a sufficiently skilled fighter can outright ignore the penalty their armor provides, meaning they can be just as nimble and deadly while constantly improving their protection. Averted even harder by the Armor Master archetype, which focuses on mastering the usage of shields and the heaviest armor possible to attain a veritably impregnable defense.
  • Badass Normal: Lacking spellcasting or divine blessing, a Fighter carves their place out of the world using only ludicrous amounts of practice and martial skill. Advanced Weapon Training maneuvers can border on supernatural, but remain entirely mundane. They're just that good.
  • BFS: The Titan Fighter archetype allows fighters to wield weapons one size category larger then them. Like the Titan Mauler Barbarian archetype, they can't wield two-handed weapons one-handed.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The basic principal of the Fighter is that it can, theoretically, keep up with spellcasters of all stripes through sheer training and dedication.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Advanced Player's Guide introduced the idea of dirty trick combat manuevers, which are based on fighting this way. The Dirty Fighter and Cad archetypes specialize in using these dirty tricks, as one might expect.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: A criticism of the class is that its combat oriented nature, lack of special abilities, and lack of diverse skills, all it's really good for is "hitting things really hard." Fighters can have difficulty finding an identity outside of combat, although the Fighter's simplicity also makes it excellent for new players. The Tactician archetype in particular gets a lot more skills and benefits for out of combat.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Foehammer archetype, obviously, specializes in wielding hammers. It even gains the ability to do a Shockwave Stomp type attack with its Ground Breaker ability, where they smash the ground with their hammer so hard that they knock over anyone adjacent as the crack the ground and turn it into difficult terrain.
  • Dumb Muscle: Fighters can play this straight or avert this as they choose, but one archetype, the Tactician, specifically focuses on averting it, as it's a Fighter who specializes in using their brains and tactical knowledge to control the battlefield.
  • Gladiator Games: There's a Gladiator archetype in Ultimate Combat.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Brawler archetype specializes in grappling and close-ranged combat, as well as mentally harassing their opponent. Meanwhile, the Unarmed Fighter archetype specializes in using its bare hands to fight.
  • Heavy Equipment Class: Not only are Fighters were proficient in all Martial Weapons, they were also the dedicated heavy-armor class via the Armor Training class feature, which reduces ability check penalties for wearing heavier armor sets. Even more importantly, Armor Training lifts the movement speed penalty of medium and heavy armor (at Fighter levels 3 and 7, respectively), giving fighters an unmatched combination of defense and mobility.
  • Implacable Man: The Unbreakable archetype is all about being one of these.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Tower Shield Specialist archetype, as the name suggests, focuses on using a tower shield to make the fighter almost impossible to hurt.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Several of the Fighter's archetypes centre around getting the most bang for your buck with a given loadout, such as getting as many attacks as humanly possible with two weapons, turning into a big, scary ball of numbers with a two-handed weapon, and so on. The Crossbowman archetype, however, specializes and even requires using readied actions with a crossbow to deal realiable damage, with bonuses to attack and other little gimmicks. It's one of the rare builds that actually capitalizes on taking the Vital Strike feat tree, for better or worse. You'll never deal as much damage as a normal Fighter, but the fact that you can very easily disrupt Wizards and other classes that don't like being hurt during spellcasting alone makes it a niche option.
  • Shout-Out: Ultimate Combat introduces the Dragoon archetype for fighters, which specializes in using spears and lances and making powerful leaping attacks. Very much like the Dragoon class that has appeared in multiple games for Final Fantasy.


Mystical martial artists who seek to hone body, mind and soul into a perfect fighting force.

  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: As always, this is the basic precept of the class.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Monks gain special bonuses to let them emulate this trope.
  • Celibate Hero: One of the Heroic Vows that a Monk can take is the Vow of Celibacy, which requires abstaining from all sexual and intimate physical activities. The Monk takes it Up to Eleven compared to the Paladin; they refuse to share a room with another person, sleep on the opposite side of the camp from the rest of the group, and are forbidden from even touching others or allowing others to touch them — combat is, thankfully, a valid exception, but all peaceful or pleasurable contact must be shunned, including receiving helpful touch-delivered spells.
  • Chained by Fashion: One of the Heroic Vows that a Monk can take is the Vow of Chains, which requires that the Monk always wears shackles on their wrists and legs, binding their limbs together.
  • Character Alignment: invokedAs in Dungeons & Dragons, Monks must be Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil. Averted by the Martial Artist Archetype, who has no alignment restrictions.
  • David Versus Goliath: The Underfoot Adept archetype reflects a monk who specializes in fighting much larger opponents, particularly by tripping them up and dodging them. It is most common amongst halflings.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Terra-Cotta Monk archetype has some limited geomantic abilities; their Sudden Adit ability lets them create passages through stone and dirt, their Petrifying Strike turns victims to stone, and the misleadingly named Rainmaker ability allows them to collapse cavern roofs more or less at will.
  • Drunken Master: One of the "archetypes" (alternate/variant classes) is this. It even has the ability to gain temporary "drunken ki" by drinking alcohol, and some of its class powers require that the monk has at least one point of "drunken ki" before they can be used.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Ultimate Combat introduces a lot of these, including ones based on genies. One archetype, the Master of Many Styles, is explicitly dedicated to seeking out and learning as many as they possibly can.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The Monk itself is effectively an example of this that gets by on Grandfather Clause. Ultimate Combat takes it further by adding actual archetypes based on, and named after, martial arts terms and styles from Japan; from the innocuous Martial Artist, to the Sensei, Sohei and Tetori.
  • Hates Being Touched: A Monk with the Vow of Celibacy does, because they break their oath and lose all their ki powers if they ever allow someone to touch them in a non-violent fashion.
  • Heroic Vow: A character option introduced in Ultimate Magic is the Monk Vows, where a Monk tries to uphold one or more sacred personal codes; this augments their ki pool, but causes them to lose all access to their ki abilities if they ever break their vow.
  • Ki Manipulation: The Qinggong Monk can learn them. Arguably crosses over with Kung-Fu Wizard, since many of the archetype's Ki Manipulation is actual arcane or divine spells that the Monk can replicate via their ki.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The entry on the Vow of Peace notes that many monstrous enemies that a Monk is likely to face don't receive the benefit of the "cannot kill them if they could be redeemed" aspect of that Vow, since they cannot be redeemed.
  • Long-Range Fighter: The Zen Archer archetype, unsurprisingly, specializes in the use of bows.
  • Made of Iron: The Ironskin Monk and Student of Stone archetypes are Monks that specializes in absorbing punishment and tanking blows rather than evading and agility.
  • Mana: A Monk has a pool of "ki points" that are used for certain class abilities and powers.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The Ironskin Monk trades in nearly everything mystical about the Monk, even your AC bonus, for bonuses to resist debilitations, Evasion for fortitude checks, slowly growing DR/-, and at level 20, immunity to death effects, sneak attacks, and other things. The flavour alone makes it appealing to players, seeing as instead of ducking and dodging like a normal Monk, an Ironskin just hunkers down and slugs it out, while outright ignoring damage.
  • Perpetual Poverty: One of the Heroic Vows that a Monk can take is the Vow of Poverty, which requires they deliberately do this. They can only ever own six items (a pair of shoes, a simple set of clothes, a bowl, a sack, a blanket, and one other item of their choice), cannot ever have any more money on their person than they would need to modestly feed, bathe and shelter themselves for a week, and cannot bother or carry any form of wealth or items worth more than 50 gold pieces that belong to others.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Flurry of Blows is the monk's tactical bread and butter, allowing him to attack more rapidly than the average melee fighter, using powerful unarmed strikes. Of course, he can also use this ability with designated monk weapons, including the quarterstaff, nunchaku, and shuriken.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: The Monk's more spectacular superhuman feats are fuelled by ki energy. One archetype from Ultimate Magic, the Qinggong Monk, emphasizes the supernatural aspect of their training with enhanced abilities and even spell-mimicking Ki Manipulation.
    • Averted by the Martial Artist, who loses access to the ki-pool class feature in exchange for Fighter feats, a Pressure Point based ability, and an assortment of Charles Atlas Superpower features.
  • Taken for Granite: One of the most powerful abilities of the Terra-Cotta Monk archetype is the ability to petrify a person by touching them.
  • Technical Pacifist: One of the Heroic Vows that a Monk can take is the Vow of Peace, which does not prevent them from fighting if they absolutely must, but does require that they strive to attain peace. Such a Monk can only use violence as a last resort, can never strike the first blow in combat (mechanically, they have to use the fight defensively or total defenses options for the first two rounds of each combat), must always give an opponent the option to flee, and cannot purposefully slay a creature that could reasonably be influenced to join a civilized society as a productive member.
  • The Voiceless: One of the Heroic Vows that a Monk can take is the Vow of Silence, which requires that they never speak any words and should always attempt to make the minimum amount of noise via their actions.
  • Walking the Earth: The fundamental idea behind the Wanderer archetype; a monk who travels the world to both learn and to share wisdom and philosophy with those they meet.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Tetori archetype is a monk specialized in grapples, holds and locks. The archetype's description even references it as a "majestic wrestler".


Holy warriors of Justice and Righteousness, chosen and blessed by the gods of light to carry out their task.

  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Averted. The Paladin depends on armor to protect themselves in melee, but can still cast spells, as per Clerics.
  • Celibate Hero: Oathbound Paladins pursuing the Oath of Chastity have to be this, with their Code of Conduct specifically stating "never engage in a romantic relationship or a sexual act".
  • Character Alignment: invokedAs in Dungeons & Dragons, Paladins must be Lawful Good. They received an Evil Counterpart class, the Antipaladin, which must be Chaotic Evil, in the Advanced Player's Guide. Averted with the Gray Paladin archetype from Ultimate Intrigue, which allows a paladin to be Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral or Neutral Good. This allows the paladin to to be more flexible with their code, but at the cost of reduced divine power.
  • Courtly Love: Noted as a common practice of paladins of Shelyn. Shelyn doesn't forbid sex, but she does emphasize the emotional and relationship aspects of love and beauty over the purely physical (lust is more Calistria's department).
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Stonelord Paladin archetype has mystical powers over earth and stone.
  • The Dragonslayer: The ideal that an Oathbound Paladin upholding the Oath against the Wyrm seeks to live up to. Their Code revolves around slaying evil and dangerous dragons, as well as protecting people from draconic predation in all its forms.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ultimate Magic notes that Wyrmslayer Oathbound Paladins have been known to fall to this, even pursuing dragon-blooded beings — a definition that can include "Sorcerer with the Draconic Bloodline" — and slaying them as if they were true dragons. Mention is even made of teaming up with Inquisitors for the specific purpose of rooting out those whose ancestry carries a draconic taint. Even their Code of Conduct lists, as one of its commandments, "prevent the bloodlines of other creatures from being corrupted with draconic power".
  • Good Is Not Soft: With Oathbound Paladins of Vengeance, as they focus more on their Smite Evil ability and have bonus spells that are focused more on dishing or increasing damage.
  • The Gunslinger: There's an archetype in Ultimate Combat called the Holy Gun, which is a gun-wielding paladin.
  • Healing Hands: Their Lay On Hands ability patches up teammates enough for some emergency healing. Oathbound Paladins of Charity specialize in this, healing 50% more when assisting other people.
  • Heroic Vow: The Oathbound Paladin archetype from Ultimate Magic is based on this idea; they swear a specific oath and try to live up to it, and in return they receive extra powers in pursuit of that Oath. Oaths tend to focus on either specific enemies (Corruption, Fiends, Savagery, Undeath, Wyrms) or specific ideals (Charity, Chastity, Loyalty, Vengeance).
  • Hunter of Monsters: A paladin of the Divine Hunter archetype is one.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Embodies the archetype. The Sword of Valor class archetype takes it Up to Eleven, while the Empyreal Knight quite literally becomes an angelic knight as they level up. Finally there's the Shining Knight archetype itself, which specializes in mounted combat. Averted by the Holy Gun archetype, both in flavor and mechanics. They lose proficiency in the heavier styles of armor, as well as the ability to detect evil, in exchange for a gun. They are explicitly described as breaking the mold of the "knight in shining armor."
    " Holy guns roam the world searching for evil. And where they find it, they put it down."
  • Knight Templar: Several of the Oathbound Paladins can become this due to Fantastic Racism (The description for Oath Against the Wyrm notes that these Paladins will even hunt down Sorcerors for the sole crime of having Draconic blood. And the description for Oath Against Undeath states that many Paladins who take this oath will even hunt down Neutral or Good undead.
  • Lawful Stupid: Of all the classes - the most prone to being played like this, due to the incredibly stringent alignment/conduct requirements required to qualify. Player and GM alike may often falsely believe Paladins must be lawful stupid to stay Paladins.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The cornerstone of the Sacred Shield archetype. Their shield even houses the spirit of a powerful celestial!
  • Order Versus Chaos: Receives an archetype that allows the Paladin to Smite Chaos rather than Evil.
  • Magikarp Power: Chosen One Paladins are lawful good but otherwise oblivious young people approached one day and essentially forced into a Paladin's shoes. While the overwhelming majority of Paladin features are still part of the archetype, some are gained at later levels than is typical.
  • Mentor Mascot: The centerpiece of the Chosen One Archetype, in the form of a divine emissary in animal form who is tasked with teaching a Paladin all they'll need to know.
  • Redemption Quest: The Redeemer archetype believes heavily in redeeming rather than killing — especially because most Redeemers are, themselves, half-orcs. As a result, it has the ability to compel evil beings as per a modified Lesser Geas spell.
  • Religion Is Magic: As is common with the "divine classes", Paladins receive actual magical powers due to their faith in the deities they worship.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Defied with the Oath of the People's Council (named for the legislature of Andoran), which requires a paladin under it to know the law, and not exempt the powerful from its application. They give up Smite Evil and some of their traveling skills in exchange for increased social skills and the ability to make a Rousing Speech that acts like a stripped-down form of bardic performance.
  • Shout-Out: The Holy Gun archetype is a reference to Paladin from Have Gun – Will Travel. The class feature that gives them watered-down gunslinger abilities is even called "Have Gun".
  • Stone Wall: An archetype, Sacred Shield, centers many of the Paladin's abilities around using a shield to protect other people. For example, Smite is replaced with an ability that reduces damage the Sacred Shield's allies suffer from an enemy, and they must use the Divine Bond on their shield.
  • The Strategist: There's an archetype called the Holy Tactician based on this.
  • Technical Pacifist:
    • Redeemer Paladins accept that sometimes violence is necessary, but prefer to try and redeem monsters rather than kill them. Consequently, they have a specialized Smite ability called Merciful Smite that lets them do non-lethal damage without penalty.
    • Tranquil Guardians are missionaries of peace and tranquility, and though they will fight, their abilities focus around defeating their foes with non-lethal damage and ending fights before they grow too serious.
  • What Is Evil?: The great Paladin conundrum. Expect to have this discussion at least once if you play a Paladin.


Skilled hunters and trackers, adepts of the wilderness. A warrior class that brings in some minor spells and nature-related abilities to aid in survival.

  • Army Scout: It's called the Battle Scout, but the archetype is obvious.
  • Dungeon Crawling:
    • The Dungeon Rover is specialized in surviving in underground dungeon environments.
    • The Deep Walker is dedicated to protecting the lands and creatures of the underground.
  • The Beastmaster: The base ranger gets many of the same affinities for wild animals that druids get, including the ability to influence animals without magic, some spells (though not as powerful as the druid) to aid in it, and a Loyal Animal Companion.
  • Casting a Shadow: The Dusk Stalker archetype is a Ranger from the Shadow Plane, who thusly gains shadow-related magical powers.
  • Expy: The Skirmisher archetype closely resembles the Scout class from 3.5e, in both form and function.
  • Forest Ranger: The basic idea of the class, though they can specialize in a variety of terrains, including the "urban jungle".
    • One archetype, the Wave Warden, specializes in operating underwater. Needless to say, it's most associated with amphibious races like Gillfolk, Gripplis and Merfolk.
    • The Warden is based at being even more at home in their favored terrain than ordinary rangers.
  • Gaia's Revenge: Wild Stalkers are rangers so dedicated to preserving nature against civilization that they actively campaign against pioneers and settlers. They are also The Berserker, having access to Barbarian Rage Powers.
  • Great White Hunter: The Trophy Hunter archetype is based on this, being a ranger specialized in using firearms and out to take down the most impressive quarry they can. Which, in a world that includes demons, dragons, giants and worse, is a pretty extensive list.
  • Hunter of Monsters: What Rangers can be played as.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Save for a few archetypes that remove them, most Rangers can take one. Some archetypes open up different possible animal companions.
  • Not Good with People: Rangers of the Wild Shadow archetype are really, really not suited for cities. In other terrains, they excel, but in cities, they lose their powers and they cannot "bond" with cities the way normal Rangers can. As a result, this is a common personality trope.
  • Stealth Expert: The Nirmathi Irregular.
  • Trap Master: A class feature and archetype (the Trapper) introduced in Ultimate Magic.
  • Weapon of Choice: Unlike earlier editions of Dungeons & Dragons, where rangers were limited to Dual Wielding or maybe Improbable Aiming Skills with a bow, a ranger can pick one of several styles to specialize in, getting free feats to improve their usage of that style or weapon.


Your typical thief. Good at stealing things, getting into places where they aren't wanted, and murdering people by surprise.

  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The Eldritch Raider archetype is a variant, specializing in seeking out and exploring magical ruins, as well as tracking down and recovering magical relics and lore. As a result, while all Rogues can potentially know a few magic tricks via selecting the right talents, Eldritch Raiders know much more potent spells.
  • Back Stab: Sneak Attack, of course.
  • Badass Normal: In theory. Taking the Minor/Major Magic talents bumps them to Empowered Badass Normal status, giving them some minor spellcasting without becoming full-fledged casters.
  • The Brute: The Skulking Slayer archetype goes for this angle, relying on brute force and thuggery over subtle tactics and finesse. They still excel at stealth, however, making them a very nasty ambush attacker.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar/Gentleman Thief:
    • A Cat Burglar that focuses on stealing things with skill and finesse, making them excel at picking locks and disarming traps, is one of the archetypes for the class. In an Incredibly Lame Pun, it's most associated with the Cat Folk race.
    • The Phantom Thief archetype mentions it is also known as gentleman thieves or lady thieves, and its default flavour is someone coming from the elite who grow bored with their finery and decide to find thrills with daring and criminal deeds of skill.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Invoked with the Deadly Courtesan archetype, which specializes in playing the role of an entertainer or prostitute whilst secretly being an assassin, bodyguard, spy, or any combination thereof. Even has the Bard's Bardic Performance class feature as a result.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Thieving is usually one of their skill specialities.
  • Knife Nut: Rogues tend to use daggers anyway, but the Knife Master archetype specializes in it.
  • Le Parkour: The Roof Runner archetype specializes in this.
  • Master of Disguise: The Chameleon archetype from Ultimate Combat is based on this. So is the Master of Disguise archetype from Ultimate Intrigue.
  • Master of None: The standard Rogue is accused of being this, earning the moniker of weakest class, as it does nothing which any other class can't do — and do far better, especially if you count magic. The Unchained Rogue is at least much more combat capable.
  • Master of Unlocking: As is standard.
  • Master Swordsman: Oddly enough, the Swordmaster archetype, which specializes in wielding swords in mystical trances, is a Rogue archetype. Needless to say, it emphasizes the combat traits and abilities of the Rogue over stealing.
  • Non-Indicative Name: While the fluff description fits with the name, it did not take long for players to notice that the mechanics of the Phantom Thief fits even better as simply a PC-level aristocrat (the Phantom Thief does not gain any abilities directly related to sneaking or theft — in fact, it loses sneak attack and the trap abilities — but it does become even more of a skill monkey and gains access to the Vigilante's Socialite/Rich Idiot With No Day Job social talents), which the designer confirmed was entirely intentional.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Skulking around in combat and sticking to poorly-lit areas is among the most reliable methods to consistently gain sneak attack damage.
  • Trap Master: By default, rogues gain bonuses to find and deal with traps, with several archetypes even allowing rogues to use them on the fly in combat.
  • Utility Party Member: Like in its progenitor system, D&D 3e, rogues receive the most skill points per level of any class, making them well-suited for the skill monkey role. They are also the only core class that can disarm magical traps, barring alternate class abilities from archetypes.


Casters with lineage tracing back to some powerful supernatural figure or imbued in their blood by strange mystical events, the Sorcerer wields magic with instinct and powers bestowed by their special Bloodline.

  • An Ice Person: The Boreal and Rime-Blooded bloodlines, which gives a sorcerer several ice-related powers, including the ability to summon a blizzard.
  • Bad Habits: The Razmiran Priest archetype is this; since the cult of Razmir is a Scam Religion based on one powerful Wizard's attempt to create a theocracy worshipping him, he secretly fosters Sorcerers who disguise themselves as Clerics to "prove" his claims. They wield arcane magic, disguised as divine magic, and falsely claim it (and their knack for stealthily activating divine wands and scrolls) are miraculous blessings from Razmir.
  • Bargain with Heaven: One of the ways the "Celestial" Bloodline can be acquired, and just like with other Bloodlines, it doesn't even have to be the character's deal. An ancestor that bargained with higher powers can cause traces of divine power manifest in their descendants.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Literally, with the "Destiny" Bloodline.
  • Body Horror: Downplayed. A number of bloodlines, such as Aberrant and Draconic, cause mutations in the Sorcerer's body. The player likely won't mind, but ask the people around their character.
  • Deal with the Devil: One of the ways the "Infernal" Bloodline can be acquired — such a deal could even be inherited from an ancestor's pact, rather than one made by the Sorcerer themselves.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Under the 3rd Edition rules Sorcerers were supposedly descended from something magical, but this was an Informed Attribute that had little effect on them mechanically, and in practice they didn't play that differently from Wizards. Pathfinder reclassified 3.5 Sorcerers as Arcane Bloodline Sorcerers (likely descended from Wizards, hence the similarity), and created 29 additional Bloodlines with wildly different natural abilities. Later supplements also established that magically-inclined children could also become Arcanists (effectively, Sorcerers who studied magic like Wizards) and Bloodragers (Sorcerers raised by Barbarians), creating even more variety.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The Dragon Bloodline returns for Pathfinder sorcerers. They don't actually look draconic — their outward appearance is that of a typical member of their species — but they have dragon ancestry and their magic tends towards draconic themes.
  • Elemental Powers: Several Bloodlines ultimately tie to one of the elements or to elemental creatures.
  • The Fair Folk: A sorcerer of the fey bloodline has a fey ancestor, or was somehow altered by fey magic. They gain abilities like the power to turn invisible and cause enemies to be unable to act by making them break out into uncontrollable laughter.
  • Friend to Bugs: One half of the Pestilence Bloodline from Mother of Fliesnote  is an increasing affinity for vermin, including several bonus spells relating to them, the ability to charm vermin (normally, they're immune to such effects) and the Shroud of Vermin ability, which not only makes the sorcerer immune to swarms and able to command them, but also gives them an armor bonus to reflect the vermin constantly crawling over their bodies.
  • I Love the Dead: Monster Codex introduces the Ghoul bloodline, which is (thankfully) usually born of surviving the dreaded Ghoul Fever rather than this.
  • In the Blood: A Sorcerer's Bloodline is their most defining feature. Ultimate Magic even introduced the idea of Crossblooded Sorcerers (who have two Bloodlines simultaneously) and Wildblooded Sorcerers (who bear more focused spin-offs of specific bloodlines).
    • Some Bloodlines are directly focused on racial ties, including Kobold, Ghoul and Orc.
  • Lamarck Was Right: In general, many of the Bloodlines use the idea that something magical that affected an ancestor could pass down that magic and result in the birth of a similarly empowered Sorcerer.
    • The "Aberrant" Bloodline basically says "you have powers cause one of your ancestors had a relationship with something similar to a Great Old One.
    • The "Arcane" Bloodline basically goes "you can use magic as a sorcerer because either one of your distant ancestors was a really, really powerful Wizard, or else you come from a long line of Wizards".
    • The "Starsoul" Bloodline basically says "you have powers over space because your ancestors were great stargazers or space travelers themselves".
    • The "Verdant" Bloodline is usually born as a result of ancestral dabbling in splicing plant traits into themselves.
  • Magic Music: The "Maestro" Bloodline from Ultimate Magic focuses on this power, with possible origins including lillend, trumpet archon or even harpy ancestry, an ancient pact with an azata, a family heritage of being bards, or a forefather that was driven mad by the gibberings of a shoggoth.
  • Make a Wish: The Wishcrafter Bloodline represents a Sorcerer who has a genie ancestor, allowing them to draw upon their bloodline and grant wishes to express their magic. Ultimate Magic includes separate Bloodlines for the four kinds of genies (Djinn, Efreet, Marid and Shaitain), with all of these Bloodlines culminating in the ability to grant somebody else's wish as per a Limited Wish spell once per day.
  • Necromancer: Several Bloodlines have connections to this archetype, like the Ghoul Bloodline.
  • Plague Master: The other half of the Pestilence Bloodline.
  • Power Tattoo: The Tattooed Sorcerer archetype specializes in wielding power through these.
    • The Tattooed Sorcerer can also, once a certain level is reached, grant single-use versions to allies.
  • Royal Blood: The Imperious Bloodline gains power from a lineage of ancient empires and forgotten kings.
  • Semi-Divine: Sorcerers of the Celestial bloodline either have a good-aligned ancestor from the Outer Planes, or were blessed by a good-aligned deity at their birth. They gain things like the ability to manifest feathery, angelic wings and purge things with light.
  • Shock and Awe: The Air Elemental, Blue and Bronze Dragonblooded, and Stormborne bloodlines.
  • Squick: Some of the Bloodlines are quite disgusting, when you think about it. Aberrant, Pestilience, Ghoul... fortunately, not all bloodlines are the direct result of literal genetics. Many, such as the Aberrant, Infernal and Abyssal bloodlines, come from desperate deals struck with outsiders long ago, the stain of which lingers metaphorically over the family.
  • Witch Species: The "Accursed" Bloodline connects the Sorcerer to a hag ancestor, while the "Dreamweaver" archetype is tied to both Changelingsnote  and Night Hagsnote . One could argue that the Sorcerer itself represents a Witch Species, given that they are defined as casters whose power is In the Blood.


Trained masters of the arcane arts.

  • Blood Magic: The Cruoromancer archetype is a necromancy specialized wizard who learns to use their blood to further augment and empower their necromantic spells. It's most associated with the dhampyr race, since their blood is tainted with necromantic energy.
  • Elemental Powers: Beyond the myriad elemental spells, there are actually a number of class archetypes based around mastery over a particular element.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: The Primalist archetype specializes in using and manipulating type 1 Chaos Magic, or "Primal Magic" as it's known In-Universe.
  • The Gunslinger: Ultimate Combat introduces the Spellslinger, which is a wizard who specializes in combining gunplay and magic to achieve impossible feats. In many ways, it's a gun-wielding variant of the Magic Knight.
  • Immortality: An Arcane Discovery that a 20th level Wizard can learn is a "personal cure for aging", which removes all aging related penalties they may already have and gives them an infinite lifespan. They can still get killed, but they'll never age again.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: A "Universalist" Wizard is this for all the schools, dabbling in all instead of specializing and forming opposition schools.
  • Mad Bomber: Ultimate Combat introduces the Arcane Bomber (who specializes in crafting and deploying magic-bolstered bombs) and the Siege Mage (using magic to augment siege engines) archetypes.
  • Mage Marksman: The Spellslinger.
  • Necromancer: One of the class archetypes is the Necromancer, who focuses on spells of the Necromancy school and gains special abilities to turn or command undead, sicken living foes with a touch, and to sense the presence of living or undead beings around themselves.
  • Paper Master: The Scrollmaster archetype crosses this with Improbable Weapon User, as they are capable of using magical scrolls as weapons and shields.
  • Signature Move: The basis of the Spellbinder archetype; a wizard who forges an arcane bond with one (or more) specific spells, allowing them to "trade" other prepared spells for that bonded spell in the heat of battle.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: One of the Arcane Discoveries introduced in Ultimate Magic is Feral Speech, which is the ability to talk to animals.
  • Spell Book: All Wizards have them, all need them to study their spells and prepare their spells.
  • Squishy Wizard: Although thankfully not as much as in D&D 3.5, Pathfinder having upgraded the Wizard and Sorcerer to d6 hit dice instead of d4's. Sufficiently powerful wizards may, with time, become more difficult to kill than similarly leveled fighters. Where a Paladin might be bolstered with larger hit dice and heavier armor, a wizard might be wearing Mage Armor, with magical natural armor, and using illusions to appear elsewhere — his Armor Class may be just as high, but with an additional miss chance.
  • Vancian Magic: As with all prepared casters, they allocate a limited selection of fixed-effect spells in their mind each day and are stuck to their allocation.

Advanced Player's Guide

The Advanced Player's Guide was Paizo's introduction of their own unique classes that branched away from the core eleven. These classes touch upon new ideas or on twists on old ones that make them flavourfully and mechanically stand out.


Practitioners of strange scientific arts that allow them to brew up miraculous tonics, elixirs and chemical compounds. An alchemist not only supports the party with potent augmentation potions and useful items via its "spells", but can both play a potent, bomb-wielding ranged attacker, or drink its mutagen and assume a more monstrous form to attack in melee.

  • Abnormal Ammo: Several of the modifications that can be done to bombs are just weird - bone shards, glue, and even divine energy (which alchemists are otherwise unable to control themselves). In addition, by default, alchemists get the Throw Anything feat at first level, which means that they can turn anything that they can lift into a deadly projectile.
  • Acid Attack: The Crypt Breaker archetype specializes in creating corrosive bombs called "alkahest bombs" that explode in showers of acid especially lethal against constructs and the undead. Any bomb-using alchemist also has the option of gaining a discovery that causes their bombs to do acid damage (which does additional damage one round later).
  • Alchemy Is Magic: The basis of the class.
  • Beast Master: The Winged Marauder archetype specialises in taming flying animals and using them to drop bombs on enemies from above.
  • Body Horror:
    • The Alchemist's Mutagen, which horrifically twists the alchemist's body to the extent they appear to be completely different entities.
    • A number of the Discoveries introduced in Ultimate Magic go this route as well, as they involve growing (or grafting on!) tentacles, vestigial limbs, parasitic twins and even sapient tumors that act like familiars!
  • Breath Weapon: One of the Discoveries available for Alchemists in Ultimate Combat is Breath Weapon Bomb, which lets the alchemist drink an explosive's formula to then exhale it as a breath weapon.
  • Combat Medic: The Chirurgeon archetype trades most of the alchemist's poison-based abilities into ones focused on healing.
  • Gravity Master: Monster Codex introduces the Void Bomb and Blackstar Bomb discoveries, which create chemicals that induce deadly bursts of super-dense gravity.
  • Green Thumb: The Bramble Brewer archetype specializes in plant-based and plant-manipulating tonics, even using its mutagen to become a Plant Person.
  • Healing Factor: Alchemists can take the Spontaneous Healing discovery, which allows them to regain 5 hit points at the start of their turn a couple times per day, as well as automatically using it when below 0 hit points. Level 20 Alchemists can also take the Fast Healing Grand Discovery, which gives them fast healing 5. Note that these two abilities are not exclusive, meaning that the automatic nature of Spontaneous Healing when downed means that you automatically get back up at the start of your turn.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": The Trap Breaker archetype specializes in creating land mine versions of their normal bombs.
  • Literal Split Personality: An In-Universe drawback to the mutagen formula, which only worsens if the Alchemist becomes a Master Chymist.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: An Alchemist's mutagen only works for the Alchemist, as a general rule of thumb. The Oenopion Researcher is an exception, via its Experimental Mutagen class feature.
    • By default, none of an alchemist's formulas work for anyone else, although one of the most commonly taken Discoveries, Infusion, remedies this.
  • Mad Bomber: One possible way of building the Alchemist, thanks to its bomb-related class features.
    • The Fire Bomber archetype, which literally boils down to its ability to hurl around fiery explosives, is an obvious choice for this.
    • The Monster Codex introduces an archetype called the Grenadier, which specialises in throwing bombs.
  • Mad Scientist: All Alchemists count, but the Mad Scientist archetype takes it to extremes, able to deal sanity/wisdom damage to themselves in order to enhance their extracts with unpredictable results.
  • Magic Powered Pseudo Science: The Alchemist's potions and elixirs are essentially magical tonics disguised as chemistry.
  • Plague Master: The Plague Bringer archetype trades its mutagens for the ability to brew up plagues and make itself into a disease variant of the Poisonous Person.
  • Poisonous Person: Alchemists are naturally adept at using poisons as well as resisting them, to the point that they naturally become immune to them by 10th level (unless this was traded away with an archetype). Several discoveries enhance this further, like the Nauseous Flesh or the Poison Bomb discoveries.
  • Regret Eating Me: The Nauseous Flesh Discovery from Ultimate Combat makes the alchemist into a low-grade Poisonous Person; their skin and flesh are so suffused with noxious chemicals that any attack that leaves them Swallowed Whole will force their attacker to spit them back out.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smart Guy: The Mindchemist archetype allows you to become a walking library, with broad knowledge in just about any conceivable area.
  • Super Senses: Crypt Breaker Alchemists use draughts that amplify their sensory abilities instead of creating mutagens.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Throwing bombs makes up the core of the class's offensive capabilities, and many of the class's discoveries and archetypes revolve around modifying or improving them.
  • Trap Master:
    • The Trap Breaker archetype is a variant that focuses on disabling traps exclusively, rather than setting them.
    • The Alchemical Trapper makes mines and other explosive traps out of bombs and chemical explosives.
  • Unstoppable Rage: The cornerstone of the Ragechemist archetype, whose mutagen not only transforms them into a hulking, more powerful form, but also plunges them into a berserk rage while in use.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Beastmorph archetype takes on animal shapes by using mutagen.


Dark and malevolent warriors, wielders of infernal power, chosen by demon lords and the most malevolent deities to serve as their agents in the world. An Evil Counterpart to the Paladin.


Wandering knights and mounted champions, dedicated to a purpose. Essentially the non-magical equivalent to the Paladin in terms of archetype, cavaliers specialize in challenging specific opponents to fight, mounted combat, and boosting their allies via teamwork feats. This makes them more viable when they naturally can't ride their steeds. They are defined by their Orders, which give them various bonuses and special abilities.

  • The Atoner: Cavaliers of the Order of the Penitent is made up of reformed criminals.
  • Band of Brothers:
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Dragon dedicate themselves to serving with and aiding a group of like-minded individuals.
    • The Standard Bearer archetype, meanwhile, focuses its abilities on bolstering their allies and being able to rally them in a crisis.
  • Black Knight: Cavaliers of the Order of the Cockatrice are essentially this. All other Orders are some variant of the Knight in Shining Armor. The Cavaliers of the Order of the Cockatrice are only out for themselves; their charge is to increase their own glory and amass personal wealth.
  • Canis Major: Halfling Cavaliers typically ride oversized dogs or tamed wolves as their steeds, and one Halfling-exclusive Order, the Order of the Paw, is dedicated to riding canid mounts and using them to protect communities.
  • Character Alignment: invokedAverted. Unlike in Dungeons & Dragons, where both the Knight class and the Cavalier Prestige Class required a Lawful alignment, Pathfinder Cavaliers have no alignment restrictions.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Cavalier's fighting style typically emphasizes mounted combat. Fighting in areas where mounted combat is impractical or impossible can severely hamper the Cavalier's fighting strength (and given that this is Dungeons and dragons, a Cavalier can generally expect to see these kinds of areas often). Although, some players have worked around this by using small sized characters.
    • That said, the class is actually better off than its counterparts in D&D 3.5; Pathfinder Cavaliers spend a mere five features on getting a mount, better ability to train a mount, and better charges whilst mounted, with the rest of its levels focused on aiding allies and Order-related abilities. That said, they're still less than optimal if they can't access their mount, which is particularly important for Beast Riders and Fell Riders. The Gendarme archetype trains to be a mounted terror almost to the exclusion of other abilities — this is how the archetype is described. Naturally, they fall headfirst into this.
    • The dependency on mounts is averted by a number of archetypes that remove the mount and focus on either the party support of knight-styled combatant aspects of the class. Examples include the Castellan, the Constable, and the Daring Champion.
  • Cool Horse: Though not necessarily limited to horses, Cavaliers always have mounts, as their class has special bonuses for fighting whilst mounted. The Fell Rider, in particular, favors battle from atop a fearsome, intimidating steed.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted; one of the valid archetypes is the Musketeer, after all.
  • Glory Hound: Cavaliers of the Neutral or Evil alignments in general are usually this. It's essentially a requisite for the Order of the Cockatrice, who are out to advance their own goals above all else.
  • Glory Seeker: Cavaliers of the Order of the Flame are more tolerable then those of the Order of the Cockatrice, seeking glory for both themselves and those they work with by means of being In Harm's Way. At least, thats what the Order's edict says.
  • The Gunslinger: One Ultimate Combat archetype for the Cavalier is the Musketeer, who specializes in using guns over melee weapons.
  • Hold the Line: The Castellan archetype is all about defending using city walls and castles, making them good in city sieges.
  • Horse Archer: The Luring Cavalier archetype is devoted to playing this archetype.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Cavaliers can ride just about anything that the DM says is valid as a steed — even by default, medium-sized cavaliers can ride camels instead of horses, and small-sized ones can ride ponies, wolves, boars and hunting dogs. The Beast Rider archetype is dedicated to expanding the variety of creatures that it can ride.
  • It's All About Me: The defining trait of Cavaliers of the Order of the Cockatrice, which is made up the most selfish and personal-goal obsessed cavaliers.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Their basic character concept.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Dragon believe first and foremost in loyalty and friendship, and are willing to lay their lives down the protect their allies.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Shield, meanwhile, are dedicated first and foremost to the protection of the common folk.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Sword are perhaps this in its purest form, since their defining theme is their dedication to the classic ideals of chivalry.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Star are protectors and defenders of their chosen faith.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Lion dedicate themselves to the service of a sovereign and the defense of that sovereign's domain.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Blue Rose seek to defend the weak and promote peace, being skilled warrior-diplomats who prefer not to fight, but will do so in order to preserve or restore peace.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Seal are dedicated to the protection of a specific object, place or secret.
    • Cavaliers of the Order of the Tome are dedicated to preserving knowledge.
  • Lightning Bruiser The Emissary archetype focuses on speed and mobility over power, but also learns how to move quickly whilst wearing armor. So, fast-moving Mighty Glacier variant.
  • Mook Commander: A PC version of this; Cavaliers have banners that grant allies bonuses to saving throws and attacks as long as it's in line-of-sight.
  • The Musketeer: There's an archetype called this in Ultimate Combat. Naturally, it specializes in using guns.
  • Old-School Chivalry: Good — or at least well-intentioned — Cavaliers of the Order of the Sword are likely to fall into this. More Jerkass or outright Evil members tend to be more Stay in the Kitchen, if possibly believing their own claims that's what chivalry expects of women.
  • Praetorian Guard: Members of the Honor Guard archetype, naturally, fall under this; their specialty is protecting a chosen ally from harm in the battlefield.
  • Secret-Keeper / They Know Too Much: Cavaliers of the Order of the Eastern Star are the former and deal with the latter as the order is too keep dangerous secrets from the commonfolk and those who might be harmed by these secrets.
  • The Strategist: Aside from their Cool Horse, this is the main function of the Cavalier in combat thanks to getting bonus teamwork feats and being able to share them with teammates temporarily. Ultimate Combat adds the Strategist archetype, which focuses on this aspect of the class in exchange for weaker combat abilities.
  • Technical Pacifist: Cavaliers of the Order of the Blue Rose are invariably this as, while they want peace and prefer to settle things diplomatically, they're not above using force to defend those who are threatened or to stop evil — at least long enough and hard enough to make them willing to listen to reason.


Agents of the church charged with hunting down enemies of the faith both within and without. Precisely what that enemy is varies depending on Inquisitor, and several archetypes actually focus on very specific interpretations; the Vampire Hunter and Witch Hunter, for example, focus on hunting vampires and "witches"note , while the Exorcist focuses on combatting creatures that can possess or otherwise control the minds of people.

  • Anti-Magic: Inquisitors with the Spellkiller Inquisition, or who follow the Spellbreaker archetype, specialize in fighting spellcasters by disrupting their spells.
  • Armor Piercing Strike: One ability the default Inquisitor gets at higher levels is to make all of their confirmed criticals function like this - they ignore damage reduction, they temporarily repress any type of regeneration that has a workaround, plus they deal extra energy damage if they use it against a foe vulnerable to it.
  • Burn the Witch!: Besides being something that Inquisitors are generally inclined to do, there's the Immolator archetype, which is an Inquisitor whose abilities revolve around Playing with Fire.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: From a tenuous point of view, the Sin Eater archetype, where performing a ritual to "eat the sins" of a recently slain creature heals the Sin Eater and, at higher levels, can be used to prevent people from coming back as the undead. The ritual doesn't necessarily need to involve eating parts of the deceased's corpse, though some Sin Eaters do consume some of the flesh or blood as part of their ritual.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Thanks to bonuses to intimidate, it's easy to build an inquisitor that does this.
  • The Cowl: Inquisitors have an inherent bonus to the intimidate skill and lack the strict code of ethics of the paladin class. It's well within the Inquisitor's abilities to hunt evil by using Batman-like interrogation tactics.
  • The Fundamentalist: The Exarch archetype is based upon the idea of an inquisitor dedicated to adhering to strict orthodoxy, and punishing those who would diverge from it.
  • The Gunslinger: Ultimate Combat introduces an Inquisition called Black Powder, which lets the inquisitor have access to the firearm weapon proficiencies and gunsmithing feats.
  • The Heretic: Not only do inquisitors hunt these in general, but there's an actual archetype for the Inquisitor called the Heretic.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Inquisitors have abilities that lend themselves to this type of character. Extra damage against specific creature types? Check. The ability to discern the weaknesses of monsters? Check. Most Archetypes for the class focus on specific varieties of the Hunter trope or on hunting specific quarry.
    • The Iconoclast focuses on seeking out and destroying magical items.
  • The Missionary: Ultimate Magic introduces the Preacher archetype, which reflects an Inquisitor whose primary role is Walking the Earth as a missionary, often tending to focus on subverting hostile powers or defending fellow believers from the depredations of the unfaithful. May overlap some with Preacher Man.
  • The Strategist: Similar to the Cavalier, the Inquisitor specializes in working in groups, also gaining bonus teamwork feats to work better with allies. In one regard, they're even better, as they can gain the benefits of the feat even if said ally lacks the teamwork feat, so long as the ally in question otherwise meets the feats under which the feat operates (for example, a teamwork feat that requires flanking will work as long as any ally flanks the opponent with the inquisitor). However, the ally only gains the benefits as well if they also have the feat in question.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: One Inquisitor archetype, the Infiltrator, specializes in infiltrating and undermining enemies of the faith from within, inevitably leading to this.
  • Vampire Hunter: An archetype by that specific name appears in Inner Sea Magic, whilst the Advanced Races Guide houses an archetype for vampire-hunting dhampyr Inquisitors called "the Kinslayer".
  • The Witch Hunter: In addition to the archetype called this in Ultimate Combat, which focuses on fighting arcane spellcasters in general but witches in particular, there's also the Spellbreaker, which is essentially a Mage Killer by way of being an Anti-Magic using Witch Hunter.


Strange and enigmatic figures, touched by the gods themselves and given divine power — but always at a cost to themselves. Essentially the divine counterpart to the Sorcerer, the Oracle's defining attributes are their Mystery (the precise connection they have to the divine, akin to the Sorcerer's Bloodlines) and their Curse.

  • Bad Powers, Good People: One of the alternate Mysteries introduced in Inner Sea Magic is the Spellscar Rift Mystery, which is an Oracle whose powers are quite literally slanted towards the demonic, but despite this there's nothing forcing them to be evil or preventing them from using their powers to fight evil.
  • Black Blood: An Archetype introduced in Inner Sea Magic is the Black Blood Oracle, who gains powers — and weaknesses — because their blood is tainted with the mystical necromantic substance known as the Black Blood of Orv which, you guessed it, stains their blood black.
    • The Dual-Cursed Oracle archetype has two curses simultaneously and one of them never gets better. On the plus side, this allows them to manipulate luck in order to curse enemies with bad luck and twist their and their allies' own luck for the better.
  • Blind Seer: Invoked with the Clouded Vision curse, which cripples the Oracle's sight in exchange for their magical powers.
  • Bloody Murder: One of the revelations unique to the Black Blood Oracle is "Black Blood Spray", where being struck with piercing or slashing damage lets the Oracle hurl their blood on an adjacent target, inflicting cold damage on them if it hits.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Some of the Oracle's Mysteries are quite sinister in nature, such as the Dark Tapestry, which draws upon the sinister powers of outer space, transforms the Oracle into a Humanoid Abomination, and is most associated with Lamashtu, Norgorber, Zon-Kuthon and the Outer Gods/Great Old Ones. None of them require a specific Character Alignment.
  • Cursed With Awesome: An Oracle's Curse always has some deleterious effect and cannot be lifted, but also has beneficial effects as well, in addition to being the key to the Oracle's magic. For example, the Clouded Vision curse effectively blinds the Oracle, but gives them supernatural senses to compensate.
    • Becomes more noticeable as an Oracle gains levels. The Haunted curse, for instance, causes a group of mischievous spirits to throw your stuff everywhere, in return for mild Mind over Matter abilities. By 20th level, the Oracle can fly and even reverse gravity, while he or she doesn't suffer from anything worse than mild klutziness.
    • In-Universe, the Oracles themselves tend to see themselves as Blessed with Suck, especially since they rarely, if ever, asked to be "blessed". The iconic Oracle lost her home and family because of her powers, since she was originally a member of the militantly antitheist cities of Rahadoum.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: The Metal Mystery, as one might expect, focuses around metal-related powers and spells.
  • Green Thumb: The Wood Mystery.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Rather literally, the Shigenjo archetype is based on an Oracle who also knows martial arts abilities, complete with gaining a ki pool, like the Monk and Ninja, and the Monk's Ki Strike and Quivering Palm abilities.
  • I See Dead People:
    • Kind of invoked with the Ancestors Mystery from Ultimate Magic, which is derived from ancestor worship and calling upon the spirits of powerful ancestors, personal and racial.
    • The Occult Mystery, from Reign of Winter #5: Rasputin Must Die!, is emphatically based on this.
    • The Purifier archetype is the exorcist variant, with abilities focusing on protecting against mind altering magic and breaking such effects, especially in regards casting out body-snatching outsiders. Ancestor is even one of the recommended Mysteries for the archetype.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Oracles of the Apocalypse Mystery from Monster Codex qualify.
  • The Philosopher: The Enlightened Philosopher archetype is an Oracle who seeks enlightenment through compassion, moderation and humility, which they see as the key to becoming one with the universe.
  • Reincarnation: The Reincarnated Oracle archetype, as one might expect, is based on the idea of an Oracle whose powers come because of their ability to draw upon the knowledge and power of their past lives. Always having either the Haunted or Tongues curses, melding best with the Mysteries of Ancestors, Lore and Time, they are most common amongst the Samsarans, a race of mysterious humanoids from the Dragon Empires who are blessed with Born-Again Immortality.
  • Seers: One archetype from Ultimate Magic is actually called the Seer. Arguably, the Stargazer, who seeks meaning and prophetic insight in the movements of the celestial bodies, counts as well.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Possible via the Juju Mystery.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: They're to Clerics as Sorcerers are to Wizards, being able to cast multiple copies of the same spell in exchange for only knowing a limited number of spells at any one time.
  • Time Master: The Time Mystery.
  • Willing Channeler: The Possessed Oracle archetype is based on the idea of an Oracle who allows otherworldly entities (spirits, demons, etcetera) to temporarily coopt their body, gaining Powers via Possession as a result.


A master of conjuration, the Summoner far outstrips the summoning abilities of wizards. Not only can they wield conjuration spells with expertise, they have formed a spiritual bond with a once-formless spirit and given it life and a body of their own design. This entity, known as the Eidolon, is an eternally loyal minion that obeys the Summoner's every command. The ultimate expression of the Conjurer, this Wizard spin-off class does one thing, but does it well, and the right summoned minion can more than make up for the caster's personal lack of versatility.

  • Bond Creature: The Eidolon. The Broodmaster archetype focuses on commanding a group of weaker Eidolons instead of a singular, more powerful one.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: The Blood God Disciple archetype grants the Summoner the ability to grant its Eidolon "free" manifestation points by letting the Eidolon eat a recently fallen foe.
  • Casting a Shadow: The Shadow Caller archetype specializes in summoning shadow-based monsters and Eidolons.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Shaitan Binder calls upon earthen elementals and Eidolons.
  • Fairy Companion: Summoners can theme their Eidolons this way in general, but it is the specialty of the First Worlder archetype, which can summon various fey creatures through its Summon Nature's Ally spell-like ability and which grants the Fey type to its Eidolon.
  • Fusion Dance: The Synthesist archetype is able to merge the Summoner and their Eidolon into a single, more powerful entity.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Eidolons in general can be flavored as animals, but the Wild Caller in particular specializes in animal or nature-themed Eidolons, as well as trading its wizardly summoning spells for the druidic "Summon Nature's Ally/Elder Worm/Froghemoth" spells. Similarly, the First Worlder archetype has the ability to cast Summon Nature's Ally as a class ability, as opposed to the default Summoner's similar affinity for Summon Monster.
  • Mana: Technically, the "evolution pool", which is a pool of mystical energy used to "buy" the various abilities and aspects of the Eidolon. Normal spells are simple Vancian Magic, however.
  • Master of One Magic: As the name suggests, the Summoner's main shtick is summoning, to the point that while they technically never get to the cast the highest-level summoning spells as spells (the Summoner's spell list only goes up to level 6 spells), they instead just get them as spell-like abilities instead (they also get to cast the summoning spells that are on their spell list at earlier levels).
  • Mook Maker: One of the Summoner's primary combat roles — and this time, he's on the party's side. While you cannot use the Summon Monster spell-like ability while your Eidolon is out, that trade-off is sometimes worth it, and a Summoner that specialises in summoning minions over an Eidolon-focused build can be more apt at summoning than a conjuration-focused wizard or sorcerer.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The Unchained Summoner was the only Unchained rework that was overtly a nerf to the existing class, and unlike other classes that were given the choice of converting to their Unchained variants or staying the same, all summoners in Pathfinder Society play were forced to convert, with the vanilla summoner being banned from it completely. It also prevented the use of many of the old archetypes, many of which were considered game breakers; notably the Synthesist.
  • Summon Magic: The class's speciality. The Master Summoner archetype trades a weaker Eidolon for increased aptitude with summoning spells.
  • Squishy Wizard: Zigzagged; the summoner doesn't have as much defensive utility as a wizard or sorcerer, encouraging them to hide behind their Eidolons and summoned minions, but they get higher hit dice and access to light armor to survive more easily when they do get hit.


Mysterious and primal casters who wield eerie powers on behalf of mysterious patrons. With a wide array of mystical abilities and access to an arsenal of both arcane and divine spells, the Witch is a highly versatile caster.

  • An Ice Person: The Winter Witch archetype.
  • Creepy Good: Witches aren't precluded from being any variety of Good alignment, but their powers and abilities still tend to be pretty spooky.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Though heavily based on folkloric Witches and hags — one "hex" lets them use a hideous cackling to extend the duration of their Magical Eye hexes — this class has no Character Alignment restriction and, though usually Creepy Good, it's quite possible to be a good Witch. Indeed, the Hedge Witch archetype specifically focuses on healing and protective hexes and abilities.
  • Fairy Godmother: The Vellemancer archetype, which specializes in beneficial magic and helping others achieve their dreams. Vellemancers even have an ability called Wishgranter.
  • Familiar: Serves as a source for their magic spells. The Beast-Bonded archetype emphasizes the Familiar's role and focuses on developing ways to strengthen and enhance the bond between witch and familiar. Certain archetypes take different interpretations of them.
    • The Bonded Witch archetype instead uses a "bonded item", similar to the wizard class feature, which presents the Witch with specific spells based on the type of object that serves as the conduit for their powers.
    • The Scarred Witch Doctor uses a gruesome fetish-mask for this role instead.
    • The Gravewalker carries a "spell poppet", a nasty little doll made from humanoid skin stuffed with grave dirt, bone shards and fingernails, that serves as the source of their spells and powers.
    • The Bouda carries some form of grisly little fetish for this role, like a carved idol or a necklace of teeth and/or bones.
    • The Cartomancer, like the Bonded Witch, bonds with an item instead of a familiar, in their case the local counterpart of tarot, using it to communicate with their patron.
    • The Alley Witch pulls her power from the collective minds of her home city, gaining thematic spells and a number of stat bonuses.
    • The Wyrmwitch bonds with a treasure hoard that has to grow in size as they grow in power, sleeping on it for added power.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Evil Witches can take the "Cook People" hex from Ultimate Magic, which lets them brew up certain potions by murdering a sentient humanoid and boiling their remains down in a cauldron. The Gingerbread Witch archetype goes a step further and swallows people alive.
  • Making a Splash: The Sea Witch archetype draws upon the magic of the ocean, granting her powers and spells related to water and tides, as well as the moon and winds. Naturally, they cannot have a Patron whose interests or theme oppose that of water, such a spirit of earth or fire.
  • Magical Eye: Several "hexes" resolve around this archetype.
  • Necromancer: The Gravewalker archetype trades in some of the normal spells a patron adds to their spell list and a couple of hexes for spells and abilities to create and control the undead. A witch with the plague patron also gains some of the spells, although without some of the abilities that the Gravewalker gets (and, naturally, the two synergize quite well).
  • Power at a Price: Practitioners of the Scarred Witch Doctor archetype engage in Self-Harm in order to foster and focus their magical powers. They also to carve or brand scars into their bodies to symbolize their hexes (and lose these hexes if the scarring is removed).
  • Prehensile Hair: They have a hex actively called this which lets them apply this trope to their hair (and their facial hair, for male witches).
  • Red Mage: The definitive example among Pathfinder's classes. The witch's spell list is an even mix of damage, healing, and utility magic, though they're somewhat more squishy than the average example of this trope.
  • Shout-Out: The Bouda is somewhere between this, a literal Mythology Gag, and a Genius Bonus. The Bouda is a creature from African Mythology, essentially a hybrid of a witch and a werehyena. The Bouda archetype gives the witch the ability to turn into a hyena and is most iconically found amongst gnolls, which are hyena-like humanoids.
  • Swallowed Whole: The Gingerbread Witch can do this.

Ultimate Combat

Ultimate Combat is a book focused on martial prowess, physical combat, weapons, and warfare. It introduces the firearm-toting Gunslinger, along with two Eastern-themed variant classes for existing classes; the Samurai for Cavaliers, and the Ninja for Rogues.


Warriors dedicated to mastering the arts of blackpowder weaponry.

  • Armor Is Useless: Gunslingers generally prefer lighter armor and mobility for defense, and their weapons use a target's touch armor class rather than their regular AC, effectively invoking this trope without specialized defensive powers. Averted by the Gun Tank archetype, which focuses on wearing heavy armor to deflect attacks whilst they blow folks away with their own guns.
  • Desperation Attack: Introduced in The Advanced Class Guide are dares, which are taken in place of feats and give a Gunslinger an extra edge when they've exhausted all of their Grit points. In particular, the Out For Blood dare increases a gunslinger's critical range with all firearms, making them more likely to do massive damage with an attack (and, since a confirmed critical restores a point of grit, get back to being able to use their main abilities).
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Actively averts this. The Advanced Class Guide introduces the Bolt Ace archetype, which applies the Gunslingers' skills and abilities to crossbows, allowing those whose GMs enforce this trope to still use the class.
  • Firing in the Air a Lot: The variant of this trope where a person shoots once into the sky to silence and/or startle people is invoked in the form of the high levelnote  Deed known as Menacing Shot, which lets the gunslinger spend a Grit point and fire off a round to create a Fear spell.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: One of the experimental guns that the Experimental Gunslinger archetype can create.
  • The Gunslinger: Well, yeah. They come in many different types.
  • Handguns: Gunslingers can choose to specialize in pistols, the Pistolero archetype is dedicated to the usage of pistols, and the Gulch Gunner archetype, which is based on a Gunslinger specializing in fighting in tight, close combat environments, is mentioned as typically favoring these guns.
  • Heal It with Fire: The Utility Shot Deed's abilities include "stop bleeding", where the gunslinger fires a bullet and then presses the heated metal of their gun barrel to a bleeding wound to cauterize it closed.
  • In the Back: The Bushwhacker archetype specializes in this sort of behavior, to the point that its class features are Craven Deeds (replacing the Utility Shot and Targeting deeds with Shifty Shot and a Long Ranged version thereof) and Sneak Shot (replacing the class's bonus feats). Shifty Shot is essentially a Grit-fuelled, firearm based version of the Rogue's Sneak Attack ability, while Sneak Shot causes the Bushwhacker to deal extra damage when shooting targets who can't defend themselves.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Targeting Deed allows for this. The Deadeye Deed is a lower-level version of this, allowing a gunslinger to target touch AC instead of armored AC from further out than normal.
  • Mad Scientist: The Experimental Gunslinger archetype, with its ability to design customized guns, dips into this territory.
  • Mana: Like several other classes in Pathfinder, the gunslinger's more spectacular class abilities are fueled by points withdrawn from a pool of energy points. The gunslinger's version is called "Grit".
  • Mysterious Stranger: There's an actual archetype for the class called this that operates around being a Determinator who also is The Drifter.
  • Only I Can Make It Go: A level 1 gunslinger starts off with a basic gun which only they can use properly, and can therefore only be resold for scrap. This is something of an Obvious Rule Patch, since firearms are among the most expensive non-magical items (the ones available as starting weapons should cost 1000 to 2000gp; more money than they should see for at least a couple of levels).
  • Pirate: One of the archetypes for the gunslinger from the Advanced Races Guide is the Buccaneer, which is a seafaring specialized variant of the Gunslinger most commonly seen amongst pirate ships.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: One of the things a gunslinger can do after taking the Utility Shot deed is to fire at locks in order to blast them open.


Legendary experts of stealth and murder. Officially described as a "Japanese/Oriental" replacement for the Rogue class.

  • Arrow Catch: The variant where one uses one's bare hands to knock an arrow aside is represented in-game as Deflect Arrows, which is one of the Tricks that a ninja can select.
  • Back Stab: Like their "parent class", the Rogue, ninjas are capable of sneak attacks.
  • Gratuitous Ninja: The whole purpose behind adding the class to the game.
  • Hidden Weapons: A Trick actually named this is available to ninjas.
  • In a Single Bound: The High Jumper ninja Trick allows ninjas to leap higher with ease.
  • Mana: Like the Monk, a ninja has a pool of "ki points" that are used for certain class abilities and powers.
  • Me's a Crowd: The Shadow Clone Trick lets ninjas fake this by spawning illusory doubles.
  • Ninja: Well, duh. Crunch-wise, it's effectively a beefier Rogue which uses a "ki pool" to power certain special abilities, including duplicating the effects of certain Illusion spells.
  • Pressure Point: A Trick named this allows ninjas to strike at them and inflict Strength and Dexterity damage.
  • Roof Hopping: Invoked by the Light Steps ability, which allows ninjas to move at rapid speed over difficult terrain and things that shouldn't be able to support them — too thin branches, ice, water, lava.
  • Shout-Out: The Shadow Clone trick can be seen as one to Naruto.
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: The Ninja's more spectacular, superhuman feats are fuelled by Ki.


Disciplined, organized and well-equipped warriors. Officially described as a replacement for the Cavalier for more "Japanese/Oriental" themed regions and games.

  • Character Alignment: invokedAverted. Though the Samurai of Dungeons & Dragons were required to be Lawful in alignment and lost their abilities if they ceased to be Lawful, the Pathfinder Samurai has no such restriction. Even the "anti-Samurai", or Rōnin, is a class archetype rather than a "state of fallen grace" or "Evil Counterpart" Prestige Class, in contrast to the fallen and anti-paladins.
  • Heroic Willpower: An actual class feature is "Resolve", which allows them to shrug off various debilitating effects through sheer determination.
  • Horse Archer: More ranged focused than the Cavalier; Samurai gain the Mounted Archery feat for free. Also an interesting case of Shown Their Work, as samurai as mounted archers is more historically accurate than pop culture interpretations that make them out to be Master Swordsmen (though certain archetypes still allow you to play samurai akin to that).
  • Iaijutsu Practitioner: The Sword Saint archetype.
  • Mook Commander: Like the Cavalier, the Samurai is a PC version of this, sharing the former's Banner ability that grants allies buffs for simply being in their presence.
  • Praetorian Guard: The Yojimbo archetype traditionally acts as bodyguards for emperors and warlords.
  • Rōnin: An actual order for Samurai, though they technically don't serve anyone; taking the classic interpretation of the role, ronin are Knight Errant-type characters without a lord, either due to death or disgrace, or simply because they don't wish to serve one. A ronin's special abilities are themed around their self-reliance and self-determination, free from the bonds of servitude.
  • Taking the Bullet: The purpose of the Yojimbo archetype, who gain the Bodyguard feat for free, along with bonuses when they use it to aid others.

Ultimate Magic

Ultimate Magic delves into the magical arts, exploring new options and powers for both arcane and divine casters, and adding archetypes themed around magical abilities for all classes. To add to the themes of the book, it introduces a new class in the magus; a martial/arcane hybrid that combines learned magical research with powerful physical strikes.


Warrior-wizards who wield spells and swords with equal aplomb.

  • Anti-Magic: Several magus arcana are focused on this. They can gain the ability to dispel magic from people they hit, disrupt an enemy's concentration, have several options to enhance their ability to strike at people who try to cast near them, and can reflect offensive spells back at the caster.
  • Armor and Magic Don't Mix: Averted. Being able to cast arcane spells whilst wearing heavy armor is one of the class's special features.
  • Carry a Big Stick: One archetype for the class from Ultimate Magic, the Staff Magus, forsakes the usual sword and instead wields a similarly empowered quarterstaff.
  • Critical Hit Class: An extremely common build for the magus is to take advantage of spell damage also being doubled on a critical hit when they channel it with a spellstrike, get a weapon with the widest crit range available (usually a scimitar), make it Keen, and hope to roll a 15 or better on attack rolls.
  • Dual Wielding: The Spellblade archetype has the ability to create daggers of magical force in their off-hand, which are dual-wielded alongside their physical weapon. They even have the ability to create a makeshift "Sword Beam" by throwing this dagger, which promptly rematerializes in their hand whether they hit the target or not.
    • The Mindblade archetype allows you to manifest a weapon in each hand at higher levels. More than that, your arcane spellcasting becomes psychic spell casting, meaning you don't need somatic components to cast spells, meaning you can freely use spell combat and/or spellstrike while duel wielding!
  • Elemental Powers: The Elemental Knight archetype is a Sulinote  Magus who specializes in wielding elemental spells and refined versions of their normal elemental magic.
  • Expy: The Bladebound archetype is one of Elric of Melnibone, complete with acquiring an sentient black sword that drains the souls of those the wielder kills and guides the bearer towards the sword's own inscrutable goals.
    • The entire class is arguably an expy of the popular Duskblade class from 3.5e's Player's Handbook II, which is not part of the SRD, and thus wasn't eligible for import into Pathfinder directly — to say nothing of the Eldritch Knight Prestige Class. To the point that the Iconic Magus was originally the picture used for the Eldritch Knight.
    • The Hexcrafter Archetype is an expy of another popular class, the Hexblade, from the Complete Arcane - another non-SRD source.
  • Flash Step: Thematically invoked by the Spell Dancer's abilities, culminating in the ability to Dimension Doornote  by spending a mana point.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Invoked by both the class's list of spells (touch and short-ranged only) and the class features, which include the ability to cast touch-range spells through its sword and create Spell Blade type effects.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Skirnir archetype learns to channel their magic into their shield, augmenting its protective abilities at the price of their spellcasting, instead of channeling into their weapon.
  • Magic Dance: The Spell Dancer archetype is a magus who uses dance as a way to focus and channel their spells. Naturally, their physical combat style makes them a Dance Battler as well.
  • Magic Knight: The basis of the class. The Myrmidarch and Kensai archetypes focus more on the "knight" aspect of the mix, even gaining a number of Fighter abilities as they level up.
  • Mana: The Magus' "arcane pool" essentially fills this role, allowing for specialized attacks and abilities, whereas the spells it can cast are simple Vancian Magic. Spell Recall allows one to use their Arcane Pool to recall and reuse previously expended prepared spells
  • Master Swordsman: The magus has an archetype called Kensai, which is dedicated to mastering the sword; it gives up a significant portion of its actual spells to instead have far more deadly swordplay abilities.
  • Power at a Price: The tiefling-specific "Fiend Flayer" archetype uses Self-Harm to augment its magical powers by drawing upon/spilling its outsider-tainted blood.
  • Soul Power: The Soul Forger archetype is a magus who is able to infuse their soul into armaments, allowing them to create extremely powerful magical items and gear, as well as repairing broken gear instantly, making them a weird cross between this and an Ultimate Blacksmith.
  • Spell Blade: An iconic magus ability is Spellstrike, which allows them to channel touch spells through their weapon, and another is their ability to grant their weapon enchantments. A magus can easily end up with a weapon that freezes, burns, and electrocutes enemies all at once, not to mention paralyzing or polymorphing them.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: The basis behind the Mindblade archetype from Occult Adventures. Their shtick is the ability to manifest psychic weapons using thought alone.
  • Super Reflexes: The Spire Defender archetype develops these via its magic, as it tends to operate in difficult terrain and thusly places mobility and ability at a premium over armor. They gain Combat Expertise and Dodge as bonus feats, and can spend arcane points to boost various agility and mobility related skills, but lose innate training with armor, as well as the innate ability to avert Armor and Magic Don't Mix.

Advanced Class Guide

The Advanced Class Guide introduces ten new classes designated as "hybrids"; combinations of previous classes that take inspiration and abilities from them, but often have their own unique mechanics that make them stand out and fill a niche of their own.


A synthesis of the Wizard and the Sorcerer, the Arcanist is an individual who simultaneously has inherent magical talents and studies the arts of wizardry, learning to combine external and internal magic to bend or even break the rules of arcane spellcraft.

  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Three of the basic Arcane Exploits the class can learn are Flame Arc, Ice Missile and Lightning Lance.
  • Flash Step: The Dimensional Slide Exploit allows an Arcanist to teleport short distances at will by spending arcane points.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Rather than depend solely on their Sorcerous talent to cast spells, Arcanists deliberately study Wizardly lore and magecraft to gain their abilities.
  • In the Blood: Like the Sorcerer, the Arcanist has inherent affinity for magic — they just choose to deliberately learn to control external magic as well.
  • Mana: Called the Arcane Reservoir, but has the same effect; a system of "energy points" used to fuel the Arcanist's Exploits, though their spells are still Vancian Magic. They have the ability to "convert" Vancian-style spells into arcane points and their 20th level ability does let them cast their Vancian spells by spending points from their reservoir, as well, though.
  • Talented, but Trained: They have the innate gift of Sorcery, but they still learn proper Wizard techniques to truely master their gifts.
  • Unequal Rites: Mostly averted. Arcanists develop by freely merging and hybridising techniques and lore from both Wizards and Sorcerers, though apparently some wizards regard their arcane exploits as somehow cheating (then again, the reason this is known is that other wizards decided the exploits were a perfectly valid magical technique and figured out how to use them themselves).


A synthesis of Barbarian and Sorcerer, the Bloodrager combines a deep well of inner rage with an inherent affinity for magic that they can tap into through their rage, allowing them to perform superhuman feats whilst lost in the throes of fury, as well as casting a limited array of spells.

  • Expy: The Draconic bloodline is basically a way to do the Dragon Disciple Prestige Class without having to multiclass. And in that respect, the class as a whole is an answer to many players' requests to apply the Dragon Disciple template to the other Sorcerer bloodlines.
  • Full-Contact Magic: Beyond the fact the Bloodrager is all about magically becoming more deadly in the melee, the spell list for this class revolves around physically empowering or close-to-medium-ranged spells. There's also the Blood Conduit archetype, who focuses on unarmed combat and combat maneuvers, and gains the ability to channel touch spells through his body when he makes physical contact with an unarmed strike or combat maneuver.
  • Glory Seeker: With the Destined Bloodline
  • In the Blood: Just like the Sorcerer, the Bloodrager has a Bloodline from which they draw power. It gives them the Bloodrage power, Bloodline powers, and spellcasting.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Not all of their bloodlines are based in their actual descent. Many instead are acquired through actions or changes the Bloodrager's ancestors applied to themselves (such as the Arcane bloodline, which represents ancestors who studied magic, instead of having it in the blood).
  • Unstoppable Rage: They have the Bloodrage power which gives them increase Strength and Constitution and some other benefits at the cost of Armor Class.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The effects of a Bloodrager's rages generally involve physically transforming in some fashion — Abyssal and Draconic Bloodragers start by growing claws, for example.


A synthesis of Fighter and Monk, the Brawler combines the latter's mobility and adeptness at unarmed combat with the former's freedom from a Lawful Character Alignment.

  • Badass Normal: Like the fighter, the Brawler has no point systems or magic or ki abilities; all its power derives from sheer physical ability.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The Brawler retains the Monk's Unarmed Strike class feature, and a renamed version of the Flurry of Blows class feature. Unlike the Monk, however, the Brawler can use Close-group weapons, like spiked knuckles, at a slower damage dice progression than their Unarmed Strikes. This, combined with their Brawler's Fury, means Brawlers are quite deadly when their fists are covered as well.
  • Confusion Fu: To a certain extent; the Brawler has the ability as it levels up to temporarily gain access to Combat Feats it doesn't know, allowing an experienced Brawler to become an Instant Expert in tripping or grappling in one fight and pull an entire Monk fighting style out of nowhere in another. This allows the Brawler to be a very versatile and unpredictable fighter, and one the GM can't always anticipate.
  • Character Alignment: invokedThe biggest difference between a Brawler and a Monk is that Brawlers don't have alignment restrictions.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The basic theme of the Brawler class.
  • Name's the Same: An unarmed-combat focused archetype for the Fighter also called the Brawler was released earlier, in Ultimate Combat.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: As long as they still have access to their Martial Flexibility uses for the day, the Brawler can gain whatever combat feat they could qualify for on the fly, including otherwise-situational combat feats that are very effective for their current fight.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: The Shield Champion archetype.


A synthesis of Druid and Ranger, the Hunter combines the combat talents of the Ranger with the magical affinity to nature of the Druid, most distinguishable for their loyal animal companion.

  • Bond Creature: Hunters are always aided by a loyal and fierce animal companion.
  • Character Alignment: invokedMust be Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, or Neutral Evil, just like the Druid.
  • Vancian Magic: Subverted. Unlike its two parent classes, the Hunter casts spells spontaneously, like Bards, Sorcerers, Summoners, Inquisitors and Oracles.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: To a much lesser extent than the Druid; they can imbue themselves and their Bond Creature with an "animal aspect" (or two, at max level) for a small but appropriate boon. The "Feral Hunter" archetype trades out the animal companion class feature for a limitednote  version of the Druid's Wild Shape ability, allowing the Hunter to turn into an animal at will.


A synthesis of Alchemist and Rogue, the Investigator specializes in using their brain to adventure; their role is providing support and advice to their fellows, sometimes through knowledge and keen observations, sometimes through a well-placed blade or an alchemical solution.

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Like Alchemists, they can create various potent elixirs and tonics.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Normally investigators are fairly weak combatants, but studying their opponent can dramatically improve their fighting abilities against that opponent for a short time.
  • Back Stab: Their Studied Strike ability is effectively this.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: The (main — it can be non-evil, in which case think Mycroft Holmes) point of the Mastermind archetype, which lets one play the Moriarty to the Investigator's Holmes.
  • Inspector Javert: The "relentless inspector" archetype naturally lends itself to this.
  • Psychic Powers: The Psychic Detective archetype loses all the alchemical aspects of the class in exchange for psychic spellcasting (progressing as a bard, using the Psychic spell list).
  • Shout-Out: The class is basically about playing a Captain Ersatz version of Sherlock Holmes himself. It even extends to the archetypes — of the six archetypes offered in the book that introduced the class, five are Sherlock Holmes references (four to aspects of the detective himself, one to his arch-enemy or his older brother).
  • The Smart Guy: This is their basic role in the party, with tricks like always taking 10 on Knowledge checks, or being able to make any kind of Knowledge check untrained.
  • Star Power: The Star Watcher archetype uses astrology rather than alchemy, channeling the influence of the stars into scroll-like effects by combining them with horoscopes.
  • Trap Master: Locating and disarming traps is one of their class features.
  • Utility Party Member: The Investigator is probably the king of all skill monkey classes, being a hybrid of Alchemist and Rogue, with some Bard abilities thrown into the mix. Investigators gain a crapton of bonuses to (mainly Intelligence-based) skills at the cost of rather mediocre combat performance.


A synthesis of Oracle and Witch, the Shaman communes with the spirits of all the world around them in order to request their aid in battle on behalf of the Shaman and their allies.

  • Bond Creature: The Spirit Animal, which otherwise functions as a Familiar, akin to the Witch's.
  • Soul Power: Most of the Shaman's abilities are derived from their patron spirit, and from a wandering spirit they select each day.


A synthesis of Barbarian and Bard, the Skald is a warrior-poet, using the powers of song and saga to incite their allies to fight harder and with greater fury, even being capable of going berserk themselves.

  • Barbarian Hero: The bardic equivalent of one.
  • Magic Music: Similar to the Bard, the Skald can use supernaturally charged music for various effects, such as boosting the morale and rage of allies.
  • Master of None: Averted, in theory; the Skald has less talents in healing or knowledge-type skills than the common bard, but is tougher and better in a straight-up fight.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Can go berserk, like a Barbarian. Anyone who chooses to fall under the effects of a skald's song falls into one, with the abilities augmenting any similar class features if available.


A synthesis of Ranger and Rogue, the Slayer specializes in tracking and ending the lives of sentient quarry, whether for purposes noble, foul or purely mercenary.

  • Back Stab: It's a Rogue-based class. It comes with the territory.
  • Bounty Hunter: The basic archetype of the Slayer.
  • Holy Hitman: The Deliverer archetype is a Slayer chosen by their deity to serve as a holy assassin, where more formal clergy and inquisitors would fail.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Like the Ranger, Slayers excel at tracking people down, though unlike the Ranger, the Slayer tends to focus on people specifically, not particular kinds of monsters or humanoids.


A synthesis of Gunslinger and Fighter, the Swashbuckler is a quick and agile warrior who focuses on nimbly evading and outmaneuvering their foes whilst delivering quick and precise strikes.

  • Critical Hit Class: The emphasis in the class features on "one-handed piercing weapons" encourages this, given that tends to mean players pick rapiers (by default an 18-20 crit range). Up to Eleven with the Whirling Dervish archetype, which gets to use the relevant class features with scimitars instead, which also have the widest crit range of any one-handed weapon in Pathfinder (18-20).
  • Desperation Attack: Just like Gunslingers, a Swashbuckler can use a feat to take Dares that activate when they're out of Panache, giving them an extra boost when they're out of their main source of Mana.
  • Dual Wielding: The standard Swashbuckler carries a sword in one hand and a pistol in the other.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: With the "Panache" system, Swashbucklers are encouraged to be flashy and showy fighters, and are rewarded by being more effective at what they do in return.
  • Glass Cannon: Swashbucklers can't take punishment like the more heavily armored Fighter can, but like the Gunslinger, they can dish it out pretty well.
  • Mana: Like Gunslingers, Swashbucklers have a pool of energy points called "Panache" which are spent to fuel Flynning-type effects.
  • Shout-Out: The Mysterious Avenger archetype is about protecting those under your care while having a secret identity. It also gains proficiency with and the ability to use for several of the swashbuckler class features with the whip...
  • Swashbuckler: Well, what did you think?
  • Sword and Gun: It's part of the basic character design, though nothing says they have to.


A synthesis of Fighter and Cleric, the Warpriest combines martial skill with powerful holy magic into one lethal package.

  • Character Alignment: invokedAs per the Cleric, the Warpriest has to stay within one step on the grid as their patron deity. For example, a Warpriest of Erastil, who is Lawful Good, must be either Lawful Good, Neutral Good or Lawful Neutral.
  • Combat Medic: Good-aligned Warpriests - like good-aligned Clerics - gain a plethora of healing talents and proficiency in a range of weapons and armor, though Warpriests - as the name implies - tend to focus more on the combat aspect than Clerics do.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Warpriests are an extremely versatile class with a number of different builds you can go with them. They are able to dish out significant damage, have good survivability thanks to their proficiency in heavy armour and self-healing abilities, and have a good mix of offensive, defensive and utility spells up to spell level 6. Even their combat styles are even varied; thanks to their Sacred Weapon bonuses, their favoured weapons scale as they level, allowing you to use any weapon you deem to be favoured, and they can be made to be good at both melee and ranged damage depending how you build them. They even have an entire archetype that makes them skilled in unarmed combat (see Sacred Fist below).
  • Religious Bruiser: The basic purpose of the class is to be one of these; even more so than the cleric and paladin, Warpriests are combatants as much as they are healers, casters and defenders.
  • Timed Power-Up: Warpriests have three abilities that let them Power-Up mid-fight basically every turn, but run out of steam eventually.
    • Sacred Weapon not only makes their Weapon of Choice (or Weapon-S!) more powerful by default, but burning a use of Fervor (their version of Channel) lets them activate a Power-Up to one (or more, with appropriate feats), ranging from a +1 to +5 Enhancement Bonus (or equivalent effects like Keen), for a number of Rounds equal to their Warpriest Level.
    • Sacred Armor lets them likewise gain a +1 to +5 Enhancement Bonus or equivalent Enhancement Ability to the Armor they're wearing. This lasts for 1 minute per Warpriest level.
    • Fervor acts as a Cleric's Channel, and can also be internalized to heal just the Warpriest. But its best aspect is that it can also be burned in order to cast any one spell the Warpriest currently has access to, targeting the Warpriest alone (so, buffing spells), as a Swift Action, meaning they lose no tempo in battle whatsoever, and basically crank up their Kaio-Ken level every single turn.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Warpriest's Sacred Weapon means the damage dice of their weapon scales with their level, as long as it is A.) The sacred weapon of their diety, or B.) A weapon they have Weapon Focus in. This eventually results in a warpriest that can make innocuous little weapons like darts or daggers hurt more than Greatswords.

Sacred Fist

What effectively amounts to an alternate class of the Warpriest, the Sacred Fist is an archetype of the Warpriest that drops all aspects of the Fighter, and instead acts as an amalgamation of the Monk and Cleric.

  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: It wouldn't be half-Monk without it.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Like their Monk ancestors, Sacred Fists gain a progressive increase to Unarmed Weapon damage.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Rather than the Bonus Combat Feats the Warpriest gains at every 3rd level, the Sacred Fist gains Bonus Combat Style Feats, like Pummeling Style and Dragon Style. The Master of Many Styles archetype from the Monk is an all-but required 1-2 level dip for Sacred Fists as a result.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Back in Ultimate Combat, a spell unique to the Cleric/Oracle Spell List called Blood Crow Strike, which lets its caster make Unarmed Attacks at a range of 200+ feat in the form of small bird-shaped blasts of fire, came into being. It was considered, at the time, fairly useless because it only worked with Unarmed Attacks (which Clerics are bad at), and was only realistically added so that the Qinggong Monk could make use of it starting at level 14. However, the Sacred Fist is a Cleric-Monk Hybrid, and thus gets both the Monk's increased damage to Unarmed attacks, and access to Cleric/Oracle Spell List. A Feat also introduced in the ACG, named Pummeling Style, allows its user to pool all Unarmed Attacks in a round together into a single, devastating strike. It didn't take long for Blood Crow Strike + Pummeling Style to become THE signature move of the Sacred Fist.
  • Mana: Sacred Fists, like Monks, have a Ki Pool, based on their Wisdom (which just so happens to be the Cleric's required stat to cast spells, for added shenanigans).
  • Supernatural Martial Arts: Even more than monks – they’re ‘’holy spellcaster’’ kung-fu masters, after all.

Occult Classes

The Occult Adventures book introduces a brand new type of spellcasters to the world of Pathfinder: psychic spellcasters. Not to be confused with psionics from Dungeons & Dragons, psychic spellcasters utilise internal emotional and mental components, rather than practising arcane gestures and words or calling their powers from a divine influence. Psychic spellcasters often focus on powers that call upon otherwordly spirits, use magical seances to glean insight about the world around them, or influence the minds of others while strengthening their own.

The only non-spellcasting class amongst the occult classes, Kineticists are masters of the elements, able to wield a strange and ill-controlled power as their bodies strain to act as vessels for the roaring might of the Elemental Planes.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Overwhelming Soul doesn't use the Cast from Hit Points mechanic. They can't push their abilities very far beyond default, often have to power up to use serious blasts and don't get the benefits of their Power Glows nimbus. They also aren't halfway to unconsciousness half the time (though they usually don't have as high of a Constitution), and have blasts that match fully-burning kineticists without burning at all. And they draw their power from their Charisma stat, making them excellent Social Experts.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The "burn" mechanic, which lets kineticists take nonlethal damage to fuel more powerful effects.
  • Cast from Sanity: The Psychokineticist, instead of burning their body, wrecks their mind with uncontrolled power.
  • Elemental Powers: The four classic — air, earth, fire, and water — as well as aether. Occult Origins adds void and wood.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Kineticists can develop the power to transform into elementals.
  • Emotional Powers: A Psychokineticist draws their power through wild emotional stress, and as a result loses their powers if they gain an ability that protects them from emotion-related effects.
  • Expy:
    • They're essentially benders. This has apparently caused some annoyance with the upper management at Paizo; James Jacobs maintains the class was originally envisioned as drawing more from the works of Stephen King, specifically Carrie and Firestarter, and finds that the end result more closely resembling Avatar's benders to detract from the intended feel and theme of the class, making it stand out like a sore thumb compared to the other occult classes (which draw from a mix of horror, Cosmic Horror Story and Urban Fantasy). The Psychokineticist archetype from Horror Adventures is an attempt to bring the class back toward the original plan.
    • Mechanically, they're the Pathfinder version of 3.5's warlock, which also had a key focus on a ranged blast attack with the ability to alter its shape and properties.
  • Gravity Master: The void element works like this.
  • Healing Hands: Aether- and water-aligned Kineticists can get the kinetic healer wild talent, which functions as this with a side of Cast from Hit Points. The Kinetic Chirurgeon archetype revolves around making this talent more powerful and versatile. The Legacy of the First World Player Companion gives a similar ability to wood-aligned kineticists.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Kineticists can create supernatural effects, but the game mechanics involved are quite different from standard spellcasting.
  • Mind over Matter: The aether element.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Constitution is their power stat, which means that it gives them power, plus it gives them HP - always important for any character ever, but doubly so for a class with a Cast from Hit Points mechanic.
  • Power Glows: The Elemental Overflow ability gives kineticists bonii when they burn HP, causing them to glow with their chosen element.
  • Taught by Experience: Not just mechanically. Kinetic ability does not seem to be inherited, and kinetic abilities are rare enough that most kineticists never find mentors and have to figure their abilities out on their own.

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.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The medium has incredible flexibility with his abilities - they can be a mighty warrior one day or a scholarly mage the next. The cost of this flexibility is that he won't excel like his more specialized peers.
  • Powers via Possession: The bulk of the medium’s powers come from channeling the spirits of legendary heroes.
  • Willing Channeler: Becoming a medium means intentionally calling and bonding with spirits.

Mesmerists' piercing stares allow them to insinuate themselves into other people's minds. A master of enchantment and illusion, the Mesmerist controls and influences the behavior of others.
  • Charm Person: Mesmerists are described as a blend of this and illusion. They also have a large number of Enchantment spells, which include this power.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: The hypnotic stare, the mesmerist’s defining power.
  • Master of Illusion: Mesmerists are described as a blend of this and enchantment. They also have a large number of Illusion spells.

To make use of his powers and spells, an Occultist channels psychic energy into a varied collection of antiques and mementos with storied pasts. Every type of implement allows the Occultist to use a different school of magic. ie, a crystal ball for divination or a skull for necromancy.
  • Improvised Weapon User: The Extemporaneous Channeler archetype exchanges martial weapon proficiency for the ability to use improvised weapons and spend Focus to imbue them with temporary buffs.
  • Psychometry: Occultists have the Object Reading ability. By handling a magical item for a minute, the occultist learns its properties and command word, and may acquire story-relevant information from it.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God backs up the hints towards Harry Dresden and John Constantine.
  • The Red Mage: Depending on the implements he focuses in, an occultist can dabble in defense, healing, illusion, or good-old blasting.

With her incredibly potent mind, the psychic can cast spells that are more powerful than those of members of any other occult class, and is the only class of these that can cast up to Level 9.
  • Amnesiac Hero: The amnesiac archetype. An amnesiac psychic gains unparallelled versatility in their spellcasting, but suffers from amnesia and loses the archetype if they ever regain their memories.
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: The psychedelia discipline. Your mind warps to prevent mind-reading, and you can induce hallucinations in people around you.
  • Mind over Matter: Telekinesis is one of the class "capstone" features, and even lets you fly at will.
  • Psychic Powers: They are THE epitome of psychic powers in the campaign setting, although reflavored as a type of spellcaster for ease of play and/or integration with other spellcasters, probably. They have a selection of stock psychic powers like telekinesis, telepathy and teleportation.
  • Telepathy: Psychics get this as a constant effect for free at 17th level, even letting the player choose a new spell for replacement if the spell with the same name was already chosen as one of the psychic's limited spells known.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Teleportation in various forms becomes accessible to psychics as they progress, from the usual unstable variant up to interplanetary goodness.
  • Shout-Out: The abomination discipline’s dark half seems to be one to the Dark Phoenix.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The abomination discipline. You have a powerful dark personality that holds devastating and cruel psychic power.

Attuned to the dead, the Spiritualist forms a bond with a phantom from the Negative Energy Plane, much like a Summoner with an Eidolon.
  • Animal Eye Spy: Spiritualists can see the world through their phantom's senses.
  • Bond Creature: The phantom, much like an eidolon is to a summoner. In fact, the rules forbid you from having both.
  • Literal Split Personality: The Fractured Mind archetype can manifest an emotional shard of their soul in the physical world.
  • Shout-Out: The spirit is a Stand, while the Fractured Mind archetype summons a shard of their own psyche, a la Persona.

Ultimate Intrigue Classes

Ultimate Intrigue was introduced to inspire campaigns that focus on political machinations, courtly games, or just had a good old-fashioned heist. To enable this style, the book introduces a class designed to play into such themes by being the ultimate deceiver: the masked Vigilante.

Living two lives, one of a common citizen, the other a masked warrior, the Vigilante uses the power this dual-identity gives them to battle foes within their home.
  • 100% Adoration Rating: A vigilante can specialize their social identity to have this, being able to make friends in communities, receive discounts from people within that community, and eventually become so well-loved that no-one could assume them of doing wrong.
  • Badass Normal: The basic vigilante specializations don't rely on magic at all in their repertoire; not only that, but they can specialize their disguises to be so good that they overcome divination and truth-telling spells.
  • Beneath Suspicion: An alternate use for the talents that make a vigilante otherwise seem like The Everyman is to appear to be someone so low-class and weak that they "couldn't be" the mysterious vigilante in question.
  • The Bus Came Back: One of the social talents a vigilante can choose from is called Triumphant Return, which enables them to regain renown quicker from a community they've lost renown from.
  • Charm Person: The Serial Killer archetype gets this ability. It's not a magical effect, they're just that charming.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Vigilantes get combat talents enabling them to become these, such as finding improvised weapons in a certain type of environment, or using grappled enemies as shields against attacks.
  • Consummate Liar: Out of necessity rather than morality; vigilantes get a lot of bonuses to their bluff and disguise checks to make sure no-one finds out their secret identities.
  • The Everyman: If your social talents don't focus on becoming a Socialite or Rich Idiot With No Day Job, then it's likely going to be one that allows you to feign this, letting you stay low-key with your social exploits and/or have a crafting profession that doesn't hamper with your vigilante activities.
  • Expy: The class enables you to be an expy of a number of famous superheroes from real-life fiction. The Stalker combat option is inspired by stealth-based superheroes such as Batman. It gets even more blatant with the archetypes; the Brute is The Hulk, while the Magical Child is Sailor Moon (complete with magical animal guide). The Wildsoul allows you to pick an animal from which you derive your powers from, one of which is notably an arachnid that allows you to create webs, another which is a falconine that gives you wings. The Gunmaster archetype is for any Superhero Packing Heat. The Warlock is Doctor Strange. Additionally, through minor editing/combining of the Magical Child and Mounted Fury archetypes, you can be a Kamen Rider, or, alternatively, He-Man.
  • Iconic Item: The Avenger can choose to have a signature weapon which gives them two feats to enhance their capabilities with said weapon.
  • Living a Double Life: The crux of the class.
  • Magical Girl: The gender-neutral Magical Child can transform into a spellcasting hero with a mystical animal companion.
  • Master of Disguise: Plenty of skill monkeys have allowed players to become this before, but the vigilante is the first to incorporate this as a core part of the class' identity. Notably, you get bonuses to protecting knowledge of your double-life, and you can take social talents that give you greater options for how you want to disguise yourself.
  • Metaphorically True: How the feign innocence social talent is justified; essentially a vigilante is telling the truth from the perspective of their social identity.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: In classic Bruce Wayne fashion, if you build your social talents right (and of course get a lot of gold from your adventures), you could well become this.
  • Secret Identity: Essentially what your social face is.
  • Secret Identity Vocal Shift: The mockingbird social talent enables you to alter your voice as if using a sound-altering spell, though in the vigilante's case it's just your character being really, really good at voice acting.
  • Serial Killer: An archetype from Horror Adventures turns the Vigilante into one.
  • The Social Expert: Vigilantes have access to a wide range of skills to function well in social settings, and several of the social talents enhance how well these work, including improving most civilians' interactions with the social identity and letting the vigilante gather information even easier than usual.
  • Socialite: The more outgoing social talents allow you to become this.
  • Stealth Expert: The stalker vigilante can choose a talent that makes them able to challenge senses (such as blindsense and scent) that would normally hard-counter stealth. Their foe still gets a bonus (and a hefty one at that), but the fact a stalker vigilante is able to even challenge these normally instant successes makes them potentially better at stealth than classes like the rogue. Both types of vigilante can also take the talent Armor Skin, which removes the usual penalties for attempting stealth in armor - for avenger vigilantes, this can ultimately result in using stealth in full plate without a problem.
  • Stock Superhero Day Jobs: Not as many as you would think, but they're there; the two key social builds are either The Socialite with 100% Adoration Rating, or a Master of Disguise who blends in as an an ordinary citizen with a mundane day job.
  • Superhero: The vigilante is basically superhero: the class.
  • Transformation Sequence: Any vigilante with magical abilities (from archetypes or multiclassing) can choose to have one (and the Magical Child archetype gets it automatically). It has the advantage of being twice as fast as the normal "shift identities" routine for a vigilante, but it has the disadvantage of being really flashy and easy for others to notice.

Ultimate Wilderness Classes

Ultimate Wilderness focuses on nature-themed archetypes, spells, items, and other options. It introduces the Shifter, a wilderness-themed martial combatant with a few Druidic tricks.

A warrior with shapeshifting powers, who often serves a Druidic circle.
  • Blob Monster: The Oozemorph archetype is an Ooze that can turn into a person.
  • Druid: They are usually associated with Druids, and are a more martial version of them. While they don't gain a Druid's spellcasting or animal companion, they gain a number of powers associated with Druids, such as Wild Shape, Wild Empathy, and permission to know the Druidic secret language. They also have the Druid's injunction against wearing metal armor.
  • Elemental Powers: The Elementalist archetype gains these from its forms.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: the Elementalist archetype trades out animal forms for elemental.
  • Natural Weapon: They usually receive a Shifter Claws ability, which grants them claws with scaling power.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Weretouched archetype is essentially a playable lycanthrope.
  • Partial Transformation: Their Shifter Aspect class feature allows them to take on minor abilities of their form.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: Not only does their Shifter Aspect stacks with Wild Shape (allowing a form and a partial form), but they can gain the ability to use their Aspect ability multiple times at once on different forms.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: While the Oozemorph gains Morphic Weapons, these are still natural attacks
  • Sizeshifter: The Rageshaper archetype, rather than shapeshifting, can become larger.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The premise of the class; they gain Wild Shape like the druid, but can go in and out of the form more easily. They also gain a partial variant.

Prestige Classes

Another holdover from Dungeons & Dragons, Prestige Classes are special advancements that can only be picked by higher-level characters of sufficient skill. As the name implies, they tend to be a bit more prestigious than generic classes, though they are by no means more powerful; rather they trade a class' high-end advancement for unique powers that grant them a different playstyle.

Though Prestige Classes are nowhere near as prevalent as they were in D&D 3.5 and have generally been phased out in favour of class archetypes, these classic prestige options are still available, and Paizo even occasionally releases their own in their Campaign Setting line of books, usually themed around organizations in the base Golarion setting.

     Core Rulebook Prestige Classes 

Arcane Archer

  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Earlier in the class, the Arcane Archer learns "Seeker Arrow", and later "Phase Arrow".
  • Mage Marksman: The basic idea, enhancing one's arrows with magic, including their spells.
  • Spreadshot: The ability "Hail of Arrows" allows this.

Arcane Trickster

With a taste for mischief and trickery, the Arcane Trickster acts as an enhanced rogue or lower-leveled Wizard or Sorcerer, confounding foes in ways a regular Rogue can't, while also doing some things even the most powerful spellcasters cannot do.
  • Back Stab: As the Rogue does, they get Sneak Attack dice. UNLIKE the Rogue, their capstone ability "Surprise Spells", allows them to sneak-attack with their spells!
  • Character Alignment: invokedAny non-lawful.
  • Magic Knight: Magical Rogue, technically...
  • Simplified Spellcasting: Their "Tricky Spells" ability, from class level of five and up, allows them to subvert the normal rules of Spell Construction (at least verbal and gesture components) a few times a day.
  • Telekinesis: At least has Mage Hand as a pre-requisite, which can be considered a minor form of this.


Dragon Disciple

A Sorcerer or some such spellcaster with draconic heritage can sometimes turn to options other than a base-line class, and so this is where the Dragon Disciple comes in.
  • Breath Weapon: The third-level ability of the class. It matches the Dragon Disciple's chosen bloodline.
  • Draconic Humanoid: They gain a set of powers to emulate dragons, including a few draconic features, including wings and a breath weapon.
  • Natural Weapon: It is usually accessed by Sorcerers of the Draconic bloodline, who already have claws. It has an ability that gives a bite on top of that, and advances the bloodline (even from zero), giving claws even if it isn't accessed by a Sorcerer.
  • Scaled Up: In later levels, they become capable of this a couple of times per day, into a dragon form matching their specific bloodline.


Eldritch Knight

  • The Artifact: Since the debut of the Magus; the Eldritch Knight was the original Magic Knight. The iconic magus even used to be the illustration for the eldritch knight. The class is still canon but it's unlikely to see much love in official material.
  • Magic Knight: To even become one requires knowledge of both level 3 spells and of martial weapons. It gains the ability to combine them on a critical hit at 10th level.


  • Magic Librarian: Because of their deep studies and keeping of secrets and, well, lore, they can perform many unusual feats and abilities.

Mystic Theurge

  • Master of None: The main deterrent to many in the meta-game, because while it grants variety, so many players focus on how one of its two abilities only modifies up to 5th-level spells.
  • Red Mage: The whole theme is to use both Arcane and Divine magic in one class.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Again, a deterrent to many a player is the lack of the highest levels of magic... and that taking levels in this class takes away from the other class features of the combined classes, such as Druids with Wild-Shaping, Sorcerers with Bloodlines, Wizards with School Powers, Clerics' Channeling, etc. A trade-off, however, is the ability to share spell slots between the classes as the Theurge levels up.

Pathfinder Chronicler

  • Crazy-Prepared: The idea is just that the Chronicler is that well-traveled.


  • Casting a Shadow: Essentially a Rogue with some limited 'shadow magic' as opposed to Sneak Attacks.
  • Shadow Walker: Via "Shadow Jump," which acts like a Dimension Door.

     Advanced Player's Guide Prestige Classes 

Battle Herald

Stick a Cavalier's tactics and a Bard's penchant to perform in a blender and set to puree. That is the Battle Herald, a combatant whom inspires and leads comrades like no other.

Holy Vindicator

A Cleric after taking a level in badass or a Paladin Up to Eleven, this class's faith in its deity is so strong that its blood literally burns with righteous power and holy fervor.

Horizon Walker

Take the Ranger's penchant for Favored Terrain and focus on nothing else. The Horizon Walker thus is comfortable traveling even where the bravest souls oft fear to tread.

Master Chymist

From potion-maker to Jekyll and Hyde, this is the path of an Alchemist whose Mutagens have dominated them in the same way as the mentioned literary characters. Two personalities. Two alignments. One body.

Master Spy

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, the Master Spy is often a specialized form of Rogue or Bard that uses cunning and wiles to get the job done.

Nature Warden

The union of the disciplines of a cunning Ranger and a wily Druid, these guardians energize not only themselves, but their animal companions to combat those that threaten the wilds.

  • Cold Iron: Apparently, protecting the wilds isn't limited to fighting mundane threats, as later in level, the Nature Warden may give their animal companions and summoned creatures the properties of this, along with damage resistance to all but this.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: As the option for Druids and Rangers, but with this prestige class, it's mandatory.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: As with Cold Iron above, though earlier in leveling.

Rage Prophet

Even Barbarian tribes have their own Oracles... sometimes those Oracles like to be in the midst of combat with their fellows, fueling themselves and their magic with Unstoppable Rage.

Stalwart Defender

The fundamental opposite of the Barbarian, the defender is a Stone Wall or Mighty Glacier that is hard to move once it claims territory to defend. Rather than charge with rage, they stand with still and harsh stance to defend others.

     Paths of Prestige Prestige Classes 
The Classes in this book are all tied closely to the lore and history of the planet Golarion.

Aldori Swordlord

Noble duelists from the southern half of Brevoy.

Arclord of Nex

Mighty mages who seek to carry out the will of the Vanished Wizard-King Nex.

Aspis Consortium Agent

Unscrupulous rivals of the Pathfinder Society.

Bellflower Tiller

Active agents of the Halfling Abolitionist network

Blackfire Adept

Brother of the Seal

Champion of Irori

Daggermark Poisoner

Dawnflower Dissident

Golden Legionnaire

Grey Gardener

Green Faith Acolyte

Hellknight Signifier

Knight of Ozem

Lantern Bearer

Magaambyan Arcanist

Mammoth Rider

Noble Scion

Pit Fighter

Prophet of Kalistrade

Razmiran Priest




Sleepless Detective

Storm Kindler

Tattooed Mystic

Umbral Court Agent

Veiled Illusionist

Winter Witch

Mythic Paths

Introduced in Mythic Adventures, mythic paths are an alternate leveling system that increases separately from normal character level. A mythic path offers the power obtained only by legendary heroes far above the typical adventurer. They are, however, not default and require the Game Master to add to the game.

Masters of magic, whether arcane or divine.

The pinnacle of skill at martial combat.

Stalwart protectors with a nearly impenetrable defense.

Those who draw on the power of divinity to eventually become closer to the divine than one of its followers.
  • Not Quite Flight: One of the sixth tier hierophant path abilities lets them walk on clouds as if they were solid ground, though it notably lacks any specific way to get to the clouds in the first place.

Leaders without peer, renowned for their vision and tactical acumen.

Masters of stealth an manipulation, relying on their skill and wit.
  • Deadly Dodging: One of its path abilities is actually called Deadly Dodge, redirecting missed melee attacks against the trickster to target adjacent creatures instead.

Pathfinder 2nd Edition

    Core Classes 


  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: Unlike the first edition, alchemy is now completely nonmagical, thus closer to this trope.
  • Item Caddy: Since alchemy is now non-magical and all items, alchemist as a class is now this. They have ability to create limited number of temporary items that would only last for a day but fully functions otherwise, and all of their feats are about enhancing their abilities to use those alchemical items.
  • Master Poisoner: The Toxicologist rsearch field specializes in preparing and using poisons.
  • The Medic: The Chirurgeon specializes in alchemical elixirs and has abilities that make them more efficient.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Forms the core of the alchemist's offensive abilities. Bombers emphasize this further.


  • Badass Normal: Barbarians of the fury instinct don't have any of the supernatural abilities other barbarians possess, but they're still more than capable of holding their own.
  • The Berserker: Can use the Rage ability to sacrifice defense for power.
  • BFS: Barbarians of the giant instinct can wield weapons made for creatures of Large size.
  • Mage Killer: Barbarians of the superstition instinct are revolted by magic and refuse to benefit from it, but in exchange they have Anti-Magic capabilities.
  • Sizeshifter: Barbarians of the giant instinct can acquire the ability to grow in size while raging.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Barbarians of the animal or dragon instinct can transform themselves into the creature associated with their instinct.
  • Willing Channeler: Barbarians of the spirit instinct channel spirits as part of their rage, making them more effective against undead.


  • The Bard: But of course.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Bards don't have to be particularly wise, but a spiritual connection to their muse is part of the class. It's why they're occult spellcasters.
  • Magic Music: As always, one medium for the bard's magic is music. Some composition spells make use of the Performance skill.
  • The Muse: The name of the bard's subclasses. The book offers several suggestions as to possible muses, including supernatural creatures and deities.
  • The Philosopher: Philosophical concepts are given as an example of a potential muse.
  • The Power of Acting: Composition spells can make use of any performance as a medium, including acting.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: The House of Imaginary Walls spell is only usable by bards and allows them to create magical barriers by miming.

Champion (formerly Paladin)

  • Healing Hands: Good champions can use the Lay on Hands Focus Spell and heal others using their touch.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: A large number of their abilities are based on a defensive version of this, either debuffing attacks and attackers or else punishing them with damage.
  • Mighty Glacier: They have the highest defense in the game, second best hit points, and a self-heal, and they're second only to fighters in terms of accuracy. On the other hand they're likely to be wearing heavy armor and their abilities encourage they stay close to the front.
  • The Paladin: The Lawful Good Cause is called this.


  • Combat Medic: Clerics with the Healing Divine Font receive additional Heal spells per day.
  • Warrior Monk: Warpriests are trained in armor and weapons in addition to divine magic.
  • White Mage: Cloistered clerics are a core option this time around.


  • The Beastmaster: Druids of the animal order fight alongside an animal companion.
  • Druid: Through spell casting, order selection, and certain feats, they can use each and every ability listed.
  • Green Thumb: Druids of the leaf order have a lot of abilities involving manipulating plants.
  • Nature Hero: Druids cannot despoil nature, or else they lose their abilities.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Druids of the wild order can use the Wild Shape spell and can polymorph themselves more easily.
  • Weather Manipulation: There's the Storm order for druids that wish to specialize in blasting.


  • Critical Hit Class: Critical Hits are now tied to accuracy, and Fighter is the most accurate class in the game. Given the same ability modifier, a Fighter will score a critical hit 10 percent more than any other class. They're also unique in that they can use the critical specializations for any weapon they're a master in in every circumstance.
  • Instant Expert: The only class to get universal training in advanced weapons, which tend to be more unique weapon types from specific ancestries or cultures that require special training for other classes to use. Fighters know enough about weapons that they can pick up an entirely new weapon and use it almost if not as well as people who grew up with it.
  • Weapon of Choice: Fighters choose a weapon group to specialize in as they grow stronger.


  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Monks specialize in unarmed combat, although some use monastic weaponry or the bow.
  • Ki Manipulation: Ki spells are an option for monks, although not all monks make use of them.
  • Necessary Drawback: Monks have the second highest defense out of all the martial classes, are the fastest, and are the only class that can make two attacks in one action in any scenario. In exchange they fight barehanded, making them generally weaker than other martial classes, and even if they can use weapons, their options are limited.
  • Stance System: Several classes have stance-based abilities, but monks make more use of them than any other class.


  • Action Pet: Rangers are one of two classes that can have an animal companion.
  • Classical Hunter: The core assumption.
  • Hunter of Monsters: The Monster Hunter feat and its upgrades gears rangers towards identifying and hunting monsters.
  • Trap Master: Rangers have class-specific feats for making snares.


  • Intangibility: The Implausible Infiltration feat allows them to "squeeze" through wood, plaster, or stone walls that are 10 feet or thinner, although not metal.
  • Walk on Water: The Cloud Step feat allows them to temporarily treat any insubstantial surfaces, including water and air, as a rigid surface, allowing the rogue to walk over them. They won't trigger pressure-based traps either. The primary limitation is that they must end their turn on the ground, or they'll fall.
  • Utility Party Member: Rogues are extremely good skill monkeys due to their massive number of skill increases, not to mention that they're the only class other than Investigator that gets both a skill increase and a skill feat at every level, while other classes only get skill feats at even levels and skill increases at odd levels.


  • Deal with the Devil: It is possible for sorcerers to inherit their magic from a pact an ancestor made.
  • Elemental Powers: The elemental and genie bloodlines.
  • In the Blood: Sorcerer's alignment changing as a result of the magic they use is generally not a risk, but some bloodlines grant spells with an alignment trait, which can when overused.
  • Lamarck Was Right: The arcane bloodline returns under the name of the imperial bloodline and has the same origin.
  • Semi-Divine: The celestial bloodline returns in the form of the angelic bloodline, and because a sorcerer's tradition is based on their bloodline in Second Edition, they actually use divine magic.
  • Witch Species: As always.


  • Familiar: One of the wizard's arcane thesises gives them the best familiar out of the core classes and second only to the witch.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: It is possible to choose not to specialize in a school and become a universalist instead.
  • Magic Staff: Wizards with the staff nexus thesis have a magic staff they make themselves.
  • Necromancer: Wizards can choose to specialize in an arcane school, including necromancy.
  • Spell Book: Wizards have to study their spellbook in order to use their spells with the exception of cantrips.

    Advanced Player's Guide Classes 


  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Their "Devise a Stratagem" ability is this trope: they take time to analyze how to attack enemies, which lets them roll a result in advance against a target. Should the Investigator use the die roll while using suitable weapons (agile/finesse melee weapons or ranged weapons), they can substitute Intelligence for Strength or Dexterity for accuracy, and deal additional damage via Strategic Strike.
  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: Harkenening back to their 1st edition abilities, Investigators with the Alchemical Sciences Methodology can create limited number of free alchemical elixirs and tools (but no bombs or poisons) per day (much smaller than Alchemists can) to help them with investigations.
  • Utility Belt: Similar to Operative's Utility Belt exploit in Starfinder, Investigators with Predictive Purchase can pull out items on demand from their bag, paying for the item retroactively. However, Predictive Purchase has more limitations than Starfinder's Utility Belt until they take Implausible Purchase.
  • Utility Party Member: They're even more of a skill monkey than rogues, with a considerable number of class features and feats for noncombat uses. They also get a lot of bonuses to rolls to Recall Knowledge. Like Rogues, they gain skill increases at every level. Unlike Rogues, at every odd level from 3rd level onwards they gain a skill feat that is restricted to skills using their mental stats or skills from their chosen methodology.


  • Curse: All oracles have a curse which is tied to their mystery.
  • Power at a Price: Central to the class. Oracles can be much more powerful than other divine spellcasters through their revelation spells, but always at a cost.


  • Dance Battler: The Battledancer's preferred form of combat.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Like in 1st edition, with the "Panache" system, Swashbucklers are encouraged to be flashy and showy fighters. However in second edition, how Swashbucklers gain Panache is dependent on their Style.
    • Battledancers gain it by using Fascinating Performance (does what it says on the tin - causing enemies to gain the fascinated condition with your performance).
    • Braggarts gain it by successfully Demoralising foes.
    • Fencers gain it by successfully using the Feint or Create a Diversion action.
    • Gymnasts gain it by successfully performing Grapples, Trips, and Shoves.
    • Wits gain it by successfully using Bon Mot (reduce enemy's Perception and Will saves with a well-timed quip).
    • Aside from these, all Swashbucklers have a style-agnostic method by Tumbling Through a foe (using Acrobatics to move through their square on the map), though the GM may also award it for suitably flashy and daring actions.
  • Finishing Move: Swashbucklers can make use of a Finisher as long as they have panache, which ends panache but deals a significant amount of damage.


  • An Ice Person: The Winter Witch returns in the form of the winter patron theme.
  • Curse: Witches specialize in curses, as their form of focus spell is hexes, although not all hexes are curses.
  • Deal with the Devil: A witch's patron is generally morally ambiguous at best. It doesn't help that the default assumption is that they don't know who they are.
  • Familiar: A witch's familiar serves as their link between them and their patron.
  • Public Domain Character: Not the class itself, but the Lost Omens Legends sourcebook includes a patron theme for witches whose patron is Baba Yaga.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: Witches with the Fate patron theme can nudge fate ever so slightly.
  • Witch Classic: Witches have all of the abilities of the classic witch, but are no longer required to take them.



  • The Beastmaster: Naturally, and this allows classes other than Rangers and Druids to have a trusty animal companion that levels with them. At higher levels (or if starting as a companion-having Ranger or Druid), multiple companions can be had, with one feat allowing the character to field two at once.

    Secrets of Magic Classes 


  • Magic Knight: The definitive example within Pathfinder. Even when other classes can multiclass to combine martial ability and magic, Magus is the only class that not only gets both by default (innately getting Master proficiency in martial weapons, whereas it's impossible for other casters to get higher than Expert) but can also combine them.
  • Spell Blade: Spellstrike returns from 1e, once again allowing Magi to channel their spells through their weaponry to devastating effect. However they also get a different variety in the form of "Arcane Cascade"; a stance that a Magus can take after casting any spell to give their melee attacks additional damage based on the type of spell cast.
  • Bag of Spilling: An interesting variation. Magus and Summoner both have a unique casting progression dubbed "wave casting"; whereas other casters get and keep spell slots as they level up, Magus only has access to spell slots of the highest two levels it can cast (and cantrips). This means a Magus has to be incredibly sparing with the spells they use while shoring up their limited spell slots with wands, staves, and potentially multiclassing. The more limited spell casting does of course come in exchange for a variety of other abilities that other casters could only dream of, so in theory it evens out.


    Guns & Gears Classes 



Alternative Title(s): Pathfinder


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