Today’s Best in Class is all about arming yourself against situations which you aren’t prepared for. This year at PaizoCon I had the pleasure of writing and running an adventure titled Blood in the Water, which features a heavy theme of surprises and sudden action developing from nothing. The adventure turned out really well, but I couldn’t help but think, “Gee, these must be the most unlucky bloodsucking vampiric fiends ever,” and became inspired to create these archetypes which should allow characters who invest in them to feel perfectly comfortable even when things go wrong.
New Fighter Archetype
These legendary brawlers, tavern fighters, and supremely dangerous party guests are lethal combatants with just about anything. They rarely carry weapons or wear heavy armor, but are never far from everything they need to end a fight quickly.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A cunning assailant forgoes use of advanced weapons and armors. A cunning assailant is proficient with simple weapons, with light armor, and with shields (except tower shields).
This ability modifies the fighter’s weapon and armor proficiencies.
Improvised Weapon Skill: A cunning assailant is especially skilled at using whatever is at hand to batter his foes into submission. At 1st level, the cunning assailant receives Catch Off-Guard, Improved Unarmed Strike, and Throw Anything as bonus feats.
This ability replaces the bonus feat gained at 1st level.
Uncanny Defensive Training (Ex): A cunning assailant is always ready for action. Starting at 3rd level, the cunning assailant receives a +1 dodge bonus to AC and retains his Dexterity bonus to AC during the surprise round or the first round of combat, even if he has not acted yet. At 7th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the dodge bonus to AC granted by this ability increases by 1.
Improvised Weapon Training (Ex): A cunning assailant trains and drills with all sorts of improvised weapons in order to overcome his foes. At 5th level, the cunning assailant gains a +1 bonus to all attack rolls made with improvised weapons, and he increases the damage dice dealt by improvised weapons by one step. This ability stacks with Improvised Weapon Mastery. At 10th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the bonus to attack rolls and damage dice size increases by +1 and by one step, respectively.
This ability replaces the weapon training class features.
Armor Comfort (Ex): A cunning assailant eventually becomes comfortable enough to wear armor he has never drilled in or fight with extremely heavy burdens. At 19th level, a cunning assailant reduces the check penalty from encumbrance and the armor check penalty of any armor he wears or shield he wields to 0.
This ability replaces the armor mastery class feature.
New Rogue Archetype
These rogues are thieves through and through, and they specialize in taking things from their foes. They don’t rely on stealth or guile, but rather on skill and brutality in order to take what they want and overcome their foes.
Master Pilferer (Ex): A daring pilferer is a master of taking whatever she pleases from her foes. At 1st level, a daring pilferer adds 1/2 her level to her CMB when making a steal or disarm combat maneuver.
This ability replaces the trapfinding class feature.
Escapist (Ex): Due to their criminal activities, most daring pilferers find themselves tied up often enough that they have become experts at escaping their bonds. At 2nd level, the daring pilferer learns to escape her bonds with extreme speed and relative ease. She adds 1/2 her level as a bonus on all checks made to escape ropes, chains or anything else used to tie her up.
This ability replaces the rogue talent gained at 2nd level.
True Taker (Ex): In a blur of motion, a daring pilferer can strip her foes of all their wordy possessions in a mere moment. Starting at 10th level, a daring pilferer does not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing a disarm or steal combat maneuver, and suffers no penalty for attempting to disarm when she is not wielding a weapon. Finally, as a full-round action, she can attempt both a disarm and a steal combat maneuver against the same target. She can resolve these in whichever order she chooses.
This ability replaces the rogue talent gained at 10th level.
New Wizard Archetype
These wizards are never caught off guard. They spend much of their studies learning to cast spells for any situation so as not be caught by surprise. In addition to learning to cast spells of any kind, they learn to cast spells in a variety of dangerous situations.
Arcane Bond: An improvisational archmage is bound to a single special item, which he can use to cast spells. An improvisational archmage must select bonded object at 1st level for his arcane bond. Instead of being able to cast any one spell that the wizard has in his spellbook and is capable of casting, an improvisational archmage’s bonded item allows him to immediately prepare any spell on the sorcerer/wizard spell list in an unused spell slot, even if the spell is not in his spellbook. Doing so is a swift action, and replaces the spell previously prepared in that slot. The spell slot used must be of a high enough level for the chosen spell slot. The improvisational archmage’s arcane bond otherwise functions as a normal bonded item.
This ability modifies the arcane bond class feature.
Clutch Casting (Ex): An improvisational archmage is able to cast a limited number of spells each day while in a pinch. At 1st level, an improvisation archmage may cast any spell he has prepared with a casting time of 1 standard action or less as a swift action without using somatic or verbal components. If he does, he cannot cast any other spells that turn. He cannot use this ability in any round in which he has already cast a spell. At 1st level, the improvisational archmage may use this ability once each day. At 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, he may use this ability an additional time each day.
This ability replaces the scribe scroll class feature, and all wizard bonus feats.