Character Archetypes

Here are a few starter kits for XL 5 characters (the expected starting level for player characters). They are based on traditional classes, but unlike a class these are purely advisory; they specify a sample selection of talents which you can alter or ignore at your whim. Archetypes are useful for new players in search of a “pick-up-and-play” character, and for GMs in a hurry trying to make an NPC.

Rogue

Basic talents:

  • Lightning Reflexes
  • Weapon Focus [light blades]
  • Armour Proficiency
  • Skill: Search
  • Skill: Open Lock
  • Capstone: (choose something suitable for talents known, or race)

Expert talents:

  • Sneak Attack
  • Skill: Disable Device

Ideas for talents to collect: Improved Sneak Attack, Skill: Move Silently, Skill: Bluff, Skill: Appraise, Skill: Disguise, Skill: Sleight of Hand, Skill: Escape Artist, Skill: Use Magic Device, Improved Martial Training

Fighter

Basic talents:

  • Great Fortitude
  • Armour Proficiency
  • Skill: Ride
  • (choose one)
  • (choose one)
  • Capstone: (choose something suitable for talents known, or race)

Expert talents:

  • Shield Proficiency
  • Martial Training

Ideas for talents to collect: Improved Martial Training, Weapon Focus [(gotta catch ’em all!)], Mounted Combat, Two-Weapon Fighting

Cleric

Basic talents:

  • Iron Will
  • Martial Training
  • Channel: Healing
  • Skill: Heal
  • Skill: Knowledge (religion)
  • Capstone: (choose something suitable for talents known, or race)

Expert talents:

  • Caster Training
  • Divine Thread [(choose one)]

Ideas for talents to collect: Domain Power [(choose)], Channel: Turn Undead, Improved Caster Training, Spell Capacity, Improved Martial Training

Wizard

Basic talents:

  • Iron Will
  • Weapon Focus [double]
  • Familiar
  • Scribe Scroll
  • Skill: Spellcraft
  • Capstone: (choose one)

Expert talents:

  • Caster Training
  • Thread Focus [(choose one)]

Ideas for talents to collect: Improved Caster Training, Thread Focus [(gotta catch ’em all!)]

Monk

Basic talents:

  • Great Fortitude
  • Lightning Reflexes
  • Iron Will
  • Martial Training
  • Skill: Sense Motive
  • Capstone: (choose one)

Expert talents:

  • Battle Trance
  • Ki Strike

Ideas for talents to collect: Ki Jump, Quivering Palm Technique, Spell Resistance, Spell-Like Abilities, Weapon Focus [monastic], Natural Weapon, Improved Martial Training, Skill: Jump, Skill: Diplomacy, Skill: Tumble

Regarding Capstones

Kjdavies suggested that archetypes should come with their own capstone talent (e.g., a Rogue capstone, a Wizard capstone, et cetera). While I do think that players should be able to get capstones that cement and enhance their character’s theme, it seems to me that having explicit ones tied to archetypes such as these could cause confusion for new players (which would be just about everyone, seeing as this is a new game). If a new player sees that there are “archetype capstones” called Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard, etc. he may well be prompted to think “Oh, okay, so these are my character class and I should build around them.”. Essentially they could (even if unintentionally) become classes-by-another-name and cause people to feel restricted in their choices (“But I have to give my character sneak attack, Rogue capstone requires it!”).

I would propose that instead capstones provide some of the functionality of 3e’s prestige classes, in particular ones with strong ties to the setting. Since this is setting-related, I’ll take a GreyHack example: the Order of the Red Cup provides free medical care and magical healing to all. A capstone for them might provide extra healing magic and bonuses to Heal at low tiers, at higher tiers giving more powerful healing and even the ability to spontaneously raise the dead. Such a capstone comes with an in-game prerequisite: you must join the Order to take the talent.

This idea would be in keeping with the current idea of racial capstones: a capstone represents a concrete thing from the setting you are playing in (racial or professional so far). So an elven mage can take the Elf capstone, and if she joins the Academy of Magic she can take their capstone as well. She’ll need some other options; hang on, aren’t almost all PCs a member of at least one organisation? That’s right, an adventuring party. Why not create some custom capstones that emphasise the party’s particular teamwork strengths? PHB II had some ideas around teamwork abilities, and Pathfinder has added teamwork feats with a similar idea in mind.

Another source of capstones is just the character himself! Rather than having fixed capstones that people are expected to work towards, why not create a unifying talent to cement the decisions he has made and personalise his character even further?

Keith's Comments: On Capstones and Archetypes SelectShow

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