PaizoCon 2024 Bundle and Classes+ vote!

ROOOOAR!

Team+’s MAY OF MADNESS continues! We’re here to hit you with a double whammy! First off, Pathfinder Infinite is having massive sales right now, with up to 40% off our books! And you know what we said?

20% ISN’T ENOUGH! Say hello to Bundle+ Paizocon ’24, which sells EVERY Team+ book so far for $50– and then even greater discounts if you already own any of our books! Plus, it comes with an exclusive poster for you to download, and maybe print off, to hell with it, I can’t control you!

On top of that, a greater beast awaits in its lair.

IT’S TIME TO START CAMPAIGNING FOR OUR NEXT CLASSES+ BOOK! Gentlefriends, on May 24th, the next Classes+ vote will begin. I have here a list of candidates; these classes give some ideas as to what we’re planning with them, and what you can expect from our next Classes+ vote. Start MEMEING! Start telling FRIENDS!

Rally your tables, bring them here to the server! Make the discord your BATTLEGROUND! FIGHTERS+ MUST BECOME REAL!

Remember, on May 25th, Safe Haven: A Weird West Tale launches! On top of that, we’ll have some brand new Patreon news that’s sure to tickle your green thumbs on the 24th, too. That’s it! Let the bloodfest BEGIN!

Start Voting Here

Go all out on Fam+ with the bundle

The Making of the Eldritch Artist Archetype

Howdy y’all! It’s Lonesomechunk here (or otherwise known as Conner Berkheiser on Pathfinder Infinite) I figured I’d go over the creation of one of my favorite pieces of Infinite content that I’ve worked on: the Eldritch Artist Archetype.

 

The Ideas Phase

Archetypes+ began writing sometime last summer and It was my first project with Team+. Tony informed us of the plans for the project as well as ideas for it, such as what archetypes we wanted to focus on improving (like the pirate or assassin), however, we were also informed that we would get to create at least one brand new archetype as well! As exciting as this was, it was also somewhat daunting; “should I convert a beloved 1e prestige class to 2e? should I create something silly? something cool?”  I couldn’t decide, at least not for a little while. I discussed it with my co-writers and bounced ideas around, maybe I could do a magical girl archetype, or maybe I could do something inspired by the Revenant class from Guild Wars 2, but both didn’t really click (and considering the Starlit Sentinel and Animist would be announced months later, I’m glad I didn’t go for my initial ideas!). Ultimately, I let it simmer in the back of my mind for a good while as I got to work on other parts of the project.

Around this time I was playing Bravely Default II on the switch, as someone who loves RPGs, they sometimes make their way into my writing, inspiring me with ideas that might not be currently well-supported in the game. JRPGs in particular tend to have more “niche” or “odd” classes sometimes, especially Final Fantasy games and their spin-offs, you’d be hard pressed to find a western rpg with classes like “Patissier” or “Gambler”. This is for good reason of course, especially in a game like Pathfinder 2e where classes tend to be somewhat broad in concept, at least broad enough to encompass a whole 20 levels worth of content, usually complete with subclasses and such. Some of these more specific job concepts therefore would make for good archetypes, seeing as they can be easily applied to existing classes and don’t necessarily need to sacrifice their more “niche” appeal to do so. All of this is to say, when I obtained the Pictomancer job in Bravely Default II, something clicked, and I knew I found my archetype. As an artist myself, it seemed so obvious and so perfect, Pathfinder 2e didn’t have anything like it, and I already had plenty of ideas for what I wanted to do with it.

Folie the Pictomancer from Bravely Default II

The Creation Phase

So when it comes to creating an archetype or any kind of subclass, what I tend to do first is think about what kinds of things inspired it, what kinds of examples could I draw on to help inspire this idea? What cool moments did I want to help enable and is there some kind of theme that can tie it all together? At this time, the Eldritch Artist wasn’t fully formed, but I did have a strong inkling of what I wanted to do with it. In Bravely Default II the Pictomancer was more of a debuff focused class with the painting aesthetic, and while that certainly could have been route to take with the Eldritch Artist, I felt that in the context of a game like PF2e, I could get a lot more creative with it! I thought about characters like Sai from Naruto, summoning animals in combat from his Ink paintings or how the Pictomancer in Bravely Default II had a strong color theme to their abilities, leading to the idea of creation and visual effects. Due to the existence of spells like Dizzying Colors (at the time called Color Spray) as well as various illusory effects that mess with one’s vision, I knew that combining magic and art would let me tap into some unique elements that we currently didn’t have much of in the game. While Bards are great buffers and debuffers themselves, they’re also specifically occult and focused on music and auditory art forms, not visual, so I wanted Eldritch Artist to stand apart from it by going a different route.

Now that I had a stronger idea for what concepts & themes that I was going to focus the Eldritch Artist on, now came the part where I roughed out ideas, creating bullet points & simple descriptions for various feats, stuff like “being better against illusions (optical illusion theme)” or “summoning creatures from art”. From there I did my research and looked into different parts of PF2e where similar effects may already exist to gauge the rough power level of my ideas and where I could place them. I saw Psychic had the Thoughtform Summoning, which allowed them to modify their summons in a unique way, and I also saw how archetypes like Hallowed Necromancer or Dragon Disciple allowed you to nab spells that might not be on your list normally, which would be extremely fitting for things like Prismatic Spells or other spells with the Visual trait. I also thought about the Colorful Coatings from Treasure Vault, wonderfully fun items that didn’t scale super well but had a lot of potential in something like Eldritch Artist, once again calling back to the theme of color. My own real life experiences as an art student also made naming the feats and coming up with concepts tons of fun, I’m particularly proud of feats like Color Thaumaturgy, being a play on the word Color Theory or how fun Paranormal Pigments is to say (I’m a big fan of alliteration in my naming conventions). I also just knew that I had to include something to allow for the creation of one’s personal artistic demiplane, there was even module written early in Pathfinder 1e called Gallery of Evil that included a part where you went inside a painting to fight some monsters, sick!

An Eldritch Artist Wizard I made for a Playtest in a Magic the Gathering themed One-Shot

The Refinement Phase

Luckily when it came to the Eldritch Artist, the refinement phase was fairly smooth sailing. By the time I had written out most of the feats and abilities I turned it over to Tony for feedback and was given some really great suggestions that helped to guide it to its finished state. Most of it stayed pretty much the same but even those small tweaks really helped to give stuff like the Dedication and feats like Conjuring Canvas some real juice, defining them more clearly and making them more unique from similar effects. Unfortunately, now also came the time for the dreaded naming phase, what the hell was I gonna name this thing? It might seem a little odd to hear but I struggle with names and I didn’t actually land on the name Eldritch Artist for a while. I thought of just stealing Pictomancer but that name feels so rooted in Final Fantasy I wasn’t sure it would be okay, and It was mechanically distinct enough that I didn’t want direct comparisons. Maybe something else thats like a play on those words? I’ve always heard that “-mancy” was technically incorrect since that word technically refers to a style of divination while “-thurge” is technically more accurate (Pyrothurge being more linguistically fitting than Pyromancer despite many using the latter term quite often to mean the former). What about Ikonomancer? Ikonothurge? Maybe that’s too out there? Maybe Arcane Artist? It has the alliteration but this isn’t meant to be Arcane specific, ultimately what I landed on was Eldritch Artist, somewhat based on Eldrtich Archer. To be quite honest, looking back I kind of wish I stuck with Ikonothurge as unfamiliar of a term as it might be, Eldritch Artist feels almost a tad bit plain. Ultimately though I still elected to include the term in the flavor text, referring to the synthesis of magic and art as “Ikonothurgy”.

Closing Thoughts

Being involved in the creation of Archetypes+ was a ton of fun and an incredible learning experience, I got to really push myself to write more than I thought I was capable and really stretched my design muscles to do things I wasn’t fully comfortable with at the time (such as creating high level feats). Eldritch Artist in many ways is probably one of the things I’m most proud of, I have a lot of fondness for it as something that is uniquely mine and inspired by me being both an artist and JRPG nerd. Even If I can look back and see a number of things I would like to change (and a number of things that might require changes due to the Remaster), I nonetheless still hold it near to my heart. If you ever create a PC using the Eldritch Artist archetype please let me know! I’d love to hear all about them! Until next time!

 

 

Pathfinder Lore Nerd, Gay Illustrator, Lover of Cats and a bunch more! If you’re part of the Team+ Discord, chances are you’ll see me around, I’m @Lonesomechunk! I also made the “Golarion Unleashed” product line on Pathfinder Infinite and have contributed to projects like Player Core 1 Expanded,  Archetypes+ &  Feats+!
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Cera’s Wild Ride #1: Booster Pack Feats

“Free” to pick the Medic archetype again

To those of y’all who know me, you know me for my based takes — such as my unrestricted, seething hatred for Free Archetype. I’m sure many of my fellow, somewhat less based but still so, peers would agree, arguing that it boosts the average power of the player characters, and the worst that it unevenly does so; any player that chooses flavour over a “power-up” archetype such as the aforementioned Medic will find themselves lacking or limited in comparison to the other players’ characters. There’s also the fact that multiclass archetypes are almost always more powerful than non-multiclass ones — all of you who picked Rogue Dedication for no flavour reasons but for Sneak Attacker or Skill Mastery, please stand up and leave the premises.

 

O-okay, now come back, it gets awkward talking to just myself.

Of course, I’m well aware that the rules that the rules suggest restricting the archetype options, but people commonly just interpret the “free” part as “free as in speech” rather than “free as in beer”.
But oh well, we have a solution, no? Just simply disallow Free Archetype, that should solve the issues, right?

I’m only human, after all

Versatile Heritage. Natural Ambition. Optionally Clever Improviser and Multitalented. Sounds familiar, huh?
(The joke also would work with Ancient Elves, but you can counter players who pick that by calling them boomers. Trust!)

The thing is, even if you disallow Free Archetype (which is effectively just extra feats), you’ll still have players who optimise for extra feats. Do note that I didn’t say “optimise for extra power” — sure, some players are like that, but most, from what I’ve found, just wants the extra customisation options. General feats are the primary guilty party for being all over the place enabling certain builds that would otherwise take half a game to actually start (read: level 3-5 (don’t lie, we all know nobody plays above level 10)).

There’s also the fact that I just hate people picking humans as an ancestry. You could be anyone and yet you pick Joe Shmoe?

“Yeah, you can ignore the restrictions”

There inevitably comes a time when a player, on purpose or by accident, picks an archetype that just… doesn’t have enough feats to actually fit the Free Archetype feat slots. It might be missing a level 4 feat, it might have said feat be a skill feat, or it might just simply not have enough feats coming in a timely manner. This leads to a curious situation where GMs will typically tell the players to just ignore the restrictions: they are allowed to start a new archetype without picking up the mandatory 2 feats. Some GMs already start the players off with this restriction lifted — the most common variant I see is that the Free Archetype line of feat slots are considered entirely separate from your main class feats, and starting an archetype in one only limits you to the archetype for 2 feats in that “line”.

There’s also a curious variant of this: when a player wants to multiclass into their own class. In truth, not everyone is looking to make their character into a world-travelling factotum. You could rule that they can pick their multiclass archetype, but that’s not the same, is it? The dedication usually gives the establishing base for the class, which — being a member of that class — they already have. Their first meaningful choice would actually be a level 4, when they can finally pick up a level 1 or 2 feat of their own class. Was that worth it?

Swimming against the current

This is more of a player expectation issue, but if you don’t offer Free Archetype, you’re going against the majority of the playerbase. Now, there are admittedly several potential problems with using this poll as evidence (1. players presumably are the majority, and there are 4-6 players to a GM, 2. it’s Reddit only, 3. it’s Reddit), but it’s still a good indication that at least sixty-something percent of the voters here use Free Archetype. Builds shared online are typically planned with Free Archetype in mind, Free Archetype is often the first “homebrew” suggested to newer GMs, etc.

The parameters

So! We have quite the predicament. We can’t just throw out Free Archetype, but we also don’t wanna use it (and if you say you do wanna use it, just pretend you don’t for a moment so I can make my argument, yeah?).

We’ve got these points to watch out for:

  • We do not want to give a full Free Archetype for the reasons established above.
  • We do want to give some extra feat slots to players.
  • We want to give at least one general feat as they’re often used as “build-fixers”.

Of course, there are many ways to approach this, but I’m here to share the way I do it in my games. I like to call it…

Booster Pack Feats

(I-it’s a joke on another joke about paid-for Free Archetype feats where I called the concept “Paid Archetype”, but ANYWAY–)

This variant rule is simple, you give your players three extra feats:

  • One class feat received at level 1,
  • one general feat received at level 1, and
  • one class feat received received at level 2.

Each feat granted serves a specific purpose.

The level 1 class feat allows spellcasters to actually pick up a feat at the start of the game, allowing for some customisation without increasing the player characters’ power level overmuch. Level 1 and 2 class feats also generally serve as a way to “set up” a build in a few classes, and this just speeds up the process without needing to wait til one or more level ups.

The level 1 general feat similarly allows players to pick up some of the most critical general feats in a timely manner. This could be Armour Proficiency to increase their defences or Weapon Proficiency for their offence, or Toughness / Fleet / Canny Acumen to pick the power feats they would pick anyway.

The level 1 feats together de-emphasise the importance of going Natural Ambition Versatile Human without directly nerfing it.

The level 2 class feat allows players to freely start archetyping if they want to, or commit to picking more of their class’s feats if they’re satisfied with what they have.

The class feats together give spellcasters some class feat options before level 4. The inspiration for this variant rule actually came from a real situation I had with a relatively newer player, where she decided to pick a spellcaster with a class archetype. It was only then that I realised that her first actual class feat choice would be at level 4, which got me thinking — I didn’t really want to throw Free Archetype at newer players, no matter how brave they are.

Implementing it in Foundry

Now, because most of you play in Foundry, and I’m a Foundry “specialist”, I’ll also demonstrate two ways you can implement this in your games.

Using campaign feats

A relatively rarely used feature of the PF2 system on Foundry is “campaign feats” — extra feat slots to use in your games. As a GM, create a temporary macro, and paste this in there:

const FeatCategories = [
    {
        id: "boosterPackFeats",
        label: `Booster Pack Feats`,
        slots: [
            {
                id: "extraGenFeat",
                label: "GEN"
            },
            {
                id: "extraClassOneFeat",
                label: "CL1"
            },
            {
                id: "extraClassTwoFeat",
                label: "CL2"
            }
        ]
    }
];

game.settings.set("pf2e", "campaignFeatSections", FeatCategories);

The code above simply sets a system setting, that of the “campaign feat sections”. This is a list of elements, and we give it a list of one item — our boosterPackFeats. The label is used to determine what gets displayed on the player sheets, and the slots simply define what, well, feat slots shall appear in this new feat section. When all is done, set the type of the macro to “script”, and run it. Note that you should definitely not run random scripts found on the net, so maybe get this code checked out with someone you trust, but I assure you it’s nothing malicious.

When all’s said and done, you should get a result that looks like this:A demonstration of the "booster pack feats" code. The picture shows the "Feats" page of a Fighter in Foundry.Of course, this solution has several problems. One, the feat slots appear even when the player is not of the correct level — see the “CL2” feat slot. Two, because these mix a general feat and class feats, you cannot set up filters for them, which means that if the players press the magnifying glass icon next to the slots, they get an unfiltered view of all feats and features.

These two problems can be somewhat fixed by separating the feat categories into two:

const FeatCategories = [
    {
        id: "boosterPackFeatsGen",
        label: `Booster Pack Feats - General`,
        slots: [1],
        supported: ["general"]
    },
    {
        id: "boosterPackFeatsClass",
        label: `Booster Pack Feats - Class`,
        slots: [1, 2],
        supported: ["class"]
    }
];

game.settings.set("pf2e", "campaignFeatSections", FeatCategories);

The problem that still persists however is that you have no way of filtering down the class feat slots to class — they will instead show feats for every class you have.

ChoiceSet + GrantItem: the Derry Special

You can also instead make two custom features that each ask the player what feat or feats they want to pick. This solution presumes enough knowledge of the system to know what rule elements are, so be warned. The first one would ask about the first level feats, with rule elements like so:

{
  "key": "ChoiceSet",
  "choices": {
    "filter": [
      "item:category:class",
      "item:trait:{actor|class.slug}",
      "item:level:1"
    ],
    "itemType": "feat"
  },
  "adjustName": false,
  "flag": "classFeat",
  "prompt": "PF2E.SpecificRule.Prompt.Feat"
}

{
  "key": "GrantItem",
  "uuid": "{item|flags.pf2e.rulesSelections.classFeat}"
}

{
  "key": "ChoiceSet",
  "choices": {
    "filter": [
      "item:category:general",
      "item:level:1"
    ],
    "itemType": "feat"
  },
  "adjustName": false,
  "flag": "genFeat",
  "prompt": "PF2E.SpecificRule.Prompt.Feat"
}

{
  "key": "GrantItem",
  "uuid": "{item|flags.pf2e.rulesSelections.genFeat}"
}

Most of the fields presented here are relatively self-explanatory if you know about rule elements.

The {actor|class.slug} might look curious, but it simply gets some data from the player character, the “actor”. It gets its class, and from that, the class’s slug — which is usually an all-lowercase version of the class’s name, with spaces replaced with hyphens, and most special characters removed. This is not an exact definition, but it suffices.
The thing to note is that this same format is also how traits are stored, so this will match up most classes with their respective traits.

The other two fields that might merit an explanation are flag, which stores a custom value on the item (which then the GrantItems look for and use to determine the UUID of the feat to grant — this is how your picked choice is granted to you), and prompt, which is usually ordinary English text that instructs the user what to do, but here, we use PF2E.SpecificRule.Prompt.Feat, which in the system will display “Select a feat.” translated to the user’s language.

After this is done, you need a second feature that does something similar, but it only uses the class-feat-granting ChoiceSet and GrantItem, and the former is changed like this:

{
  "key": "ChoiceSet",
  "choices": {
    "filter": [
      "item:category:class",
      "item:trait:{actor|class.slug}",
      {
        "lte": [
          "item:level",
          2
        ]
      }
    ],
    "itemType": "feat"
  },
  "adjustName": false,
  "flag": "classFeat",
  "prompt": "PF2E.SpecificRule.Prompt.Feat"
}

“LTE” stands for “lesser than or equal” — this is a check for the feat’s level to be either 1 or 2 (or 0, but don’t make level 0 feats, please).

When you’ve made these two features, you will need your player to give them to themselves — the person who drags the feature to a character gets asked about their choices. You will also need to do this again when they reach level 2 and the second feature must be added.

That’s all, folks!

Despite my (admittedly partially comedic) hatred for Free Archetype, I do still suggest using it for games where it would thematically make sense; Strength of Thousands is a really good example of one such case. However, for other games where you’d pretty much only use Free Archetype just because, why don’t you give Booster Pack Feats a go, and see if it helps?

Up SLH’s Sleeve: Beastek Unconvention for Inventors+

Inventors+ added the idea of unconventions to inventors, alternate power sources than explosive flame. Pathfinder, of course, has beast guns and beast armaments. Why not combine the two ideas? The following unconvention is available to inventors.

 

Beastek

Using elements of a slain creature, your innovation is built on techniques adjacent to those used in beast guns, using the natural and unnatural elements of the creature in question to brutal effect. Your innovation gains the beast trait in addition to its other traits, and any effect you create with your innovation is considered to be created by a beast.

Beast Mode ◆

You activate spiritual remnants of the hunt in the gizmos of your beastek innovation, maiming your foes with rending claws and gnashing technological teeth. Attempt a Crafting check that has a standard DC of your level. If you have a weapon innovation, you can choose to change the additional damage from Beast Mode to your choice of piercing or slashing damage.

Critical Success Your gizmos roar to life, surging with power in beast mode. For 1 minute, when you successfully Strike a creature and you have used an action with the move trait this turn, you deal additional damage equal to your Intelligence modifier and the target takes a -1 status penalty to Fortitude and Reflex saves until the start of your next turn.

Success As critical success, except the damage is equal to half your Intelligence modifier.

Failure You fail to motivate the bestial spirit of your innovation, nothing happens.

Critical Failure Unprecedented! Your beastek innovation has lashed out at you instead. You take slashing damage equal to your level, and you can’t use Beast Mode again for 1 minute as your gizmos cool down and reset.

Eviscerate ◆◆

Beast, Inventor, Manipulate, Unstable

You cause your innovation to lash out in a wide arc, brutally goring those in its path. This gory swing targets all creatures in 3 contiguous five-foot cubes, all of which must be adjacent to you (or your innovation if it’s a minion) and take 1d8 slashing damage with a basic Fortitude save. A creature that fails their save also takes persistent bleed damage equal to 2 + half your level, and if they critically fail they’re also sickened 1.

At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the damage increases by 1d8.

Special If you have the Variable Core feat and you alter your Eviscerate’s damage type, affected creatures take persistent damage of the chosen damage type instead of bleed damage.