Pathfinder Review: A Look at the Advanced Class Guide

Paizo Pathfinder Wayne Reynolds

Today I’m going to take a look at one of the newest and most interesting products coming out of the Paizo gaming foundry.

Now I’ve played me a boatload of Pathfinder over the years, heck, I was one of the lucky few at GenCon that actually got to pull my Core copy off the pyramid and then rush over to artist’s alley to have Wayne Reynolds sign it, so I’m always on the lookout for what they will do next.

The Advanced Class Guide takes a very interesting turn within the game, basically melding iconic core classes together to make some really cool hybrids. Instead of an old school Fighter/M-U, you get a whole new stable of stuff with unique characteristics.

I mean, here is what the book has to say about it, “Most heroes progress along a single path – choosing to become a fearsome fighter, pious cleric, or mighty wizard – but some are drawn to many roads. For them, it can be hard to find a balance between abilities offered by disparate classes. Hybrid classes solve his dilemma by blending features from two classes, adding rules to make them work seamlessly together.”

Makes sense right?

So, this is how we get new classes like Arcanist [sorcerer/wizard], Bloodrager [barbarian/sorcerer], Investigator [rogue/alchemist], etc. In all, it is pretty darn cool, and Paizo’s designers go into exacting detail on each, taking up a full 71 pages of the volume with mechanics and Wayne Reynolds iconic art.

After that introduction, you get a full run on archtypes and class options for the core classes in the game, then roughly 30 pages of feats, 40 pages of spells, and then 50 pages of equipment and magic items for the new classes.

The tome rounds out at 250 pages in hardcover, has some great stylized Pathfinder art, and makes another solid contribution to the overall Paizo product line for their now venerable RPG.

For anyone out there looking to add more ‘spice’ to an already flavorful system, look no further than the Advanced Class Guide.

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  • Official Blog on

    nice once so here

  • Scott on

    Joseph: Well, I’ve not yet played these classes, so I can’t give any insight into them, but I have played Witch and Cavalier and most other ‘new’ cores. All seem pretty damn tough, and I would say ‘upgrades’ over the initial cores, and if these classes run in the same line, then they too will feel like a bit of a power upgrade to the base cores. However, until I actually get a chance to roll dice with them, it will be hard to say.

  • Scott on

    Bill: You make an interesting point, and I’ve certainly had the same problems as I go up in level. Lord knows, it is a tough pill to swallow when you give up a couple levels of fighter for something else and then can’t ever be ‘max’ in the class and get the final bonuses. I think this book will mitigate some of that angst.

  • Joseph C. Wolf on

    My concern is are there any compromises or are these hybrid classes just another take on the overpowered gestalt rules in D&D 3.X? Are you further ahead taking the Bloodrager than if you multiclassed Barbarian and Sorcerer? In terms of oomph how do these classes stack up against the core classes? How’bout the later added classes like Cavalier and Witch? To me some of these really feel like having your cake and eating it too, i.e. no compromises. Any insights ya’ll have to share would be deeply appreciated.

  • Bill Coffin on

    I can’t wait to buy a copy of this book. I looked through it and was struck by the approach of blending classes. The big thing that sticks in my craw of Pathfinder (and 3.x) is that you’re capped at level 20, and with every level you progress, you disincentivize ever taking levels elsewhere. When you’re a 12th level fighter and want to get a few levels of rogue, you have to trudge up an ever-steeper hill just to get those few levels, and if you jump back to your core class, then you’re fighting that much harder to advance again. It’s a no-win, and you must always wonder if you’re squandering precious levels along the way. For a player who likes the idea of one class but wants a little something more, these hybrids offer a great way to find something they like and stick with it all the way, and without having to jump to a prestige class to do it. Bravo.

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