What are archetype packages?
Archetype packages are sets of class abilities characters may select in place of some of the normal abilities gained from a class. The concept was first introduced in the Genius Guide to Archer Archetypes, and the archetypes presented in this product are fully compatible with Archer Archetypes (though you certainly don’t need that book to use the new material in this product). While we went into a fair amount of detail on how and why we developed archetype packages in Archer Archetypes and don’t want to repeat ourselves too much, it’s important we cover the basics for people who are first encountering the concept here.
This book was written with the assumption that every class has at least one archetype package built into it which represents a standard set of powers that all members of the class receive (see below for details). It is designed with the premise that one can remove some of the standard abilities of a class and replace them with new options that, while different from what the core rulebook says, have no detrimental effect on the class’s mechanical balance or ability to fill it’s traditional role in an adventuring team.
An obvious example of an existing archetype package can be seen in the cleric, who gets to pick two domains. These are in addition to the cleric’s core abilities (and clerics have a broad range of options even without domains). Even if a player neglected to ever select those domains, the character would be able to perform the cleric’s core function and maintain the same role in a well-built team. However, over 20 levels these domains give the cleric access to nine spell slots, eighteen spells known, four special abilities, and in some cases up to two additional class skills or bonus feats.
In the context of this product, the cleric’s two domains represent a single archetype package—the Domain Servant. That package becomes just one option a cleric can take, with the new archetypes in this volume representing some alternative options. A player who wants to play a cleric that also has a smattering of arcane spells available to her (perhaps as a priest serving a deity of spells and magic) gives up the Domain Servant archetype package and gains one of the new arcane archetypes described in the following pages instead.
The most basic way to use archetype packages is to allow a character, when taking his first level of a new class, to simply swap the archetype package that is normally part of that class our in favor of one of the new packages from this volume. In other words, characters gain these new abilities by foregoing access to some of their class’s traditional abilities. This is limiting, but no more so than most of the other decisions one makes when creating a character. (A cleric, after all, cannot change domains after they’ve been selected, so why would one be allowed to pick a new archetype package a few levels later?)
Whenever new options are added to a campaign, though, it’s a good idea to consider ways to allow existing characters to gain access to them. In this case, that would mean finding a way to let characters swap out some of their long-time abilities in favor of a new archetype package. In our cleric example, a character who had already chosen two domains and used their abilities would give up those powers in favor of those from the new archetype.
This exchange is not entirely beyond logical explanation. If you consider archetypes as being similar to modern day occupations, it’s easy to justify a character learning new ones occasionally. As an optional rule, you may allow characters to change one archetype package whenever they gain an even-numbered class level. The GM may require a character to have a source of guidance in order to do this—a character with the desired archetype to act as teacher, a manual of instruction, or even divine inspiration. Upon taking a new archetype package, all abilities, feats, and skill ranks associated with the old archetype package are lost. (The skill ranks can be taken from whatever skills the player prefers when an old archetype is abandoned, and may add them in any configuration that falls within the standard rules for skill ranks when they are gained from a new package.)
While a character losing abilities and skills he once possessed may seem unrealistic, there’s no other mechanically balanced option to allow existing characters to gain archetypes. In the case of magic powers, it’s no great stretch to say that whatever energy once fueled them is now instead channeled into the new abilities. As for feats and skills, they can be explained as activities that require constant practice. They are not technically “lost” or “forgotten” when the character begins studying new areas of expertise, but the character falls out of practice and becomes unable to perform them sufficiently well, thus he may no longer use them in the game.
These answers may not cover every situation, but for most campaigns they should suffice to explain why a character’s abilities suddenly change. (If the campaign, GM, or players do not find these answers satisfactory, they should not use this optional rule. This will result in returning archetype packages to being options that may only be taken when a character first takes a level of a base class, which remains a balanced and viable way to handle these new alternative powers.)
A hedge wizard has some arcane training, but not enough to have perfected his spellcasting abilities. Hedge wizards can cast spells from a limited number of schools, but never master higher-level spells or the full scope of arcane magic. A hedge wizard may well be able to cast detect magic, lightning bolt and shield, but lacks the flexibility and power of a full wizard.
Hedge wizards are often people with no formal training in wizardry, or those who chose (or were forced) to give up their apprenticeship before they had mastered all the basic arcane skills. A student thrown out of wizard school for spending too much time scrying on the girls’ dormitory, a thief who studied just enough magic to find arcane traps, or an apprentice whose master died before passing on all his lore are typical hedge wizards.
In other cases hedge wizards are from regions with no strong tradition of arcane knowledge—they are as well-trained as their environment can make them. A tribal druid who also knows all the arcane lore his predecessors have gathered, a cleric of a god of magic living in a land where wizardry is outlawed and arcane lore is burned, or a kobold sorcerer who is on the verge of discovering wizardry as a separate source of power all fall into this category.
If you add this archetype package to a class that already has one or more of these as class skills, you may select a different skill as a class skill in place of one already known. You gain an additional 1 skill rank per class level.
Select three schools of magic. At 1st level, you know one cantrip (0-level spell) from each of these schools of magic. You can only have one of these cantrips prepared at a time, though you can use it an unlimited number of times each day.
Beginning at 4th level, you can learn and prepare spells as a wizard does. You maintain your spells in a spellbook, which acts identically to a wizard’s spellbook. The spells you learn must be from the sorcerer/wizard spell list and must belong to one of the schools of magic you choose for your cantrips. You can only prepare spells that belong to these three schools. You use your Intelligence score to determine your spells’ save DCs, the level of spell you can cast, and bonus spells per day. Your spells per day are determined using Table: Dabbler Spells Per Day.
At 5th level, and every odd level afterward, you automatically learn a single additional wizard spell of your choice. The spell must be of a level you can cast and from one of your three allowed schools of magic. This represents a fortuitous discovery made in the course of your ongoing magic studies. To learn any other spell you must be copy it from a scroll or wizard’s spellbook or discover it through spell research, just as a wizard does.
Although your wizardly training is far from complete, the very fact that you don’t follow a traditional path has allowed you to discover a talent typical wizards lack.
Choose one of the following beginner’s knacks at 1st level. Once made, this choice cannot be changed.
Bypass Gestures (Su) You’re not really sure why sometimes the spells you cast while wearing armor don’t work for you, but rather than just stop wearing armor you’ve kept trying to find a way to overcome the problem. Once per day, you can cast a spell gained from the Hedge Wizard archetype package as if it had been prepared with the Still Spell metamagic feat, without increasing the spell’s level.
This increases to twice per day at 8th level, and three times per day at 16th level.
Power Boost (Su) The slow pace at which your power increases is unsatisfying. You constantly strain to make your spells go farther, last longer, and do more damage. Once per day, you can increase your caster level by 1 for a single spell you cast.
This increases to twice per day at 8th level, and three times per day at 16th level.
|Class Level||Spells Per Day|
The Genius Guide To: Arcane Archetypes. Copyright 2010, Super Genius Games. Author: Owen K.C. Stephens