Pathfinder Classes: Caster Design Space Left Untouched

Pathfinder has seen an explosion of new classes in the last few years— 6 in the APG, 10 in the ACG, 6 more coming in Occult Adventures, plus Magus and Gunslinger from Ultimate series books. Added to the original core 11 classes, plus alternate classes—well needless to say it’s a lot.

But anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of logical extensions. It’s why I design things like extra damnation feats and get caught up on making sure there is one for EVERY type of evil outsider, and why I focus on adding ways for Kingdoms to generate technological items.

So, let’s just say I don’t think that this game has had all the logical class design possibilities tapped yet. One area that I think there are a lot of possibilities left to fit into nice design spaces that haven’t been used yet are partial casters.

The Bloodrager is a good example of this—the first ever 4 level casting that is arcane instead of divine. There have been several 9th level casters (Wizard, Sorcerer, Witch), 6th level arcane caster (magus, bard), but now only a single 4th level Arcane caster—seems like there could be plenty of room for more there, right?

Let’s go on one of my patented categorization and classification rants!  I’m going to break down all the spellcasting classes by spell levels (4th, 6th, 9th) and power source (alchemical, arcane, divine, and divine—nature focused). I’m going to leave out Occult for now because I don’t have the book yet. Let’s see where there’s room for more classes guys!

Power Source: Alchemical

4th level casters: none

6th level casters: Alchemist, Investigator

9th level casters: none

Power Source: Arcane

4th level casters: Bloodrager

6th level casters: Bard (Music-themed), Magus (combat-themed, Summoner (Conjuration focused), Skald (music-themed+rage!)

9th level casters: Sorcerer, Wizard, Arcanist, Witch

Power Source: Divine

4th level casters: Paladin, Anti-Paladin

6th level casters: Inquisitor, Warpriest

9th level casters: Cleric, Oracle

Power Source: Divine (Nature Focused)

4th level casters: Ranger

6th level casters: Hunter

9th level casters: Druid, Shaman


So what’s missing?

There are some very obvious holes—4th and 9th level Alchemical casters stand out. 4th level will be easy to flesh out—there are any number of additional focuses that can be grafted onto a class that gets 1st-4th level Alchemist spell list and higher BaB. The 9th level version is a lot harder, since we’d have to be inventing the entire range of spells that are added to the list from 7th-9th levels, but it’s not unthinkable. Though of course, since the ALCHEMIST is only a 6th level caster this does feel a bit wrong to add a “Better! Alchemist!”

I already mentioned how I feel there could be more 4th level Arcane Casters—Arcane Archer is a popular Prestige class, what if it was a base 4th level Arcane caster class?  4th level casters get full BaB, so this would be a good fit. Perhaps a Monk with fewer supernatural powers but 4th level casting? A 4th level Arcane caster focused on Invisibility and stealth with some version of Sneak Attack?

Despite already being clustered up, even 6th level Arcane casters still have room for growth—we currently have two music buff focused classes (Bard/Skald), one focused on Conjurations, and one focused on Combat+ buffs. . . so what’s the glaring hole here?

How about a 6th level blaster focused mage?  Evocations are fun, and a master blaster would be well balanced since they would lack the battlefield control and earth shattering powers of 9th level casters—perhaps Master Elementalist or to use a term that’s had at least two different iterations in other editions “War Mage”. I think a Pathfinder compatible style 6th level treatment of this concept would be interesting.

The same could be said for illusions. Illusion spells are powerful, but difficult to GM, and are very flexible, but there are still somewhat underserved—the illusion abilities in the totality of the game don’t really amount to much more than the core rules book.

Then of course, there’s the 6th level Necromancy themed caster that could be slotted in very easily—similar to the Summoner in its “minion” focus, but with a very different minion base and much different spell list to back it up.

I’ve actually been tooling around on this very concept myself—though since it’s not for anything that plans to be published anytime soon, my Necrosvant remains unfinished.

Of course, there are also further afield iterations that could be gotten to if you stretch your mind far enough. Currently, all 4th level Casters get full BaB but limited spell casting. We have fighter/mages (Magus), fighter/cleric (Warpriest) and tons of other hybrid classes from the ACG.

But what’s the classic multi-class that we have absolutely no base class to go for with currently?

Cleric/Mage! Yes, there’s mythic theurge, but no non-prestige class option. And having to be Just cleric for 3 levels, then go for level 1-3 Wizard, then finally at 7th level start gaining both and giving up basically everything else except spells is kind of brutal.

Why couldn’t there be a 6th level Arcane caster with 1/2 BaB but also 4th level Divine spells, and abilities focused on blending the arcane and divine?  Or the other way around for that matter (6th level Divine/ 4th level Arcane)?

Just a few ruminations I’ve been thinking of when looking at Pathfinder and wondering, “What’s left?” Would love to hear what others think on the topic.


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