Elementary! Archetypes

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Welcome to the Investigator Archetypes – aka the place you go to desperately trade away your poison resistance for something useful. Before reading over this, take a quick look at the ratings of different class abilities from the previous page. Those power levels are what we’re going to be looking for in equivalent abilities when we’re trading them out. I’ll be rating each ability in the archetype as well as the archetype as a whole. Assume that anything not tagged is from the Advanced Class Guide.

Empiricist – Yes please. This takes the worst abilities of the Investigator and replaces them with things that are at least as good. The capstone is slightly worse, but we don’t really care as much about that since it is the capstone and most games don’t reach 20th level. There’s talk of the Empiricist being a “mandatory” archetype for the Investigator, but the base Investigator is honestly fine enough without it, plus none of the other archetypes stack with it. However, it is strong, and if you’re playing an Investigator you should consider it. (Blue)

  • Ceaseless Observation – We lose a bunch of poison stuff we don’t care about it, and instead we get to use our Intelligence for Disable Device, Perception, Sense Motive and UMD – 4 skills that we really want. This helps us become Single-Attribute Dependent, promoting the high Int Investigator. This plus some traits to make some Charisma-based skills into Int-based tops out one of the best skill monkeys in existence. (Don’t forget that making Disable Device into a Int-based skill means that your ACP no longer applies to it!) (Blue)
  • Unfailing Logic – We don’t get the bonuses to the illusion saves as fast as we get the bonuses to poison saves, but that’s because illusion saves are more important than poison saves. Your Wisdom is going to be low, so adding your Intelligence to your saves for these really helps, although by that time the illusion has already done its damage. (Green)
  • Master Intellect – This is actually worse than the Investigator’s original capstone. (Red)

Infiltrator – Do you want to be the best character at disguise ever? This is the archetype for you. This is the best archetype, hands down, at disguising yourself. That being said, Disguise is a hard skill to use in the game, and most games never use it. This is situational, but man is that situation good. (Orange)

  • Master of Disguise – You only get penalties to your disguise if you imitate someone more than one age category away from you or is a different size from you. This is really nice for disguising. You lose trapfinding, but this kind of character doesn’t really care about that anyway. (Blue)
  • Voice Mimicry – I guess before you couldn’t use the Disguise skill to change your voice? Good to have guidelines now for this I guess. (Green)
  • Mimic Mastery – Yes! The polymorph spells always had the problem that you couldn’t use them to turn into a specific individual. Therefore, if you wanted magic to help you look like an individual, you needed disguise self, which is an illusion that offers a Will save if you interact with someone. This was an ability that needed to exist somewhere, and this archetype is the best place for it. (Blue)

Mastermind – It seems like the flavor of this archetype was the guy in the shadows in charge of an organization, but the mechanics are a little scattered. While the archetype isn’t as strong flavor wise as the other ones, it still is fairly decent. (Green)

  • Mastermind’s Inspiration – I would personally take the conservative reading of this one and assume that those skills are supposed to replace the ones you would normally get for free at 1st level. Trading Spellcraft and Linguistics for Bluff and Diplomacy isn’t terrible, but it’s minor. (Green)
  • A Quiet Word – This is really cool. Too often you have the party member who’s playing the 2+Int skill point class with 7 Charisma who doesn’t have anything to offer when it comes to social situations, and unfortunately social situations are the exact time where you often want to split up and work on multiple angles. While this won’t make them a master at Diplomacy, they’ll still be good enough to at least aid or perhaps take on one of the easier tasks. For PFS, this gets better as there are a couple of “party” mods where you have a chance to hobnob with many guests and one person can’t finish the whole thing. (Blue)
  • Mastermind Defense – Seeing as Investigators don’t have much use for their swift actions, this isn’t terrible. However, it does mean that you’re going to want to invest in AC so you can get maximum use of this ability. Also, you’re going to want to pick up Combat Inspiration, otherwise this is going to be rough on your inspiration uses per day. (Green)
  • Impregnable Mind – BBEG can’t scry on you? That’s okay, he’ll just scry on the other members of your party. It’s more important that you can’t read anyone in the party. This is a GM ability, not a player ability. (Red)

Sleuth – This is the archetype for people who hate the fact that the Investigator has alchemy as a part of their class and need to trade it out for something. Otherwise, it’s not really worth it. (Orange)

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  • Sleuth’s Luck – You’re trading away alchemy, and all you’re getting out of it is a panache pool based off of Charisma? Ugh. To be fair, it will refill at about the same rate since rolling 6 or higher on an inspiration roll is one of the triggers to refill it and Amazing Inspiration is a thing, but we’re trading away amazing versatility for not much. At least this has the coolness factor going for it. (Orange)
  • Deeds
    • Daring - Exploding inspiration die for physical movement skills. At least this stacks with Inspiration.  (Orange)
    • Opportunistic Evasion – Evasion is a really good ability. It’s a shame that you have to spend points to get it in this case, but it’s still really good. (Blue)
    • Sleuth’s Initiative – We’re not really going to say no to a free initiative bonus. (Green)
    • Make it Count – This ability would be so much cooler if it weren’t for the stupid high level restrictions on most of these. (Orange)
    • Run Like HellExpeditious retreat and haste were things we could do before we gave up Alchemy. (Orange)
    • Second Chance – Rerolls aren’t bad, although usually I’d prefer to reroll the d20 instead of the d6/d8. (Green)

Spiritualist – This is another archetype that trades away Alchemy, but all the other trade-outs are good. If you like the flavor and willing to accept the power loss, then this could be a fun archetype for you. From a power standpoint though, I can’t recommend it. (Orange)

  • Commune with Spirits – This is what you get instead of alchemy. To be fair, all the spells you get are solid. However, the early ones you could already get from alchemy and the uses per day are based off of Wisdom. while you get some cool stuff, Commune with Spirits just doesn’t have the sheer versatility that alchemy does, which makes this a bad trade. (Orange)
  • Spirit Sense – Incorporeal undead generally has nasty effects that you really want to save against. While you don’t always fight incorporeal undead, generally everyone fights them multiple times over the course of their career, so I feel confident in my Green rating of this ability. (Green)
  • Strong Life – Bonuses to saves vs. death effects is a straight up better trade than bonuses to saves vs. poison. (Green)
  • Sixth Sense – Yes please. Rerolls on saving throws are really nice. (Blue)
  • Whispering Spirits – How high is your Wisdom going to be? I mean, I generally don’t complain about getting a 2nd stat to saves, but it’s hard to care about Wisdom on an Investigator. (Green)
  • Touched by the Beyond – Immunity to death effects? Wow. This class knows how to bribe me to give up alchemy. (Blue)

Steel Hound - Here’s the obligatory “…with guns!” archetype. However, Investigators get a little trick with their archetype. While by default you can’t use studied combat with ranged weapons, there is a feat called Ranged Study which lets you uses studied combat with the weapon of your choice. This means that you’ll be able to add 1/2 your level to damage, giving you an actual static damage modifier with your gun. This won’t bring you to gunslinger levels of damage, but it will keep your gun damage respectable, as opposed to the other people shooting for 1d12 damage at level 10. Sorry PFS players, but this isn’t legal. (Green)

  • Weapon and Armor Proficiency – You have proficiency with guns. This was better than before. (Green)
  • Packing Heat – We don’t get our free gun until 2nd level. We would’ve preferred earlier, but this means we get to trade out poison lore instead of things we actually care about so that’s okay. (Green)
  • Investigator Talents – We’re probably not taking these as talents, but good to have in case it makes things easier for people. (Orange)
  • Shot in the Dark – Concealment can be a pain in the neck. Ignoring it can be absolutely wonderful, especially if you’re trying to get off your studied strike. (Blue)
  • Talented Shot – Quick Clear is a good thing to have, although most of the rest of them you could do without. (Orange)