In the Name of (a) God: FedoraFerret’s Guide to the Champion pt. 2

Oh no, spoilers! Quick, if you haven’t read it yet go back to part 1.

Class Feats

Unlike the fighter, who has primary build paths, and the ranger, who is usually juggling two, champion really doesn’t have any kind of “path” their build goes down. Their feats trend less towards defining a fighting style and more about collecting and improving on an eclectic array of abilities, most of which don’t lean on each other. You can specialize in Focus spells, ignore them outright, or pick up one or two here and there, and all three are perfectly valid. It’s a fun dichotomy that we’ll see more of later down the line, but for right now, let’s focus up.

1st Level Feats

Deity’s Domain (***) There are a few strong gems in the domain options, but since you’re gonna prioritize Lay on Hands for that focus point you’ll want a more situational choice like Word of Truth.

Ranged Reprisal (***) An alright concession for ranged paladins, but ranged paladin is still bad because you still need to be close enough to proc it to begin with. The real benefit is in the second half. Grab yourself a reach weapon and you can now hit anyone who procs Retributive.

Unimpeded Step (**) A situational upgrade at best.

Weight of Guilt (***) Turn your Weight of Guilt on casters, or make it easier for your casters to target their Will saves.

Everstand Stance (LOCG) (***) Sword and shield, or two-hander? Por que no los dos?

2nd Level Feats

Divine Grace (***) I’ll be honest, I still don’t like it based on the reaction cost, I just think it’s the only general option you have at level 2.

Dragonslayer Oath (**) How often are you fighting dragons.

Fiendsbane Oath (**) A little better because fiends are common higher level enemies, but still campaign dependent.

Shining Oath (**) Same as Fiendsbane.

Vengeful Oath (**) You’re using your primary healing tool as a middling single target nuke. You have a single target nuke already, it’s called your weapon.

4th Level Feats

Aura of Courage (****) You basically become immune to frightened 1, and anything that applies more than frightened 1 you’re going to aid your allies significantly as well.

Divine Health (**) Disease is bad, but it’s not common enough and it’s fairly easy enough to handle most of the time that I don’t think it’s worth a class feat.

Mercy (**) Situational effect imo. You’re better off taking Aura of Courage to handle ally fear.

Everstand Strike (LOCG) (***) If you’re doing Everstand Stance this is your fourth level feat. The action economy is too good. Use it as your second attack, raise shield as third if you miss.

 6th Level Feats  

Attack of Opportunity (****) Your goal is generally going to be to keep the bad guys from attacking your squishies, and this is a damn good way to keep them away from the squishies.

Litany Against Wrath (****) Even a success is going to deal a solid chunk of damage, not even accounting for good weakness, and on a fail or critical fail it’s even bigger.

Loyal Warhorse (***) Pretty mandatory if you took Steed. Not as good as other Mature companion stuff since your mount doesn’t get a free action.

Shield Warden (**) The thing is you could do this, or you could do your champion’s reaction, which also reduces the damage your ally is taking (albeit by less) but also has a second effect.

Smite Evil (****) A good way to keep a powerful enemy’s attention on you. 4-6 extra damage is roughly an entire extra average die, plus you’ll be hitting good weaknesses.

 8th Level Feats

Advanced Deity’s Domain (***) I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen the advanced domains in play yet or analyzed them yet, but even if you only take this for the extra Focus point it’ll be worth it.

Greater Mercy (***) Okay here we go, mercy’s getting useful now.

Heal Mount (***) An extra 4 hp healed per spell level is nothing to sneeze at I tell you what.

Quick Block (****) If you took Shield Ally this is an absolute must.

Second Ally (***) Generally I think you’re going to use this to grab Blade Ally if you took Shield or Steed, since Shield is a fighting style unto itself and you’ll be a feat behind for several levels if you take a Steed now.

Sense Evil (**) Campaign dependent, but if you like the flavor and miss pinging everyone you meet with detect evil then be my guest.

 10th Level Feats

Devoted Focus (****) Double your out of combat healing output and give yourself more juice in the tank.

Imposing Destrier (***) Still mandatory progression, unless you want a dead horse.

Litany Against Sloth (***) It’s kinda weird that your railing against sloth makes them more slothful but okay.  Trading an action to negate their reaction and potentially lose actions of their own seems reasonable.

Radiant Blade Spirit (***) Getting into the good runes now.

Shield of Reckoning (****) Oh lordy, suddenly Shield Warden seems good (since you need it to have the triggering attack qualify for your Shield Block).

 12th Level

Affliction Mercy (***) Another solid upgrade for mercy. Poisons suuuuuuck.

Aura of Faith (***) If you never find yourself fighting enemies with a good weakness this is meh, but if you do, oh sweet lord is this good.

Blade of Justice (***) So to clarify, this is not only an extra two weapon damage dice, it’s also applying your divine smite and exalt effects. The good damage is less important since if that’s your goal then Aura of Faith will do nicely.

Champion’s Sacrifice (***) Arguably better than your reaction for protecting squishies in the back, given the extra range and heightened effect that also applies to riders.

Divine Wall (***) Make it even harder for enemies to get past you.

Lasting Doubt (***) A solid buff to your Glimpse of Redemption.

Liberating Stride (**) Not a terrible upgrade for Liberating Step but you have better options at this level.

 14th Level

Anchoring Aura (**) Very much situational.

Aura of Life (***) Good even if you’re not usually against undead, because evil clerics are a thing and they suuuuuuuuuuck.

Aura of Righteousness (**) Evil damage isn’t actually that common and it’ll only help your Good allies, so campaign dependent.

Aura of Vengeance (****) A very solid buff to your exalt, especially if you took Blade of Justice.

Divine Reflexes (****) More reactions is great when you’re starving for them.

Litany of Righteousness (***) An excellent combo with Aura of Faith, particularly good because there is no save.

Wyrmbane Aura (***) Only generally useful if you invested heavily in Charisma or you’re fighting a lot of dragons, but if either of those things is true, yes please.

 16th Level

Auspicious Mount (***) You’ve had the weakest animal companion upgrades so far, but you toughed it out and now your horse is awesome.

Instrument of Zeal (**) I don’t generally go for things that only apply on a crit, and “critically hitting a foe with Smite Evil” actually doesn’t apply since Smite Evil isn’t an attack. Clerical error, obviously, but an important one for things like Society or bad GMs.

Shield of Grace (***) Be the tank you are meant to be.

18th Level

Celestial Form (*****) Permanent fly speed, sold. To my knowledge this is the only way to get that as a PC currently.

Ultimate Mercy (***) Keep a lay on hands in your pocket at all times here.

20th Level

Celestial Mount (****) Have you ever wanted the best horse in the universe? Well here you go.

Radiant Blade Master (**) Compared to the other allies this feels mediocre.

Shield Paragon (***) By this point you shouldn’t have to worry about your shield breaking, but the extra action economy is absolutely worth it.

Archetypes

Champion overall has a lot of amazing class feats, but early on? Not quite so much. You have plenty of room to dip your toes into an archetype here.

Alchemist Multiclass (*)

Dedication (*) Poorly synergizing ability score for what will likely be a very small number of bad mutagens and elixirs every day that you have to keep investing feats to make even a little worthwhile.

Basic Concoction (**) Familiar and Poison Resistance are good choices here.

Quick Alchemy (*) Making your infused reagents even less efficient, I love it.

Advanced Concoction (**) Most of the decent options either work off of bombs or Quick Alchemy, so you’re mostly just looking at stuff that affects mutagens.

Expert Alchemy (**) If you’re going this direction you should take the advancement feats anyway.

Master Alchemy (**) Big same.

Overall: There are classes that would like an alchemist multiclass. You are not one of them.

Barbarian Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) There’s something amusing about this given that these are these classes weren’t compatible in PF1, but you should have a solid AC to deal with the penalty from rage and the damage boost will be really nice. The only downside is adding even more to your anathema, but that’s what Fury Instinct is for.

Barbarian Resiliency (X) Not for you.

Basic Fury (**) Moment of Clarity for when you really need a Lay on Hands or Sudden Charge for quickly getting in your enemies’ grills.

Advanced Fury (**) A lot of compelling options here, approach these selections as though you were a barbarian. The main issue is competing with your higher level champion feats, which always have really strong options to them.

Instinct Ability (***) All of your instincts here are good options except probably Animal.

Juggernaut’s Fortitude (X) You already have Juggernaut, so you don’t qualify.

Overall: If nothing else, rage is a really nice addition to your toolkit.

Bard Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) Prerequisites you like, although bard doesn’t have the best cantrip options for you.

Basic Bard Spellcasting (***) Next month will be the spells guide, which will include a rating for “martial/caster multiclass,” and I will link that then. For now, suffice to say take some of the very good buffs available.

Basic Muse’s Whispers (***) Any of the basic muse feats will do nicely, although Bardic Lore is less good for you than others. The 2nd level options aren’t as good.

Advanced Muse’s Whispers (***) Inspire Defense is on brand while Dirge of Doom is actually the best composition. If you take either of these then I wouldn’t grab Inspirational Performance.

Counter Perform (**) Burns a reaction and a focus point for a marginal defensive benefit compared to your other reaction options.

Inspirational Performance (***) A fine use of a single action per turn, although you probably won’t want to double up on this and Smite Evil.

Occult Breadth (***) More spells per day.

Expert Bard Spellcasting (***) As basic.

Master Bard Spellcasting (**) As basic, but not as good since it jostles with high level champion feats and only gives you two spell levels instead of three.

Overall: If you’re looking to multiclass into a caster, I think bard is your best choice.

Cleric Multiclass (**)

Dedication (***) Not as ideal as bard but you still want Wisdom, and you’re already committed to a deity and their anathema.

Basic Cleric Spellcasting (***) As bard, but with better scaling since you have native divine proficiency.

Basic Dogma (*) You can get your basic domain power from champion feats, you already have the equivalent of Deadly Simplicity, and everything else modifies your heal spell or font.

Advanced Dogma (*) Hey look more stuff that affects heal or harm or is edged out by champion feats.

Divine Breadth (***) As bard.

Expert Cleric Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Master Cleric Spellcasting (**) As bard.

Overall: If you’re looking for divine casting, this isn’t the place to find it. You get the spells, but no feat choices.

Druid Multiclass (**)

Dedication (**) More Wisdom based, but now you totally are adding an anathema. While it only says you’re adding your order’s anathema, your mileage will vary wildly for tables. I for one think it would be dumb if main class druids weren’t allowed to teach people Druidic but multiclass druids were, and if your GM is like me, that also means you’ve been banned from metal armor.

Basic Druid Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Basic Wilding (**) You can snag an adorable leshy familiar, poison resistance, or Wild Shape. Wild Shape is cool, but competes with Lay on Hands and Litanies for your focus.

Order Spell (**) More competition for your focus, and unfortunately most of them are inferior to other options (both goodberry and heal animal pale next to LoH, and wild morph is honestly pretty inferior to wild shape and needs to take it as well regardless.

Advanced Wilding (**) A lot of options, but most of them modify Wild Shape, spellcasting, or are just more flavorful and situational than strong.

Primal Breadth (***) As bard.

Expert Druid Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Master Druid Spellcasting (**) As bard.

Overall: Overall, not a strong addition, and if you want primal magic you’re probably better off going sorcerer.

 Fighter Multiclass (***)

Dedication (*) You really don’t get anything out of it and the dual prereqs hurt for a heavy armor character.

Basic Maneuver (****) You get a lot of really good options in first and second level feats for fighter, even taking them at fourth.

Fighter Resilience (X) Not for you.

Opportunist (***) Basically you can take this two levels earlier, which is actually very nice because level 4 is less competitive than level 6.

Advanced Maneuver (***) You’re still competing with the really good higher level champion feats, but I would actually call many of these competitive, as they add a lot of combat options for you.

Diverse Weapon Expert (*) Technically you do get something out of this in the form of trained advanced weapons, it’s just not anything good.

Overall: The dedication is awful, but if you have the prerequisite Dex then it’s legitimately be worth the feat tax to get at some of those tasty feats or an earlier AoO.

Monk Multiclass (***)

Dedication (**) Another bad prereq but at least you get something for it, powerful fist is needed for anyone looking to play a punchy character. This is actually ideal if you’re the madman who wants to go unarmored champion.

Basic Kata (***) If you’re unarmored you can work with any of the stances, otherwise ki spells actually feel competitive with your other Focus options and Brawling Focus will get you past that pesky “I don’t have most critical specializations” problem you have.

Monk Resiliency (X) Not for you.

Advanced Kata (**) Less strong options for competitiveness, although if you took Mountain Stance you should take Mountain Stronghold to make better use of that Dex you got stuck with.

Monk Moves (**) Unarmored champions benefit, armored champions do not.

Monk’s Flurry (****) This is great because of Smite Evil and Aura of Faith, both of which reward more attacks in a round.

Perfection’s Path (***) Grab some master Reflex saves.

Overall: So basically, this is a multiclass you take if you’re aiming for a very specific type of character, and nothing else. That being said, if you want that type of character, it’s going to be pretty good.

Ranger Multiclass (**)

Dedication (**) A mediocre prereq, and an action you don’t get much out of because most of its power is in the Ranger’s Edge that you don’t get.

Basic Hunter’s Trick (***) Twin Takedown shares space with Flurry of Blows for “why you take this archetype.” Quick Draw is also good.

Ranger Resiliency (X) Not for you.

Advanced Hunter’s Trick (**) Nothing spectacular. Scout’s Warning is a bump to initiative, but that’s about it before you get edged out by champion feats.

Master Spotter (***) A welcome bump to your Perception.

Overall: Mostly mediocre, but if you want to do two-weapon fighting I’d recommend it just for Twin Takedown.

Rogue Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) So if you’re going this route you’ve probably committed to Dexpion. I disagree, but alright. In that case, you get some good skills plus a flexible one, so that’s fine.

Basic Trickery (***) Trap Finder shores up your perception, Minor Magic lets you pretend you did a caster dedication, Quick Draw is good content.

Sneak Attacks (**) An extra 1d6 on some of your attacks isn’t worth a feat I don’t think.

Advanced Trickery (**) Gang Up and Light Step are good, but not great.

Skill Mastery (***) Skills skills skills skills skills. Free bumps to master and expert are huge, compared to free trained that’s dime a dozen.

Uncanny Dodge (***) Just completely noselling an entire debuff is pretty huge.

Evasiveness (***) And with that you have master in all saves. Congratulations.

Overall: Feat sniping selection is sparse, but just about every other option you have here is solid. If you want to be Dex based I almost automatically recommend at least the Dedication.

Sorcerer Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) As bard. A divine bloodline is technically the superior option but any will do nicely.

Basic Sorcerer Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Basic Blood Potency (**) Familiar is a good choice as usual for the Focus battery, but that’s pretty much it on your options here.

Basic Bloodline Spell (**) I will always stan dragon claws or glutton’s jaws, but otherwise, I don’t find it worth the focus.

Advanced Blood Potency (**) Bespell Weapon can give you some extra damage after casting a spell, and Bloodline Resistance is quiet but very solid even for the level you get it at. Otherwise, meh.

Bloodline Breadth (***) As bard.

Expert Sorcerer Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Master Sorcerer Spellcasting (**) As bard.

Overall: If you want a divine caster, I would personally go with sorcerer over cleric for the Charisma synergy and the actual existence of feats you might want to take. Here’s hoping oracle ends up even better.

 Wizard Multiclass (**)

Dedication (**) Ew, Int.

Arcane School Spell () Charming words is a great third-action debuff while protective ward can potentially prevent damage that you no longer have to heal with LoH.

Basic Arcana (**) You have no options here that I would call good other than Familiar.

Basic Wizard Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Advanced Arcana (**) Spell Penetration can help your Litanies land, but otherwise there’s not much.

Arcane Breadth (***) As bard.

Expert Wizard Spellcasting (***) As bard.

Master Wizard Spellcasting (**) As bard.

Overall: Look at the end of the day you’re probably more of a Cha person than an Int person, so, like, arcane sorcerer if that’s what you want.

Aldori Duelist (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) A good skill rank and scaling proficiency with an advanced weapon, nice. Grab Blade Ally for this route, because it does not care about your shield.

Aldori Parry (***) Your equivalent to “raising a shield.”

Duelist’s Edge (***) A nice boost to initiative and potentially to action economy.

Aldori Riposte (**) Competes with your champion reaction.

Unnerving Prowess (***) Intimidating champion is fine, although I’m not normally big on things only proccing on a crit.

Saving Slash (**) More competition for your reaction. You’re going to be crit less often than others, and you’re a beefy champion with lay on hands, you can take it.

Overall: Aldori duelist is there to let you fulfill the fantasy of, well, a duelist, and it does so well. A solid choice if you want to go free-hand.

Firebrand Braggart (LOCG) (***)

Dedication (**) I think this action is weird and the fact that the penalty lasts so much longer than the bonus makes it feel not worthwhile to me.

Boaster’s Challenge (***) This feat I actually love. Since it lasts for a full extra turn, you can drop this on one turn, Smite Evil on the next, and be rocking a crazy big static damage modifier.

Daring Act (***) You don’t have a native method of avoiding reactions aside from litany of sloth, so this is a good, non-focus-burning alternative with some added benefits.

Bravo’s Determination (***) It doesn’t actually compete with your champion’s reaction because you can’t use your champion’s reaction if you’re unconscious.

Great Boaster (**) All the same problems I have with the dedication.

Daring Flourish (***) This is just a straight up upgrade to Daring Act and makes the action economy so much better.

Demanding Challenge (***) And a boost to your Boaster’s Challenge.

Daredevil’s Gambit (**) You know me, I don’t like things that only function on a crit.

Overall: A lot of really great feats here that can boost your own abilities, and also feels really fun to use.

Hellknight Armiger (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) No mechanical prereqs, and it gives you some resistance to mental damage and a good skill.

Ardent Armiger (**) Very situationally useful, and also, you’re a PC, no one can make you do anything with a skill check.

Diabolic Certitude (**) Value scales with how often you deal with devils, but since you get free Hell Lore it’s actually not bad if you do so often.

Mortification (**) With this you can double up on physical resistances when you add in your armor specialization.

Armiger’s Mobility (*****) Oh hell freaking yes (pun absolutely not intended but I’m keeping it). Erase the last downside of heavy armor and go wild.

Order Training (LOCG) (***) Shackles of Law, Dedication to the Five and Righteous Resistance are all solid.

Advanced Order Training (LOCG) (***) Blessing of the Five, Spiritual Disruption, Silence Heresy and Seek Injustice are all also solid. To that end, Godclaw and Pyre are probably the best orders.

Hellknight Order Cross-Training (LOCG) (***) See Order Training.

Overall: The original feats were kinda mediocre, but Armiger’s Mobility and the Order abilities are all strong choices to take down this tree.

Hellknight (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (**) You’re rocking an expert skill, a slight bonus to your armor specialization, and +1 to Intimidation. Not bad, but not great.

Sense Chaos (**) As Sense Evil, but less useful.

Blade of Law (**) Legitimately take Blade of Justice instead.

Hell’s Armaments (X) Gives you nothing.

Overall: A very poor upgrade to a very solid archetype.

Hellknight Signifier (LOCG) (X)

Overall: You don’t qualify for Signifier, if you want to go into it you’ll have to do heavy multiclassing shenanigans that are beyond the scope of this guide.

Knight Reclaimant (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (**) At some point you’ll be making saves against undead, but the question is, is it often enough to spend a class feat on?

Invoke the Crimson Oath (***) This is a really badass focus spell that will work on anyone but absolutely blow up any undead with a positive weakness.

Survivor of Desolation (*) What an incredibly specific thing. Too specific. Way too specific.

Blade of the Crimson Oath (**) Depends how often you fight undead. If you took Blade Ally, it becomes 1 star, because you could just take Blade of Justice instead.

Reaper of Repose (**) Wow so much that only works on undead.

Overall: If your campaign is themed around undead, then this is a four star archetype, but for general purposes, only two stars.

Knight Vigilant (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (**) A small bonus, but not a bad one. It’ll help your tanking, at the very least.

Unshakable Idealism (***) Aura of Courage will only help you against frightened, not against fleeing, so this is a good way to keep yourself on the front lines and even make yourself an enticing target.

Endure Death’s Touch (**) Campaign dependent, scales in value with the undead you face.

Aegis of Arnisant (**) Unfortunately, Pathfinder is not an MMO where the bad guy telegraphs the attack that’s coming your way so you know to put this up next round. The action economy isn’t worth it.

Knight in Shining Armor (X) Gives you nothing.

Overall: Cool, but not good. Unshakable Idealism is the only thing worth picking up here.

Lastwall Sentry (LOWG) (****)

Dedication (***) Reactive Shield is a decent pickup, if competitive for your reaction.

Eye of Ozem (***) Your Perception could use the boost, and the extra bonus while scouting is also great.

Necromantic Resistance (***) Harm is a necromancy spell and also the biggest single target nuke in the game, which every evil cleric has. You want.

Grave Sense (**) As Evil Sense.

Necromantic Tenacity (*****) Remember what I said about harm? No sell it completely. There are also a lot of other really nasty necromancy effects and really you’re kicking an entire school of magic in the teeth and that’s just awesome.

Lastwall Warden (**) If you’re doing this you might as well take Shield Warden instead so you qualify for later feats.

Overall: Really, really good, better if you’re in an undead heavy campaign or took Shield Ally but really Necromantic Tenacity and Eye of Ozem are worth the investment on their own.

Lion Blade (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) A very specific bonus plus a free rank in Deception. Not bad, not great.

Lost in the Crowd (**) Designed for stealthy characters.

Crowd Mastery (**) The problem here is what your GM defines as a “crowd” in combat.

Expeditious Advance (**) It wants you in light armor for one, but if you’ve gone that route then bump to three stars.

Spy’s Countermeasures (**) Very thematically cool, although it does require you to Identify Magic which isn’t quite your strong suit.

Flicker (***) A nice defensive buff for yourself.

Overall: Lion Blade was very much designed for character types that you are very likely not.

Living Monolith (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) Basically, you’re never going to bleed out.

Ka Stone Ritual (***) Self-cast enlarge is neat. I’ve decided to ignore the prerequisite, it’s on you and your GM to make that work.

Stone Blood (***) Persistent bleed damage is actually fairly common, so dealing with it 25% less is good content.

Fortified Flesh (***) The main issue here is that it clashes with your armor specialization but, like, whatever.

Attunement to Stone (**) The tremorsense just exists to help pinpoint an invisible enemy’s location, and meld into stone is meh. The real benefit here is another use of your ka stone.

Judgment of the Monolith (***) Two very useful if situational new uses for your ka stone, plus another use of it per day.

Stone Communion (***) The walls now have ears.

Overall: Man, my opinion on this archetype has really turned around with more experience with the game. I’ll be going back and editing my views in past guides.

Magaambyan Attendant and Halcyon Speaker (LOCG) (*)

Overall: I’m gonna save us both some time here. This archetype chain is accessible without being a caster, and I have it on good authority that it’s meant to be, but you really don’t get much value unless you’re a caster.

Magic Warrior (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) Talk about an anathema. The only thing you’re really getting is the +1 against divination.

Magic Warrior Aspect (**) Boost your speed and senses for five minutes, but at the cost of a Focus point, and it doesn’t even have the courtesy to increase your focus pool.

Magic Warrior Transformation (**) The same problems we had with Wild Shape back in Druid dedication apply here.

Nameless Anonymity (**) Pretty meh to be honest.

Overall: The first time a class actually has a focus pool and this is still not a good archetype. Sad. Jostles for your focus points and there’s really no compelling reason, especially since you’ll have to take Litanies to increase your focus pool anyway.

Pathfinder Agent (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) Oh boy, untrained proficiency 0 at level 2. Very nice.

Careful Explorer (***) You’re probably gonna be Guarding or Scouting or something along those lines, so this frees you up from the need to Search.

Deft Cooperation (**) Aiding is eh.

Thorough Reports (**) You’re not usually going to be the knowledge monkey.

Wayfinder Resonance Tinker (***) A free cantrip from any of the lists is legit. Also, I’ve played enough PFS to know the value of people not knowing you’re a Pathfinder.

Forced Entry (LOCG) (**) Just buy a crowbar. Only matters if you regularly want to break into somewhere without anyone knowing.

Recognize Threat (LOCG) (**) Still probably not the knowledge monkey.

Everyone Duck! (LOCG) (***) If you are the trap disabling person, this is a decent way to just be like “screw it, we can take a hit from a trap.”

Educated Assessment (LOCG) (**) Still not a knowledge monkey.

Overall: Even just the dedication is worth it, but there’s plenty of extra options if you want to free yourself up for another dedication later.

Red Mantis Assassin (LOWG) (X)

Overall: See you guys in July when this is possible.

Runescarred (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (**) Not as good as an arcane sorcerer dedication, but not bad, particularly with no ability score prereq. You know the usual suspects by now.

Spell Runes (***) Scales just as well as multiclassing, although you don’t have the option to heighten or get Breadth.

Living Rune (**) Pretty much as valuable as the magic tattoo you want to pick up.

Warding Rune (***) Disregard Divine Grace and just get a permanent +2 against a school. You probably want to pick necromancy, evocation or enchantment.

Greater Spell Runes (***) Actually scales a little better than multiclassing.

Overall: If you want some spells but don’t want to deal with actually being a caster, this is a fine alternative.

Scrollmaster (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (*) The only feat in the game that’s made completely irrelevant by a pad of paper and a pen in real life.

Lore Seeker (***) Three very useful innate spells.

Unravel Mysteries (**) Basically only useful if you Decipher Writing a lot, and that’s not really the champion’s usual wheelhouse.

Font of Knowledge (**) Not the knowledge monkey. If you are well invested in a knowledge skill it’s not a poor choice, but not a great one either.

Overall: Dedication is a dead feat, the only thing that’s really super worthwhile is Lore Seeker.

Spellmaster (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (**) You do actually qualify for this, and there’s two other feats that you can take so I’m actually rating it this time. Not a great bonus for you, although you certainly can Identify Magic.

Surreptitious Spellcaster (**) The only regular reason I can see to want to Conceal your casting is to avoid provoking reactions. If you do find yourself needing to surreptitiously heal folks, then by all means, go for it.

Ward Casting (X) You can’t take it without having already multiclassed.

Spellmaster’s Resilience (****) This is the reason you’re here to be honest. +1 to saves and resistance 5 against everything from a particular tradition is insanely good.

Absorb Spell (X) As Ward Casting.

Overall: Not a lot that’s great for you, but it has its niches, and Spellmaster’s Resilience is actually fantastic.

Student of Perfection (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (**) Takes a little while to qualify compared to monk or fighter, and if you’re not a monk multiclass your punching is not going to be great to begin with.

Perfect Strike (***) If you want a more offensive use for your reactions. After all, they can’t kill your friends if you’ve knocked them out.

Unblinking Flame Revelation (**) Main benefit here is knocking out someone’s invisibility, blur or mirror image, and that’s situational.

Unbreaking Wave Advance (***) A decent crowd control AoE with some damage behind it.

Unfolding Wind Rush (***) A very nice answer to flying enemies, and the wall of wind is an added bonus.

Untwisting Iron Buffer (*) You get slightly less from this than from lay on hands.

Overall: This is a fun archetype and a good option for punchy paladin without multiclassing monk.

Swordmaster (LOCG) (***)

Dedication (**) Getting Disarmed is rarely going to be an actual issue because Disarm is awful.

Harrying Strike (***) Solid tanking ability, keeps enemies from getting past you to the squishies.

Shoulder Catastrophe (***) This can be better than your champion’s reaction, depending on how big the damage you expect is. Negating critical effects is a massive bonus too.

Death’s Door (***) As we’ve established, you can’t use your other reactions if you’re dead.

Overall: A very solid archetype for tanking, which is one of the things champion excels at.

Conclusion

A dizzying array of amazing feat selection, synergy with most ancestries and being the only martial that is designed to favor Charisma give champion a strong niche and a variety of options to work with, options that will only grow as more causes a released and boy am I not looking forward to having to basically rewrite several parts of this guide when that happens. Next month, we’ll be taking a step back from classes, and from regular content posts in fact to instead look at spells. All the spells. Every spell that exists in a hardcover book at time of publication, posted over four weeks. Oh god please save me from myself. If you want to follow those spell posts this month instead of next, check out my Patreon over in the sidebar and get access a month early. Until next time, good luck, have fun, and try not to die.

In The Name of (a) God: FedoraFerret’s Guide to the Champion pt. 1

The paladin has a long and weird history, going back to its original inception in early D&D as a human only class that forbade multiclassing in or out and required a very specific flavor. Time and progress marches on, though, and over the years and editions the restrictions were relaxed until only one remained in 3.X: Lawful Good. Then 5e nixed even that, and the question came during the Pathfinder Playtest: do we do the same? Civil war broke out; brother against brother, friend against friend. The conflict was resolved with a compromise, and that compromise was champion. Not just paladins serving as the pinnacle of Lawful Good, but a champion of each alignment (although we only have the Good ones right now, and I’m skeptical of a TN option). Join me, friends, as we enter the world of religious warfare with the champion.

Ratings Guide

We’ll be using a star rating system instead of colors, partly for the colorblind folks at home and partly because you don’t realize what a pain color coding every single rated option is until you’ve written a guide yourself.

Five Star (*****) Always a good choice, no matter what your build is. The rarest of ratings, these should be your go-to options when you don’t have anything else you need.

Four Star (****) Awesome, but not necessarily for everybody. A four star option is ironically usually going to be higher priority than a five star, because they tend to be core towards specific builds. Pick these up when they match the build you’re going for.

Three Star (***) Pretty decent. If something’s three stars, it generally means it’s not a bad choice, but not quite as impressive as four stars. They’ll be the lower priority choices, things you pick to fill out your feats once you have your core and any five stars you want.

Two Star (**)This does not inherently mean that the option is bad, only that it isn’t great. As a general rule, if an option is two stars it’s either situational, in which case I’ll call it out as such and usually mention the situations it applies (such as an undead-focused ability in an undead heavy campaign), or it’s statistically inferior but there are reasons you might want to take it.

One Star (*) Flaming garbage. These are trash choices, legitimately do not waste your time with them ever.

Ability Scores

Champions exist in a kind of awkward place in that they’re ostensibly Charisma based, but they don’t really… do much with Charisma. As such, you basically live in the same world as martials. To elaborate…

Strength (****): You get heavy armor proficiency and encouragement to use armor, so Strength is probably going to be your go-to stat.

Dexterity (**): Full plate covers most Dexterity needs, so unless you want to devote your skillset to Dex or are going ranged champion (spoilers: don’t go ranged champion, for reasons we’ll get into later), this won’t be a priority ability score.

Constitution (***): Champion’s entire kit screams “I’m the tank” so you probably want a little extra bulk, and even if not Constitution is the Not Die stat.

Intelligence (*): Your class doesn’t have anything that wants Int, so you’re only grabbing it if you feel the need for more skills at level 1.

Wisdom (***): Always recommended as a secondary stat, because Will saves and Perception.

Charisma (***) You don’t need a great Charisma, but it’s better than Int or Dex for your boosts.

Chassis

Before we get into optional stuff, let’s discuss the stuff that isn’t optional: your champion chassis. The basic stuff you get just from being a champion. In theory, class archetypes will eventually come out that change this, hence why it gets ratings, but until then this is what all champions get.

Key Ability Boost (****): Strength or Dexterity, giving you some flexibility, but you’re probably gonna choose Strength here.

HP (****) The best you’re going to get without being a barbarian.

Perception (**) I don’t believe any class gets worse progression here. Apparently you don’t need to be vigilant for evil?

Fortitude (***) You start strong and go up to master, but you never hit Legendary.

Reflex (**) Easily your weakness, but thankfully you’re only dealing

Will (***) As Fortitude.

Weapons (***) Martial proficiency that scales as most martial classes do.

Armor (****) You share the best proficiency in the game with monk, and unlike monk you actually get armor. A shield using champion can get the highest AC in the game.

Skills (***) Totals in at 5+Int which is pretty standard, but one is locked based on your deity. Fortunately it’ll be one that’s flavorfully appropriate.

Champion’s Code (**) In terms of flavor I’m a fan of the champion’s code, but mechanically it doesn’t actually give you anything.

Cause Your champion’s cause determines basically everything about you. Your alignment, your flavor, your deity options, and several of your abilities. Your choices in the Core Rulebook are paladin, redeemer and liberator.

Deific Weapon (***) A nice boon to let you use your deity’s favored weapon without feeling like you’re lagging behind, although with martial proficiency you’re still probably going to want to use a d12 two-hander or a d8 one-hander with a shield.

Champion’s Reaction Much like the fighter, you get to start with your very own special reaction, free of charge. Which reaction you get depends on your cause.

  • Retributive Strike (**) Paladins get the weakest option of the three, while it does give you a free attack it still requires you to be in position to hit the target to do more than just give resistance.
  • Glimpse of Redemption (****) Redeemers, on the other hand, get what I think is the strongest option, potentially negating the entire attack and, if not, applying a hefty debuff to the target. Reserve for when your GM says the words “that’s a crit.”
  • Liberating Step (****) And then liberators get the middle one, although the rating is the same as Glimpse. You have more possible triggers, you give them the option to free themselves from crowd control effects, and the free step will waste enemy actions catching up and negate followup riders on attacks like Grab and Trip. Glimpse is better only because it’s always going to be useful, but when Liberating Step matters, it matters a hell of a lot more.

Lay on Hands (*****) I will change this to Devotion Spells when they give us some damn Evil, Lawful and Chaotic causes. Lay on hands is, bar none, the best healing spell in the game. Sure, a two-action heal is much more hp overall, but LoH is only a single action, reliable, and most importantly, spammable. If you have a champion in the party, you’re basically guaranteed the ability to enter fights at or near full health if you want. The only thing better for out of combat healing is an Assurance/Ward Medic/Continual Recovery Medicine Specialist.

Shield Block (***) Means you can be a proper shield user, which is great when you’re a tank.

Divine Ally Yet another class feature with some built in options.

  • Blade Ally (***) The best free rune you can take here is shifting, giving you a versatile array of weapons at your disposal, but the real reason you’re here is for critical specialization, as you’re the only martial that doesn’t just, like, get that.
  • Shield Ally (****) This right here makes you the best shield user in the game. Early on the extra Hardness will be the most noticeable impact, but as time goes on that increased HP and BT is going to mean your shield can take more and more hits for you before you go down.
  • Steed Ally (***) Animal companions are cool, although you do now have to deal with the great flaw of horses: how do they fit in places?

Divine Smite (***) Once again redeemer gets the best end of this, but all three causes benefit from this about the same. Divine Smite is a great way to apply good damage, which most fiends are very allergic to.

Exalt Another thing that varies by cause.

  • Paladin (***) Makes Retributive Strike a tad better, although anyone with another reaction at hand is probably going to want to hold onto it instead of making an attack at -5.
  • Redeemer (****) Applying Glimpse in an AoE just makes it better and better.
  • Liberator (****) I spend a reaction giving my friend resistance and now the entire party gets to reposition, I cannot stress how good that is.

Hero’s Defiance (****) A burst heal as a free action to keep yourself from dying. This is a compelling reason to always have at least one Focus Point in the tank. Fun side note, you’re the only class that gets more than one Focus Point without having to spend feats on it.

Overall: As a champion you’re looking at a lot of strong bonuses, gated only by your champion’s code. If I were rating chasses, champion would be one of the number one contenders, with paladin’s stuff edged out just a bit by redeemer and liberator.

Ancestries

Remember how I said the original paladins had to be human? Yeah, screw that noise. Let’s get crazy.

Dwarf

Hit Points (****)

Speed (**)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) You have two secondary scores boosted here. The drawback is that you want at least a 12 in Cha so your Divine Smite actually does anything, which means an extra boost going in there even if you don’t want offensive focus spells.

Darkvision (****) I for one would rather see in the dark than not.

Heritages

Ancient-Blooded Dwarf (**) You can get something similar from a champion feat, and your reactions in the early game are spoken for anyway.

Death Warden Dwarf (****) No-selling some of the nastiest effects in the game, in particular the burst nuke that is harm.

Forge Dwarf (***) Resistances are generally a solid choice.

Rock Dwarf (**) Very, very situational. That said, I recently had this be very useful for an enemy in my game, so, like, you never know?

Strong-Blooded Dwarf (***) Poisons suck. I was nearly killed by a poison a few weeks ago. Not fun.

Anvil Dwarf (LOCG) (***) If you’re a shield paladin, you’re gonna want crafting, and this can help.

Elemental Heart Dwarf (LOCG) (**) A fun AoE option, but you want to stick close to your party for your reaction and an indiscriminate AoE doesn’t favor that.

Oathkeeper Dwarf (LOCG) (**) Very fitting, thematically, especially for a paladin. That said I don’t favor spending your valuable heritage on situational circumstance bonuses.

1st Level Feats

Dwarven Lore (**) A free flexible skill rank since you get Religion for free, plus Crafting and a Lore skill that is the least exciting thing about this.

Dwarven Weapon Familiarity (**) You already have martial, so this is only as valuable as the uncommon weapon you want.

Rock Runner (***) You’re a dwarf, you’re already slow, let’s not deal with being any more slow than that.

Stonecunning (***) You’re a likely candidate to be Scouting or Guarding, so free Perception checks are good.

Unburdened Iron (****) You’re the Heavy Armor Guy, you do not want to be slowed even more than 20 feet.

Vengeful Hatred (**) Good old dwarven racism. Value is campaign dependent.

Avenge In Glory (LOCG) (**) You want to spend your reaction keeping others from going down, not avenging their deaths.

Clan’s Edge (LOCG) (***) On its own it’s mediocre on the grounds that Parry is not great, but it’s part of a cool combo chain that comes on with some 5th level feats.

Forge-Day’s Rest (LOCG) (**) Cool in theory but in practice, the benefits are rarely going to come up except during downtime. Being on a different sleep schedule from your friends is hard enough when you aren’t traveling on the road together.

Surface Culture (LOCG) (*) Dwarven Lore is a bit better on the grounds it gives you skills you want or that synergize with your goals. This gives you two skills, both of which are based on your weakest ability score. Hard pass.

5th Level Feats

Boulder Roll (***) A nice alternative to Shove since you’re unlikely to have a hand regularly free.

Dwarven Weapon Cunning (***) If you didn’t take Blade Ally this actually gives you something you didn’t have already (what a refreshing change of pace from what this line usually is).

Clan Protector (LOCG) (***) Protecting your allies is on brand, and when combined with Clan’s Edge and Protective Sheath you get a sweet combo.

Protective Sheath (LOCG) (***) So here’s what you do. Take your clan dagger, stab two enemies, point your dagger at your friends or your horse, they get +2 AC for a round. Not great, but still solid and a fun build that only requires ancestry feats.

Tomb-Watcher’s Glare (LOCG) (**) Value scales with how often you’re fighting undead.

9th Level Feats

Mountain’s Stoutness (***) I’ve seen people still barely standing on Toughness alone often enough to recommend this.

Stonewalker (**) Meld into stone is a situational innate spell at best, and the Stonecunning upgrade isn’t great for you when you aren’t good at Perception to begin with.

Battleforger (LOCG) (*) If you don’t have potency runes on your weapons and armor by now you’re clearly doing something wrong. Or your GM is, one of the two.

Energy Blessed (LOCG) (**) As the heritage it alters.

Heroes’ Call (LOCG) (***) Heroism is a great spell to have innate, and the flavor is pretty on brand for a dwarven champion.

Kneel For No God (LOCG) (**) No-selling an entire magical tradition is great, but you have to take Ancient-Blooded and live with that decision for half the game to get here.

13th Level Feats

Dwarven Weapon Expertise (*) I swear to god I’m doing a caster next. If you’re only just joining us, welcome! These feats are useless for most martials!

Overall: Dwarf has some cool thematic options, and honestly since you’re most likely going to be in heavy armor anyway, the speed penalty is just an Unburdened Iron tax. The only real downside is that Cha penalty, but I’m willing to overlook it for a four star (****) review.

Elf

Hit Points (**)

Speed (****)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (*) Exceedingly gross. Two ability scores we do not care about coupled with a flaw that we very much do.

Low-light Vision (***) Not as good as darkvision, not as bad as no vision at all.

Heritages

Arctic Elf (***) The standard resistance review here.

Cavern Elf (***) Darkvision is always a choice option.

Seer Elf (*) Detect magic is meh, and while you can identify magic through Religion, you’re probably not going to be the primary one doing so.

Whisper Elf (***) Your Perception isn’t great, so anything you can get to boost that when you need it is good.

Woodland Elf (**) Obviously scales with the amount of time you spend in woodlands.

Ancient Elf (LOCG) (**) The purpose of this heritage is to save yourself a level 2 class feat. I’m gonna level with you here: your second level class feats aren’t that great. Not bad, but not great.

Desert Elf (LOCG) (***) More resistance, fewer problems.

1st Level Feats

Ancestral Longevity (***) Flexible skill selection is cool.

Elven Lore (**) You get some skills that aren’t particularly amazing for you. Whoopee.

Elven Weapon Familiarity (**) As all weapon familiarity feats.

Forlorn (***) Emotion effects suck. Don’t get hit with emotion effects.

Nimble Elf (****) One of the compelling reasons to be an elf is the need for speed.

Otherworldly Magic (***) You can give yourself a decent ranged attack spell here, or pick up shield if you’re wielding a two-hander.

Unwavering Mien (***) Reduced duration on mental effects is good, although the sleep thing is more limited.

Elemental Wrath (LOCG) (*) Remember when what I said about grabbing a decent ranged attack spell? Acid splash ain’t it.

Elven Verve (LOCG) (***) Three terrible conditions you get a bonus to saves against, and for added bonus, those are usually gonna be Fort saves, and you have a Con penalty. So… yay?

Share Thoughts (LOCG) (*) God this is so situational and dumb. Like, if you’re doing an all-elf party, sure I guess?

Wildborn Magic (LOCG) (***) As Otherworldly Magic, but substitute guidance in for shield.

Woodcraft (LOCG) (**) Only useful if you’re both spending a lot of time in the forest or jungle and are your party’s primary Survival person.

5th Level Feats

Ageless Patience (***) So long as you and the party are in no rush, this is a really strong benefit, particularly for your weak Perception.

Elven Weapon Elegance (***) You have a wide variety of options here, which is pretty legit. Only downside is the prereq.

Defiance Unto Death (LOCG) (***) Paralyzed is automatically better than any of confused, controlled or fleeing.

Elven Instincts (LOCG) (****) Another boost to Perception, this time for the most important Perception check.

Forest Stealth (LOCG) (**) You must be a) Stealth focused, b) frequently in the forest or jungle and c) inclined to hide in combat. C is the sticking point, because that’s the opposite of what you want to be doing as a champion.

Wildborn Adept (LOCG) (**) Disrupt undead and tanglefoot are alright choices, dancing lights is… mediocre to say the least. I wouldn’t say these three are usually worth a feat.

9th Level Feats

Elf Step (***) Rapid, reaction-free repositioning, solid.

Expert Longevity (***) A good upgrade to Ancestral Longevity.

Brightness Seeker (LOCG) (***) Having augury as an innate spell is cool, I love divinations like that, plus the reaction rewards you for flipping destiny the middle finger.

Sense Thoughts (LOCG) (**) Better than Share Thoughts, but you needed to waste a feat to get here in the first place and you’re only trained in primal spell DCs.

13th Level Feats

Elven Weapon Expertise (*) Alas, worthless.

Universal Longevity (***) Spend action, get Expert in a skill. Seems legit.

Wandering Heart (LOCG) (*) Uncontrolled, unreliable, and as likely to stick you with something useless or cost you something really good like resistance or darkvision as it is to be helpful.

Overall: The elf chassis is terrible, and while it has good feats they aren’t enough to save it from that. Go half-elf instead. Two stars (**).

Gnome

Hit Points (***)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) Secondary ability scores yay, but we’re also taking a flaw to Strength which is boo.

Low-light Vision (***) Better than no special eyes at all.

Heritages

Chameleon Gnome (**) A bonus that requires a lot of time to set up for a skill that you’re not particularly inclined towards.

Fey-Touched Gnome (***) Pick up an attack cantrip or guidance.

Sensate Gnome (****) Scent is a fantastic sense, and very difficult to get as a PC.

Umbral Gnome (***) Darkvision good.

Wellspring Gnome (***) You have your pick of cantrips here. The usual suspects apply here, attack cantrips, guidance and shield. If you want guidance or are interested in divine lance as your attack cantrip though, or you plan on taking a bunch of gnome innate spells divine is probably the best, because your spell attack rolls and DCs will actually scale.

Vivacious Gnome (LOCG) (****) The difficult-to-come-by negative resistance. Reducing the effect of doomed is also very welcome, because doomed is scary.

1st Level Feats

Animal Accomplice (***) Familiars are cute and can be very useful, although it scales off your least favorite ability score. However, this rates higher for champion that for other martials because one of their options is a quick recharge of your Focus points.

Burrow Elocutionist (**) Talking to animals is cool, but burrowing animals aren’t usually going to have much useful to say.

Fey Fellowship (**) How often are you interacting with fey? If it’s more than once, the answer is “too often,” but if it’s very frequent then sure.

First World Magic (***) As Fey-Touched. If you went for Divine Wellspring this is one of the few ways to get something like produce flame as a divine spell, with the better proficiencies that brings.

Gnome Obsession (***) Int is probably not your strong suit, but four free proficiency ranks in a Lore skill (which are usually lower DC) is still solid regardless.

Gnome Weapon Familiarity (***) Another day, another weapon familiarity, but this one is better because the gnome flickmace is really, really good.

Illusion Sense (**) My experience thusfar is that illusionists aren’t that common as enemies, but it’s not a terrible pickup.

Gnome Polyglot (LOCG) (**) The lack of incentive to take Intelligence makes this feat a bit better for you than most, if only to avoid being left out of conversations. Still campaign dependent though.

Grim Insight (LOCG) (**) You get this option in your more plentiful class feats, via Aura of Courage.

Inventive Offensive (LOCG) (*) I want to like this, but it’s only going to affect your first attack every combat and the boons here aren’t worth it at all. I also find it weird that the nails all fall out of my baseball bat when I hit someone with it.

Life-Giving Magic (LOCG) (**) A waste of a reaction.

Natural Performer (LOCG) (**) Is there a Performance skill feat you need so desperately you’re willing to waste an ancestry feat on it?

Theoretical Acumen (LOCG) (**) Recall Knowledge isn’t going to be your strong suit, and you probably don’t want to spend actions in combat on it anyway.

Unexpected Shift (LOCG) (**) A fun reaction marred by the massive penalty that is giving yourself dazzled.

Vibrant Display (LOCG) (**) The problem with this is that Feinting only makes them flatfooted to you, so it’s only useful if you’re going to attack two different targets that round. Still, if you have a sweep weapon that’s not a terrible idea.

5th Level Feats

Animal Elocutionist (***) Anywhere there’s animals, you now have spies (assuming you can nail your Diplomacy checks). Also, you can talk to dogs! Who wouldn’t want to talk to dogs?

Energized Font (***) Much like familiar, this is a nice button to get your Lay on Hands back in an emergency.

Gnome Weapon Innovator (***) Look at those critical specializations we get now.

Eclectic Obsession (LOCG) (***) If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this game it’s that the ability to make Lore checks without being trained is busted.

Intuitive Illusions (LOCG) (**) You don’t have illusion options, so this only have value if you archetype into it and you’re probably… not gonna do that.

Natural Illusionist (LOCG) (***) I mean, unless you take this, but you’re also not going to do that. It’s weird that these aren’t defined as innate primal spells now that I really look at it, which means they don’t get turned into divine spells with Wellspring. Anyway, these are useful tools, and particularly thematic if you go for a liberator.

9th Level Feats

First World Adept (***) Two very handy innate spells.

Vivacious Conduit (***) More efficient self-healing, particularly since it’ll apply any time you’re regenerating focus.

Fortuitous Shift (**) Makes Unexpected Shift much better, but you need to spend two feats to get one genuinely useful reaction and that’s still not great.

13th Level Feats

Gnome Weapon Expertise (*) I’m really looking forward to rogue and casters guys, you have no idea.

Overall: As usual, gnome clocks in as a good “I want to be a martial, but also kind of a caster” option and in particular having two feats that give you a Focus battery is sweet. With a Strength penalty, though, I can’t in good conscience give it more than three stars (***).

Goblins

Hit Points (**)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) A boost to a secondary and a tertiary, and a penalty to the all-important Wisdom, means it’s not terrible but it’s not really good either.

Darkvision (****) Protection from stubbing your toe when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Heritages

Charhide Goblin (***) Being on fire was never less scary.

Irongut Goblin (**) An alright collection of bonuses but nothing to write home about.

Razortooth Goblin (***) Unfortunately you can’t make an unarmed strike your Divine Ally, but whatever your ally is the bite is still probably gonna be a good backup weapon.

Snow Goblin (***) Resistance, natch.

Unbreakable Goblin (***) 4 more HP can make or break a fight, legitimately.

Tailed Goblin (LOCG) (**) A lot of bonuses to climbing, which is certainly a niche.

Treedweller Goblin (LOCG) (**) Not really your typical thing even when you get past the environmental requirements.

 1st Level Feats

Burn It! (**) You aren’t particularly designed for fire stuff, although you can grab the fire ray domain power.

City Scavenger (**) Very dependent on an urban campaign that requires you to subsist.

Goblin Lore (**) Not skills you’re particularly inclined towards.

Goblin Scuttle (***) I tend to be more critical of reaction feats since they’re competing with the really good champion reactions, but sometimes repositioning is just going to be more valuable.

Goblin Song (**) Not very useful for you unless you want to go hard on the Litanies.

Goblin Weapon Familiarity (**) The problem here is that the dogslicer and horsechopper are not good weapons.

Junk Tinker (*) Look I’m gonna level with you, Crafting is not good, especially Crafting weapons and armor. Saving yourself one day is not going to help. That’s not even getting started on how useless the ability to make a quarter cost shoddy weapon is.

Rough Rider (***) Actually useful for you, if you want a wolf instead of a horse, which you should, because size.

Very Sneaky (***) So let’s assume you have gone for Dexpion (can’t use Dexadin anymore), and invested in Stealth. If those two things are true, the Very Sneaky line is good content.

Bouncy Goblin (LOCG) (**) Hilarious, but not great.

Fang Sharpener (LOCG) (***) Not worth it as an irongut, but razortooth might find good use for this.

Hard Tail (LOCG) (***) Another option for a strong unarmed strike.

5th Level Feats

Goblin Weapon Frenzy (**) Critical specialization on bad weapons. Yay.

Ankle Bite (LOCG) (***) It’s like a midway point between Retributive Strike and Liberating Step, but for yourself instead of your friends. I dig it.

Chosen of Lamashtu (LOCG) (***) As is, you have to get past the flavor lock since you can’t worship this certain deity as a good champion, but if your GM is willing to waive it or you’ve snagged a secret early copy of the APG for your group, it’s as good as another heritage would be for you.

Tail Spin (LOCG) (***) Double trip with one attack (which also means you’re only incurring MAP once) is solid, and also, Baloo is a pilot!

Torch Goblin (LOCG) (**) I will never not love this feat. The actual benefit is not great unless you’re fighting something with a weakness to fire, but damned if it isn’t funny.

Tree Climber (LOCG) (***) More speeds are good.

9th Level Feats

Cave Climber (***) More speeds still good.

Skittering Scuttle (***) Makes your Scuttle even better.

Freeze It! (LOCG) (****) A very solid debuff, clumsy is actually not a common condition for PCs to be able to inflict.

Hungry Goblin (LOCG) (**) A decent upgrade if you really want to go in on the jaws.

Roll With It (LOCG) (*) Hilarious. Also bad. You’re not even avoiding damage, you’re letting your enemy send you where they want you, provoking reactions, and costing yourself two actions (one for stunned, one to stand).

Scalding Spit (LOCG) (**) I mean, as long as you’re on fire, it’s a backup ranged weapon. A bad one, but still.

13th Level Feats

Goblin Weapon Expertise (*) If there were a rating lower than 1 star, I would give it that.

Very, Very Sneaky (***) As Very Sneaky.

Unbreakable-er Goblin (LOCG) (***) A nice influx of 10 HP, immunity to falling damage, and you can now properly bounce, which is probably going to be practically useless, but still awesome.

Overall: I love goblin champion… conceptually. Mechanically, I think they suffer from not great ability modifiers and mostly mediocre feats with a few hidden gems. Two teary stars (**).

Halflings

Hit Points (**)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) A secondary and tertiary again but this time our penalty is to Strength, and that’s just not good.

Keen Eyes (***) I will always maintain these are better special eyes than low-light vision.

Heritages

Gutsy Halfling (***) Nosell those emotion effects.

Hillock Halfling (**) You’re only getting about half the benefit because with Lay on Hands you should never be regaining Hit Points overnight, but more healing from Treat Wounds because you eat a snack is both useful and delightful. Don’t forget elevenses either.

Nomadic Halfling (**) Campaign dependent, but a good way to pick up more languages since you likely won’t have the intelligence for more.

Twilight Halfling (****) You mean I can have both keen eyes and low-light vision? Sold!

Wildwood Halfling (**) Very specific difficult terrain to want to overcome.

Observant Halfling (LOCG) (**) It’s a very small bonus, relatively speaking.

1st Level Feats

Distracting Shadows (***) I refer you to my opinions on Very Sneaky here.

Halfling Lore (**) More skills that don’t really mesh well with the champion lifestyle.

Halfling Luck (****) Legitimately one of the best ancestry feats in the entire game, bar none.

Halfling Weapon Familiarity (**) Much like with goblin, your ancestry weapons aren’t really great options here.

Sure Feet (**) Situational bonus.

Titan Slinger (*) I can’t actually see anyone wanting to primarily use a sling on a Large creature. You have proficiency with bows after all.

Unfettered Halfling (****) Another amazing ancestry feat, given that Grab is very prevalent and very annoying, to say nothing of the ease with which you can Escape.

Watchful Halfling (**) Another situational bonus.

Adroit Manipulation (LOCG) (**) A Dex champion who is also big on Thievery will want this.

Innocuous (LOCG) (**) Deception is solid, but I don’t think one skill rank and the bonus for Create a Diversion are worth it.

Intuitive Cooperation (LOCG) (***) Aid Another isn’t good, but this makes it a little less not good.

Unassuming Dedication (LOCG) (**) Value scales with the amount of downtime you’re raking in.

5th Level Feats

Cultural Adaptability (****) As valuable as the ancestry feats you can pick up.

Halfling Weapon Trickster (**) Limited by slings and slingstaves not really being good weapons.

Easily Dismissed (LOCG) (**) Requires wanting to be a stealthy person, but even then it’s also heavily campaign dependent.

Halfling Ingenuity (LOCG) (***) Not the best version of getting level to untrained, but the +4 makes up for it a bit.

Shared Luck (LOCG) (***) Share this glorious feat and its benefits with your friends.

9th Level Feats

Guiding Luck (****) Apply that awesome luck to your attack rolls and saving throws.

Irrepressible (***) Good on its own, combined with Gutsy you might as well be immune to emotion effects.

Cunning Climber (LOCG) (***) Climb speeds are good.

Fade Away (LOCG) (***) Invisibility will always have its uses, and misdirection is a nice cherry on top.

Helpful Halfling (LOCG) (***) A small but substantial boost to Aid, I think it makes enough of a difference to make aiding worth it, especially as by 9th level you’re going to be consistently critically succeeding at your best skills.

13th Level Feats

Ceaseless Shadows (***) A refer you back to the other general Stealth ancestry feats.

Halfling Weapon Expertise (*) Bleh.

Cobble Dancer (LOCG) (***) Obviously campaign dependent, but very good in an urban campaign.

Incredible Luck (LOCG) (*****) Remember what I said about Halfling Luck being the best ancestry feat in the game? Multiple your uses per day by 24.

Overall: A terrible chassis, but unlike others your feats are genuinely good enough to bring it back, and Keen Eyes helps a lot in that regard. Four stars (****).

Humans

Hit Points (***)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (****) Put them wherever you like.

No Special Senses (*) Suffering.

Heritages

Half-Elf (*****) This is the best ancestry/heritage combination and you cannot convince me otherwise. You get access to amazing feats on both sides and bump up to low-light vision, it’s beautiful.

Half-Orc (***) Not as good as half-elf just by merit of fewer options opened up.

Skilled Heritage (***) Two free skill ranks into a skill of your choice is actually pretty good, since you’re not going to care about Int as much as others and so have fewer total trained skills.

Versatile Heritage (***) Y’know what you can get with Versatile Heritage? Adopted Ancestry. It’s like half-elf for anyone, but without the unique feats or low-light. You’re welcome.

Wintertouched Human (***) Cold resist, natch.

1st Level Human Feats

Adapted Cantrip (*)  You’re kind of a caster but you still don’t have cantrips.

Cooperative Nature (***) A +4 actually makes Aiding kinda worth it even on your less good skills.

General Training (***) As Versatile Heritage.

Haughty Obstinancy (***) A neat way to nope that free stunned 1 those spells tend to get when you succeed.

Natural Ambition (***) Conveniently, at time of writing you only have effectively three choices for a 1st level class feat, so you can just snag up two out of three here.

Natural Skill (***) As with Skilled Heritage.

Unconventional Weaponry (***) This is how you pick up a katana or a khopesh if that’s more your speed than Western weaponry.

Arcane Tattoos (LOCG) (***) The usual suspects for cantrips apply here.

Courteous Comeback (LOCG) (***) A fun way to save yourself from a potential Diplomatic snafu.

Devil’s Advocate (LOCG) (**) Campaign dependent.

Dragon Spit (LOCG) (***) And there are our usual suspects.

Gloomseer (LOCG) (***) Oh good, special eyes. I missed those.

Keep Up Appearances (LOCG) (***) An alternative to noselling emotion effects is to just pretend you did. Potentially waste their actions making them try again or at least negate some of their schtick.

Know Oneself (LOCG) (***) Or just nosell the critical failure. Probably better.

Quah Bond (LOCG) (***) A free skill rank is good, and free Assurance in it is even better.

Saoc Astrology (LOCG) (***) A very good chance to cash in some circumstance bonuses to your skills when you really need them.

Tupilaq Carver (LOCG) (*) You technically have divine spellcasting, but it’s not real spellcasting, so this doesn’t apply to you.

Viking Shieldbearer (LOCG) (*) You gain nothing from this.

Witch Warden (LOCG) (**) Very situational bonuses, but hey, if you expect to fight a lot of witches and hags and deal with a lot of curses then this is a good pickup.

1st Level Half-Elf Feats

Elf Atavism (***) As good as the heritage you snag.

Round Ears (LOCG) (**) You need an actual reason to pretend not to be half-elf, first of all.

Sociable (LOCG) (**) The free trained in Diplomacy is good, but I don’t think Hobnobber is worth spending the ancestry feat.

1st Level Half-Orc Feats

Monstrous Peacemaker (***) The bonus here is situational but a very widely applicable situation.

Orc Ferocity (***) See the thing about your champion reaction is you can’t use it if you’re KO’d, so this doesn’t really compete for that space.

Orc Sight (***) Have we not established this yet? Darkvision good.

Orc Superstition (**) This, on the other hand, does, and you’ve got one of your more plentiful class feats for that instead.

Orc Weapon Familiarity (***) The necksplitter and knuckle dagger are actually pretty cool weapons.

Overlooked Mastermind (LOCG) (**) Free Deception rank is good, but the bonus feels very situational.

Tusks (LOCG) (***) Stab em with your face.

5th Level Human Feats

Adaptive Adept (*) Still not a spellcaster.

Clever Improviser (****) Being able to try anything and have level to the skill you’re trying is huge, especially as applies to Lore skills (which are usually lower DC than the regular check).

Darkseer (LOCG) (***) Even more special eyes.

Ornate Tattoo (LOCG) (***) As good as the spell you want.

Wavetouched Paragon (LOCG) (**) Not as good as a Climb or Fly speed unless you’re in the water a lot.

5th Level Half-Elf Feats

Inspire Imitation (**) You can really lean into Aid Another here, but I generally look down on feats that require you to critically succeed to have any effect.

Supernatural Charm (*) Charm has Incapacitation, making a 1st level one basically worthless.

5th Level Half-Orc Feats

Orc Weapon Carnage (***) As usual with these feats.

Victorious Vigor (*) God you just have so many better uses of your reaction than this that it’s legitimately not funny.

9th Level Human Feats

Cooperative Soul (***) Really good for bolstering your allies in the things that they’re good at but you aren’t.

Incredible Improvisation (***) Basically make yourself an expert in a skill for one check, bonus-wise.

Multitalented (***) As good as the multiclass you want.

Dragon Prince (LOCG) (***) Really picks up in the second season and I was just blown away by season 3… what? This joke is getting old? Fine, fine, dragon breath is a pretty solid 1/day innate spell.

Heir of the Saoc (LOCG) (****) A really nice buff to your Saoc Astrology.

Shory Aeromancer (LOCG) (****) Your very own built-in magic wings.

Virtue-Forged Tattoos (LOCG) (***) Still as good as the spells you can pick up.

9th Level Half-Orc Feats

Pervasive Superstition (**) If you want to spend two feats on this permanent bonus be my guest I guess?

13th Level Human Feats

Unconventional Expertise (*) Still not useful.

Irriseni Ice-Witch (LOCG) (***) That escalated quickly. A big boost to your cold resistance and a decent innate spell.

Shadow Pact (LOCG) (**) If you can think of a good use of at-will creation then be my guest, but I can’t think of one that’s worth an ancestry feat.

Shory Aerialist (LOCG) (**) Not bad, but you have so many better options at lower levels even.

13th Level Half-Orc Feats

Incredible Ferocity (***) A good champion refuses to die.

Orc Weapon Expertise (*) Bored now.

Overall: With the sheer breadth of options relative to other ancestries, most of them rated highly, it should come as no surprise that humans get a solid five stars (*****).

Hobgoblins (LOCG)

Hit Points (***)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) It could be worse, but it could be much better.

Darkvision (****) Yay seeing in darkness.

 Heritages

Elfbane Hobgoblin (**) As usual, you’ve got a class feat for this instead.

Runtboss Hobgoblin (*) You are not going to be Coercing goblins that often. I refuse to believe that.

Smokeworker Hobgoblin (***) One of the better resistance heritages.

Warmarch Hobgoblin (**) Situational.

Warrenbred Hobgoblin (**) Not as good as similar heritages/abilities.

1st Level Feats

Alchemical Scholar (**) I generally suggest leaving the alchemical crafting to alchemists, but if you’re into it, then go for it.

Hobgoblin Lore (***) For once, two skills that probably interest you.

Hobgoblin Weapon Familiarity (**) Hobgoblin weapons don’t, uh, exist yet? Need this to get Discipline though.

Leech-Clipper (**) Tanking tip: have two flails, crit enemy with one, drop it, you still have a weapon and now they have a harder time getting to the squishies behind you.

Remorseless Lash (***) Intimidation champion is a thing, and this will double the effectiveness of your Intimidations.

Vigorous Health (***) On the one hand, this is a small chance to negate one relatively uncommon condition. On the other, drained sucks.

5th Level Feats

Agonizing Rebuke (***) A followup on the Intimidation stuff, which is really kind of the hobgoblin’s schtick in any class.

Expert Drill Sergeant (**) If the party needs to Follow the Expert on you a lot then this gets a lot of value, but otherwise it’s only alright.

Formation Training (*) Only useful in the All Hobgoblin party.

Hobgoblin Weapon Discipline (***) Holy crap is that a lot of weapons you just got critical specialization in.

9th Level Feats

Pride In Arms (*) Okay or, hear me out here, you use your champion’s reaction and just prevent a much bigger chunk of the damage they’re taking to begin with.

13th Level Feats

Formation Master (***) Formation Training is garbage, but Formation Master is great, so your mileage may vary on if you want a dead feat to get here.

Hobgoblin Weapon Expertise (*) Snore.

Overall: Ability scores could be better but you’ve actually got some solid choices for an Intimidation focus, and Weapon Discpline is one of the best arrays of critical specializations you can pick up. Overall, three star (***).

Leshies (LOCG)

Hit Points (***)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) Similar to dwarves, but we actually don’t care about the flaw, so it’s better.

Low-Light Vision (***) Once again, better than nothing.

Plant Nourishment (***) Basically, you don’t have to spend money on food unless you expect to be underground a lot, at which point you’ll probably be making up the cost. Still, it’s fun, and it’s free.

Heritages

Fungus Leshy (***) Your requisite special eyes upgrade.

Gourd Leshy (***) This is a silly heritage. You can store a weapon in your head for effective Quick Draw, or some other really effective tool that you would otherwise stow in a bandolier.

Leaf Leshy (**) Fall damage isn’t going to be super common, but it can hit like a truck when it come.s

Vine Leshy (***) Get good at climbing. Not quite as good as Fungus or Gourd, but still solid for just about anyone.

1st Level Feats

Grasping Reach (***) A quick way to get reach for you two-hander champions.

Harmlessly Cute (**) An ancestry feat for a skill feat and a bonus to a situational and likely rare non-Perception to initiative. Pass.

Leshy Lore (**) Not ideal skills for you.

Leshy Superstition (**) Class feat. Right there.

Seedpod (***) Need a ranged backup? Here you go, ranged backup.

Shadow of the Wilds (**) A constant passive benefit while in exploration mode, but one that won’t come up that often to be honest. Campaign and GM dependent.

Undaunted (***) No more emotion effects please.

5th Level Feats

Leshy Glide (**) It’s not flying, it’s falling with style.

Ritual Reversion (**) Honestly if you want to be a paladin spy, this is the best way to be a paladin spy.

Speak with Kindred (****) Hey, y’know what’s just about everywhere aboveground? Plants. Plants are now your spies.

9th Level Feats

Bark and Tendril (**) If only these were good spells.

Lucky Keepsake (***) A worthy upgrade.

Solar Rejuvenation (***) More efficient out of combat healing.

Overall: Leshies are good sprouts. You’ve got good options here, nothing particularly spectacular, so I dub them three stars (***).

Lizardfolk

Hit Points (***)

Speed (***)

Ability Boosts/Flaws (****) A boost to a primary, a secondary, and a flaw to our least favorite make this a winning choice.

No Special Senses (*)

Claws (***) A lethal alternative to punching.

Aquatic Adaptation (**) A situational bonus, to be sure, but not unwelcome.

Heritages

Cliffscale Lizardfolk (***) As with vine leshy.

Frilled Lizardfolk (***) You effectively get Intimidating Glare, plus Threatening Approach is a nice opening move for a fight.

Sandstrider Lizardfolk (***) Good old heat resistance.

Unseen Lizardfolk (**) Didn’t like it for gnome, don’t like it now.

Wetlander Lizardfolk (**) Value depends on how often you need to swim.

1st Level Feats

Lizardfolk Lore (**) Not really your kind of skills here.

Marsh Runner (**) Very narrow band of usage here.

Parthenogenic Hatchling (***) Cool flavor. It has some overlap with a fourth level class feat but they actually synergize well together and fourth level actually has some good general options, unlike what I’ve been saying with all these reactions for bonuses against magic.

Razor Claws (***) Turn those claws into proper primary weapons.

Reptile Speaker (***) Talking to lizards is one of those things that doesn’t seem like it’ll be that useful until you remember that there are lizards basically everywhere that it’s warm.

Sharp Fangs (***) Between this and Razor Claws you’re looking at a solid natural attacks build.

Tail Whip (***) Basically your alternative to Sharp Fangs if you’d rather hit them with your tail than bite them

5th Level Feats

Envenom Fangs (**) A boost to your fangs attack at the cost of some action economy, but an extra 1d6 to one attack is going to fall off compared to attacking again, Intimidating, a combat maneuver, repositioning, Smite Evil…

Gecko’s Grip (**) Not as great as other climb speeds since the prerequisite already makes you a natural at climbing.

Iruxi Unarmed Cunning (***) As usual, an excellent choice.

Shed Tail (***) Limited use but a damn cool trick.

Swift Swimmer (**) Pretty much as Wetlander.

9th Level Feats

Terrain Advantage (***) A cool pickup In general, no question.

13th Level Feats

Iruxi Unarmed Expertise (*) So boooored.

Overall: Probably the best ability spread of any ancestry for a Strength-based martial, and a good niche in natural attacks. Three stars (***).

Skills and General/Skill Feats

PF2’s skill system is, of course, designed so that any character can cover any skill, but ability score priority will naturally lead to different priority choices. Here’s a general evaluation of how each skill might best apply to you as a champion, and the skill feats you should look at to complement them.

Acrobatics (**)
Arcana (**)
Athletics (****)
Crafting (***) If you use a shield, Crafting is essential for keeping it in top shape. Consider a deity who would consider shield maintenance a worthy form of prayer or devotion so you can Refocus at the same time.
Deception (***)
Diplomacy (***)
Intimidation (***)
Lore (**)
Medicine (****) Assuming you have a good deity who doesn’t scoff at the notion of healing, you can seriously double down between lay on hands and Medicine.
Nature (***)
Occultism (**)
Performance (**)
Religion (***)
Society(**)
Stealth (**)
Survival (***)
Thievery (**)

So with our favorite skills in mind, let’s take a look at the feats we have available.

1st Level

Additional Lore (**) You’re better off investing in level to untrained and just rolling them without skill ranks.

Adopted Ancestry (***) As good as the ancestry feats you can snipe with it.

Alchemical Crafting (**) I generally suggest leaving the alchemy to the alchemists.

Arcane Sense (**) Detect magic is a mediocre spell in general in my view, and not worth a feat, especially not for such a crappy level scaling.

Armor Proficiency (X) You’re already proficient in armor, silly.

Assurance (***) Assurance in Crafting or Medicine will give guaranteed success on your healing/repairs, while Athletics will let you guarantee success on combat maneuvers against lower level enemies.

Bargain Hunter (***) Depends on how much downtime you get and if you have anything better to do with it, but if you’re stuck between relying on Lore for Earn Income and taking this for Diplomacy, Bargain Hunter is better.

Battle Medicine (**) Two problems here. First, you need a hand free to use your healer’s tools. Second, you already have an in-combat healing tool in the form of lay on hands. Third, as a martial you only have so many actions to spare.

Breath Control (*) Suffocation comes up rarely, and when it does I haven’t personally seen it take long enough to resolve to require this. The bonus to saves is too situational to justify a rare general feat.

Canny Acumen (**) A decent endgame feat to grab master in Perception or Reflex.

Cat Fall (***) Generally a good feat, although it requires training in a mediocre skill for you.

Charming Liar (***) I love that champions can lie now. Good for consolidating skill uses so you can keep your investments in the combat-applicable ones.

Combat Climber (**) Useful if you see yourself climbing a lot, useless most of the time.

Courtly Graces (*) You’re going the opposite direction of what you want here.

Diehard (***) Consider: you’re not going to care about it right up until the moment you do.

Dubious Knowledge (**) I love this feat. Now that I have my feet under me enough to do house rules, the next time I run a game everyone has this automatically.

Experienced Professional (**) Very dependent on the downtime you get.

Experienced Smuggler (**) Useful if you’re a stealth champion, but that’s a lower priority for our purposes.

Experienced Tracker (**) If you’re the party’s tracker and your campaign is suited towards following tracks, this is a good pickup, but that’s a little too specific for my tastes.

Fascinating Performance (***) This is actually a half-decent tanking feat against casters, as it prevents them from casting targeted spells on anyone but you.

Fast Recovery (****) The hit point thing is irrelevant to you since you should be ending every day at full hp, but the bonus against poisons, diseases and drained is very much worth it.

Feather Step (**) An annoying prereq but if you meet it, this is a very handy tool.

Fleet (****) Mobility is a very important tool, and you’re likely slower than your friends are.

Forager (**) Campaign dependent.

Group Coercion (***) Situational but this is a situation that you can engineer if you want.

Group Impression (***) Far less situational, it cuts down on the number of individual rolls you have to make, which is very nice.

Hefty Hauler (*) With a high Strength and a backpack you should have to worry too much about carrying capacity, and if you are, then your party members should share a bit of the load with you maybe. Or, like, buy a packhorse.

Hobnobber (***) Useful for when you have limited time in which to do things, and Gather Information usually comes up fairly frequently.

Impressive Performance (**) If you would rather have Performance than Diplomacy, though I can’t imagine why.

Incredible Initiative (****) Going first can save lives you know.

Intimidating Glare (***) Expands who you can target by a decent margin.

Lengthy Diversion (**) Only applies on a crit = I’m not interested.

Lie To Me (***) If you invest in Deception it’ll easily outpace your Perception, making it much harder for people to, uh, lie to you.

Multilingual (**) Requires training in Society, but you get extra languages out of it, including uncommon languages with no limitation.

Natural Medicine (**) You’re generally better off just investing in Medicine, since the feats that make Medicine better require proficiency there anyway.

Oddity Identification (*) Waaaay too specific.

Pickpocket (**) Only useful if you’ve gone Dex based and are trained in Thievery.

Quick Coercion (***) As I’ve pointed out in past guides, this makes Coercion a potential combat tactic. If you frequently find yourself in fights where someone is uncertain about being your enemy, bully them into being your friend.

Quick Identification (**) You’ll have Religion so you should probably at least try identifying things, but it’s not going to be your main thing generally.

Quick Jump (****) Efficient action economy is always a plus.

Quick Repair (****) For the shield user especially, Quick Repair is essential. Between it and your Shield Ally, you’re never going to have to worry about your shield breaking.

Quick Squeeze (*) Squeezing isn’t common enough to justify a feat, and this requires Acrobatics besides.

Recognize Spell (*) You can’t actually do anything about the spell they’re casting, and that’s a reaction you could instead use on your champion reaction.

Ride (*) If you want to go mounted that’s what Steed Ally is for.

Shield Block (X) You get for free.

Sign Language (***) Requires Society, but even so nonverbal communication is important. If you can get your whole party on board I highly recommend it, I’ve been in a party that all knew sign language and it was useful as heck (except our poor bard cohort, he got left out of conversations for months).

Skill Training (**) I’m all for more trained skills but there’s better approaches you could take here.

Snare Crafting (**) The only snare that’s worthwhile without combat application as an adventurer are alarm snares, and that’s not worth a feat.

Specialty Crafting (**) While I support taking Crafting as a skill, actually crafting non-alchemical items is kind of terrible.

Steady Balance (**) Acrobatics stuff, and pretty specific situations too.

Streetwise (**) Once again, opposite direction from where you want to go.

Student of the Canon (**) It’s embarrassing to not know about your own deity, but not embarrassing enough to burn a feat on I don’t think.

Subtle Theft (**) Another Thievery feat that’s actually pretty decent, but only if you’re regularly stealing stuff.

Survey Wildlife (**) Actually decently useful if you’ve invested in both Survival and Nature, but between both those requirements and only applying in the wilderness, sometimes, only two stars.

Terrain Expertise (**) Handy if you hang out in one specific environment for most of the campaign, but that makes it campaign dependent.

Terrain Stalker (**) Stealth feat. Heavy armor. Not friends.

Titan Wrestler (***) You can be very good at combat maneuvers if you want to invest in them.

Toughness (****) I cannot overstate how many times I’ve seen someone still standing by the skin of their Toughness.

Train Animal (**) A neat parlor trick, but not generally useful.

Trick Magic Item (**) Can be cool, though ideally you want a real caster using these kinds of items.

Underwater Marauder (**) I shouldn’t even have to say this is campaign dependent.

Virtuosic Performer (**) Eh.

Weapon Proficiency (**) You can take an advanced weapon, but it won’t scale with your regular proficiencies, so you should really only use this for access to an archetype.

2nd Level

Automatic Knowledge (***) What’s that? Aren’t I always saying you’re not the knowledge monkey? This is still true, but because of scaling you’re never going to critically fail with AK, and sometimes you might just succeed. Of course it requires investing in Assurance, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers. Bonus points with Dubious Knowledge.

Bonded Animal (*) Why bond with an animal the normal way when your god can send an angel to turn a horse into the most majestic steed alive?

Confabulator (**) Not terrible if you lie a lot, which champions can do now!

Connections (**) Campaign dependent and reliant on Society, but good for urban campaigns.

Continual Recovery (****) This is a must-have for medic champions.

Glad-Hand (**) This is basically a reroll on a failed Diplomacy check, but that -5 is so hefty it’s almost not worth it, especially since a conniving GM will interrupt conversations before you’ve reached the 1 minute mark.

Intimidating Prowess (***) Perfect for anyone invested in Intimidation, this is a generally good bonus you can work it.

Lasting Coercion (***) Although technically situational and dependent on the type of campaign you’re playing, it’s a situation that can come up a fair amount.

Magical Crafting (**) If someone can show me better math than mine that makes Magical Crafting worthwhile I’d love to see it, but mine shows it being a waste compared to just Earning Income to supplement purchases.

Magical Shorthand (*) Not a caster.

Nimble Crawl (**) Not the worst thing for if you get knocked down, to save yourself some action economy, but becomes obsolete the second you hit 7 if this is enough of a concern to spend a feat.

Powerful Leap (***) Better jumping is good content.

Quick Disguise (**) Very campaign dependent, only useful if you find yourself needing to do a lot of quick changing.

Quiet Allies (**) This is actually a great feat and I highly recommend it if you’re doing Stealth, but I still don’t think you should be doing Stealth.

Rapid Mantel (**) I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen Grab an Edge come up in combat, but if you frequently fight near cliffsides it’s worth it.

Robust Recovery (***) Fantastic for any dedicated medic, because poison and disease suck and this will help anyone get over them much faster.

Unmistakable Lore (**) Not bad, just not particularly good.

Ward Medic (***) After Continual Recovery this is your next most important out-of-combat healing feat, making it much more time efficient.

Wary Disarmament (**) Even if you’re doing the trap disarming, you should already have a good AC, at least, making this only useful for the saves.

Eye of the Arclords (LOWG) (*) Constant detect magic really doesn’t give you much of anything, particularly not for so short a duration and with the dazzled debuff afterwards.

Godless Healing (LOWG) (***) If someone in your party has Battle Medicine this is a must-take.

Backup Disguise (LOCG) (**) As Quick Disguise, although between the two I like this more just because I think it’s far more fun.

Sow Rumor (LOCG) (**) Campaign dependent, very much geared towards a social/intrigue heavy game, but if you think you have use for it I personally find it very fun.

3rd Level

Ancestral Paragon (***) As good as any 1st level ancestry feat you want to grab.

Untrained Improvisation (*****) I cannot stress enough how good this is. Starting at 7th level it’s the single largest bonus to any skill in the game and it applies to every untrained skill you have, including Lore. This is easily the best general feat in the game, bar none.

7th Level

Battle Cry (***) A fun way to open a fight, although the legendary upgrade eats a reaction and so is less valuable to you.

Bizarre Magic (*) You don’t need to hide your focus spells from your enemies.

Expeditious Search (***) You don’t natively meet the prerequisite, but if you find a way to get master Perception this is a decent feat.

Foil Senses (**) For the stealthy champion, it’s still only okay, since you could take precautions against special senses without the feat as well.

Impeccable Crafting (**) Making things is still not great.

Inventor (*) Adding even more time to the already incredibly lengthy process of Crafting items, no thank you.

Kip Up (****) Getting tripped now means almost nothing to you. Bonus points, trip and grapple (half the time anyway) effectively no longer have critical failure conditions.

Planar Survival (**) This is the most campaign dependent thing on this entire list.

Quick Climb (**) Handy but by this point your party should have solutions to things in high places.

Quick Recognition (*) Same problem I had with Recognize Spell.

Quick Swim (**) Value depends on how often you go swimming, but if it’s very often and you don’t have a swim speed then this is a good pickup.

Quick Unlock (**) Just how often are you picking locks in encounter mode?

Shameless Request (***) When it’s useful it’s going to be very useful, particularly not having to deal with critical failures on Requests.

Slippery Secrets (**) I would call this more GM dependent than campaign dependent, if these kinds of effects are a common schtick with them.

Swift Sneak (**) Once again, great for the Stealth guy and I disapprove of your life choices.

Terrified Retreat (**) Only works on a critical success and more importantly you’re making them run away from your weapon. As crowd control goes, fleeing is probably my least favorite.

Wall Jump (***) Situational but damned if it isn’t satisfying to use, hence the one star bump.

Entourage (LOCG) (**) As written, your posse is only providing a relatively small benefit (the main thing being the reduced Gather Info time), but keep in mind that in addition to the listed mechanical bonuses, you also have a posse. They won’t help in encounter mode but it can save a lot of in-game time and help you out if you have them handle small, basic stuff for you.

11th Level

Incredibly Investiture (**) Worth it if you’re running up against your investiture limit but I have yet to actually see that happen.

15th Level

Cloud Jump (***) Generally speaking a cool feat, if you’ve been taking the jumping stuff so far this is a natural conclusion for that line.

Craft Anything (*) Even if you do like crafting stuff this has incredibly specific requirements that mean you’re only getting use out of it for one, maybe two items.

Divine Guidance (***) I’m always a big fan of hints for stuff that’s upcoming, but especially when it makes your GM come up with cryptic messages on the fly.

Legendary Codebreaker (**) Hella campaign dependent, and you’re also probably not the person to be Deciphering Writing.

Legendary Linguist (**) Very cool and you’ll probably get at least one use out of it, but really not worthwhile unless you know you’re going to be meeting a lot of creatures you share no language with (and no one in your party has access to tongues.)

Legendary Medic (***) If you’re party medic, here’s your requisite upgrade. Very nice because its only overlap with Mercy feats is blinded, and doomed and drained are both really bad.

Legendary Negotiation (***) Feats like this can completely derail encounters and give you an easy win. GM discretion means you can’t use it to sit down and parley with Cthulu, but if you want it will still come in useful a lot.

Legendary Performer/Professional (**) Dependent on downtime and the area you find yourself in. The increased attitude for Performer is pretty good though.

Legendary Sneak (**) Docked points only for Stealth not being one of your main things, but for the weirdo who went Stealth champion, this is four stars.

Legendary Survivalist (**) As I’ve said, the problem here is that your friends still need to eat, drink, breathe and not burn or freeze to death.

Legendary Thief (**) As Legendary Sneak.

Scare To Death (***) Even if you discount the critical failure condition this is still a straight up upgrade to Demoralize.

Unified Theory (**) If Arcana were a primary skill for you.

Is this the end? No, it’s only the… well, not the beginning, probably around the 2/3 point actually because of how the split ended up. Anyway here’s part 2.

Tooth and Fang: FedoraFerret’s Guide to Animal Companions

Tooth and Nail: FedoraFerret’s Mini-Guide to Animal Companions

Animal companions have a long and storied history in TTRPGs. And why wouldn’t it? Fiction and mythology are rife with heroes who traveled alongside a loyal animal sidekicks, particularly if they’re of the ranger-y variety, to say nothing of noble steeds. Pathfinder’s first edition saw a lot of, uh, let’s go with “less than balanced” companion builds, not only through crazy cheese (I still shudder at the thought of a grippli riding a velociraptor, long story) but even something as mundane as a large cat specced out with Dex boosting items and an Agile amulet was an absolute terror to behold. Second edition has made them a lot less ridiculous, though, so we need to figure out how to break play them all over again. Onwards, shall we?

The Ratings System

Five Stars (*****) Best in class, hands down, if you just want the most optimal thing you can possibly get then this is it, this is the option.
Four Stars (****) Very, very good thing, this is a very compelling option or a very compelling facet of an option that should make you want to take it.
Three Stars (***) Solid, but not particularly thrilling. Generally reserved for things that are average, that are worth taking but not necessarily going out of your way for.
Two Stars (**) This does not inherently mean that the option is bad, only that it isn’t great. As a general rule, if an option is two stars it’s either situational, in which case I’ll call it out as such and usually mention the situations it applies (such as an undead-focused ability in an undead heavy campaign), or it’s statistically inferior but there are reasons you might want to take it (seen in this guide, trading 2 AC for +1 to-hit and damage).
One Star (*) This means that the option is bad. Very often, I personally imagine I will be going back and upgrading a one-star to a two-star because someone pointed out a reason someone might find it valuable. If it’s one-star, that means that I, the author of this guide, cannot fathom any possible reason someone would want to choose this over another option.

Companions in a Nutshell, or, Ferret Crunched a Ton of Numbers So You Don’t Have To

Animal companions lag behind equivalent PCs in almost every way imaginable. They start with a lower ability score spread (though not by much), their proficiency progression is a fair bit slower, and also, they’re made out of paper. The latter is the most important bit as it’s going to inform a lot of our decision making going forward, because the difference between a companion with armor class options compared to other options is the difference between getting crit on a nat 16 and getting crit on a nat 10. Their attack bonus is decent early but falls off pretty fast, while their damage is one of the few things that roughly keeps up with PCs (they get dice slower but their ability modifier progresses faster than an equivalent martial). Realistically, your companions are going to fall into one of three roles in combat, adjusting according to the situation.

Secondary DPR (**) Thanks to the aforementioned “being made of paper” and “attack bonus that falls off” you’re never going to want to send your companion into melee with bosses or other equivalent- or higher-level enemies, but they can be very effective at cleaning up mooks/adds/whatever you want to call the low level scrubs who exist to debuff, flank, or otherwise inconvenience the party against stronger enemies.

Support (***) When there’s only one enemy, the companion is likely going to focus on support. This means entering a flanking position, using its advanced maneuver to debuff the enemy, or activating its support benefit. Ideally, this also draws very little attention to the companion, meaning if it gets hit it’ll be on saves, which are a companion’s best numbers.

Mount (***) Thanks to the upgrade druids and rangers get at Mature Companion and that champions get at Imposing Destrier, where your companion gets a free action every turn, every companion of suitable size can be an awesome investment just for the merit of granting you a free Stride at enhanced speed every round. You lose their support benefit if it’s not a horse, camel, or <insert future companion with mount here>, but that can be worth it just for the free mobility.

You can still do things with a companion like send it charging into battle against a powerful boss, but only if you’re prepared for a high likelihood of a doggy funeral. Fortunately, if you are a callous monster who doesn’t care if you companion lives or dies, replacing them is easy.

 

Advancing Your Companion

Advancing your companion to mature is easy with no choices involved, so we’ll pass over that because it’s just static, passive boosts to various skills, and instead take a look at what I call the Incredible stage, where you get a choice of three advancements: Nimble, Savage or Indomitable, and oh boy are they not created equal.

Nimble Companion (****) Far and away the best of the three, like, there is legitimately no contest here. The extra Dexterity is a boost to your finesse attacks and armor class, the increased unarmored defense is a boost to your armor class, and Acrobatics has just as many uses as Athletics. You don’t need a compelling reason to take Nimble, you need a compelling reason to take either of the other two.

Savage Companion (**) By comparison, I personally think savage is garbage. Compared to the other two, you’re trading a lot of survivability for a +1 to hit and +1 or 2 to damage (+2 or 3 damage once you hit Specialization, but even so). There’s just legitimately no comparison to Nimble, and even if there was…

Indomitable Companion (***) Indomitable is just the better option of the two. You have the same skill training, the same damage boost, and instead of the small boost to hit, you get a bump to your HP. More importantly, you pick up expert in Barding, which isn’t quite as good as Nimble’s expert in Unarmored (especially since Nimble can reach master and Indomitable can’t) but it’s better than nothing and probably the better option for a more strength focused companion like a bear or badger. More importantly, like savage it makes your Medium companion Large, which is important for medium characters who want a mount.

So yeah, Nimble is great, Indomitable is good if you want something large and muscular, and Savage is straight flaming trash unless you’re especially invested in the higher damage.

Our last progression is specialization, which is thankfully a bit more balanced, although as we’ll see, the Dexterity options are still king.

Ambusher (****) Hide in plain sight, advancing stealth, more Dexterity, more AC proficiency. Top tier.

Bully (***) No Dex boost, but a massive +5 jump to your Intimidation (and +3 to Athletics) is fantastic for a supportive companion debuffing enemies.

Daredevil (****) As ambusher, except instead of hide in plain sight we’re gaining even more AC benefits.

Racer (**) A decent upgrade for the mount but it doesn’t give you much compared to the others.

Tracker (***) An excellent boost to your companion’s utility, particularly as it has master Perception already.

Wrecker (*) The worst option of the bunch because compared to Bully it only really gives you the Strength boost. I think they might’ve written this while debating having sundering rules, if I’m being honest.

Phew. And that’s all of our advancement options. What we’ve learned here today class is that Dexterity is king, so naturally companions with better Dex and finesse attacks are going to have the edge. That being said though, because the base difference in ability scores is only going to be 1 at most, the thing to really focus on for companion types is going to be their skills, support benefits, advanced maneuvers and speeds (and damage dice to a lesser extent).

Welcome to the Pound: Pick Your Companion

Badger (***)
Attacks (***) Pretty basic strong attack->agile attack combination.
Ability Scores (**)
Boosting Wisdom or Constitution is pretty good. Boosting both means you lag on your attack, damage, and/or AC.
Skill (***) Survival is handy, particularly since you are starting with a boosted Wisdom.
Speed (***) Burrow and climb together are incredibly versatile. Bonus points, as a burrowing animal your gnome can talk to it. On the flip side, slower base than everyone else.
Support Benefit (**) Really only good if you’ve got someone with a reaction to capitalized on a Stride and that enemy is going to try and reposition or flee, which is one of the more situational benefits.
Advanced Maneuver: Badger Rage (***) This right here makes the badger one of if not the best companion for cleaning up mooks, that extra damage will go a long way.
Overall: Badgers are a very average choice here, where their main benefit is the niche they fill with their burrow speed and massive damage output while raging.

Bear (****)
Attacks (***)
Still the basic setup.
Ability Scores (***) The ideal strength setup, hitting hard and better able to take a hit.
Skill (**) Intimidation is cool but your bonus is going to fall off ridiculously hard until you can specialize.
Speed (***) Average.
Support Benefit (****) Want to just add 1d8 points of damage to all your attacks for the round for the cost of a single action? I thought you might.
Advanced Maneuver: Bear Hug (**) Requires you to hit the target first (which means it can only apply starting your turn adjacent), then to hit them again (MAP is a hell of a drug), but if it works, Grappled is a really good debuff condition.
Overall: Bear has so many options. The support benefit is one of the best possible, you have the best combination of stats and strikes for a pummeling style and if you go mounted then Bear Hug, if it’s successful, will do a ton of damage and leave them susceptible to your attack (of course, your bear is then going to immediately die, but c’est la vie d’un ours). All in all, probably the best general Strength option.

Bird (****)
Attacks (***)
Another standard one-two of the finessable variety.
Ability Scores (***) Your bird is squishy in the Con, but it has Wis to compensate.
Skill (****) Stealth is the real tech, you’ve got big Dexterity, you’re primed to go into Ambusher, and as a bird, you can just kinda hang out in a tree and who’ll notice?
Speed (*****) Fliiiiiight. And not just flight, a fly speed of 60 feet. The only downside is that until you get the free movement every round you basically have to command your bird unless your GM is willing to fiat that it Hovers every round.
Support Benefit (****) The damage isn’t as good as bear’s, but you’re here for the dazzled, and the bleed is a side bonus.
Advanced Maneuver: Flyby Attack (****) The second you get this it should be your bird’s every turn unless it’s using the support benefit. You get your move, you get your attack, and even with the two action limit you’re never left fluttering next to an enemy that can three action attack you.
Overall: If you’re going for pure optimization, bird is your choice. If bear has one of the best support benefits, bird has the best, with a potentially long lasting effect that’s dealing damage and debuffing them, and on top of that flyby attack is a great option. The only downside is it’s the only companion without scent.

Cat (***)
Attacks (***)
As bird.
Ability Scores (***) Also as bird.
Skill (***) Today I learned that cats are just flightless birds.
Speed (***) And here’s why cats aren’t as good as birds.
Special (***) Sneak attack on an animal companion, how novel.
Support Benefit (***) Just straight up flatfooting isn’t bad, but as debuffs go it’s absurdly common.
Advanced Maneuver (****) One action stride and strike is really efficient and efficiency is important with companions. If you Stride away afterwards it also lets you dart in and out like Flyby Attack does, further cementing cats as Worse Birds.
Overall: Yeah, I think that sums it up. Cats are worse birds. They have the benefit of sneak attack, but their support benefit is worse, and only having a land speed is comparatively just kinda lame. That being said, being a worse bird isn’t saying much when birds are already so great.

Dromaeosaur (****)
Attacks (****)
Finessable and bigger dice than the bird or the cat get, pretty dang sweet.
Ability Scores (***) You’re less good at hunting but a bit more survivability.
Skill (***) Third verse, same as the first.
Speed (****) Not as good as flight, but still faster than all the others.
Support Benefit (***) Much like the cat’s, the main thing is granting flatfooted, but it’s better because you can provide it against multiple enemies at multiple angles.
Advanced Maneuver: Darting Attack (****) Another hit and run attack, but you trade speed for not provoking attacks of opportunity.
Overall: Tiny dinosaur is probably the middle child of the Dex kids, not quite as good as bird but I would say better than cat, and it has a solid thematic and mechanical niche in its constant darting around and high speed.

Horse (***)
Size (****)
I didn’t mention this with any of the others because they all start small, but the horse starts large, and that’s huge because it means medium PCs can mount it from level 1 while still going Nimble.
Attacks (**)
You only get one option and it’s just a d6. Agile, but still.
Ability Scores (***) You are a horse, Str and Con are pretty reasonable stats.
Skill (***) It’s weird that a horse is a good tracker and can forage food for you and your friends, but there it is.
Speed (***) A little faster than normal, but not quite dinosaur/bird speed.
Special (****) The main thing is you get to use the support benefit while mounted and moving, which is necessary since its benefit is meant to be used while moving. Other benefit, if someone casts fly on your horse then you can fly.
Support Benefit (**) A decent boost to your static damage, but it doesn’t compare to a bear.
Advanced Maneuver: Gallop (*) I mean, if it’s going to Stride twice anyway the extra 10-foot speed is nice, but this isn’t a reason to take a horse.
Overall: Literally the only reason the horse isn’t two stars is the size, if it weren’t for that it would be a two-star creature because otherwise it doesn’t bring anything special to the table. On release it probably would’ve been four stars, but the camel exists now.

Snake (****)
Attacks (****)
Only one attack and it’s not agile, but makes up for it by being a finessable d8. Later on you’re probably not going to use it much anyway.
Ability Scores (****) Hooooo baby, you get both Strength and Dex. That gives you options.
Skill (***) Stealth is good, as we have established.
Speed (**) Swim isn’t as good as burrow, unfortunately, so the heckin’ slow speed is a major drawback here.
Support Benefit (***) Niche, but a very underutilized niche. Not many things can just straight up deny enemy reactions like that.
Advanced Maneuver: Constrict (****) This has a bit of a weird snafu in that, while the companion section says companions calculate their DCs like you do, it doesn’t specify what the DC is based on here. There are three options: one, the companion has a stealth class DC they’re just trained in. This is the worst option. Two, it uses your class DC, which is cool but makes little sense. Three, it uses the snake’s Athletics DC. This is the one I’m most inclined to go with, which is also cool because its Athletics skill scales much better.
Overall: Snake is interesting in that it can go either Dex or Strength focused and still be really solid either way. If you go Dex, invest heavily in Stealth and make use of the finesse attack, and enjoy the passive boosts to Strength. If Strength, focus more heavily into Athletics and Constrict, and enjoy bypassing your crappier attack proficiency. In either case, you also have the support benefit in your pocket. All in all, snakes make for a really good pet.

Wolf (**)
Attacks (****)
As snake.
Ability Scores (***) Fast and durable, wolves seem to be the dex-based heavy hitter.
Skill (***) Now see wolves, I can believe as your tracker/hunter.
Speed (***) Fast pupper.
Support Benefit (**) I would call this easily the weakest support benefit. Speed penalties are good in two ways: one, for a tank preventing the enemy from getting away or getting past them to the squishies, and two, off of a ranged attack to slow the enemy and waste their actions (a la tanglefoot). Now you could set this up and then shoot them with a ranged attack, but then they’re just gonna hit your dog, and your dog is, as we’ve established, made of paper.
Advanced Maneuver: Knockdown (****) This, on the other hand, is one of the best advanced maneuvers. Prone is one of the best conditions to inflict: you flat-foot them, waste their action on standing up, guarantee AoOs from nearby fighters, etc. Doing it with no check is fantastic.
Overall: Sadly I would put the wolf as the weakest of the Core Rulebook animal companions. They’re still good doggos, but the only major utility or niche they offer is Knockdown, which requires extended time adjacent to the target and a successful hit, and for Dex options there’s simply better choices.

Camel (Adventure Toolbox) (****)
Size (****)
As the horse.
Attacks (**) Low damage, not finessable, not agile. Go next.
Ability Scores (***) As horse again.
Skill (***) Camel being survival is more understandable than horse, they have to live in the desert.
Speed (***) Slower than horse, but not by much.
Special (****) Also as horse, but also you get to flip the bird to the weather, which is a nice little ribbon.
Support Benefit (****) Not quite as good as bird’s for duration (or the lack of damage for that matter) but makes up for it by having a little range.
Advanced Maneuver: Sand Stride (***) Now this is how you do an advanced maneuver that’s just movement. A little slower than the horse’s but much, much faster with a lot of difficult terrain around.
Overall: I would put camel as being better than horse overall, with a more utility-focused support benefit and a better advanced maneuver overall.

Hyena (Adventure Toolbox) (***)
Attacks (****)
That good old finessable d8 jaws.
Ability Scores (***) As wolf.
Skill (**) Much like the bear, we’re still not good at this.
Speed (***) Slight speed.
Support Benefit (****) Oh hell yes. Who needs the hyena to intimidate when you can just whack them while the good dog laughs.
Advanced Maneuver: Gnaw (**) The bleed damage is nice and the speed penalty is better than wolf’s because you only need to apply it the once, but it still depends on a hit, and I’m of the mind it’s better to use the support.
Overall: I’m sad to report that hyena is just a better dog than wolf. The support benefit is really what shines here.

Vulture (Adventure Toolbox) (***)
Attacks (****)
More finesse jaws, nice.
Ability Scores (**) The weakest combination.
Skill (***) Survival is still useful, and you should put that Wisdom to good use.
Speed (****) Not as good as Generic™ bird, but still good.
Special (***) Hey, free bonuses are free bonuses. Saves are already the companion’s strong suit, but if it survived all the attacks it’s going to take only to die to disease that would just be embarrassing.
Support Benefit (***) This is weird because it’s the only support benefit that includes a save and can only target one person besides, but being at a slight range and applying sickened (a condition they can’t get rid of without expending actions and more saves) plus triggering on any damage, not just strikes, is actually pretty good.
Advanced Maneuver: Feast on the Fallen (****) As we’ve established, animal companions are squishy, so having a free self heal once per hour is great even if it’s very small. As an added bonus, it puts no limits on what kind of creature counts, so while traveling you can send your bird hunting and it will murder squirrels to heal off of. Also, there’s just something visually cool about you knocking an enemy down, and your vulture going “I’m a bit wounded and a bit puckish” and tearing out that enemy’s innards.
Overall: “Not as good as the Generic™ bird, but still good” about sums it up I think. The advanced maneuver is cool and will help keep you alive, the support benefit has a unique niche and is a compelling reason to take Indomitable despite it not being rideable, and it still has most of the perks a regular bird has (flight, the perk is flight, don’t think too hard on it, it’s flight).

Ancestries of Aisen: Sulgist

It is often said that the deepest parts of the oldest forests are ruled by either elves or fey, but they are not the only claimants to these territories. Short, musclebound, and often aggressively territorial, many mistake the sulgist for unintelligent brutes, or even animals or monsters. This is often their last mistake. Highly intelligent masters of their environment, anyone attempting to invade the native home of the sulgist will find themselves bombarded with traps, assaulted from the treetops, and chased out or killed. With that intelligence does come all the courtesies of sentience, though, and usually outsiders presenting themselves at the edge of sulgist territory or peacefully wandering in by accident will find themselves greeted and given permission to travel through, although they would generally prefer their guests leave as soon as their business is done. Insular people by nature, sulgist rarely travel outside their own borders. Those who do either do so out of necessity, or because of their own exile. As such, sulgist adventurers are unusual, and most people will go their entire lives never meeting one.

You Might

  • Treat others with caution but without aggression.
  • Protect what is yours, be it land, property, or companions, with vehement zeal.
  • Need something to do with your hands at all times, lest you get restless.

Others Probably

  • Underestimate your intelligence and treat you as a brute or savage.
  • Are intimidated by your physique, and even moreso when you show it’s backed by a clever mind.
  • Assume you have an adventurous spirit to have left your homeland.

Physical Description

Typically standing at around 3 to 4 feet tall with naturally beefy and muscular bodies, the average sulgist is a rather dense ball of physical prowess. Their bodies are thickly furred and come in a range of colors well suited to forests, such as brown and black, although white or golden coloration isn’t unheard of.

Their body proportions are somewhere between that of a human and a gorilla, with longer, thicker arms that sacrifice some manual dexterity for power and climbing ability. Their gait is somewhat slow and lumbering, and occasionally they’ll revert to an apeish quadrupedal stance just to move a little more quickly.

Sulgist are commonly born as twins or triplets. They age slowly, reaching physical maturity between 18 and 20 and old age around 200. Adulthood is seen as a state of mind more than body, though, and a particularly mature, clever and thoughtful 14 year old will be treated with more respect and seniority than an immature 50 year old.

Society

Despite the insular nature of their communities, sulgists tend to balance the line between individualism and communalism. Individual sulgists pursue crafts and pursuits that appeal to them with little regard for the needs or wants of others. This extends to almost every facet of life, not just career; most sulgists take little interest in the idea of public works, and while they’re happy to contribute to the common good it takes more personal forms, such as a woodcarver erecting a statue in the middle of the village. Independence is emphasized in relationships and families as well. Sulgists are as likely to be polyamorous or non-committal in relationships as monogamous. Children are typically raised by their parents until they’re minimally self-sufficient, able to walk and talk for themselves, at which point they’re largely left to their own devices, expected to handle themselves and only come to their parents for things they actively cannot do themselves.

Alignment and Religion

Individualism being one of the cornerstones of sulgist culture lends a heavily chaotic bent to both individuals and societies. More interesting is their approach to morality, which is equally influenced by their emphasis on the self to a largely relativistic view. What one sulgist considers good, another might consider evil, but few sulgist would impose their own standards of morality on others; that is to say, while a sulgist who believes in the traditional ideals of “good” would stop a cultist from sacrificing a child to their god, that sulgist would not label the cultist as “evil,” recognizing that their moral compass is simply different. As a result, most sulgists would be considered neutral, regardless of their personal views. Interestingly enough, this view of morality also means those few sulgists who enter heavily aligned classes or archetypes such as champion might find abilities like Smite Evil and Sense Evil do not work properly, their own view of morality skewing the ability’s effects.

Although sulgists are open to the idea of deities, particularly deities of nature, their culture practices a form of ancestor worship that takes priority over almost any deific worship. In their culture, it is believed that the spirit is infused into the body, and after death permeates into its surroundings. Sulgist burial sites are considered unfathomably sacred as a result. Though funerary practices vary from community to community, based largely on the amount of space available for burial, one of the common threads is a form of ritualistic cannibalism. In the wake of a sulgist’s death, those close to them-friends, family, lovers and rivals alike-are invited to consume a small part of their flesh before their burial. In doing so, they take a part of that individual’s spirit into themselves, carrying it with them wherever they go.

Names

Sulgist names are typically short, using single words in the sulgist language. These names can be based inspired by the individual’s personality or physical features, but more often are just things their parents think sound cool or after other people, creatures or important objects to the parents. Broodmates are usually given alliterative or rhyming names, though this is less for cultural reasons and more for the parents’ amusement.

Sample Names
Arnos, Banja, Dorn, Fern, Jinat, Odran, Olgar, Rost

Hit Points 10; Size Small; Speed 25 feet; Ability Boosts Strength, Intelligence, Free; Ability Flaw Charisma; Languages Common, Sulgist, additional languages equal to your Intelligence modifier (if it’s positive). Choose from the list of common languages and any other languages to which you have access (such as languages prevalent in your region); Darkvision You can see in darkness and dim light as well as you can see in bright light, though your vision in darkness is in black and white.

Sulgist Heritages
The insular nature of sulgist communities has led to a wide diversity amongst their people. Choose one of the following sulgist heritages at 1st level.

Clever Sulgist Your mind works more quickly than most, and you constantly fiddle with puzzles and mental games to keep yourself from getting bored. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based checks made to solve puzzles or play strategy games.

Deatheater Sulgist You come from a jungle full of poisonous, toxic and borderline inedible food sources, but a sulgist still has to eat. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus on saving throws against ingested poisons and effects that would give you the sickened condition. In addition, your body processes poison at an absurd rate; when you roll a success on a saving throw against poison, you get a critical success instead.

Outcast Sulgist Your family left the forests when you were very young, perhaps before you were even born. They may have been banished, or perhaps they left of their own volition. Whatever their reason, they learned to adapt to their surroundings and passed those lessons on to you. You gain the Assurance skill feat in a skill you are trained in. Once per week during your daily preparations, you can select a different trained skill to gain Assurance in. This replaces the previous Assurance skill feat.

Spiritbound Sulgist In your youth, you took part in the ritual of consumption for someone dear to you with a talent for magic. Whether you’ve inherited this talent from them or were merely inspired by them to dabble in magic, you’ve developed some minor ability with magic. Choose one cantrip from the primal spell list. You can cast this spell as a primal innate spell at will. A cantrip is heightened to a spell level equal to half your level rounded up. Whenever you gain a sulgist ancestry feat, you gain another cantrip from the primal list as an innate spell.

Treedweller Sulgist Your people make their homes in the treetops, so they’ve naturally adapted to scaling the trees. When Climbing trees, vines, and other foliage, you move at half your Speed on a success and at full Speed on a critical success (and you move at full Speed on a success if you have Quick Climb). If you roll a critical failure to Climb, you get a failure instead.

Ancestry Feats

Crafty                                                    FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

You keep your hands busy by making things, focusing on one particular form of craft and honing your skill with it to perfection. You gain the Specialty Crafting skill feat. When you Craft something using Specialty Crafting, if you roll a critical failure, you get a failure instead.

Guerilla Tactics                 FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

The sulgist way of warfare is to strike from hiding before disappearing again, using the cover of the jungle (or whatever cover is available) against their enemies. Whenever you make an attack against another creature, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus on Stealth checks to Hide or Sneak against the target(s) of your attack until the end of your turn.

Entwined Spirit                                 FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

You’ve participated in the ritual of consumption, and though that person is gone, their spirit infuses you, granting you some of their talents. Choose three skills you are untrained in when you select this feat. During your daily preparations, you can become trained in one of the skills for the day. You can spend 10 minutes meditating on the person you consumed and their talents to change which skill you are trained in.
Special If you’re a spiritbound sulgist, you only choose one skill instead of three. Choose one 1st level spell from the primal spell list. You gain that spell as a primal innate spell.

Sulgist Lore                                         FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

Your people don’t emphasize education, but you’ve picked up a lot just from watching the adults around you as a child. You gain the trained proficiency rank in Nature and Survival. If you would automatically become trained in one of those skills (from your background or class, for example), you instead become trained in a skill of your choice. You also become trained in Sulgist Lore.

Sulgist Weapon Familiarity         FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

You’re always prepared to fight, and you know how to turn a tool into a weapon. You are trained with battle axes, hatchets and war hammers. You also gain access to all uncommon sulgist weapons. For the purpose of determining your proficiency, martial sulgist weapons are simple weapons and advanced sulgist weapons are martial weapons.

Tree Climber                                     FEAT 1

[Sulgist]

As a natural extension of living in a wooded area, you’ve become quite skilled at traversing the trees. When you Climb, you move at half speed on a success and full speed on a critical success (and you move at full speed on a success if you have Quick Climb). If you are a treedweller sulgist, you also gain a climb Speed equal to your Speed when Climbing trees, vines and other foliage.

Master of the Mind                        FEAT 5

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites clever sulgist

Your mental acuity is so sharp that it’s difficult for anyone to overpower it. When you roll a success against a mental effect, you get a critical success instead. If this would already be the case due to another ability, such as the resolve class feature, then when you roll a critical failure, you get a failure instead.

Trap Setter                                         FEAT 5

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites expert in Crafting

The lands around a sulgist village are rife with traps, and you’ve picked up their assembly yourself, particularly using materials around you to build them. You gain the Snare Crafting skill feat. Once per day when you Craft a snare, you can quickly gather materials to build the snare from what’s around you. Reduce the cost of the snare as though you were spending downtime as described in the Craft activity, treating every 10 minutes you spend as though it were 1 day.

Sulgist Weapon Cleverness         FEAT 5

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Sulgist Weapon Familiarity

You know how to cleverly apply your tools to inflict the maximum damage. Whenever you critically hit using a sulgist weapon or one of the weapons listed in Sulgist Weapon Familiarity, you apply the weapon’s critical specialization effect.

Expert Spirit                                       FEAT 9

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Entwined Spirit

Your connection to the spirit you consumed becomes greater, intermingling with your own abilities. When you make your daily preparations, in addition to becoming trained in one of the skills you chose for Entwined Spirit, you also become expert with one of these skills. When you meditate to change which skill you trained in, you can also change the skill you are an expert in.
Special If you are a spiritbound sulgist, choose one second level spell from the primal spell list. You can cast that spell as a primal innate spell once per day.

Guerilla Strike <A>                          FEAT 9

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Guerilla Tactics
Requirements You are hidden or concealed to a creature.

Make a single Strike against a creature you are hidden or concealed to, then Sneak or Hide. You take your multiple attack penalty to your Stealth check for this action; effects that would reduce your multiple attack penalty such as agile or the flurry hunter’s edge do not apply to your Stealth check, although they apply to your Strike as normal.

Jungle Climber                                  FEAT 9

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Tree Climber

Life in the forest or jungle has prepared you for skillful climbing anywhere and everywhere. You gain a climb Speed equal to your Speed. If you are a treedweller sulgist, your climb Speed is equal to double your Speed when Climbing trees, vines or other foliage.

Sulgist Weapon Expertise            FEAT 13

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Sulgist Weapon Familiarity

Your sulgist affinity blends with your class training, granting you great skill with sulgist weapons. Whenever you gain a class feature that grants you expert or greater proficiency in a given weapon or weapons, you also gain that proficiency in the battle axe, hatchet, war hammer, and all sulgist weapons in which you are trained.

Master Spirit                                     FEAT 13

[Sulgist]
Prerequisites Expert Spirit

You can channel your spirit-granted talents all into one skill, enhancing it at the cost of others. When you make your daily preparations, you can choose one of the skills you chose with Entwined Spirit and become a master in that skill until your next daily preparations. If you do so, you do not gain any of the other benefits of Entwined Spirit or Expert Spirit, except for the primal spells gained if you are a spiritbound sulgist.
Special If you are a spiritbound sulgist, choose one third level spell from the primal spell list. You can cast that spell as an innate primal spell once per day. If you choose to make a skill master using this feat, you cannot cast that spell until your next daily preparations.

Bounty Hunting for Fun and Profit

Last month after releasing the fighter guide, I did a set of class feats expanding on the fighter’s niche. My original idea was to do this every month for each class, but when I looked at ranger, the niche it has is already pretty decently fulfilled. Anything I added would be a bit superfluous unless I created a whole new niche. So instead I thought “what if I took an alternate approach.” This archetype was made with the intent of giving an alternative to ranger multiclass to get some of the same hunter feel, while also providing value to a ranger themselves.

BOUNTY HUNTER

Bounty Hunter Dedication                                            FEAT 2

[Archetype] [Dedication]
Prerequisites trained in Survival

You’ve trained to hunt specific targets and bring them where they need to be. You can use the Hunt Prey action (CRB p. 168). During your daily preparations, you may designate one creature you are aware of as your bounty. You must either know your bounty’s name You can use Hunt Prey as a free action against your bounty even if you cannot see them and are not Tracking them.

Subdue                                                                                FEAT 4

[Archetype]
Prerequisites Bounty Hunter Dedication

In the event of a mark that needs to be taken in alive, bounty hunters are usually trained in nonlethal takedown techniques. You take no penalty when making a nonlethal attack with a weapon that does not have the nonlethal trait against your prey. If using a weapon has the nonlethal trait, you gain a +1 circumstance bonus to attack rolls when making nonlethal attacks against your prey.

Capture and Secure                                                        FEAT 4

[Archetype]
Prerequisites Bounty Hunter Dedication, trained in Athletics

You can physically overpower any enemy and secure them for transport, making it difficult for them to escape your custody. You gain a +1 circumstance bonus on Athletics checks to Grapple, Shove, Trip or Disarm against your prey. When you Grab, tie up, or otherwise restrict movement for your bounty, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your Escape DC for that effect, and if they roll a failure on their Escape check, they critically fail instead.

Hunter’s Instincts                                                             FEAT 7

[Archetype] [Skill]
Prerequisites Bounty Hunter, master in Survival

You gain a sixth sense of finding your target. You can attempt to Track your bounty, even when you have no trail to follow. Treat the results of your check as one degree worse. If you succeed, you only gain a general sense of the direction your bounty is in.

Sudden Mark <F>                                                             FEAT 10

[Archetype]
Prerequisites Bounty Hunter
Frequency Once per day
Trigger You’re about to roll Perception or Survival for initiative.

A good bounty hunter is a living bounty hunter, and you live longer by reacting to your enemies quickly. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to your initiative, and can use Hunt Prey on one target you are aware of. You cannot use any other free actions triggered by rolling initiative at the same time as this ability.

Warm or Cold <AA>                                                        FEAT 15

[Archetype] [Emotion] [Fear] [General] [Incapacitation] [Linguistic] [Skill]
Prerequisites Bounty Hunter, legendary in Intimidation

You inform your bounty how your encounter is going to end: they leave with you in chains, or in a body bag. Attempt an Intimidation check against the Will DC of your bounty. You must be within 30 feet of them and they must be able to hear you. Your bounty becomes temporarily immune for 1 day.

Critical Success The target becomes paralyzed until the end of your next turn. Any attempt you make to grapple or restrain the target during this time is automatically a success, although you can still roll to attempt a critical success.
Success The target becomes frightened 2
Failure The target becomes frightened 1.
Critical Failure The target is unaffected.

On the Hunt: FedoraFerret’s Guide to the Ranger pt. 2

Haven’t read part 1 yet and concerned about spoilers? Don’t be. Just click this link to go back to the start.

Class Feats

Unlike our previous entry of the fighter, the ranger doesn’t really have a lot of overlapping build options with variable value. Rather, you’re going to probably have two different build paths you go down, each of which builds on themselves, and intermingle nicely.

1st Level Feats

Animal Companion (****) Animal companions are awesome, but squishy. See my companion guide for more details.

Crossbow Ace (**) So here’s the thing: Crossbow Ace isn’t necessarily bad, except that crossbows are. Two extra damage per shot doesn’t change that.

Hunted Shot (****) Your bread and butter archery feat, one action for two Strikes is great action economy.

Monster Hunter (***) Put a little more action economy into your Hunt Prey with a small perk tacked on to the critical condition.

Twin Takedown (****) Your bread and butter melee feat, one action for two Strikes is still great action economy.

2nd Level Feats

Favored Terrain (**) Varying value that also depends on you staying in one terrain for a lot of time.  Once you pick up Wild Stride that value becomes even more variable. Aquatic is great for ocean based campaigns, Plains is great in general, the others are pretty meh.

Hunter’s Aim (**) The +2 bonus to the attack isn’t as valuable as ignoring concealed. Definitely for the Precision rangers over Flurry or Outwit.

Monster Warden (**) I generally don’t approve of options that only trigger on a crit success.

Quick Draw (***) Great for not getting caught with your pants down, and if you’re a switch hitter it’s even better.

Wild Empathy (**) Outwit will like it more since they probably have Charisma, but otherwise pass.

4th Level Feats

Companion’s Cry (***) Doesn’t improve overall action economy, but boosting your companion’s actions can be better than your own depending on your build.

Disrupt Prey (***) Attack of Opportunity, but only against your hunted target, is still Attack of Opportunity, and that’s good.

Far Shot (*) You’re already hitting without penalty at 120’ away with a shortbow, the times you need more than that will be extraordinarily rare in a standard adventure.

Favored Enemy (***) A bit less egregious than traditional favored enemy. Your primary targets are going to be animals or beasts since those appear at just about every level and most campaigns will feature them.

Running Reload (**) Put a bit more efficiency into crossbows and make them less bad, at least, but you’re still limited flexibility.

Scout’s Warning (***) Basically you always have the Scout exploration activity going, which is nice

Snare Specialist (**) I’ll get into this in its own section, but being able to deploy snares mid-combat is actually kinda cool. Unfortunately, it’s also really not very action efficient.

Twin Parry (***) Basically gives you a “buckler.” If you have a parry weapon it’s more, but that’s literally just clan dagger right now for twf.

6th Level Feats  

Mature Animal Companion (****) The one downside of taking an animal companion is you kind of have to invest feats in advancing it or else it will surely die.

Quick Snares (**) If you went into Snare Specialist you might as well expand its usability.

Skirmish Strike (***) Some nice mid-combat repositioning, although it can’t be stacked with either multi-attack so not really for the Flurry types.

Snap Shot (*) You have one goal in life as a ranged character, and it’s to not be in melee range. Now you’re investing two feats (this and one to get a reaction in the first place) on being in melee. No.

Swift Tracker (**) Situationally valuable, but if you find yourself tracking a lot, definitely worthwhile.

8th Level Feats

Blind-Fight (***) Hey you know what sucks? Missing to concealment.

Deadly Aim (***) The precision ranger’s friend, that boost to damage is puts a ton of power into your initial attack. Less good for Flurry folks since this has to come first.

Hazard Finder (***) If you want to be Tracking rather than Searching a lot, this is a must-grab, since you’ll have one of if not the highest Perception in the party.

Powerful Snares (**) If you went into the snares line you need this to keep all of your snares at competitive DCs.

Terrain Master (***) An improvement to Favored Terrain, allowing you to adjust it as necessary.

Warden’s Boon (***) If you feel like being a team player, Flurry and Precision rangers can really power up ally damage. Outwit, uh, should probably skip.

10th Level Feats

Camouflage (**) Cool, particularly for Outwit, but only if you’re consistently in natural terrain.

Incredible Companion (****) Requisite upgrade.

Master Monster Hunter (***) If you took Master Hunter this is an automatic upgrade to pick up, especially if you passed on Int skills.

Penetrating Shot (***) Great for Precision rangers, less so for Flurry.

Twin Riposte (***) A solid reaction for the TWF type.

Warden’s Step (**) Very situational.

12th Level

Distracting Shot (***) Support for your team is always good, and support for your team that doesn’t require you doing anything other than you were already going to is even better. Flurry will proc this almost every round.

Double Prey (**) Mostly what you get here is a little extra efficiency switching between targets, since you still want to mostly focus on a single enemy. Better if you use Warden’s Boom and your party likes to spread targets. The exception is if you have a way to attack two targets with one attack as a Precision ranger, and even then that’s niche.

Lightning Snares (***) Here we go. You toughed it out until level 12, and now you can efficiently use snares as a combat tool.

Second Sting (**) Part of the point of dual wielding with Flurry is your later attacks are less likely to miss, so while the effect isn’t bad I don’t think it’s worth the feat, especially for the mediocre damage you get on the failure.

Side By Side (***) Permanent flatfooted while you and your companion tag team someone (which you should do anyway) is great. Bonus points for mounted rangers.

14th Level

Sense the Unseen (**) Your Perception should be good enough not to fail, and while the reaction is more efficient than another action, the feat is much less so.

Shared Prey (***) Now we’re talking. Permanent Warden’s Boon is legit.

Stealthy Companion (**) As Camouflage.

Targeting Shot (***) Remember when we said Hunter’s Aim’s best benefit was ignoring concealed? Well now that just got 50% more action efficient.

Warden’s Guidance (*) By level 14 if you don’t already have a way of dealing with hidden enemies that only one person spotted, you deserve to fail.

16th Level Feats

Greater Distracting Shot (**) Really this is just a boon to your first two attacks of the next round, which is cool but not nearly as great as the first feat in the line.

Improved Twin Riposte (**) The extra reaction is nice, but it can only be used on one specific target and you likely won’t be proccing Twin Riposte frequently enough anyway.

Legendary Monster Hunter (***) Hunt Prey, free recall, everyone gets +1 more to hit, save and AC for one check each than if we didn’t take this. I’m down.

Specialized Companion (****) We’ve been here before.

Ubiquitous Snares (**) If you took Quick Snares this just saves you some gold.

18th Level Feats

Impossible Flurry (****) At this point your MAP on two agile weapons is -2, which is nothing, and now you’re getting six attacks in a round. That’s just awesome.

Impossible Volley  (***) Not nearly as cool as Impossible Flurry but still, hail of arrows is a cool fantasy and gives you a solid AoE attack.

Manifold Edge (***) All of the Edges are great and worth a feat to take.

Masterful Companion (***) A nice upgrade but not mandatory.

Perfect Shot (**) Basically, every other turn you’re going to be spending all your actions doing 82 damage (164 on a crit). I did the math. You can get more damage out of three actions doing other things.

Shadow Hunter (***) Camouflage is meh, but permanent concealment from almost every enemy? Hell yeah.

20th Level Feats

Legendary Shot (*) The sniper fantasy is so cool but ultimately falls apart in a standard fantasy roleplaying game, you are almost never going to be able to shoot enemies from 500 feet away.

To The Ends Of The Earth (**) The main use is when the end of the fight comes and the BBEG decides to teleport away, and you’re level 20. That should not be happening at this point.

Triple Threat (**) As Double Prey.

Ultimate Skirmisher (***) Pretty much by default, the other ranger capstones aren’t really great.

Archetypes

So here’s the fun thing about rangers: they’re kind of encouraged by the pacing of their feat trees to double up on specializations. Not obligated, but the kind of “core feats” alternate a bit. This makes them surprisingly well suited to archetyping as the archetype feats aren’t competing as much with their own core feats.

Alchemist Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) If you’ve built for Int, Alch dedication can offer mutagens that open up some decent possibilities.

Basic Concoction (***) Alchemical Savant offers utility while Poison Resistance offers defenses against a relatively common damage type.

Quick Alchemy (**) Not terrible, but inefficient when you don’t have many reagents to work with in the first place. Better to just have what you want/need planned out.

Advanced Concoction (***) If you use Bestial or Quicksilver Mutagen, the upgrades are a good pickup. You can’t get anything for Silvertongue though.

Expert Alchemy (***) Upgrades you to moderate tier mutagens which is a big boost to duration.

Master Alchemy (**) Technically gets you to greater mutagens but not until 20.

Overall: You have decent reasons to build into Int. Better for a skill monkey focused ranger, but bestial mutagen with feral mutagen is still not a bad choice.

Barbarian Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) Static damage isn’t as big of a thing in PF1 as it was in PF2, but you still want it, and barbarian offers it. Fury instinct is the default best but dragon and spirit have their benefits too.

Barbarian Resiliency (***) If you’ve gone this route you’re willingly lowering your own AC to fight, so more hp is worth.

Basic Fury (***) Acute scent and Raging Intimidation offer combat utility, Sudden Charge will give you mobility and No Escape gives you a good reaction that will keep enemies close for you to go ham on them.

Advanced Fury (****) Fast Movement, Raging Athlete, Attack of Opportunity, Cleave (especially Cleave, get even more attacks per round) and Spirit’s Interference are all great choices, and that’s just 4th and 6th level.

Instinct Ability (***) Fury will give you the biggest bump in your static damage, but you can go for dragon or spirit if you want to add a specific damage type to all of your attacks. Titan is okay, but you don’t really want to be the guy with the big sword that much.

Juggernaut’s Fortitude (*) You get master Fort already.

Overall: Multiclassing barb is a solid boon to any two-weapon fighting ranger, and honestly to the odd two-handed ranger as well.

Bard Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) It’s come to my attention that just having the dedication feat for a casting class will let you use wands, scrolls and staves, so if you’re a Charisma inclined ranger this’ll do you good.

Basic Bard Spellcasting (***) Putting some low-level utility spells in your back pocket can be worth one feat, though I don’t think it’s worth more than that.

Basic Muse’s Whispers (***) Pretty much every core feat except Reach Spell and Multifarious Muse are good choices.

Advanced Muse’s Whispers (***) Inspire Defense is a good alternative to Inspire Courage, and Dirge of Doom is arguably the best composition cantrip in the game.

Counter Perform (**) If you’ve got Performance invested this can come in clutch, but it’s still situational.

Inspirational Performance (****) Bonuses for yourself and your party are really good no matter what flavor of ranger you are.

Occult Breadth (***) An extra spell of each level is pretty useful.

Expert Bard Spellcasting (**) Pocket fly is handy, but that’s honestly the most you’re going to get out of this and that’s not a very efficient use of class feats. The main benefit is higher slots to heighten soothe to.

Master Bard Spellcasting (**) As Expert.

Overall: Ranger/Bard sounds like one of those things that shouldn’t work, but it surprisingly does. Best suited for an Outwit ranger because of the Charisma requirements.

Champion Multiclass (**)

Dedication (**) You want heavy armor? Boom, heavy armor. Problem: Your proficiency in medium armor will render heavy armor moot.

Basic Devotion (**) Deity’s Domain is a solid pickup, as is divine grace, but you can’t use most level 1 or 2 champion feats until much later because they’re reaction dependent.

Champion Resiliency (*) You can’t benefit.

Healing Touch (***) Lay on hands is the best out of combat healing tool in the game.

Advanced Devotion (**) Lot of good defensive options here, but anything related to divine ally or champion’s reaction has a bit of a prerequisite problem.

Champion’s Reaction (***) You don’t have a good selection of in-house reactions. Of the core three, Glimpse of Redemption or Retributive Strike are probably stronger than Liberating Step.

Divine Ally (**) You’re not really a shield person and you have better ways to access animal companions, so the real benefit here is (one of) your weapon(s) gets a free rune.

Diverse Armor Expert (**) Comes on so late the only reason to take it is that you know you’re going to at least level 19 and don’t want proficiency to outstrip the benefits of heavy.

Overall: Champion will make you a bit more defensive but it’s not really worth the investment to get there.

Cleric Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) As bard, but now we’re Wisdom based which is a little more widely accessible than Charisma.

Basic Cleric Spellcasting (***) As bard but now you get daily flexibility in your utility.

Basic Dogma (***) Deadly Simplicity can buff some of your agile weapon options like daggers and there are some good choices for domains.

Advanced Dogma (**) The problem of cleric multiclassing is that most of their feats are oriented around heal and harm, and in particular that divine font feature you don’t have. Still some decent choices like Divine Weapon or Align Armament.

Divine Breadth (***) More spells good.

Expert Cleric Spellcasting (***) Unlike bard there’s useful utility at every level of the divine list, and when there isn’t, heightened heal is never a bad choice.

Master Cleric Spellcasting (**) As expert but we only get two more spell levels here.

Overall: A poorer feat selection than bard, but better spellcasting and a better casting stat.

Druid Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) As cleric.

Basic Druid Spellcasting (***) Also as cleric.

Basic Wilding (***) Wild Shape, my friends. Or Poison Resistance, but probably Wild Shape.

Order Spell (**) Wild morph is not worth two feats (since it needs Wild Shape to actually do anything). If you’re not taking Wild Shape, goodberry is solid healing and heal animal will compliment a companion build.

Advanced Wilding (***) If you took Wild Shape you’re probably going to want to take the expansion feats for it. Otherwise Wind Caller is a great source of flight.

Primal Breadth (***) More spell slots, cool cool.

Expert Druid Spellcasting (***) Some really good defensive buffs and utility in here as well as the option for heightened heal.

Master Druid Spellcasting (**) As expert but only two spell levels.

Overall: Very much like cleric, but you also have the option of turning into a bear.

Fighter Multiclass (**)

Dedication (*) You get nothing out of this dedication.

Basic Maneuver (**) Point-Blank Shot is a good pickup for an archer, but there’s not much else good here that synergizes with the rest of your ranger feats.

Fighter Resilience (*) You can’t take it.

Opportunist (***) Reactions are nice.

Advanced Maneuver (*) Advanced Weapon Training is actually good here if you want to switch to an advanced weapon, but that’s a long way to go for one feat (since it won’t pair with Point-Blank) and again nothing is especially synergistic with ranger.

Diverse Weapon Expert (*) You only get advanced weapon proficiency out of this and you can get that through Advance Weapon Training but better.

Overall: There isn’t no reason to take fighter, but there is very little. The most I would ever recommend is a dip for Point Blank or AoO.

Monk Multiclass (**)

Dedication (**) Want to punch people? Cool. Problem: all of your own combat feats require wielding a weapon, and unarmed strikes don’t count.

Basic Kata (**) A nice array of stance choices ruined by denying you armor without the increased unarmored proficiency offered by monk. Ki Rush and Dancing Leaf are nice pickups though.

Monk Resiliency (*) Not for you.

Advanced Kata (***) Okay a lot more choice here. Deflect Arrow and Stand Still for reactions, Water Step and Wall Run for utility.

Monk Moves (**) Move faster, but only without armor.

Monk’s Flurry (**) You could’ve been doing this from 1 with Twin Flurry.

Perfection’s Path (***) For master will saves.

Overall: Not as bad as fighter, but still not great.

Rogue Multiclass (***)

Dedication (**) You’re already pretty skillsy.

Basic Trickery (**) Nimble Dodge and You’re Next are great reactions but the others aren’t really worthwhile (except maybe Quick Draw to unlock Advanced Trickery, if you don’t want those).

Sneak Attacks (***) A feat for an extra 2d6 on a reasonable amount of your attacks isn’t half bad, especially on flurry.

Advanced Trickery (***) Battle Assessment synergizes well with your Perception scaling and Hunt Prey, Reactive Pursuit will keep enemies close if you’re going for flurry attacks and Opportune Backstab will give you even more attacks.

Skill Mastery (***) You might be fine on trained skills but free expert to mast and trained to expert and a free skill feat is highly complimentary to your skillset.

Uncanny Dodge (***) Being flanked sucks. Not being flanked does not suck.

Evasiveness (*) You already get evasion.

Overall: After writing three guides I’m on the brink of naming rogue the overall best archetype because of how good Skill Mastery is.

Sorcerer Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) You don’t have prepped casting flexibility, but you do have your choice of spell list.

Basic Sorcerer Spellcasting (***) Same as the others.

Basic Blood Potency (**) You don’t have good options that aren’t devoted to offensive casting, and you’re not primarily an offensive caster. Familiar if you must.

Basic Bloodline Spell (***) Tentacular limbs and dragon claws are your best bets, and if you’ve got a heavy Cha focus for Outwit then faerie dust has some good synergy.

Advanced Blood Potency (**) Bloodline Resistance and some of the Advanced Bloodlines can be good, but to get here you have to waste a feat on Basic Blood Potency.

Bloodline Breadth (***) Are you even surprised at this point?

Expert Sorcerer Spellcasting (***) Pick up some good utility and/or heighten your healing.

Master Sorcerer Spellcasting (**) We’ve been through this several times already.

Overall: Terrible feat choice, but the flexible list options make up for it.

Wizard Multiclass (***)

Dedication (***) Biggest and most versatile spell list in the game.

Arcane School Spell (**) Protective Ward and Physical Boost are both pretty solid, the others are too dependent on Int for offense.

Basic Arcana (**) Similarly to sorcerer, but you’ve got some more neutral options in Eschew Materials and Conceal Spell.

Basic Wizard Spellcasting (***) Did someone order more arcane magic?

Advanced Arcana (***) Almost all of the second tier school powers are great and Bespell Weapon with a one-action spell is fantastic.

Arcane Breadth (***) Yada yada more spells.

Expert Wizard Spellcasting (***) Fifth verse.

Master Wizard Spellcasting (**) Same as the first four.

Overall: The basic takeaway here is that ranger can make good use of caster multiclasses if they’re so inclined.

Aldori Duelist (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) The dueling sword isn’t a bad weapon but you have to buy proficiency to get here which reduces the value.

Aldori Parry (**) Nothing in ranger synergizes with the einhander combat style.

Duelist’s Edge (***) Free bonus to initiative and a free draw on initiative isn’t half bad.

Aldori Riposte (**) Or you could be using two weapons and Twin Riposte instead.

Unnerving Prowess (***) A free action Intimidate is solid.

Saving Slash (***) A reaction to potentially negate a crit and all it entails is also good.

Overall: The entry requirements are a little much just to be good with a specific weapon, but an Outwit or Precision Ranger can make use here.

Firebrand Braggart (LOCG) ()

Dedication (**) The bonus from your boast doesn’t stack with the bonus from Outwit, so the main benefit is out-of-combat skills.

Boaster’s Challenge (****) An Outwit ranger is going to be all about this life.

Daring Act (***) A decent way to avoid AoOs and get free flatfoot.

Bravo’s Determination (***) I’m not dying you’re dying!

Great Boaster (**) As dedication.

Daring Flourish (***) A free attack is always welcome.

Demanding Challenge (***) Boaster’s Challenge just gets better and better.

Daredevil’s Gambit (**) I hope I’ve made my opinion about crit-only benefits clear.

Overall: You’re here for Boaster’s Challenge, make no mistake, but it synergizes so well with an Outwit ranger dipping flurry feats.

Hellknight Armiger (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) Another archetype where you have to buy into the requirements and it doesn’t even scale with your medium armor, but an uncommon damage resistance is nice.

Ardent Armiger (**) Very situational.

Diabolic Certitude (**) How often are you fighting devils?

Mortification (***) More resistance is good.

Armiger’s Mobility (***) If you’re going to be in heavy armor anyway, you might as well not get slowed down by it.

Order Training (LOCG) (***) Dedication to the Five, Righteous Resistance and Fear No Law, Fear No One are all excellent choices.

Advanced Order Training (LOCG) (***) Almost every Greater Benefit is really good.

Hellknight Order Cross-Training (LOCG) (***) As Order Training.

Overall: Decent defenses and you need it on the way to Hellknight, but you’re gonna be spending a lot of feats so that being a Hellknight doesn’t straight up hold you back with its armor.

Hellknight (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (***) Yet another resistance and a bonus to Intimidate (that unfortunately doesn’t stack with Outwit).

Sense Chaos (**) Highly situational.

Blade of Law (**) Precision ranger is all about a single big attack, but situational targeting.

Hell’s Armaments (***) We get this right after expert in medium armor, so our plate doesn’t fall behind.

Overall: As with the Armiger, but if you went into Armiger this is a worthwhile dip.

Hellknight Signifier (LOCG) (*)

Overall: You’re not a caster and you’re not spending two archetype prereqs to get into Signifier. Move along.

Knight Reclaimant (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (**) Campaign dependent, but even if you’re not exclusively fighting undead they will come up in basically every campaign.

Invoke the Crimson Oath (**) A really cool focus spell that unfortunately does not synergize well with any of your ranger abilities.

Survivor of Desolation (**) Hella situational.

Blade of the Crimson Oath (**) As Hellknight’s Blade of Law.

Reaper of Repose (**) You’ll get master the level after qualifying for this.

Overall: Very much a campaign dependent archetype, the more undead you fight the more valuable it is.

Knight Vigilant (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (***) Won’t come up that often but you can actually make it come up which is nice.

Unshakable Idealism (***) Fleeing bad, stunned better.

Endure Death’s Touch (**) Depends how often you’re fighting undead.

Aegis of Arnisant (**) Requires a feat you don’t get for free and the action economy is awful.

Knight in Shining Armor (**) Two feats to buy expert proficiency. Meh.

Overall: Mediocre.

Lastwall Sentry (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (**) You have to buy into this one too, but if you want to be a sword and board ranger the free Reactive Shield is nice.

Eye of Ozem (***) Really nice synergy with your Perception abilities.

Necromantic Resistance (***) Flip the bird to those evil clerics and their frankly terrifying two-action harms.

Grave Sense (**) Neat conceptually, but scales in value with how often you’re dealing with hidden undead.

Necromantic Tenacity (***) A big fat middle finger to those evil clerics.

Lastwall Warden (**) If you’re doing the sword and board thing here’s some more support for that.

Overall: I’m a fan of the anti-necromancy stuff, and this gives some support for shield ranger. Solid choice.

Lion Blade (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) For the Outwit ranger in an intrigue campaign.

Lost in the Crowd (**) How often do you need to sneak through these crowds?

Crowd Mastery (**) How often do you need to fight in crowds?

Expeditious Advance (***) An easy pickup of some extra movespeed.

Spy’s Countermeasures (**) Cool, but situational.

Flicker (****)

Overall: I love Flicker in general and Expeditious Advance is cool, but the rest are all too campaign dependent to get more than two stars.

Living Monolith (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) Being almost impossible to kill is cool.

Ka Stone Ritual (**) Rare, difficult prereqs, and enlarge isn’t that great for you, although the bonus against death effects is nice.

Stone Blood (**) Persistent bleed is a pain and common enough this will save you a fair amount of health, but I don’t think enough health to be worth the class feat.

Fortified Flesh (***) Resistance to all physical damage is cool, even if it’s going to be small.

Attunement to Stone (**) Tremorsense is useful, but the range makes it less so.

Judgment of the Monolith (***) Two very useful information gathering spells, although it doesn’t actually say what the save DC for it is going to be since it’s not technically an innate spell.

Stone Communion (***) Stone tell is pretty sweet.

Overall: If you ignore the annoying prerequisite, this is actually a solid archetype. Hah. Solid.

Magic Warrior (LOWG) (*)

Dedication (*) The focus spell requirement means you’re looking at a second archetype just to get access.

Magic Warrior Aspect (***) A pretty cool spell, pick a really fast animal if you’re going this route.

Magic Warrior Transformation (**) Strictly inferior imo to a Wild Shape druid multiclass for the limited options.

Nameless Anonymity (***) Cool, but not worth what it took to get here.

Overall: The prereq kills it, just take druid multiclass instead.

Pathfinder Agent (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) Hope into a free Expert and get that sweet untrained proficiency.

Careful Explorer (**) You should be Searching, so this is redundant.

Deft Cooperation (**) Aid Another is not a good combat tactic, and out of combat the things you’re Aiding on should be the things you’re good at anyway.

Thorough Reports (**) If you’re fighting recurring enemies this is good, otherwise pass.

Wayfinder Resonance Tinker (**) There are better sources of cantrips.

Forced Entry (LOCG) (**) Really the question is, how often do you need to force your way into somewhere without leaving signs?

Recognize Threat (LOCG) (***) Nice synergy with Monster Hunter, letting you spam Recall Knowledge.

Everyone Duck! (LOCG) (**) Only useful if you’re the traps person.

Calculated Assessment (LOCG) (***) Fantastic for Outwit rangers.

Overall: A lot of mediocrity but the few good feats are really good for Outwit and it’s enough to get out of the archetype.

Red Mantis Assassin (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (***) Another archetype that requires buying weapon proficiency, but the sawtooth saber is really good with your TWF build. Even just the dip is worthwhile, I think.

Basic Red Mantis Magic (**) I’m legitimately not sure how this interacts with wands, scrolls and staves, so I’m conservatively deeming this inferior to a dedication.

Advanced Red Mantis Magic (***) Lot of good choices in the spell lists though and here you’re getting a full three spell levels out of it.

Crimson Shroud (**) The fast healing is nice, but fun fact, Interact provokes attacks of opportunity.

Mantis Form (**) Turning into a mantis is cool, but it doesn’t synergize with any of the what you’re probably trying to do as an RMA ranger.

Overall: Even just the dip into the dedication can be worth it if you don’t want another archetype and are going TWF.

Runescarred (LOWG) (***)

Dedication (**) Not nearly as good as a multiclass dedication, but not bad.

Spell Runes (***) Basically the same as Basic Spellcasting.

Living Rune (**) If there’s an armor property rune you want and you just can’t fit it on your armor (which is fair, armor potency is really expensive) then sure.

Warding Rune (***) That’s a sizeable bonus against entire schools and it stacks with status bonuses.

Greater Spell Runes (***) Actually better than Expert Spellcasting, since it comes on two levels earlier.

Overall: Not as good as a full spellcasting archetype, but a decent alternative if you don’t want to fully multiclass or don’t have the mental scores for it.

Scrollmaster (LOCG) (**)

Dedication (*) Take notes people, or else you’ll have to take a bad feat.

Lore Seeker (***) Three very useful innate spells.

Unravel Mysteries (**) How often and how quickly do you need to Decipher Writing?

Font of Knowledge (***) Building on Outwit rangers as Pathfinders.

Overall: Lore Seeker and Font are good but the Dedication is just an absolute waste of a feat.

Spellmaster (LOCG) (*)

Dedication (**) Breaking news you don’t have Focus spells.

Surreptitious Spellcaster (*) An update on our ongoing situation, you are not a spellcaster.

Ward Casting (*) If you’re just now joining us you’re still not a spellcaster.

Spellmaster’s Resilience (****) It is physically painful that this is gated behind an archetype designed exclusively for spellcasters.

Absorb Spell (*) As reported earlier today, you aren’t a spellcaster.

Overall: I guess what I’m getting at here is that this is an archetype for spellcasters and you are not that.

Student of Perfection (LOWG) (**)

Dedication (**) You can’t get in until 6th level so it’s a bit slow, and we went over the flaws of unarmed ranger back in monk.

Perfect Strike (***) If you’re going unarmed anyway, though, rerolling missed attacks is good.

Unblinking Flame Revelation (**) Depends how illusion/invis/mirror image happy your enemies are.

Unbreaking Wave Advance (***) Nice AoE control that proooobably scales with your Wisdom mod but it doesn’t specify so no way to be sure.

Unfolding Wind Rush (***) Efficient movement, and wall of wind is decent utility/control as well.

Untwisting Iron Buffer (***) Hey free self-heals.

Overall: A cool archetype but you don’t really synergize with punching.

Swordmaster (LOCG) (***)

Dedication (**) Disarming is bad and so is Aid Another.

Harrying Strike (***) A really cool rider to put on your followup attacks once you’ve made your opening.

Shoulder Catastrophe (***) There’s plenty of stuff that does bad things on a crit, so splitting the damage between you and negating those bad things is good.

Death’s Door (***) One of the better death-negating reactions.

Overall: A really solid martial archetype. You’re not really geared for tanking innately but you’re not inherently bad at it, so going into Swordmaster to tank stuff for people is a valiant choice.

Snares and You

I did say we were going to talk about snares, didn’t I? Anyone can use them, in theory, but rangers are the best on account of getting them for free and deploying them in combat. Not all snares are created equal of course, so we’re gonna go through and evaluate their use. Their ratings won’t be based purely on their combat use by rangers, though, that’ll just be a factor that’s played in. If it’s a good one for combat, I’ll mention so.

Alarm Snare (****) This is a really good one to have in your formula book in general. The utility of being able to rig up a door to just alert you when someone follows you in can’t be ignored.

Biting Snare (***) Another one that’s better out of combat, for similar reasons to the alarm snare. If you’re being followed, you set up a bear trap and let the bad guys hurt themselves.

Bleeding Spines Snare (**) Less good, most of the benefit and power are in the repeated damage which means it’s not a great trap behind you and becomes a potential positioning liability in combat.

Bomb Snare (**) Mediocre effect compared to other snares, out of combat and in (remember that the damage is triggered on the enemy turn, so you’re unlikely to hit a bunch of enemies with it).

Caltrop Snare (*) It’s more efficient to just scatter some caltrops to be honest.

Flying Blade Wheel Snare (****) It’s basically like you cast spiritual weapon but better. I was on the fence between 3 and 4 stars, but the name tipped it over.

Grasping Snare (***) A decent combat snare you can use to try and keep enemies off of you.

Hail of Arrows Snare (**) A decent snare to leave behind you, but not great in combat since you cut off the radius from your allies.

Hampering Snare (**) As Grasping Snare, but not quite as good.

Hobbling Snare (***) As Grasping Snare but not quite as good, but better than Hampering Snare.

Instant Evisceration Snare (****) At level 20 my snares better by deleting my enemies from the face of the planet. Great combat snare, and you can also drop it for anyone stupid enough to follow you places.

Marking Snare (***) Pair with an alarm snare and catch the bastards.

Omnidirectional Spear Snare (****) God I love the names of some of these. Anyway, same as Instant Evisceration.

Scything Blade Snare (***) Just another in the standard line of “all the damage” snares.

Signaling Snare (***) Not as good as the alarm snare, but definitely more subtle.

Spike Snare (**) The scaling might make sense but 2d8 damage isn’t really worth the actions even when you first get Snare Crafting.

Stalker Bane Snare (**) Decent anti-invisibility snare, although getting them into the square to trigger it might be more problematic if you can’t see where they’re coming from.

Striking Snare (***) Better than the Spike but we’re not quite up to Scythe tier yet.

Stunning Snare (****) Very good combat snare, since it debuffs even on a success. You can straight up waste someone’s turn with this.

Trip Snare (**) Inferior in action economy to just tripping them.

Warning Snare (****) The best version of the alarm snare.

Conclusion

So that’s the ranger and all its myriad options. In the end it’s turned out to be a surprisingly versatile class for one so niche, and it really sells either the traditional ranger playstyle of efficient murder or the fantasy of being a rugged, outdoorsy hunter (or both, for that matter). I hope this has been helpful for you! Tune in next month, when we bring in everyone’s favorite stick in the mud and its two new siblings in the form of the champion. If you want to read it early, you can check it out on my Patreon. Until next time, good luck, have fun, and try not to die!

On the Hunt: FedoraFerret’s Guide to the Ranger pt. 1

Once upon a time, someone decided that the objective of rangers should be racism. That person obviously no longer designs RPGs, between PF2 and the latest Unearthed Arcana class updates for 5e, and we’re all the better for it. Rangers in Pathfinder’s second edition are the quintessential hunter before anything else, focusing fire on a single enemy. They also are the only real source for two classic PF1 fighting styles, the two-weapon fighting whirlwind of blades and the archer’s ever increasing supply of dakka, but while those are your primary build paths, there’s plenty outside of that to love about the ranger. So, shall we get started?

Ratings Guide

We’ll be using a star rating system instead of colors, partly for the colorblind folks at home and partly because you don’t realize what a pain color coding every single rated option is until you’ve written a guide yourself.

Five Star (*****) Always a good choice, no matter what your build is. The rarest of ratings, these should be your go-to options when you don’t have anything else you need.

Four Star (****) Awesome, but not necessarily for everybody. A four star option is ironically usually going to be higher priority than a five star, because they tend to be core towards specific builds. Pick these up when they match the build you’re going for.

Three Star (***) Pretty decent. If something’s three stars, it generally means it’s not a bad choice, but not quite as impressive as four stars. They’ll be the lower priority choices, things you pick to fill out your feats once you have your core and any five stars you want.

Two Star (**) Aggressively mediocre. Two star options will be things that are just not particularly good, don’t serve much of a purpose, or are weaker than something you can get elsewhere. The difference between this and one star is that it there are still uses for it, and it won’t be a special waste to take.

One Star (*) Flaming garbage. These are trash choices, legitimately do not waste your time with them ever.

Ability Scores

Ranger suffers from a little MADness. You need all your physical stats and probably at least two mentals. How those mentals shake out is… bizarre to say the least.

Strength (***) Your secondary ability score, providing static damage even though your to-hit will probably be Dex based. If you decide to pass up on the combat style feats and two-hand, then this is your primary.

Dexterity (****) For ranged, this is a no brainer, but it’s still going to be your primary stat as a TWF ranger as well, given that your agile weapon will likely be finesse. Bare minimum 14, since you don’t have heavy proficiency.

Constitution (***) Oh look, it’s the Don’t Die stat.

Intelligence (**) Probably the weakest choice for any build, but you still want a little for Outwit.

Wisdom (***) This is going to be your most likely tertiary for Flurry or Precision, since you’re designed to fill a Survival/Nature/Perception niche.

Charisma (***) If you go into Outwit, this is arguably a secondary stat, since you’ll want to be using Deception or Intimidation.

See what I mean about the MADness? Basically as a ranger your ideal level 1 spread is going to be a 16 in Str or Dex, 14 in the other one, and 12-14 in Con and two of Int, Wis or Cha. If you want to leave two of the mentals in the dirt instead, that’ll get your hit stat to 18 and free up another boost somewhere in the build.

Chassis

Ranger is a bit in the middle ground between combat focused and skill focused, with features splitting roughly down the middle. Below the set class features we have your Hunter’s Edge, the ranger’s subclass which effectively determines its mechanical benefits in most combats.

Key Ability Boost (****): Exactly where we want it. Pop it in your to-hit stat and get rolling.

HP (****) 10+Con is the best you can hope for without being a barbarian.

Perception (*****) You start out at expert and are one of two classes that hits legendary, making you a top tier Perception person.

Fortitude (****) Starting at expert and rising to master is tech.

Reflex (*****) The best Reflex progression you can hope for.

Will (**) You don’t go above Expert, which is sad.

Weapons (***) Trained in martial weapons with a fairly average martial progression.

Armor (***) Same but medium armor and lower.

Skills (****) Collective total of 8+Int (counting your background lore) is a solid basis, especially since Int is gonna be the least likely investment you have.

Hunt Prey (****) The primary engine of your class, you pick an enemy, hunt them, and all your stuff now works on that person. It’s a bit annoying to burn an action per enemy every combat just turning on but it’s not much worse than fighter or monk stance and.

Trackless Step (**) One of the weaker “always doing this activity” abilities, more of a ribbon than anything.

Nature’s Edge (***) A solid situational buff that you can even set up for yourself.

Wild Stride (***) Disregarding difficult terrain is good, and that it’s not tied to nature is even better.

Masterful Hunter (***) An upgrade to Hunt Prey is absolutely welcome.

Swift Prey (****) Really late entry, but I’ll never not promote better action economy.

Hunter’s Edge

Flurry (****) Probably the best of the lot, flurry edge puts your accuracy over a large number of attacks on par with the fighter’s higher weapon proficiency and even outstrips it with Masterful Hunter, although it does encourage the Full Attack mentality.

Precision (***) Encourages mobile combat and the preferred choice of crossbow rangers, if you hate yourself that much.

Outwit (***) A floating +2 bonus is huge, giving you more benefit for using these skills to create openings for yourself. The edge of choice for a two-handed ranger.

Ancestries

Ancestries are somewhat flexible but naturally, we’re going to be looking for our key ability scores. Dexterity or Strength is our priority for the physical and Wisdom is priority for the mental. If we have one of those, great, if not that’s unfortunate. Beyond that, we’re just going to be looking at the relative strength of various feats, as rangers can make just about any ability scores work.

Dwarf

Hit Points (****) Best ancestry hp in the game.

Speed (**) Sadly, worst speed in the game.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) Boosts to two secondary scores is good, penalty to Cha means you’re probably not going Outwit but that’s okay.

Darkvision (****) I for one would rather see in the dark than not.

Clan Dagger (***) You start with a free weapon, a clan dagger, which is handy for TWF rangers because it’s the only one-handed parry weapon.

Heritages

Ancient-Blooded Dwarf (***) Gives you a solid reaction.

Death Warden Dwarf (****) Necromancy effects are nasty, particularly two-action harm.

Forge Dwarf (***) Fire resistance is probably the best energy resistance you can ask for.

Rock Dwarf (**) Very situational sort of bonus.

Strong-Blooded Dwarf (****) Flip the bird to poison.

Anvil Dwarf (LOCG) (**) Very specific to “I want to be a crafter.”  

Elemental Heart Dwarf (LOCG) (***) Indiscriminate and very limited use, but can be a handy emergency button.

Oathkeeper Dwarf (LOCG) (**) Limited use and the fact that it’s a circumstance bonus will make it redundant most of the time.

1st Level Feats

Dwarven Lore (**) A few free trained skill ranks, meh.

Dwarven Weapon Familiarity (**) You already have all martial weapons, and the advanced dwarf weapons aren’t particularly synergistic for you.

Rock Runner (*) You get the first half of this for free, and the latter half can be from a skill feat instead.

Stonecunning (****) Free Perception checks are good, as is a frequently applicable +2 on your phenomenal Perception abilities.

Unburdened Iron (**) You should have medium armor at most, making this just a safeguard against other slowing effects.

Vengeful Hatred (**) Only if you know you’re fighting primarily an applicable group. It should be noted that there are plenty of ways to get a circumstance bonus to damage, including a few in class.

Avenge In Glory (LOCG) (***) Something I’ve noticed is that people go down very frequently, so this is a fairly reliable boost. Or that might just be because I’m incapable as a GM of rolling below a natural 15. Who knows?

Clan’s Edge (LOCG) (***) Do a Twin Takedown into Clan’s Edge and you’re getting four strikes and a parry for three actions. Only problem is you can’t have both targets hunted until relatively late.

Forge-Day’s Rest (LOCG) (*) The problem here is that your party will be on a different sleep schedule from you, and anyone who’s experienced that can tell you how inconvenient it is.

Surface Culture (LOCG) (**) Not terrible but Society isn’t gonna be one of your prioritized skills.

5th Level Feats

Boulder Roll (**) Not very action efficient for you and has a bad prereq, but still very cool.

Dwarven Weapon Cunning (*) You’ve got critical specialization already, albeit only against your hunted prey.

Clan Protector (LOCG) (**) Not especially efficient.

Protective Sheath (LOCG) (***) Maximize your huntable targets and spread out your attacks for maximum efficiency.

Tomb-Watcher’s Glare (LOCG) (**) Only valuable if you fight a lot of undead and even then, it only applies on a crit.

9th Level Feats

Mountain’s Stoutness (***) More hp means less dying, as does the massive reduction to recovery checks.

Stonewalker (***) A decent upgrade for Stonecunning.

Battleforger (LOCG) (*) It’s 9th level how do you not already have +1 potency runes for your weapon and armor?

Energy Blessed (LOCG) (***) More dangerous since it’s still indiscriminate, but it massively increases the damage output of your heritage.

Heroes’ Call (LOCG) (****) A free heroism once per day that also gives healing while low is *chef’s kiss*

Kneel For No God (LOCG) (****) Noping an entire tradition of magic, fantastic.

13th Level Feats

Dwarven Weapon Expertise (*) Remember fighter? Yeah we’re back here.

Overall: Dwarf has unique synergies with two-weapon flurry ranger and the Stonecunning stuff, making it a solid pickup. Three stars (***).

Elf

Hit Points (**) So frail, so painful.

Speed (****) But so fast as well.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) Dex is great, Int is only really good for Outwit, and a Con penalty sucks. We’re probably going archer as an elf.

Low-light Vision (***) Not as good as darkvision, not as bad as no vision at all.

Heritages

Arctic Elf (***) Resistances will usually get 3 stars.

Cavern Elf (***) Darkvision darkvision what do you see? Everything in this room because it’s dark.

Seer Elf (**) I’m not a big fan of detect magic and I don’t think it’s worthwhile for a heritage.

Whisper Elf (***) A 30’ cone will usually be enough, but the 60’ can be handy and the bonus puts it over the top.

Woodland Elf (**) A situationally useful climb speed and more ability to use an action I’ve never seen someone use to begin with.

Ancient Elf (LOCG) (***) As valuable as the multiclass dedication you want and how much you value your 2nd level feat over it.

Desert Elf (LOCG) (***) As I said.

1st Level Feats

Ancestral Longevity (***) You’ll usually have all the trained skills you need, but having a floating, flexible one is great, especially with the stuff that builds off of this.

Elven Lore (**) More free trained ranks we don’t need.

Elven Weapon Familiarity (*) Until the thorn and leaf blades come back, here this will remain.

Forlorn (***) Sort of a soft master Will.

Nimble Elf (****) Feel that need? It’s the need for even more speed.

Otherworldly Magic (****) A good way to pick up shield.

Unwavering Mien (**) Basically makes you immune to lower level sleep effects, since those are typically incapacitation, but that’s very specific. Forlorn is better in my view.

Elemental Wrath (LOCG) (**) Not a bad ranged backup, but not great either.

Elven Verve (LOCG) (***) All of these conditions suck, so naturally anything that helps prevent them is solid.

Share Thoughts (LOCG) (**) A decent innate spell but the elf-only limitation is terrible.

Wildborn Magic (LOCG) (***) Get a little of that casting ranger flavor back from PF1. Guidance is a really strong choice here.

Woodcraft (LOCG) (**) Terrain limited, but it makes tracking much easier and that’s kind of, like, your thing.

5th Level Feats

Ageless Patience (***) The bonus is nice but not stellar (circumstance bonuses are a dime a dozen after all), but the real benefit is being able to avoid critically failing on basically anything out of combat, particularly Recall Knowledge.

Elven Weapon Elegance (*) Boo, things we already get.

Defiance Unto Death (LOCG) (****) The difference between controlled or confused and paralyzed is that you’re not attacking your allies, and the difference between fleeing and paralyzed is that you don’t have to waste another turn running back.

Elven Instincts (LOCG) (***) This is effectively a +3 bonus, because of the thing with tying.

Forest Stealth (LOCG) (**) Some synergy with your other abilities, but of course, it’s limited by your usual terrain.

Wildborn Adept (LOCG) (**) Tanglefoot is the best of these, where disrupt undead is kind of mediocre for you and dancing lights has no combat utility compared to light.

9th Level Feats

Elf Step (***) I’m a fan of more mobility.

Expert Longevity (***) Even better than Ancestral, since you aren’t swimming in an abundance of expert skills.

Brightness Seeker (LOCG) (***) Augury is cool, and I’m always on board for abilities that reward raising a middle finger towards fate.

Sense Thoughts (LOCG) (***) A very good innate spell marred only by a terrible prerequisite.

13th Level Feats

Elven Weapon Expertise (*) Boooooooo.

Universal Longevity (***) Even more skill flexibility.

Wandering Heart (LOCG) (**) The problem here is that you may not actually want to shift so flexibly, if you’ve come to count on a resistance or darkvision.

Overall: Very dexterous and fast combined with a solid selection of feats means elves make for naturally good rangers. Just be mindful of the squish. Three stars (***).

Gnome

Hit Points (***) Very much average.

Speed (***) Also very average.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) Con is okay but not great when paired with Cha, which is only really useful for Outwit, and then on top of that a penalty to our damage stat.

Low-light Vision (***) Better than nothing.

Heritages

Chameleon Gnome (**) Flavorful, but circumstance bonuses aren’t terribly great (particularly if you’re Outwit).

Fey-Touched Gnome (***) Free cantrips are good. I recommend guidance.

Sensate Gnome (****) There are very few ways to get a sense like this, and it’ll absolutely come in handy.

Umbral Gnome (***) Darkvision good.

Wellspring Gnome (***) Your alternative source of a cantrip if you wanted shield or, like, stabilize.

Vivacious Gnome (LOCG) (****) Negative energy resistance gives you defense against what I consider the most dangerous single target blast in the game, and defense against the most terrifying condition in the game is a nice cherry.

1st Level Feats

Animal Accomplice (**) Familiars are most useful for casters, which you are not.

Burrow Elocutionist (**) Talking to animals is cool, but the limitation means it won’t come up a lot, and when it does they probably won’t have that much information.

Fey Fellowship (**) Campaign dependent, obviously most useful if you deal with a lot of fey. Which, uh. Don’t.

First World Magic (***) Another potential source of cantrips.

Gnome Obsession (***) While Lores are very specific, you can pick something based on the campaign, and the autoscaling will be really helpful.

Gnome Weapon Familiarity (**) Unlike other weapon familiarities, I’m not halfhearted about two instead of one stars, because the flickmace and kukri are actually really good weapons.

Illusion Sense (***) Flip the bird to an entire school of magic.

Gnome Polyglot (LOCG) (**) How much do you need new languages?

Grim Insight (LOCG) (***) On its own no-selling Shaken 1 at best isn’t necessarily worth a feat, but a free flat-footed puts it over the top.

Inventive Offensive (LOCG) (*) God this is so theoretically cool but in practice the action economy is just absolutely awful.

Life-Giving Magic (LOCG) (***) A relatively frequently applied boost of hp, hell yes.

Natural Performer (LOCG) (*) An ancestry feat is not worth trading for Performance of all things, even with the extra skill feat.

Theoretical Acumen (LOCG) (***) Synergizes well with a Monster Hunting Outwit ranger, at least as far as saves.

Unexpected Shift (LOCG) (**) It wouldn’t be terrible, except that dazzled is a terrible condition for someone who wants to be attacking.

Vibrant Display (LOCG) (***) Very cool synergy for an Outwit ranger.

5th Level Feats

Animal Elocutionist (***) Theeeeere we go, now we can be a true Disney Princess.

Energized Font (**) You don’t have Focus innately, so unless you archetype it’s useless. Note: this may change, as the devs have suggested non-core Ranger focus powers in the future.

Gnome Weapon Innovator (*) Moving on, nothing to see here.

Eclectic Obsession (LOCG) (***) I speak from experience, the ability to just pull a Lore skill out of nowhere is dumb.

Intuitive Illusions (LOCG) (*) You did not, in fact, spontaneously turn into a caster.

Natural Illusionist (LOCG) (***) Very handy innate spells, particularly since they actually scale.

9th Level Feats

First World Adept (****) Very handy innate spells. Both will be useful to any ranger.

Vivacious Conduit (***) I always support efficient sources of healing.

Fortuitous Shift (***) A fantastic upgrade to Unexpected Shift that makes it more generally useable.

13th Level Feats

Gnome Weapon Expertise (*) Bored now.

Overall: Gnome is the best option for playing a pseudo-caster type, with its massive collection of innate spell options, but otherwise they’re held back by mediocre ability scores. Three stars (***).

Goblins

Hit Points (**) So frail, much suffer.

Speed (***) Still average.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) Dexterity is great, but Charisma isn’t amazing and Wisdom penalty hurts.

Darkvision (****) Protection from stubbing your toe when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Heritages

Charhide Goblin (****) The best fire resistance heritage, because it gives you something else very useful.

Irongut Goblin (***) No one thing really stands out, but it’s a lot of little useful things.

Razortooth Goblin (**) You’ve got better weapon options and unarmed attacks don’t synergize with your class feats.

Snow Goblin (***) Yay resistances.

Unbreakable Goblin (****) No longer frail, less suffer.

Tailed Goblin (LOCG) (***) Another bunch of little bonuses, and also it’s so cute.

Treedweller Goblin (LOCG) (**) Campaign dependent, specifically on the time you spend in forests.

1st Level Feats

Burn It! (*) You don’t really have sources of fire, which is of course sad, because you’re a goblin.

City Scavenger (**) Campaign dependent but being able to better subsist or use Survival to earn income is solid if you’re spending a lot of time in a city.

Goblin Lore (**) It’s an ancestry lore skill.

Goblin Scuttle (***) A delightful reaction that will help set up flank or other good positioning stuff.

Goblin Song (**) Not terrible but not really meant for you.

Goblin Weapon Familiarity (*) Neither the dogslicer nor the horsechopper are even kinda worth it.

Junk Tinker (*) Honestly neither benefit is remotely worthwhile.

Rough Rider (*) You don’t need the Ride feat and you’re not limited to mounts.

Very Sneaky (***) Stealth ranger can make good use of this.

Bouncy Goblin (LOCG) (**) A bonus to repositioning but that’s about it.

Fang Sharpener (LOCG) (**) You’re still not really meant for unarmed.

Hard Tail (LOCG) (**) Did I stutter or something?

5th Level Feats

Goblin Weapon Frenzy (*) This got old a guide and a half ago.

Ankle Bite (LOCG) (**) A decent reaction but only if you’ve decided to disregard my advice and invest in unarmed combat.

Chosen of Lamashtu (LOCG) (***) Goblin heritages are amazing, once you get past the prereq.

Tail Spin (LOCG) (***) The main reason to take Hard Tail tbh.

Torch Goblin (LOCG) (***) I love this feat with all my soul. Be a flurry ranger, set yourself on fire and add some extra static to your endless cacophony of attacks.

Tree Climber (LOCG) (***) More speed types are nice.

9th Level Feats

Cave Climber (***) As Tree Climber, and they stack nicely too.

Skittering Scuttle (***) More mobility out of Scuttle.

Freeze It! (LOCG) (****) God I love goblins so much. A spammable multitarget debuff is fantastic, especially for Precision landing that single attack.

Hungry Goblin (LOCG) (**) Only applies on a crit unless you grabbed a Wounding rune for your handwraps.

Roll With It (LOCG) (**) Fun in theory, in practice you’re handing your enemies AoOs and the ability to reposition you however they want on a silver platter.

Scalding Spit (LOCG) (**) Not a terrible backup ranged weapon but not great.

13th Level Feats

Goblin Weapon Expertise (*) Bleh.

Very, Very Sneaky (***) Stealth ranger can make very good use of this.

Unbreakable-er Goblin (LOCG) (***) I’ll never put down more hp, and the combo with Bouncy is… well it’s just fantastic to be honest.

Overall: A lot of the feats are mechanically mediocre, but goblins are just so god damned fun and there’s enough redeeming to call it a three star (***) ancestry.

Halflings

Hit Points (**) Make it stop, make the low starting hp stop.

Speed (***) Never not gonna be average.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (****) Dexterity and Wisdom are ideal boosts, although we hate to see Strength go.

Keen Eyes (***) Really good generally, arguably better than low-light.

Heritages

Gutsy Halfling (***) Emotion effects are a wide range.

Hillock Halfling (***) I support both more efficient healing and snacks.

Nomadic Halfling (**) Value depends on how much you need more languages.

Twilight Halfling (****) You mean I can have both keen eyes and low-light vision? Sold!

Wildwood Halfling (*) You literally already get this.

Observant Halfling (**) The bonus only applying to your DC when you’ve already got a really strong Perception makes this a weaker option.

1st Level Feats

Distracting Shadows (***) A handy tool for stealthy rangers.

Halfling Lore (**) Hey look it’s another ancestry lore feat.

Halfling Luck (****) Free reroll with a fantastic feat tree is so damn good.

Halfling Weapon Familiarity (**) Sling staff is your pickup here and it’s technically better than crossbows?

Titan Slinger (**) You have to use a bad weapon against a specific enemy and if you’re doing that you might as well take familiarity and a sling staff instead.

Unfettered Halfling (***) No-selling Grab is actually great.

Watchful Halfling (**) Very situational.

Adroit Manipulation (LOCG) (***) Handy if you’re the party lock person.

Innocuous (LOCG) (**) Very specific, but alright if you’re Outwit.

Intuitive Cooperation (LOCG) (**) Aid is pretty bad actually, but this makes it not quite as bad.

Unassuming Dedication (LOCG) (**) Depends on how much downtime you’re getting.

5th Level Feats

Cultural Adaptability (***) About as useful as the ancestry feats you can pick up from it.

Halfling Weapon Trickster (*) Do I even need to say it?

Easily Dismissed (LOCG) (**) Campaign dependent, but decent for an urban game.

Halfling Ingenuity (LOCG) (**) There are technically better ways to get level to untrained, but the +4 helps sell it.

Shared Luck (LOCG) (****) On average quadruple the use cases of your Shared Luck.

9th Level Feats

Guiding Luck (****) Or double it instead. Or do both, this is just a really great feat tree in general.

Irrepressible (***) Goes up to 4 for a Gutsy halfling.

Cunning Climber (LOCG) (***) More move speed types are solid.

Fade Away (LOCG) (***) Invisibility is great, misdirection is alright.

Helpful Halfling (LOCG) (**) No. Crit only. Bad.

13th Level Feats

Ceaseless Shadows (***) Handy stealth stuff, and the cover thing is situational but still nice.

Halfling Weapon Expertise (*) Bleh.

Cobble Dancer (LOCG) (***) Difficult terrain is no longer an impediment to you anywhere! Except indoors I guess.

Incredible Luck (LOCG) (*****) I don’t care what else you do, if you’ve taken Halfling Luck you’re taking this at level 13 because it’s insanely good.

Overall: Great boosts and great feats that don’t clash with the rest of your build, a very solid four star (****) ancestry.

Humans

Hit Points (***) Average.

Speed (***) A v e r a g e.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (****) Ah, humans, the most flexible of boosts.

No Special Senses (*) This is discrimination.

Heritages

Half-Elf (*****) This is the best ancestry/heritage combination and you cannot convince me otherwise. You get access to amazing feats on both sides and bump up to low-light vision, it’s beautiful.

Half-Orc (****) Not as good as half-elf, but still pretty fantastic.

Skilled Heritage (*) Compared to the other options you have, two skill ranks is a terrible choice.

Versatile Heritage (****) You only get so many general feats, and if you take Adopted Ancestry it’s like half-elf or half-orc on crack (but without special eyes).

Wintertouched Human (***) Resistances are good as usual.

1st Level Human Feats

Adapted Cantrip (*) Okay gang, what aren’t you?

Cooperative Nature (**) Aid Another is pretty bad, although a +4 circumstance bonus helps it a lot.

General Training (***) Pretty much as Versatile Heritage.

Haughty Obstinancy (***) A little less general than most similar ancestry feats, but the specific effects it applies to are things you don’t want to be hit with.

Natural Ambition (****) You’ve got a lot of good options for first level feats that don’t clash with each other.

Natural Skill (**) This is technically worse than ancestral Lore skills.

Unconventional Weaponry (**) About as useful as the uncommon weapon you want access to.

Arcane Tattoos (LOCG) (***) Of these shield and electric arc are the best options for you.

Courteous Comeback (LOCG) (**) If you’re a face type it’s useful.

Devil’s Advocate (LOCG) (**) Campaign dependent.

Dragon Spit (LOCG) (***) A good damage cantrip is handy for the melee ranger who doesn’t want to have to swap weapons.

Gloomseer (LOCG) (***) Oh blessed special eyes.

Keep Up Appearances (LOCG) (***) A really cool trick you can use to make enemies let their guard down or waste actions trying to use things they can’t on you.

Know Oneself (LOCG) (***) Or the flipside, you can instead prevent yourself from getting completely screwed.

Quah Bond (LOCG) (***) Assurance in Medicine is actually really good, and the others aren’t bad choices either.

Saoc Astrology (LOCG) (***) A nifty way to get some extra skill bonuses, although the action cost means it’s less useful in combat than out.

Tupilaq Carver (LOCG) (*) You are still not a caster.

Viking Shieldbearer (LOCG) (**) If you want to go Shield Ranger here’s a more flavorful way to get Shield Block than General Training I guess?

Witch Warden (LOCG) (**) Very, very situational, but if you encounter curses, witches and/or hags a lot then by all means.

1st Level Half-Elf Feats

Elf Atavism (***) As good at the heritage you pick up with it.

Round Ears (LOCG) (**) Only valuable if being a half-elf is bad which is very much character dependent.

Sociable (LOCG) (**) Face feat, no more no less.

1st Level Half-Orc Feats

Monstrous Peacemaker (**) Obviously not as useful in a party of murderhobos or if you aren’t the face, but sometimes it’s nice to talk to the giant intelligent spider instead of killing it.

Orc Ferocity (***) A very good reaction for not dying.

Orc Sight (***) Have we not established this yet? Darkvision good.

Orc Superstition (***) A very good reaction for not getting nuked by a spellcaster.

Orc Weapon Familiarity (*) You get nothing out of this.

Overlooked Mastermind (LOCG) (**) The bonus is situational and doesn’t stack with your Hunt Prey bonus on an Outwit ranger.

Tusks (LOCG) (**) Unarmed attacks, rangers, no synergy.

5th Level Human Feats

Adaptive Adept (*) Still not a caster.

Clever Improviser (***) Congratulations, you’re now basically trained in everything.

Darkseer (LOCG) (***) Even more special eyes.

Ornate Tattoo (LOCG) (***) A little more innate magic for you.

Wavetouched Paragon (LOCG) (**) How often do you find yourself in the water?

5th Level Half-Elf Feats

Inspire Imitation (**) Dependent on critically succeeding, which, yeah no.

Supernatural Charm (***) A free charm every day can open a lot of doors.

5th Level Half-Orc Feats

Orc Weapon Carnage (*) Still nothing.

Victorious Vigor (**) It’s a very small amount of temp hp and there are better reaction options out there.

9th Level Human Feats

Cooperative Soul (***) If you really want to Aid Another a lot, here’s the tool to do so.

Incredible Improvisation (***) Basically turn yourself into an expert in any untrained skill, not bad.

Multitalented (***) As valuable as the multiclass you want at this point.

Dragon Prince (LOCG) (***) A very decent backup option. As I write this season 3 just came out and I’m frothing at the mouth to hit this deadline so I can relax and watch it.

Heir of the Saoc (LOCG) (***) A really nice buff to Saoc Astrology.

Shory Aeromancer (LOCG) (***) Wizard being selfish and insisting on “casting control spells” and “spending actions defeating the boss?” Well now you don’t have to rely on them for flight.

Virtue-Forged Tattoos (LOCG) (***) So many great options to choose from here.

9th Level Half-Orc Feats

Pervasive Superstition (***) The only thing better than a reaction to get bonuses to saves is to just have bonuses to saves.

13th Level Human Feats

Unconventional Expertise (*) Are we done yet?

Irriseni Ice-Witch (LOCG) (***) The buff to resistance and innate spell are nice, although said resistance isn’t necessarily worth a feat unless you fight a lot of cold stuff.

Shadow Pact (LOCG) (**) About as useful as you can get use out of creation.

Shory Aerialist (LOCG) (**) Not the best followup.

13th Level Half-Orc Feats

Incredible Ferocity (***) Ferocity was already good and now we can use it even more often. But uh, please do keep your medic on hand to clear that Wounded condition inbetween.

Orc Weapon Expertise (*) Noooooope.

Overall: With the sheer breadth of options relative to other ancestries, most of them rated highly, it should come as no surprise that humans get a solid five stars (*****).

Hobgoblins (LOCG)

Hit Points (***) Did someone say “average?”

Speed (***) I think they did.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (**) Con good, Int meh, Wis bad.

Darkvision (****) Yay seeing in darkness.

Heritages

Elfbane Hobgoblin (****) Grabbing a reaction off your heritage is great, this is a great reaction in general, and the bonus against arcane is a lovely cherry.

Runtboss Hobgoblin (**) Group Coercion isn’t bad but the other half isn’t particularly helpful to a PC unless you have to Coerce a lot of goblins.

Smokeworker Hobgoblin (***) Yay resistances.

Warmarch Hobgoblin (**) The goal is not to fail.

Warrenbred Hobgoblin (**) Situational bonus and it’s not as good as the massive increase that whisper elves get.

1st Level Feats

Alchemical Scholar (**) Snare ranger might find this interesting, since they’re crafting anyway.

Hobgoblin Lore (**) Oh look it’s an ancestry lore.

Hobgoblin Weapon Familiarity (*) Someday I’m gonna write a guide for a class that isn’t trained in all martial and then I’ll show you how good this is.

Leech-Clipper (***) I’m not normally fond of things that only act on a crit but this an exception, since it applies on attacks you want to do anyway and with Quick Draw losing your weapon isn’t as inconvenient.

Remorseless Lash (***) Outwit ranger gets hella mileage here.

Vigorous Health (***) Drained sucks, so a 20% chance to just no-sell it is good.

5th Level Feats

Agonizing Rebuke (***) Really nice synergy with Remorseless Lash and Outwit.

Expert Drill Sergeant (***) Very handy if your friends Follow the Expert a lot.

Formation Training (*) It’d be two stars if I thought an all-hobgoblin party was realistic, but it’s not.

Hobgoblin Weapon Discipline (*) Sigh.

9th Level Feats

Pride In Arms (**) This wasn’t good when half-orcs could do it, why would it be good now?

13th Level Feats

Formation Master (**) Marginally better, but we had to take two feats to get here and the first one sucks.

Hobgoblin Weapon Expertise (*) Still meh.

Overall: Definitely has a place and some good synergies, but still not great. Better luck next month, hobby. Two stars (**).

Leshies (LOCG)

Hit Points (***) I prefer a small race that doesn’t get knocked over by a stiff wind.

Speed (***) Yada yada

Ability Boosts/Flaws (***) Much like dwarves, very close to ideal but not quite there.

Low-Light Vision (***) Once again, better than nothing.

Plant Nourishment (***) Basically, you don’t have to spend money on food unless you expect to be underground a lot, at which point you’ll probably be making up the cost. Still, it’s fun, and it’s free.

Heritages

Fungus Leshy (***) Your requisite special eyes upgrade.

Gourd Leshy (***) An alternative to Quick Draw, or just because you want to be a pumpkin.

Leaf Leshy (**) Good, not great.

Vine Leshy (***) Makes you good at climbing, which is handy.

1st Level Feats

Grasping Reach (***) You’re not really built for two-hand synergy, but if you do go that route then here’s your feat of choice.

Harmlessly Cute (**) Good for a face.

Leshy Lore (**) Still an ancestral Lore.

Leshy Superstition (***) As usual.

Seedpod (**) Not a bad backup ranged weapon, but not great either.

Shadow of the Wilds (**)  Situationally useful.

Undaunted (***) Protecting self against emotion effects, always gonna be good.

5th Level Feats

Leshy Glide (**) It’s not flying, it’s falling with style.

Ritual Reversion (**) Occasionally useful, but probably not often.

Speak with Kindred (****) Be the Lorax, speak with the trees. Wanna know what trees see? Everything.

9th Level Feats

Bark and Tendril (**) If only barkskin weren’t bad.

Lucky Keepsake (***) Much like Pervasive Superstition.

Solar Rejuvenation (***) I’m always a fan of free healing.

Overall: A lot of really solid options, but nothing I’d call especially noteworthy for a ranger. Three stars (***)

Lizardfolk

Hit Points (***) I don’t even know why I’m commenting on the average stuff anymore.

Speed (***) This is the last time, future ancestries don’t get commentary on hp and speed.

Ability Boosts/Flaws (****) The only way this is more ideal is with Dex instead of Str.

No Special Senses (*) Might as well wear glasses and declare yourself blind without them.

Claws (**) Cool, but sadly doesn’t synergize well with your combat feats that mostly require “wielding” weapons.

Aquatic Adaptation () A situational bonus, to be sure, but not unwelcome.

Heritages

Cliffscale Lizardfolk (***) Just a nifty kind of bonus.

Frilled Lizardfolk (***) Melee outwit gets a field day here.

Sandstrider Lizardfolk (***) Good old fire resistance.

Unseen Lizardfolk (**) As Chameleon Gnome.

Wetlander Lizardfolk (**) Dependent on how often you need to swim.

1st Level Feats

Lizardfolk Lore (**) Yawn.

Marsh Runner (**) This all sounds like non-magical difficult terrain to me.

Parthenogenic Hatchling (***) Bonuses to disease are cool, y’all.

Razor Claws (**) Still not really synergistic.

Reptile Speaker (***) Is it as cool as speaking to trees or all animals, no, but it’s still handy.

Sharp Fangs (**) As the claws.

Tail Whip (**) As the tail.

5th Level Feats

Envenom Fangs (**) I’m sticking to my guns on this.

Gecko’s Grip (***) Better living through climbing.

Iruxi Unarmed Cunning (*) Even if you do go natural attacks, that doesn’t change what we’ve said all this time.

Shed Tail (***) A very handy reaction, although you do have a week-long cooldown on it.

Swift Swimmer (**) As Wetlander.

9th Level Feats

Terrain Advantage (*) You just got this for free man.

13th Level Feats

Iruxi Unarmed Expertise (*) Nah fam.

Overall: Lizardfolk are cool but their entire thing is kind of natural attacks, and while I’m not saying you can’t go that route, I’m just saying it doesn’t especially synergize with rangers. Two stars (**).

Skills and General/Skill Feats

Still playing around with formatting here. PF2’s skill system is, of course, designed so that any character can cover any skill, but ability score priority will naturally lead to different priority choices. Here’s a general evaluation of how each skill might best apply to you as a ranger, and the skill feats you should look at to complement them.

Acrobatics (****) You’re heavily incentivized towards Dex, and it’s a very useful skill.

Arcana (***) You’ll want to be at least trained if you go for Monster Hunter.

Athletics (***) A lot of general use here.

Crafting (***) If you go snare crafting you need this, otherwise pass.

Deception (***) An Outwit ranger wants at least one of this and Intimidation.

Diplomacy (**) You can, but not as valuable as the other two face skills.

Intimidation (***) As Deception.

Lore (**) You get a free one, not worth prioritizing.

Medicine (**) You should have decent Wis, but you’re more incentivized to go into Nature and Natural Medicine unless you plan to be the primary healer.

Nature (***) Good Knowledge skill, synergizes with your ability scores, and offers a variety of use.

Occultism (**) As Arcana.

Performance (**) Not really your thing unless you’re going Bard.

Religion (***) As Nature but without the variety of use.

Society (**) As Arcana.

Stealth (****) You get bonuses while Hunting your prey and should have a strong Dex score.

Survival (****) The ability to track enemies means the ability to start combat with them hunted, and you have plenty of synergy there.

Thievery (***) With good Dex and good Perception, ranger is one of the more qualified classes for thievery.

So with our favorite skills in mind, let’s take a look at the feats we have available.

1st Level

Additional Lore (**) The autoscaling is good, but unless there’s a very particular subject that’s gonna come up over and over it’s not worth the feat.

Adopted Ancestry (***) About as good as the ancestry feats you want to snipe.

Alchemical Crafting (**) Due to the cost of formulae this is better in the hands of an alchemist than a non-alchemist.

Arcane Sense (*) I don’t personally find detect magic worth investing heavily in and there’s better ways to get cantrips besides.

Armor Proficiency (**) Good until 11th, at which point Medium armor is just as good for you as heavy.

Assurance (***) Very handy for bypassing bad ability scores or just not having to worry about bad rolls on lower level tasks.

Bargain Hunter (**) Bad unless you’ve prioritized Cha heavily and dumped Int, in which case it’s only good if you’re doing a lot of Earn Income during downtime.

Battle Medicine (**) Chances are you’re either going to be on the back lines with a bow, away from people who need healing, or you’ll be dual wielding in which case you lose action efficiency needing to drop the weapon and pick it back up.

Breath Control (**) The bumped success is nice but that’s the only real benefit.

Canny Acumen (*) You pretty quickly hit expert in all 3.

Cat Fall (***) Fall damage sucks.

Charming Liar (**) Crit effect only.

Combat Climber (**) Well how often are you climbing mid-combat?

Courtly Graces (**) If you frequently interact with nobles AND dumped Cha in favor of Int, this isn’t a bad choice.

Diehard (***) Not dying, delightful.

Dubious Knowledge (***) I love it on principle.

Experienced Professional (**) Dependent on the amount of downtime you have.

Experienced Smuggler (**) Value dependent on how often you get frisked.

Experienced Tracker (***) You’re the most likely person to be tracking just about anything.

Fascinating Performance (**) If you want to tank a lot of mooks and invested in Cha and Perform, sure.

Fast Recovery (***) Poison and disease can both be incredibly debilitating, so getting rid of it is good.

Feather Step (**) You already bypass difficult terrain at least a little, making this less valuable for you than most.

Fleet (****) More speed best speed.

Forager (***) By merit of stereotyping you’ll most likely be the one getting food for the party, so unless you’re in an urban campaign where you get all your meals from the tavern this is a good pickup.

Group Coercion (**) Good feat for a Cha Outwit, not so much for anyone else.

Group Impression (**) Same tho.

Hefty Hauler (**) Courtesy of the errata bulk isn’t as much of a problem, just grab your backpack instead.

Hobnobber (**) Face feat, not much else to say.

Impressive Performance (**) Diplomacy is more generally useful than Performance though.

Incredible Initiative (***) Won’t stack with Scout’s Warning, but it’s nice to get that extra boost.

Intimidating Glare (***) If you go for Outwit and Intimidation this is a must-have.

Lengthy Diversion (**) Solid Outwit feat.

Lie To Me (**) Your Perception is probably going to be better than your Deception almost every time.

Multilingual (**) Easiest way to get access to uncommon languages, but obviously only useful if you frequently need a language you don’t have.

Natural Medicine (***) A nice alternative to investing in Medicine if you want to just serve as a backup medic.

Oddity Identification (*) So incredibly niche it’s not even funny.

Pickpocket (***) A useful skill for any Thievery person to pick up.

Quick Coercion (**) Only useful if you frequently need to rush a coercion.

Quick Identification (***) You should have at least one of the magic skills, and quickly identifying magic items means you can use them more quickly.

Quick Jump (***) Jumping is a surprisingly useful skill, especially in a system where flight isn’t cheap or efficient.

Quick Repair (**) You’re probably not a shield guy, so this is less useful for you.

Quick Squeeze (**) Value dependent on the frequency with which you squeeze and even then, meh.

Recognize Spell (**) There’s not much you can do about a spell that’s being cast, but you’ll at least be able to.

Ride (*) If you’re in the business of riding you should probably just get an animal companion.

Shield Block (**) Shield blocking gets expensive so if you take a shield it should just be as an offhand weapon you can use for an AC bonus.

Sign Language (***) Nonverbal communication, very good when stalking prey.

Skill Training (*) You should have plenty of skills trained already.

Snare Crafting (X) You can get this through the class feat, and it’s significantly better that way.

Specialty Crafting (**) Handy if you become the party’s go-to crafter.

Steady Balance (**) As always, depends on how often you need to balance.

Streetwise (***) Society is a more valuable skill for you than Diplomacy here.

Student of the Canon (**) Embarrassing though it is to forget the tenets of your own religion, just think of it as fiction reflecting real life.

Subtle Theft (**) Handy if you Steal a lot of stuff.

Survey Wildlife (***) Very useful, especially for a Monster Hunter since you can potentially get the effect before combat.

Terrain Expertise (**) Pretty much what we said about favored terrain.

Terrain Stalker (***) Now we’re talking. Underbrush will be your most commonly applicable choice, and since you ignore natural difficult terrain you can use this really efficiently.

Titan Wrestler (**) You’re not really a maneuver kind of class.

Toughness (****) I’m running a game for a party and have lost track of the number of times they’ve stayed conscious by less than what they got from Toughness.

Train Animal (**) Not a poor choice if you want a lot of animals for simple tasks, but you can get an animal companion who can do a lot of complex ones so.

Trick Magic Item (***) Very useful if you invest in multiple Know skills.

Underwater Marauder (**) Something something campaign dependent.

Virtuosic Performer (*) Even if you take Performance the specific applications here are… eh.

Weapon Proficiency (**) Because of proficiency scaling this is mostly useful to qualify for archetypes based on advanced weapons.

2nd Level

Automatic Knowledge (*) You have a better method of getting action economy on knowledge with Monster Hunter.

Bonded Animal (*) Did you mean “animal companion?”

Confabulator (**) Can be handy for an Outwit face.

Connections (**) Campaign dependent.

Continual Recovery (**) Essential for the party medic.

Glad-Hand (**) Another decent face feat.

Intimidating Prowess (*) Doesn’t stack with Outwit.

Lasting Coercion (**) Depends on the kinds of things you need to or want to coerce people to do.

Magical Crafting (**) A handy use of downtime if you’re invested in Craft, but of course you need downtime to do it.

Magical Shorthand (*) Do you have a spellbook? Didn’t think so. Even multiclassing it’s not worth the feat.

Nimble Crawl (**) For those occasions when you’re on your back, although come 7th level if it’s a concern you’ll have a better response.

Powerful Leap (***) More jump power is always fun.

Quick Disguise (**) Good if you do a lot of disguising.

Quiet Allies (***) Statistically speaking, rolling one die at the lowest value is better than rolling 4-6 dice at a lot of varying values including the lowest.

Rapid Mantel (**) Can come in handy, but not necessarily often enough to be worth a feat.

Robust Recovery (**) Handy but not essential for the medic.

Unmistakable Lore (**) Useful to avoid misinformation, or, if you’ve got Dubious Knowledge, a guarantee that you’ll always get at least some correct information.

Ward Medic (**) Mandatory for the party medic.

Wary Disarmament (**) The goal is to not set it off.

Eye of the Arclords (LOWG) (**) Useful utility with a bad prerequisite and a bad drawback when it wears off.

Godless Healing (LOWG) (**) Increase self-healing, but not by that much.

Backup Disguise (LOCG) (**) As Quick Disguise but more thematically fun.

Sow Rumor (LOCG) (***) You could make the case as an Outwit ranger that this would count as a Deception check against your prey if you do it right, which is just fun.

3rd Level

Ancestral Paragon (***) As useful as the feat you would grab with it.

Untrained Improvisation (***) Level to untrained is just so damn good it’s not even funny.

7th Level

Battle Cry (***) Action efficiency is good, especially for an Outwit ranger (bonus points if you tracked or spotted the target beforehand and start combat with Hunt Prey up).

Bizarre Magic (*) Not a caster.

Expeditious Search (***) Time efficient.

Foil Senses (***) Can I just say I love that this is an accessible feat now and not just a vigilante thing.

Impeccable Crafting (**) Very valuable if you’re a crafter and not so much if you aren’t.

Inventor (*) Formulae aren’t that expensive that this is particularly worthwhile in my view.

Kip Up (****) Absurdly good, basically makes being tripped a “you’re flatfooted until your turn” at worst.

Planar Survival (**) As Forager but even more campaign dependent.

Quick Climb (**) Less campaign dependent and more GM dependent, how often they include ladders or walls that need to be climbed in combat to reach your enemy.

Quick Recognition (**) As Recognize Spell.

Quick Swim (**) As Quick Climb but with water.

Quick Unlock (**) As Quick Climb but with things needing to be unlocked in combat, which is frankly even more unlikely.

Shameless Request (**) A decent face feat.

Slippery Secrets (**) Another decent face feat, although thematically cooler.

Swift Sneak (***) Handy for stalking prey.

Terrified Retreat (**) Requires a crit and only works on mooks, but when it works it’s pretty cool.

Wall Jump (***) Can’t fly? No problem, just jump straight up the wall.

Entourage (LOCG) (**) Fun, cool, but ultimately inconsequential and doesn’t synergize with your other stuff.

11th Level

Incredibly Investiture (**) As valuable as your need for more magic items.

15th Level

Cloud Jump (***) Jump forever.

Craft Anything (**) You’re unlikely to use this for more than one or two items total.

Divine Guidance (***) There’s something really satisfying about making your GM come up with cryptic poetry to give you a hint, and being able to do that at will as long as you have the time.

Legendary Codebreaker (**) Depends on how often you’re Deciphering Writing.

Legendary Linguist (**) Again, dependent on how often you need to communicate with things you don’t share a language with.

Legendary Medic (**) Another essential one for the party medic.

Legendary Negotiation (**) Cool when it works but very dependent on your GM’s willingness to put up with this BS.

Legendary Performer/Professional (**) Downtime dependent.

Legendary Sneak (****) Master the art of Skyrim Stealth.

Legendary Survivalist (**) Cool as this is, it only really helps if everyone in the party can do it.

Legendary Thief (**) This one’s cool, but you’re probably not going to get much active use out of it.

Scare To Death (***) Be the Outwit ranger and just straight up kill people by looking at them. And, y’know, even if you don’t you still upgrade Demoralize.

Unified Theory (**) Not really that useful for you since it’s not strictly Recall Knowledge but Identify Magic.

Oh no, you’ve reached the end of the post. However will you go on not knowing the thrilling conclusion? Wait, it’s okay, it’s right here.