The first preview of Path of Iron that I'll be showing is one of the new base classes, the saboteur!
The new base classes in Path of Iron were each made to fill a niche in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game that I feel isn't covered well, while also keeping in line with the theme of "metal". In this case, the saboteur is a master of traps, both their creation and destruction. Trap making as a combat form has always been...difficult to achieve. Normal traps can take days to make using the normal Craft rules, are prohibitively expensive, and once placed are difficult or outright impossible to move. Even those mechanics that allow for traps to be made quickly, such as Ranger Traps, are incredibly weak. Why spend a full-round action to make a trap dealing 1d6+10 damage to a target when you can just shoot at it? Knowing that, I built the saboteur to have strong trap-based features to fill this otherwise incomplete role while giving it enough supplemental ability and style to not be limited to just "trap guy" (or in this case, gal).
Saboteurs are a rogue-type of class, with a d8 hit die, medium BAB progression, and both a good Reflex and Will save (I feel every class should have at least two good saves, always). She's lightly armored and has a limited weapon proficiency, though she gets a good variety of specific weapons. She has a wide selection of skills at her disposal and gains 6+INT skills per level, which is more than enough considering her primary ability score for class features is Intelligence. She can also cast spells of levels 1-4, on par with a ranger or bloodrager. Her spell list is almost entirely composed of utility and mobility buffs like detect thoughts and passwall, rather than more combat-based magic. The class design is built around three main mechanics: Saboteur Traps, Marked Target, and Tricks.
Traps face two problems with combat application: they are slow to make and deploy, and they are very expensive. Well, saboteur traps solve both of those problems handily. A saboteur can create a number of traps each day equal to 1/2 her level + her Intelligence bonus, and making a trap takes only a standard action instead of minutes or days. These traps can be made with the stuff found in a spell component pouch and scrap metal, rather than thousands of gold worth of materials. When a trap is sprung, it explodes to deal 1d6 bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage (saboteur's choice) to the creature that triggered it and any creature within five feet. The damage scales, of course, up to 10d6 damage by the time you hit high levels. On top of this, saboteurs learn a number of modifications to the trap, letting it deal fire damage, creating a deafening boom, or even letting the saboteur scry upon the person that triggered it (all of which are in addition to the explosion, by the way). At mid levels the saboteur can also setup traps from a distance and can even attach it to a ranged weapon to hit a target with the trap directly. While the traps normally have the very basic location-based trigger, some of the new spells in the book that she gets can alter the trigger type to be based on alignment, sound, or creature type.
The second core mechanic to the saboteur is her ability to Mark a target. Marking a target grants a number of benefits to the saboteur and lasts until canceled. Marking targets might seem a bit similar to a slayer or investigator's studied target, but has a more focused application. She can only mark one target at a time, and a single target can be marked once in a 24 hour period. In addition, whereas studied target grants all of its benefits at once, the saboteur must choose between four kinds of marks to apply to her target: Assassin's Mark grants bonuses to attack and damage rolls, Charlatan's Mark increases a number of social skills when used on the target, Duelist's Mark lets the saboteur better evade her opponent's attacks, and Informant's Mark grants large bonuses to Knowledge checks, Perception checks, and Sense Motive checks concerning her target. She must choose wisely when marking her targets lest she be left wanting for a different mark. Of course, the limitations lift a bit when she reaches higher levels, letting her maintain more than one target at once or switch up what kind of mark is applied once per target.
Her final core mechanic are saboteur tricks. I feel every class should have at least one customizable feature for players to choose from to allow different play styles. Tricks perform a wide variety of roles, from simple abilities like cantrips and poison use up to being able to fool divinations like detect good or zone of truth and turn invisible when disengaging. Many of these tricks add new features to her Marked Target class feature, making her favorite marks more potent. She can bypass some damage reduction types with Assassin's Mark or read her target's mind when using Informant's Mark, just to name a few.
The saboteur has other class features to round off her abilities, of course. Trapfinding was an easy must-have, as was Evasion/Improved Evasion. Some new abilities include a method of salvaging traps for raw materials (including salvaging her own saboteur traps to regain daily uses of the ability) or being able to make Disable Device checks in record time.
That's all on the saboteur for now. Keep an eye out for future posts about Path of Iron; next, I'll be talking about feats and the new Technique feat lines.