Steel Yourself: A Look at Archetypes and Options in Path of Iron

One of the most common ways I hear people describe a character they want to play is "I want to be an X that wields a Y". Stuff like "a druid that wields a scythe" or "a ranger that wields a crossbow". In many cases, though, classes are built with certain weapons in mind. Rangers have their combat styles which narrow down what they should use, the magus is built around wielding a single melee weapon in conjunction with a spell. Some classes go so far as being built entirely around a handful of weapons, like gunslingers or cavaliers. As such, one of the primary focal points of many archetypes and options within Path of Iron will be granting different weapons and armor types to existing classes.

No more will a magus be forced to use only a one-handed or light melee weapon with his spell in his offhand. Want to dual-wield? Mystic Dervish. Want to use a two-handed weapon? Arcane Marauder. Ranged weapons? Eldritch Eye. All of these options will work in conjunction with primary mechanics like Spell Strike and Spell Combat, so you can use the gear you want without losing what makes magus unique.

Monks are getting firearms with Zen Marksman, and can use flurry of blows with a firearm. They focus on martial arts and skill with the gun above mystical training, and as such replace many of their supernatural abilities with gunslinger deeds. Rangers (and by extension, Slayers) will receive new fighting styles to support more weapons types like quarterstaves, spears, firearms, and unarmed strikes. Skalds receive the Ancestral Warrior archetype, forming a mystic bond with a chosen ancestral weapon that grows in power over time.

There are also archetypes and options that go for a more general "metal" theme. The Metal spirit for Shamans hybridizes some traits from its base Oracle mystery with new hexes and powers. The Forgeborn bloodline granted to both Bloodrager and Sorcerer gives them an innate power over metal, featuring new spells from Path of Iron as well as improving spells with the new metal descriptor. The Metallurgist Alchemist archetype grants them the ability to make special extracts called "salves" which can be applied to objects rather than to living creatures. There are also a handful of archetypes that use new abilities from Path of Iron, such as a Ranger archetype that gains a limited selection of saboteur traps or the Technique Master archetype for Fighter that lets him combine more than one of the new technique feat lines together at once.

I'll leave off with an example of one of the archetypes in the book: the Eldritch Eye magus. I hope you've enjoyed reading these teaser posts for Path of Iron; the Kickstarter launches tomorrow!


The following are features of the eldritch eye magus archetype.

Diminished Spellcasting: An eldritch eye may cast one fewer spell of each level than normal. If this reduces the number to 0, he may cast spells of that level only if his Intelligence allows bonus spells of that level.

Arcane Pool (Su): An eldritch eye uses his arcane pool to grant an enhancement bonus to a ranged weapon, rather than a melee weapon. At 5th level and above, he can add the following special abilities to a ranged weapon: conserving, designating, distance, flaming, flaming burst, frost, greater designating, icy burst, seeking, shock, and shocking burst. This changes the magus's arcane pool ability.

Point-Blank Shot: At 1st level, an eldritch eye gains Point-Blank Shot as a bonus feat. This ability replaces Spell Combat.

Ranged Spellstrike (Su): At 2nd level, an eldritch eye can cast a single-target touch attack ranged spell and deliver it through a ranged weapon attack. Instead of the free ranged touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, an eldritch eye can make one free ranged attack with his weapon (at his highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this ranged attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. This attack uses the weapon’s critical range, but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.

Even if the spell can normally affect multiple targets, only a single missile, ray, or effect accompanies the attack. At 8th level, if used in conjunction with spell volley, the ranged attack takes all penalties given from spell volley ranged attacks, and the eldritch eye may deliver one ray or line of effect with each attack, up to the maximum allowed by the spell (in the case of ray effects). Any effects not used in the round the spell is cast are lost. This ability replaces spellstrike.

Safe Shot (Ex): At 7th level, an eldritch eye no longer provokes attacks of opportunity when firing a ranged weapon. This ability replaces medium armor.

Spell Volley (Ex): At 8th level, an eldritch eye learns to cast spells and wield his ranged weapon at the same time. As a full-round action, he can make all of his attacks with his ranged weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). An eldritch eye can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if he has more than one attack, he cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks. This ability replaces Improved Spell Combat and Greater Spell Combat.

Evasive Archer (Ex): At 13th level, the eldritch eye gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC against ranged attacks. This increases to +4 at 17th level. This ability replaces heavy armor.

Pinpoint Targeting (Ex): At 16th level, the eldritch eye gains Pinpoint Targeting as a bonus feat, even if he doesn't meet the prerequisites. In addition, the eldritch eye can spend 1 point from his arcane pool to perform a ranged spellstrike in conjunction with Pinpoint Targeting as a full-round action. This ability replaces counterstrike.

Weapon Mastery (Ex): At 20th level, an eldritch eye gains weapon mastery with a single ranged weapon, as the fighter class ability. This ability replaces true magus.


Eldritch Eye Arcana: An eldritch eye gains access to the following magus arcana. He cannot select any arcana more than once.

Arcane Grit (Ex): The eldritch eye may use points from his arcane pool as grit points. He may only use his arcane pool to perform deeds that spend grit points; having at least one point left in his arcane pool does not allow him to use deeds that can be performed as long as he has one grit point. The eldritch eye must be at least 6th level before selecting this arcana and must have the grit class feature (either by having levels in a class that grant grit or by the Amateur Gunslinger feat).

Arcane Marksman (Su): The eldritch eye gains proficiency with all firearms. When using his arcane pool ability to enhance his ranged weapon he can add the following effects to a firearm he wields:  greater lucky, greater reliable, lucky, and reliable.

Long Range (Su): The eldritch eye can spend one point from his arcane pool as a swift action to increase the range increment of a one-handed ranged weapon by 20 feet or the range increment of a two-handed ranged weapon by 50 feet for 1 round.

Ranged Magic (Su): The eldritch eye can cast one spell per day as if it were affected by the Reach Spell feat. This does not increase the level of the spell. The eldritch eye must be at least 12th level before selecting this arcana.

Rapid Reload (Su): The eldritch eye can spend a point from his arcane pool as a free action to magically load his weapon. For one round, any ranged weapon he holds is automatically loaded with ammunition after being fired, allowing him to make full-attack actions with a weapon that normally requires him to take actions to reload. This ability will load any ammunition that the eldritch eye has on his person that he desires, but he must actually have the ammunition. The eldritch eye must be at least 6th level before selecting this arcana.