Shamans draw their divine power from the spirits of the world and the energy that exists in all living things. They form a strong bond with a particular spirit that serves as their familiar and a conduit for their spiritual magic. A shamanâ€™s Spirit Familiar doesn’t store spells but it does help the shaman prepare spells. In addition to their daily spell allotment the shamans can use the Spirit Magic class feature to spontaneously cast a limited number of extra spells.
The type of familiar chosen informs the shaman’s abilities and Hexes which grant them powers and weaken foes. A shaman’s spells are chosen from the cleric spell list and are limited only by the shaman’s alignment.
Skalds are warrior poets who use their gift for song to inspire their companions into passionate rage. They’re tougher than bards but are less versatile from an ability perspective as their performances are geared specifically towards combat.
Beginning at the 1st level, skalds gain the Raging Song class feature which gives party members in earshot boosts in strength, constitution and will save in exchange for a 1 point drop in AC. Party members can choose not to accept the effects if they’re conscious. Beginning at 3rd level, skalds select Rage Powers from the barbarian class such as knockback to spice up their Raging Song.
Slayers are all about the hunt and the kill that follows. It’s all they think about; their time is consumed with sharpening their blades, thinking like their prey, and honing their skills. This class is a little scary and is built to get in, kill and get out.
Like the ranger, slayers have a Favored Target and enhanced Tracking skills. Starting at 3rd level they acquire the rogue’s Sneak Attack. Slayers also learn Slayer Talents as they level up which can improve their stealth and damage dealing capabilities.
The swashbuckler relies on speed, agility, and panache as opposed to a suit of heavy armor and a powerful weapon. They can be a bit full of themselves but they’re dedicated to their craft beneath that devil-may-care exterior. Using fancy footwork and quick lunges, Swashbucklers can protect spellcasters or be a flank-mate for other melee classes.
Swashbucklers have a pool of Panache points which fluctuate throughout the day based on their killing blows and critical hits achieved. They can use these points to perform daring Deeds such as sidestepping an attack to increase their AC.
Warpriests are soldiers for their faith, blending divine magic with martial skill. They belong in the center of the melee where their divine powers and skills can be put to the test.
The warpriest gains Blessings from their deity that are tied to their domains. These blessings grant minor powers at 1st level and major powers at 10th level. Neutral or good warpriests can use Spontaneous Casting to channel their stored energy into healing spells that weren’t prepared in advance. Neutral or evil warpriests can use this class feature to inflict damage instead. Another cool feature is the Sacred Weapon they obtain at 4th level which starts off as a +1 weapon bonus.
That wraps up the classes introduced in the Advanced Class Guide playtest. My guess is that Paizo still has a little balancing work to do, but a lot of these classes will be fun options for players tired of the standard class array. Leave comments if you’ve tried any of these out and have opinions!