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A diplomat character from Burning Empires was (trivially) converted to Burning Wheel. Now I'm running a game with Pathfinder rules in the same setting and there is a fine opportunity to bring the diplomat character into play. How to best represent the character in Pathfinder? Since this is quite broad a question, I will specify a more restricted one: which character class is appropriate for this character?

(I am not familiar with Starfinder or other d20 scifi games, but if there is an SRD with suitable class that could be added into Pathfinder game with no problems, then that is an option.)

About the character

  • Burning Empires lifepaths: Born Citizen, Student, Financier, Diplomat. Has not seen too much play; less than 10 session, probably 3-5.
  • Highest Pathfinder stats (14-16): Intelligence, Wisdom. Lowest (~11): Dexterity, Strength.
  • Pathfinder skills in rough order of importance: diplomacy, sense motive, perception, professions (investing, journalist, propagandist), knowledges (something like: advanced math, primitive planets, space history)
  • No magic, and preferably reasonably simple mechanics.
  • Crashlanded, has a few pieces of future tech, no initial knowledge of the planet.
  • I will almost certainly create a trait to reflect the strange origins and background of the character.
  • There has been a fair deal of play since the character last appeared in the game. This downtime could justify some changes in capabilities.

About the player

  • Not familiar with Pathfinder rules and not particularly apt to learn them quickly.
  • Interested in negotiation, peaceful solutions and philosophy. (This is a completely valid approach to many situations in a sandbox setting, but there will also be disappointments.)

About the game

  • Sandbox
  • OSR philosophy of play: challenge-focused, often deadly, in-setting logic trumps rules where they conflict, but rules are still used as a default.
  • Players can optimize their characters if they want to. Some do, some don't.
  • Pretty much all Paizo-published Pathfinder content available.
  • Most house rules are not obviously relevant for this discussion. Diplomacy has been revamped, but it remains useful for making friends, manipulation and countering manipulation.
  • New characters, and converted characters from non-level based systems, typically start at level one, with possible exceptional rules (such as custom feats that are not available to others) if necessary.

Which classes would be a good match for the character?

  • Expert is the most straightforward choice, but I would prefer a player character class.
  • Rogue variants without sneak attack?
  • Investigators? Alchemy would be a stretch for the character, but not an impossible addition.
  • Something else entirely?
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The Aristocrat is the class most commonly associated with Diplomats (see this guy from NPC Codex). While in the Kingdom Building rules, the Grand Diplomat role is well suited to any character with a high Charisma or Intelligence bonus.

Obviously, despite that, my first thought was to look at the Ultimate Intrigue and take a second look on the Vigilante and the archetypes presented in the book. There are a few magic-user archetypes that could fill that role, but since you are looking for non-spellcasters, these are the ones I would recommend:

  • Consigliere (Rogue archetype), they act as mediators and advisors to crime families;
  • Snoop (Rogue archetype), they act as underworld detectives and information dealers;
  • Velvet Blade (Slayer archetype), they infiltrate nobility to better investigate their assassination targets;

Some of these could use a little re-flavoring, but the abilities that are replaced help going away from a combat-type character to a more social oriented character without losing all options to help your allies in a fight. There are no rogue variants without sneak attack though, they treat it as the core of the class and some archetypes will replace everything, but never sneak attack.

If some spellcasting is allowed, take a look on the Court Bard as well.

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I decided to make the character an investigator (sleuth, forensic physician). The majordomo archetype would also have been an interesting choice, but the focus on nobility was slightly off for this character.

Investigator class does not focus on combat or spellcasting, and both the sleuth and majordomo do away with alchemy in favour of luck or teamwork feats, respectively.

The only problem with this choice is that the character now has two distinct pools, luck and inspiration, with different mechanics and even some interrelations. This is fairly complicated.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't recommend teamwork feats for a beginner, as they are often frustratingly bad. Giving away alchemy for an investigator is hard, luck is not good enough to make for it, but it is fun to play with. I would definitely recommend a dip in Swashbuckler later, as it doubles your pool and gives you other cool ways to spend it (as panache). \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jan 8 '18 at 9:41

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