I keep hearing about "Archetypes" for Pathfinder. What sourcebooks could I read for them?
- Variant class abilities, rules subsystems, and thematic archetypes for all 11 core classes, such as the antipaladin, the hungry ghost monk, and the urban ranger.
Archetypes are a quick and easy way to specialize characters of a given class, adding fun and flavorful new abilities to already established adventurers. Characters may take more than one archetype as long as they meet the requirements.
Using Class Archetypes
Each core and base class draws upon a central idea, a basic concept representing the commonly held understanding of what a character of a certain class should be, and is designed to be useful as a foundation to the widest possible array of characters. Beyond that basic concept, however, exists the potential for innumerable interpretations and refinements. A member of the bard class, for example, might be an incorrigible archaeologist, a dashing swashbuckler, or a dangerously graceful dervish dancer, each refined by a player's choice of background details, class options, and specific rules such as feats to better simulate the character she imagines and make that character more effective at pursuing her specific goals.
Kobold Press has the New Paths Compendium which has a lot of different archetypes.
Some good history of Prestige Class vs. Archetypes can be watched, and read in comments, of Designer Talk: Prestige Class Problems.
Archetypes were introduced in the Advanced Player's Guide. You can also read about them on d20pfsrd, all the class archetypes are listed at the end of each class page.
In Pathfinder, archetypes are packages of abilities and flavour which can be added on top of base classes. You can add as many archetypes as you meet the requirements for.
A fuller description and links to particular archetypes can be found in the PRD.