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I'm planning a Final Fantasy VIII-style campaign wherein PCs are students at a military school that teaches mundane combat, magical combat, and how to summon creatures. Obviously, no lone class does all this, and I wouldn't want all the PCs to have the same class anyway.

My first thought was to have the player pick a warrior class then add to that class another class's magical class features. For example, a player that picks the class fighter for his PC also gains the magus class features spells, spell combat, and spellstrike and the summoner class feature eidolon; or a player that picks the class barbarian for his PC also gains the same features as did the fighter (These are just ideas; nothing's final yet.)

Let's See a more practical Example:

We have a 4 lvl 3 guys party, one is fighter, another one is barbarian, the third one it's a monk, and the last one it's a rogue.

They will have the subsequent abilities:

fighter: Bravery, armor training, spell combat, spellstrike, eidolon

barbarian:Fast movement,rage,rage powers,uncanny dodge, trap sense, spell combat, spellstrike, eidolon

monk: Flurry of blows, stunning fist, unarmed strike, evasion, Fast movement, maneuver training, still mind, spell combat, spellstrike, eidolon

rogue: Sneak attack, trapfinding, Evasion, trap sense, spell combat, spellstrike, eidolon

Of Course, they will have very different number of feats for their different classes.

Now, little boss challenge combat, they will face a Rhyno (It's usual to find dinosaurs in the training zone in this world), and this should be a Challenging combat, as it's a APL+1 oponent with high AC and HP.

  • If I go with my initial idea, by how much should I adjust the party's Average Party Level to compensate for their increased power? (See Designing Encounters on Step 1—Determine Average Party Level (APL) for more about Average Party Level.)
  • Is there a better way than this to simulate in Pathfinder the versatility of such Final Fantasy VIII-style characters?
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closed as unclear what you're asking by GMJoe, the dark wanderer, doppelgreener, kviiri, Erik Feb 1 '17 at 10:09

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like you're trying to design a new class by combining features of existing classes. Is this the case? (If this is the case, and you intend all of your player characters to have this same class, I'm confused why you're worried about balance.) \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 1 '17 at 9:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you want a mix of classes, you might want to check out the Gestalt rules. I know they exist for 3.5e D&D and from a quick google search, they should be in the Advanced Class Guide for Pathfinder as well. They allow you to have two classes at once (but yes, it's higher power than normal play) \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Feb 1 '17 at 9:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ We can't answer this question the way you're asking it here; it's gonna be too hard. What we can do is if you give us a solid draft version of your new class system (e.g. 'pick any one class from {t,u,v,w,x,y,z}, you get that class's stuff plus {system you make up, like they get x magus features and y summoner features}) so that we understand what your players can choose to create in your system, we can tell you where the PCs can come out in comparison to the existing published classes. Like, 'less powerful than Cleric, but better than fighter' or something. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Feb 1 '17 at 10:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you considered that Pathfinder may actually not be a very useful system for emulating Final Fantasy VIII? There are thousands of other RPGs. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 1 '17 at 10:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mikiodelg Okay, well, if you give us a draft of your new class system, we can definitely help in evaluating its power in comparison to 'normal' classes, which might help you with balancing then. Based on what you've said so far they don't seem obviously overpowered or underpowered without being given more information. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Feb 1 '17 at 10:23
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Your solution is overpowered, especially in the hands of an optimizer, as it gives a significant boost to all characters, even without finding unintended synergies between the free abilities and the existing classes.


It is simpler to use the standard character classes.

Just because the characters are trained to do a variety of things, it does not mean that all of them have to master all of those. Explain your concept to the players and let them build characters by the usual rules.

If some player wants to play a character which is not covered well by the existing rules, then design a custom archetype for them, or custom feats, etc. The custom archetypes should mostly remove a major feature of the class and add an eidolon, or remove significant features but add spell combat etc.; or remove some low-level feature but add in martial weapon proficiency.

Note, in particular, that a 2nd level wizard is roughly equal combatant when compared with 1st level warrior; equal BAB, more hit points, lacking proficiencies, feats and ability scores usually doing less martial things. A high level caster is a reasonable combatant when compared to most characters in the game world, even if they are not that impressive when compared to high level martial characters.

Maybe create a prestige class that represents an ideal master of the school; something along the lines of:

  • the levels in the prestige class count as summoner levels to determine the strength of an eidolon
  • as magus levels to determine spell combat etc,
  • 3/4 BAB
  • martial weapon proficiency
  • most levels increase arcane spellcasting; 3 to 5 do not. Get magus spellcasting if you do not yet have arcane spellcasting.

The purpose of the prestige class is to communicate how you see the school graduates in mechanical terms and to make them viable player characters even if they would not otherwise be such. Do not force players to take levels in the class (without their prior agreement).

This approach should work well unless you play with hardcore optimizers; if such is the case, then you should let them handle the creation of any mechanical content before starting play, have them all check those options they have just created (I suppose you trust the players to create fair options; if not, change group or use someone outside to check all custom content), and only then have them start designing characters.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, the problem it's, I dont have to make 1 single archetype, I would have to make 1 for every base class they want to pick, that's why I decided to just, add these limited abilities. The prestige class it's an option, but to fit the background, it would be able to pick soon. \$\endgroup\$ – Mikiodelg Feb 1 '17 at 10:04
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The problem it's, I don't know if it will empower them too much, and will be the campaign too easy, as i'm building it with the normal rules for a 4-PC group...

The problem with your approach I see is that it CAN cause characters to become overly strong by sheer luck of choosing the "right" combo and/or others to become weak (in comparison) by choosing "wrong" and it takes some system mastery to recognize that beforehand to prevent that.

A full martial character with spellcasting (even limited) and spellcombat/spellstrike as well as having a summoner's eidolon added would increase that classes' power very much and has a good chance to wreck your campaign.

If you go that way you should limit the open choices to lesser class abilities. Like: Choose one (or two) oracle revelation, cleric domain power, sorcerer bloodline power or inquisitor's inquisition ability that does not grant a permanent companion and is available at first level.


As an alternative approach you could have them choose one of the magic classes that can wear armour and have a 3/4 BAB (magi, bards, skalds and all of the divine casters). All of those classes can be competent combatants and have spells to increase their fighting power.

For an academy like you describe I would choose some of those and have the players choose among them. If you want to buff them in a certain aspect it is easier this way because you could give every one the same boon (like full BAB, one or more bonus feats) that is easier to handle and less likely to cause unwanted consequences.

And when it comes to your players not wanting to play the same (or a similar) class archetypes can help with this. I could, for example, well see a party composed only of magi and bards without the characters being too similar.

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