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I want to take two ranger archetypes: Guide and Urban Ranger from the APG.

How does the Favored Community and Favored Terrain work together? Can any of those bonuses, say the initiative, stack?

Let's say I'm in a pirate campaign where much of the action takes place on the ship. The GM let me take the ship as the favored community.... could I take 'urban or water' as the favored terrain and have the ship count to have the bonuses stack together?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As per this answer has the GM given special permission allowing the two special abilities to coexist? (That is, the urban ranger at level 3 really does get favored community instead of favored terrain, the table to the contrary.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 10 '17 at 22:05
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Arguably, these archetypes cannot be taken together

Although the guide and urban ranger archetypes don't, at first glance, alter or replace any of the same things, these run into an obscure rule about pathfinder archetype stacking that is found here and clarified here.

The long and short of the precise rules here is that because the guide archetype's Terrain Bond ability circuitously alters how Favored Terrain works (by granting the bonus to allies when in your Favored Terrain), it arguably counts as altering it. Thus, it's not compatible with urban ranger, since urban ranger replaces Favored Terrain entirely.

Even if the archetypes stack, the result is a rules dysfunction

If allowed to stack anyway, and run as-written, the following things happen:

  • The guide archetype trades away Hunter's Bond for Terrain Bond, which only activates while the ranger is in his Favored Terrain.
  • The urban ranger archetype trades away Favored Terrain for Favored Community, a different ability that cannot trigger the above bonus.

Thus, when you stack the archetypes, the Terrain Bond ability outright does nothing; you are never in your Favored Terrain (as you have none), so the bonus is never granted.

What I recommend

Overall, the archetypes don't really seem to have a balance issue if you let them stack and adjust some things. I recommend asking your GM to implement the following houserules:

  • Guide and urban ranger can be stacked
  • Terrain Bond applies to the urban ranger's Favored Community, instead of the nonexistent Favored Terrain ability.

Favored Community is functionally identical in effect—albeit far smaller in scope—to Favored Terrain. The only difference is the location you get buffed in, and that Favored Community adds a bonus to Knowledge (local) instead of Knowledge (geography). It's likely to be active about as often as Favored Terrain will (if you chose the terrains well), so it stands to reason that things shouldn't break if you allow the urban guide ranger to guide their allies through a city/ship/town/etc.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It does not change Hunter's Bond at all, you simply lose the option to pick the ability to share your favored terrain since you do not have a favored terrain. The bond could be either sharing his bonus or the animal companion. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Feb 10 '17 at 20:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ "This ability replaces hunter’s bond." The guide archetype replaces Hunter's Bond with Terrain Bond. There's no option given; you lose the ability entirely. \$\endgroup\$ – Forrestfire Feb 10 '17 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ But it did not replace favored terrain, which is another class feature altogether, available at 3rd level, while hunter's bond is available at 4th level. \$\endgroup\$ – ShadowKras Feb 10 '17 at 20:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ As I wrote in the post, the arguable non-stacking of the archetypes owes to the fact that Terrain Bond grants an extra ability that runs on Favored Terrain. If you look at the linked FAQ, as well as the post clarifying it, you'll find that any ability that touches another ability of the class, in any way, counts as 'altering' for the purposes of archetype stacking. It is an incredibly arbitrary, and in my opinion, frustrating rule, but that's how Paizo has decided that archetypes work. \$\endgroup\$ – Forrestfire Feb 10 '17 at 20:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Terrain Bond adjusts Favored Terrain, so despite only saying it replaces the one thing, it actually should have the following: "This ability replaces hunter's bond and alters favored terrain." \$\endgroup\$ – Forrestfire Feb 10 '17 at 20:56
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They do not work together because you do not recieve both abilities.

When you take the Urban Ranger archetype, your favored terrain ability is replaced by Favored Comunity.

Favored Community (Ex)

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This ability replaces favored terrain.

When an archetype replaces an ability, it is lost and no longer available to your character as long as you take that archetype (which could be retrained later).

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