Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Aasimar

Aasimar
Aasimar and Tieflings each have a book that’s essentially dedicated to only that race, Blood of Angels and Blood of Fiends, respectively. In these books, there are a HUGE number of racial options given for each of these two races. Because of this, these two races are probably even more versatile than humans, if your GM will allow you to choose any of the options in those books. These two sections will take a lot of space and time, so I’m going to do them first before I go into the other ARG races.




Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: The standard ability score modifiers for Aasimars are +2 Wisdom and +2 Charisma. This means that they excel at basically any divine class (obviously) but they can also make very good Sorcerers or Summoners, as I’ll show you soon.

Type: Aasimars have the Outsider (native) type, which is actually pretty detrimental, since this means you can’t cast any spells that affect only humanoids on them, such as enlarge person. However, it also means they’re not affected by spells that negatively affect humanoids, such as charm person, so it’s a double-edged sword.

Size: Aasimars are the same size as humans.

Speed: Aasimars move at the same speed as humans.

Celestial Resistance: Starting off with resistance 5 to three different elements is excellent, and it means that they can go up against spellcasters with a little less worry than some humanoid races.

Skilled: A +2 to the best skill in the game makes me happy. Adding in +2 to Diplomacy is just icing on the cake.

Spell-Like Ability: Aasimars can cast daylight once per day, treating their character level as their caster level. This can be helpful when underground, since many creatures that live in caves have some form of light sensitivity.

Darkvision: I’ve talked about darkvision before, and how I think it’s worth much more than low-light vision is. This is very helpful.

Variant Heritages:
Aasimars and Tieflings have some very unique options available to them, depending on what type of celestial being or fiend helped sire them. These are NOT core options, so some GMs will just say “no chance”, but if your GM will allow them you’re going to have a relally strong character on your hands. Also don’t forget to look at the table of 100 different options with which your Aasimar can replace his or her spell-like ability. I’m not going to give suggestions on these because any sane GM will make you roll on that table instead of just picking one... seriously, these guys have too many options available to them. It’s just sick.

Agathion-blooded: These Aasimars make for excellent Paladins, thanks to the increased Constitution and Charisma. The bonus to Handle Animal will also come in handy for a Paladin’s mount.

Angel-blooded: These Aasimars also make excellent Paladins, or could do very well as a melee-build Sorcerer, thanks to their bonuses to Strength and Charisma.

Archon-blooded: The descendents of Archons make for unbelievable Clerics or Rangers, with bonuses to Constitution and Wisdom.

Azata-blooded: These Aasimars make for excellent “playful trickster” type Bards, and their boosts to both Dexterity and Charisma also make them seriously awesome Ninjas.

Garuda-blooded: I can imagine a seriously sweet ranged Ranger build here, with boosts to both Dexterity and Wisdom, and see invisibility as a spell-like ability once per day.

Peri-blooded: With boosts to Intelligence and Charisma, the Peri-blooded Aasimar is kind of an oddball. Perhaps a studious Sorcerer (especially since the skill bonuses you get are both Knowledge skills)? Or a particularly dashing Magus?

Alternate Race Traits:
Celestial Crusader [Celestial Resistance, Skilled]: A situational +1 to attack really isn’t worth giving up resistance 5 to three different elements. Thumbs-down.

Deathless Spirit [Celestial Resistance]: This one is really interesting, and flavorful at that. You get a bonus to saves against basically all spells that involve negative energy, resistance 5 to negative energy on top of that, and you don’t lose hit points when you gain a negative level (even from being resurrected)! This is a great option if you’re less worried about coming across elemental damage and more worried about going up against evil Clerics or Paladins.

Exalted Resistance [Celestial Resistance]: Spell resistance isn’t easy to come by at lower levels, and the best thing about this version of spell resistance is it doesn’t keep you or your allies from casting buffs or healing on you.

Halo [Darkvision]: While this is super thematic and cool, it’s just not worth giving up Darkvision for.

Heavenborn [Skilled, Spell-like Ability]: For a divine caster (or a Celestial Sorcerer) this is a pretty amazing ability, letting you cast spells with the good or light descriptors as if your caster level was one higher. A recently-published spell makes incredibly good use of this power, and its’ called burst of radiance, which deals 1d4 damage to evil creatures with no save! This racial option does come at the cost of your racial spell-like ability, though, which can be very useful.

Immortal Spark [Skilled, Spell-like Ability]: If you REALLY don’t want an evil Cleric to use death effects on you, you can combine this ability with Deathless Spirit, and the bonuses against spells of that type will actually stack to a +4! However, I see this as overkill, since the spell-like ability given by this choice (lesser age resistance) is not nearly as cool as a lot of the others, so I wouldn’t choose this one.

Incorruptable [Spell-like Ability]: I don’t find corruption resistance to be that exciting of a spell, so I’d also not choose this one.

Scion of Humanity [Native subtype]: Okay, so this is one of the best ways in the game to make a completely optimized character. This ability lets you be treated as a human for all effects. This means you can choose human archetypes and feats. “Isn’t there a feat for humans that lets you be treated as any other race?” you might ask. Why yes, Racial Heritage does that. This means that you can, by choosing this racial option and taking Racial Heritage, count as an Aasimar, a human, and any other humanoid race all at the same time, letting you mix-and-match feats and archetypes that would never normally go together.

Truespeaker [Skilled]: While I enjoy the Linguistics skill from a purely role-playing standpoint, trading away your +2 to Perception just isn’t worth it.

Classes:
Alchemist: Since Alchemists rely on Intelligence for their extracts and bomb damage, the best Aasimar heritage is definitely Peri-blooded. The boost to Charisma isn’t the most useful for a straight Alchemist, but the combination of Intelligence and Charisma could make for a very strong Alchemist/Ninja.

Barbarian: Agathion-blooded, Angel-blooded or Archon-blooded Aasimar can make excellent Barbarians, with either a boost to Strength or Con. Aasimar Barbarians might also be interested in the Celestial Crusader alternate race trait, to get a boost to damage against evil outsiders.

Bard: The Azata-blooded Aasimar are also called Musetouched, so it makes perfect sense that they would make for seriously awesome Bards. The chaotic good alignment, a skill boost to Perform, and glitterdust as a spell-like ability all add up to some Bardic deliciousness. But that’s not even the best part... the favored class bonus is absolutely awesome! You get to choose a bardic performance, and be treated as a higher level Bard when using that performance! Now, you might be tempted to choose Inspire Courage for this, but I’m going to suggest Inspire Competence instead, because it would take 12 levels to gain any benefit to Inspire Courage. Along with this, for a character with the Arcane Duelist archetype, you’ll definitely want to choose Bladethirst. Another excellent option is the Daredevil archetype’s Canny Foe ability, with which you could make a seriously awesome tripping build.

Cavalier [Samurai]: An Angel-blooded Aasimar is a great choice for a Cavalier thanks to the Strength boost. An Agathion-blooded would also make a lot of sense, because of the boost to Handle Animal and having summon nature’s ally II as a spell-like ability. In any case, your Aasimar Cavalier will want to take the Celestial Servant feat, which will give you a more Paladin-like mount that can smite evil and has damage reduction! There is also a very nice alternate favored class bonus, which boosts your damage against your challenge target.

Cleric: The standard Aasimar was practically made to be a Cleric, thanks to the boosts to both Wisdom and Charisma. There are several good alternate race traits for Clerics, including Celestial Crusader, Exalted Resistance, Heavenborn, or Incorruptible. The favored class bonus is extremely good, giving you extra damage when using positive energy against undead (including when channeling or using cure spells for damage). There is also an Aasimar-only feat set which lets your Aasimar Cleric use her channel energy ability to not only deal damage but also push or pull her targets; Channel Force, Improved Channel Force, and Greater Channel Force.

Druid: Either the standard Aasimar or the Archon-blooded or Garuda-blooded are the best choices for Druid, because you really want to keep that Wisdom boost for your spellcasting. If you’re trying to focus more on spells than wild-shape, you may be interested in the Heavenborn race trait for some extra oomph on your light-descriptor spells (though Clerics and Paladins have a lot more of those to choose from than Druids do.) If you have an animal companion, you’ll definitely want to grab the Celestial Servant feat, as the smite evil and damage reduction can come in very handy.Remember that if you choose the Scion of Humanity race trait, you can choose human-only archetypes like the Feral Child, which is a fun, though not incredibly powerful, archetype.

Fighter: If you’re going for a melee fighter, Angel-blooded is the way to go, and if you’re going for a ranged fighter, Azata- or Garuda-blooded give you a boost to Dex, so those are the best choices. I like Garuda-blooded better of those two because of see invisibility as a spell-like ability, which a Fighter would normally have to rely on his party caster to use. There aren’t any other feats or specific race traits that stand out to me for a Fighter.

Gunslinger: The Garuda-blooded Aasimar has a perfect stat array for the vanilla Gunslinger, with both Dex and Wisdom getting a bonus. For the Mysterious Stranger archetype, definitely go with Azata-blooded, to get the Charisma boost. As I said for the Fighter, Garuda-blooded gives you see invisibility as a spell-like ability, which a Gunslinger wouldn’t normally have access to, especially so early in the game, so I like that one. Remember that if you choose the Scion of Humanity race trait, you can choose human-only archetypes like the Buccaneer, which I personally love.

Inquisitor: I’ve always considered Inquisitors to be slightly angry, more specialized Clerics, so it makes sense that Aasimar make good Inquisitors as well. The Archon-blooded make the most sense to me for an Inquisitor, as the Con and Wisdom boosts work very well and the racial bonuses to Intimidate and Sense Motive are perfect. The favored class option even adds to that racial bonus, giving you +1/2 on Intimidate, Knowledge, and Sense Motive checks against all outsiders. I would also highly recommend taking the Animal domain, then grabbing both Celestial Servant and Boon Companion, as having an animal companion with DR to flank with is a great boost for an Inquisitor.

Magus: With the Magus’s need for Intelligence, the Peri-blooded Aasimar is really the best choice. I’m not really seeing any other specifically-good options for a Magus, since there are almost no light-descriptor spells on his list, so Heavenborn wouldn’t be very useful, and there aren’t any human-only Magus archetypes or feats that strike me as Magus-centric.

Monk: There’s no question that the Garuda-blooded Aasimar is the best option for a monk, even if you’re not planning on making a fully Dexterity-based monk. Boosts to Wisdom and Dex both apply to a monk’s AC, so you can make a seriously unhittable monk with this option. Using the Scion of Humanity racial option (which causes your Aasimar to be treated as a human for ALL purposes), you can also choose to take the Wanderer archetype, which is a decent option that lets you gain some spell-like abilities and bardic performances in place of some of the standard monk powers. I would also recommend checking out the Angelic Blood feat, as it can lead into Angelic Flesh, which will let you treat your unarmed strikes as either silver or cold iron for the purposes of overcoming damage reduction.

Oracle: Aasimars were born to be Oracles, with the power of the heavens running through their veins (and sometimes driving them a little mad). Most of the Aasimar heritages include a boost to Charisma, so just choose any one of those that strikes your fancy. You’ll also definitely want the Heavenborn alternate race trait, and you’ll most certainly want to pick up the Angelic Blood and Angelic Flesh feats, choosing the golden option for Angelic Flesh, since this will boost your caster level for spells with the light descriptor by ANOTHER +1. The best part of being an Aasimar Oracle, however, is the alternate favored class option. With this option, you’re treated as +1/2 level higher for the effects of one of your revelations every level, and when you stack those extra levels on a revelation like the Many Forms revelation from the Dark Tapestry mystery, you can get access to very high-level spells at very early levels (such as greater polymorph, a 7th level spell, at 10th level for up to 15 minutes a day!). Another incredible option is the Spirit of the Warrior revelation from the Ancestor mystery, which makes your Base Attack Bonus equal to your Oracle level for a bunch of rounds per day (which means you can have a BAB HIGHER than your character level!) On top of all of this, Aasimars have their own racial archetype for the Oracle, called the Purifier. This archetype gives up a little bit of spellcasting to gain Alignment Channel as a Cleric of the same level, the ability to turn evil outsiders as if using Turn Undead, and command good outsiders as if using Command Undead! This is a really cool, flavorful archetype, and I highly recommend it, even at the cost of one spell per day and free cure spells.

Paladin [Antipaladin]: Aasimars make extremely good Paladins, especially Angel-blooded ones, since the boost to Strength and Charisma fits a melee Paladin perfectly. Note that if you’re going with a ranged Paladin instead, Azata-blooded is your obvious choice. There are several excellent options for an Aasimar Paladin, including the Exalted Resistance and Heavenborn alternate racial options, the Angelic Blood line of feats (definitely pick up Angel Wings, as a flying Paladin is a sight for any evil creature to fear). Aasimars also get a Paladin archetype of their own, called the Tranquil Guardian. I’m not a huge fan of this archetype because it focuses on keeping your enemies from attacking as opposed to just beating them down, but if you’re trying to play a tank-y character who is in charge of protecting the Rogue or Ninja while he sets up flanking, this could be very helpful. The Antipaladin’s abilities don’t really match up with an Aasimar... look at the Tiefling instead.

Ranger: The ranger’s reliance on Wisdom works well for an Aasimar, with either Archon-blooded or Garuda-blooded heritages standing out as nice options. The Beastmaster or Falconer archetypes work very well with the Celestial Servant feat, giving your companion DR 5/evil and a smite ability once per day.

Rogue [Ninja]: Aasimar aren’t the greatest choice ever for a Rogue, since Rogues really need a decent Int score, but an Azata-blooded Aasimar can make a mean Ninja. I would suggest against the Angelic Flesh feat this time, since you dont’ want to take a -2 penalty to Stealth as either a Rogue or Ninja. The Sanctified Rogue archetype is thematic for an Aasimar, though it’s not the most optimal choice by any stretch (Note that this archetype is also available to Ninjas, since it replaces Uncanny Dodge and Improved Uncanny Dodge).

Sorcerer: Like Oracles, Sorcerers are Charisma-based, so any of the Aasimar heritages that include a Charisma boost are viable. There are of course several bloodlines that make thematic sense and also complement your Aasimar abilities, including Celestial, Destined, Maestro (for the Azata-blooded), and Martyred. You can also choose the human-only Imperious bloodline thanks to the Scion of Humanity alternate racial option. Check out my Sorcerer bloodline guide for more details on any of these. Sadly, the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list doesn’t lend itself to making use of the Heavenborn racial option as well as the Cleric list does. An Aasimar Sorcerer can boost his caster level in another way, though, using the alternate favored class option which gives you a +1/4 to caster level for all good descriptor spells!

Summoner: Summoners also use Charisma as their casting stat, so any of the Aasimar heritages that include a Charisma boost are good options. You can flavor your eidolon to look like literally anything, so it would be very thematic for your Summoner to call upon the aid of an Angel or other celestial being, and that’s even a suggested eidolon build in Ultimate Magic. The favored class option is also excellent, allowing your eidolon to gain DR/evil without having to spend evolution points on it.

Witch and Wizard: Witches and Wizards rely on Intelligence, so the only reasonable option for them is the Peri-blooded Aasimar. There are also no racial abilities that really complement the class abilities of these two classes. In other words, there are definitely better choices out there, but you could still make a decent Witch or Wizard with an Aasimar.

Racial Favored Class Options:
Bard: This favored class bonus treats you as a higher bard level than you actually are for the effects of one bardic performance, which is a great ability. Now, it will take several levels for this to come into effect, since you only gain +1/2 per class level, but if you choose a performance whose benefit is increased by every four levels, like the Arcane Duelist archetype’s Bladethirst or the Daredevil archetype’s Canny Foe, you’ll get the most out of this favored class option.

Cavalier: Extra damage aginst your challenge target is a big deal, as it’s going to be your main source of damage for a Cavalier. This is a good option.

Cleric: This choice gives you extra damage against undead (and evil outsiders if you have Alignment Channel) when using positive energy. If you’re planning to go up against a lot of undead creatures in your campaign, this is definitely a good reason to choose Cleric.

Inquisitor: This bonus is really best for an Inquisitor who makes use of the Snake Style feat line, where you get to replace your armor class with the result of your Sense Movite check once per round. Even if you aren’t building Snake Style into your character, though, a +1/2 bonus to three class skills is pretty sweet.

Oracle: Increasing your effective Oracle level for any one revelation is one of the best favored class bonuses in the game, because some revelations have extremely potent powers at higher level, and you get access to those powers earlier than normal!

Paladin: I honestly don’t find that a Paladin’s auras come into play that often, so this one doesn’t impress me.

Sorcerer: There aren’t as many good-descriptor spells on the Sorcerer/Wizard list as there are on the Cleric list, but a boost to caster level with good-descriptor spells is still really powerful. One spell you’ll definitely want to grab is burst of radiance from the Champions of Purity sourcebook, which deals 1d4 damage per caster level to evil creatures with no save, and has the chance to blind them also!

Summoner: This is a great option for a Summoner, becuase you’re essentially getting free evolution points that you would normally have to use on giving your eidolon damage reduction.

Racial Archetypes:

Purifier (Oracle): I really like this archetype, because it gives you some options that no other character in the game can get, namely the ability to turn evil outsiders as if using Turn Undead, AND the ability to command good outsiders as if using Command Undead. If you are running into devils and demons a lot, or if you plan to use planar ally spells often, this is a really good option.

Tranquil Guardian (Paladin): This archetype really doesn’t wow me, as you’re replacing some of the Paladin’s best abilities (including your bread and butter, smite evil) with abilities that let you stop an enemy from attacking or casting a spell for one round (though this increases at higher levels). An important point here, also, is that this ability says nothing about supernatural abilities that deal damage, so a lot of creatures will still have ways of hurting you or you allies either way (Witches, for example).

Prestige Classes:

Champion of Irori: This class is from Paths of Prestige, and is a very cool and pretty strong combination of Paladin and Monk. To qualify for this prestige class, you’ll need at least one level of Paladin for smite evil, and three levels of monk for still mind. You also can’t take your first level of Champion of Irori until 6th level thanks to skill rank requirements. The benefits here include the ability to use smite on chaotic creatures (even if they’re also good-aligned!) and at third level you also gain an essentially free Cleave feat, which is auto-upgraded to Great Cleave at 6th level! The 5th-level ability, shield the weak, is also pretty sweet, allowing your Champion to block area effect spells from his adjacent allies and give them Improved Evasion against the effects. Finally, at 10th level your Champion effectively gains Whirlwind Attack as a free feat, which is amazing!

Divine Scion: The Divine Scion is all about cleric domains, even if you start off as a Paladin or Oracle. Based on the domains granted by your favored deity, you get to choose a spell-like ability, which can range anywhere from a constant 0-level spell to a one-per-day third-level spell. At higher levels, you gain bonuses to damage on creatures of your opposed alignment, damage reduction, and the ability to stagger creatures of that opposed alignment. I suggest using the Oracle as the base class for this, since Aasimars make incredibly good oracles.

Holy Vindicator: The Holy Vindicator focuses on using the channel energy class ability to do other interesting things, like enhance his shield or boost Channel Smite. He also gains some other interesting abilities, like channel energy in a cone or line shape. It does involve having to bleed for several of your abilities, which is strange but pretty full of flavor. For that reason, Angelic Blood is an excellent feat to complement this archetype.

Racial Feats:

Angel Wings: Gaining a fly speed means you never need to worry about falling into a pit or having trouble climbing a rope again, so this is very useful.

Angelic Blood: This is a cool feat for a Paladin or Cleric who fights undead all the time, as it will deal damage to undead when you bleed nearby.

Angelic Flesh: This feat is actually four different feats, and you get to choose between them when you take it. All four are useful, but I feel that the best one is definitely the Golden version, which gives a caster a +1 boost to caster level for spells with the light descriptor.

Blinding Light: A useless prerequisite feat (see Inner Light below), and a situation which just won’t come up that often (an opponent attempting to dispel or counter your once-per-day spell-like ability) makes this a terrible choice.

Celestial Servant: This one is really helpful to anyone with an animal companion or mount who is NOT a Paladin, as they already get the celestial template added to their mount. The celestial template gives your mount or companion DR 5/evil, a smite evil power once per day, and energy resistance 5 against three elements!

Channel Force: This is a very cool ability for a Cleric who uses channel energy to deal damage to either undead or evil outsiders, you also get to push or pull the target based on the damage you deal.

Consecrate Spell: This is an aasimar-only version of Maximized Spell that only works on eviil creatures, but also only increases the spell slot by +2. Not worth a feat slot in my opinion, but could be worth picking up in a metamagic rod (especially because in that case it wouldn’t require you to be able to cast consecrate).

Improved Channel Force: Like a Holy Vindicator, this feat lets you use your channel energy ability in a cone or a line in addition to a burst.

Greater Channel Force: This one isn’t quite as exciting, because all it lets you do is use Channel Force in a burst instead of just against one creature or in a cone or line.

Heavenly Radiance: I like this feat for a damage-dealing Cleric or Oracle to be able to essentially cast some extra spells per day. I would suggest choosing searing light for this one, as it’s a good spell and especially good against undead.

Inner Light: A higher caster level for a single spell-like ability is not terribly useful, and the situation in which an opponent counters or dispels your daylight spell is pretty unlikely, so I’d say ignore this one.

Metallic Wings: This feat isn’t terribly exciting unless you’re a Paladin who can deal extra damage using smite evil, since the extra natural attacks gained from this feat will be extremely useful.

Revered Guidance: This could be a very useful feat for a party face-type character, especially in a campaign where you expect to see a lot of one particular race (in PFS for example, you run across a LOT of humans). For most characters, however, this isn’t super useful.


Supernal Feast: This feat is just not meant for anyone exept evil aasimar who plan to kill a bunch of angels or something. Stay away.



3 comments:

  1. With the addition of Occult classes, the Periblooded Aasimar would make a fantastic psychic, with bonuses to both intelligence and Charisma

    ReplyDelete
  2. This hasn't got advanced classes yet. Let alone phychics I was about to mention Shaman's being AWOL.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When you get around to adding the Hybrid Classes, I can see Peri-Blooded ones doing well as Arcanists (who have Int-based spellcasting but a lot of their Arcane Exploits trigger off Charisma). Same deal with Angel-Blooded and Bloodrager. Can't think of any others off the top of my head, but I think those are the only two "perfect fits".

    ReplyDelete