Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Android

Androids are a strange race of constructed humanoids detailed in the Inner Sea Bestiary, and they’re exceedingly rare, so most GMs should be wary of allowing their players to play as one. However, if your GM will allow it, an android can be a great addition to an adventuring party!

Racial Traits:

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma. Androids are fast and smart but have trouble relating to other races. This makes them ideal choices for Rogues, Witches or Wizards.

Type: Androids are a strange combination of construct and humanoid, and therefore count as both for the purposes of effects that target either type.

Size: Androids are the same size as humans.

Speed: Androids move at the same speed as humans.

Skill Bonus: Androids gain a +2 to the best skill in the game, Perception.

Emotionless: Androids don’t understand the nuances of conversation well, and thus take a -4 penalty to Sense Motive.

Exceptional Senses: Androids have both darkvision 60ft and low-light vision, making them ideal at nighttime stalking.

Constructed: Along with their interesting creature type, androids gain a +4 racial bonus on all saving throws against mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison, and stun effects, are not subject to fatigue or exhaustion, and are immune to disease, fear, all emotion-based effects and sleep effects. This is a great combination of bonuses and immunities, however they come with a HUGE drawback: Androids can NEVER gain morale bonuses! Do you know what that means? An Android Barbarian gains nothing from rage (except for rage powers)! It also means they aren’t affected by most Paladin auras or Cavalier banners, and there are a ton of spells that give them absolutely no benefit!

Nanite Surge: This is an interesting ability that gives your android a bonus of 3 + character level to a single d20 roll, before the dice is rolled, once per day. I’d consider this a luck-style ability, and it’s pretty cool and can really save your butt in a pinch.


Alchemist: An android can make a fantastic Alchemist, thanks to the boosts to Dexterity and Initelligence. A bomber alchemist would make the most sense, but don’t forget that just because the android Barbarian doesn’t benefit from rage, this doesn’t mean that your mutagen cant still make you a beast! I like the Grenadier archetype for an android, as I can imagine a constructed creature being very good at making interesting bombs.

Barbarian: An android can’t benefit from morale bonuses, and rage gives only morale bonuses, so this is just about the worst choice you can make. Thematically, androids are supposed to be emotionless, so it wouldn’t even make sense for them to rage. Stay away! Note that the unchained Barbarian's rage gives an untyped bonus, so the android can easily become a competent Unchained Barbarian.
However, with the Empathy feat, androids can benefit from morale bonuses.  Combine this with their immunity to fatigue, and they can rage cycle (switch on and off rage each turn to make use of 1/rage powers) from level 1!  You need a 13 Charisma and to take the Empathy feat, but it's worth it.

Bard: The penalty to Charisma definitely hurts the chances of a good android Bard. Most bardic performances use competence bonuses, as opposed to morale bonuses, so androids CAN still benefit from performances. If you did decide to try your hand at an android Bard, the Archaeologist archetype might be a good bet.

Cavalier [Samurai]: An android can actually be a surprisingly decent Cavalier, since the bonuses given by Cavalier’s Charge and Order abilities are not all morale bonuses. There are a few, though, so I would stick with the Order of the Dragon, the Lion, the Staff, or the Tome. If you’re playing in a group of other androids, though, the morale bonuses given by your banner will be next to useless.

Cleric: Mechanically, the penalty to Charisma does hurt an android Cleric’s channel energy ability, but otherwise one could make a decent Cleric with the right base ability scores. If there were an android Cleric, though, I’d imagine her to be extremely devout and serious about her faith.

Druid: With the right ability scores, there’s no reason you couldn’t play a decent android Druid, however. The Reincarnated Druid archetype makes thematic sense to me here, as you could imagine the soul of a slain Druid attaching to a newly created sentient being.

Fighter: Now here is a class that an android can really shine at. Simple and effective, an android Fighter would use her superior intellect to fight tactically and take out enemies one by one. Given that, the Tactician or Lore Warden archetypes make perfect sense, and can build on the bonus to Intelligence that an android gains.

Gunslinger: An android Gunslinger makes a lot of sense to me, especially with the bonus to Dexterity on her side. There aren’t any specifically good archetypes, but you’ll obviously want to stay away from the Mysterious Stranger archetype, which is Charisma-based.

Inquisitor: Luckily, bonuses from Judgments are overwhelmingly sacred bonuses, but the Stern Gaze class feature will be utterly useless to you. The Spellbreaker archetype seems appropriate to me, since androids are highly intelligent and could learn very quickly how to foil spellcasters.

Magus: No morale bonuses to be found here, and those bonuses to Intelligence and Dexterity will be very helpful for a Dex-based Magus build. To that end, I recommend the Myrmidarch and Kapenia Dancer as good options, or just the good old standard Magus.

Monk: A monk would be an interesting choice for an android, and I could see it being thematic, a constructed creature trying to better her body through focus and martial arts. The monk also includes no morale bonuses, so that’s another plus. A bonus to Wisdom would have been nice, but overall Monk isn’t a bad choice.

Oracle: This is just a bad choice, since Oracles really need Charisma to function. If you want to play a divine spellcaster, build a Cleric or Inquisitor instead.

Paladin [Antipaladin]: The penalty to Charisma, along with the painful fact that a lot of the Paladin’s abilities rely on morale bonuses, makes this a pretty bad choice, though more workable than the Oracle.

Ranger: A ranger is a decent choice, thanks to the bonus to Dexterity, and I could imagine an android Urban Ranger fitting into most parties. This is a decent choice.

Rogue [Ninja]: A rogue is a great option for an android, thanks to the bonuses to both Dex and Int. Their Exceptional Senses race trait means they will be able to see in places where most humanoids might have trouble, and the Nanite Surge ability could save you on that one Reflex save that you absolutely NEED to make. Ninja is a poorer choice because of the reliance on Charisma for ki points.

Sorcerer: For the most part, a Sorcerer is just as bad off as an Oracle, but thanks to the Sage Wildblooded bloodline you can make your casting based off of Intelligence instead, and then be quite an effective Sorcerer! If you pick any other bloodline, though, this is a terrible choice.

Summoner: Like the Oracle, a Summoner is just too reliant on Charisma to make any sense for an android. Go Witch or Wizard instead.

Witch: A Witch seems like an odd choice thematically, but it works out pretty well. The agility patron is probably a good choice here, as haste is always welcome in an adventuring party.

Wizard: If you really want to be an excellent android spellcaster, this is the class to pick. The Int-based spellcasting works out very well, and a bonded object seems an appropriate choice for a constructed being. The Conjuration - Creation or Transmutation - Enhancement focused arcane schools seem like good choices, and the Golem Constructor arcane discovery also fits very well.

Feats (From People of the Stars):

Empathy: This is the only way to make a good Android Barbarian, as it lets you gain morale bonuses. Honestly, though, if you were going to do this, you should just have been a human Barbarian instead and not had to waste a feat.

Extra Surge: The Nanite Surge ability is really excellent, and this feat gives you another use per day of it. I wouldn't plan to use all of your feats on this, but I could imagine an Android Investigator combining this with the Inspiration ability to gain huge bonuses several times per day.

Nanite Disruption: If this caused a more permanent penalty to a robot or another android, then I might consider it worth of your time, but as written it only affects a single d20 roll, and requires you to make a touch attack to do so. Your Standard actions can be used more efficiently than on this feat.

Rapid Recovery: Self-healing is nice, but unless you invest a lot of feats in this, you're only going to be using it once per day. Probably not worth your time.

Rapid Repair: This is a pre-req for Rapid Recovery, and while self-healing can be useful, once-per-day just isn't that great.

Nanite Bloodline (From People of the River):

I feel the need to make a special mention of the Nanite bloodline here, which is obviously written just for Androids. Its powers can be combined with other Android-only options to make for some really useful powers.

Nanite Strike: This one is interesting right from the start, especially if you give your Android sorcerer a high Con score... dealing 1 Str damage per round to an enemy for up to 6 rounds is pretty darn powerful, and it gets way better when you hit 5th level, when you'll start also dealing Constitution damage, and your weapons are treated as magical as well. At 11th level, it gets EVEN BETTER, requiring two consecutive saves to recover from your nanite poison!

Nanite Surge: For an android, this power essentially just gives you an extra nanite surge per day, but that's a very powerful option, especially if you start combining it with some of the feats shown above, like Extra Surge and Rapid Recovery.

Nanite Resurgence: This is a really excellent ability for a once-per-day recovery/buff starting at 9th level. You essentially get a free cast of resurgent transformation (a 5th-level Alchemist-only spell!) and can use it a second time at 17th level (though it might kill you, see the spell description first!)

Distributed Body: Not getting hit by sneak attacks or critical hits is SERIOUSLY good, and this will save your life at least once in your career, I guarantee it.

Living Swarm: For a capstone bloodline power, this one is pretty good, though I would think the DR 5/- should have been 10/-, but beggars can't be choosers. Being able to assume a nonmagical gaseous form is also pretty excellent. I like this one.


  1. in case the barbarian... the "JOTUNKIN" archetype give "size" bonus instead moral bonus... android jotunkin barbarian is a excellent combo, size increment, weapon for large creatures and fatigue inmunity... SUPERBROKEN

    1. Interesting, but it's a 3rd party archetype so we don't address that here.

  2. i don't know why don´t let me reply... whatever...
    okey... actually paizo release four revised core clases under "unchained class", this class are version more easy to play and not overpower the campaing balance (or that say paizo)
    the unchained barbarian gain untype +2 bonus direct to attack, dmg, will save, gain 2temp hp/Lv and -2AC... all this instead moral bonus in ability scores
    is other option... not 3rd party
    Other unchained class are: rogue, monk (very nice, in my opinion) and summoner

  3. Something I would like to add to these barbarian comments an android barbarian after taking empathy would actually be pretty good for one reason. The constructed racial trait states they are immune to the fatigued condition which would allow them to rage cycle from first level which is what most optimized barbarian builds are built around late into late game.

  4. at entry of android in pfsrd... now there are alternative racial traits
    the "anomaly" does the same as empathy feat but no cost a feat (and bluff and sense motive always class skill too)... the backlash is -2 penalties to mind-affecting, fear and emotion-based effects

    in my opinion all people wants barbarian androids!!!

    1. Issue with that trait. When you look at the entry on the pfsrd the source material for anomaly is actually third party. I don't recall whether you use third party materials in these guides. Just thought I'd mention it.

    2. Ah! Right you are. Unfortunate, I don't use 3rd party materials. Sigh, away it goes.

  5. "If there were an android Cleric, though, I’d imagine her to be extremely devout and serious about her faith. " I have made one, and she is ^^ It also doesn't hurt that Androids have potentially quite low starting ages, so it's not hard to have one spend almost their entire life at the church.

    1. Agreed! I've removed all the flavor and roleplaying recommendations.

  6. Arcanist has an archetype, blood arcanist, that sacrifices exploits at 1, 3, 9, 15, and the level 20 ability for the arcana and abilities from a bloodline. You dont get feats, spells, or the class skill, but it's a way to get the excellent nanite bloodline with a primary Int caster class. Arcanist suffers a little from a low charisma, but nowhere near as much as sorcerer. There aren't very many archetypes that combine with it, though; most really like to tske your 1st and 9th level exploits.

  7. Androids can actually make extremely potent Ninjas, since they get a racial archetype known as the Nanoshade. This replaces Charisma for Ki pool with Intelligence for Nanite Reserves, making it almost better than Rogue.