Thursday, June 4, 2015

Races of Pathfinder: Half-Orc

Half-Orc
Half-orcs in Pathfinder are outcasts, normally shunned by both human society and orc society. Those who are accepted can find themselves exploited for their abilities, either for their cunning in orc tribes or for their brute strength in human settlements. However, half-orcs are almost as versatile as their half-elven kin, and can generally fill any party role with ease.




Racial Traits:
Ability Scores: Like their human cousins, half-orcs can choose one ability score and add +2 to it.

Size: Half-orcs are the same size as humans.

Speed: Half-orcs have the standard 30ft base movement speed.

Intimidating: Half-orcs get a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks, which can come in very handy for a melee character.

Orc Ferocity: This trait allows a half-orc to keep fighting as if disabled for a single round after being taken below 0 hit points. This sounds cool at first, but realistically all you’ll get is a single standard action before passing out. For a Cleric, Paladin, or other healing class, this can be invaluable since you can use that standard action to heal yourself, but for most other classes this isn’t going to be a huge bonus.

Weapon Familiarity: Half-orcs gain automatic proficiency with two very nice martial weapons, the greataxe and the falchion. If you’re going to be playing a class that only gains simple weapon proficiency, this can be a huge boon for you, but if you’re going to be a Fighter or any other class that gains martial weapon proficiency, trade this out for something better, like Chain Fighter (see below).

Darkvision: Darkvision is way better than low-light vision, because realistically most DMs don’t really worry about lighting conditions except for darkness. This is a great ability to have.

Orc Blood: Half-orcs are treated as both humans and orcs for effects, prerequisites, and anything else that requires you to be either human or orc. This means that, like half-elves, they have access to three sets of racial archetypes and racial feats, which can lead to some really good combinations that I’ll go into below.

Alternate Race Traits:
Acute Darkvision [Orc Ferocity]: If you think you’ll be going into dark, scary dungeons fairly often (which in most campaigns you probably will), this ability could be way more useful to you than Orc Ferocity would be, as it increases your darkvision to 90 feet rather than the normal 60 feet.

Beastmaster [Orc Ferocity]: This race trait is a great way to get free exotic weapon proficiency in both the net and the whip, which are excellent weapons. Add to that a bonus to Handle Animal checks, and this is one of the better options to replace Orc Ferocity with.

Bestial [Orc Ferocity]: As I’ve said many times before, Perception is the best skill in the game. However, I can’t give this one a blue rating because I feel that some of the other options, like Beastmaster and Sacred Tattoo, are better choices in general for most characters.

Cavewright [Intimidating]: This is a straight skill bonus trade, where you trade away a +2 to Intimidate for a +1 on both Knowledge (dungeoneering) and Survival. However, these new bonuses only work underground, and so an all-the-time bonus to Intimidate is worth more than these two situational bonuses.

Chain Fighter [Weapon Familiarity]: This is a great choice for any martial character, since you’re giving up proficiency in two martial weapons (which Fighters and other martial characters get anyway) for proficieny in two other martial weapons AND the ability to treat two excellent exotic weapons as martial ones. The dire flail and spiked chain are both great choices for a combat maneuver-focused character, since they both have the trip and disarm properties.

City-Raised [Weapon Familiarity]: This is another good choice for a martial character, since it’s yet another way to gain proficiency with the whip for free. Add to that a bonus to Knowledge (local) checks for an excellent alternate trait option.

Forest Walker [Darkvision]: This option is strictly worse than just keeping Darkvision, since low-light vision doesn’t really come into play that often in real games.

Gatecrasher [Orc Ferocity]: If you’re building a sundering-focused character, this would be a great choice, but otherwise there are way better options to replace Orc Ferocity with.

Rock Climber [Intimidating]: This is a fine option for any character who doesn’t plan to use Intimidate but could benefit from a boost to Acrobatics and Climb.

Sacred Tattoo [Orc Ferocity]: This is probably the best option with which to replace Orc Ferocity, as luck bonuses aren’t easy to come by, and this boosts all three of your saving throws. Choose this one unless you have a REALLY compelling reason to choose one of the others.

Scavenger [Intimidating]: This choice, like Rock Climber, is a decent option for anyone who doesn’t plan to Intimidate anyone. While the bonuses from this trait are situational, they’re still better than a bonus to a skill you’ll never use.

Shaman’s Apprentice [Intimidating]: Trading a +2 bonus to a single skill for a whole feat (even though Endurance isn’t the best feat in the game) is pretty much a no-brainer for me, and if you do choose this option you’ll probably want to boost your Con and start into the Deathless Initiate tree of half-orc feats, which I’ll talk more about below.

Skilled [Darkvision]: If you find that your planned build is skill-point-starved, this could be a good choice, though I would consider carefully whether you’re really willing to give up Darkvision for just one extra skill point per level.

Squalid [Orc Ferocity]: There are just too many other, better options with which to replace Orc Ferocity to make a situational bonus on Fortitude saving throws be worth your time.

Toothy [Orc Ferocity]: If you’re a frontline brawler or a damage-dealing class like the Rogue, you might find that having an extra secondary attack is more than worth giving up Orc Ferocity for. This still isn’t as good of a choice in general as Sacred Tattoo, but it’s definitely worth a look.

UnArcaneElection's Thoughts on Half-Orc alternate racial traits:
  • Behind the Veil (1 RP): Characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Bluff and Sleight of Hand checks while benefiting from concealment or cover. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of intimidating, also gaining the shadow blending fetchling racial trait. Source PPC:BoS  This is much less bad than the alternate racial trait of the same name for Half-Elves -- although the bonuses are situational, if you aren't going to be using Intimidating, this isn't terrible.
  • Burning Assurance (from the Desert): Half-orcs from desert terrain lack the chip on their shoulder that many others of their kind acquire as a result of prejudice, and their self-confidence puts others at ease. Desert half-orcs with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on Diplomacy checks. This racial trait replaces the intimidating racial trait. SourceBOG  Intimidate can produce the more scary effects, but Diplomacy is easier to use, not requiring multiple feats to make it good.  Despite the name sounding odd for something to put others at ease, this is a very solid choice if you're into Diplomacy.
  • Cliffside Charger (from the Mountains): Half-orcs from mountainous terrain are accustomed to traveling in the steep terrain of their mountain homes. When in mountain terrain, mountain half-orcs with this racial trait can move through natural difficult terrain at their normal speed; magically altered terrain affects them normally. In addition, they gain a +10 foot racial bonus to their speed while charging. This racial trait replaces the orc ferocity and weapon familiarity racial traits. SourceBOG  The bonuses are specific to mountain terrain, except for the bonus to your speed while charging, which seems to be usable anywhere; Orc Ferocity that you're trading out is a semi-trap unless you really know what you're doing, while Weapon Familiarity is something you're likely to get from your class if you're into charging, so this is a decent trade as long as the campaign has some mountain terrain for you, and not totally useless even if it doesn't, although in the latter case, you probably want to be looking for a better replacement for Orc Ferocity and possibly for Weapon Familiarity.
  • Dimdweller (2 RP): Whenever characters with this trait benefit from concealment or full concealmentdue to darkness or dim light, they gain a +2 racial bonus on IntimidatePerception, and Stealth checks. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of weapon familiarity. Source PPC:BoS  Weapon Familiarity often isn't too hard a choice for trading out (for instance, if your class basically gives it to you), so even though the bonuses given here are situational, this isn't a bad trade.
  • Divided Attention: Half-orcs must learn to divide their attention among multiple threats to stay alive, since both humans and orcs often attempt to put them in their place. Half-orcs gain a +1 dodge bonusto AC against foes who flank them. This racial trait replaces intimidating and orc ferocity. SourcePCS:ISR  A Dodge Bonus to AC is nice, and remember that it stacks with other Dodge Bonuses.  If you aren't using Intimidating anyway, keep in mind that taking fewer hits may save you from needing Orc Ferocity in the first place, especially if those flanking you have Sneak Attack, and Orc Ferocity may just get you killed even more thoroughly if you don't know what you're doing, so even though the bonus isn't very large, this isn't bad.
  • Dusksight (2 RP): When making ranged attacks, characters with this trait can reroll the miss chance granted by cover to any target in dim light, and take the better of the two rolls. The miss chance for total concealment applies normally. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of weapon familiarity, also gaining low-light visionSource PPC:BoS  Unlike the alternate racial trait of the same name for Half-Elves, this one doesn't shoot itself in the foot by trading out something it needs, and in fact gives you something very useful to have in conjunction with it:  Low-Light Vision (and it doesn't even replace your Darkvision).  Why couldn't the Half-Elf version have been like this?  This one's actually very good, and definitely worthy of consideration if your class gives you the weapons you want.
  • Evader (from the Underdark): Having lived all your life at the mercy of savage underworld creatures, you've developed a knack for finding your way about silently in the dark. You gain a +5 racial bonus on Survival checks to avoid becoming lost, and a +1 racial bonus on Stealth checks. This racial trait replaces the intimidating racial trait. SourceBOG  Despite the name and description of this alternate racial trait, the bonuses are usable anywhere, without even needing darkness.  If you're not using Intimidate yourself, and you want to avoid scary things, this is for you.
  • Fey Magic (2 RP): The character has a mystic connection to one terrain type, selected from the ranger's favored terrain list. The character selects three 0-level druid spells and one 1st-level druidspell. If the character has a Charisma score of 11 or higher, when in the selected terrain, she gains these spells as spell-like abilities that can be cast once per day. The caster level for these effects is equal to the user's character level. The DC for the spell-like abilities is equal to 10 + the spell's level + the user's Charisma modifier. These spells are treated as being from a fey source for the purposes of the druid's resist nature's lure class feature and similar abilities. This trait replaces orc ferocity. SourceHotW  Note that Fey Magic has different ratings for different races, due to replacing different things.  In the case of Half-Orc, it replaces a semi-trap, namely Orc Ferocity.
  • Fey Thoughts (1 RP): Select two of the following skills: AcrobaticsBluffClimbDiplomacyDisguiseEscape ArtistFlyKnowledge (nature), PerceptionPerformSense MotiveSleight of HandStealthSwim, or Use Magic Device. The selected skills are always class skills for the character. This trait replaces racial weapon familiarity. SourceHotW  If your class is giving you the weapons you want, or maybe even if it isn't, chances are that it ISN'T giving you all of these skills in class, so this one is good.
  • Hatred: Half-orcs raised among orcs must prove themselves against their people's enemies. Half-orcs with this racial trait gain a +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against humanoids of the dwarfelf, and human subtypes because of their special training against these hated foes. This racial trait replaces intimidating and orc ferocity.Source PPC:AoE  I'd rather keep Intimidating and maybe even Orc Ferocity for proving myself to Orcs.  Pass.
  • Human-Raised: Some half-orcs raised as humans lack their cousins' ferocity and training in orcweapons, but pick up a bit of their human parents' skills. They gain the human's skilled racial trait. This racial trait replaces orc ferocity and weapon familiarity. Source PCS:ISR  The Skilled racial trait of Humans is very solid, while Orc Ferocity is a semi-trap, and your class may give you the weapons you want anyway (and chances are that if it does, it doesn't give you enough skill points per level), so this is pretty good.
  • Low-Light Vision (1 RP): Feyborn half-orcs gain low-light vision. This trait replaces darkvision. SourceHotW  This is a trap.  Low-Light Vision is almost strictly worse than Darkvision, if you're stuck with one or the other, and you can get Low-Light Vision without trading out Darkvision -- see Dusksight above.
  • Orc Atavism: Some half-orcs have much stronger orc blood than human blood. Such half-orcs count as only half-orcs and orcs (not also humans) for any effect related to race. They gain a +2 bonus to Strength and a –2 penalty to one mental ability score of their choice. Finally, they gain the ferocityuniversal monster ability. This racial trait replaces the half-orc's usual racial ability score modifiers, as well as intimidating, orc blood, and orc ferocity. Source PCS:ISR  Wait a minute -- in place of a floating +2 and no ability score penalty, you get a +2 to Strength and a mental penalty, and have to trade out Intimidating, and just get a different version of Ferocity?  Leave this in the Stone Age where it belongs.
  • Overlooked Mastermind: Some half-orcs use half-orcs' brutish stereotypes to their advantage, causing others to underestimate their intelligence and scheming. Such half-orcs gain a +2 racial bonuson BluffDiplomacy, and Sense Motive checks. This bonus increases to +4 against other humanoids. They also receive a +2 racial bonus on Bluff checks to feign ignorance and Sense Motive checks to intercept secret messages, and this stacks with the above bonus. This racial trait replaces intimidating, orc ferocity, and weapon familiarity. Source PCS:ISR  Having to trade out 3 standard racial traits for this is painful, but if you're not using Intimidating, and don't want to risk your life on Orc Ferocity working out right, and don't need Weapon Familiarity, these bonuses are really good, especially if you interact with other Humanoids a lot (which is highly likely in a lot of campaigns).  They would be especially good on an Inquisitor, Investigator, Rogue, or anyone needing to fulfill the standard of those classes.
  • Pariah: While many cultures discriminate against half-orcs, in some, particularly dwarven communities, half-orcs are complete social pariahs. It goes without saying that such a culture does not provide outlets for a half-orc to practice with traditional orc weapons. The few half-orcs who survive to adulthood in such harsh social climates are deeply scarred by their abusive treatment and find it hard to express and understand normal emotions. Such half-orcs gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against emotion and fear effects and a –2 penalty on BluffDiplomacy, and Sense Motive checks. This racial trait replaces weapon familiarity. Source PCS:ISR  This used to be rather bad, because the penalties are harsh, but with the release of Occult Adventures, if you are an Occult spellcaster (including Psychic archetypes of non-Occult classes), this may be a serviceable way to bolster your defense against one of the more common ways of shutting you down, as long as you don't need to be the party face.  But see if you can use Unflinching Valor instead (see below), which doesn't give you social penalties, but still gives you bonuses against fear.
  • Poison Minion (4 RP)Drow sometimes augment their slaves and frontline warriors by making them toxic, causing their bodies to internally produce mawbane poison (see below). The resulting poisonous creature makes a potent weapon in the effort to discourage neighboring monsters. Any creature that hits such a character with a bite attack is immediately exposed to its poison. The save DC for this poison is equal to 10 + 1/2 the character's Hit Dice + the character's Constitution modifier. Mawbane Poison—ingested; save Fortitude as above; frequency 1/round for 4 rounds; effect 1d2 Constitution damage; cure 1 save. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of orc ferocity and weapon familiarity. SourcePPC:BoS  You know the drill by now.  Repeat after me:  I am not a minion.  I am not a minion   I am not a minion . . .
  • Sea Raider: Half-orcs frequently take up sailing as pirates, raiders, and fishers, where they are known as tenacious fighters. They gain a +2 racial bonus on Profession (sailor) checks and Craft checks to repair ships, and a +1 racial bonus on damage rolls against foes and objects in or on top of the water. This racial trait replaces darkvision. Source PCS:ISR  Replacing Darkvision for this is very painful, but for a campaign like Skull & Shackles, this has just enough chance to save your life to keep it out of the bottom of the bilge.
  • Shadowhunter (2 RP): Characters with this trait deal 50% weapon damage to incorporeal creatures when using non-magical weapons (including natural and unarmed attacks), as if using magic weapons. They also gain a +2 bonus on saving throws to remove negative levels, and recover physical ability damage from attacks by undead creatures at a rate of 2 points per ability score per day (rather than the normal 1 point per ability score per day). Half-orcs can take this trait in place of their bonus feat, also gaining Iron Will as a bonus feat. Source PPC:BoS  One small problem:  Half-Orcs don't get a bonus feat.  Presumably this needs an errata, but for the moment let's assume that this instead replaces your normal first level feat -- if so, it's basically a Dwarf feat that has to be chosen at 1st level, so let's evaluate it as such:  You get to be not helpless against Incorporeal creatures if they catch you without a magic weapon, a +2 bonus when removing negative levels, faster recovery of physical ability damage, AND the whole feat Iron Will, which is sometimes recommended by itself.  Sounds pretty good, even with the obvious editing mistake.
  • Shadowplay (1 RP): Characters with this trait cast spells with the darkness, light, or shadow descriptorat +1 caster level. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of intimidating, also gaining the gnome's illusion resistance racial trait. Source PPC:BoS  The bonuses are situational, but if you aren't using Intimidating, getting Gnome's Illusion Resistance on a Half-Orc is pretty good.
  • Shaman's Apprentice: Only the most stalwart survive the years of harsh treatment that an apprenticeship to an orc shaman entails. Half-orcs with this trait gain Endurance as a bonus feat. This racial trait replaces the intimidating trait.  Since this was first rated, enough good replacements for Intimidating have appeared (while Endurance hasn't gotten any better unless you need it as a prerequisite for something new) to downgrade this.severely.
  • Skilled: Second- and third-generation half-orcs often favor their human heritage more than their orcheritage. Half-orcs with this trait gain 1 additional skill rank per level. This racial trait replaces darkvision.  This is obsolete.  Don't replace Darkvision with this -- instead, use Human-Raised (see above), which gets you the same thing while letting you keep Darkvision.
  • Unflinching Valor (from cold regions): Many fearsome arctic predators consider young frostkin easy prey, but some frostkin manage to surpass their fear and fight off these beasts in time for help to arrive. Winter half-orcs with this racial trait gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against fear effects, and a +1 racial bonus to CMD to avoid being grappled. This racial trait replaces the intimidating racial trait. SourceBOG  If you don't need Intimidating, and you can work this into your character background, this is MUCH better than Pariah for defending you against fear . . . and it also defends you against being grappled.
  • Voice in the Darkness (2 RP)Prerequisite(s)Charisma 13+. Characters who practice coercion and intimidation in the Underworld or on the Shadow Plane learn to do so in dim light or no light at all. As long as they are in dim light or darker conditions, characters with this trait gain a +2 bonus on Intimidateand Stealth checks. Half-orcs can take this trait in place of intimidating. Source PPC:BoS  If this didn't replace Intimidating, it would be okay, and the flavor is great, but this alternate racial trait shoots itself in the foot by replacing Intimidating, and the situational bonuses aren't worth the trade.
  • Warded Skin (from the Jungle): Half-orcs from jungles are often protected by elaborate tattoos that redirect demonic magic. Jungle half-orcs with this racial trait gain spell resistance against divine magic equal to 6 + their level. Additionally, divine spells cast on them by demon worshipers have a 10% chance of failure. This racial trait replaces the orc ferocity racial trait. SourceBOG  Spell Resistance often ends up shooting you in the foot, due to making attempts to aid you (in this case by divine magic) unreliable, but on the other hand, Orc Ferocity is dangerous to the user too, so in the right campaign, this might actually be a decent trade.
  • War-Leader: Some orcs seek out human mates in hopes of birthing intelligent leaders for their interminable war efforts. When nature and luck smile upon this endeavor and a half-orc child shows cunning, that child is raised with many harrowing opportunities to learn how to best lead on the battlefield. Such half-orcs gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy and Profession (soldier) checks as well as to their Leadership score (for the purpose of the Leadership feat). Armies they control in mass combat gain a +1 bonus to Morale. This racial trait replaces darkvision and orc ferocity. Source PCS:ISR  Replacing Orc Ferocity is okay, but replacing Darkvision isn't.  See Burning Assurance above instead if you need Diplomacy, and remember that you aren't going to be very inspiring to your followers if you're stumbling around in the dark, especially if they're not.

Classes:
I’ll reiterate that the half-elf, half-orc, and human class descriptions are going to be a little more sparse than those up above, since these three races can really excel at ANY class thanks to their floating ability score bonus. If a class isn’t listed, it just means there’s nothing specific that makes it any better or worse of a choice than any other class. In other words, there’s really no wrong choice of classes if you have human blood!

Alchemist: If you’re planning a bomber alchemist, you might want to consider half-orc for the favored class option, which increases the damage of your bombs by +1 every two levels. That’s a decent bonus, especially since that damage also applies to the splash damage of the bombs.

Barbarian: The Hateful Rager archetype is really great, giving your half-orc Barbarian a favored enemy, and the bonuses that this grants stack with any rage powers you might have. The downside of this archetype, gaining only 1 rage round per level, can be completely offset by the half-elf Barbarian favored class option, which gives you back that missing round of rage at each level.

Druid: A half-orc Druid gains access to the Feral Child archetype, which is actually very thematically appropriate for a half-orc who was shunned from her human or orc community and left to live on her own in the wild. Sadly, Feral Child loses wild shape, which is what the favored class option for half-orcs boosts.

Fighter: Half-orcs gain access to the orc-specific Dirty Fighter archetype, which focuses on... you guessed it... the Dirty Trick maneuver! I’ll detail what this archetype does down below, but just trust me, this is a pretty sweet option.

Gunslinger: A half-orc Gunslinger gains access to the human-only Buccaneer archetype, the main feature of which is using Charisma to determine grit points instead of Wisdom. You also gain the ability to get extra grit points by drinking alcohol, AND you get to have an “exotic pet” familiar, which is meant to be like a pirate’s shoulder-parrot.

Inquisitor: This could be a really great option for an Intimidate-focused build, since half-orcs already get a racial bonus to Intimidate and the favored class option for the Inquisitor gives you another +1/2 per level on Intimidate. Combine that with the Stern Gaze class feature that Inquisitors get, and you’ve got a recipe for a very scary character!

Monk: A half-orc Monk can choose the human-only Wanderer archetype, which is a pretty nice option. The low-level abilities are a little lackluster, but at fifth level you gain several spell-like abilities that can be cast using your ki points, and at 7th level you can inspire courage or inspire competence as a bard of your monk level, which is pretty excellent. You could also combine this with the Qinggong Monk archetype to gain access to other spell-like abilities.

Paladin [Antipaladin]: A half-orc can choose the Redeemer archetype, which lets you do such things as dealing nonlethal damage with your smite evil ability, or magically prohibiting a creature from attacking a certain area or group of people for months on end. This is a cool archetype, but I don’t think I’d call it powerful, in general. You also have access to the Beast Rider feat, which will let you treat your animal companion as if your effective druid level were two levels higher, AND you can choose a more exotic mount, which leads very nicely into the Mammoth Rider prestige class.

Ranger: A half-orc Ranger doesn’t get any special racial archetypes, but some of the half-orc racial feats are really nice for a Ranger. If you are like me, and love animal companions, you can choose the Beast Rider feat at 7th level, which will expand your animal companion choices. Sympathetic Rage is a great way to get a small boost to damage when you’re next to the party Barbarian.

Rogue [Ninja]: Half-orcs have their own archetype for the Rogue, the Skulking Slayer. This is a pretty cool archetype, and is another way to use the Dirty Trick combat maneuver to great effect during battle. At first level, any time you’d normally be able to deal sneak damage, you can instead choose to substitute that attack with a Dirty Trick or Steal combat maneuver, gaining a bonus on the associated CMB roll. Later you get to increase your sneak dice when charging a creature, and even the ability to Feint as a swift action before a charge! Very cool stuff. Sadly the Ninja doesn’t get the same archetype options, so it’s a bit less optimal.

Sorcerer: Half-orcs have access to the human-only Imperious bloodline, which is an interesting bloodline that allows you to boost morale and circumstance bonuses to yourself and your allies. I wouldn’t say that it’s a particularly powerful choice of bloodlines (check out my bloodline guide for more details) but it’s interesting.

Summoner: A half-orc Summoner can choose the Blood God Disciple archetype, which is a very eidolon-focused archetype. Dropping summon monster for evolution points gained by the Summoner himself is cool, but you have to perform some pretty evil acts to do so, and so it’ll be tough to fit into a good-aligned party.

WitchPre-Errata Scarred Witch Doctor changed the spellcasting (and Hexing) primary ability score from Intelligence to Constitution, making interesting gish builds possible (although better on full-blooded Orcs).  Now, it instead adds +2 to effective Intelligence for the purpose of all Witch class abilities (Fierce Intelligence), and leaves Intelligence as the primary spellcasting (and Hexing) ability score.  Apparently, the writers of this Errata forgot that Half-Orcs can put their +2 on any ability score.  Although this Errata basically killed the gish builds, it made otherwise conventional (primarily casting and Hexing) Half-Orc Scarred Witch Doctor builds super-powered while leaving Orc Scarred Witch Doctor Builds only passable.

Racial Favored Class Bonuses:
Alchemist: For a bomber alchemist, adding to the bombs’ damage is a great choice, especially since it even applies to the splash damage. If you’re not using bombs, though, this is useless.

Barbarian: More rage rounds means more BARBARIAN SMASH, which is exactly what you want to do. Note that this synergizes very well with the Hateful Rager archetype, since it makes up for the rage rounds lost by choosing that archetype.

Bard: More bardic performance rounds makes for a happy Bard, so this one’s a good choice.

Cavalier: Extra hit points for your mount can keep it from dying on you, so this one’s a keeper.

Cleric: If your domain grants an excellent 1st-level power, this can give you more uses of it, which is good, but if you don’t have a 1st-level power measured in uses per day this is useless.

Druid: For a wild shape-focused Druid this is a REALLY great ability, as more natural armor bonus means you get hit less, and it still stacks with any magic enhancements to natural armor bonus you might have, such as from an amulet of natural armor.
Fighter: This could be really useful if you want to take the Deathless Initiate line of feats, since you’ll likely be fighting at less than 0 hit points much more often than other characters. If you took this option at every level, you’d end up with a +40 to stabilize checks, which means you’ll pretty much never fail one of those checks. However, for most characters this should hopefully come up very seldom.

Gunslinger: A bonus every three levels to a single deed that most gunslingers aren’t going to use since they want to stay out of melee range is absolute crap.

Inquisitor: A stacking bonus to Intimidate is great, and it makes a half-orc one of the best races to choose for an Intimidate build out there.

Magus: Given that most Magi use shocking grasp a lot more than fire-based spells, this probably isn’t the best option out there.

Monk: More stunning attacks per day is nice, and a bonus to resist being grappled can save you from being swallowed by a big creature, so overall this is a good bonus, if a little bit situational.

Oracle: Extra spells known for a spontaneous caster is always a good choice.

Paladin: If you’re smiting evil and using a weapon with a decent critical range (at least 18-20) then you’ll probably want to choose this bonus, freeing up a feat since you won’t need to ever take Critical Focus.

Ranger: Extra hit points for your animal companion means it’s less likely to die, so that’s always a good thing.

Rogue: A rogue doesn’t rely on critical hits nearly as much as a Fighter or Paladin, since sneak damage is not multiplied. I’d say you’ll probably be better served to take the skill point over this one.
Sorcerer: This is more useful than it was for the Magus, but still is a situational bonus. If you’re going to take the Orc bloodline, you’ll probably want this, since it will stack with the +1 per dice to fire spell damage you get through that bloodline.

Summoner: Extra hit points for your eidolon are always a good choice, so this one’s a keeper.

Witch: This isn’t that great of a bonus to begin with, as you shouldn’t be sending your familiar in to do skill checks in general.

Wizard: If you’re in melee casting spells, you should be casting defensively, not allowing an enemy to hit you and then making concentration checks based on the damage. This is a bad choice.

UnArcaneElection's Thoughts on New Classes:

  • Arcanist:  Like a Wizard, this is a 9/9 Intelligence-dependent spellcaster, and Half-Orcs (like Half-Elves and Humans) have an Intelligence Bonus if they want it, and while some Arcanist Exploits are Charisma-dependent, Half-Orcs have no Charisma penalty, although no bonus either (unfortunately, Intimidating and social-boosting alternate racial traits are no help with this, although they might still be of use to you in their own right).  Unfortunately, the Orc Favored Class Bonus for Arcanist is simply nonexistent, while the Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus is situational and the situation is one you really want to avoid (you get a bonus on Concentration checks while taking damage), and the Human Favored Class Bonus is a trap, like the one for Wizard).
  • Barbarian and Bloodrager:  Like Half-Elves and Humans, Half-Orcs have a floating ability score bonus, allowing them to be solid Barbarians and Bloodragers; unfortunately, Orc Ferocity just isn't nearly as good as Elven Immunities (that Half-Elves could get) for best synergy with the frontline nature of these classes, although Intimidating may actually be pretty good, especially for a Bloodrager.  The Human Favored Class Bonus for Barbarian is lacklustre and quite situational, but the Human Favored Class Bonus for Bloodrager is actually different and very good, giving you an extra round of Bloodrage per level; if you use a Bloodrager archetype like Metamagic Rager that expends rounds of Bloodrage for purposes other than maintaining the Bloodrage itself, this becomes almost a must-have; unlike Half-Elf, you don't need to depend upon this, because the Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus for Barbarian and Bloodrager also gives you an extra round of Rage or Bloodrage per level.  In fact, the Orc Favored Class Bonus for Barbarian also does the same thing, while the Orc Favored Class Bonus for Bloodrager is simply nonexistent.
  • Bard:  As always, having a floating ability score is a big help; depending upon what you are doing, Intimidating may also be quite useful.  Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Bard, but the Half-Orc and Human Favored Class Bonuses -- giving you extra Bardic Performance rounds and extra spells known, respectively, are quite good, although extra spells known are probably harder to come by otherwise, as well as being somewhat more valuable, so the Human Favored Class Bonus gets the nod if you are allowed to use it.
  • Brawler:  Again, having  a floating ability score bonus) is a big help, and Intimidating may yet again prove to be useful.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus mildly boosts the scaling of your Unarmed Strike damage (but it's not clear what this does at very high levels, since the Unarmed Strike damage table gives no indication of what to do beyond level 20); The Human Favored Class Bonus gives you a rapidly scaling CMD bonus to 2 combat maneuvers of your choice.  Surprisingly, the Orc Favored Class Bonus for Brawler is just nonexistent.
  • Cavalier:  You know the drill by now -- a floating ability score is a big help, and Intimidating could be useful as well.  Half-Orc Cavaliers do take a bit of a hit for being mounted while not being Small, although a few Cavalier archetypes (such as Huntmaster) get around this.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives your "mount companion" an extra hit point per level -- in principle, this should also work for Cavalier archetypes that replace the mount with a different Animal Companion (such as Huntmaster), but by a strict reading, it doesn't, so expect table variation.  The Human Favored Class Bonus gives you a slowly scaling boost to your Banner bonus.  The Orc Favored Class Bonus is more situational, giving you a boost to your CMB when performing a Bull Rush or Overrun against your Challenged target, but the scaling (+1 per level) is really good, and note that the description doesn't say that you actually have to be mounted to make use of it.  Note that if you go into the Mammoth Rider prestige class, you won't continue to get this favored class bonus, but if you merely dip into this class to get your megafaunal mount, you will only lose out on a little bit of Favored Class Bonus, and so this may be a worthwhile dip.
  • Cleric:  You can treat this some as one of the martial classes above, only more Wisdom-based to support the 9/9 spellcasting; or you can treat this as a more primarily spellcasting class, potentially also paying some attention to Charisma for Channeling (although this gets really MAD if you still want to engage in combat a lot).  Either way, both the Floating Ability Score and Intimidating are potentially of interest, although in the case of a less combat-focused Cleric, alternate social-boosting racial traits that replace Intimidating (see above) are also potentially of interest (in some cases, even more so).  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus really spans the spectrum of usefulness, because it boosts your uses of one 1st level Domain Power, which means that it depends upon just how useful your 1st level Domain Powers are (they are all over the place in that regard) and how many times you really need to use them each day (again, all over the place).  The Human Favored Class Bonus is highly situational, but in the situation that calls for it (you need to cast a spell on an Outsider and overcome its Spell Resistance), the scaling is really good.  As is so often the case, Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Cleric.
  • Hunter:  This class is a hybrid between Druid and Ranger, and Half-Orcs can be decent at it for the same reasons they are passable at Druid and good at Ranger.  The Half-Orc (extra hit point per level)and Human (extra skill rank per level to your Animal Companion) Favored Class Bonuses are also pretty good; once again, Orc just doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Hunter.
  • Investigator:  Like Alchemist, Investigator is Intelligence-based, although with no Bombs.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives you a moderately scaling bonus to confirming Critical Hits when using Studied Combat, although it is capped at +5, and you are at -5 relative to a full BAB class, and you have to build for Critical fishing to make this good, so this is just okay.  The Human Favored Class Bonus (extra Extracts in your Formula Book) is a trap unless you live and work in such a dump that you can't pick up Extracts from purchases or loot.  Once again, Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Investigator.
  • Kineticist:   Kineticist is a quasi-spellcaster whose primary (quasi-)spellcasting attribute is Constitution, for which Half-Orc have a bonus if they want it.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives a damage bonus when using Fire Element blasts that do damage; the Human Favored Class Bonus gives you extra Wild Talents, but VERY SLOWLY, so you can instead consider a bonus Hit Point per level to be a good Favored Class Bonus.  (Avoid the Overwhelming Soul archetype unless you are planning on being Undead -- for most people, this archetype should really be called Underwhelming Soul.)
  • Magus:  As already in the guide, but:  A very good Magus guide that is currently still being updated is available:  Myrrh, Frankincense, and Steel: Kurald Galain's Guide to the Magus (advertises "Core, APG, ARG, UC, UM", but actually has plenty of stuff from newer books as well).
  • Medium:  This is a Charisma-dependent spellcaster, and although it normally only uses 4/9 spellcasting, which is fine on a character with no Charisma bonus or penalty, the Archmage and Heirophant Spirits temporarily upgrade this to 6/9 spellcasting, and Half-Orcs get a Charisma bonus if they want it; although Intimidating does not add directly to this, it does synergize with your pumped Charisma if you want to go the Intimidate route.  The Half-Orc and Human Favored Class Bonusesboth slowly give you more extra uses of Spirit Surge without incurring Influence, provided that you are using Taboo, while once again Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Medium.  The basic problem is that the Medium class itself just doesn't seem very good no matter what race you are -- the concept is fine, but the execution of the design doesn't seem very good (the playtest version had so much promise -- maybe we'll eventually get a Harrowed Medium archetype that revives and fleshes this out, and if it works okay in general, it should be okay for a Half-Orc).
  • Mesmerist:  This is another Charisma-dependent spellcaster, this time using 6/9 spellcasting, and Half-Orcs get a Charisma bonus if they want it.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives a boost to Painful Stare Damage, although this isn't all that big.  The Human Favored Class Bonus gives a decently scaling bonus to Towering Ego, but caps out after 6 levels, so switch to one of the other Favored Class Bonuses after this (and once again, Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus, so this really means Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus or the hit point or skill point).
  • Monk (Unchained):  As for Monk, but lacks access to most Monk archetypes.
  • Occultist:  This 6/9 Occult caster is Intelligence-dependent (partially Wisdom-dependent and thus more MAD for the Reliquarian archetype) rather than Charisma-dependent, and Half-Orcs have an Intelligence (or Wisdom) bonus if they want it.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives a boost to damage dealt by Focus Powers, although it isn't all that big.  The Human Favored Class Bonus (adding Focus Powers) is a nice idea, but scales far too slowly to be of much use.  The Orc Favored Class Bonus is just nonexistent.
  • Oracle:  Charisma-dependent 9/9 spontaneous spellcaster with an enormous variety of build options coming from the combinations of Mysteries (and specific Revelations) and Curses, as well as archetypes -- Half-Orc is fine for this, The Half-Orc and Human Favored Class Bonuses both add spells known, which is really good on a class that has limited spells known.  The Orc Favored Class Bonus is just nonexistent.
  • Paladin and Antipaladin:  As in the guide, except that these have become more versatile with the release of both more social-boosting replacements for Intimidating and the release fo more archetypes of both classes.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus (+1/3 on Critical confirmation rolls when using Smite Evil, capped at +5) is better than the similar bonus for Investigator, because these are full BAB classes, although beware of feat starvation when trying to build for Critical fishing; also, Rules As Written, this Favored Class Bonus is not inverted for Antipaladin; on the other hand, Antipaladins are most likely to be GM characters anyway, so if the GM wants to go with Rules As Intended rather than Rules As Written, Antipaladins can benefit from this as well (although since Antipaladins other than Tyrants and a subset of Insinuators are by definition not team players, they are likely to be even more feat-starved for needing to go it alone).  The Human Favored Class Bonus is less exciting, giving Energy Resistance up to +10 (but after that, you could choose another Energy type and keep going with this Favored Class Bonus).  Once again, Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for these classes.
  • Psychic:  This is the 9/9 Occult caster, and it is Intelligence-Dependent, and Half-Orcsget an Intelligence bonus if they want it.  On the other hand, it is also somewhat MAD by design, with Wisdomor Charisma being an important secondary ability score depending upon your choice of Psychic Discipline, and Half-Orcs get no bonus or penalty to either one, so choose solely on the merits of the Psychic Discipline itself.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus is situational and the situation is one you really want to avoid (you get a bonus on Concentration checks while taking damage).  The Human Favored Class Bonus adds spells known, which is very good on any spellcaster having a limited number of spells known.  The Orc Favored Class Bonus is just nonexistent.
  • Rogue and Ninja:  As in the guide, but now the Eldritch Scoundrel archetype is available that trades out some of your skill points, Sneak Attack, and Rogue Talents for Intelligence-based 6/9 spellcasting.  In addition, now that more social-boosting replacement alternate racial traits for Intimidating are out, these classes are more versatile (this includes the Phantom Thief archetype that trades out all Sneak Attack for Vigilante-like abilities, reducing damage potential but also relieving the need to build around Sneak Attack).
  • Shaman:  This is a Wisdom-dependent 9/9 spellcasting and Hexing class, and Half-Orcs get a Wisdom bonus if they want it, but it also tends to be MAD.  The Half-Orc and Human Favored Class Bonusesadd Cleric spells that are not already on the Shaman spell list to your spell list, which is very good, because the Shaman spell list is rather limited out of the box.  Once again, Orc gets no Favored Class Bonus.
  • Skald:  See Bard, except that Skalds are more martial (and thus more likely to get beat on), including getting martial weapon proficiency and Medium Armor  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus adds rounds of Raging Song, which is certainly welcome.  The Human Favored Class Bonus adds spells known, which is very good on any spellcaster having a limited number of spells known.  Orc doesn't have a Favored Class Bonus for Skald (surprising, since you'd think they would want a War Drummeror something similar).
  • Slayer:  Slayers are like Rogues, but are not as Dexterity-dependent and better made for holding their own in straight-up fights; the ability to take Ranger Combat Styles helps, including with the option to go ranged, preferably using the Sniper archetype.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus (adding to your Critical confirmation roll when doing Sneak Attack) is situational, and it is about as hard to set up Sneak Attack on a Slayer as on a Rogue but less necessary (due to the slower scaling), although at least this is a full BAB class.  The Human Favored Class Bonus (adding Slayer Talents) is a nice idea, but scales far too slowly to be of much use.  Surprisingly, Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for Slayer.
  • Spiritualist:  If you want to be sort of a Summoner, but Wisdom-based, and without being something like a Herald Caller Cleric, this is for you, and Half-Orcs have a Wisdom bonus if they want it.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus (1 hit point for your Phantom) is okay.  The Human Favored Class Bonus (1 hit point or 1 skill point for your Phantom) is just okay.  Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for Spiritualist.
  • Swashbuckler:  Swashbucklers are like Rogues, but unlike Slayers, they remain just as Dexterity-dependent, for which Half-Orcs get a bonus if they want it.  They are also Charisma-dependent.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives you a bonus to Critical confirmation rolls when using Precise Strike; since this is a full BAB class, and Swashbuckler weapons (such as the Rapier) often have pretty good Critical Ranges, this is not too shabby.  The Human Favored Class Bonus gives you scaling of your maximum Panache with level -- the scaling is a mosey, but normally you wouldn't get ANY increase in Panache with level, so this is pretty good, although note that (unlike the Extra Grit/Extra Panache feat) it doesn't increase the rate of recharge of your Panache pool, so you still need to watch your Panache spending.  Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for Swashbuckler.
  • Vigilante (see below for ratings):  Vigilantes are like any of several sorts of other classes, depending upon choice of Vigilante Specialization and/or archetype.  The Half-Orc floating ability score bonus is good for this class in general -- where you put it depends upon choice of Vigilante Specialization and/or archetype.  Both Intimidating and its replacement social-boosting alternate racial traits are really useful for the socially-oriented Vigilante, potentially increasing the rating of some specializations/archetypes.  The Half-Orc Favored Class bonus gives you a rapidly scaling bonus to the difficulty to Intimidate you (Unshakable), which you'll be really glad to have if you have to go up against a fear user such as Antipaladin.  The Human Favored Class Bonus gives you a rapidly scaling bonus to Seamless Guise.  Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for Vigilante.
    • Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization:  While this is supposed to be sneaky, it is also supposed to be able to hold its own in a straight-up fight, but only gets d8 Hit Dice.
    • Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization:  This is more like a Rogue -- sneaky but without the Base Attack Bonus improvement.
    • Brute Vigilante:  This is just a bad archetype, no matter what you are.
    • Cabalist Vigilante:  See Witch.
    • Gunmaster Vigilante:  This is like a Gunslinger.  Still, you are probably better off just being a Gunslinger.
    • Magical Child Vigilante:  This is like a Summoner, including the Charisma dependence.
    • Mounted Fury Vigilante:  This is the Cavalier substitute Vigilante.  The basic problem is that it just isn't a very good archetype, although at least it isn't as bad as Brute -- still, just be a Cavalierinstead.
    • Psychometrist Vigilante with Avenger Specialization:  See Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence.
    • Psychometrist Vigilante with Stalker Specialization:  See Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence.
    • Warlock Vigilante:  Intelligence-dependent spellcasting, but don't dump Charisma, since you need this for your Social Simulacra to disguise themselves as you.
    • Wildsoul Vigilante with Avenger Specialization:  See Standard Vigilante with Avenger Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence.
    • Wildsoul Vigilante with Stalker Specialization:  See Standard Vigilante with Stalker Specialization above, but this adds a certain amount of Intelligence-dependence.
    • Zealot Vigilante:  Wisdom-dependent spellcasting and some abilities that use Wisdom-dependent skills.
  • Warpriest:  Half-Orcs are good at being Warpriests for the same reasons they are good at being Clerics.  The Half-Orc Favored Class Bonus gives you an extremely rapidly scaling bonus on rolls to stabilize when dying; it's best to avoid that situation, but the extremely rapid scaling makes this decent anyway.  The Human Favored Class Bonus (bonus combat feats) is a nice idea, but scales too slowly to be of much use.  Surprisingly, Orc doesn't get a Favored Class Bonus for Warpriest.
Racial Archetypes:
A quick note: I’m going to include archetypes that are meant for orcs in this list, because half-orcs DO qualify for them and I won’t be getting to the more exotic races for a little while. For descriptions of human-only archetypes (which half-orcs also qualify for) look in the humans section. However, if you’re playing in Pathfinder Society, half-orcs and half-elves do NOT qualify for archetypes or feats of their parent races, so be aware of that.

Blood God Disciple (Summoner): This is an interesting archetype for the Summoner. You give up the summon monster spell-like abilities to instead have your Summoner himself gain evolution points when the eidolon feeds on a fallen enemy. Obviously, this is a fairly evil act, so you’re not going to be able to fit this character into a Lawful Good-leaning party. Later on the Blood God Disciple can dismiss his eidolon to begin raging like a Barbarian of his level, and even gains some Rage Powers eventually. Overall, I wouldn’t say this is a super strong archetype, but if you can find the right party to fit into it would be a lot of fun to play.

Dirty Fighter (Fighter): I like this archetype because of the versatility that the Dirty Trick combat maneuver affords you, and Fighters get a lot of feats so you can pick up a lot of Improved and Greater combat maneuver feats as you gain levels. Dirty Trick is actually a fantastic maneuver, allowing you to inflict one of several debilitating statuses to an enemy for one or more rounds, and the best part of this archetype is that at 9th level you can start using dirty tricks as attack actions rather than Standard actions, meaning you can do multiple dirty tricks per round. The ability to eventually apply two conditions to a foe that you target with Dirty Trick after level 13 is also REALLY good. If you’d like to build a character who kicks dirt in someone’s eyes to blind them, then smacks the sides of their head to deafen them and finally kicks them right in the nads to sicken them, this is the archetype for you!

Hateful Rager (Barbarian): This archetype is a fair option, because you gain a favored enemy and several related abilities at the expense of one less round of rage gained per level and some rage powers. The half-orc favored class bonus makes up for this in a large way, giving you an additional round of rage per level. Later you get to combine favored enemy with rage powers, adding ½ your favored enemy bonus to the DCs to save against rage powers (Though there aren’t a lot of rage powers that require a save, so keep that in mind). There is also a danger of losing control and going after only your favored enemy mid-battle, which is a scary though. This is a decent, synergistic archetype that I recommend for those who know they’re going up against a lot of one type of enemy (like in PFS, where you fight humans a LOT).

Redeemer (Paladin): The Redeemer archetype is meant to allow your Paladin to fight evil enemies and convince them to repent instead of outright destroying them. You can use smite to deal nonlethal damage, you get an ability that can force monsters to leave areas or groups of people alone for months at a time, and you can grant your nonlethal smite to all your allies. Gameplay-wise, this is not a strong archetype, but it’s full of flavor and would be great for the type of character who was redeemed from evil and turned to the ways of good, hoping now to sway other evil creatures to accept the light.

Scarred Witch Doctor: Pre-Errata Scarred Witch Doctor changed the spellcasting (and Hexing) primary ability score from Intelligence to Constitution, making interesting gish builds possible (although better on full-blooded Orcs).  Now, it instead adds +2 to effective Intelligence for the purpose of all Witch class abilities (Fierce Intelligence), and leaves Intelligence as the primary spellcasting (and Hexing) ability score.  Apparently, the writers of this Errata forgot that Half-Orcs can put their +2 on any ability score.  Although this Errata basically killed the gish builds, it made otherwise conventional (primarily casting and Hexing) Half-Orc Scarred Witch Doctor builds super-powered while leaving Orc Scarred Witch Doctor Builds only passable.

Skulking Slayer (Rogue): I like this archetype, because it gives a Rogue more options for dealing sneak attack damage, requiring her to rely less on her allies for flanking. It’s also one of the best ways to use Dirty Trick effectively, as you can replace any attack that would normally deal sneak damage with a Dirty Trick maneuver instead. This archetype makes a Strength-based Rogue more viable, as you can eventually use Feint before charging, dealing sneak attack damage to that first enemy, and then on the next round you can cleave through several enemies, dealing sneak damage to every one after the first that you hit, flanking be damned!

Prestige Classes:
There aren’t any orc-specific or human-specific prestige classes, but there is one prestige classes that a half-orc can really excel at:

Eldritch Knight: The half-orc is in the best position of all races to become an Eldritch Knight for one reason alone: the Scarred Witch Doctor archetype. The reason this works so well is because you will continue to get to use your Constitution score for your casting stat, even after taking levels in this prestige class. Every level will give you new spells per day AND a full BAB progression, which is just awesome. I recommend taking a single level of Urban Barbarian (to gain Controlled Rage, which you’ll use on Con every time) and then take Scarred Witch Doctor for 5 levels, then jump into Eldritch Knight for 10 levels, then go back to Scarred Witch Doctor. By doing so, at 20th level you’ll have a BAB of +15, you’ll be a 18th-level caster which means you’ll be able to cast 9th level spells, and when you use Controlled Rage to add +4 to your Con score, you’ll get a boost of +2 to hex DCs (note that the intent of Controlled Rage seems to be that things that require concentration, like spellcasting, can be done while using the ability, but I think some GMs would still rule against being able to cast while raging).
Racial Feats:
Like half-elves, half-orcs have access to feats meant for either of their “parent” races. Because of this, I’m listing orc-only feats here in addition to feats meant for half-orcs, as it may take me a while to get to orcs in this guide. I won’t be listing human-only feats here since I’ll have them in the Human Feats section, so make sure to check those out too! Remember, though, if you’re playing in Pathfinder Society, your half-orc does NOT qualify for human- or orc-only feats!

Beast Rider: This feat is a great choice for a multiclass character who is planning to go into the Mammoth Rider prestige class. Since you can take this feat at 7th level, this will allow you to use a more exotic creature as your mount three levels before you can begin taking Mammoth Rider levels (10th level minimum), and you can treat your druid level as up to two levels higher (up to your maximum level) for determining the powers and abilities of your new mount. Combine this with Boon Companion, and you can have a full-strength mount or animal companion with up to six class levels that don’t normally increase your animal companion’s abilities!

Blood Vengance: This feat allows you to go into a rage-like state if one of your allies is knocked unconscious or killed, which is pretty cool. Note that it says you MAY enter the state, so you’re not going to be forced to do it if the situation wouldn’t warrant you doing so. It’s important to be aware also that this won’t work for summoned creatures, or for companion creatures (except at very low levels) because the ally has to have at least the same number of hit dice as yourself.

Born Alone: This feat really would only be useful if you have a huge Constitution bonus. A few temporary hit points usually aren’t going to make a huge difference, especially as you get to higher levels, so I’d say you’re better off picking up Toughness instead.

Brutal Grappler: This one lets you combine your grappling efforts with an ally at the same time, allowing both of you to deal damage automatically. You also are treated as aiding each other on the grapple, gaining a +2 to CMB checks. If you and an ally both have a decent CMB, this one could definitely be worth it. The only bad thing is that both of you need to take it, as it’s a Teamwork feat.

Bullying Blow: If you’re building an Intimidate-based build, you might want to consider this one, as it lets you intimidate an enemy as a free action after you hit them. The only bad thing is you can’t use it with a full attack action.

Deathless Initiate: This is the first feat in a fairly in-depth line that will eventually keep your half-orc from dying after hitting 0 hit points, allow him or her to keep fighting well past 0, and negate critical hits. However, there’s a serious feat tax for this one, as it requires both Diehard and Endurance.

Deathless Master: If you’ve invested in Deathless Initiate, you’ll likely want this one too, as it allows you to keep taking actions after hitting 0 hit points without taking a hit point from each action. The feat tax keeps piling up, though.

Deathless Zealot: This is a nice capstone for the Deathless line of feats. You essentially force all of your enemies to reroll any critical hit confirmations they make against you, and forcing rerolls on your enemies is always excellent.

Destroyer's Blessing: A sundering Barbarian would gain a lot from this feat, but any other character will find it lacking.

Ferocious Action: This is a good choice if you’re going to invest in the Deathless feats above or Ferocious Resolve below, because you won’t be staggered when you’re under 0 hit points, and if you’re raging there’s really no penalty to using this feat. I like it.

Ferocious Resolve: This is a different way to continue fighting after you’re reduced below 0 hit points, and it requires much less feat investment. Combine this one with Ferocious Action to keep fighting until you’re dead as a doornail without being staggered.

Ferocious Summons: For a summoning-focused caster, this is a seriously awesome ability, especially at lower levels. You’re essentially giving every summoned creature an additional 10+ hit points, by allowing them to fight past 0 hit points, though they do become staggered.

Ferocious Tenacity: Here’s another way to keep yourself alive when norally you’d be dead. In this case, when you’d normally be killed by hit point damage, you can instead expend rage rounds to reduce the damage. Pretty cool!

Fight On: And here is yet ANOTHER way to keep from dying after you hit 0 hit points. This one gives you a number of temporary hit points equal to your Con bonus when you’d normally be knocked out. However, this feat is not nearly as powerful as the others I’ve just talked about, so stick with the Ferocious line of feats above instead.

Fire God's Blessing: A single point of healing when an enemy takes fire damage isn’t a huge bonus, but if you plan to set your enemies on fire a lot it’s almost like having Regeneration, which is pretty nice.

Foment the Blood: This would be a really cool ability if it worked for all of your allies, but sadly this will only give damage and critical hit bonuses to orcs and half-orcs, so unless you are in a party with all-orcish blood, this probably isn’t worth your time. However, if you’re a GM writing up an encounter with a band of orcs, make sure to give the cleric this feat!

Gore Fiend: This is a great option for a half-orc Barbarian, especially if you often use weapons with a decent critical range. It gives you an extra round of rage every time you confirm a critical hit with a melee weapon OR a crit is confirmed against you, which probably happens more often than you realize.

Grudge Fighter: For any melee character who doesn’t rage and doesn’t have a Bard in their party, this is an excellent choice, since rage and bardic performances are the main sources of morale bonuses, and who doesn’t like to wreak vengeance on an enemy who attacked them?

Horde Charge: This is a teamwork feat meant to allow an orc raiding party to all charge at once, gaining bonuses to attack. If you do have multiple characters in your party who charge and attack at the beginning of every combat, this might be worth it, but it’s generally tough to convince other players to take Teamwork feats. This would be much better for an Inquisitor or Cavalier who can either use a Teamwork feat on his own or grant its benefit to all his allies, respectively.

Ironguts: A bonus to saves against the nauseated and sickened condition can definitely come in handy, but a bonus to only ingested poisons isn’t that exciting, since most poisons you’ll encounter will be either injury-based or inhaled. A bonus to Survival to find food for yourself will also hardly ever come up.

Ironhide: Most characters will be searching high and low for AC bonuses that don’t cost an arm and a leg at higher levels, so gaining a natural armor bonus of even +1 is probably worth a feat for many characters. Note, however, that if your class has a feature that gives you natural armor bonuses (like the Alchemist or the Druid), then this will NOT stack with those other bonuses. It WILL stack with an amulet of natural armor, however.

Keen Scent: The scent special ability is pretty incredible, in fact it’s pretty overpowered, since it will let you automatically notice invisible enemies near you no matter how high their Stealth check is. This ability is one of the reasons that Paizo tried in vain to reform the Stealth rules, but ultimately they gave up on making the changes that Rogues and Ninjas so desperately need to stay viable.

Orc Weapon Expertise: This is an odd feat, letting you choose one of several different combat bonuses that only work if you are wielding a weapon with “orc” in the name that you are proficient with. Sadly, there is only one weapon that fits this description, the Orc Double Axe, so this feat really isn’t useful unless you’re building a character focused completely on using that weapon.

Pass for Human: If you find yourself trying to fit into a human-only society for some reason, this feat will give you a nice bonus to your Disguise checks. Otherwise, ignore it.

Razortusk: Gaining a bite attack can come in really handy for a melee character, especially one who deals sneak attack damage, as it gives you one more source of sneak damage when you’re flanking someone.

Resilient Brute: This is just one more feat to add to the list of “ways to not die as a half-orc”. Once per day you can change half the damage from a critical hit to nonlethal damage, which can be really helpful if you’re fighting some huge bad guy who deals massive damage.

Resolute Rager: When you’re raging this feat lets you get an additional save vs. a fear effect, however you already get a nice bonus against fear effects while raging, so honestly I can’t really see anyone spending a feat on this one, even though I generally like abilities that give you rerolls.

Reverse-Feint: This is excellent for a high-AC, high-damage melee frontliner, as you essentially leave a gap in your defenses, hoping that an enemy will try to hit you, and when they do you can use an immediate action to hit them back with a +2 to your attack bonus. The only complaint I have about this feat is that it uses an immediate action, which means you won’t have a swift action in your next turn, and a lot of character builds nowadays are planning swift actions on most turns (I’m looking at you, Mythic Playtest).

Smash: If this feat let you ignore 5 points of hardness on constructs also, it would be much better. As is, if you plan to smash down a lot of doors, this might be for you, otherwise it’s not worth your time.

Smell Fear: This feat is a trap, as far as I’m concerned. With scent, you essentially never need to make a Perception check, with the way the Stealth rules currently work. This means that a +4 bonus to identify creatures that are scared by scent is basically meaningless!

Surprise Follow-Through: This feat and its improved version really make a Strength-based Rogue a viable option. Opponents that you Cleave (after the first hit) are flat-footed against your attacks, which means you get to deal sneak damage to an enemy you cleave into after the first! Very cool, though very feat intensive..

Surprise Follow-Through, Improved: This does exactly the same thing as Surprise Follow-Through but lets you use it with Great Cleave, causing all enemies after the first that you Cleave into to be flat-footed.

Sympathetic Rage: This feat is VERY similar to Blood Vengeance, except that you get to enter a rage-like state anytime you’re adjacent to your raging Barbarian friend, and since this will hopefully happen a lot more often than one of your allies getting knocked out, I’d pick this one over Blood Vengeance. However, it’s sort of a double-edged sword, because if your Barbarian ally needs to move away from you, you become fatigued like a normal Barbarian would pretty much instantly.

Tenacious Survivor: Once again, a feat that keeps you from dying. Are you sensing a theme, here? This one keeps your spirit in your body for a short time, allowing your party healer to bring you back from the dead, but you do gain a negative level from doing so as if you had been resurrected, so you’re gonna hope you never have to use this one.

Thrill of the Kill: Another feat giving you extra rounds of rage, this one lets you gain a rage round anytime you knock out or kill an opponent. Combine this one with Gore Fiend, and scoring a critical hit that kills an enemy will give you TWO rounds of rage, which is pretty awesome.

Trap Wrecker: This feat reminds me of Order of the Stick, because I could just imagine Belkar deciding to smack a trap with a sword instead of using Disable Device. The benefit here is that you can literally smash a trap instead of disabling it, though there’s a good chance you will spring the trap and take damage. However, this is so incredibly flavorful and awesome that I just have to give it a high rating.


War Singer: There are two reasons to take this feat, #1 being if you find your Bard in the midst of an epic battle fairly often, as it doubles the range of your bardic performances if there are at least a dozen creatures battling nearby, and #2 being if you fight a lot of orcs (or half-orcs, or Sorcerers with the orc bloodline, etc.)



2 comments:

  1. Hey, I just wanted to point out that your information on the Scarred Witchdoctor if out of date. As of a fairly recent errata, the Scarred Witchdoctor no longer gets Con dependency, and instead its Intended is treated as 2 higher for the purposes of spellcasting and hexes. It's lame, but true. :(

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    1. We're working on it -- things like this are gradually being updated.

      -- {Paizo forums UnArcaneElection}

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