Each base class in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game draws upon a central idea—a basic concept representing a commonly held understanding of what a character of a certain class should be—and is designed to be a foundation for a wide array of characters. Within that basic concept, however, exists the potential for innumerable interpretations and refinements, ways for the rules to cater to a more specialized interpretation of the class. A member of the swashbuckler class, for example, could be a daring infiltrator, a queen's musketeer, or a masked avenger. Such choices are refined through background details, class options, feats, and skills, all to better forge the character the player imagines and make her more effective at manifesting her unique personality and pursuing her goals.

Some character concepts are too close to existing classes to warrant being full classes of their own, yet prove compelling enough that they come up in play time and time again. For these situations, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game has archetypes—sets of modified abilities that can be easily swapped out for those of a given class to help customize its focus. The following section details new rules options and alternate class features to help you create iconic fantasy characters.

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Archetypes are used to take your player's character that much further. Each Archetype has a few notes on how they work in the game.

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