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Pathfinder: Wrath Of The Righteous – How To Build An Arcanist

Quick Links

  • The Arcanist – Character Creation
  • Racial Choices
  • The Arcanist Subclasses
  • Prestige Classes and Multi-Classing Options
  • Examples of Arcanist Builds

The character creation process in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous rates the Arcanist as one of the more difficult classes to build and play, so new players might think about using the handy automatic leveling process to get started.

Arcanists are spellcasters that rely on Intelligence, but also need to prioritize Dexterity and Charisma as part of their build. This makes them a more complex class than other spellcasters with similar traits, like the Wizard or the Bard, but they're often in a damage-per-second role, which makes them less complicated when it comes to actual gameplay.

The Arcanist is an ideal class to play for those that like spellcasters with unique abilities connected to nature, aspects of mysterious planes of reality like the Fey, or healing powers. They're one of the most versatile spellcasting classes and one of the few Intelligence-based casters that have access to both arcane and healing types of spells. The spellbooks of Arcanists know few bounds and include the spells of both Sorcerers and Wizards.

The Arcanist – Character Creation

The Arcanist is primarily an Intelligence-based caster, meaning they have to study and memorize spells. However, Dexterity and Charisma are also important Ability Scores for this class. The Arcanist Exploits, a spontaneous casting ability, relies on Charisma. This makes the initial creation process less complicated but leaves less room for customization than other classes. Certain racial choices can help put a character together with the required skills.

Ability Scores

IntelligenceEvery Arcanist build starts with Intelligence because their casting abilities depend on study and memorization.
CharismaAn Arcanist's exploits, abilities that are similar to cantrips, are governed by their Charisma score.
DexterityThis improves spell hit rating and Dodge ability along with a character's skill when it comes to using certain weapons.
ConsitutionMore hits points are always better, provided there are some to spare after padding three other Ability Scores.
WisdomOnly required for multiclassing options if the player is thinking about classes like Clerics or Inquisitors.
StrengthThe primary Ability Score of martial classes, it's safe to say this is only important to Arcanists interested in multi-classing.

Party Roles

DamageThe most obvious role for any caster, the Arcanist often takes the part of man damage-dealer as well and has more options when it comes to spells than others.
Crowd Control (CC) and DamageMore spells mean more options for party roles. Arcanists can assist other players by controlling the battlefield while melee classes do the bulk of the damage with this build.
Damage and Healing SupportA feature that sets Arcanists apart from other studious casters is their healing abilities. Please note that healing powers are only available to certain subclasses.

Racial Choices

AasimarThe Emberkin Heritage choice provides bonuses to both Intelligence and Charisma, making it an excellent start to any build.
DhampirThe general Heritage of the Dhampir grants bonuses in Charisma and Dexterity, while the choice of Vetala-Born buffs Dexterity and Intelligence.
DwarfA penalty to Charisma makes the Dwarf less than ideal. This race only has a Consitution bonus to offer the Arcanist.
ElfA penalty to Charisma makes the Dwarf less than ideal. This race only has a Consitution bonus to offer the Arcanist.
GnomeA Charisma and Consitution buff make the Gnome a good start. Plus, this is the only race that can take on the Phantasmal Mage Archetype.
Half-elfThe player can add +2 to any ability score to start this build, making the Half-elf one of the more customizable choices.
Half-orcIt doesn't seem like an obvious choice for a spellcasting class, but Half-orcs have a floating +2 Ability Score buff like Half-elves, plus some handy innate weapon abilities.
HalflingBonuses to Dexterity and Charisma give the Halfing a great start. Add racial skills like Halfling Luck and Keen Senses and it's excellent for an Arcanist.
HumanAdd +2 to any Ability Score and Skill of your choice during the initial character build with one of the best customizable races in the game.
KitsuneThere are two Heritage choices here, and both have buffs to Dexterity. The Keen Kitsune has the Intelligence bonus.
OreadThe Gemsoul has a bonus to Charisma, which is one place to start, but there are better options with more buffs than this.
TieflingThere are several choices for Tiefling Heritage, and since the race has a reputation for high Ability Scores in Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma, several of them include stats that are important to the Arcanist. Choose carefully, however, as some actually have a penalty to important scores as well.

The Arcanist Subclasses

Brown Fur TransmuterSpecializes in the transformative power of Arcane magic to turn themselves and others into animals. They lose their Arcanist Exploits in exchange.
Eldritch FontUses spontaneous casting powers and uses an ability called Font of Power as a source of magical energy but can't use Exploits.
Nature MageAdds Nature Magic to their already wide array of abilities.
Phantasmal MageThe School of Illusion is the specialty of this Archetype, which is connected to the Fey. That's why it's one of the few Pathfinder subclasses that's only available to Gnomes, who have an ancestral connection to this elusive magic.
Unlettered ArcanistThanks to extensive research and study, this Arcanist has access to some Witch spells and a familiar.
White MageThe Archetype for a healing Arcanist build, this subclass has access to Divine healing spells along with the ability to cast them without memorization.

Prestige Classes and Multi-Classing Options

Arcanists are designed to cover a lot of abilities and roles. Their talents combine the abilities of various classic RPG classes of the spellcasting variety. Players have the option of taking this even further in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. It's not just about gaining other abilities via multiclassing. Players can also take advantage of Prestige Classes and the Mythic Paths for unique character customization and progression.

Dual-classing is common in other TTRPGs like Dungeons & Dragons in order to give a character abilities unique to a certain class. In Pathfinder, there's no such thing as dual-classing. Instead, a player would take a few levels in a certain class as a multiclass build and level either class whenever they wanted. The only requirement is that the character must have at least 13 in the proficiency score of the target class in order to be able to multiclass. Since Arcanists have high Ability Scores in Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma, there's a lot of options.

Regular Classes

AlchemistBoth of these classes use Intelligence as their most important modifier, so if a character needs even more DPS power that's not magic-based it's a decent choice.
BardAnother spontaneous caster that relies on Charisma, multiclassing with a Bard can be one way to get access to even more spells and proficiency with certain weapons.
BloodragerWant to multiclass with a Barbarian for the Rage powers but don't have the Strength Ability? The Bloodrager uses Charisma as a modifier instead.
CavalierA Charisma-based class with martial abilities and a mount, which improves both travel speed and carrying capacity.
FighterThe default multiclass option, it's an easy way to give an Arcanist martial abilities. Just base your Fighter on Dexterity instead of Strength.
KineticistAnother Intelligence-based caster, this class uses kinetic energy instead of magic to cast spells. A nice way to diversity damage-dealing options.
OracleVery much like a Cleric, but this healer's powers are based on Charisma instead of Wisdom despite their Divine nature.
PaladinAnother Charisma-based class, Paladins have a variety of martial abilities in addition to Divine spellcasting powers, as long as your character is Lawful Good.
RogueDexterity is the common thread here, and this is popular multiclass anyway thanks to handy Rogue skills like lockpicking and Disarm Traps.
SlayerA class unique to Pathfinder, the Slayer bases their abilities on their intelligence score, and their array of martial and combat skills make this a tempting combination.

Prestige Classes

AssassinProvided a character has a Stealth skill of five and an Evil moral alignment, they can progress into this Prestige Class.
Eldritch KnightOne option for spellcasters with some martial proficiencies, an ideal choice for characters that want to be savage damage-dealers at both close and long-range.
DuelistArcanists with the ability to use finesse weapons can hone their expertise to make their swordplay as deadly as their spellcasting.
Student of WarA Prestige Class that fits with the Arcanist's studious background, it also requires the Dodge skill and Combat Expertise.
Hellknight SignifierThe character needs to have the Warrior Priest Feat and any Lawful alignment to join the spellcasting wing of the fearsome Hellknights.

Examples of Arcanist Builds

The Arcane Healer

Party RoleHealing support and ranged damage.
Ideal RaceElf or Halfling
Best SubclassWhite Mage
Important Ability ScoresIntelligence and Charisma are the most important stats for this Arcanist build. Intelligence means a better chance to memorize more, even with little rest, and Charisma means better spontaneous casting abilities.

Classic DPS

Party RoleRanged Damage of the Arcane type.
Ideal RaceGnome
Best SubclassEldritch Font or Phantasmal Mage
Important Ability ScoresThis is the most casting-dependent build, so the focus is on Intelligence with Dexterity as a close second. This Arcanist will have more DPS in their spellbook than others, with less of an emphasis on support or healing spells.

The Radagast Build

Party RoleCrowd control and damage with some healing support. This is the Arcanist that draws their arcane power from natural sources and can fill a variety of roles in the adventuring party.
Ideal RaceKitsune, which seems to make the most sense from a lore point of view.
Best SubclassBrown Fur Transmuter or Nature Mage
Important Ability ScoresPrioritize Dexterity along with Intelligence with this build, which obviously doesn't value Charisma as highly as others. Since this kind of Arcanist isn't usually the main healer it's not as important.

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