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Athlete

A New Base Class For the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

The dance of war and peace is an endless one and each side has its champions. In times of war, we are defended by soldiers who lay their lives on the line for glory and our protection. In times of peace, we have athletes who compete for the prestige and pride of those they represent. Both may seize victory purely on the virtues of their skills both and may fail if they do not work with their teammates. Many armies train with sports in peacetime and their skills can be used on the battlefield or in the arena. Members of the athlete class are competitors who have turned their skills of their sport into a combative profession. Most athletes are skilled at multiple sports, though they focus on a single one to a much higher degree than the others.


While many athletes are “sportsmen”, at their core they are someone who focuses on improving their physical and mental abilities to the peak of their race (and beyond). They are not generals who study tactics or soldiers long practiced in the art of drills,  they are bodybuilders and marathon runners who pay meticulous attention to their diet and seek to increase their flexibility by using only the most efficient methods of stretching. While a knight is sharpening his sword an athlete is doing calisthenics. When a cleric is praying to their deity, an athlete is calculating their caloric intake for the day. While a rogue is practicing his grifting an athlete is practicing defensive plays. While similar to monks, they differ in that a monks seeks spiritual enlightenment and martial mastery while an athlete’s goals are far more mundane. They want to the best version of themselves that they can be. Athletes aren’t seeking esoteric mysteries, they aren’t trying to learn a martial art (though they might)- they just want to perfect their bodies in a general sense.


Athletes are not specialists, they thrive on their physical versatility and their capacity to excel in any role they are put in. Athletes are expected to have the highest cumulative ability scores in the group and no gaps in those ability scores. While they may not throw a punch as well as a monk, avoid a trap as well as a rogue, or be able to cause more mayhem than an enraged barbarian, athletes are often the second best in all those fields. Athletes are also natural team-players and integrate well into any party during combat. Though athletes begin their careers lacking in some areas, they fill these weaknesses as they progress and can make top notch adventurers if given the chance to shine.

Hit Dice: D10.


TerminologyEdit

The term for an athlete is generally “sportsman” or “sportswoman” if they play several sports professionally.


RoleEdit

An athlete dominates not through subtlety, but through overwhelming physical prowess. They can increase their own physical ability scores, base attack bonus, hit dice, and saves as they level up. An athlete should always be able to make the save, hit the target, and have a decent bonus on a skill check- but don’t outpace those other classes that specialize in those things. They don’t hit as hard as a fighter, but they can hit enemies constantly. They don’t possess as many skills as a rogue, but they can fall back on their skills in a pinch. They can’t take as much punishment as a raging barbarian, but they can survive a beating and come back for seconds. Their key is practiced consistency and the ability to always be relevant.



Natural Gift: An athlete is a rare prodigy who is not only adept at a variety of physical activities but also a genius at the planning and execution of his role on the field. For this reason, an athlete cannot have below 10 in any ability score. Should he ever have one of his ability scores lowered below 10 permanently, he may not progress in the athlete class. If he should raise his scores to 10 or above, he may resume progression.


Trappings: An athlete generally chooses a piece of sports equipment or even a lucky piece of team paraphernalia.



Alignment: Any



Starting Wealth: 5d6 × 10 gp (average 175 gp.). In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.


Class SkillsEdit

The athlete’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Escape Artist (Dex), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier


Table #-1: The Athlete

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

+0

+2

+2

+0

Determination +1, position, sport (professional), strive

2nd

+1

+3

+3

+0

Training

3rd

+2

+3

+3

+1

Sport

4th

+3

+4

+4

+1

Bonus feat

5th

+3

+4

+4

+1

Determination +2, position

6th

+4

+5

+5

+2

Training

7th

+5

+5

+5

+2

Sport

8th

+6/+1

+6

+6

+2

Bonus feat, evasion

9th

+6/+1

+6

+6

+3

Determination +3

10th

+7/+2

+7

+7

+3

Clutch, position, training

11th

+8/+3

+7

+7

+3

Sport

12th

+9/+4

+8

+8

+4

Bonus feat

13th

+9/+4

+8

+8

+4

Determination +4

14th

+10/+5

+9

+9

+4

Training

15th

+11/+6/+1

+9

+9

+5

Position, sport

16th

+12/+7/+2

+10

+10

+5

Bonus feat

17th

+12/+7/+2

+10

+10

+5

Determination +5

18th

+13/+8/+3

+11

+11

+6

Training

19th

+14/+9/+4

+11

+11

+6

Sport

20th

+15/+10/+5

+12

+12

+6

All-star, bonus feat, Position,  Determination +6

Class FeaturesEdit

The following are the class features of the athlete.


Weapon and Armor ProficienciesEdit

An athlete is proficient with all simple weapons and light armor but not with any shields or any other kinds of armor. An athlete is always considered proficient with any piece of sports equipment in which they have taken the “sport” class feature. If one of these sports implements would normally be considered an improvised weapon, the athlete treats it as a normal weapon and suffer no penalty to wielding it.


Determination (Ex):Edit

At 1st level, an athlete may re-roll one failed dice roll per day. If this failed dice roll is a save or skill check, they gain a +1 morale bonus on the re-roll. He gains an additional re-roll per day at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter, and the morale bonus on the reroll increases by +1. An athlete may also spend his determination to gain a bonus as stated in his position class feature.


Position (Ex):Edit

Everyone has a position or role on a team, and an athlete learns his own better than any. At 1st level, an athlete selects one of the improvements. These choices impact the nature of the class. At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, he may select another.

  • Defender

    • They say that good defense doesn’t win games. A seasoned coach will tell you that’s poppycock- a poor defense loses you games. A defender quells any hope of their opponent’s scoring by solidly refuting any attempt thrown at them.

    • Benefit: An athlete’s class Hit Dice improves from a D10 to a D12. You may recalculate the character’s Hit Dice provided by this class when you take this class feature (or simply add +1 hp for each previous level of athlete).

    • Special: A defender can expend 1 use of his determination class feature as a full round action to establish a combat patrol, as per the feat of the same name, until the start of his next turn. Any successful attacks of opportunity made during this time interrupt a target’s movement action and stop them in their tracks (ending their movement).

    • Examples: Linebackers (football), defenders (soccer), fielders (baseball), blocker (roller derby)

  • Striker

    • Strikers have one job- score. Aggressive, energetic, and dogged strikers work the offensive side of the field. Always seeking opportunities and threatening the other team’s defenses, these are the players everyone remembers. They are the goal-scorers, the game winners, the pace setters.

    • Benefit: The base attack bonus progression of this class becomes equal to that of a fighter of equivalent level.

    • Special: A striker can expend 1 use of his determination class feature as a free action to gain an additional attack at his highest base attack bonus as part of a full attack action. This can stack with haste and other abilities that grant additional attacks per round.

    • Examples: Forwards (basketball), attackers (soccer), receivers (football), designated hitters (baseball), chaser (quidditch).

  • Goaltender:

    • Goaltenders are the last line of defense against enemies, guardians protecting that which is most valuable. They are the backbone of the team, serving as the last hope against the enemy’s offense. Often times a good goaltender can be the most valuable player on a team and is required to be clutch.

    • Benefit: An athlete, who masters this position, gains Deflect Arrows as a bonus feat. In addition he may deflect arrows with any 1 handed weapon as though he had a free hand, and he may deflect arrows that are directed against targets that are adjacent to him.

    • Special: A goaltender can expend 1 use of his determination class feature as a free action to increase the number of deflections he may make in a round by his Dexterity modifier, and by spending an attack of opportunity may attempt to return the attack as though he had Snatch Arrows instead of Deflect Arrows.

    • Examples: Goalies (hockey), goaltender (soccer), catchers (baseball), keeper (quidditch)

  • Sprinter

    • A breakaway can turn the tide in the blink of an eye and a sprinter is the master of such fast breaks. Their sheer speed means they can be everywhere at once, either as a harrying defender or a driving attacker. Sprinters are often utility players, filling multiple roles as the situation dictates.

    • Benefit: An athlete gains a +5 foot competence bonus to his movement speed. He additionally gains a further +5 foot bonus to his movement speed for every 3 levels of athlete he possesses. Apply this bonus before modifying the athlete’s speed because of any load carried or armor worn. This bonus stacks with any other bonuses to the athlete’s land speed.

    • Special: A sprinter can expend 1 use of his determination class feature to make a special charge attack. This charge attack deals an additional 1d6 additional damage if it successfully hits. At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter the damage increases by 1d6 to a maximum of 9d6 at 19th level.

    • Example: Midfielder (soccer), anchor (relay), pusher (bobsled), wide receiver (football), rover (ice hockey), midfield (lacrosse).

  • Bully

    • Bullies knock other players around, bursting through skirmishes unhindered. Their are the unwavering shocktroopers that ignore all but the biggest threats and are used when speed and finesse is not working.

    • Benefit: An athlete who masters this position never has his speed modified by armor or encumbrance. In addition, they gain a +4 insight bonus to their CMD against all combat maneuvers and a +2 insight bonus when making Bull Rush, Dirty Trick, Drag, and Grapple maneuvers.

    • Special: A bully can expend 1 use of his determination class feature as a free action after making a successful Bull Rush, Dirty Trick, Drag, or Grapple attempt, to deal damage as though they had made a successful attack roll with the weapon they performed the maneuver with.

    • Examples: Running back (football), beater (quidditch)

  • Team Captain

    • A team captain commands their team like a general commands his troops. Skilled in tactics and coordination, they take the game to a mental level rather than sheerly a physical one.

    • Benefit: An athlete who has mastered this position gains the Will save progression of a paladin of equal level rather than an athlete (+12 at 20th level).

    • Special: A team captain can expend 1 use of his determination class feature as an immediate action to allow all allies who can see and hear him to reroll a failed Will saving throw or to automatically reduce an ongoing fear effect they are suffering from by one step (panicked becomes frightened, frightened becomes shaken, and shaken is removed).

    • Examples: Pitcher (baseball), center (basketball), jammer (roller derby), seeker (quidditch), pilot (bobsled)

Sidebar: One on One SportsEdit

In one-on-one sports (such as fencing) this may speak more to their style of play than the athlete’s actual “team position”. For example: Some sport fencers rely on speed to win their matches (see epee fencers), others might find themselves more apt to throw their weight into attacks, and others still prefer to set up a parry/riposte to an initial attack. Some positions (such as team captain) may not exist in the sport that your athlete has achieved fame in and may therefore not be thematically appropriate for your character.


Sport (Ex):Edit

An athlete is trained in a variety of sports. An athlete can parlay some of these abilities into skills useful to an adventurer. At 1st level, he selects a sport he is trained in and at 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter he selects a new sport he is trained professionally in.


Each sport an athlete is trained in provides him with a special bonus. The bonuses are competence bonuses and all provide a minimum +1 bonus (unless otherwise stated). Bonuses on combat maneuvers apply both on rolls to attempt them and to the athlete’s CMD against them. Some sports have an alternate skill bonus and, once chosen, cannot be changed to the default version.


  • Archery

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on critical confirmation rolls with bows.

  • Baseball/Cricket

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on critical confirmation rolls with bludgeoning weapons.

  • Dancing, Competitive

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2 athlete level on Perform (dance) checks.

  • Equestrian

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Ride checks.

  • Fencing

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on disarm attempts.

    • Alternate Skill Bonus: If you are utilizing the “Weapons as Defensive Equipment” alternate rules from this book, you could alternatively have the skill bonus from this sport grant a +1/5th AC shield bonus when wielding a rapier.

  • Football*

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on bull rush attempts.

  • Golf

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Perception checks.

  • Gymnastics

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Acrobatics checks.

  • Hockey

    • Skill Bonus: +5 ft land speed every 4 athlete levels while on ice or snow (minimum +5 feet).

  • Hurling/Javelins

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on critical confirmation rolls with thrown weapons.

  • Lacrosse

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on critical confirmation rolls with lacrosse sticks and slings when making ranged attacks.

  • Prize Fighting

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on feint attempts.

    • Alternate Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on performance combat checks to influence crowds.

  • Rock Climbing

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Climb checks.

  • Running, Long Distance

    • Skill Bonus: +5 ft land speed ever 4 athlete levels while on paved roads or in urban environments (minimum +5 feet).

  • Sailing

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Profession (sailor) checks.

  • Shooting**

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on critical confirmation rolls with firearms.

  • Skiing

    • Skill Bonus: 5 + athlete level cold resistance (minimum 5 cold resistance).

  • Soccer*

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on trip attempts.

  • Swimming

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level on Swim checks.

  • Tennis

    • Skill Bonus: +1/5th bonus to the athlete’s on attack rolls when making attacks of opportunity.

  • Weightlifting

    • Skill Bonus: +1/2th athlete level as a bonus to your Strength score for the purpose of determining your carrying capacity.

  • Wrestling

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on grapple attempts.

  • Yoga / Stretching

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th athlete level on the maximum Dex bonus on armors you are proficient in the use of.

  • Jai Alai

    • Skill Bonus: +1/4th bonus on initiative checks.

  • All sport names are given in modern American English.

    • Only available in games where advanced firearms are the norm.

Strive (Ex):Edit

An athlete may use his athlete level as his base attack bonus for the purpose of meeting feat prerequisites.


Training (Ex):Edit

Starting at 2nd level, an athlete gains a +2 inherent bonus to one physical ability score (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution). This bonus stacks with other inherent bonuses. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the athlete improves any one physical ability score by a further +2. An athlete can never select the same ability score to improve with this ability until they have selected the other two.


Bonus Feat:Edit

At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, an athlete gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement from the following list:

Acrobatic, Agile Maneuvers, Alertness, Uncanny Alertness, Athletic, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Defensive Combat Training, Deft Hands, Dodge, Mobility, Combat Patrol, Landing Roll, Sidestep, Improved Sidestep, Endurance, Diehard, Fast Healer, Enforcer, Fleet, Great Fortitude, Improved Great Fortitude, Improved Unarmed Strike, Improved Grapple, Intimidating Prowess, Iron Will, Improved Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Improved Lighting Reflexes, Nimble Moves, Acrobatic Steps, Prodigy, Toughness, and Weapon Finesse.


Evasion (Ex):Edit

At 8th level and higher, an athlete can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the athlete is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless athlete does not gain the benefit of evasion.


Clutch (Ex):Edit

At 10th level, an athlete can take 10 on any skill that is listed as a skill bonus for a sport they are trained in. They may do this without increasing the time the check takes and may do it during situations that would not normally allow it (such as in combat).


All-Star (Ex):Edit

At 20th level, an athlete can take 20 on any skill that is listed as a skill bonus for a sport they are trained in. They may do this without increasing the time the check takes and may do it during situations that would not normally allow it (such as in combat).


Sidebar: Similar ClassesEdit

As introduced at the beginning of this book, some exotic classes fill roles that would normally be the purview of other classes. A thane fills a role similar to a rogue or monk and as such multiclassing into one of these classes is discouraged.



Historical Example: Jim Thorpe

While there are numerous examples of professional athletes who were able to excel at multiple sports none can match the legacy left by Jim Thorpe. He achieved great feats in pentathlons, decathlons, baseball, football, lacrosse, sprinting, javelin, the discus throw, long distance throwing, high/long jumping, and he even won an important ballroom dancing competition.


Other Historical Examples: Bruce Lee (Martial Art, Dancing, Physical Fitness), Jackie Robinson (Baseball, Track, Football), Babe Didrikson (Golf, Basketball, Track), Jim Brown (Football, Track, Lacrosse, Basketball), Tonya Harding (Figure Skating, Boxing, Racing)

Section 15 OGL Copyright Declaration:Edit

• System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.;

Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by

E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

• Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Inc.; Author: Jason

Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip

Williams.

• The Book of Experimental Might. Copyright 2008, Monte J. Cook. All

rights reserved.

• Tome of Horrors. Copyright 2002, Necromancer Games, Inc.; Authors:

Scott Greene, with Clark Peterson, Erica Balsley, Kevin Baase, Casey

Christofferson, Lance Hawvermale, Travis Hawvermale, Patrick Lawinger,

and Bill Webb; Based on original content from TSR.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s Guide. © 2010, Paizo

Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Combat. © 2011, Paizo Publishing,

LLC; Authors: Dennis Baker, Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason

Bulmahn, Brian J. Cortijo, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Richard A. Hunt,

Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Patrick Renie, Sean K

Reynolds, and Russ Taylor.

• Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic. © 2011, Paizo Publishing,

LLC; Authors: Jason Bulmahn, Tim Hitchcock, Colin McComb, Rob

McCreary, Jason Nelson, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Sean K Reynolds,

Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.

• Politics and Power © 2014, Little Red Goblin Games LLC; Author: Scott

Gladstein

• Alternate Paths: Martial Characters © 2015, Little Red Goblin Games LLC;

Author: Scott Gladstein, Christos Gurd, Caleb Alysworth, and Dayton

Johnson.