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Pathfinder - Variant Rules - Class-Specific Favored Class Bonuses

Paizo has published race-specific favored class bonuses which attempt to differentiate characters of the same class but of different races. Unfortunately, many of these options are very unbalanced, which makes it essentially required that you play a character of a race with a decent favored class bonus. This article attempts to provide favored class bonuses for each class which are both balanced and useful on most builds, and which allow players to play effective characters of nearly any race and class.

I haven't written new favored class bonus options for classes from the Advanced Class Guide. Paizo's bonuses are very well written for these classes, and I am still attempting to come up with options which don't pointlessly overlap the existing options.

Favored Class Bonuses

Instead of selecting one addition hit point or skill rank, characters may select the bonus specified for their favored class in the table below.

Class-Specific Favored Class Bonus
Class Bonus Discussion
Alchemist Add +5 minutes to the duration of the Alchemist’s mutagens. Nearly every alchemist depends on their Mutagen, especially those who don't rely on their bombs (and there are many), but the duration is a huge handicap. Increasing the duration by up to 50% makes the Alchemist much more sustainable throughout the day. The alchemist could arguably function without their mutagen, but the reality is that most alchemists will simply stop adventuring when their mutagen runs out.
Arcanist Add +1/3 to Concentration checks when casting Arcanist spells. This isn't terribly exciting, but the Arcanist is an extremely easy introductory class for spellcasters, and this fits that theme nicely. The racial favored class bonuses are all fairly good (except the Dwarf's), and they are unique enough to provide interesting options for most races.
Barbarian Add 1 to the Barbarian's total number of rage rounds per day. Every other favored class bonus option for the Barbarian is garbage.
Bard Add +1/6 to the competence bonus provided by Inspire Courage or Inspire Competence This is a small bonus, but it will add up over time and it will work for any almost Bard
Bloodrager Add 1 to the Bloodrager's total number of bloodrage rounds per day. Bloodrage defines the Bloodrager, and expanding the limited duration allows the Bloodrager to last longer in a day. The best races for the Bloodrager already get this bonus.
Brawler Add 1/4 to the brawler's effective level to determine her unarmed strike damage. This amounts to a very small increase in the Brawler's damage, but it works on any Brawler build.
Cavalier Add +1/4 to the Cavalier's banner bonus. The Cavalier really needs a bit of help emphasizing its Support abilities.
Cleric Add +1/3 to the amount of damage dealt or damage healed when the cleric uses channel energy. Clerics really should be better at channeling energy, and the biggest issue is the damage.
Druid Add +1 hit point or +1 skill rank to the Druid's Animal Companion. If the Druid ever replaces his companion, the new companion gains these bonus hit points or skill ranks. Many races can do this with their Animal Companion/Eidolon/Mount for other classes.
Fighter Reduce the penalty for not being proficient with one weapon by 1. When the nonproficiency penalty for a weapon becomes 0 because of this ability, the Fighter is treated as having the appropriate Weapon Proficiency feat with that weapon. Fighters should be able to use lots of cool, exotic weapons, but Exotic Weapon proficiency is rarely a worthwhile feat. This opens up the Fighter's list of options so that they can justify using all of those weird situational exotic weapons.
Gunslinger Add +1/4 point to the Gunslinger’s Grit points. This is another case of the Human's favored class bonus being too good compared to other races. Grit is too important to the Gunslinger to restrict and easy bonus to Humans and Half-Elves.
Hunter
Inquisitor
Investigator
Magus Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made with Spell Combat and Spellstrike (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus. The Magus has excellent favored class options. They're all roughly equal in power, and there are enough options that every race is viable.
Monk Add +1/4 point to the Monk's Ki Pool. The Ki Pool is the Monk's biggest limitation, and limiting this option to Humans makes Humans too good an option to consider anything else. This also removes the need to rely on archetypes like Hungry Ghost to fuel your Ki Pool.
Oracle Add one spell known from the oracle spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the oracle can cast. Most medium-sized core races get this option anyway, and it seems pointless to limit it to only those races considering how good it is.
Paladin Add 1/6 of a new Mercy This is equivalent to 6 levels for an extra Mercy compared to the Extra Mercy feat or any of the extra talent feats. Not all Paladins will want this, but most Paladins still get Mercies, so most Paladins will be able to make use of this option.
Ranger Add 1/3 to the Ranger's effective Druid level for the purposes of the Ranger's Animal Companion. Boon Companion is an extremely common choice for Rangers, so it makes sense to make this an easy option. This doesn't pay off as well as one of the bonuses which provides 1/6 of a talent because it requires 9 levels to get the Ranger up to the same level as the Druid, but the gradual scaling will feel nice every 3 levels when the effect improves.
Rogue Add +1/2 to the Rogue's Sneak Attack damage. Sneak Attack is the Rogue's signature ability, and their primary source of damage. Unfortunately, they still can't keep up with spellcasters or a raging Barbarian unless the fight goes exactly how they need it to. This helps somewhat by adding a splash of extra damage, but won't do so much that it scales out of control.
Shaman
Skald
Slayer
Sorcerer Select one bloodline power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the sorcerer's Charisma modifier. The sorcerer adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that bloodline power. Sorcerer bloodlines provide several interesting options. The 3+ uses per day are usually plenty, especially if the abilities stop being useful beyond low levels, but some of these abilities remain useful for a long time. There are very few Sorcerer favored class bonuses, and this one is stolen from Elves. Humans get the only other interesting option, and it's far more powerful than I think it should be.
Summoner Add +1/5 to the eidolon’s evolution pool. This is too good to limit to Half-Elves. Note that I have reduced the bonus from +1/4 to +1/5 so that you gain favored class points at the same rate as you can take the Extra Evolution feat.
Swashbuckler
Warpriest Add 1/4 of an additional daily use of Fervor. There is no way to gain additional uses of Fervor, which is a shame because it's such a fun ability. This works for any Warpriest build. Increasing the Fervor uses by 50% may be a bit much, so you might consider using 1/5 or 1/6 instead.
Witch Add +1 hit point or +1 skill rank to the Witch's Familiar. If the Familiar ever replaces his companion, the new Familiar gains these bonus hit points or skill ranks. The Witch's favored class bonuses are pretty good for most races, but the Half-Orc's option is garbage. This replaces the Half-Orc's option, but isn't any more powerful than the racial bonus options.
Wizard Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power. The Wizard's favored class options have the same issues as the Sorcerer, except that the Human-only option is terrible.

Replacement Racial Favored Class Bonuses

Some of my suggested Favored Class Bonuses are copied from existing bonuses. For races which already had that bonus, provide the following options instead.

No replacement options are listed for Sorcerer, Wizard, or for classes which have entirely new favored class bonus options (Arcanist, Magus, Warpriest).

Replacement Racial Favored Class Bonus
Class Bonus Discussion
Barbarian Add +1/2 to Intimidate checks while raging. Racial favored class bonuses should be good for a subset of possible builds. Barbarians are great for intimidation builds, and a nice bonus to intimidate fits the theme very well.
Bloodrager Add +1/2 to Intimidate checks while bloodraging. See Barbarian.
Brawler Gain a +1 bonus to the brawler's CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the brawler's choice. Stolen from the Human and given to the Half-Orc.
Cavalier Add +1/2 to the Cavalier’s bonus to damage against targets of the Cavalier’s challenge when charging. The Dwarf gets the same bonus against challenged targets, but doesn't require a charge. Charging is a fundamental component of the Cavalier, so this is a fun option for Humans which will provide a splash of damage in most fights.
Cleric Add 1/3 to the number of times per day which the Cleric can use Channel Energy Only the Half-Elf gets this bonus, and it takes 6 levels to match the effects of Extra Channeling, which is roughly equivalent to 6 levels for an extra talent compared to any of the extra talent feats.
Gunslinger Add +1/3 on critical hit confirmation rolls made with firearms (maximum bonus of +5). This bonus does not stack with Critical Focus. Taken straight from Elves. Not fantastic, but on par with other races.
Hunter
Inquisitor
Investigator
Monk Add +1 to the Monk's CMD when resisting two combat maneuvers of the character's choice. Only Humans get this, and it's roughly on par with other racial favored class bonuses.
Oracle Treat the gnome’s level as +1/2 higher for the purpose of determining the effects of the oracle’s curse ability. This is situational, but it's on par with the Halfling and Gnome.
Shaman
Skald
Slayer
Summoner Add +1 hit point or +1 skill rank to the Summoner's Eidolon. Half-Elves are too good an option. This brings them in line with every other race for Summoners.
Swashbuckler
Witch Add +1/4 to the witch's caster level when determining the effects of the spells granted to by the patron. Only Half-Orcs get this replacement, and it makes this bonus available on both Halflings and Half-Orcs.