The Acrobat Archetype is the Dark Souls of Archetypes. Specifically the dodge rolling that is a prevalent mechanic in all the Soulsborne genre of games.
The Acrobat is a solid archetype that has one core thing it wants to help you do, adding unnecessary combat rolls to your fighting style, and does that thing really well. If you’re looking to be a nimble combatant that can reposition and exploit openings with ease, this is a great Archetype.
While considering the Acrobat, it’s helpful to remember that Tumble Through does not require you to move through your opponent’s space in a straight line. If you have another ally in melee with the same target, you could easily use Tumble Through to move into position for Flanking.
Table of Contents
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
2: Among Dedication feats, the Acrobat has one of the best. When acquired,
it immediately upgrades your
Acrobatics from trained
to Expert, but instead of stopping there, it continues to upgrade you to
Master at 7th and Legendary at 15th level. If that was all it did it would
still be one of the better Dedication feats. On top of all that, it adds a
critical success effect to the
Acrobatics Action to allow you to treat the opponent’s space as regular
non-difficult terrain. All things considered, this feat is much less of a
tax than many other Dedication feats, especially since the rest of the
archetype depends so heavily on your Acrobatics checks.
If all you wanted was the automatic upgrades to Acrobatics and didn’t care to take any of the other feats in this line, this is good, but likely not worth a Class Feat unless you have some other powerful use for Acrobatics and can’t afford to increase Acrobatics before any other skills.
4: This feat does two things, so let’s break it up.
First it grants the Quick Squeeze skill feat, which improves the Squeeze action from one minute per 5 feet to 1 round per five feet, which is ten times the normal speed of squeezing. Additionally, Contortionist goes one step further to improve Quick Squeeze’s own effect, giving you full speed at only Master Acrobatics instead of waiting until Legendary for that effect. Keep in mind that to take Contortionist, we already have a Dedication that will passively upgrade our Acrobatics to Master at 7th level.
Second, it improves the Escape action so that whenever we successfully use it to Escape an effect, the creature that caused that effect is flat-footed against our next attack before the end of our next turn. This might sound like it’s only good for getting payback after being grappled, but Escape is also used against various spells, so it’s very handy for getting certain casters on the back foot as well. Together, these effects make a fantastic feat, so long as you happen to need to Squeeze or Escape often enough for this to benefit you. That’s why it’s only orange, it’s really good when it does things so just make sure your campaign calls for those things.
- 6: We get a Reaction and it’s pretty amazing. Whenever we’re attacked in melee, as a Reaction we can add +1 to our AC, and if the attack misses us, we get to Step, which potentially gets us far enough away that the attacker can’t make a second Strike without following us. But because of our Dedication continuing to be amazing, at 7th level, when Acrobatics improves to Master, we can Step 10 feet when an attacker misses during Dodge Away. I wasn’t joking when I said this Archetype was just Dark Souls dodge rolling. The only real limit to this is the fact that we have one Reaction per round.
7: Going by the text of the feat, it doesn’t do a lot. For
High Jump and
Long Jump, we can
roll Acrobatics instead of Athletics, changing the attribute from Strength
to Dexterity essentially. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the important
part is that this is a Skill Feat, which is unusual for Archetype feats,
which is almost exclusively Class Feats.
Dedication feats typically prevent you from taking a different Dedication before taking at least two feats from the Archetype, and this feat counts for that number, allowing someone to skip Contortionist, take Dodge Away and Graceful Leaper, and still get a second archetype at 8th level if they so desired. I’m not suggesting that’s a good or bad idea because it depends on your build, but it is a possible option.
- 8: Dodge Roll into Backstab. As a single Action, Make an Acrobatics check against an adjacent foe’s Reflex DC. On a success, move through the foe’s space and make a melee Strike. On a critical success on the Acrobatics check, the foe is flat-footed against that Strike. That’s pretty good, but on a failure, you still get to make a Strike from the original position. Only a critical failure causes you to lose the Strike. That’s really good. It’s a bit of a gamble technically, but it’s likely with your best skill and unless you roll a Critical Failure the worst outcome is that you spend one Action to Strike. Keep in mind this is a Flourish, so it can only be used once per turn and cannot be used with other Flourish attacks.
- 10: Once per minute, so once per fight, as a free action after using either Tumble Through or Tumbling Strike to move through an opponent’s space, make a Trip attempt against that foe, with the option to use Acrobatics instead of Athletics. Keep in mind that the timing for this action causes the trip to occur after the Strike when using Tumbling Strike.
Who Should Use This?
- : Being all about Strength, a Barbarian might not get much out of Acrobatics, but if you really want to be rolling around at the speed of sound, this is still an effective way to work that into your Barbarian.
- : A Dexterity-based Fighter looking to up their unnecessary combat roll count gets some nice bonuses here. Something like Tumbling Strike into a flanking position (with or without Tumbling Opportunist) followed by Double Slice with a pair of agile weapons would be a solid round of attacks with the flat-footed imposed by flanking to offset the multiple attack penalty applied to the Double Slice. The biggest consideration for Fighter Acrobats is deciding between Dodge Away, making yourself hard to pin down, or Attack of Opportunity, to keep an opponent pinned down instead.
- : Combat rolls, in a gunfight? They might come in handy from time to time as well as the Squeezing and Escape bonuses of Contortionist. You would already have the Dexterity to support this after all.
- : A melee Inventor could get some mileage from the extra mobility.
- : Tumbling Strike into Spellstrike would not be a terrible plan, especially if it sets you up for a flank.
- : A Dexterity based Ranger who wants to improve their combat mobility would do well to take this Archetype. Even a ranged Ranger could benefit from Dodge Away and Graceful Leaper despite not really getting anything out of Tumbling Strike.
- : Rogue can get a lot out of these feats for sure, taking advantage of the free Acrobatics upgrades and the improvements to Tumble Through as well as nice synergy between The Harder They Fall or Head Stomp and Tumbling Opportunist. However, Rogue already has some Acrobatics tools of its own, such as Tumble Behind and Mobility. Acrobat is a solid choice, but not strictly required for a Rogue to do these kinds of tricks.
- : The class that has a whole class mechanic, Panache, that specifically gains benefits from the Tumble Through action is unsurprisingly already very capable of some things Acrobat does with feats such as Tumble Behind. However, being able to take the Dedication and never worry about increasing Acrobatics ranks is fairly handy, and there are some fun synergies such as Graceful Leaper and Flamboyant Leap.
- : If you plan on being a Dexterity based Scouting Thaumaturge, then Contortionist and Graceful Leap make fine additions to your build. Otherwise maybe look elsewhere.