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Pathfinder 2e - The Investigator Handbook


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.


Investigator Class Features

Key Ability: .

Hit Points: 8+ hit points. Much like the Rogue, you're frail. However, you don't have the Rogue's Dexterity to pad your AC, so the problem is even worse.

Initial Proficiencies: The Investigator's proficiencies are excellent everywhere except their armor..

  • Perception: The best Perception progression in the game, matching the Rogue.
  • Saving Throws: Terrible Fortitude saves, but otherwise fine. Reflex saves are common and between high Dexterity and roughly average Dexterity save progression you should do fine. The Investigator's Will saves are also good, but you should still put some resources into Wisdom if you can.
  • Skills: A total of 6+Int skills, and with Intelligence as your Key Ability Score you'll likely exceed the total starting skills of every other character, including most rogues. The Investigator notably also gets the same number of Skill Feats that the Rogue does, though the Investigator gets half of them via the Skillful Lessons feature, which is limited to skills which rely on mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma) so they're not quite as flexible as the Rogue's.
  • Attacks: The same progression as most martial classes like the Barbarian and the Champion, and you get up to martial weapons.
  • Defenses: Only light armor, but your proficiency progression is good.
  • Class DC:

On the Case:

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Devise a Strategem: Half of the Investigator's primary combat tactic. While the text of the Action isn't especially long, there is a lot of buried nuance here, and understanding the complexities of Devise a Stratagem will make you more effective in combat.

When you use Devise a Stratagem, the first thing that you do is to roll a d20. This will take the place of the d20 rolled for your first Strike against the target of your stratagem. The text specifies that you can use it "later in the round", which is unhelpful since the Investigator doesn't get Attack of Opportunity or a similar mechanism. Still, this allows you to roughly know the results of your potential Strike before you make it. If you roll terribly, don't waste the Action to make your Strike.

If you then choose to make a Strike against the target of your Strategem, you make the Strike normally, except that instead of rolling a d20 you must use the roll from when you used Devise a Stratagem, and you may use your Intelligence in place of Strength or Dexterity for the attack roll (though you would be a fool not to do so, since Strategic Strike only applies if you use Intelligence for the attack).

Devise a Stratagem only works once per round, which is an important limitation. It effectively limits you to a single effective Strike per turn, as your Strength or Dexterity will almost certainly lag behind your Intelligence. Rather than making numerous Strikes, the Investigator is expected to make singular, powerful strikes each turn.

Devise a Stratagem also supports the Strategic Strike feature (see below). As far as I can tell, they're only separate features so that characters using the Investigator multiclass dedication feats can't get Strategic Strike.

Methodology: See "Subclasses - Methodologies", below.

Strategic Strike: A consistent and easy damage boost, and it automatically scales with level, adding dice at a similar rate to Runes of Striking. This additional damage boost makes up for the Investigator's preference for single Strikes over making multiple Strikes per turn.

Investigator Feats: See Investigator feats, below.

Skill Feats: Standard for everyone except the Rogue.

Skill Increases: Standard for everyone except the Rogue.

General Feats: Standard.

Keen Recollection:

Skillful Lessons:

Ability Boosts: Standard.

Ancestry Feats: Standard.

Weapon Expertise: Your proficiency with weapons advances at the same rate as other martial classes like the Barbarian and the Rogue.

Vigilant Senses: The best Perception progression in the game.

Weapon Specialization: Since your Proficiency with weapons improves at the same rate as martial class like the Barbarian and the Champion, you'll start at the +3 bonus in most cases.

Great Fortitude: Better saving throws is always great.

Investigator Expertise:

Deductive Inspiration:

Resolve: You are very good at Will saves.

Incredible Senses: Legendary in Perception feels really good, and you'll use it almost constantly.

Light Armor Expertise: More AC is always great, but you get this very late.

Weapon Mastery: More attack bonus.

Evasion: Reflex saves are the most common type of "Basic Save", and often Basic Saves are the ones where the difference between a Success and a Critical Success is the most significant. This will protect from a lot of damage from area effects like fireballs and breath weapons.

Greater Weapon Specialization: More damage.

Greater Resolve: Very powerful. Preventing Critical Failures on Will saves can protect from numerous very harmful effects.

Light Armor Mastery: More AC is always great.

Master Detective:

Subclasses - Methodologies

Alchemical Sciences

  • Skill: Crafting:
  • Alchemical CraftingCRB:
  • Quick Tincture:


  • Skill: Any Intelligence-Based:
  • Class Feat: That's OddAPG:
  • Expeditious Inspection:

Forensic Meidicine

  • Skill: Medicine:
  • Skill Feat: Forensic AcumenAPG:
  • Skill Feat: Battle MedicineCRB:


  • Skill: Diplomacy:
  • Skill Feat: No Cause for AlarmAPG:
  • Pointed Question:

Ability Scores

Str: .

Dex: .

Con: .

Int: .

Wis: .

Cha: .

Str: .

Dex: .

Con: .

Int: .

Wis: .

Cha: .



CatfolkAPG: .

DwarfCRB: .

ElfCRB: .

GnomeCRB: .

GoblinCRB: .

HalflingCRB: .

HumanCRB: .

KoboldAPG: .

OrcAPG: .

RatfolkAPG: .

TenguAPG: .


If you're having trouble deciding, here are some suggestions:

Skills and Skill Feats

You get Skill Increases at 3rd and 5th level to raise skills to Expert, increases at 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th level to raise skills to Master, and increases at 15th, 17th, and 19th level to raise skills to Legendary. That means that you can maximize at most three skills, and the rest of your skills might not advance beyond Trained.

You get Skill Feats at even-numbered levels, giving you a total of 10 Skill Feats (and maybe another from your Background) by 20th level. Generally you want to invest these feats in the same skills which you are choosing to maximize, though in some cases you may want to grab feats from skills which don't require that you be more than Trained.

  • Acrobatics (Dex):
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  • Arcana (Int):
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  • Athletics (Str):
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  • Crafting (Int):
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  • Deception (Cha):
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  • Diplomacy (Cha):
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  • Intimidation (Cha):
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  • Lore (Int):
  • Medicine (Wis):
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  • Nature (Wis):
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  • Occultism (Int):
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  • Performance (Cha):
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  • Religion (Wis):
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  • Society (Int):
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  • Stealth (Dex):
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  • Survival (Wis):
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  • Thievery (Dex):
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General Skill Feats

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Investigator Feats

For the full list of Investigator Class Feats, see the Investigator Feats page on Archives of Nethys.

1st Level

  • Flexible StudiesAPG:
  • Known WeaknessesAPG:
  • Takedown ExpertAPG:
  • That's OddAPG:
  • Trap FinderAPG:
  • Underworld InvestigatorAPG:

2nd Level

  • Athletic StrategistAPG:
  • Red HerringAPG:
  • Shared StatagemAPG:
  • Solid LeadAPG:

4th Level

  • Alchemical DiscoveriesAPG:
  • Detective's ReadinessAPG:
  • Lie DetectorAPG:
  • Ongoing InvestigationAPG:
  • Scalpel's PointAPG:
  • Strategic AssessmentAPG:

6th Level

  • Connect the DotsAPG:
  • Predictive PurchaseAPG:
  • Thorough ResearchAPG:

8th Level

  • Blind-FightAPG:
  • Clue Them All InAPG:
  • Whodunnit?APG:

10th Level

  • Just One More ThingAPG:
  • Ongoing StrategyAPG:
  • Suspect of OpportunityAPG:

12th Level

  • Foresee DangerAPG:
  • Reason RapidlyAPG:

14th Level

  • Plot the FutureAPG:
  • Sense the UnseenAPG:
  • Strategic BypassAPG:

16th Level

  • Didactic StrikeAPG:
  • Implausible PurchaseAPG:
  • Reconstruct the SceneAPG:

18th Level

  • Lead InvestigatorAPG:
  • Trickster's AceAPG:

20th Level

  • Everyone's a SuspectAPG:
  • Just the FactsAPG:

General Feats

  • True Perception: Excellent for any character fortunate enough to get Legendary proficiency in Perception, but it feels especially fitting on the Investigator.


The Investigator's effective weapon options are dictated by the Device as Stratagem action. Since Devise a Stratagem works once per rounds, and only with certain weapons, you want to stick to weapons which qualify.

The Investigator gets only light armor, which normally means that you should favor Finesse weapons, but Divise a Stratagem allows you to attack using your Intelligence score instead of Strength or Dexterity, so using a Dexterity-based weapon is less crucial. It's still a good idea for circumstances where you can't use Divise a Stratagem, such as when you can't manage the Action cost to use it before making a Strike.

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