Introduction

Arcanist Exploits are one of the Arcanist’s major decision points, function similar to class-specific feats.

Disclaimer

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

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Disclaimer

I support a limited subset of Pathfinder’s rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder player options
not covered here, please email me and I am happy to provide additional assistance.

RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

Exploits

Arcanist Exploits give the Arcanist some addition abilities on which they can
rely when their spells run short. If you want to rely entirely on your spells,
pick up exploits like Item Creation and Metamagic Knowledge.

Acid Jet (Su): Simple and reliable damage.
Sickened inflicts -2 to saving throws, which makes the target more susceptible
to your spells.

Arcane Barrier (Su): Excellent defensive
option. Turn it on when enemies start getting too close.

Arcane
Weapon (Su): You are not a Magus. Unless
you’re using the Blade Adept archetype, skip this. If you are using
Blade Adept, this is absolutely required. The explout caps at +4, unlike the
Magus’ ability to enhance their weapons, but Arcane Weapon’s duration is
measured in minutes, while the Magus’ is only measure in rounds. On top of
that, the Arcanist’s Arcane Reservoir grows 4 times fast than the Magus’
Arcane Pool, so you can afford to lean on this constantly while a Magus must
typically enhance their weapon in short bursts when they really need the
help.

Bloodline Development: This is only good if
you plan to multiclass with Sorcerer, and I’m not sure why you would do
that.

Consume Magic Items (Su): Hugely
expensive.

Counterspell (Su): Finally a way to
counterspell that doesn’t require you to waste your turn staring down the
enemy caster.

Dimensional Slide (Su): Fantastic for
getting out of bad positions in combat, and removes the need for short-range
teleportation spells like Dimension Door.

Energy Shield (Su): Resist Energy is a
2nd-level spell, and this won’t surpass Resist Energy until level 15.

Familiar (Ex): Familiars are fantastic if
you put them to good use.

Flame Arc (Su): Flame Arc is a line effect,
which means that you can hit multiple targets. Your spells will do more
damage, but this is a nice option when you run low on spells, and at low
levels it may be your best line option until you get Lightning Bolt.

Force Strike (Su): Less damage than the
other offensive Exploits, but it’s force damage and hits automatically with no
save.

Ice Missile (Su): Simple and reliable
damage. Staggered is a good condition for disabling melee enemies who depend
on full attacks.

Item Crafting: Item crafting is extremely
powerful, and in many campaigns an Arcanist or Wizard will be the best item
crafter in the party.

Lightning Lance (Su): Simple and reliable
damage. The vision impairment is weird, but it could be a good way to hit
someone and let your Rogue hide.

Metamagic Knowledge: Metamagic is fantastic,
especially because Arcanists can cast spells spontaneously. Each metamagic
feat hugely expands the Arcanists options.

Metamixing (Su): Situational.

Potent Magic (Su): Caster level gets you
more duration and damage, and increased DC is fantastic for save-or-suck
spells.

Quick Study (Ex): This makes the Arcanist
even more versatile because you can prepare highly situational spells when you
require them instead of guessing at the beginning of the day.

School Understanding: This is only good if
you plan to multiclass with Wizard, and I’m not sure why you would do that.

See Magic (Su): You can do all of this
with Detect Magic and a bit of patience.

Spell Disruption (Su): Just cast Dispel
Magic.

Spell Resistance (Su): The duration is bad
and the resistance isn’t very high.

Spell Tinkerer (Su): You can use this
extend the duration of high level buffs with short durations.

Swift Consume(Ex): You can usually just
wait until you are out of combat to start consuming spells, or your can just
stand still for the round.


Greater Exploits

Many Greater Exploits improve on regular exploits, but unfortunately most of
them aren’t very good.

Alter Enhancements (Su): This is great for
supporting your party’s martial characters. When ghosts show up, turn the
fighters +1 flaming weapon into a flaming ghost touch weapon.

Burning Flame (Su): The “On Fire” condition
is usually a minor annoyance because the damage is so low, but 3d6 damage per
round will eat through hit points very quickly. If the target is prevented
from taking a full round action (such as by being staggered, grappled, or
otherwise disrupted), this could outright kill people.

Counter Drain (Su): Situational, and you
could get more Arcane Reservoir points by using Consume Spells.

Dancing Electricity (Su): This amounts to 1d6
damage per 4 Arcanist levels, with a reflex save for half. That’s awful.

Energy Absorption (Su): Very situational, and
you need 4 other exploits to make it worthwhile.

Greater Counterspell (Su): Barely improved
Countserspell.

Greater Metamagic Knowledge: This is
certainly better than Metamagic Knowledge, but if you select a metamagic feat
you probably intend to use it. At this level you might consider using Great
Metamagic Knowledge to switch between Extend Spell and some other metamagic
feat, then use Extend Spell the night before an adventure to cast hours per
level duration buffs so that they will last through the following day.

Greater Spell Resistance (Su): The
resistance is finally decent, but the duration is still going to be poor.

Greater Spell Disruption (Su): Cast Greater
Dispel Magic.

Icy Tomb (Su): Entangle the target and
inflict Dexterity damage. This likely won’t be lethal, but it can be very
helpful for your melee allies.

Lingering Acid (Su): This can add up to
quite a bit of damage, and it’s a great way to force concentration checks.

Redirect Spell (Su): Awful use of s standard
action. Just cast your own spells.

Resistance Drain (Su): Very situational, and
the points expire very quickly.

Siphon Spell (Su): Very situational, and hard
to rely on.

Spell Thief (Su): This requires you to be
close enough to make a melee touch attack, and that is not where you should
be.

Suffering Knowledge (Su): Very situational,
and the benefit isn’t all that great.