Pathfinder - Bloodrager Archetypes Breakdown
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I will use 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.
- 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.
The Bloodrager is primarily a Striker, but is supplemented by magical abilities. Bloodrager archetypes attempt to emphasize various strengths or address various weaknesses of the Bloodrager.
The Blood Conduit is a really cool concept, but doesn't really work on the Bloodrager. Spell Conduit is the key mechanic of the Blood Conduit, but with the Bloodrager's very limited number of spells, the Bloodrager doesn't have enough spells to get through the day.
Contact Specialist (Ex): An extra feat is always welcome, and the Bloodrager gets to ignore prerequisites for this feat. Unfortunately, almost all of the choices are bad.
- Improved Bull Rush: Situational.
- Improved Grapple: The Bloodrager doesn't get anything special that makes for a good grappler.
- Improved Reposition: Situational.
- Improved Trip: Fantastic for many melee characters, and lets you avoid the Combat Expertise requirements.
- Improved Unarmed Strike: The Bloodrager doesn't get anything that makes them good at unarmed combat.
Spell Conduit (Su): This feels a bit like the Magus's Spellstrike ability. I'm not certain if you can deliver touch spell while tripping with a weapon, but based on the flavor of the ability I would assume that you can't. Either way, this is a great way to add some extra damage. Keep in mind that Bloodragers don't get a lot of spells per day, so you want to use this sparingly, and you may want to invest in a whole bunch of pearls of power. Much like the Magus, Shocking Grasp is likely your best option.
Reflexive Conduit (Ex): Situational. Very few enemies use combat maneuvers.
Replaced Features: Bloodline Feats (Altered), Fast Movement, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Indomitable Will
Compatible Archetypes: Bloodrider, Crossbloosed Rager, Greenrager, Primalist
If mobility is a problem for you, the Bloodrider can go a long way to fix it by adding a mount.
Fast Rider (Ex): Make your horse even faster.
Feral Mount (Ex): Like most Mount abilities, the Bloodrider's option are very limited. The bonus to the Feral Mount's Strength while Bloodraging is nice, but not very big.
Blood Bond (Su): This really helps keep your mount alive, and it allows you to buff both yourself and your mount when you start a Bloodrage.
Replaced Features: Bloodline Feats (No level is listed. Errata soon, I hope.), Fast Movement, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge
Compatible Archetypes: Blood Conduit, Crossbloosed Rager, Greenrager (? Depends on which feats get replaced), Primalist
Assuming that your Wisdom isn't absolute garbage, this archetype should be an easy choice. You get all of the best parts of two bloodlines, and can skip the worst parts.
Bonus Feats: More options is always better.
Bonus Spells: This allows you to bypass bad spells on your bloodline's list of bonus spells, and pick and choose from among both bloodlines.
Bloodline Powers: Much like the Bonus Spells, this allows you to pick and choose your abilities, potentially getting the best of both bloodlines.
Drawbacks: Really? That's all? -2 to Will saves? You can overcome this with the Iron Will feat. Losing the extra +2 while Bloodraging is annoying, but hardly difficult to overcome.
Replaced Features: Bloodline (Altered)
Compatible Archetypes: Blood Conduit, Bloodrider, Greenrager, Metamagic Rager, Primalist, Rageshaper, Spelleater, Steelblood
Woodland Stride is worthless, and the Bloodrager is not a good summoner.
Unfettered Fury (Ex): Very situational.
Summoning Rager (Sp): By the time you get these spells the creatures you can summon are so weak that they are worthless in combat. With no real skill at handling animals, the Bloodrager can't expect to use these animals as anything but bait.
Furious Summoning (Su): This hardly fixes the fact that you're summoning creatures too weak to be helpful in a fight. Their attacks might be slightly better, but their hit points are still puny and their ACs will be garbage.
Replaced Features: blood sanctuary, bloodline feats (6th, 9th)
Compatible Archetypes: Blood Conduit, Metamagic Rager, Primalist, Spelleater, Steelblood
Improved Uncanny Dodge is like a fish with a bicycle. It's kind of nice to have so that you can look at it, but it's totally useless. If you don't take another archetype which sacrifices Improved Uncanny Dodge, take this. It's fantastic.
Meta-Rage (Su): With some limited spellcasting, metamagic is generally too difficult for the Bloodrager. This opens up a lot of great options, but be careful not eat all of your Bloodrage rounds before you get into a fight. When selecting metamagic feats, forego feats which emphasize damage. Instead, focus on utility improvements like Extend and Quicken Spell.
Replaced Features: improved uncanny dodge
Compatible Archetypes: Cross-Blooded Rager, Greenrager, Primalist, Untouchable Rager (Won't actually work, but technically allowed)
Almost no Bloodrager Bloodlines have a perfect list of abilities. The Primalist can trade in some of their Bloodline abilities for Rage Powers. This allows you to pick and choose your best options, giving you a lot of flexibility in your build.
Primal Choices: Barbarian Rage Powers offer a huge number of fantastic options for improving Rage. This opens up those options at nearly no cost, and allows you to trade in bad bloodline powers for awesome Rage Powers.
Replaced Features: bloodline (altered)
Compatible Archetypes: Blood Conduit, Bloodrider, Crossblooded Rager, Greenrager, Metamagic Rager, Rageshaper, Spelleater, Steelblood
The Bloodrager gets access to Beast Shape I and II, Vermin Shape I, and Elemental Body I. Beast Shape is the only good choice, and you get it so late that it's not a great option. The Rageshaper improves these options a little bit, but the additions aren't really meaningful.
Bestial Aspect (Su): The Bloodrager doesn't get a lot of polymorph spells, but many Bloodrage powers offer natural attacks or new movement types. Boosting natural weapon damage by one die will almost always amount to an extra d6, but doing 2d6+ damage on two claw attacks is pretty nice. At high levels the Bloodrager gets access to Beast Shape I and II. These will be pretty far behind what a full caster can do at the sam level, but the extra damage and movement help a little bit.
Furious Transformation (Su): Extending polymorph spells is very helpful, but by the time the Bloodrager gets access to any polymorph spells their duration should be adequate based solely on the Bloodrager's caster level.
Replaced Features: blood sanctuary, improved uncanny dodge
Compatible Archetypes: Crossblooded Rager, Primalist, Untouchable Rager
The Spelleater adds some nice self-healing mechanics to the Bloodrager. Much like the Barbarian, the Bloodrager often has low AC and draws a lot of damage. This helps keep you up and raging.
Blood of Life (Su): This should say that increases to your effective DR add to your fast healing. Fast Healing is fantastic. It applies in rounds when you don't take damage, and it applies when you take damage from energy and spells.
Spell Eating (Su): It's like a crappy version of Cure X Wounds. This is nice in a pinch, but don't plan to rely on it or you'll waste all of your offensive options on crappy healing.
Replaced Features: uncanny dodge, improved uncanny dodge, damage reduction
Compatible Archetypes: Crossblooded Rager, Greenrager, Primalist
Steelblood addresses the Bloodrager's AC issue at the expense of some mobility. This is a fair tradeoff, so if you want to be on the front lines and not constantly take damage, Steelblood can be an excellent option.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Because they can't use shields and cast spells, and because Bloodrage applies an AC penalty, Bloodragers suffer the same AC issues as Barbarians. Heavy Armor goes a long way to fix this.
Indomitable Stance (Ex): Very situational.
Armored Swiftness (Ex): 25 ft. in Full Plate is pretty good.
Armor Training (Ex): Armor Check Penalty doesn't matter most of the time, but the additional maximum dexterity bonus will allow you to increase your AC a bit more as you level and acquire enough gold to get a belt which enhances all of your physical ability scores.
Blood Deflection (Su): Hopefully you won't need to rely on this much, but if an attack is really close to a miss this can save you from a bunch of damage.
Replaced Features: Armor Proficiency, Fast Movement, Uncanny Dodge, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Damage Reduction
Compatible Archetypes: Crossblooded Rager, Greenrager, Primalist
The Untouchable Rager is fantastic for killing spellcasters, but lacks much of the versatility and fun of the Bloodrager.
Raging Resistance (Ex): Spell Resistance is great, and the scaling is excellent. Most monsters will have problems overcoming your spell resistance at any given level. However, this ability costs most of the Bloodrager's iconic abilities, which can make for a very boring build.
Resistance Control (Ex): Very helpful to protect yourself from ambushes and magical traps.
Replaced Features: spells, blood casting, eschew materials, bloodline
Compatible Archetypes: Metamagic Rager, Rageshaper