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Pathfinder - Bloodrager Bloodlines Breakdown

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.

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.

Bloodlines

Bloodlines greatly determine the play style of the Bloodrager.

Bloodragers get 5 Bloodline bonus feats (6, 9, 12, 15, 18), and typically have 7 feat choices. Bonus spells are typically awarded for a spell level at the same level at which the Bloodrager gains access to their next level of spells (except 4th-level spells, of course), which is annoying because the Bloodrager likely wants to use those spells much earlier. The rules don't specify what happens if you learn your bonus spells early then learn them again, but your GM may allow you to replace the bonus spell with a new spell known.

Aberrant

The Aberrant bloodline is a Defender bloodline, plain and simple. It provides reach and access to Combat Reflexes, which are the first two things you need to be a Defender. If you pick up Stand Still or Improved Trip, you're good to go.

Bonus Feats: Very few worthwhile options.

  • Combat Reflexes: Essential for any Defender.
  • Great Fortitude: Bonus to the Bloodrager's only good save.
  • Improved Disarm: Situational.
  • Improved Grapple: The Bloodrager isn't much of a grappler.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Improved Unarmed Strike: Only useful if you want Improved Grapple for some reason.
  • Iron Will: Bonus to the Bloodragers worst save.

Bonus Spells: Several good options which contribute to the Aberrant bloodlines capabilities as a Defender.

  • Enlarge Person: An essential buff for any front-line character, especially a Defender.
  • See Invisibility: Excellent utility, but by this level your party really needs to have more options for countering invisibility.
  • Displacement: Excellent defensive buff, but the duration is very short.
  • Black Tentacles: One of the best area control effects in the game, though your DC will be garbage.

Staggering Strike (Su): You have to confirm a critical hit to activate this, and the target still gets a saving throw.

Abnormal Reach (Su): Reach is fantastic for Defenders, and this reach extension can combine with a polearm to give you really fantastic area control.

Aberrant Fortitude (Su): Sickened and Nauseated are very annoying effects, but they're fairly uncommon.

Unusual Anatomy (Su): Sneak Attacks are pretty rare, but 50% immunity to critical hits could sabe your life from a lucky roll by an enemy.

Aberrant Resistance (Su): Disease and Poison are very common at high level, and immunity to them can save you a lot of trouble.

Aberrant Form (Su): 60 foot blindsense is incredible. Most things with blindsense don't get more than 10 or 20 feet. Access to these abilities while not bloodraging means that you will always detect enemies trying to surprise you.

Abyssal`

The Abyssal Bloodline is a very simple Striker bloodline. Abyssal grants extra Strength while Bloodraging, lets you become Large without a spell, and grants a splash of energy resistance. If all you need is more damage, Abyssal is a good choice.

Bonus Feats: Most of the options are situational, and Power Attack is included even though any Bloodrager with a brain will take it at first level.

  • Cleave: Cleave can remain a good option until at least level 5, and often remains viable until at least level 10. Because you can use it as a Standard action, it's great for rounds in which you need to move into position to attack, but may not want to charge.
  • Great Fortitude: Bonus to the Bloodrager's only good save.
  • Improved Bull Rush: Situational.
  • Improved Sunder: Very situational.
  • Intimidating Prowess: The Bloodrager has very little reason to use Intimidate, but this will make them very good at it.
  • Power Attack: Basically required, but you should have this long before level 6.
  • Toughness: With medium armor, more hitpoints never hurt.

Bonus Spells: Nothing really spectacular.

  • Ray of Enfeeblement: Depends on your awful spell DCs. A this level, your DC is probably something like 13, and even enemies with poor Fortitude saves will have at least a +2 bonus.
  • Bull's Strength: Nice buff, but by this level you should really have a belt to boost your Strength.
  • Rage: Rage puts you into your Bloodrage, which can be a nice way to get some free Rage rounds.
  • Stoneskin: Fantastic buff, but too expensive to use on a regular basis.

Claws (Su): Two claws are as goood as Two-Weapon Fighting at least until level 6. If you use a manufactured weapon, you can still use your off hand to make a single claw attack (at a -5 penalty because it's a secondary attack). The damage and effectiveness scales a bit as you level, which can keep your claws a viable option as you level. Rules as written, you can use a weapon two-handed, then spend a free action to take one hand off your weapon and make a claw attack, then return your hand to your weapon so that you can use it two-handed for attacks of opportunity. This is a somewhat liberal reading of the rules, so check with your GM to make sure that will allow it.

Demonic Bulk (Su): Enlarging yourself is a fantastic option for front-line martial characters like the Bloodrager, and this allows you to replicate Enlarge Person at a moments notice without relying on Greater Bloodrage.

Demon Resistances (Su): The amount is small, but you get resistance to three of the most common energy types.

Abyssal Bloodrage (Su): With Demonic Bulk, you are getting +4 more strength than the average Bloodrager, but with the size and Dexterity penalties you're taking a total -4 penalty to AC over of the normal Bloodrager (-6 total). The bonus from Abyssal Bloodrage also scales as you level, which can give you truly absurd Strength at high levels.

Demonic Aura (Su): At this level 2d6+con isn't a huge amount of damage, but it's free damage with no save and if you can force enemies to stay in melee with you it's guaranteed damage. Unfortunately, it doesn't apply to enemies just passing through it, so it's not a great area control ability.

Demonic Immunities (Su): At this level poison is very common, and immunity to electricity covers the last common energy type to which you are not resistant.

Arcane

The Arcane bloodline has two important mechanics: Arcane Bloodrage and disrupting spellcasters. Arcane Bloodrage allows you to apply free buffs whenever you start a Bloodrage, and many of the buffs are absolutely fantastic, and go beyond the Bloodrager spell list. Even if you're not facing a lot of spellcasters, the Arcane bloodline may be worthwhile purely for Arcane Bloodrage.

Bonus Feats: Several fantastic options, including Disruptive, which is usually exclusive to Fighters.

  • Combat Reflexes: Essential for any Defender.
  • Disruptive: Pretend to be a Fighter and go mess up some spellcasters.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Iron Will: Bonus to the Bloodragers worst save.
  • Power Attack: Basically required, but you should have this long before level 6.
  • Quick Draw: Very situational.
  • Spellbreaker: Typically causing a spellcaster to fail to cast defensively is enough to get the job done, but I will never complain about getting a free attack.

Bonus Spells: Some good utility options, and a couple of totally unnecessary offensive options.

  • Magic Missile: Really only useful for shooting ghosts. By this level you should be much more effective with a weapon.
  • Invisibility: Excellent buff.
  • Lightning Bolt: Your DC is garbage, and by the level you learn it, you already do maximum damage.
  • Dimension Door : Excellent for getting around, escaping grapples, and general mobility.

Disruptive Bloodrage (Su): Excellent at any level, but somewhat situational.

Arcane Bloodrage (Sp): All four choices are excellent. Blur is particularly good because it complements the Bloodrager's poor AC. This works with Greater Bloodrage, which means you can buff yourself twice when you start a new Bloodrage.

Greater Arcane Bloodrage (Sp): Haste is one of the most important buffs in the game, and Displacement will make you hugely difficult to kill. Either one is a fantastic choice, but it's more likely that someone in your party will caste Haste because it affects multiple targets.

Caster's Scourge (Ex): This won't come up often, and you should probably have Combat Reflexes already.

True Arcane Bloodrage (Sp): Depending on your build you might be able to make use of Beast Shape or Form of the Dragon, but you can always make use of Transformation. If you already have enhancements bonuses to your abilities and a bonus to your natural armor, you may still want to stick to the options provided by Greater Arcane Bloodrage.

Caster's Bane (Ex): At 20th level most spellcasters will be lower level than you, but this is still situational..

Celestial

If you're in an all-good campaign, the Celestial Bloodline has some good options. However, it doesn't provide a clear role for the Bloodrager. If you want a generally good option, Celestial will do, but it doesn't particularly contribute to the Bloodrager's role as a Defender or Striker.

Bonus Feats: A few good options, but nothing spectacular.

  • Dodge: More AC is helpful because the Bloodrager only gets medium armor.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Iron Will: Bonus to the Bloodragers worst save.
  • Mobility: The Bloodrager doesn't get anything which indicates that you would want or need Mobility.
  • Mounted Combat: The Bloodrager is not a mounted combat class, and the Bloodrider Archetype doesn't fix that.
  • Ride-By Attack: See Mounted Combat.
  • Weapon Focus: Never hurts to have, but it does make it hard to change weapons.

Bonus Spells: Several fantastic buffs.

  • Bless: A great buff at any level, provided you don't have a Bard in the party.
  • Resist Energy: Fantastic and essential.
  • Heroism: This is great for buffing yourself.
  • Holy Smite: Allows a saving throw, and at this level the Bloodrager's DC will be worthless.

Angelic Attacks (Su): Evil outsiders are common enemies in a lot of good-aligned campaigns, and this will save you a lot of trouble with DR. The bonus damage is nice, too, but it's not significant.

Celestial Resistances (Ex): Resistance to two energy types, and it scales a little bit as you level.

Conviction (Su): One reroll per Bloodrage is excellent, and if you can rage cycle, this could be a reroll every round.

Wings of Heaven (Su): Free flight! Don't try to rage cycle while flying, or you will fall out of the sky.

Angelic Protection (Su): Effectively double the bonuses from Protection From Evil.

Ascension (Su): A whole bunch of excellent immunities and resistances.

Destined

The Destined bloodline makes it very hard to kill the Bloodrager. If you can put together enough damage output to draw attention to yourself, this can be a good Tank option.

Bonus Feats: Very few worthwhile options.

  • Diehard: Diehard is a really good way to skip straight "dying" to "dead".
  • Endurance: Worthless in most campaigns.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Intimidating Prowess: The Bloodrager has very little reason to use Intimidate, but this will make them very good at it.
  • Leadership:
  • Lightning Reflexes: Bonus to one the Bloodrager's bad saves.
  • Weapon Focus: Never hurts to have, but it does make it hard to change weapons.

Bonus Spells: Some good buffs.

  • Shield: Good, but the duration is short.
  • Blur: Good, but the duration is short.
  • Protection From Energy: Good, but protection from Energy tends to be more popular.
  • Freedom of Movement: Good, but situational.

Destined Strike (Su): Helpful, but this isn't going to fix any specific problems with your character.

Fated Bloodrager (Su): Luck bonuses are very rare, and the Fate's Favored trait boosts both bonuses by 1. The scaling is fantastic.

Certain Strike (Su): Rerolls are great, and once you can rage cycle this becomes even better.

Defy Death (Su): Between the Bloodrager's good Fortitude save and the luck bonus from Fated Bloodrager, your Fortitude saves should be good enough that you can count on this to work.

Unstoppable (Su): I hope you're using a Falchion.

Victory or Death (Su): Somewhat situational, but all of the listed conditions are hugely debilitating.

Draconic

Despite a poor list of Bonus Feats, the Draconic Bloodline is very solid. It includes a nice mix of buffs, offensive options, and mobility. At high level you gain the ability to polymorph with Form of the Dragon II, which you shouldn't need to do much additional preparation for because Bloodragers already need such high physical ability scores.

Bonus Feats: Very few worthwhile options.

  • Blind-Fight: Situational, and the Bloodrager has magical options for handling invisibility.
  • Cleave: Cleave can remain a good option until at least level 5, and often remains viable until at least level 10. Because you can use it as a Standard action, it's great for rounds in which you need to move into position to attack, but may not want to charge.
  • Great Fortitude: Bonus to the Bloodrager's only good save.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Power Attack: Basically required, but you should have this long before level 6.
  • Skill Focus (Fly): Worthless.
  • Toughness: With medium armor, more hitpoints never hurt.

Bonus Spells: Several excellent buffs, including Fly.

  • Shield: Good, but the duration is short.
  • Resist Energy: Fantastic and essential.
  • Fly: Fantastic.
  • Fear: Relies on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.

Claws (Su): Two claws are as goood as Two-Weapon Fighting at least until level 6. If you use a manufactured weapon, you can still use your off hand to make a single claw attack (at a -5 penalty because it's a secondary attack). The damage and effectiveness scales a bit as you level, which can keep your claws a viable option as you level. Rules as written, you can use a weapon two-handed, then spend a free action to take one hand off your weapon and make a claw attack, then return your hand to your weapon so that you can use it two-handed for attacks of opportunity. This is a somewhat liberal reading of the rules, so check with your GM to make sure that will allow it.

Draconic Resistance (Ex): Very little energy resistance, but the natural armor bonus is nice and the scaling is decent.

Breath Weapon (Su): Finally a reasonable AOE effect for the Bloodrager with a decent DC. The damage will keep up with spells, so you can count on this for your whole career.

Dragon Wings (Su): Free flight! Don't try to rage cycle while flying, or you will fall out of the sky.

Dragon Form (Su): Most Bloodragers will be good polymorphers almost entirely by accident, purely by virtue of their high physical ability scores.

Power of Wyrms (Su): The immunities are cool, but the Blindsense is absolutely fantastic.

Elemental

A few of the options provided by the Elemental Bloodline are fantastic, and it includes the best bonus feat list of any Bloodrager Bloodline, but overall the Bloodline just isn't great.

Bonus Feats: No bad options.

  • Cleave: Cleave can remain a good option until at least level 5, and often remains viable until at least level 10. Because you can use it as a Standard action, it's great for rounds in which you need to move into position to attack, but may not want to charge.
  • Dodge: More AC is helpful because the Bloodrager only gets medium armor.
  • Great Fortitude: Bonus to the Bloodrager's only good save.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Lightning Reflexes: Bonus to one the Bloodrager's bad saves.
  • Power Attack: Basically required, but you should have this long before level 6.
  • Weapon Focus: Never hurts to have, but it does make it hard to change weapons.

Bonus Spells: A couple of good options, but nothing that really contributes to the Bloodrager.

  • Burning hands: Relies on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.
  • scorching ray: Excellent ranged damage, and the energy type matches your chosen element.
  • Protection From Energy: Good, but protection from Energy tends to be more popular.
  • elemental body I: Garbage, even with the Bloodrager's good physical ability scores.

Elemental Strikes (Su): Not a lot of damage, but it can be nice to have when your enemies are weak to your energy type.

Elemental Resistance (Ex): Not a lot of resistance, and no scaling, but nice to have.

Elemental Movement (Su): All of the options are great.

Power of the Elements (Su): This is a really cool, but Elemental Strikes is still only 1d6 damage per attack for one round.

Elemental Form (Su): Elemental Body could be a great option if you use it right, but limiting it to one rage per day makes it hard to justify putting any effort into using it.

Elemental Body (Su): Some nice immunities, but they're fairly situational.

Fey

The Fey bloodline hits the ever-present problem that combat in Pathfinder tends to be very static, but doesn't actually do anything to fix it. Blurring Movement, for example, gives you an excellent defensive buff when you're mobile, but other options like Quickling Bloodrage largely require you to stand still to make a Full Attack.

Bonus Feats: Several excellent options.

  • Combat Reflexes: Essential for any Defender.
  • Dodge: More AC is helpful because the Bloodrager only gets medium armor.
  • Improved Initiative: Initiative bonuses are always nice, but martial classes don't need to go first as much as spellcasters or Rogues.
  • Lightning Reflexes: Bonus to one the Bloodrager's bad saves.
  • Mobility: The Bloodrager doesn't get anything which indicates that you would want or need Mobility.
  • Step Up: Fantastic for any martial character.
  • Intimidating Prowess: The Bloodrager has very little reason to use Intimidate, but this will make them very good at it.

Bonus Spells: Haste is the only worthwhile option.

  • Entangle: Depends on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.
  • Hideous Laughter: Depends on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.
  • Haste: One of the best buffs in the game, but you get Quickling Bloodrage a level earlier.
  • Confusion: Depends on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.

Confusing Critical (Su): You have to confirm a critical hit to activate this, and the target still gets a saving throw, and then they're affected by Confusion, which is garbage. Three sequential rolls have to go your way for this to have any affect at all.

Leaping Charger (Su): Situational.

Blurring Movement (Su): Blur is fantastic, but if you're moving that much then you're not full attacking.

Quickling Bloodrage (Sp): Haste is one of the best buffs in the game.

One with Nature (Su): Situational.

Fury of the Fey (Su): Very versatile. This effectively lets you ignore all DR, and gives you 2d6 bonus damage against whatever you're fighting.

Infernal

Disappointing. The Infernal Bloodline provides very few good options.

Bonus Feats: A couple of decent options, but msotly bad.

  • Blind-Fight: Situational, and the Bloodrager has magical options for handling invisibility.
  • Combat Reflexes: Essential for any Defender.
  • Deceitful: A Bloodrager doesn't make for a good Face.
  • Improved Disarm: Situational.
  • Improved Sunder: Very situational.
  • Intimidating Prowess: The Bloodrager has very little reason to use Intimidate, but this will make them very good at it.
  • Iron Will: Bonus to the Bloodragers worst save.

Bonus Spells: Nothing special.

  • Protection from good: Useful if you're fighting good-aligned enemies.
  • scorching ray: Excellent ranged damage.
  • suggestion: Depends on the Bloodrager's garbage spell DCs.
  • fire shield: Mediocre and hard to use.

Hellfire Strike (Su): Amusing, but the limited uses per day make this a very small amount of damage per day.

Infernal Resistance (Ex): Not a lot of resistance, but it's nice to have.

Diabolical Arrogance (Su): Enchantment effects are among the scariest in the game, and fear effects also exist. Bonuses to saves against both will help with the Bloodrager's poor Will saves.

Dark Wings (Su): Free flight! Don't try to rage cycle while flying, or you will fall out of the sky.

Hellfire Charge (Su): 1d6 fire damage on your charges. Exciting.

Fiend of the Pit (Su): Excellent resistances, and See In Darkness is much better than Darkvision.

Undead

The Undead Bloodline is a nice Tank option, and is good for fear stacking. With a few feats and some help from allies, you can keep enemies in a perpetual state of panic.

Bonus Feats: Only a couple good options.

  • Diehard: Diehard is a really good way to skip straight "dying" to "dead".
  • Dodge: More AC is helpful because the Bloodrager only gets medium armor.
  • Endurance: Worthless in most campaigns.
  • Intimidating Prowess: The Bloodrager has very little reason to use Intimidate, but this will make them very good at it. The Undead bloodline provide plenty of other options to inflict fear which don't depend on Intimidate.
  • Iron Will: Bonus to the Bloodragers worst save.
  • Mobility: The Bloodrager doesn't get anything which indicates that you would want or need Mobility.
  • Toughness: With medium armor, more hitpoints never hurt.

Bonus Spells: False Life and Vampiric touch are absolutely fantastic buffs for a front-line melee character like the Bloodrager.

  • Chill Touch: Just hit things with a weapon.
  • False Life: Temporary hit points are fantastic, and the hours/level duration means that you can use this after every fight to keep a really nice bubble of temporary hitpoints.
  • Vampiric Touch: Decent damage, and you get to heal yourself with it. Fantastic.
  • Enervation: Negative levels will really ruin someone's day, but by this level other spellcasters have much better options.

Frightful Charger (Su): Frightful Strikes will eclipse this ability, but making the target Shaken with no save is a great option.

Ghost Strike (Su): Situational, but nice to have.

Death's Gift (Su): Resistance to cold is nice, but you only get 10 points. Nonlethal damage is extremely uncommon.

Frightful Strikes (Su): By this level you have three iterative attacks, so you can make one enemy frightened every round. There is no save against this ability, which makes it particularly effective. I'm not sure what the duration on the fear effect is. Technically, rules as written, they are frightened forever. I imagine that this will be covered by eratta at some point.

Incorporeal Bloodrager (Su): This is a fantastic defensive ability because of Ghost Strike.

One Foot in the Grave (Ex): A nice undead-related list of immunities and resistances.