“From the lowliest slave to the highest templar, our fates are decided for us. The slave at the hands of the master, and the templar at the will of the king. Pray to Ral and Guthay that your children are born when the stars align to favor them. Few are those privileged to choose their own path of life, and cursed are those for they are bound by choice and have but themselves to blame for their misfortune. The bard addicted to his alchemical mixtures, the templar imprisoned for his crimes, and the gladiator sacrificed for the thrill of the fight. It is the choices that define who you are and how you die, regardless of who makes them.” ―The Oracle, Blue Shrine Scrolls
Almost all of the standard Pathfinder classes are found in Athas. In addition, this chapter presents two new classes, the Gladiator and the Templar. The Athasian variation of the Bard is so different from the traditional that it could be considered a new one as well.
In addition to detailing the new classes, this chapter provides alterations for each of the classes included in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Psionics. From variant animal companions for druids and rangers, different to entirely new class abilities, these changes make each class slightly different than those used in the generic Pathfinder world.
Each class description in this chapter mentions some of the new skills and feats and prestige classes that are appropriate for each character of that class. These guidelines contribute toward defining the flavor of the character classes in a Dark Sun campaign.
The following classes do not exist in Athas:
Advancing Your Character
A character advances in level as soon as he earns enough experience points to do so—typically, this occurs at the end of a game session, when your GM hands out that session's experience point awards.
The process of advancing a character works in much the same way as generating a character, except that your ability scores, race, and previous choices concerning class, skills, and feats cannot be changed. Adding a level generally gives you new abilities, additional skill points to spend, more hit points, and possibly an ability score increase or additional feat (see Table: Character Advancement and Level-Dependent Bonuses). Over time, as your character rises to higher levels, he becomes a truly powerful force in the game world, capable of ruling nations or bringing them to their knees.
When adding new levels of an existing class or adding levels of a new class (see Multiclassing, below), make sure to take the following steps in order. First, select your new class level. You must be able to qualify for this level before any of the following adjustments are made. Second, apply any ability score increases due to gaining a level. Third, integrate all of the level's class abilities and then roll for additional hit points. Finally, add new skills and feats. For more information on when you gain new feats and ability score increases, see Table: Character Advancement and Level-Dependent Bonuses.
Instead of gaining the abilities granted by the next level in your character's current class, he can instead gain the 1st-level abilities of a new class, adding all of those abilities to his existing ones. This is known as “multiclassing.”
For example, let's say a 5th-level fighter decides to dabble in the arcane arts, and adds one level of wizard when he advances to 6th level. Such a character would have the powers and abilities of both a 5th-level fighter and a 1st-level wizard, but would still be considered a 6th-level character. (His class levels would be 5th and 1st, but his total character level is 6th.) He keeps all of his bonus feats gained from 5 levels of fighter, but can now also cast 1st-level spells and picks an arcane school. He adds all of the hit points, base attack bonuses, and saving throw bonuses from a 1st-level wizard on top of those gained from being a 5th-level fighter.
Note that there are a number of effects and prerequisites that rely on a character's level or Hit Dice. Such effects are always based on the total number of levels or Hit Dice a character possesses, not just those from one class. The exception to this is class abilities, most of which are based on the total number of class levels that a character possesses of that particular class.
Each character begins play with a single favored class of his choosing—typically, this is the same class as the one he chooses at 1st level. Whenever a character gains a level in his favored class, he receives either + 1 hit point or + 1 skill rank. The choice of favored class cannot be changed once the character is created, and the choice of gaining a hit point or a skill rank each time a character gains a level (including his first level) cannot be changed once made for a particular level. Prestige classes (see Prestige Classes) can never be a favored class.