Race and Class, or ‘Favored Class’ Mechanics

D&D 3e opened the door (in D&D-land) to any race/class combination. To encourage archetypal combinations they introduced the ‘favored class’, where characters of each race could (potentially) enjoy reduced experience point penalties when multiclassing with their favored class — with no effect whatsoever if they didn’t multiclass at all, regardless of class or favored class.

Pathfinder did a better job of it, I think, allowing a small but not overpowering benefit (+1 hit point per level or +1 skill point per level of favored class). Things have changed more from there, with races having more than one favored class, and with (race, class)-specific benefits.

Now, it looks like core races have ‘favored class’ options for _all_ core and advanced classes, and I’ve seen third-party publishers include ‘favored class’ options for all the core races (which I think is a good thing if ‘favored classes’ are a thing).

I’ve asked a question similar to this before, but I think circumstances have changed a bit. ‘Favored class’ options that exist for all combinations seem misnamed.

Perhaps it’s time for racial archetypes on the classes. They’re still optional, so you’re not forced to take them, but half a half-orc bloodreaver (barbarian archetype — and others are possible) instead of picking between +1 hit point per level, +1 skill point per level, or +1 round of rage per level.


  1. Chakat Firepaw

    Yes, ‘favoured class’ did end up as a legacy term in Pathfinder, it’s now more a bonus for singleclassing, (or sticking to no more than two for half-elves).

    As for racial archetypes: You mean like the ones in the Advanced Race Guide?

    • That sort of thing. Wicked Fantasy had a bunch too.

      Pick a subset of classes that really suit the race, replace the bits that don’t fit the image so well — for the sake of discussion, let’s say that quick reflexes and dodging stuff doesn’t fit half-orcs, so replace Fast Movement, Trap Sense, Uncanny Dodge, and Improved Uncanny Dodge — with something that fits how half-orc barbarians differ from regular barbarians.

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