The GMG has a variant rule where the players can get a free archetype. About it, it says:
The only difference between a normal character and a free-archetype character is that the character receives an extra class feat at 2nd level and every even level thereafter that they can use only for archetype feats.PF2e GMG 194
In the Pathfinder 2 game I run, I told the players in their first session that they get the free dedication feat at 2nd level. In the game where I’m player, the GM recently let us choose one (we’re currently 4th level). I’m glad we’re getting that. In my opinion, all PF2e games should use this rule. And here are my reasons why.
1) Players Get to Make Something Closer to What They Want
The vast majority of players I see want to make a character different than only the options in their class. Maybe you’re a spellcaster that wants to cast spells from two different traditions. Maybe you’re a fighter that wants a familiar. Maybe you want to be Harry Dresden, a wizard that also wields a gun. Plenty of characters want to do more than what the base class offers.
Sure, the game let’s you spend a class feat on an archetype, but here’s the thing, few use that option because they’re afraid they’ll be behind on the power curve of what their class should do. Are you really going to give up a 2nd level class feat for a few extra cantrips or some weapon or armor proficiencies? Probably not. Unless you feel that the synergy is going to be worth it down the road you’re not going to sacrifice useful abilities now for it.
2) The Power Level is Barely Changed
With the three actions economy, any options you get from your free archetype is probably going to come at the cost of using other options. Taking a spellcaster option? You have cantrips that will be used at the cost of other forms of attack. Taking something that gives you hunt prey or rage actions. For the cost of an action you get extra damage. Fighter, you get extra weapon proficiencies so your attacks do more damage, but not such an incredible amount that it unbalances things. Sure, there is a power increase, but only barely.
3) Your Players Will Love You for It
Players love free stuff. Free feat, that is different from their core class, wahoo! Yes please. And who is the person that gave it them? You! They will be glad you gave it to them.
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