Retraining

Retraining is a method of revising your character, adjusting a decision you made earlier in your character's career by selecting a different legal option. This technique represents the character's practicing new talents in lieu of honing older ones. In a way, the process is similar to attaining a new level. In keeping with that concept, the retraining option can be chosen only during level advancement. Six different character aspects can be changed through retraining. Each time your character attains a new level, you can select one (and only one) of these options. For instance, you can't change a feat selection and your spells known at the same level. Since these options represent two different sessions of retraining, they must occur at different levels. The decision to retrain must be implemented before any benefits of the newly attained level are applied. For example, if a 10th-level rogue wants to trade her improved evasion class feature for the opportunist class feature, she can do so immediately upon attaining 11th level, before she gains any of the benefits for that level (such as additional hit points, skill points, and so on).

Class Feature Retraining

Some class features offer two or more different options, such as the choice of combat style a ranger must make at 2nd level. Class feature retraining allows you to swap out one such option for another. Maybe your ranger would prefer to be an archer instead of a melee fighter, or your cleric of Heironeous feels that the War domain would be a better option than the Law domain. The character remains basically the same, since his class levels haven't changed, but he's now highlighting a different aspect of his class.

The Process: Change one class feature option to another legal one. The new option must represent a choice that you could have made at the same level as you made the original choice. Also, the new choice can't make any of your later choices illegal—though it might automatically change class features acquired later if they are based on the initial choice.

Example: Upon gaining a new level, a psychic warrior could change the warrior's path class feature he gained at 1st level from archer to ascetic. Thereafter, he would be treated as if he had the ascetic powers instead of the archer powers. If he had at least three levels of psychic warrior he would gain the ascetic trance and maneuver in place of the archer ones. But he could not make this choice if he had the advanced archer path feat, as he would no longer meet the prerequisite for it, he would have to retrain that feat first then retrain the class feature in a future level.

Feat Retraining

Sometimes a feat choice looks great on paper, but it just doesn't work for your character in practice. Maybe an early feat choice reflected the character's personality and style, but a little experience changed his outlook. For instance, you might have selected Improved Initiative for your 1st level character because you pictured him as ambitious and a little reckless. But after falling victim to a wight's touch because he just couldn't wait until the cleric turned the undead, he decides it's better to use a little more care in combat, causing you to regret your early feat choice. New supplements, with their wealth of exciting feat options, also provide plenty of reasons to reconsider your earlier feat selections.

The Process: You can exchange one of the feats you previously selected for another feat. If the new feat has prerequisites, not only must your character meet them in his current state, but you must also be able to show that he met them at the time you chose the previous feat.

Example: A 4th-level warblade couldn't trade the Mobility feat he chose at 3rd level for Improved Critical because he doesn't currently meet a prerequisite for the latter feat (base attack bonus +8). He also couldn't trade that Mobility feat for Weapon Specialization, even though he currently meets the prerequisite (base attack bonus +4), because he could not have done so as a 3rd-level character.

Language Retraining

It made a lot of sense to speak Goblin, Kobold, and Orc at 1st level, but now that you're mostly fighting giants, demons, and dragons, it would be nice to understand your new enemies.

The Process: Subtract one language from your list of known languages and add a new one to the list. It doesn't matter how your character earned the original language—it could have been an automatic language for her race, a bonus language gained from a high Intelligence score, or a language from linguistics.

Skill Retraining

Some skills that are particularly valuable at lower levels become less useful later on, and vice versa. For example, when everyone in the party is carrying a bag full of antitoxins and potions of cure light wounds, the need for successful Heal checks drops dramatically. Whether your character has skill ranks that aren't as necessary as they once were, or you just want to adapt her to new challenges, skill retraining provides a simple method of adjusting your character's capabilities in a small but measurable way.

The Process: Subtract up to 8 skill ranks from one skill and add an equal number of ranks to any other skills up to your normal maximum.

Example: You decide to give your 2nd-level hunter a level of the rogue class as his third character level. At this point, he could use the skill retraining option to lose 2 ranks in Handle Animal that he purchased with his ranger skill points to gain 1 rank in perception and 1 rank in spellcraft as long as he didn't already have 2 ranks in those skills.

Ability Retraining

Much like feats, magic spells, psionic powers, and similar class abilities sometimes look better when you select them than they do after you've used them for a while. And when you're playing a character with a limited number of options (such as a bloodrager or a psychic warrior), every spell or power you choose represents a significant percentage of your character's overall options. You can't afford to have dead weight taking up valuable spell slots, so ditch that sleep spell now that the party isn't facing foes with low Hit Dice anymore and replace it with the niftier 1st-level spell you just found in a recent supplement.

The Process: Exchange up to two currently known abilities for other abilities. This option works for spells, powers, maneuvers, extracts, or any other class ability that follows a similar tiered progression. Each new ability must be usable by the same class and of the same level as the ability it replaces.

Special: Many classes already have an option of exchanging their abilities, like bards or warlords. This method of retraining allows exchanges over and above what their classes already permit, and uses only the rules stated here, not the normal rules the class follows for exchanging abilities.

Example: A bard could change suggestion to blur or cure moderate wounds, since all three are 2nd level bard spells, but he couldn't change it to haste (a 3rd level spell) or to divine power (a cleric spell).

Example: A Warlord advancing from 5th to 6th level could exchange their 2nd level maneuver bloody riposte to another 2nd level like devastating rush, but they couldn't upgrade it to frenzy strike (a 3rd level maneuver), even though they can do this with another maneuver as part of their class features.

Archetype Retraining

Archetypes are a way of building and diversifying your character, but sometimes you come to dislike what an archetype offers, or find another one more appealing.

The Process: You can remove an archetype for a class to return to the base class, or change one archetype for another that the class offers, or add an archetype you qualify for to the class. If the archetype you're removing offers any feats or other features that would invalidate other choices you've made you will need to retrain those first. If the archetype you're removing involved any choices such as feats or spells you must choose those again if you later take the archetype.

Example: An alchemist with no archetypes could gain the mindchemist archetype, gaining the cognatogen ability, but losing the use of any mutagens they possess. They could not do this if they posses the greater mutagen discovery, as they would no longer qualify for it.

Ability Score Retraining

Ability scores define the capabilities of a character, but sometimes you want your character to grow or change over the course of a campaign, or you find your original choices don't fit what you're building for.

The Process: You can subtract up to two points from one ability score and gain the point-buy value for those points, and reassign them as you see fit. You still can't lower an ability score below 7 or above 18, and you need to ignore all modifiers to the score such as racial bonuses, ABP, and ability score increases every 4 levels.

Example: A level 4 Elven rogue has 21 Dexterity. Subtracting the 1 ability score increase at level 4 and the 2 racial bonus for being an Elf, they have 18 Dexterity; which they decide to lower to 16, gaining them 7 point to spend. They use those 7 points to raise their Charisma from 12 to 15 (5 points) and their Strength from 8 to 10 (2 points).