There are infinite possible character concepts, but you might find that the feats and skill choices from a single class aren’t sufficient to fully realize your character. Archetypes allow you to expand the scope of your character’s class.
Applying an archetype requires you to select archetype feats instead of class feats. Start by finding the archetype that best fits your character concept, and select the archetype’s dedication feat using one of your class feat choices. Once you have the dedication feat, you can select any feat from that archetype in place of a class feat as long as you meet its prerequisites. The archetype feat you select is still subject to any selection restrictions on the class feat it replaces. For example, if you gained an ability at 6th level that granted you a 4th-level class feat with the dwarf trait, you could swap out that class feat only for an archetype feat of 4th level or lower with the dwarf trait. Archetype feats you gain in place of a class feat are called archetype class feats.
Occasionally, an archetype feat works like a skill feat instead of a class feat. These archetype feats have the skill trait, and you select them in place of a skill feat, otherwise following the same rules above. These are not archetype class feats (for instance, to determine the number of Hit Points you gain from the Fighter Resiliency archetype feat).
Each archetype’s dedication feat represents a certain portion of your character’s time and focus, so once you select a dedication feat for an archetype, you must satisfy its requirements before you can gain another dedication feat. Typically, you satisfy an archetype dedication feat by gaining a certain number of feats from the archetype’s list. You cannot retrain a dedication feat as long as you have any other feats from that archetype.
Sometimes an archetype feat lets you gain another feat, such as the alchemist’s basic concoction. You must always meet the prerequisites of the feat you gain in this way.
Two special kinds of archetypes are designated by the class and multiclass traits.
Archetypes with the multiclass trait represent diversifying your training into another class’s specialties. You can’t select a multiclass archetype’s dedication feat if you are a member of the class of the same name (for instance, a fighter can’t select the Fighter Dedication feat).
Archetypes with the class trait represent a fundamental divergence from your class’s specialties, but one that exists within the context of your class. You can select a class archetype only if you are a member of the class of the same name. Class archetypes always alter or replace some of a class’s static class features, in addition to any new feats they offer. It may be possible to take a class archetype at 1st level if it alters or replaces some of the class’s initial class features.
In that case, you must take that archetype’s dedication feat at 2nd level, and after that you proceed normally. You can never have more than one class archetype.
Some archetypes grant you a substantial degree of spellcasting, albeit delayed compared to a character from a spellcasting class. Some spellcasting archetypes are bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, and wizard, the multiclass archetypes for the five main spellcasting classes, but future books might introduce spellcasting archetypes that aren’t multiclass archetypes.
A spellcasting archetype allows you to use scrolls, staves, and wands in the same way that a member of a spellcasting class can.
Spellcasting archetypes always grant the ability to cast cantrips in their dedication, and then they have a basic spellcasting feat, an expert spellcasting feat, and a master spellcasting feat. These feats share their name with the archetype; for instance, the wizard’s master spellcasting feat is called Master Wizard Spellcasting.
All spell slots you gain from spellcasting archetypes have restrictions depending on the archetype; for instance, the bard archetype grants you spell slots you can use only to cast occult spells from your bard repertoire, even if you are a sorcerer with occult spells in your sorcerer repertoire.
Basic Spellcasting Feat: Available at 4th level, these feats grant a 1st-level spell slot. At 6th level, they grant you a 2nd-level spell slot. At 8th level, they grant you a 3rd-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “basic spellcasting benefits.”
Expert Spellcasting Feat: Taken at 12th level, these feats make you an expert in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition and grant you a 4th-level spell slot. At 14th level, they grant you a 5th-level spell slot, and at 16th level, they grant you a 6th-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “expert spellcasting benefits.”
Master Spellcasting Feat: Upon reaching 18th level, these feats make you a master in spell attack rolls and DCs of the appropriate magical tradition and grant you a 7th-level spell slot. At 20th level, they grant you an 8th-level spell slot. Archetypes refer to these benefits as the “master spellcasting benefits.”