Ever wanted to play a supporting Dragon Shaman who also has a few Sorcerer spells from his draconic ancestry? A Soulknife that DOESN'T make the Psychic Warrior point and laugh? Or perhaps something more esoteric, like a half-Fiend Psionic Assassin?
Psion Tiefling by TazioBettin used under Creative Commons Attribution License
While it is possible to construct such characters, blending multiple classes which do not have dual progression PrC or feat support tends to give suboptimal results. Similiarly, using high LA monster races or templates usually sucks up so many levels that the character has a hard time being viable. And both cannot be done at low levels.
The Trissociate tries to get around these restrictions by breaking down the various iconic base classes, into fragments of their class features. It also converts various common monster archetypes into abilities that scales as you level. Ultimately, it lets you pick and choose these various components to create a mix that suits your unique character.
This approach can also be used as a 'fix' for various lower tier base classes. In essence, you can take Associations that emulate existing base classes, and add other (usually stronger) features on top of it. Various suggestions on how to recreate certain base classes are listed below:
Base Class Suggested Associations Dragon Shaman Half-Dragon, Dragon Shaman, Sorcerer/Invocations Monk Weaponmaster (Unarmed), Martial Sage, Sublime Paladin Paladin, Magical Companion, Cleric/Favored Soul Ranger Ranger, Animal Companion, Druid Soulknife Soulknife, Psion/Erudite, Sublime/Weaponmaster (Mindblade)
At the start of their career, most individuals have committed themselves to a particular occupation- some are trained in force of arms, some have mastered the arts of stealth and shadow, and still others learn to channel magic or psionics. But not a Trissociate. Rather than dedicating himself to any one specialty, Trissociates have instead picked up a mish-mash of abilities throughout their lives.
The Trissociate is difficult to define. Depending on what are his Focus and Associations, he may be a mighty warrior, a skilled assassin, or (most commonly) a hybrid jack of all trades. And unlike the Chameleon who can change his abilities each day, a Trissociate's talents remain more or less the same throughout his career, with chosen abilities varying among individual Trissociates.
Making a Trissociate
Abilities: Depending on his chosen combat style, an Trissociate may (or may not) require high strength or dexterity to fight well, if he opts to specialize in fighting at all. As with any other class, a Trissociate can make use of a decent constitution score. And depending on his magical or psionic abilities, he may want a high Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma score, and sometimes even all three.
Races: Any race can become an Trissociate. No one race can claim a monopoly on the capacity to develop multiple talents. Although the inclination for such varied learning tends to be more prevalent among well-schooled nobles.
Alignment: Trissociates can be of any alignment. Although certain Associations may require a particular Trissociate to be of a certain alignment.