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Ritualist (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 1 rating)
Ritualist (PFRPG)

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Meet the ritualist!

This base class surmounts divine order, compelling the gods rather than beseeching them. Featuring a new approach to spell-like abilities based on deities and player-defined areas, the ritualist demands Intelligence both in and out of character. If a bard, cleric and wizard had a baby, dropped it in the Fountain of Awesome and ordered a host of imps to drag it out, they would emerge with the ritualist.

This class hybridizes the support role with authority and has been thoroughly playtested.

Design Goals:

  • Design a support class with an active role in combat.
  • Encourage cooperation but enable independence.
  • Devise a primary class feature reliant on dynamic player Intelligence to the extreme.
  • Incorporate an engaging "deal with a devil" type dynamic to many aspects of play.

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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Great class, now with clarified signature ability

****( )

This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial and 1 page SRD, leaving 11 pages of content for Dreadfox Games' second new class, the Ritualist, so let's check out this badass!

The Ritualist base-class gets d8, 2+Int skills per level, simple weapon and no armor proficiency, access to spells of up to 6th level via spontaneous casting, bad BAB and a good will save.

Spellcasting, surprisingly, is not the focus of the ritualist: Over the course of the 20 levels, a ritualist gains up to 4 canons. A canon is essentially the ability to bind a deity and access to the spells of one domain of the deity. The alignment of the canonical deity determines access to rituals, but more on them later. As additional bonuses, the canon also grants a permanent sanctuary effect against such an entity's servants, thus protecting ritualists from vengeful demons, angels etc., but not from their mortal followers. Knowledge and linguistic checks related to the deity also get a rather significant boost, so choose wisely! Spellcasting is rather weird: The ritualist casts spontaneous, draws his spells from his domain-lists and uses Int as spellcasting attribute, instead of Cha for a standard spontaneous spellcaster. Additionally, he may only cast each spell once per day, may not apply metamagic feats to spells and does not receive any kind of bonus spells. Rather severe restrictions on the usability/spellcasting prowess of this class.

The ritualist also gain access to rituals, though and can perform 3+Int modifier rituals per day. The ritualist starts play with one ritual known and learns an additional one at 2nd level and every even level after that. In order to learn a ritual, one of the ritual's required alignments must fit with one of the deities selected via canon. In order to enact a ritual, two prerequisites have to be fulfilled: First, the ritualist must have one hand free and sow salts to encompass the area of terrain to be affected by the ritual. This can be done as a free action with a free hand while moving through squares, but when the line of salts is broken, the ritual fails. Secondly, the ritualist must chant while sowing the salts until completion of the ritual. If he is interrupted, silenced etc., the ritual fails. Once the area to be affected has been encompassed, the ritualist has to complete the ritual via a standard action. A ritual has to be completed in two rounds or it fails - thus the usage of a thrall (more on that later) is essential for the maximum effect a ritualist and his thrall can get out of their respective rituals. 20 sample rituals are provided and generally, they are rather interesting, constituting a kind of super-spell: Conquest of the Ages, for example, lets weapons count as +1 higher with regards to overcoming DR and grants the improved sunder feat, but lasts 1 hour per class level. The rituals per se are centered on long-term buffs and terrain control and make for an interesting way of fighting strategically in a group.

In order to quicker complete ritual areas, ritualists gain thralls depending on their level - depending on the character's level, their familiar-like thrall loses DR, SR or SLA's by DC in order to keep the balance. The thralls can be called upon and sacrificing them does not entail negative consequences, which is a rather dark twist on the topic, but one I definitely appreciate. To further add to the options of the ritualist, he gets the ability to grant impunity via touch, which makes the recipient immune against the rituals of one of his canonical deities, offering a neat variety of options to create "ritual ambushes" without resorting to friendly fire. Seeing how terrain-control works in favor of the ritualist and his allies, the ability needs careful consideration on part of the players.

EDIT: The multiclass-restriction with clerics has been revised, now making it possible to do so, but with the caveat that he may not worship gods from pantheons he can bind, encouraging the choice of exotic deities or sinister beings.

Dreadfox Games also have a free pdf web-enhancement containing tips and tricks for playing ritualists, which you should check out - the class is rather complex.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Dreadfox Games' two-column, sepia-style standard and comes with one full color artwork and a b/w-sketch. The pdf has no bookmarks. I really like this class. Just like Dreadfox Games' Gypsy, the Ritualist is a gutsy class that is different in how it works from all other classes released so far. Unlike the Gypsy, I DO see a significant niche in an adventure group, especially in one that likes planning and smart fighting for the ritualist: Terrain-control takes some thought and planning, but makes for an immensely fun experience. I do have some problems, though:

On the fluff-side, ritualists essentially bind deities and I would have preferred them only tapping into their power - that's just fluff, though and will in this case not fracture into my final verdict. What will, though, is that the sanctuary-effect the ritualist gains against canonical deities and their agents does not specify what actually constitutes agents and distinguishes them from followers.

I am VERY, VERY happy indeed to announce that the Ritualist has undergone a massive revision that adds a mini-FAQ to ritualist salts to the file and it is GLORIOUS, not only providing rules for guarding a line of salt, environmental factors that can break a line, and even better: Makes it possible to cast spells on them, thus making it possible to use the ritualist in aerial and underwater combat and campaigns.This intelligent and rather smart revision eliminates my major gripe with this class and makes it one of teh most innovative, cool classes out there
And then, there's the price point: $4.99 is not cheap and when compared to similar class offerings from other publishers, the ritualist is rather expensive, but I elaborated upon that in length in my review of the Gypsy. While I still maintain that 30 rituals would have been better than 20, now the class works very well indeed.

Which also brings me to my revision of my final verdict - since I strive to be fair and reward 3pps who actually look after their releases and further improve their creations, I am happy to report that Dreadfox Games is on the way to making this one of my favorite 3pp-classes - while the Ritualist is still a costly offering, the class has a lot of coolness to add to your table and with the central mechanic now working as intended, I only have the price point and t5he lack of supplemental material à la archetypes, feats and PrCs to complain about. I hear that a future supplement due in October will address these and I'm happy to return to the ritualist then - for now, I'll upgrade my review to a solid, whopping 4 stars and recommend this class to anyone who enjoys classes that are truly different from the mold.

Endzeitgeist out.




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