Occult Adventures Class Preview: The Medium

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Illustration by Ivan Troitsky

While all of the occult classes have some connection to strange otherworldly forces, the medium is the only one crazy enough to allow all sorts of spirits to enter his body and mind in order to share their strength, allowing the spirits to gain more and more influence over him in exchange for great power. The playtest medium's spirits were based on the cards of the Harrow deck. Since that meant 54 spirits, each with unique abilities, that proved far too lengthy to fit in Occult Adventures without cutting, so I've saved that work, and we're hoping to release it in some venue.

The medium in the final book, however, has a new theme and direction, bolstered by countless ideas from playtesters that didn't fit with the Harrowed medium but work great in the new paradigm. In the new approach, the medium's spirits are born from the Astral Plane, where the Astral stuff clings to tiny fragments of the souls of people that pass through it and blends them with the tales and thoughts of others about those people. Spirits of power thus arrive from one of six different sorts of legends, which share their names with mythic paths (archmage, champion, guardian, hierophant, marshal, and trickster). Within those categories, a medium might find countless spirits with slightly different abilities. For example, one trickster spirit might be able to help with sneaking and another with grifting. A rondelero duelist champion might be a master of the falcate, and a samurai champion might know how to use a katana. Because these six legends correspond strongly to party roles, this change allows the new medium an unparalleled ability to fill in whatever role you need that day. Going to a masquerade ball? Bring a trickster master of disguise. Party missing a cleric today? Bring a hierophant and literally add the divine spells you need to your spell list that day. Same with archmage for arcane spells. And while the medium is still sometimes a 4-level spellcaster, both the archmage and hierophant progress him up to a 6-level spellcaster!

The Harrowed medium built a special spell list solely from his spirits, but the new medium has his own spell lists, with some intriguing early-access options fitting of a 4-level spellcaster. Furthermore, he is the only 4-level spellcaster currently in the game that receives cantrips at all (and he gets them at 1st-level). This adds a lot of versatility to his options if he chooses a more martial sort of spirit, and it fits with the fact that he can temporarily gain 1st-level spells too, if he picks the archmage or the hierophant.

The medium could always use seances to bring spirits into himself and grant benefits to allies, and the new medium can still do that, but he also gained some special new types of seance that let him do things like trance at a location to learn of its tragic past or even channel a haunt into his body so his party can try to reason with it. The medium can now accept strange taboos from his spirit to gain extra benefits, causing him to act in unusual ways that befit the spirit's temperament. Lastly, the medium's astral ties allow him to perform other incredible feats, like at-will astral projection at 14th level!

But wait, you say, what about the archetypes? If the medium changed that much, how do the archetypes work? To make sure that the archetypes were an absolutely perfect fit for the medium, after the changes, I wrote them from scratch myself. And boy, some of them do some crazy and fun things! The kami medium (whose awesome art graces this blog) channels the spirits of kami instead of legends, losing all the Astral abilities for the ability to use strange ofuda and shikigami, and even gain a ward like a kami does. The reanimated medium is a medium in reverse: after dying, he borrows from his own potential future legends to come back and possess his own body, keeping himself alive. This unique state grants him a variety of benefits and unusual trade-offs. The relic channeler possesses particular relics of a select group of spirits, meaning she contacts the same ones each time. She gains object-based powers and receives extraordinary benefits in exchange for the lack of flexibility. The spirit dancer shakes the whole system of spirits on its head; instead of choosing a spirit each day and gaining its powers for the whole day, he selects a suite of spirits and spends rounds from a daily pool, allowing him to slip in and out of his suite of spirits with ease, in a strange and exhilarating dance. The storyteller is more obsessed with the stories and legends than she even is with the spirits themselves; they are a means to the end of discovering more about the tales of the past. She gains lesser benefits from her spirits in exchange for enhanced knowledge, story-based abilities, and some of the most powerful applications of bardic performance (like inspire courage). Also, she can send you into a story of her own making forever at 20th level, which is pretty nasty!

So however you enjoy letting strange spirits take your body for a test drive, Occult Adventures and the medium class have something right for you!

Mark Seifter
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ivan Troitsky Mediums Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
1 to 50 of 99 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Mark for putting out two blogs in a day, You're the man! :D

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Behold the medium!


Ok now this is what I expected of a class preview. Great detail on the changes and adjustments to this class. You are trooper for rewriting all the archetypes yourself Mark. And Im excited to build a new medium. As well as try the Relic and Spirit Dancer Archetypes.


12 people marked this as a favorite.

I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.

Paizo Employee Designer

31 people marked this as a favorite.
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.

Because Small Medium at Large?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Everything about this fits the flavour I wanted from the medium.

Grabby cold unfeeling robot claws!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.
Because Small Medium at Large?

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I love the flavor of the kami medium.


Damn I want to play this so bad... Great preview, Mark, you've definitely gotten me more excited about this class (which is great because I was pretty dang excited about it before).

Paizo Employee Designer

Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.
Because Small Medium at Large?

Winner winner chicken dinner!

I love the flavor of the kami medium.

Keep an eye on that kami medium from the picture. This may not be the last time you hear from him before all the blogs are said and done...and if you (you meaning you, the future person reading this, not Paladin of Baha-who) unravel my cryptic clue (impossible now, but maybe not in your strange future of a few weeks from now, dear reader), be sure to reply to this post!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

But can I play Johann Kraus?

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Arachnofiend wrote:
Damn I want to play this so bad... Great preview, Mark, you've definitely gotten me more excited about this class (which is great because I was pretty dang excited about it before).

While the Harrowed medium is also my baby, and I want him to see the light of day too, the final medium is also really awesome, so I don't want anyone to consider, even for a moment, that I'm not super-excited about him too!


I'm tentatively particularly interested in the relic channeler... The bonuses given will have to be very powerful to make up for the loss in versatility, but I am also a gal with massive martial bias and will play this class as a full BAB beat stick if I can. >.>

Paizo Employee Designer

Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm tentatively particularly interested in the relic channeler... The bonuses given will have to be very powerful to make up for the loss in versatility, but I am also a gal with massive martial bias and will play this class as a full BAB beat stick if I can. >.>

She generally gets twice as much stuff from the spirit, but she can't change to another spirit of that legend (she still has all 6 legends). So like if a typically medium gets X new spells known from an archmage spirit each day (choosing a different set with different spirits), she gets 2X spells instead, a massive increase, but less versatile on the micro (keeps the macroversatility though, since you get one of each legend). Also she has the added benefit of having a really easy time communing with her spirits due to the relics, and a bunch of other fun stuff!


It sounds like the Medium has lost a lot of the moving parts it had in the playtest, which is just fine with me. I liked the flavor, but couldn't wrap my head around the way the spirits interacted with each other.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

From the time I heard of the harrow version I was taken, I have a soft spot for the Tarot. I was very discouraged when I heard it had changed focus away from the Harrow. Not anymore, there is a lot of great potential in what it sounds like this class will be. And even some of the Archetypes sound really interesting, I'm not usually that keen on most archetypes.

This is the class that got me excited for Occult Adventures, and is once again the one I'm most looking forward to.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Admittedly the original medium was one of the classes that turned me off of the Occult classes due to the complexity of so many spirits. The new version sounds AWESOME though with some really cool variations in the archetypes! Really looking forward to Occult Adventures now!

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
jedi8187 wrote:

From the time I heard of the harrow version I was taken, I have a soft spot for the Tarot. I was very discouraged when I heard it had changed focus away from the Harrow. Not anymore, there is a lot of great potential in what it sounds like this class will be. And even some of the Archetypes sound really interesting, I'm not usually that keen on most archetypes.

This is the class that got me excited for Occult Adventures, and is once again the one I'm most looking forward to.

I also have a soft spot for the Harrow and the tarot, going back to AD&D and the Tarot Deck of Many Things, I think. In fact, the first time Linda and I ever met Wes, we were playing in his Bastardhall game and he took a picture when Linda gave an actual Harrowing (including interpreting the cards) at the table. Glad you like the archetypes too!

Contributor

Ugh, I promised myself that I would make my giantslaying halfling fighter as my 8th PFS character....

BUT KAMI MEDIUM KITSUNE?!?!!?!?! WHY MARK WHY DO YOU TEMPT ME SOOOOOOO?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
I'm tentatively particularly interested in the relic channeler... The bonuses given will have to be very powerful to make up for the loss in versatility, but I am also a gal with massive martial bias and will play this class as a full BAB beat stick if I can. >.>
She generally gets twice as much stuff from the spirit, but she can't change to another spirit of that legend (she still has all 6 legends). So like if a typically medium gets X new spells known from an archmage spirit each day (choosing a different set with different spirits), she gets 2X spells instead, a massive increase, but less versatile on the micro (keeps the macroversatility though, since you get one of each legend). Also she has the added benefit of having a really easy time communing with her spirits due to the relics, and a bunch of other fun stuff!

Ah, a bit different from what I was originally looking for then. On the other hand, the flavor of this archetype has given me an idea of a Shoanti warrior who communes with and receives power from her ancestors through her collection of spirit totems... Gah, this book cannot come soon enough.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.
Because Small Medium at Large?
Winner winner chicken dinner!

If the iconic medium ends up as a WizKids mini, he could be a Medium rare medium....


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I like the new changes to the medium. I admit, it wasn't one of the ones I was most looking forward to, but this looks like fun. I did like the Harrow theme to the old one, maybe make an archetype for the medium that gives it powers based on the Harrow in a future product?

Paizo Employee Designer

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Vic Wertz wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.
Because Small Medium at Large?
Winner winner chicken dinner!
If the iconic medium ends up as a WizKids mini, he could be a Medium rare medium....

Well done, Vic. Well done.

Silver Crusade

The flavor of the reanimated medium sounds amazing!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

At first I wasn't so sure about the Medium, but after a closer reading of it in the playtest, it soon became my second favorite Occult Class (after the awesome Psychic, of course).

I'm really looking forward to all the new types of possessed and Jekyll and Hyde type character options that this book is going to open up, as I've never been content with just a single personality in my PCs.

Paizo Employee Designer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Hrothdane wrote:
The flavor of the reanimated medium sounds amazing!

My favorite part is the ability to switch to the reanimated archetype right after dying midway through playing a regular medium (at the GM's discretion of course)!


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
Hrothdane wrote:
The flavor of the reanimated medium sounds amazing!
My favorite part is the ability to switch to the reanimated archetype right after dying midway through playing a regular medium (at the GM's discretion of course)!

Are you telling me the reanimated archetype is so good people are dying to take it.

Sovereign Court

The medium was my favorite part of the playtest, and I was sad to see it axed. But, after this blog, the medium is again the focal point of my anticipation. I absolutely can't wait.


Is it possible to have a spirit of favorite pet as part of the medium's abilities?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Mark. Mark. Mark! Do you have any, I say, *any* idea how much this preview pleases me? I was already eagerly counting the moments till this book comes out, waiting for my hydrokineticist healer and my psychic shenanigans, but now this? Just... take my money. All of it.

I must say, Mark, you are very quickly becoming my favorite part of Paizo, with your fantastic work on Pathfinder Unchained and now Occult Adventures. Don't ever stop being the awesome guy you are, Mark!

Paizo Employee Designer

Thomas Seitz wrote:
Is it possible to have a spirit of favorite pet as part of the medium's abilities?

Having like a separate ghostly pet is more the realm of the spiritualist (or ghost rider cavalier). But if you mean in terms of a pet coming back to you as a spirit, some animals even in our own world have legends. I mean Hachiko in Shibuya, Tokyo is a dog with a giant famous statue (famous for his loyalty, so maybe marshal or guardian). Hope that helps!


Mark Seifter wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:
Is it possible to have a spirit of favorite pet as part of the medium's abilities?
Having like a separate ghostly pet is more the realm of the spiritualist (or ghost rider cavalier). But if you mean in terms of a pet coming back to you as a spirit, some animals even in our own world have legends. I mean Hachiko in Shibuya, Tokyo is a dog with a giant famous statue (famous for his loyalty, so maybe marshal or guardian). Hope that helps!

Sort of. My dog recently passed on and I wanted to honor him by having his ghost aid my latest character in some fashion. I had considered spiritualist, but reading medium...wasn't sure if that would work too.

Thank you Mister Seifter.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Vic Wertz wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
I MUST make a gnome or halfling Medium who escaped from prison.
Because Small Medium at Large?
Winner winner chicken dinner!
If the iconic medium ends up as a WizKids mini, he could be a Medium rare medium....

I don't suppose he's actually a multiclassed Medium rare commoner/medium?


Excellent preview.


Well done Mark! I am more excited about the medium now than I ever have been, and I've been really excited! I can't wait to have the book in hand.

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
ArcGygas wrote:

Mark. Mark. Mark! Do you have any, I say, *any* idea how much this preview pleases me? I was already eagerly counting the moments till this book comes out, waiting for my hydrokineticist healer and my psychic shenanigans, but now this? Just... take my money. All of it.

I must say, Mark, you are very quickly becoming my favorite part of Paizo, with your fantastic work on Pathfinder Unchained and now Occult Adventures. Don't ever stop being the awesome guy you are, Mark!

In feedback, especially online, it's really easy to focus on the critical (or to be moved to post by virtue of a critical opinion), so I just want to let you know that those of us who create stuff really and truly appreciate when you take the time to post something nice like this!


While i am very excited about this, i really look forward to some kind of advanced harrow or ultimate harrow book. I've been really digging the harrow deck and supplements.

Particularly a bloodrager bloodline i can use with the eldritch scion magus.

Silver Crusade

Mark Seifter wrote:
Hrothdane wrote:
The flavor of the reanimated medium sounds amazing!
My favorite part is the ability to switch to the reanimated archetype right after dying midway through playing a regular medium (at the GM's discretion of course)!

:-O

Wut yes please

(Pretty interested in the new Medium. Tried to like the playtest version but just couldn't get past the gazillion spirits. 6 sounds more manageable.)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I have to say these changes actually make me interested in this class.


aldflasdf;sdfjafa; so cool

I mean... uhh... yes, I am a fan of this reimagining!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I really like the idea of the Kami based archetype. I hope there will be a fey/first world based one.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow. This is super cool.


I'm glad to see these changes- I liked the Harrowed medium, but I definitely think it needs more time and more paper to work. Hopefully it actually makes it to its own book, I'd definitely pay for it.

I want to congratulate you on the Reanimated Medium, it has the sort of flavor that would make me want to play it even if it sucks mechanically. Depending on what it's like, it might be a perfect fit for the zombie apocalypse game my friend wants to run...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So are the possession mechanics still part of the class? Admittedly flavor wise that was my favorite part of the Medium, although I am glad it was a bit simplified.

Basically can I still pull off someone with multiple personality disorder or a Voodoo practitioner?

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Mark, as someone who really didn't GET the playtest/Harrowed medium, this preview has me excited about the class. I'm looking forward to it once it's out, and the inclusion of the kami medium goes a long way to addressing one of my biggest issues of how a "spirit" in pathfinder seems to mean something different in each hardcover book. Same with the ability to have seances interact with huants, another type of "spirit" in the game.

Paizo Employee Designer

MMCJawa wrote:

So are the possession mechanics still part of the class? Admittedly flavor wise that was my favorite part of the Medium, although I am glad it was a bit simplified.

Basically can I still pull off someone with multiple personality disorder or a Voodoo practitioner?

Influence is still there. It now lets you do some pretty useful stuff, like turning a roll that you just slightly failed into a success...for a price!


Just one more question Mister Seifter.

So in you're opinion, based on what I've given you, would you say that Spiritualist would be a better choice for a ghost dog companion...or Medium?

Paizo Employee Designer

Thomas Seitz wrote:

Just one more question Mister Seifter.

So in you're opinion, based on what I've given you, would you say that Spiritualist would be a better choice for a ghost dog companion...or Medium?

So possessing a physical manifestation of the dog would be spiritualist for sure. Pick dedication as your emotion and have a best friend who returned to protect you (like Estra the iconic)!


Thomas Seitz wrote:

Just one more question Mister Seifter.

So in you're opinion, based on what I've given you, would you say that Spiritualist would be a better choice for a ghost dog companion...or Medium?

As he said above, if you have it as a spirit it wont really be a companion if you are a medium. It'd be a spirit you can commune and channel, but it wouldn't be walking by your side attacking enemies or anything.


Mark Seifter wrote:
So possessing a physical manifestation of the dog would be spiritualist for sure. Pick dedication as your emotion and have a best friend who returned to protect you (like Estra the iconic)!

Yes I want him (my dog) to help protect me in combat. So I guess that answers that.

Thank you Mister Seifter!

Milo v3 wrote:
As he said above, if you have it as a spirit it wont really be a companion if you are a medium. It'd be a spirit you can commune and channel, but it wouldn't be walking by your side attacking enemies or anything.

Yeah I'm getting that feeling too.


In basic concept this reminds me of the D&D 3.5 Factotum . . . no idea if the implementation will be at all similar, though.

1 to 50 of 99 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder RPG / Paizo Products / Product Discussion / Paizo Blog: Occult Adventures Class Preview: The Medium All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.