Dark Archive Playtest: The Unknown Beckons

Monday, September 20, 2021

In the month since we announced our latest class playtest, there’ve been rumors, speculation, and Pathfinder fans across the internet connecting the threads of what the next book could be. Appropriate, since I can now say that our newest rulebook will be the paranormal Pathfinder Dark Archive, releasing at Gen Con 2022!

Golarion is a fantastic world filled with the impossible. A city returned from the depths of time. A chasm to the Abyss, only recently sealed. A fallen star granting godhood. Yet even in a world where anything is possible, there are always further depths and stranger phenomena on the fringes of understanding. The Dark Archive contains material for players and GMs alike to bring cryptids, temporal anomalies, and other paranormal phenomena to their game tables. And of course, two new character classes that investigate the unknown: the psychic and the thaumaturge!

Thaleon, the iconic psychic Mios, the iconic thaumaturge

Thaleon, the iconic psychic, and Mios, the iconic thaumaturge. Sketches by Wayne Reynolds.

The psychic is a spontaneous occult spellcaster whose magic comes from the unique interplay of their conscious and subconscious mind. Do you see others’ thoughts as a precise, ordered sequence, or do objects fly when you experience strong feelings? Whatever kind of psychic you build, you’ll have a bevy of psi cantrips to cast at will and to amplify with Focus Points for extra power or versatility. When the time is right, unleash your mind in a storm of psychic magic—though beware the risks!

The thaumaturge is the quintessential collector of superstitions: the adventurer who’s heard every story and always has the right tool or charm for any threat. The thaumaturge is in part a reconceptualization of the themes that went into First Edition’s occultist class, so of course, you’ll have a mystic implement (or three) to wield, along with the unique ability to identify and capitalize on an enemy’s weaknesses. You can further customize your character with supernatural tricks taken from all four magical traditions, warding circles, and even pacts with powerful entities!

With two new classes, we also have two new adventurers joining the ranks of iconic Pathfinder characters. While we won’t be revealing their full backstories until the book is closer to release, I’ll turn things over to their authors for a brief introduction:

Thaleon, the Iconic Psychic:
Thaleon is an artist whose creative vision reaches beyond the physical world into unseen realms. Hailing from Rahadoum, a land where religion is forbidden, he believes that effort is the foundation of change and that each person has a duty to cultivate their own talents and use them to shape society for the better. Thaleon embraces his ties to the psychic forces that flow from his emotions and strives to understand them, even as they sometimes surge beyond his control.

Linda Zayas-Palmer
Development Manager

Mios, the Iconic Thaumaturge
As a young adult driving their night coach on the streets of Ustalav, Mios was attacked by a creature and afflicted with a terrible curse. After hunting through rumors by the light of their coach’s lantern, they managed to save themself by piecing together a cure. Now aged into an experienced monster hunter, Mios believes in second chances but not third ones, fearing neither evil nor death.

Avi Kool
Senior Editor

The playtest starts today and runs through Friday, October 29th! Build characters, run them in your games, see how they play, and let us know what you think! We look forward to hearing your impressions, experiences, and insights to ensure the newest Pathfinder classes are the best they can be.

In darkness lies enlightenment.

James Case
Designer

Get the Playtest!

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Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Paizo Employee Organized Play Coordinator

14 people marked this as a favorite.

Let's get weird.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Alex Speidel wrote:
Let's get weird.

Dang it. I’d *just* gotten “Lets get loud” out of my head from watching Cinderella a couple weekends ago.

But yes, liking what I read so far.

Paizo Employee Designer

15 people marked this as a favorite.

Okay… here we go.
Welcome to the playtest, everyone! Try out the new classes and let us know what you think through the surveys—We're all here to put the psychic and thaumaturge through their paces and make the final versions the best they can be!


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Awesome! Let's get into it!


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Alex Speidel wrote:
Let's get weird.

I was already weird, so can I get wierder instead?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very excited about these! I'm hoping I can find the time to do some playtesting.

Initial read-through, the Psychic looks like a pretty cool blaster-caster class. Thaumaturge feels a lot less versatile at first glance than Occultist did, which is disappointing. Between spells and implements it felt like the Occultist was a toolbox of solutions to problems. The Thaumaturge feels like a toolbox of ways to kill monsters. Almost like a mish-mash of 1e Slayer, 1e Inquisitor, and 2e Ranger. The talisman and scroll stuff offsets that a little, but they take feat investment.

Anyway, looking forward to trying them out!

Second Seekers (Jadnura)

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I am always amazed at the new character options that keep coming out from Paizo. Well done with these cool ideas!


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Looking forward to it!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Perfect timing, we're about to start a Malevolence game this weekend! Time to test out that ...oh no, which one do I choose they're both cool...


Alex Speidel wrote:
Let's get weird.

Looks like we'll need a DC 36 Arcane or Occult check to add that to our spellbook/familiar/whatever, along with 1,500 gold in raw materials and 9 hours in downtime.

...Oh, you meant the verb. Whoops. Guess things did get weird, now. (Better hope I succeed my Will Save.)

Design Manager

13 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm looking forward to exploring the classes with all of you!

Second Seekers (Roheas)

Cool! Hoping the Thaumaturge has some kineticist in its dna.

Hey where might someone find this playtest material (wink wink nudge nudge)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Would you consider extending the playtest to end on November 1st? I'm attending a convention that occurs on Halloween weekend.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Cyrad wrote:
Would you consider extending the playtest to end on November 1st? I'm attending a convention that occurs on Halloween weekend.

Psst, the secret is that we likely won't turn off the survey until Monday morning. So not officially, but it is manual and we want your feedback.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
eddv wrote:


Cool! Hoping the Thaumaturge has some kineticist in its dna.

Hey where might someone find this playtest material (wink wink nudge nudge)

The “Get the playtest” at the end of the blog is a link.

Paizo Employee Marketing & Media Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Paul Watson wrote:
eddv wrote:


Cool! Hoping the Thaumaturge has some kineticist in its dna.

Hey where might someone find this playtest material (wink wink nudge nudge)

The “Get the playtest” at the end of the blog is a link.

We have a new blog system that will have more obvious buttons and we are dying to use it. #soon

Design Manager

9 people marked this as a favorite.
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Would you consider extending the playtest to end on November 1st? I'm attending a convention that occurs on Halloween weekend.
Psst, the secret is that we likely won't turn off the survey until Monday morning. So not officially, but it is manual and we want your feedback.

I actually have turned it off on the listed end date in the past, which might be why they asked. But Aaron you make a really good point, so, in the way of the thaumaturge, quick someone use my weakness to compel me to leave it open!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
But Aaron you make a really good point, so, in the way of the thaumaturge, quick someone use my weakness to compel me to leave it open!

I am brandishing a textbook on BASIC from 1987.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Perpdepog wrote:
Alex Speidel wrote:
Let's get weird.
I was already weird, so can I get wierder instead?

I'm aiming to go straight to wierdest


8 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Aaron Shanks wrote:
Cyrad wrote:
Would you consider extending the playtest to end on November 1st? I'm attending a convention that occurs on Halloween weekend.
Psst, the secret is that we likely won't turn off the survey until Monday morning. So not officially, but it is manual and we want your feedback.
I actually have turned it off on the listed end date in the past, which might be why they asked. But Aaron you make a really good point, so, in the way of the thaumaturge, quick someone use my weakness to compel me to leave it open!

Bah, here's his true weakness - *brandishes a copy of The C Programming Language


5 people marked this as a favorite.
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
But Aaron you make a really good point, so, in the way of the thaumaturge, quick someone use my weakness to compel me to leave it open!
I am brandishing a textbook on BASIC from 1987.

Hmmm... I'll raise you a COBOL-85 textbook. ;)


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I am brandishing a textbook on BASIC from 1987.
The Fifth Wanderer wrote:
Bah, here's his true weakness - *brandishes a copy of The C Programming Language
graystone wrote:
Hmmm... I'll raise you a COBOL-85 textbook. ;)

The power of the compiler compels him!


8 people marked this as a favorite.
AnimatedPaper wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I am brandishing a textbook on BASIC from 1987.
The Fifth Wanderer wrote:
Bah, here's his true weakness - *brandishes a copy of The C Programming Language
graystone wrote:
Hmmm... I'll raise you a COBOL-85 textbook. ;)
The power of the compiler compels him!

Compiles him?


Hey a 2/3rd caster, the normal are 3 per spell level, but they have 2... so 2/3.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

So I normally hate full casters… and I’m dying to play the Psychic. Well done.

I’m seeing a little bit of 4e (modifying your at-will abilities) and a little bit of 13th Age (powers kicking in several rounds into combat) in their design DNA, and it makes me /very/ happy.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is the new Iconic Psychic a Vourinoi Elf? We know almost nothing about that culture, but after how great the Muaijae have gotten to be, I’m keen to meet their desert neighbors.

Paizo Employee Designer

11 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
Is the new Iconic Psychic a Vourinoi Elf? We know almost nothing about that culture, but after how great the Muaijae have gotten to be, I’m keen to meet their desert neighbors.

Thaleon is indeed an elf, but we'll be holding onto the rest of the info on the iconics until later--this is just a sneak peek ^_^ !


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Psychic seems nice, but I came here for the Thaumaturge. Gotta say, the class does seem flexible (especially considering available feats), though I am a little bummed that the most baseline stuff is about bonking things on the head - both Find Flaws and Esoteric Antithesis are simply about dishing out damage/getting the right source of damage. To my mind those could be optional feats, which would make space for something more... creative.

The implements are kinda cool as they play on various supernatural hunter characters - I can easily imagine John Constantine choosing the amulet (or the wand, but I think it'd be the amulet), the chalice is an obvious reference to classic occultism (and I like it!), wand seems like the most bland out of all of them, the weapon one makes you a Witcher, and my favorite - the Lantern - produces beautiful horror story potential.

Though, I must say, I'm not sure why I would choose the chalice. It's a glorified healing potion. Nothing money can't buy, while to me at least occult stories are literally about stuff that cannot or shouldn't be bought.

I love the concept behind the warding circle, though not sure about how useful it can be. You would probably want to use it against something dangerous (or a mass of weak creatures, in which case it's totally fine), but "something dangerous" will probably have higher CR than the Thaumaturge, so its Will should break the circle quite easily.
If I was playing this class (and I hope I will get to sometime), I would be seriously bummed if, after a minute of drawing while listening to the gruntles of the monster, after a full minute of describing how my character gets on his knees and starts drawin a triangle inside a triangle, inside a hexagon, filled with protective spells in long-forgotten languages of angels...
I would be bummed if after all this the monster would instantly cross the border by rolling a 5 on the die, still beating my circle, as it's a mini-boss. Why did we sneak around it, why did I choose to spend the last minute on this, why all the effort? I could've spent that time on buffing from scrolls to get those sweet bonuses.

Imagining that, I'm not sure why I would choose this over the always useful option - Pact of Fey Glamour.

Wouldn't it be more enticing if the DC to cross was at least class DC +2 on its first attempt, DC +0 on the second, and maybe DC -2 on the third attempt, to keep it in line with the well-known Rule of Three and give the circle a higher chance of actually working, weakening with repeated attempts?

Or am I missing something? I am a fan of everything narration-oriented, so it always saddens me when I can see that more damage/overall utility/mechanics-focused stuff is simply a better choice. I might be biased though.

I also love the design of Rule of Three, though I wish it also gave bonuses to maneuvers and spellcasting, should the Thaumaturge also have such a capability. Gotta say, +x to attack is the most boring kind of bonus - a necessary one, but come on - would it really be so op if it also helped casting and attempts on tripping, grappling, etc? Wouldn't it be immensely enticing to see a caster starting each round with a voiced intent of banishing a creature, and casting a spell on round three, sending the conjured creature back to its plane thanks to that bonus specifically?
Wouldn't it be nice to see an Athletics expert tripping and pinning the creature to the ground while uttering those intent-driven echantments on it?
To me at least those two are equally as baddass as striking the creature... If not more badass.

Frankly, as much as I love PF2e, this kind of reservations applies to many mechanics of the game - Marshall's buffs for allies affect only attack rolls, flat-footed enemies don't have any penalties to Reflex saves, stuff like that. If the Thaumaturge could blaze the trail towards helping more creative stuff than simply attacking happen, I would be on cloud nine!

Despite the very theoretical and not really data-driven criticism (obviously didn't get to testing this stuff in-game yet), I am thankful to see that both classes ooze just the right vibe!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The Psychic almost has little bit of a blastery warlock feel to it and a couple of the Thaumaturge class abilities and their themes are making me think of the kind of things I would have liked to see in a Shaman class.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Quick note: the Psychic seems to be missing Expert Perception.

Could we please get input as to when they're meant to get it?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

im loving both of these classes so far, my biggest concern is just Psychics being so squishy and having so few spell slots in exchange for more cantrips which doesn't feel like a fair trade off, especially when compared to witch, wizard or sorcerer who either have extra spell slots or other stuff to help compensate, and I'm not sure if amped cantrips are *quite* on the same level, especially since they don't get Deepest Wellspring as part of their class like how Oracle gets all their focus spell regeneration feats as features.

Otherwise these classes look lovely!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I’m loving Psychic, but I am worried they feel undertuned - here’s hoping they follow the usual playtest arc and get some love in the final release.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
keftiu wrote:
I’m loving Psychic, but I am worried they feel undertuned - here’s hoping they follow the usual playtest arc and get some love in the final release.

Honestly I think the best practice for playtests is to start a little undertuned - when things start overturned they sometimes get nerfed a bit too hard, resulting in an undertuned final result.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Have only done a quick read of the Psychic and I love it so far.

James I know you are saving more about the iconics but could you answer one more question?

Is Mios Enby? My Trans friend noticed their blurb only used they not he and made the joke that Mios has "No gender, only stuff" in reference to the massive ammount of gear they have on them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

Mios is non-binary, yes.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*excited occult noises*


8 people marked this as a favorite.

One small thing I do want to remark on: Psychic is our second class that grants Access to characters from Numeria; I’d love for a trip there in 2e.

I’m also quite fond of the tie between elves and Castrovel remarked on - another place I’m eager to visit! Lashunta are probably top of the Ancestries I’m missing from 1e at this point, and I think that you can get some delicious gonzo fantasy out of a lush world full of elves, psychics, and bug aliens.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Nicolas Paradise wrote:
Is Mios Enby? My Trans friend noticed their blurb only used they not he and made the joke that Mios has "No gender, only stuff" in reference to the massive ammount of gear they have on them.

In preparation to share this joke with my partner, I directed her to check out Mios' artwork, which prompted her to ask "you mean the person dressed like Howl's room was decorated?"


Nicolas Paradise wrote:

Have only done a quick read of the Psychic and I love it so far.

James I know you are saving more about the iconics but could you answer one more question?

Is Mios Enby? My Trans friend noticed their blurb only used they not he and made the joke that Mios has "No gender, only stuff" in reference to the massive ammount of gear they have on them.

Confirmed to be non-binary, I believe.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Nicolas Paradise wrote:

Have only done a quick read of the Psychic and I love it so far.

James I know you are saving more about the iconics but could you answer one more question?

Is Mios Enby? My Trans friend noticed their blurb only used they not he and made the joke that Mios has "No gender, only stuff" in reference to the massive ammount of gear they have on them.

Confirmed to be non-binary, I believe.

And also confirmed by Avi K. that their left leg has a brace on it, so also representation for mobility aids as well!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm excited for the new classes, but I am a little sad that Rivani isn't the iconic Psychic anymore.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
HuevoBendito wrote:
I'm excited for the new classes, but I am a little sad that Rivani isn't the iconic Psychic anymore.

I can't claim to have known much about her, but it is a shame to lose one of the few prominent Vudrani characters we've had.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Rivani was really cool, so hopefully the new iconic also is.

... I have a player who's NB and 'monster hunter covered in esoteric tools' is their favorite character archetype so that they've been really vibing really hard with the thaumaturge though.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I am thinking we should see what we get when we assemble the ex-iconics into a single party. I think we have enough of them to seriously threaten a party of new or current iconics.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
David knott 242 wrote:


I am thinking we should see what we get when we assemble the ex-iconics into a single party. I think we have enough of them to seriously threaten a party of new or current iconics.

Hmm...

Alchemist
Warpriest
Oracle
Summoner
Gunslinger
Psychic

and maybe the following, too...

Cavalier
Vigilante
Arcanist
Occultist


Aaron Shanks wrote:
Paul Watson wrote:
eddv wrote:


Cool! Hoping the Thaumaturge has some kineticist in its dna.

Hey where might someone find this playtest material (wink wink nudge nudge)

The “Get the playtest” at the end of the blog is a link.
We have a new blog system that will have more obvious buttons and we are dying to use it. #soon

Where?

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Ooooooh, my fave country has an Iconic now! And not just any iconic, but a non-binary Iconic!

Welp, I am deceased from sheer joy at all the wonderful announcements today.

Paizo Employee Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Nicolas Paradise wrote:

Have only done a quick read of the Psychic and I love it so far.

James I know you are saving more about the iconics but could you answer one more question?

Is Mios Enby? My Trans friend noticed their blurb only used they not he and made the joke that Mios has "No gender, only stuff" in reference to the massive ammount of gear they have on them.

They are!

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

I will miss having an iconic for rotund people.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Raven Black wrote:
I will miss having an iconic for rotund people.

I think they might be rotund, though it's hard to tell under the jacket and with the accoutrements. Of course, that's why many of us rotund people dress in relatively baggy clothes, so...

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