Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Mysteries (PFRPG)

4.30/5 (based on 8 ratings)
Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Mysteries (PFRPG)
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The Terrible Truth!

Every civilization has its big questions, those mysteries that have plagued generations of scholars. How did humanity rise from barbarism? Why did the gnomes leave the First World? Who are the string-pulling veiled masters? What is the Aucturn Enigma, and what strange powers did it grant the rulers of Osirion? What secret could be so great that it led to the suppression of volume five of the Pathfinder Chronicles? Within these covers, all these questions—and far more dangerous secrets—are explored at last.

Occult Mysteries shines a light on the darkest mysteries of the Pathfinder campaign setting. Within this book, you’ll find:

  • In-depth explorations of five of the most debated questions of the Pathfinder campaign setting, including the origins of life, the exodus of the gnomes, and the designs of the veiled masters.
  • Insights into the workings and agendas of eight secret societies like the Anaphexia, the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, and the Knights of the Ioun Star, as well as rules for joining their hidden ranks.
  • Revelations on esoteric traditions such as astrology, numerology, spiritualism, and more, along with a host of new rules and character options to help integrate them into your game.
  • Entirely new ways to divine and influence characters’ futures with Golarion’s zodiac, the Cosmic Caravan, as well as a system for using the harrow deck to inspire game-changing plot twists.
  • Details on six of the most infamous texts in Golarion, along with the hidden powers that make them so dangerous.
  • Numerous options for players, including new feats and spells, ritual magic items, the pain taster prestige class, the occult oracle mystery, and more.

Occult Mysteries is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be used in any fantasy game.

Written by Jason Bulmahn, Crystal Frasier, Jim Groves, Brandon Hodge, James Jacobs, Erik Mona, F. Wesley Schneider, and Jerome Virnich.
Cover Art by Johan Grenier.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-649-2

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscription.

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Average product rating:

4.30/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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good, but perhaps not quite as advertised

3/5

This book is very good for certain things. There is a lot of interesting information in it. There are a number of new systems that I look forward to implementing in campaigns, and perhaps Society play, should any of them wind up legalized. The secret societies are fun, and it never sucks to read some more about the thought process behind a fantasy world.

However, I believe that the advertising text for this book is misleading. It says, "How did humanity rise from barbarism? Why did the gnomes leave the First World? Who are the string-pulling veiled masters? What is the Aucturn Enigma, and what strange powers did it grant the rulers of Osirion? What secret could be so great that it led to the suppression of volume five of the Pathfinder Chronicles? Within these covers, all these questions—and far more dangerous secrets—are explored at last." This is true, but only literally. These questions are explored. They are not answered. The answers are not even hinted at--instead, there is a bit of background, and then are suggestions of what certain people in the world might believe.

This is disappointing. I understand the value of maintaing mystery, but I would've preferred to know that I wasn't getting answers *before* I paid for the book.


Occult Mysteries - Harrowed Out Yet?

4/5

...In this case, players and GameMasteers (GM hereafter) are treated to 64 pages of content that jump off the pages and embed themselves into every campaign, mystery, or character background imaginable. In fact, I had a hard time making it through the book without my mind racing on the last topic that was covered and how I wanted to fit it into the game world...

Read the full review at: http://www.gamesontables.com/2014/05/pathfinder-occult-mysteries-review/


Weird, Wild Stuff

5/5

Every once in a while a product comes along that strikes a perfect balance between mystery and discovery. The sort of thing that hands over all sorts of enticing facts and even more enticing hints, but never goes so far as to show you the whole, naked truth. This would be one such book.

Divided into four chapters, Occult Mysteries begins by detailing six of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting's biggest enigmas. There is some rehashed info for those very familiar with the world of Golarion, but even so it's nice to have all that material collected together in one place. And while we never learn for sure why the gnomes left the First World, or how life began, each of the Big Six mysteries has its own "theories" section that offers excellent new avenues of possibility. It would be tough to read through this chapter and not walk away with a half-dozen awesome new ideas for your campaign.

I found the second chapter to be my favorite. Here we have eight secret societies, each with a two-page writeup with details on joining and operating within the cult. The mechanics are the same as those used for organizations such as thieves' guilds and mage colleges. Although most of these cults are evil - or at least freakin' creepy - there is one group where paladins would feel right at home. I was particularly delighted with Conference Z, and all its subtle and not-so-subtle nods towards that 90s phenomena, the X-Files. I'm only disappointed that the mad scientist illustrated along with this group wasn't smoking.

Chapter 3 has the most new rules and mechanics. Five esoteric traditions are presented, along with ways to incorporate them into your game. I have to say I was a little annoyed to see Harrow (Pathfinder's answer to Tarot) get yet more coverage, and would have much preferred some other weird tradition in its place, but oh well. My favorite bit of crunch was the section on self-mortification, in particular the Pain Tester prestige class. This guy/gal absolutely oozes with creativity and potential. Really disturbing, icky potential.

The final chapter was a stroke of brilliance. In the tradition of games like Call of Cthulhu, we are given details on six infamous and forbidden tomes. If you aren't a Lovecraft fan, don't worry - only one book is Mythos related. Others deal with subjects such as diabolism, prophecy, and the mysteries of the human body. There's even an Osirion Book of the Dead! All in all, a very neat chapter.

A book like this can only succeed if its source material is sufficiently appealing. It is very much "meta," working because Golarion's creators have carefully developed all sorts of mysteries in their fictional world over the course of years. The fact that something like the Aucturn Enigma, first mentioned six years ago in the Entombed with the Pharaohs module, has drawn enough attention from fans to warrant its very own product, just goes to show you how successful they have been.

In closing, this is not a book of solving mysteries. It is a book that delights in the power of the unknown.


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Bellona wrote:
I'm AFB at the moment, but don't the Night Heralds have something to do with the Dominion of the Black?

That's what I recall.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bellona wrote:

I'm AFB at the moment, but don't the Night Heralds have something to do with the Dominion of the Black?

... And do we get to learn more of the Dominion? For various reasons, I don't think that I'll be purchasing The Dragon's Demand (among other things, I'm not a dragon-fan), but I would dearly love to get the Dominion-related material in that module.

To your first point: the problem with answering that question is that we know almost nothing about the Night Heralds but for what was told back in the Elaine Cunningham short story The Dark Tapestry that ran in Legacy of Fire. They were name dropped in Distant Worlds, but only as far as that quote I posted above. There is also very little known about the Dominion of the Black. As of now we cannot say with any certainty that the two groups are or are not connected - just not enough info.

To your second point...

spoiler:
Dragon's Demand does indeed feature the Dominion of the Black, but in a very ambiguous way. It's more a teaser than anything. In short, we know for a fact that the Dominion utilizes vespergaunts (from Doom Comes to Dustpawn), neh-thalggu (from Dragon's Demand and Demon's Heresy), and yangethes (from Dragon's Demand). Yangethes are challenge rating 9 aberrations that resemble alien tree things and were bred by the Dominion.

Based on the info from Dragon's Demand and Demon's Heresy, I would tentatively say that the Dominion is primarily a neh-thalggu organization. The biggest piece of evidence comes from the upcoming oh-my-god-I-can't-wait adventure Valley of the Brain Collectors, which is confirmed to feature the Dominion of the Black. You'll note that "brain collector" is the fitting nickname for neh-thalggu. Also, neh-thalggu are noted as having "living ships" in their Bestiary 3 entry, and the illustration of a Dominion of the Black ship in Distant Worlds is very... organic.

All the speculating aside, we'll know much more about the Dominion this time next year.


Speaking of cults, the Night Heralds, and the Dominion of the Black- I wonder if Occult Mysteries will give any more tantalizing hints (or outright info) about the strange recurring theme of Black Goo in Golarion's universe (underneath Golarion's surface, as well as that of Aucturn)?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Erik Mona wrote:

Yes, it is this book.

*sigh* Pre-ordered.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Speaking of cults, the Night Heralds, and the Dominion of the Black- I wonder if Occult Mysteries will give any more tantalizing hints (or outright info) about the strange recurring theme of Black Goo in Golarion's universe (underneath Golarion's surface, as well as that of Aucturn)?

Getting off topic? Sorry:

Don't forget the Nameless Spires at the north pole! The place is literally oozing with black goo, which is hinted at being connected to the stuff in the Land of Black Blood. There's also "...oceans of sentient oil that slobbers and gibbers to the creatures that live parasitically in its depths" in the Tian Xia region of Orv (possibly a reference to a Mythos god-thing whose name I can't recall).

As for Aucturn, it's almost-but-not-quite stated outright that acidic black goo serves as the planet's blood.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Erik Mona on Facebook said they were working on something about Aroden in a at the time unknown campaign setting book. Is it this one?


He confirmed that it is, yes. In this thread, at that.


.


I'm REALLY looking foreword to information on the Night Herlads and the Dominion...can't wait for this one to come out ;)


What can we expect on the Harbingers of Fate? That's a group to with I added more flesh in my homebrew and I feel treathened by the canon information that is coming...

So anxious!

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

3 people marked this as a favorite.
PartTime GM wrote:

What can we expect on the Harbingers of Fate? That's a group to with I added more flesh in my homebrew and I feel threatened by the canon information that is coming...

So anxious!

No need to feel threatened. You are always welcome to keep your own interpretation. I don't say that just to offer easy trite advice, but it really is just that simple.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Will this book reprint the Occult Mystery from Reign of Winter 5?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Jadeite wrote:
Will this book reprint the Occult Mystery from Reign of Winter 5?

Doubt it. Stuff like oracle mysteries typically show up in the Companion line. Plus, that mystery was really about Earth's take on occultism - by Golarion standards, things like Ouija boards and so-called mediums are fairly mundane. A Night Herald would probably be bored out of his mind by 20th-century occultism.

"You can talk to the dead with that planchet? That's alright I suppose. But just watch what I can communicate with by reading from this freaky book - no wait, I'll just go ahead and show you. You might want to put on a poncho or something, this will probably be messy."


Liz Courts wrote:
Announced! Product image is a mockup and subject to change.

This just made my week! This plus the Mummy's Path AP -- fantastic!

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Things That Go Bump In The Night. Yaaaaay!

Aroden. More Yaaaaaay!


It's gunna be a LONG wait for May :(

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I look forward to updates on this book (cover, contents). I expect it to rock! :)

Webstore Gninja Minion

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Updated product image and description!

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wonder if this is going to be the same Occult Mystery of Rasputin Must Die! fame?

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

Awesome, I have been waiting for an update on this!

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
ritual magic items

O_O

Wait, does this mean?

YES


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
the pain taster prestige class

now many more shall open their eyes to the beauty


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Zon-Kuthon wrote:
Quote:
the pain taster prestige class
now many more shall open their eyes to the beauty

{scribbles notes for NPC pain taster inspired by Paul Giamatti's character in Sideways}


Liz Courts wrote:
Updated product image and description!

Now I'm concerned.....

Everything that I was actually interested in has been pulled from the description :(


I'm really hoping that the Whispering Way is included in here :D


Tirisfal wrote:
I'm really hoping that the Whispering Way is included in here :D

And the Night Heralds....

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

I would not worry. An update to the product description doesn't usually signify a change of content, it's an opportunity to reveal new things that'll be inside the product.


nighttree wrote:
And the Night Heralds....

I wouldn't worry just yet. Only two of the eight organizations in the book have been mentioned by name in this final product blurb. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The contents of the book haven't changed. I suspect what happened was we just synced up the actual for-real back cover text with the blurb above... and that back cover text is less specific by design than the blurb above, because it has to appeal to a wider audience than folks like all of us who know the difference between a Night Herald and a Veiled Master.


Wheew....I was getting a bit worried there.
I'm REALLY looking foreword to this one, based on the original description...so hopefully not to much got cut ;)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

All shall be revealed.

I must have this!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Pain Taster? Yeesh, I never thought I'd see that PrC updated. Hopefully it gets 10 levels this time. Kind of surprised about the occult oracle mystery, considering it just came out like 6-8 months ago. Pretty fast turn-around.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I am especially interested about the gnome's exodus from the first world.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There is something about Aroden in here.......Anyone have a Scepter of Time I can borrow?


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I am especially interested about the gnome's exodus from the first world.

Maybe it has something to do with why some fey also speak Aklo? Another mystery of the PF setting...

Dark Archive

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Ah, gnomes. The wretched refuse and huddled masses of Golarion, unceremoniously kicked out of the First World, and washed up on the shores of our dimension.

If they wanted to be taken seriously, they need to step up and assimilate. Dye that outrageous hair a more appropriate color! Drop that accent and learn to speak proper Taldan!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Please god let us get a new Cavalier Order (aka the Order of the Green Feather) and a Monk of the White Feather archetype! Also wouldn't mind any possible additional info on the Angel Empyreal Lord Tolc! ^_^


Or the Peacock Spirit!
Or Count Ranalc!


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

Geez guys, do you want all of Golarion's mysteries to be revealed in this one book?

...

Yeah, me too.


Generic Villain wrote:

Geez guys, do you want all of Golarion's mysteries to be revealed in this one book?

...

Yeah, me too.

I've been waiting for what seems like an eternity for more information on the Ulfen children that where sent to Frosts End as part of their bargain with the First World.....betting I'll be waiting longer :(

Editor-in-Chief

Jadeite wrote:
Will this book reprint the Occult Mystery from Reign of Winter 5?

Take a look at the freshly updated product description above.


I can't wait for this book.

Dark Archive

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
Will this book reprint the Occult Mystery from Reign of Winter 5?
Take a look at the freshly updated product description above.

Is this the same mystery or a new version like the juju mystery from Faiths and Philosophies?


Generic Villain wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Speaking of cults, the Night Heralds, and the Dominion of the Black- I wonder if Occult Mysteries will give any more tantalizing hints (or outright info) about the strange recurring theme of Black Goo in Golarion's universe (underneath Golarion's surface, as well as that of Aucturn)?
** spoiler omitted **

That would probably be Ubbo-Sathla.

I always thought the Black Blood of Orv was some kind of Black Blood of the Earth (ala Big Trouble in Little China) with a heavy mix of Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Thoroughly intrigued by the Knights of the Ioun Star, mostly because I love Ioun Stones. Have they been mentioned anywhere before and I just missed them?

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Robert Jordan wrote:
Thoroughly intrigued by the Knights of the Ioun Star, mostly because I love Ioun Stones. Have they been mentioned anywhere before and I just missed them?

They've been mentioned in Erik's Kings of Absalom campaign and appear in another upcoming book that I don't want to spoil.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Ok good to know I wasn't crazy thinking I had missed something.


Robert Jordan wrote:
Thoroughly intrigued by the Knights of the Ioun Star, mostly because I love Ioun Stones. Have they been mentioned anywhere before and I just missed them?

Knights of the Ioun Star. Hmm- what else do we know that is star-shaped and uses Ioun stones?

(Looks at his Shattered Star AP suspiciously.) (˚ㄥ_˚) ???


Knights of the Ioun Star, how did I miss that one when I read the description last.


Do the Eagle Knights of Andoran have a mention?

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