Occult Options, Issue #1: Binder Secrets (PFRPG) PDF

4.00/5 (based on 1 rating)

Our Price: $1.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

Dive even deeper into the shadowy world of Pact Magic with everyman gamer Alexander Augunas! Best known for his work on Radiance House's Pact Magic Unbound series, Occult Options #1 provides players with other a dozen new binder secrets that allow occultists to stay one step ahead of their unbound peers. Within you will fine gems such as:

  • Aspect secrets, a new type of binder secret that allow occultists to swap their constellation aspects for even more powerful abilities
  • New alteration secrets that allow an occultist to enhance their major granted abilities with new and exciting powers.
  • Binder secrets that allow occultists to identify bound spirits and remove pact maladies.
  • And much, much more!

Delve even deeper into the world of pact magic with Occult Options #1 today!

Requires Pact Magic Unbound, Vols. 1 & 2.

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

PZOPDFRGGEMGOO1E


See Also:

Average product rating:

4.00/5 (based on 1 rating)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This expansion for Pact Magic clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

Okay, in case you forgot - binder secrets require you to have an occultist level and can be taken in place of regular feats or bonus feats. This pdf provides 3 special types of binder secrets: Aspects, Alterations and Rituals.

Alterations secrets alter the mayor granted ability of a spirit and increase the number of rounds it is expended by 10, 8 if the binder has the rapid recovery feat. Only one aspect can be applied at a given time.

Aspect secrets modify the constellation or monstrous aspects with the secret's aspects. a binder can only benefit from a given aspect once, even if she makes multiple good pacts. She can, however, benefit from multiple different aspects secrets. It should be noted that high-level binders can learn new secrets herein to mitigate the restrictions imposed on these secrets.

Rituals take 10 minutes unless otherwise specified and require the execution of knowledge tasks as well as spirits.

All right, got that? Among the aspects, we receive the option to receive aligned strikes and benefit from the associated protection from... alignment's effects, reduced armor check penalties, healing (thankfully limited to 3+cha-mod times per day to avoid abuse), reroll skills or even gain wings at higher levels! Aforementioned healing can be upgraded by charismatic high-level binder to be usable as a means of raising the dead or to affect an area of targets, btw.

The alteration secrets tend to be more impressive, seeing how they interact with mayor abilities - they including clinging damage for acid and fire-based abilities, the option to exclude a creature type from the effects of mayor granted abilities as well as making mayor granted abilities disruptive. Replacing a mayor granted ability's damage type with elemental damage may be nice, but isn't that interesting to me - more exciting would be the option to delay the onset of a given ability - this can *really* change the dynamics of combat and open up some great tactical avenues - kudos! Electricity or fire damage may be supplemented by a dazzle-effect and yes, the obvious choices à la enlarge etc. are part of the deal as well. Maximizing damage against the favored enemy of a given spirit may be a bit hardcore. Also interesting would be the ability to maintain precarious concentration on an ability before unleashing it upon foes, increasing the save DC. Forcing rerolls is also possible and if you can think of one of the regular metamagical enhancements, it probably has a representation here.

Rituals include some of the stars herein -what about a ritual that allows you to take a creature's soul and put it into a receptacle, forcing it to do your bidding? Yes, this does come with great limits and yes, this is narrative gold for use by both PCs and NPCs. Not all secrets are this cool though - a ritual for a magic circle? Really? Thematically fitting, yeah, but a wasted secret-slot. Some feats granting spell-like abilities to e.g. detect pact spirits or using a constellation's 1st level patron spell 2/day as a spell-like ability just didn't wow me. Wildering in the samurai's class features, granting resolve, is more interesting - especially since the follow-up secrets provide some interesting, varied combo-potential - here, the pdf shines. Scaling summon monster as a spell-like ability didn't wow me either, but I can see the reasoning behind it. More interesting would be the option to prevent physical contact by creatures of the chosen alignment.

Pretty brilliant is the secret that allows you to choose one spirit and enter a trance to temporarily gain access to the ability traded for the vestigial companion of the spirit. Unbarring class features barred by tunneled lore also makes for a nice benefit. Speaking of interesting - temporarily marking foes as favored enemies of ALL of one's spirits also makes for a pretty neat ability - though one, which, in spite of its cap, can be pretty nasty. Remember this max-damage-versus-favored-enemies secret? Have I mentioned that marking an adversary doesn't seem to require an action, nor does it allow for a save? Yeah. Ouch. Of course, pretty regular benefits like +3/day minor granted abilities can be found herein as well.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming's 2-column full-color standard and can be considered pretty printer-friendly. The pdf has nigh no artwork, but needs none at this length. The pdf comes excessively bookmarked.

Alexander Augunas is pretty much Mr. Pact Magic for PFRPG and, much like Dreamscarred Press' take on psionics, he is right as the pulse of his subsystem of magic. That being said, I do consider this pdf slightly less than it could have been. The secret-types help provide distinct benefits and the complexity of the wording required for them goes beyond what one would usually have to execute with feats and similar pieces of crunch. It is my pleasure to report that the wording of these abilities flows well - a requirement for this complexity. For yes, this took a lot more time than one would assume to reviews, mainly due to the significant amount of looking up of abilities and their finer interactions I needed to do.

That, and occultists have quite a few abilities with a cooldown - tweaking these can have pretty massive repercussions. Balancing especially the metamagic-like secrets is pretty hardcore and yes, this pdf does have some "OMG, how great is that?"-feats that can truly change the flow of battle. That being said, the pdf also sports a couple of feats I'd consider filler and the favored enemy + max damage combination is pretty nasty and could use some nerfing - guaranteed max damage, even with a 10-round cooldown just doesn't gel with me and enforces an unnecessary frontloadedness of the binder. One final note - this pdf takes the binder and makes the class, balance-wise, more like a caster. Which isn't bad, but it's a change of focus you should be aware of in case you're playing a low power/magic campaign. So how to rate this? Well, i consider this pdf to be a good addition to the Pact Magic-rules, but not one I can unanimously recommend. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Contributor

Wow, that was like lightning, Liz! Thanks!


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Minor errors:

Spoiler:
Under Occult Resolve, it reads, "and her occultist levels stack with any samurai levelssheyou possesses," which I'm fairly sure should just be "levels she possesses".

Also, probably the most nitpicky of 'errors', but Occult Resolve is not in alphabetical order like everything else, going from Occult Magic, Persistent Major Ability, Remove Pact Malady, Occult Resolve, Sickening Major Ability...which I only noticed because I was looking for Persistent Major Ability and was wondering if I had imagined it existing when I couldn't find it between Occult Resolve and Sickening Major Ability...

Beyond that, though, some pretty cool stuff. I like aspect secrets, they're an interesting way to do neat things with your constellation aspects, and I particularly like Gift of Life as a way to have some handy healing at lower levels when you either don't have access to a healing spirit, or are having to make a choice between a healing spirit and a spirit that provides better offensive capabilities, and there are even some feats to add more options along those lines, such as Seal of Healing and Gift of Rebirth...though the latter could prove a little awkward!

Wings are also pretty sweet, given that flight is a fairly rarely given granted ability, and this is at-will. Skill Insight is also fun, letting you potentially rock those social skills and/or knowledge checks. Bountiful Abilities is pretty cool too, though I'm a little sad it doesn't apply to aspect secrets like Gift of Life and Skill Insight. I thought at first the dazing alteration secret was broken, since you can pretty much spam it...but it only affects a single target, has to be a major ability, and is stuck with Will, so it's probably okay.

I am a little curious though...why reprint Intuit Spirit from Pact Magic Unbound, Volume 2? Was it because it's a prerequisite for Analyze Pact Spirits and not in Volume 1? Then again, you do list spells from PM2 without reprinting so not certain. Still, even with a reprint, most of this stuff is definitely fun...and I just got enough experience to level up my tiefling occultist this Saturday and hadn't decided on his third level feat, so this is out just in time for me to agonize even more over my choices! Curse you for providing so many tempting options!


Augh! More binding awesomeness!


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Took a closer look, noticed a few other minor niggles:

Spoiler:
Not sure if this would be intended or not, but in the alteration secrets part, you don't mention the source of the Rapid Recovery feat, but this wasn't in the body of one of the feats, so that may be intentional.

Under the aspect secrets part, it reads, "She may benefit from multiple, different aspects secrets similtaneously..." Which should be 'simultaneously'.

For Alteration Master, it reads, "Special: If the occultist adds both empower major ability and hateful major ability to a major granted ability similtaneously, her major granted ability gains the benefits of each alteration secret seperately..." Should be 'simultaneously', and 'separately', respectively.

For Analyze Pact Spirits and Energy Shell, you use a superscripted † on prerequisite binder secrets listed in this pdf, but you don't have them on prerequisites for Gift of Rebirth or Seal of Healing. Since † is not listed with PM1 and PM2 at the beginning of the pdf, I'm not sure whether you intended to have them on all of them or none of them, but thought it was worth mentioning as an oddity.

For Discriminating Major Ability, it says, "...the spirit’s favored allies are automatically excluded when she uses this granted ability while its favored enemies are nevered excluded," which should be 'never excluded'.

For Occult Magic, you don't list the source of the Constellation Focus feat.

For Remove Pact Malady, you don't list where the remove pact malady spell comes from with the usual superscripted abbreviated source.

Sickening Major Ability, Spiritual Animosity, Seal of Healing, and Skill Insight are also not in alphabetical order.

For Spiritual Animosity, you don't list the source of the Constellation Focus feat.

Under Unbarred, it says, "Special: If the occultist later multiclass into a class..." Should be multiclasses.

For Wings, you spelled 'magnificent' as 'magnificant' and 'angelic' as 'angellic' in the flavor text, and in the text of the feat, you have, "...instead of choosing from the usual benefits available to a spirit of her chosen constillation," which should be 'constellation'.

I hope this is helpful to you, and I look forward to future issues of Occult Options!

Contributor

Luthorne wrote:
I am a little curious though...why reprint Intuit Spirit from Pact Magic Unbound, Volume 2? Was it because it's a prerequisite for Analyze Pact Spirits and not in Volume 1?

To be completely honest, I forgot that we had printed it in Volume 2. I've been working on compiling everything that will go into our (Radiance House's) next Pact Magic product and that detail slipped through the cracks. If I had realized that I had already printed intuit spirit, I would have omitted it and referenced it as I did for the spells. Oops.

Luthorne wrote:
I hope this is helpful to you, and I look forward to future issues of Occult Options!

Impossibly so, though I'm a bit embarrassed that so many glitches snuck their way under my nose for such a relatively small product. Nevertheless, everything you've mentioned will be fixed in a day or two.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm. Sorry to say this, but I noticed another thing or two...don't hate me?

Spoiler:
You have a 'Hateful Major Ability' binder secret in this...but there's already a 'Hateful Major Ability' binder secret in Pact Magic Unbound, Volume 2...and even more confusingly, they're not the same ability. Might want to consider renaming the one here? And tangentially, PM2 Hateful Major Ability plus Incite Animosity...ouch. Geez, all defensive abilities...

...oh, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit, I didn't note above until I was double-checking things in Volume 2 that the spell is just remove malady, which does remove pact maladies, but is not actually called remove pact malady, though the binder secret is.


Woohoo, more Pact Magic goodness! My Skull and Shackles Occultist can now be even crazier!

These new Constellation Aspect Secrets are great. Much needed to keep constellation aspects from becoming a "Trap" option. Now I kinda wish that i hadn't retrained Constellation Focus... Gift of Rebirth on a Pirate Ship would be Amazing, and Hilarious (Mostly Hilarious).

I may have found an issue, or I might not be looking in the right place. The Occult Magic binder secret mentions Constellation Patron Spells from Pact Magic 2, but I didn't remember ever seeing Patron spells in Pact Magic 2. Sure enough, looking into my PDF, I can't find them anywhere. What am I missing?

Also, it seems this PDF runs much, much slower than Pact Magic I and II on my phone (Galaxy S4) even though its only 8 pages instead of 80+. Not sure whats causing that, but it might be worth looking into.

Contributor

Dexion1619 wrote:
I may have found an issue, or I might not be looking in the right place. The Occult Magic binder secret mentions Constellation Patron Spells from Pact Magic 2, but I didn't remember ever seeing Patron spells in Pact Magic 2. Sure enough, looking into my PDF, I can't find them anywhere. What am I missing?

Check the witch section of Chapter 1, specifically the spirit drudge archetype. Those are the occult patrons that the ability is specifying.

Quote:
Also, it seems this PDF runs much, much slower than Pact Magic I and II on my phone (Galaxy S4) even though its only 8 pages instead of 80+. Not sure whats causing that, but it might be worth looking into.

I will check into it. It could be a number of factors. #1, I might have set up some of the exportation settings incorrectly. I'll take a peak at those. #2, this product is in color compared to Pact Magic Unbound's black and white, so that might have some sort of effect on loading times. Especially on a mobile device.

If you have an app like iBooks or PDFReader that can handle it, I would try using that. See if it improves performance.

Contributor

On the renaming of the Hateful Major Ability, I'm going to go in and (eventually) change the name to Targeting Major Ability. The obvious rename is Maximized Major Ability, but I'm a little bit worried that the two abilities (the binder secret and Maximized Spell) don't draw enough of a parallel because of the binder secret's creature type restrictions. What do you all think?


Yup, I was thinking cleric for some reason, why patron and cleric were linked in my brain I have no idea. Thanks for the fast response!

I like Targeting over Maximized. I agree, it's not close enough to Maximize Spell in function to share a name without causing confusion.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I was considering the possibility of Spiteful Major Ability myself, though Wrathful or Furious Major Ability could work (especially since Furious Strike similarly targets favored enemies). Maximized...I don't think I'd have a problem with it, but I think it's a bit bland...same with Targeted, really. After all, you're tapping into the power of a supernatural being's unholy (or holy?) grudge...I could live with either, though, mind.

Contributor

Luthorne wrote:
I was considering the possibility of Spiteful Major Ability myself, though Wrathful or Furious Major Ability could work (especially since Furious Strike similarly targets favored enemies). Maximized...I don't think I'd have a problem with it, but I think it's a bit bland...same with Targeted, really. After all, you're tapping into the power of a supernatural being's unholy (or holy?) grudge...I could live with either, though, mind.

I like wrathful better than spiteful and I'm not going to use Furious because of the Furious Strike feat (furious is an overused word in RPGs in general, anyway).

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, as to all of the errors in this product, allow me to produce an explanation. Not an excuse, but an explanation.

Basically, I developed this product back in June (before Psychological Combat) and set it aside for a few months (until late August, to be precise). Around that same time, a new Radiance House project started moving forward. A very big project. One that involves my compiling and categorizing and reviewing every bit of rules mechanics we've ever done for the Pact Magic Unbound series. As you can imagine, its been a dizzying trying to finish this project and develop this new project. That didn't happen with, say, Kitsune Compendium or Psychological Combat because I wasn't doing anything kitsune or psychology-related when I was writing them.

So that's my mistake, but I thought some readers might find the hectic life of a freelancer interesting.

Spoiler:
Some of you know what the big project is. The exciting one that involves kicks and starting and 2015. Hehehehehehehehe.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm starting to wonder if maybe I shouldn't just get an Everyman Gaming subscription...


anyone know if all the errors have been fixed?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alex, what is the big project?

Contributor

Grollub wrote:

anyone know if all the errors have been fixed?

It looks like that with the exception of the renaming of Hateful Major Ability (which I haven't done yet), all of the corrections are currently live. I am going to try to correct those errors today, as my school district has off for the Jewish holiday. I'm also going to see if I can't improve the load times for the product.


Reviewed first o endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Contributor

ericthecleric wrote:
Alex, what is the big project?

As I'm sure you say in the "NO VOLUME 3" Thread, Dario and I are doing a Kickstarter called Pact Magic Unbound: Grimoire of Lost Souls. Its occupied a good chunk of my time in the past few months. With any luck, the Kickstarter should go live in February. As in, like, a few weeks.

Contributor

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first o endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Thanks for taking your time to review this, Endzeitgeist! Sorry that you thought that some of the secrets weren't up to stuff, but I think that its important for occultists (especially NPC occultists) to be able to do things like draw magic circles and the like, even if doing so isn't particularly innovative or earth-shattering.

I'll revisit the Hateful Ability secret again. In all my playtesting, it wasn't extraordinarily powerful but I'll mess around with it some more and make adjustments if needed. The easiest thing to do would be to slap a uses per day restriction on the secret, sort of like what the [METAMAGIC] Spell-Like Ability feats have, but that's very much a last resort if I can help it.


The Hateful Abiliity isn't that much an issue balance-wise regarding sheer damage-output, but rather in that it pretty much streamlines towards one specific playstyle - high ini/ambush, free action declare as enemy, then asap, maximize. Then, 10 rounds no mayor ability for that one. Think of it as a micro-nova. It's one of the most efficient combos, but one that somewhat decreased the fun-factor in my tests. My players are all for power-gaming, but after 2 battles, the conclusion was that they'd not take the combo again, since it simply wasn't that fun for them.

I did think about it and will probably make a variant (if you don't do it) that instead provides a smaller either constant damage boost or a smaller boost that has an individual cool-down. That way, the intent of the feat and its synergies are maintained, but the micro-nova-issue goes away.

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Occult Options, Issue #1: Binder Secrets (PFRPG) PDF All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.