Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures (OGL)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures (OGL)
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There is an unseen world all around you. On the streets and in the halls of power, in your dreams and across the bizarre planes of the multiverse, there are those who walk among us like giants among ants, twisting reality to their wills in their search for ancient knowledge. Now pull back the curtain of the mundane world and learn the secrets of these occult masters—if you dare!

Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures is an indispensable companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon over 15 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures includes:

  • Six new occult base classes—the energy-shaping kineticist, the spirit-calling medium, the deceptive mesmerist, the mind-bending psychic, the uncanny occultist, and the phantom-binding spiritualist.
  • Archetypes for all of the new classes, as well as a broad selection of strange and mysterious archetypes and class options for existing characters.
  • New feats to flesh out your occult character, plus a whole new way to use existing skills to become a master of faith healing, hypnotism, psychometry, and more!
  • More than 100 spells using the all-new psychic magic system, plus rituals that grant even non-spellcasting characters occult power! Explore worlds beyond imagining with dream voyage, or defend yourself from mental threats with tower of iron will!
  • Rules and advice to help you steep your game in the occult, from chakras and deadly mindscapes to possession, psychic duels, and the Esoteric Planes.
  • A wide variety of new magic items, such as the eerie spirit mirror and the peculiar tin cap, plus new cursed items and powerful artifacts.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-762-8

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive hardcover clocks in at a whopping 271 pages, though 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC and 1/3rd of a page decrease that down to 267 2/3 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, before we do, let me deal with the confusion for a second that this review undoubtedly will cause. Yes, I usually only do 3pp material. This has several reasons: For one, I want to showcase the fringe of gaming, the evocative books that push the envelope. Secondly, I'm not particularly affluent, to say the least and want to reward the publishers that do send me their books. Well, I obviously *HAVE* to get the Paizo books anyways, but for the most part nowadays, that means pdf or waiting until they're open sourced - I just can't afford them all. Then again, I do have a policy of covering all books I receive...and I got this book on gencon.

That would be the justification I provide from an intellectual point of view. There is another reason. I *WANT* to write this review and, since I have the hardcover now, have absolutely no reason not to.

Now usually, I provide the respective breakdowns of classes and crunch, but frankly, there are whole guides devoted to that out there, which is why I have elected to pursue a different path this time around. (Different path...that'll be a leitmotif, as you'll see...) In order to properly be able to contextualize my take on this book, I will have to embark on a little recap of Paizo's hardcovers and my history with them, so if you're not interested in that, please skip ahead.

When I got my hands on the core rules hardcover for Pathfinder, I was generally positively surprised - it represents a tightening of 3.X's engine and some sensible, smart tweaks to the mechanics. Still, it didn't manage to elicit cheers or particular excitement at my table - that only came with the APG. The Advanced Player's Guide, in spite of its minor flaws, would represent, at least to me, the truly identity-constituting moment of Pathfinder. It is here, with the alchemist, witch, oracle, etc. that the game set out to truly distinguish itself from its roots and transcend basically anything 3.X ever offered. To this day, the APG classes rank among the favorites at my table, which only bespeaks their staying power and coolness. Next up were Ultimate Magic and Combat and with them, alas, came the power creep.

While, much like many out there, I did enjoy the magus, not much else from Ultimate Magic sees regular use in my games and I went through the book with a fine-toothed comb and ban-hammered/restricted material. Ultimate Combat is a more complex story - on one hand, I did like the new classes and e.g. the emphasis on the narrative aspect the gunslinger entailed; alas, for said class, player agenda suffered and mathematically, it would have been served better with a slightly different chassis. So while I like what it represents and quite a few pieces of UC's options, many aren't used in my games. Mythic Adventures is peculiar - I like mythic gameplay, but only when supported by the ton of Legendary Games material I own - I tried running vanilla WotR and it was PCs curbstomping through everything. Still, I do like this book - just not as a stand-alone. I adore Ultimate Campaign. Its downtime and kingdom building make sense to me, are used a lot at my table and story feats are a good idea as well - there's nothing I don't like about that book and what it has brought to my table.

Well, and the less I say about the ARG and ACG, the better. My stance on both books is well known. (Hint: To say I don't like them would be a gross understatement.)

Fast forward to Occult Adventures. For one, this book's class design represents an organic development that benefits the game. An easy way to look at a class would be to examine it regarding player agenda and character agenda. Character agenda, in this instance, would pertain the ability to contribute meaningfully to various situations. It's why I think that skill unlocks are a good idea and 2 + Int skills for all but Int-based casters, generally, is not a good idea. It's just not as fun to play a fighter who can only kill things and excels at one non-combat thing...unless, of course, that's how you roll, but in general, I have observed players gravitate to classes that provide more skill-use and versatility. Player agenda would be just as important: Can the player make meaningful choices that alter the playstyle? The higher the player agenda is, the more rules-knowledge is required; true. But at the same time, it does help immensely in the long run to generate a unique being from a mechanics point of view - if you don't get to choose, you'll sooner, rather than later, run into a character on distinguished from you by his skills, equipment and feats. Pathfinder, as a system, has covered the base classes for a while; it has advanced players that demand unique concepts. As such and at this point in the system's life, the occult classes with their plethora of meaningful choices are very much appreciated - and if you need some proof of players loving choices, look no further than the modularity of the "Talented" classes invented by Owen K.C. Stephens.

Speaking of classes - let us talk a bit about them and begin with the least "occult" class herein and the most popular one. That would, obviously, be the kineticist...and while I kinda like Avatar, I'm not a rabid fan of this franchise, though I get its appeal. This does not change the fact that the class, as presented, is very niche in focus. Then again, thankfully the 3pp-circuit has since expanded the kineticist's appeal far beyond its thematic confines. (A cheers to N. Jolly for that, even if I don't always agree with all balancing...) So, flavor-wise and regarding base-options, I am not the biggest fan of this class...but at the same time, I absolutely ADORE it. Why? Because it is an engine that would be daring for a small publisher, much more so for Paizo as the industry leader. The rules-engine employed by the kineticist is inspiring and complex and its success is well warranted. Were I to nitpick this class, then my complaints would pertain the fact that its power-curve could be a little better distributed; 17th level plus in particular can be an issue...but that extends to more than just this class and is, to an extent, system-inherent. That being said, I still love this class, though for completely different reasons than probably 99% of its fans and players. It remains a great addition to the class roster and I'm glad it exists.

Now, let us talk a bit about the classes that are designated as occult not only by inclusion in the book, but also by their themes...but for that, we need to talk a bit about genre conventions. It is a general truism that Pathfinder, as a game, is indebted by proxy of D&D to Tolkienesque fantasy and a society structured very much akin to the Early Modern period in history due to the advances of magic. Kobold Press' Midgard is closer to the beginning of the Early Modern period and features a more feudal, medieval flair. Golarion and Pathfinder's default, due to the influences of the weird that made me enjoy the setting in the first place, can be roughly situated at the end of the Early Modern period, with overlaps with the Edwardian and Victorian age - once China Miéville (one of my favorite authors - read the Bas-Lag books!!!)-like aesthetics come into play, you're definitely looking at a society that is bordering a magical industrial revolution. This suits me well, for I come from a Ravenloft background (don't ever get me started on 4th and 5th edition Ravenloft and what I think of those...for all of our sakes...) as such, have always been in love with the fantastic aesthetics of Penny Dreadfuls, early weird fiction, Sword & Sorcery, Sword & Planet...you get the idea. I enjoy these somewhat less standardized, less covered aspects that have been an organic part of the old school aesthetic back in the day, but fell by the wayside somewhere along the lines. Anyways, the classes herein very much support this slightly advanced aesthetic; they resonate well with both the ancient and the more modern themes evoked in their resurgence in aforementioned timeframes. The more subtle magic psychic magic represents and the emotional component inherent in the variant spell system works well in the context of more magic-hostile environments as well as in less fantastic settings with more subdued themes than all out fireball-slinging. The marriage of the aesthetics associated with occultism and their relevant mechanical representations are what makes the classes interesting for me.

Take the medium - while I prefer spirits with names and unique identities, the need to offer the general mechanical framework for the defining spirits of the medium is obvious for such a book and in this context, employing the nomenclature of the mythic paths does make sense and can generate some pretty fun tricks. Had a mythic campaign? Use the PC-names when acting as a vessel for the respective spirit - it's simple, but incredibly rewarding. The general notion of taboos and the influence mechanic similarly can make for some great roleplaying. The mesmerist class tends to be called unfocused by some reviews I've read...and frankly, I have no idea why. The mesmerist, from the cool concept to the execution, makes for a very rewarding playing experience and has some serious optimization potential to boot -the implanting of tricks, the skill-array...both from the perspective of the stories you can tell with this class and the options available for the enterprising player, this class is absolutely amazing and allows for some neat, diverse characters. The stare-mechanic is also something that can be employed to rather great effect. The occultist is a similarly evocative concept - the focus on implements and fact that each can make for an unique item on its own is a lot of roleplaying potential and the respective focus powers provide a similarly interesting playing experience. The psychic, as the full caster, ranks as one of the more intriguing full casters in my book, with magical amplification and disciplines providing a nice array of diverse builds. The spiritualist, finally, would basically be a balanced take on the summoner with a fluff that I consider amazing.

This would bring me to what sets the classes apart more so than their mechanical validity - the fact that, to me, they represent, universally a great blending of providing player and character agenda, but this also means that they have things they can do beyond the confines of combat - there is a significant emphasis on the ROLEplaying aspect of the game we all know and love, with a wide variety of diverse tricks associated with actual roleplaying; the classes have means of depicting interesting characters; a player can really make each class its own: The implements, phantoms and all the components of the classes and their structure almost demand, organically, to be used by the player to make something that exceeds the totality of the mathematical components. In short, as far I'm concerned, these are the best player-focused options since the APG and as a whole, I consider the roster to be superior to even that gem of a book.

However, the customization options similarly provide some seriously cool tricks: Want to play Scarecrow from Batman? Yup. Cultist leader? Yep. Eat books and draw strength from it? Yeah. Amnesiac psychic? Yup. As a whole, covering archetypes and feats would obviously bloat the book beyond compare - but one crucial point as opposed to most books of this size lies in the big C-word - consistency. There are no overpowered options here...and neither are there options that you'd consider to be subpar traps sans value - there is some character concept, some specific thing that makes sense from a build and/or flavor perspective. (The options that I won't use will be the onmyoji, elemental annihilator, psychic duelist and kami medium - the Eastern-themed ones mainly since I prefer Interjection Games' take on the Onmyoji and its themes; the psychic duelist is a nice specialist, but doesn't blow me away. Finally, the annihilator...well, I have 3pp options that are more versatile.) - notice something? My criticism here pertains mostly taste.

Now this alone does make the book shine very much for me; at the same time, I wouldn't be me if I didn't have complaints, right? So there we go: The book contains various pieces of advice and alternate rules/subsystems of the material and one would by psychic duels...which are generally an awesome idea and provide for cool, creative minigames when handled right. Alas, the spell used to start them, instigate psychic duel, pretty much is a save-or-suck option, since the affected target has the save...and while the duel is in process, the target cannot move...which allows allies to stab the foe to bits. Oddly, the instigator of such a duel can end it via a Will-save as per the spell, when the psychic duel-rules do not mention such an option for the affected character - this is intended, undoubtedly, since those caught in a duel can be shaken out of it. At the same time, I think that pretty basic modifications could have prevented that little lockdown-aspect: For example, taking a penalty on MP to be capable of at least utilizing a fraction of the action array available...you know, moving slowly towards the instigator while battling him in the duel, maintaining at least defenses...the like. Granted, the system is optional and can be modified rather easily, but I'm still somewhat astonished that this very basic strategy was not used, particularly after the complaints the slumber hex etc. received. Still, this represents a relatively minor issue when seen in relation to the number of things that *do* work pretty perfectly...and the fact that psychic duels work infinitely better than 3.X's mindscapes and similar tricks.

Once again, the storytelling potential is what sells this on me. Beyond the copious GM-advice, the book contains some information on esoteric planes like the akashic record, the positive/negative energy plane and the like - which I generally enjoyed. At the same time, I did feel like the book could have done a little bit more with unique planar features for some of them, since not all receive this component in detail. Of course gear, both mundane and magical, can be found in this tome - from the phrenologist's kit (phrenology being the by now debunked belief that the size and shape of the skull influences personality etc. - and yes, there's a feat inspired by it here!) to the Dorian Gray-ish pictures, we notice one thing - the items, much like a ton of material herein, is steeped in a sense of the real, in the occult traditions and pseudo-science of days gone by.

What do I mean by this? Take alchemy, an established concept in our fantasy games. If you have the stamina to power through them, I'd sincerely suggest getting a copy of the writings of real world alchemists, sit down with the cool alchemy recipes and start - I guarantee you'll come up with new and evocative material. A similar observation can be made here - the tying into concepts and ideas established in our world generates basically the largest hand-out you could fathom and some research will almost assuredly provide a vast selection of truly evocative concepts to represent, while also teaching something new along the way. You do not have to be interested in masons, OTO, etc. to enjoy this book - but you can draw upon esoteric and occult knowledge to enrich the game tremendously. Heck, I'm pretty much a nihilistic atheist and my fascination with the subject matter stems from a purely intellectual point of view, but I still appreciate all the ideas and their impact on the genesis of our mode of thought. Similarly, the idea of locus spirits, of tapping into ley lines and similar high-concept tricks complement an implied world-building and -conception that goes beyond the surface, that extends into a level of depth beyond the superficial pushing of numbers.

Part II of my review can be found here!


Fun, but a bit esoteric

3/5

Don't take it the wrong way. You can have tons of fun with this book in other games. I played a mesmerist and it was hilarious, had a whole Doctor Orpheus thing going on. The Kineticist can be flavored a little and it basically becomes a bender from Avatar! How freaking cool is that?!
There are quite a few spells and special abilities that feel like they can only come in handy in very specific ways though. All the mindscape things would almost never come up in a regular game. This feels very much like a book that would be a lot more fun if all your players HAD to take a class from this book, which is a terrible premise for a core book.
On a personal note, almost none of these classes work with Mythic Adventures...


Solid Product

4/5

Really, nothing in this book is bad overall, and while there's a few mechanics that I would like to change, it's not enough to change my thoughts. The psychic casters are interesting with different mechanics that still feel familiar, and everything else works very well. I'd say it's worth picking up.


Finally psychic powers makes it's way to Pathfinder

5/5

I have been waiting for psychic related rules for Pathfinder for a long time and I am happy for what I see.
Kineticist- This one has become one of my favorite classes with it's all day blasting and at will/always active spell powers and supernatural abilities. I would love to see more classes that focuses on spell powers and supernatural abilities then just spellcasters, martials, and skill monkeys.
Medium- While I am not big on this one, it does have some interesting flavor and good story ideas. My only problem is it is one of the more complex classes.
Mesmerist- I like this one, it is a debuffer counter part to the bard and also makes a great villain. It is also a good spiritual successor for the Beguiler class.
Occultist- As with the Medium interesting flavor and good story value but complex mechanically. Not one my favorites but like all classes in this book, it fills a niche.
Psychic- Interesting class and fills the 9th caster for psychic magic but lacks in the flavor/story department compared to the other 5 classes. Still a solid class with some interesting abilities.
Spiritualist- One of my favorite classes has good flavor/story value and is not as complicated to use as the Medium and Occultist. A great class when dealing with incorporeal creatures especially undead.
These classes are just the tip of the iceberg, we get rules for auras, chakras, psychic duels, possession, occult rituals, occult skill unlocks, loci spirits, ley lines, mindscapes, and more. This one is as useful as the APG and the ARG.


A great addition to the game

5/5

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Occult Adventures is a great addition to the Pathfinder game. It does more than just introduce a bunch of new classes and create Pathfinder's version of psionics. It adds a whole new flavour and style of campaign with new rules options that back that flavour up. I eagerly look forward to trying out some of its ideas in a future campaign.


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Thanks Gisher and graywulfe.

Since I posted above that psyrus' archetype should get "mad bonuses", I should clarify then, that I did not mean "Multiple Attribute Dependent"- Just really good ones. :)


One might think that S.A.D. is preferable if you look at the paladin as compared to the M.A.D. monk. - Still this has nothing to do with the content of the Occult adventures book.

Is it me or does the Elemental Ascetic Archetype still deal unarmed damage and adds the kinetic fist?

Not going to argue here, just asking. I am kind of hoping that the Hands are Sheathed in force so that the character doesn't actually touch things. It is my big fear regarding "Punchy" types - having to touch something *Really* nasty - like Diseases, traps, elemental hazard, curses, etc. Great, now I just invented monsters that Curse you every time you touch them...


I think that's the point of Kinetic Fist as opposed to the Kinetic Blade. The damage from the fist being in place of the other 2/3rds of your damage. But yeah, I know what you mean.

Dark Archive

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Joe Hex wrote:
Since I posted above that psyrus' archetype should get "mad bonuses", I should clarify then, that I did not mean "Multiple Attribute Dependent"- Just really good ones. :)

Yeah, this is one of those game-lingo situations where having 'MAD feats' or 'MAD skills' isn't a good thing. :)


So, book is awesome. Particularly liking occult rituals, skill unlocks, mixture of traditions, ley lines & witch, psychic including spell list. Missing Lovecraftian elements but feeling faith psychics make ideal cultists.

Minor question: should overwhelming presence be a fourth level spell for psychics? Or typo?

Minor question: should ley line witch have a spells known human favoured class bonus like other spontaneous casters do?

Major question: Major mindswap!
- Finally something which lets someone achieve longevity by periodically stealing new young bodies. Great with same race requirement to circumvent true mind switch shenanigans like in 3.5.
- Is it intended to allow this? If so I wonder to what extent previous body is a liability:
-- It builds off mindswap which builds off possession. So can be read as that if previous body dies, the mind displaced to there, controlling it as per possession, returns to its original body, displacing and killing me. Is this a correct reading or does instantaneous status override?
-- If this is a factor, would one need to keep that body alive but in stasis to prevent?
-- If not, there is still the risk of someone wishing for the reversal of the spell as an Achilles heel for the user. Would this warrant a save against the Wish?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Minor question: should overwhelming presence be a fourth level spell for psychics? Or typo?

It should be 9th-level.


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As someone who was raised by decently ranked members of the O.T.O. I have to say, the flavour of this book is phenomenal.

I really wish the wizard was always like how the psychic and occultist are, as they fits what real world "practitioners" of magic did much better. It's great that it doesn't just do the victorian era occult style stuff, since nearly all occult stuff is based on the old mysticism traditions that were then altered over time. Faith healing might need a tweak or two to fit how I've seen reiki portrayed (though it is a specific type of "faith healing" so it makes sense the rules for faith healing might not fit it perfectly), but other than that the flavour is bang on.

I haven't read the running an occult game chapter yet, though it does seem as though it would be rather helpful for me. For me the occult was semi-mundane, so this chapter should help me discern how to make the occult more fantastic in my games.


Milo v3 wrote:
As someone who was raised by decently ranked members of the O.T.O. I have to say, the flavour of this book is phenomenal.

That sounds awesome; care to elaborate? :)

The Concordance

Quick question on Chakras...

Do the abilities happen during that swift action to maintain/activate? For example, the Navel Chakra grants a breath attack. Does this breath attack happen during my swift action or must I use a standard action (like most breath attack abilities)?

Dark Archive

First off, loving the book and the flavor in general. Very impressed with the classes as a whole, the art, and layout. Originally I was very excited about the Blood Keneticist, but after reading it I felt it was one area where the potential was lost a bit (at least in my view of what it could have been). That said, much of the rest I've found very gratifying and more than worth the price of admission.

So, with that out of the way, I do have a few questions.
1) For Mesmerist and regarding the Shadow Splinter ability, do you get to choose the target that receives the redirected damage?
2) For Psychic disciplines, are the "bonus spells" listed automatically added to your known spells, or are they just options on the psychic spell list that you can choose to know or not?
3) It seems the "Abomination" discipline is the only one that does not allow you to use an ability to regain a Phrenic Pool point. Was this by design, an accidental omission, or am I missing something?
4) Does the Keneticist have a good way to create a "Darth Vader" type of character primarily using force abilities? If not a Keneticist, how about another class (more on force abilities rather than martial abilities). I'm looking for something flavorful for a campaign I'm running and this type of NPC would be ideal to the setting
5) Any idea why "Ghost Whip" is not allowed in PFS? I understand the other choices, but that one perplexes me a bit.

Thanks for the help. And to the writers and contributors to the book itself, very well done!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:


And if anyone in the forum is interested, I might run it again next year at Paizocon in the lottery too!

Any chance of a bone being tossed for us East Coasters?

Dark Archive

looking for clarification on the Elemental Ascetic archetype for the Kineticist. I'm building a third level with GM credit for PFS.

it looks like my only infusion options are Draining Infusion, Extended Range, Kinetic Blade and Kinetic Fist.

obviously I'm taking Kinetic Fist as an ascetic, but nothing else fits. the Elemental Flurry ability makes the Kinetic Blade redundant and denies me access to the Extended Range infusion. does this mean I'm taking Draining Infusion and liking it?

I understand giving up the 120 ft blasts from a monk, especially since the ascetic gets the blasts for zero burn. it just seems like there should be something else available. I don't know if I'd EVER use Draining.

thoughts?


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
melferburque wrote:

looking for clarification on the Elemental Ascetic archetype for the Kineticist. I'm building a third level with GM credit for PFS.

it looks like my only infusion options are Draining Infusion, Extended Range, Kinetic Blade and Kinetic Fist.

obviously I'm taking Kinetic Fist as an ascetic, but nothing else fits. the Elemental Flurry ability makes the Kinetic Blade redundant and denies me access to the Extended Range infusion. does this mean I'm taking Draining Infusion and liking it?

I understand giving up the 120 ft blasts from a monk, especially since the ascetic gets the blasts for zero burn. it just seems like there should be something else available. I don't know if I'd EVER use Draining.

thoughts?

Well, a lot depends on the element. A telekinetic can snag pushing infusion, an aerokinetic can snag gusting (for air blast), pushing (air), or thundering (electric) infusion, a geokinetic can snag pushing, a pyrokinetic can snag burning infusion or fan of flames, a hydrokinetic can snag pushing or quenching infusion if they're water blast, though if they have cold blast, they're stuck with draining infusion or kinetic blade.

Dark Archive

Luthorne wrote:
Well, a lot depends on the element. A telekinetic can snag pushing infusion, an aerokinetic can snag gusting (for air blast), pushing (air), or thundering (electric) infusion, a geokinetic can snag pushing, a pyrokinetic can snag burning infusion or fan of flames, a hydrokinetic can snag pushing or quenching infusion if they're water blast, though if they have cold blast, they're stuck with draining infusion or kinetic blade.

that's what I noticed, I switched to water from cold and picked up pushing. little bit more damage, but it's only physical and not energy. it'll suffice for now.


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Anyone else notice the Relic Hunter Inquisitor Archetype effectively renders the Inquisitor capstone useless without not getting rid of it or giving anything to replace it? I'm kind of hoping I made a mistake, but that seems to be the case.

Basic argument here is that while judgement, second judgement, and third judgement get replaced, the capstone, True Judgement, does not. This renders it useless, as you cannot use judgement, which that capstone requires. The Relic Hunter does get a focus power at that level, though, so part of me wonders if that was intentional and the Deific Focus class feature was just supposed to replace the True Judgement class feature and replace it with a focus power and the exclusion of True Judgement in that archetype class feature was a typo.

Silver Crusade

Got to check out a friend's book and though I haven't had time to fully examine it, I like what I have seen so far. My main focus thus far has been on the medium and its archetypes.

Which brings me to my question... is there a hard cap on the influence gained from propitiation for the reanimated medium? I know that 6 is the hard cap for channel self, and if that's the case for propitiation, that's fine. It would make a certain kind of sense.


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Axial wrote:
That sounds awesome; care to elaborate? :)

My parents were ordained priests (I forget the rank of priest they were) of the Ordo Templi Orientis, one of the organisations that are sometimes called Illuminati by conspiracy theorists, with enough power and knowledge in the organization that they effectively lead the organisation when it came to the region. They partook and lead rituals, "summoned" beings, did reiki with enough knowledge on the subject to use it to use it to harm rather than heal, did "divination" and philosophical introspection, researched symbolism and the origins of those symbolism, etc. But the main thing I found interesting about the practices was that it was treated as a sort of science. By using the different aspects and associations of different things, you could combine them to create different practices and effects to the extent they once combined Encohian Magic and Vodun to then invoke Kali.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Milo v3 wrote:
Axial wrote:
That sounds awesome; care to elaborate? :)
My parents were ordained priests (I forget the rank of priest they were) of the Ordo Templi Orientis, one of the organisations that are sometimes called Illuminati by conspiracy theorists, with enough power and knowledge in the organization that they effectively lead the organisation when it came to the region. They partook and lead rituals, "summoned" beings, did reiki with enough knowledge on the subject to use it to use it to harm rather than heal, did "divination" and philosophical introspection, researched symbolism and the origins of those symbolism, etc. But the main thing I found interesting about the practices was that it was treated as a sort of science. By using the different aspects and associations of different things, you could combine them to create different practices and effects to the extent they once combined Encohian Magic and Vodun to then invoke Kali.

Very intriguing. Completely and totally fraudulent, I imagine, but interesting...

Maybe some of those practices will serve as the inspiration for future occult content.


Has anyone developed any booty kicking occult Adventures character class builds yet? Especially for less than 12 levels and PFS legal? (*nothing worse than seeing a really awesome ability; oh, it's level 13...*)

The only thing that pops to my mind right away is the Magus archetype, the mindblade magus. Seems to me that one can start dual wielding weapons as early as 4th, when using the "instant weapon" spell-level 2nd. the downside is that this is still clearly an arcane class with a few labels changed. Yay, that we have this option - but what is the point if it is from the exact same mold?

The mesmerist is truly outrageously good, and has a wizard independent theme. This is some A+ Classy writing. only that I am not interested in enchantment-charm stares, and minor touch heals. I don't like playing bards; you aren't good at any one thing - you're "meh" at bunches of stuff. It works undoubtedly, but it isn't something I am yearning to explore right away.

The occultist class is also brilliantly written, yet it doesn't really strike me as useable right at this moment (*especially once you get stripped of all your trinkets). however, the occultist class is the one that most reminds me of 2nd ed psi. It is just so "Generalized" that it doesn't really grab my attention. Give me psychic discipline specializations and refine these with archetypes and I'll consider it. again, let me emphasize Psychic not hedge-bard-zard.

The psychic seems to have only one semi decent damage dealing spell - the 0 level T.K. projectile. Sure telekinesis is a 4th spell-level for the psychic but no, the rest of the spell list seems devoid of fire power and any purpose. it wanders the map of disciplines (telepathy, tK, T'port, all as "Sortas" via spells that come close) and just borrowing from wizard/sorcerer/cleric. (Summon animal... Why? you're supposed to be psychic?) they clearly wanted "Same-but-different" but didn't get that far.
Same as the occultist class above; it is just so "Generalized" that it doesn't really grab my attention. give me psychic discipline specialist archetypes and give some dang "psychic spells" not borrowed from other casters. So what if you have 9 spell-levels of casting. As a PFS player, I pretty much won't see much more than half of it and what I do get should be useful! (damage, defense, mobility, utility, purpose; give me more of these and I will love it)

The kineticist is not going to be discussed in this thread by me. I like it. it seems okay. It has purpose, firepower, defense, utility, and mobility, that so many archetypes and classes lack... (laughing at you swashbuckler) putting it simply: As a Brawler is superior to the fighter role-playing wise; So too, the kineticist is superior to the psychic and occultist. Forgive me if I balk at the telekineticist moving 1,000's of lbs - That smacks of being super heroic! Oh yes, I am glad that one can play something of a character from the "Avatar, last air bender" thingy.

Medium, for me this is an odd duck class. I know of mediums, don't get me wrong. I just see psychic ability as an intensely personal and inwardly focused art. Not something that goes, outside, "out there"... When it comes to spirits, I tend to view that as a divine caster's territory.

Spiritualist, Same as the medium. however, I am glad that one can play a character drawn straight from "Shaman King" thingy.
*************************************************
Ultimately, I am still confused as to why 2nd ed psionics wasn't revisited and re-made for Pathfinder. I'd gladly play a revised, and balanced "psionicist". I had control over the direction my character grew; if I wanted damage - I went damage, if I wanted defense - I went defense, if I wanted mobility - went mobility, if I wanted utility - I would take a look at how some of the powers could be used, if I wanted a purpose... well, I as a player had already started with one.

Dark Archive

Milo v3 wrote:
Axial wrote:
That sounds awesome; care to elaborate? :)
My parents were ordained priests (I forget the rank of priest they were) of the Ordo Templi Orientis, one of the organisations that are sometimes called Illuminati by conspiracy theorists, with enough power and knowledge in the organization that they effectively lead the organisation when it came to the region. They partook and lead rituals, "summoned" beings, did reiki with enough knowledge on the subject to use it to use it to harm rather than heal, did "divination" and philosophical introspection, researched symbolism and the origins of those symbolism, etc. But the main thing I found interesting about the practices was that it was treated as a sort of science. By using the different aspects and associations of different things, you could combine them to create different practices and effects to the extent they once combined Encohian Magic and Vodun to then invoke Kali.

Thats cool, sounds a little like what I have read about alchemy.


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psyrus wrote:
Ultimately, I am still confused as to why 2nd ed psionics wasn't revisited and re-made for Pathfinder. I'd gladly play a revised, and balanced "psionicist". I had control over the direction my character grew; if I wanted damage - I went damage, if I wanted defense - I went defense, if I wanted mobility - went mobility, if I wanted utility - I would take a look at how some of the powers could be used, if I wanted a purpose... well, I as a player had already started with one.

Paizo staffers have indicated on a few occasions that they aren't interested in psionics as we've seen them in previous versions, and one of Paizo's key criteria when deciding what to produce is that it's something they have an interest in.

I'm fairly certain that the reason you're seeing this approach to psychic magic is that it's an angle that really works for Paizo and their vision for the game.

For classic psionics, you might want to check out 3rd-party publisher Dreamscarred Press' Ultimate Psionics. It's supposedly rather well done.


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Axial wrote:

Very intriguing. Completely and totally fraudulent, I imagine, but interesting...

Maybe some of those practices will serve as the inspiration for future occult content.

Using the world fraudulent implies malevolent intent and deception, so I don't think that's the most accurate word for it. But yes, completely fake. Though that's my view of all religions.

OTO is simply a religious organisation (even if it is an atheistic religion), and one should not think that simply because someone is in a non-mainstream religion does not mean that they are being deceptive.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Disappointed in the mindblade. the -10 to cast verbal spells defensively pretty much means spell combat is going to be really hard to pull off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Some questions about the book:

Astral Beacon (page 33): Does the free action grant access to all the lesser, intermediate, greater and supreme powers of all five spirits for one round, or is that not the case?

Inspiring Call (page 36): Does the competence bonus granted by this ability stack with the champion’s spirit bonus?

Mesmerist Tricks: In the playtest document, a trick could be implemented for a limited amount of time. Has that been done away with, so that once a trick has been implanted it remains until used? If it is the case that it’s been removed, then well done! (Note that some of the new feats, ie. Ready For Battle and Ready For Pain, refer to the trick’s duration. I suspect that those are errors.)

The battle host archetype (page 100): “At 1st level, a battle host forms a supernatural bond with a specific weapon, suit of armor, or shield. This selection is permanent and can never be changed. The bonded item is masterwork quality and the battle host begins play with it at no cost.
The bolded wording here is a bit problematic. No sensible GM is going to allow a 1st-level character to have a set of masterwork full plate for free. BUT, if the character is allowed a set of masterwork studded leather for example, then the character’s AC will badly fall behind as he levels up. A character can’t change the bonded item to a different material, such as adamantine or mithril either. Is the ability really meant to be so restrictive?

The necroccultist archetype (page 100-101). Regarding Necromantic Bond, is my understanding correct? At 1st-level, you gain two implements (as normal), but they must both be from the necromancy school. At levels 2, 6, 10, and 18, you gain implements that can be from any school. At level 14, you gain the DC boost to necromancy spells/focus powers. At level 20, for implement mastery you must choose the necromancy school. At every level from 2-20, you gain an extra necromancy spell known from the wizard spell list. Is this correct?


ericthecleric wrote:


The bolded wording here is a bit problematic. No sensible GM is going to allow a 1st-level character to have a set of masterwork full plate for free.

Why not? If there class feature is literally "I have special fullplate that gives me magic" they should probably get special fullplate that gives them magic.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ericthecleric wrote:

Some questions about the book:

The necroccultist archetype (page 100-101). Regarding Necromantic Bond, is my understanding correct? At 1st-level, you gain two implements (as normal), but they must both be from the necromancy school. At levels 2, 6, 10, and 18, you gain implements that can be from any school. At level 14, you gain the DC boost to necromancy spells/focus powers. At level 20, for implement mastery you must choose the necromancy school. At every level from 2-20, you gain an extra necromancy spell known from the wizard spell list. Is this correct?

I'm fairly certain you get just the one necromancy implement at level one and gain a necromancy spell from the wizard spell list every level up as compensation. I could be wrong but I believe that's what is intended.


noretoc wrote:
Disappointed in the mindblade. the -10 to cast verbal spells defensively pretty much means spell combat is going to be really hard to pull off.

well, to avoid the "Feat hole" for concentration as others have mentioned, or reach, or some very confused comments about action economy; I would say that this does need analysis.

The Basic DC's stay the same. the penalty is in this text here:
The DC for any concentration check for a spell with a thought component increases by 10. A psychic spellcaster casting a spell with a thought component can take a move action before beginning to cast the spell to center herself

This bit of text right here either changes the normal magus action economy or raises DC's by 10. you are adjacent to a foe, you declare the use of spell combat. this is a Full action part 1 you attack with your weapon at -2. full action part 2, you cast a damage dealing touch spell and must beat a concentration check or provoke...

you are using a full attack action. there is no "move" action to use normal concentration DC...

you either use spell combat or you don't. hrmm.

It looks like a head first dive into a feat hole: combat casting (+4), concentration (+2), and a trait(+2), and still not meeting the -10 penalty... Only a total of (+8)
ugh, you end up buying and using the concentration arcana? and no, its use is only once per day.

The regular magus combat casting a 1st level spell has a dc of 17, but gets caster level and intelligence bonus to help beat this. if you have a 14 int (+2) and are 1st level, you have a flat roll of d20+3...
Even with the feats combat casting, concentration, and a trait (+8 total) this is still d20+11 vs DC 17, you must roll 6 or higher.

add the +10 DC increase and...

you may as well forget about it.


http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2nler?A-Guide-to-Touch-Spells-Spellstrike-and-S pell
the above Guide doesn't even address concentration Dc's. I had noticed some Magus guides claiming that concentration checks were veritably ignorable...

that is not what I am seeing when I look up the rules for casting in combat and casting on the defensive (or casting defensively).

Dc of 15 + Double the spell level. A first level spell is DC 17.
(when you add the thought component +10 to it, 27.) I don't get how some magus guide writer's claim that concentration isn't necessary. If you fail the concentration DC, you lose the spell period.

the only way of using normal magus spell combat is to (Declare spell combat) cast when you are directly adjacent. a full attack is a full attack. there is no provision for taking your 5ft step anytime during the course of your Full Attack so you can cast->5ft step->Start swinging. This would be akin to letting a fighter using cleave to make a 5ft step to use the cleave swing on a foe that is out of reach.

So, no spell combat for the mindblade magus. you have it, but there's no way in H you can use it.


When does Spiritualist’s Call trigger is it just when you do the 1 minute ritual or is any time you manifest your phantom?

Silver Crusade

Quote:
a full attack is a full attack. there is no provision for taking your 5ft step anytime during the course of your Full Attack so you can cast->5ft step->Start swinging.

This, at least, is not a worry—you can take a 5-ft. step in the middle of a full attack.

CRB>Combat wrote:

Take 5-Foot Step

You can move 5 feet in any round when you don't perform any other kind of movement. Taking this 5-foot step never provokes an attack of opportunity. You can't take more than one 5-foot step in a round, and you can't take a 5-foot step in the same round that you move any distance.

You can take a 5-foot step before, during, or after your other actions in the round.

CRB>Combat wrote:

Full Attack

If you get more than one attack per round because your base attack bonus is high enough (see Base Attack Bonus in Classes), because you fight with two weapons or a double weapon, or for some special reason, you must use a full-round action to get your additional attacks. You do not need to specify the targets of your attacks ahead of time. You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.

The only movement you can take during a full attack is a 5-foot step. You may take the step before, after, or between your attacks.

:-)


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Okay, after giving some of the rules a quick look-see, I'm going to give my initial, rambling thoughts.

Note that this is from the viewpoint of a 'rules dabbler', I couldn't tell you how to make a maximized build of any character class to save my life, I just trust that when I make a character the rules will work due to the thousands of people who playtested them before I ever got to see them :-)

That being said, of course I like the book. I can't see any complaints I might have about any of the new character classes, and my initial thought that they wouldn't work in a 'standard' fantasy campaign seem to be unfounded (although of course I think these classes are more fit in an Occult/Gothic Horror style campaign).

I would even say that some of the rules owe just a little bit to Psionics rules (whether 3.5 Edition or Dreamscarred Press' version). The Psychic's 'Phrenic Pool' somewhat resembles a Psion's Power Point Pool (although I think some other PF class uses a similar system). There is even a Magus Archetype that is practically the Psionic Soul Knife :-)

I also like the some of the rules expansions; I think I could even port the 'Psychic Combat' rules to Psionics with very little effort (and probably better than the previous Malhavok Press "Mindscapes" version I was using, at least at first glance).

Unless I missed something, I would have like to have seen them incorporate the Alchemist class more fully into this book (he just seems to fit so well, particularly with some of the mutational abilities a alchemist can get [Edward Hyde, anyone? ^_^]).

All in all I like the book and may actually pick up the hardback version for my collection. As I have said before, though, I plan on using it to recreate the "Mask of The Red Death" campaign setting, so I have some fun tweaking of rules ahead of me (have to check and see if anyone has done a good port over of the "Fear/Horror/Madness" checks, as well as some of the cooler parts of the Ravenloft rules :-))


Right now I'm still waiting on my brother to get his copy of the book, so I've been reduced to anxiously hanging around this forum (not that it's not enjoyable). I was wondering if anyone could give me a rundown of how the mutation mind or formless adept archetypes work.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

We got some really badass things in this book.

Alchemists that could fight ghosts and use constructs(bonus for the construct companions being kind of unsettling in their own way, and also capable of DOT (development over time)), psychics that could manipulate their own flesh to generate mutations, monks that could access super powers and be playable in a true neutral form, ninjas who could acess the super powers of the monks, Ghost Rider, a fighter type that has some barbarian skills(which is good), the list goes on.

Also it looks like we could have some really cool homebrew potential with being able to build our own rituals.

There are some issues here and there but nothing that won't get fixed hopefully with minor errata and the other occult books. We even get good ghosts to interact with as npcs called loci.

what I find funny about the ghost rider is their phantom mount is not size locked, just one size bigger that they are. Que gigantic ghost riders riding on horses the size of the tarrasque. And this works in conjunction with size changes. Now we get poly morphed Cavaliers riding monsterous phantoms, or much smaller ghost riders mounting small, tiny, or medium sized phantom steeds.


Anyone else notice that the requirements for crafting a greater ganji doll has bestow cure instead of bestow curse? Obviously that's what it is meant to be, just pointing it out for the errata.


Hi can somebody go into more detail about the spirtualist and its archetypes? I havent head much discussion on it and its the class I am most excited for


I'm reading the Psychic's spell list and I'm shocked how little damage dealing spells there are. I understand that this class is based more on subtlety and manipulation, but I expected to get a little bit of leeway in terms of being able to actually damage the enemy in between buffing allies and throwing mind-affecting debuffs. Maybe Paizo will rectify that in the future?


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The Mind Trust line of spells are far from insignificant damage, and only the first is tagged as [mind-affecting] (though I suspect they are all intended to be).


Ugh... Okay, I know this is minor, but I was really hoping it would have been changed (or the spell selection expanded to include Summon Monster) considering it was brought up in the play test. The Conjuration Resonate Power is kinda pointless for almost every Conjuration spell on the Occultist list.


pixierose wrote:
Hi can somebody go into more detail about the spirtualist and its archetypes? I havent head much discussion on it and its the class I am most excited for

The base Spiritualist is a lot like a Summoner with some powers have clear analogues (e.g. a passive boost to the Spiritualist's defenses when the Phantom is nearby). There's some good interplay too on whether you keep the phantom inside you for some passive boosts, manifest it partially as either ectoplasm or incorporeal, or manifest if fully as ectoplasm or incorporeal.

Archetypes:

Spoiler:
Ectoplasmatist: Lose the base phantom and a lot of the class abilities to gain a form of spell combat and a set of scaling weapons/armor based on manifesting ectoplasm
Fractured Mind: Changes spell casting to Charisma based, swaps out some of the Spiritualist SLAs to match their phantom's emotional focus
Geist Channeler: Lose the ability for your phantom to manifest as ectoplasm (and fight physically) to give it some more psychic abilities (e.g. shaken/fear, telekinesis)
Haunted: Supercharge your phantom by having it drain life-force and spell slots directly from the Spiritualist (like a parasite)
Onmyoji: Eastern themed Spiritualist that has more divine spell casting elements


Dexion1619 wrote:
Ugh... Okay, I know this is minor, but I was really hoping it would have been changed (or the spell selection expanded to include Summon Monster) considering it was brought up in the play test. The Conjuration Resonate Power is kinda pointless for almost every Conjuration spell on the Occultist list.

That is a strangely inapplicable ability. It is a bit more useful for the Sha'ir archetype since they get some access to the Summon Monster series of spells.


I've been hearing about the Silver Balladeer bard archetype. Being a big fan of Wellman's Silver John stories, could someone here please share some information on just what makes this archetype special?


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Eric Hinkle wrote:
I've been hearing about the Silver Balladeer bard archetype. Being a big fan of Wellman's Silver John stories, could someone here please share some information on just what makes this archetype special?

The changes are fairly minor compared to a lot of other archetypes, but they are very flavorful. You have to be good and use a silver or silver-stringed instrument. You get performances versus curses and one that prevents undead or evil subtype creatures from entering a room. You get some bonuses vs. curses, hexes, and charms, and you also get some abililies that make silver or mithral weapons better for you. I like it.


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pixierose wrote:
Hi can somebody go into more detail about the spirtualist and its archetypes? I havent head much discussion on it and its the class I am most excited for

The Spiritualist get some cool stuff! Firstly, they get lots of ectoplasmic flavored spells with their 6 level casting, plenty of debuffs which play nicely into their phantom's Deliver Touch Spells. By level 10 you'll have picked up some nice spell-like abilities: Detect Undead at will, and Calm Spirit and See Invisibility once per day each. But the real star of the show is of course the phantom.

There are three states your phantom can be in: Banished to the Ethereal Plane (Shouldn't ever happen ideally), in your noggin, or fully manifested. While it's in your consciousness, you can use Bonded Manifestation to call upon it to enhance you, giving you armor bonuses and tentacles or concealment against ranged attacks, ghost touch, and eventually becoming incorporeal.

If you choose to fully manifest it using a 1-minute ritual, you can choose either Ectoplasmic or Incorporeal form, and switch between them as a full round action on your part. While incorporeal the phantom can only attack other incorporeals, but can still deliver spells and gets the obvious advantages of being a spooky ghost (Which is actually an outsider, but still). While ectoplasmic it trades all that stuff away in exchange for being able to affect the world in any meaningful way.

Each phantom has an emotional focus which determines its special abilities, good saves, and skills (You get two per HD that you can put anywhere, but you also get free ranks in two others. You also get Skill Focus in these skills when the phantom is stored in your consciousness).

All of the Spiritualist's archetypes are really solid. The Ectoplasmatist gives away the phantom, instead gaining an ectoplasmic tendril (Or two) that grows in power, manual dexterity, and length. She also gets ectoplasmic armor and the magus's spell combat and spellstrike.

The Fractured Mind casts with charisma and trades away her spell-like abilities for other spell like abilities.

The Geist Channeler always manifests her phantom incorporeally, but at level 5 it starts to be able to damage corporeal creatures. Basically trades offense for defense.

The Haunted's phantom can draw upon her, inflicting penalties to make itself stronger.

The Onmyoji has divine spellcasting instead of psychic, and can add cleric spells to her list.

Hope this isn't too much info so soon after the book's been out... uh, if anyone asks, you got this from the Automatic Writing skill unlock, okay?


I posted a little while earlier, but then I realized that grammatical mistakes rendered my post senseless. Would someone be able to go into more detail on the Mutation Mind and Formless Mind archetypes for the Psychic, or the Dream discipline for the Psychic?

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

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Heine Stick wrote:
psyrus wrote:
Ultimately, I am still confused as to why 2nd ed psionics wasn't revisited and re-made for Pathfinder. I'd gladly play a revised, and balanced "psionicist". I had control over the direction my character grew; if I wanted damage - I went damage, if I wanted defense - I went defense, if I wanted mobility - went mobility, if I wanted utility - I would take a look at how some of the powers could be used, if I wanted a purpose... well, I as a player had already started with one.

Paizo staffers have indicated on a few occasions that they aren't interested in psionics as we've seen them in previous versions, and one of Paizo's key criteria when deciding what to produce is that it's something they have an interest in.

I'm fairly certain that the reason you're seeing this approach to psychic magic is that it's an angle that really works for Paizo and their vision for the game.

For classic psionics, you might want to check out 3rd-party publisher Dreamscarred Press' Ultimate Psionics. It's supposedly rather well done.

BTW, I don't know how much of it will see the light of day, but I just did an hour-long recorded interview with The Escapist in which I spend about 45 minutes enthusiastically going into the thought process behind this from the Gen Con floor.

I hope some of that comes through in the final article, as I'm super busy at the moment and don't have time to type it out.

Anyway, more later on this (and honestly I've spoken about the reasoning several times, including fairly recently on the Know Direction podcast.


Just got my copy today, and I'm still devouring it, but I can already say that I want more on the Dimension of Dreams and Mindscapes (and perhaps how the two might be made to interconnect.)


Gisher wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I've been hearing about the Silver Balladeer bard archetype. Being a big fan of Wellman's Silver John stories, could someone here please share some information on just what makes this archetype special?
The changes are fairly minor compared to a lot of other archetypes, but they are very flavorful. You have to be good and use a silver or silver-stringed instrument. You get performances versus curses and one that prevents undead or evil subtype creatures from entering a room. You get some bonuses vs. curses, hexes, and charms, and you also get some abililies that make silver or mithral weapons better for you. I like it.

Thank you sir. You are a gentleman and a scholar.


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I've been reading my GM's copy (he let me borrow it for my Kineticist), and I have to say I am more satisfied with Occult Adventures than I have been for any other Paizo book since the APG came out.

Kudos.


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Reading it: Very dense, legalistic. Forget seeing forest for the trees the writing has you concentrating on bark and you have to pan out from there to see how the classes work and get a reasonable picture of what it does.

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