Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures (OGL)

****½ (based on 21 ratings)
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

*****

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

***( )( )

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

****( )

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

*****

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

*****

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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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Lamontius wrote:
Chris Lambertz wrote:
Updated with final cover image and description!
Valeros' evil twin, complete with evil goatee

I believe that is the iconic occultist.


Vlaeros, yes


I like that the occultist looks rather portly.

Community Manager

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Protoman wrote:
I like that the occultist looks rather portly.

He's a man of wealth and taste.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Protoman wrote:
I like that the occultist looks rather portly.

I dig that too.


11 people marked this as a favorite.
Protoman wrote:
I like that the occultist looks rather portly.

Finally an iconic I could cosplay.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Using existing skills for faith healing, hypnotism, and psychometry sounds interesting.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The art is amazing, and this preview has me even more excited- didn't think that was possible!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I could only get more exited if it's release date was today;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

For the first time, I am actually intrigued. In particular, the phantom-binding spiritualist has caught my attention. Have to watch for any info on this class...

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Malwing wrote:
Protoman wrote:
I like that the occultist looks rather portly.
Finally an iconic I could cosplay.

And this, right here, is one of the many reasons why representation is important! :)


I hope the "and more", includes, using a skill to preform things like Tarot reading.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Joe Hex wrote:
I hope the "and more", includes, using a skill to preform things like Tarot reading.

It's not exactly what you're asking about, but do you have a copy of the Harrow Deck? I really liked the Harrow reading system. ^_^


Kalindlara wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
I hope the "and more", includes, using a skill to preform things like Tarot reading.
It's not exactly what you're asking about, but do you have a copy of the Harrow Deck? I really liked the Harrow reading system. ^_^

I don't own an actual deck, but they are discussed in The Inner Sea setting book. But, if I remember, using them required a spell- otherwise a reading didn't do much in game. I'll have to re-read that the bit about them in the equipment section, to be sure I know what I'm talking about.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Joe Hex wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
I hope the "and more", includes, using a skill to preform things like Tarot reading.
It's not exactly what you're asking about, but do you have a copy of the Harrow Deck? I really liked the Harrow reading system. ^_^
I don't own an actual deck, but they are discussed in The Inner Sea setting book. But, if I remember, using them required a spell- otherwise a reading didn't do much in game. I'll have to re-read that the bit about them in the equipment section, to be sure I know what I'm talking about.

The actual deck came with a guide to doing an actual, physical Harrow reading using the cards. It's not really something with in-game stats (beyond the harrowing spell).

I believe those "rules" also appear in the Harrow Handbook and Pathfinder Adventure Path #7: Edge of Anarchy, for the record.

That said, you might be interested in these options:

Fortune Teller
Harrow Chosen
Varisian Wanderer

Those are, I think, close to what you're looking for. The first one includes the Gamemastery Guide's section on fortune-telling as well.

Hope that helps. ^_^

Community Manager

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Did someone say Harrow decks?


Kalindlara wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
I hope the "and more", includes, using a skill to preform things like Tarot reading.
It's not exactly what you're asking about, but do you have a copy of the Harrow Deck? I really liked the Harrow reading system. ^_^
I don't own an actual deck, but they are discussed in The Inner Sea setting book. But, if I remember, using them required a spell- otherwise a reading didn't do much in game. I'll have to re-read that the bit about them in the equipment section, to be sure I know what I'm talking about.

The actual deck came with a guide to doing an actual, physical Harrow reading using the cards. It's not really something with in-game stats (beyond the harrowing spell).

I believe those "rules" also appear in the Harrow Handbook and Pathfinder Adventure Path #7: Edge of Anarchy, for the record.

That said, you might be interested in these options:

Fortune Teller
Harrow Chosen
Varisian Wanderer

Those are, I think, close to what you're looking for. The first one includes the Gamemastery Guide's section on fortune-telling as well.

Hope that helps. ^_^

Thanks Kalindlara!

The Harrow Handbook looks interesting.

I think the skill Preform (Harrow), could be a good way of gaging the accuracy of the reading in-game.


Liz Courts wrote:
Did someone say Harrow decks?

Very cool- Thanks Liz!


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

So is that a spirit naga or a new type of naga?

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Once upon a time, I ran a Harrow reading in a PbP on these boards, and the coolest thing about it was that I actually did the reading, as I own the deck. I had the PCs choose their role cards and then laid out the spread - and the awesome thing was, I was able to use what I knew of the characters and the storyline to make the cards they chose and I laid out work very, very well. Harrow, like tarot itself, works very well as a kind of Rorschach blot, to pull out things you're already looking for; done with intention, you can get a great storytelling moment out of them.


Shisumo wrote:
Once upon a time, I ran a Harrow reading in a PbP on these boards, and the coolest thing about it was that I actually did the reading, as I own the deck. I had the PCs choose their role cards and then laid out the spread - and the awesome thing was, I was able to use what I knew of the characters and the storyline to make the cards they chose and I laid out work very, very well. Harrow, like tarot itself, works very well as a kind of Rorschach blot, to pull out things you're already looking for; done with intention, you can get a great storytelling moment out of them.

Sounds great!

Would you advise, for, or against, using either a Preform (Harrow), or Profession (Fortune Telling)- skill check, and use the result as a means of how clear, or vague the results are?

(I really hope Occult Adventures has a bit on this, since it's a classic occult motif!)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Shisumo wrote:
Once upon a time, I ran a Harrow reading in a PbP on these boards, and the coolest thing about it was that I actually did the reading, as I own the deck. I had the PCs choose their role cards and then laid out the spread - and the awesome thing was, I was able to use what I knew of the characters and the storyline to make the cards they chose and I laid out work very, very well. Harrow, like tarot itself, works very well as a kind of Rorschach blot, to pull out things you're already looking for; done with intention, you can get a great storytelling moment out of them.

I did the same. It was fun. It's even better as GM, because you know the general threads ahead.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Joe Hex wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Once upon a time, I ran a Harrow reading in a PbP on these boards, and the coolest thing about it was that I actually did the reading, as I own the deck. I had the PCs choose their role cards and then laid out the spread - and the awesome thing was, I was able to use what I knew of the characters and the storyline to make the cards they chose and I laid out work very, very well. Harrow, like tarot itself, works very well as a kind of Rorschach blot, to pull out things you're already looking for; done with intention, you can get a great storytelling moment out of them.

Sounds great!

Would you advise, for, or against, using either a Preform (Harrow), or Profession (Fortune Telling)- skill check, and use the result as a means of how clear, or vague the results are?

(I really hope Occult Adventures has a bit on this, since it's a classic occult motif!)

Approached solely from my own perspective here...

My feeling on Profession (fortune teller) is that it's how you make money as a Harrower, reading the cards in a way that gets people to pay you for the privilege. It's sideshow trickery, a combination of good Perform (oratory) and Sense Motive skills. Nothing wrong with it, if that's your gig, but not a good way to represent an actual connection with supernatural forces.

A true Harrow reading itself should actually be a rare thing, especially without divination spells (like harrow) in the mix. If you're playing in Golarion, that's triply true, as it's the Age of Lost Omens. Regardless, though, "seers" that can actually see something are the sort of thing I would only have happen a few times in a given storyline or campaign, and their readings should always, always be open to interpretation and reinterpretation as the storyline unfolds.

If you want safe, reliable divinations, there are spells for that, and pretty basic rules to connect them to Harrowing. The cards should serve as largely a thematic element, relying as much or more on the dramatic sense of the player or the GM as on any mechanics.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Shisumo wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:
Shisumo wrote:
Once upon a time, I ran a Harrow reading in a PbP on these boards, and the coolest thing about it was that I actually did the reading, as I own the deck. I had the PCs choose their role cards and then laid out the spread - and the awesome thing was, I was able to use what I knew of the characters and the storyline to make the cards they chose and I laid out work very, very well. Harrow, like tarot itself, works very well as a kind of Rorschach blot, to pull out things you're already looking for; done with intention, you can get a great storytelling moment out of them.

Sounds great!

Would you advise, for, or against, using either a Preform (Harrow), or Profession (Fortune Telling)- skill check, and use the result as a means of how clear, or vague the results are?

(I really hope Occult Adventures has a bit on this, since it's a classic occult motif!)

Approached solely from my own perspective here...

My feeling on Profession (fortune teller) is that it's how you make money as a Harrower, reading the cards in a way that gets people to pay you for the privilege. It's sideshow trickery, a combination of good Perform (oratory) and Sense Motive skills. Nothing wrong with it, if that's your gig, but not a good way to represent an actual connection with supernatural forces.

A true Harrow reading itself should actually be a rare thing, especially without divination spells (like harrow) in the mix. If you're playing in Golarion, that's triply true, as it's the Age of Lost Omens. Regardless, though, "seers" that can actually see something are the sort of thing I would only have happen a few times in a given storyline or campaign, and their readings should always, always be open to interpretation and reinterpretation as the storyline unfolds.

If you want safe, reliable divinations, there are spells for that, and pretty...

Pretty much all this.

Of the three abilities I linked, the first two are how you link it to divination. Don't underestimate Fortune Teller - free divinations are insane. Harrow Chosen boosts divinations as well, and lets even a non-diviner get some guidance. Varisian Wanderer is the "doing it for money" one - you might not have "real" divination, but you know what's expected of you as a fortune-teller.

Can you tell I've wanted to play a Harrow-based character for a while? ^_^


Very true- I think the only way to use a skill-based method, is to homebrew a "skill unlock" with the Unchained system- and, even then, it should require a very high skill level.

Going back to Occult Adventures, I wonder if spells like "Harrowing" from the Inner Sea guide will make it on the Occult class's spell list.

Usually when a new spell casting class comes out, they tend to overlook campaign setting spells for their spell list.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Joe Hex wrote:

Very true- I think the only way to use a skill-based method, is to homebrew a "skill unlock" with the Unchained system- and, even then, it should require a very high skill level.

Going back to Occult Adventures, I wonder if spells like "Harrowing" from the Inner Sea guide will make it on the Occult class's spell list.

Usually when a new spell casting class comes out, they tend to overlook campaign setting spells for their spell list.

That skill unlock idea sounds really cool!

As for spell lists, watch for Occult Origins. Advanced Class Origins had a sidebar adding various campaign setting spells to the ACG classes' spell lists (in the Bloodrager and Shaman sections, respectively). ^_^


Kalindlara wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:

Very true- I think the only way to use a skill-based method, is to homebrew a "skill unlock" with the Unchained system- and, even then, it should require a very high skill level.

Going back to Occult Adventures, I wonder if spells like "Harrowing" from the Inner Sea guide will make it on the Occult class's spell list.

Usually when a new spell casting class comes out, they tend to overlook campaign setting spells for their spell list.

That skill unlock idea sounds really cool!

As for spell lists, watch for Occult Origins. Advanced Class Origins had a sidebar adding various campaign setting spells to the ACG classes' spell lists (in the Bloodrager and Shaman sections, respectively). ^_^

That's right. I don't have any of the Origin books, but I figured they were for integrating the new classes, with setting material.

Including the Occult Bestiary, I'm now up to three Occult books I won't be able to say no to...


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I can't wait to see the "tin cap".


I love the cover!


Dragon78 wrote:
I can't wait to see the "tin cap".

I know! All I can picture is a tin foil hat.

And as a show of support for Paizo, and Occult Adventures- I encourage everyone going to Gen Con, to wear one!


Is the Occultist just chubby, or is he a dwarf?


Nate Z wrote:
Holy crap all of rhst art is AMAZING! And on the cover...is that THAT sword again?

Which sword are you referring to?

Community Manager

Subparhiggins wrote:
Is the Occultist just chubby, or is he a dwarf?

The Occultist is on the portlier side, yes.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Gisher wrote:
Nate Z wrote:
Holy crap all of rhst art is AMAZING! And on the cover...is that THAT sword again?
Which sword are you referring to?

I think he's referring to the sword that Alain is picking out of a treasure hoard on the cover of Ultimate Equipment, which reappears in (Mythic) Valeros's hand on the cover of Mythic Adventures.

I don't think it's the same sword, though. Color is wrong.


Portly is a good way to explain an 8 dexterity score. I'm halfway there myself!


Anyone know if we're going to see summoner style goodness? Having an undead minion or spiritual ally would be very much in theme with the setting.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

gharlane wrote:

Anyone know if we're going to see summoner style goodness? Having an undead minion or spiritual ally would be very much in theme with the setting.

That's what the Spiritualist class does.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Ross Byers wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Nate Z wrote:
Holy crap all of rhst art is AMAZING! And on the cover...is that THAT sword again?
Which sword are you referring to?

I think he's referring to the sword that Alain is picking out of a treasure hoard on the cover of Ultimate Equipment, which reappears in (Mythic) Valeros's hand on the cover of Mythic Adventures.

I don't think it's the same sword, though. Color is wrong.

Yes that is what I am referring to. It also appears on the cover of the "Magical Marketplace" player companion.

We really need to get a stat block for that thing at some point.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Hrmm. It's certainly structurally similar.

But the 'v' inlays from the Ultimate Equipment sword are missing, and the thing emitting the red smoke doesn't seem to line up with the blue stone.

Boring answer: They're two different swords that happen to look similar.

More interesting answer: The occultist attunes with items of power, right? Maybe the occultist is doing something that's causing new and different powers and a temporary transformation.

Even more interesting answer: The two swords are part of a matched pair, one red, one blue. They're stealing the red one from the Naga and her cult because of some plot hook uncovered with the blue one.


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When I make a Kineticist, she's going to be a female human named Carrie.

Also, her mom will be a Lawful Evil cleric.


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Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Are you sure her mother wouldn't be a CE Cleric?


Dragon78 wrote:
Are you sure her mother wouldn't be a CE Cleric?

It's to bad "crazy lady" is not an NPC class...


Joe Hex wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Are you sure her mother wouldn't be a CE Cleric?
It's to bad "crazy lady" is not an NPC class...

It's actually a universal archetype...or maybe a mythic path.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Too bad none of the previews had a picture of the iconic kineticist.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Too bad none of the previews had a picture of the iconic kineticist.

Do we know what they are yet? I seem to recall a picture of all six making the rounds a little while back...


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

Yeah, but it was of such a low quality.


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That cover is GORGEOUS! But I would have liked newer iconics instead of the already released ones, or at least more iconics but well you can't have everything.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
the xiao wrote:
That cover is GORGEOUS! But I would have liked newer iconics instead of the already released ones, or at least more iconics but well you can't have everything.

We probably got those previews because they were going to be on the cover, and were started first. X)

Man, can't wait to try out the finalized Medium, Kineticist, and Mesmerist. Also looking forward to seeing the revisions that were made for Psychic, Spiritualist, and Occultist, although I'm going to be busy playing the others first.


I'm most eager for the Spiritualist....I have several character concepts I'm hoping I can bring to life with this class.


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At first I was all out for the kineticist, but then the mesmerist... my kind of class, like an introverted bard without the religious baggage of the inquisitor.

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