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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****½ (based on 21 ratings)

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The Best Book Since Core

*****

For starters this book is nothing like the psychic rules that polarized 3.5. This unique approach to occult adventurers bring a new approach to many old and loved tropes.

Back when 3.5 first stopped being supported by Wizards of the Coast, Pathfinder excited me. Since the initial release of the Pathfinder Core Rulebook I have obtained a copy of every hardback book they have released. None have excited me as much as Core until now.

This book introduces amazingly distinct an new classes. I can't really say this class is like a combination of these other classes because, for the most part the classes are all very unique. This is accomplished both by using mechanics that are new and spell effects that have not been seen before in Paizo's books.

I personally love the Kineticist and the Medium, both designed by Mark Seifter. The Kineticist is the elemental damage specialist we have all been waiting for since sorcerer fist came out. This class can consistently pump out respectable damage, and if you are willing to lower your hp for the day also nova out some impressive abilities.

The Medium is the jack of all trades, but only one at a time. A with careful planning, and the GM allowing you to find the right place to hold a seance, a medium can fill most gaps that a group may have, and change his specialty day to day depending on what is needed. This class will do phenomenally well in the PFS environment where scenarios what the party needs changes from group to group, but even in setting where your groups abilities are known constants the ability to tailor your roll for the day is not to be underestimated.


It's the Kineticist

*****

If you're someone who loves a real "elemental" or "telekinetic" type character, this book is something you will absolutely love. The Kineticist is the sort of character class people have been wishing for since the dawn of such games. While the rest of the book is "meh", the Kineticist makes this book worth the purchase. I find the theme and mechanics of it to far exceed 3rd-party attempts to do something similar, in no small part due to the fact that glaring new rules are more acceptable if they come from Paizo.

I'm of the assumption that the low scores on this book are people who don't belong to the Kineticist mindset. The mechanics on the kineticist are very unique to Pathfinder, and unlike any other class (whereas all the other classes in the book strongly mirror what you'd imagine an archetype of another class might look like). At first look, it likely seems a mechanical disaster due to your mechanical strength also being your mechanical weakness, but in-play the class meshes very well together.


Best Class Book Available

*****

This book has easily displaced the Advanced Players guide as my favorite class book. Some amazing and versitle classes.


*( )( )( )( )

I wasn't really planning on buying the book from the start, and really only broke down because I know it's going to start coming up in PFS. All in all, (still reading through it myself), I'd have to agree mostly with Marco Massoudi's review. So, be warned, a bit bias, and I am not at all a Paizo fanboy/girl.

I think my main issue with it is just how misleading "Occult" is, and how little the scope of this product really is. Being just how much emphasis is placed on spirits and ghosts, undead, faith and philosophy, the Planes, and the like, you would think that this book would have a lot of crossover with the existing divine, (or even Arcane), classes that share a lot of thematic space, but instead, the vast majority of the book seems to focus more on making a third, unique snowflake approach that shoves itself into a design space that really didn't need filled before hand. That is, by basically shoving other similarly themed classes over to make room.

Lacking the bestiary section really undercuts the products usefulness and really comes off as a money-grab. I's also disappointing just how little it seems to focus on playing "occult" games outside of the new classes, and offers rather little for everyone else. It's not so much that the product description lied or was incorrect as that it could have done a lot better a job on some aspects than it did. It was posted a few times that the product would also be introducing a lot of ways to include horror/occult/mysteries into you game, which again, not technically a lie, but it was insinuated it would be to a higher and more broad degree than it seems to have. I guess we will need a new book for that, too.

In particular, I found the gear section very lackluster, and well, just lacking. Kind of felt like it was some sort of Easter Egg or April Fool's Day joke rather than something that one would find inside of a purchased product.

Even a lot of the more unique rules and new flavor aspects just seemed, I don't know, lacking.

In the end, I think that how useful and likable you find the book really depends on just how much you are interested in playing a Kenetecist or the other classes presented in this book. It doesn't do much (that isn't already done) for anyone else or DM's just wanting to run a themed game outside of the book. So, for example, while Mythic Adventures offered material for everyone and new rules guidelines for the play style, Occult Adventures is much more like, I don't know the Advanced Players Guide that seems to focus pretty exclusively on adding options for the new classes alone, (except that the APG did actually offer a lot for everyone else, too). It's really hard to compare it to another product in that sense.

It was difficult to pin a number on this one, as it really, really just depends on how much you like the new classes. If you wanted more options for non-"occult" characters, it's really not for you (0-1 star). If you love the concept of "psychic" "magic", it's probably a 4-5 star book. It is NOT (3E) Psionics, though there are some minor thematic similarities. However, it is also not, for good or for ill, the ACG.

I went with 2 rather than 3 though as while the book is good for it's pretty niche purposes, it's a Adventures style book I hope is not repeated, hoping the next themed book focuses on all the other classes, play styles, and the like over some new classes pretty much exclusively. I was extremely skeptical about making the purchase to begin with, and really only broke down because I knew that's I would be forced to make PFS rulings on it, and because I was lead to believe it would offer a lot more thematic elements all around for play and play styles. It did, but only in a certain manner of speaking.

I think my biggest gripe with this book is that it seemed to take all of the poor implementation from D&D Psionics and repeat them. For example, making a bunch of "Psionic Only" rules that really have no purpose other than to enforce an unneeded niche. Or that Occult Magic functions similar but different than non-Occult Magic, and a simple 2,000GP Ring effectively grants the equivalent of a free Still Spell (in addition to being a cheap and great item itself), Ring of the Sublime.

Outside of cases like the PFS example, I wouldn't really say it's required reading unless yourself or one of your players just really wants to play one of the new classes, (perfectly understandable). It just does not offer too much beyond that, likely unless you buy a few more books down the road.

Revisiting this review, I'd really have to say that I place this book at the absolute bottom of the pile.

While some of the classes, and I do mean some, are interesting, I really see no need whatsoever for them to have been full classes, which, in the true Paizo way, just robs other classes from having these cool options as these new ones push everyone else aside to stake their claim. I'd much, much rather have seen a Cleric or Witch with a ghostly companion, the Wizard focus on unlocking powers of the mind, options for all casters to be elementalist themed "kineticist", and on and on.

By locking these themes and concepts down to a certain few classes, I'd honestly just rather the book didn't even exist. Pathfinder/Golarion already had a lot of potential that "occult" material could have been amazing, but instead they decided to make it a brand new broken as hell option, much like 3E Psionics was, and then cram it into a lot of the prior lore and mystery obtusely.


The portrait of Dorian Grey falls, everybody dies.

*****

Welp,with this book I can finally have Charles Xavier duel Roy Mustang while Johnny Blaze and John Constantine share a beer. Kudos for the most flavourful splatbook yet.


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Is it July yet?


Robert Brookes wrote:
I can't speak in any official capacity about this, but from my understanding OA isn't so much "New Age" as in crystals and all that nonsense, so much as it is golden-era mysticism, the kind of stuff you'd see in the early 1900s and fantasy interpretations.

That's why I'm still baffled by the inclusion of the kineticist class. It doesn't fit into that at all. It falls more in line with the whole "ESP" thing from the 20th century than 19th/early 20th century mysticism, spiritualism, hermeticism, etc.

I like the idea of the book, but if I ever run a game with that sort of theme I'm disallowing the kineticist.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
pickin_grinnin wrote:
Robert Brookes wrote:
I can't speak in any official capacity about this, but from my understanding OA isn't so much "New Age" as in crystals and all that nonsense, so much as it is golden-era mysticism, the kind of stuff you'd see in the early 1900s and fantasy interpretations.

That's why I'm still baffled by the inclusion of the kineticist class. It doesn't fit into that at all. It falls more in line with the whole "ESP" thing from the 20th century than 19th/early 20th century mysticism, spiritualism, hermeticism, etc.

I like the idea of the book, but if I ever run a game with that sort of theme I'm disallowing the kineticist.

Really? I'd just restrict it to Aether instead rather than banning it. Sure, water, air, and earth don't quite fit, but moving stuff with your mind has a pretty long history in "spooky". Telekinesis explained with calling on restless spirits, or even having poltergeists following you around seems like a great fit. Fire I'd consider a bit more borderline, and probably look at how the player handled it. Gnomish pyro? Not so much. Tiefling with hellfire just barely kept in check? More like it.


Any intention of mythic paths aimed more at these classes?


I certainly hope there will be at least one (perhaps two) occult-oriented mythic path. Personally I won't be using them, but it makes the most sense that those will be there.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I am pretty doubtful we will see much more player option support for Mythic from Paizo.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
pickin_grinnin wrote:
Robert Brookes wrote:
I can't speak in any official capacity about this, but from my understanding OA isn't so much "New Age" as in crystals and all that nonsense, so much as it is golden-era mysticism, the kind of stuff you'd see in the early 1900s and fantasy interpretations.

That's why I'm still baffled by the inclusion of the kineticist class. It doesn't fit into that at all. It falls more in line with the whole "ESP" thing from the 20th century than 19th/early 20th century mysticism, spiritualism, hermeticism, etc.

I like the idea of the book, but if I ever run a game with that sort of theme I'm disallowing the kineticist.

To me the kineticist seems to fit perfectly with the eastern mysticism section of the book. Chakras, auras, etc..


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I hope there are some good feats related to ki, chakras, and psychic abilities. Maybe a racial feat for any race with limited telepathy to gain actual telepathy or at least increase the range to 60ft.

Grand Lodge

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MMCJawa wrote:
I am pretty doubtful we will see much more player option support for Mythic from Paizo.

That would be really, really sad. I hope Paizo doesn't follow in WotC's footsteps and start putting out stuff that they never to support. I understand that they can't cover everything in every book and that's not what I'm asking for. Occult Adventures is the kind of release that screams for a support book. Honestly, I'd like to see a Mythic book that gives options for the new classes in the ACG, OA and, if necessary, Pathfinder Unchained. If their only reason for not supporting Mythic or anything else is the wailing and gnashing of teeth of a small vocal minority on the forums then I will move from sad to depressed.

SM


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Many Mythic abilities can be adapted. Like, instead of Mythic domain read Mythic shaman hexes, etc.
But I also think it would be very good to have it "canonized".


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

Oh, I'm sure that Occult Adventures will receive support books, mostly dealing with how psychic magic and the classes represented fit into Golarion. Whether or not that will involve mythic material is considerably more questionable, but I'm certain Occult Adventures itself will be supported to some extent. After all, mythic is a fairly niche system, even beyond the issues people seem to have with it.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

This is the book I am most excited about for the year. I hope they show the art for the new iconics soon.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

There will be a LOT to be excited about in Occult Adventures! This summer can't come soon enough.


I am sure some 3rd party company will put out something to update all the newer classes to mythic But I don't think Paizo will revisit the topic they tend to focus on their AP's and whatever their current big hardcover is. To be honest unless these new occult classes prove to be extremely popular I doubt you will see much about them after the main book and probably 2 support books one from the campaign setting line and one from the player companion line. It will be up to 3pp to fill in the gaps.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

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From what they've shown in the playtest there's not much need for new mythic paths to accommodate the Occult classes. A psychic can easily benefit from the Archmage path, kineticist would get great mileage out of Champion, etc. While there could be some fun new mythic feats or perhaps path abilities, it isn't like Dreamscarred Press' Psionics system which requires it's own chassis.

As for future representation, I think Paizo has done a great job supporting all of its classes. We see new material for every class in each supplement (sometimes one class moreso than others) but there has been great representation. I see no reason to think they won't support the Occult Classes going forward.


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Robert Brookes wrote:

From what they've shown in the playtest there's not much need for new mythic paths to accommodate the Occult classes. A psychic can easily benefit from the Archmage path, kineticist would get great mileage out of Champion, etc. While there could be some fun new mythic feats or perhaps path abilities, it isn't like Dreamscarred Press' Psionics system which requires it's own chassis.

As for future representation, I think Paizo has done a great job supporting all of its classes. We see new material for every class in each supplement (sometimes one class moreso than others) but there has been great representation. I see no reason to think they won't support the Occult Classes going forward.

A new path or two might not be neccessary, but some new path abilities could be useful, as well as mythic feats and maybe mythic spells.


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Well, considering how Mythic and WoTR were received I don't think Paizo really wants to support Mythic anymore. The general consensus seems to be that it makes mid-to-high level combat encounters trivial, which is already a problem in the game even without Mythic. I just don't think "salvaging Mythic" is that high on the team's priorities right now.


I don't think they are going to ditch Mythic altogether. It's just that it's a niche system and therefore something they'll support sparingly. They have continued to support it past the initial slew of books.

For a book of this size, bringing lots of new mechanics, I'd really be surprised if they didn't offer some Mythic stuff.


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Axial wrote:
Well, considering how Mythic and WoTR were received I don't think Paizo really wants to support Mythic anymore. The general consensus seems to be that it makes mid-to-high level combat encounters trivial, which is already a problem in the game even without Mythic. I just don't think "salvaging Mythic" is that high on the team's priorities right now.

At the same time, Mythic is helpful at lower levels.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I wonder we'll get to see the other iconics from this book? I gots to know!

Paizo Employee Developer

Haven't we always revealed the iconics for new classes in similar ways over the years?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

True, but we've gotten the psychic and the occultist sketches revealed. It's just that once you've wetted my appetite, I am driven with anxiety to see more. So this is just me being impatient to know more about Occult Adventures. :)


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I can't wait for July but hopefully that we will not have to wait that ling to see the final art for the new iconics.


Can't wait to buy the pdf, since I can probably have it way earlier than international shipping :)
I'll use it heavily in my adventures, since I love occult themes and psychic phenomena but dislike the power point system.

Will there be more undercastable spells beyond the few in the playtest?


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I hope there will be more undercastable spells as well.


QuidEst wrote:
Telekinesis explained with calling on restless spirits, or even having poltergeists following you around seems like a great fit.

That's a good idea!


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
pickin_grinnin wrote:
QuidEst wrote:
Telekinesis explained with calling on restless spirits, or even having poltergeists following you around seems like a great fit.
That's a good idea!

Hey, it works for Oracles!


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I hope this book will have more Sorcerer and Bloodrager bloodlines, and more Oracle mysteries and curses.


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Wow!!! I've never let psionics in my games before-- I've just never liked to Sci-Fi feel of them in my games...

This "feels" like fantasy... I can't wait for this.


Obvious_Ninja wrote:

Wow!!! I've never let psionics in my games before-- I've just never liked to Sci-Fi feel of them in my games...

This "feels" like fantasy... I can't wait for this.

Same here...

I was leery of how this may be handles...but so far I am very pleased ;)


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

I am so excited for this that I have been trying occult rituals to bring this release closer. so far nothing has occurred. But I have begun to hear scratching in the walls of my room, is that a bad thing?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
zergtitan wrote:
I am so excited for this that I have been trying occult rituals to bring this release closer. so far nothing has occurred. But I have begun to hear scratching in the walls of my room, is that a bad thing?

Nah don't worry about that. What could go wrong after all?

Dark Archive

zergtitan wrote:
I am so excited for this that I have been trying occult rituals to bring this release closer. so far nothing has occurred. But I have begun to hear scratching in the walls of my room, is that a bad thing?

Ohhhhh but it has worked!!!!!


Alex G St-Amand wrote:
Axial wrote:
Well, considering how Mythic and WoTR were received I don't think Paizo really wants to support Mythic anymore. The general consensus seems to be that it makes mid-to-high level combat encounters trivial, which is already a problem in the game even without Mythic. I just don't think "salvaging Mythic" is that high on the team's priorities right now.
At the same time, Mythic is helpful at lower levels.

Yeah, Mythic is really nice if you want to have character who are really impressive even at lower levels, but you want to avoid the "ho hum, an orc horde" you often get when you start hitting the high levels.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Axial wrote:
Well, considering how Mythic and WoTR were received I don't think Paizo really wants to support Mythic anymore. The general consensus seems to be that it makes mid-to-high level combat encounters trivial, which is already a problem in the game even without Mythic. I just don't think "salvaging Mythic" is that high on the team's priorities right now.

Um actually they are continuing to release NPCs with Mythic Tiers. So I have not seen any signs of them abandoning Mythic rules just yet.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

It would be kinda strange to expect them to not make a few mistakes on the first go, so I kinda hope they give it at least one more go.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

At least they're giving some time before implementing the new rules in an AP. I think that's one of the reasons Mythic rules and WotR didn't do as well. They will at least have half a year before anything major using Occult Adventures rules.


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I wish it was July already.


After the WotR debacle, I always see the Mythic rules as NPC rules, especially for bosses, they work well in that case. But give them to PCs beyond 2nd tier and the game will break.

Can't wait for July! This book will shore up all the holes in my adventures and sure as hell I'll at least buy the pdf (too bad it's almost double the cost for the hardcover due to shipping)!

Paizo Employee Designer

Krinn wrote:
Can't wait for July! This book will shore up all the holes in my adventures and sure as hell I'll at least buy the pdf (too bad it's almost double the cost for the hardcover due to shipping)!

I was just commenting the other day, when I saw the cool subsystems that Stephen and Logan were working on, that we are going to have actual rules for several sorts of adventure that seem to come up a lot in fiction, but that so far there haven't been concrete rules for them (I've run some of them multiple times in home games essentially just by making it up myself).


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

5 months. 5 long agonizing months.

Well at least the front cover and product description will be updated in only a couple of months. Hopefully.


zergtitan wrote:
At least they're giving some time before implementing the new rules in an AP. I think that's one of the reasons Mythic rules and WotR didn't do as well. They will at least have half a year before anything major using Occult Adventures rules.

Yeah, James Jacobs made that complain while/after writting WotR (and to a lesser extend, the Technology Guide while making Iron Gods).


I'm a strange mix of hyper excited...and braced for disappointment...sort of waiting to see how this all play's out 0-O


The only thing I enjoy from this book is the Kineticist. The rest is psionic-light-wanna-be-garbage, IMO. I'll stick to Dreamscarred Press who actually is doing psionics right for a PF game. Which is sticking to its roots.

I like the Kineticist because it strongly resembles the Benders from the Avatar series, I plan on calling them Benders in my games and having Avatar-inspired NPCs and organizations in my games around them.

And, yes, I do hope there is a prestige class or archetype or a method to make Kineticists more martial, like a Monk/Kineticist build in a sense.

Scarab Sages

What about the Phrenologist Fighter?

"I study your personality based on the lumps on your head...which I put there."


Mark Seifter wrote:
I was just commenting the other day, when I saw the cool subsystems that Stephen and Logan were working on, that we are going to have actual rules for several sorts of adventure that seem to come up a lot in fiction, but that so far there haven't been concrete rules for them (I've run some of them multiple times in home games essentially just by making it up myself).

Isn't there a rule about not taunting the animals at the zoo with morsels of food?

Paizo Employee Designer

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

What about the Phrenologist Fighter?

"I study your personality based on the lumps on your head...which I put there."

While this is not exactly in OA, it is far far closer to an actual and fairly unusual archetype from the book than I imagined that someone would be suggesting (unless that was a joke, in which case, joke's on you!)


Mark Seifter wrote:
While this is not exactly in OA, it is far far closer to an actual and fairly unusual archetype from the book than I imagined that someone would be suggesting (unless that was a joke, in which case, joke's on you!)

Now I'm picturing a Spiritualist who grabs the souls of his defeated enemies to use as his Phantom in combat.

Paizo Employee Designer

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
While this is not exactly in OA, it is far far closer to an actual and fairly unusual archetype from the book than I imagined that someone would be suggesting (unless that was a joke, in which case, joke's on you!)
Now I'm picturing a Spiritualist who grabs the souls of his defeated enemies to use as his Phantom in combat.

...And that's close in most ways to a powerful medium ability. Occult is just so much crazy awesome weird that whatever you guys guess seems to remind me of something from the book. ;)


I'm most excited to see how the Spiritualist turns out...
If the Medium became less of a nightmare to work with, it will probably be a close second....

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