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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Plethora of new flavorful content

*****

I'd definitely have to say I'm not disappointed with this book (PDF actually, book didn't show up yet). With this book Paizo has delivered some fantastic new classes who each have an interesting flavor, and all of them have some distinct and varied archetypes. Even a few older classes received love from this book with new archetypes for the alchemists, cavaliers, and witches among others. I can say I'll definitely be having some fun with the new content which released right before a friend is starting a new evil campaign (Spiritualist seems like a fine pick for a necromancer).




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Paizo Employee Designer

I'm looking at an art sketch for something that might be dream-related right now. What could it be?

Dark Archive

Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm looking at an art sketch for something that might be dream-related right now. What could it be?

Random guess;

Illustration to go with an incarnate nightmare spell for The Big Little Book of Horrors.


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Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm looking at an art sketch for something that might be dream-related right now. What could it be?

My hope is art for a kineticist archetype that taps into the dimension of dreams considering your recent post in the Ask Mark thread.... I could see that mechanically working sorta like Blood Kineticist handled water where it gets you special dream stuff for Aether.

Paizo Employee Designer

Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
I'm looking at an art sketch for something that might be dream-related right now. What could it be?
My hope is art for a kineticist archetype that taps into the dimension of dreams considering your recent post in the Ask Mark thread.... I could see that mechanically working sorta like Blood Kineticist handled water where it gets you special dream stuff for Aether.

Not a bad guess, though that assumes I took that long to copyfit something that I said was close to copyfit ;) (of course, I could have left a sketch up anyway from something else, so maybe this is all another trick)


Mark Seifter wrote:
Not a bad guess, though that assumes I took that long to copyfit something that I said was close to copyfit ;) (of course, I could have left a sketch up anyway from something else, so maybe this is all another trick)

As a mere unpublished homebrewer, copyfitting is something still occult and eldritch to my mind :P


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
Not a bad guess, though that assumes I took that long to copyfit something that I said was close to copyfit ;) (of course, I could have left a sketch up anyway from something else, so maybe this is all another trick)
As a mere unpublished homebrewer, copyfitting is something still occult and eldritch to my mind :P

From what Mark has said about it, I'm not sure much changes there…

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
Milo v3 wrote:
Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Thanks Milo3 - do you know if (other than OA and House on Hook Street) there's another Paizo product which discusses the differences between a regular character and one that has Lucid Dreamer feat in terms of how they interact with dreamscapes? Thanks!

Unfortunately I do not purchase non-RPG line stuff from Paizo so I can't be 100% sure, but there might be something in the "Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Occult Realms" book since the books description mentions the Dimension of Dreams.

The lack on content in the area is something I'm actually attempting to fix with homebrew right now, in the middle of writing down ideas for dream-content such as archetypes, spells, feats, possible revisions of dream and nightmare spells, etc.

Thanks Milo3 - I got that one; will check it out again (if I remember well, not much in there that expands on Lucid Dreamer - beyond the OA and HoHS, I think we're in homerule territory - PM me and we can share ideas)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber

Milo3 - what do you think of this:

dream council spell:
"While in the original caster's dreamscape, those involved in the council can interact with one another and that dreamscape for 10 minutes for each message remaining. When that time elapses, the spell ends."
--> this allows for group meetings, very powerful... however I believe that no XP can be gained and no items / charges are expended by lucid bodies in a dreamscape, so this is mostly for communications and roleplaying.
NOTE: the shared dreamscape here is the caster's dreamscape.

dream spell:
"The duration of the spell is the time required for the messenger to enter the recipient's dream and deliver the message." and "The recipient cannot ask questions or offer information, nor can the messenger gain any information by observing the dreams of the recipient."
--> I'm thinking Lucid Dreamer feat for the recipient could ease up the restriction (as the feat came way later after the spell was written). It's for one-on-one one comms only so I'm thinking a 1 min/level interaction in the recipient's dreamscape would not be overkill, if the caster/messenger wants to (i.e. caster/messenger still has the choice to do an unlimited length message, uninterrupted by the recipient; however a recipient with Lucid Dreamer trait or feat can end this dreamscape or awaken so as to refuse this one-way only message i.e. especially if the recipient is angry at the caster, like ex-girlfriend and stuff... :P).
--> Another thought I'm having is to allow the caster/messenger who has the Lucid Dreamer feat one single Sense Motive check DC 11 + 1/2 recipient's HD + Int modifier at the beginning of the spell to gain one piece of info in regards to the recipient's dream (similar to answering one question as per dream scan spell) If both the caster/messenger and recipient have Lucid Dreamer feat, or if caster/messenger has Lucid Dreamer feat and recipient has Lucid Dreamer trait, then it's an opposed Sense Motive vs. Bluff check (again, just like dream scan).
NOTE: the shared dreamscape here is the recipient's dreamscape.

dream scan:
--> If target of the spell has Lucid Dreamer feat and makes the Will save, it can identify the caster or something like that...
NOTE: the shared dreamscape here is the recipient's dreamscape.

I'll think on other dream-based spells (nightmare is on the list) but that's all I got for now...

Grand Lodge

So I'm reading through the Kineticist and I got to the composite blasts and I was stunned. The book states that the composite blasts do "2d6+2 plus the kinteicist's Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6+2 for every 2 levels beyond 1st." Is that right? If so that would meant the the composite blasts would start out at 8d6+8 because you can't get the expanded element until 7th level. 2d6+2 to start and 6d6+6 for the three sets of 2 levels beyond 1st you are at 7th level.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Forgarn wrote:
So I'm reading through the Kineticist and I got to the composite blasts and I was stunned. The book states that the composite blasts do "2d6+2 plus the kinteicist's Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6+2 for every 2 levels beyond 1st." Is that right? If so that would meant the the composite blasts would start out at 8d6+8 because you can't get the expanded element until 7th level. 2d6+2 to start and 6d6+6 for the three sets of 2 levels beyond 1st you are at 7th level.

That's only for physical composite blasts; energy composite blasts do "2d6 + 1/2 the kineticist’s Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6 for every 2 kineticist levels beyond 1st". And note that for all of them, you have to take 2 points of burn to use them. While this can be reduced by gathering energy, until 11th level with supercharge, you have to take 1 round to completely avoid taking burn (or spend a point from your limited internal buffer while taking a move action to gather energy, but you can only do that a limited number of times per day without taking burn), which means you're basically skipping your turn (as well as opening up yourself to being attacked and potentially losing the benefits of gathering energy and taking the burn you were trying to avoid). Conversely, you could instead choose to empower your blast with metakinesis by gathering power as a move action and not take any burn, which would be a bit less damage, but is more sustainable.

Grand Lodge

Luthorne wrote:
Forgarn wrote:
So I'm reading through the Kineticist and I got to the composite blasts and I was stunned. The book states that the composite blasts do "2d6+2 plus the kinteicist's Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6+2 for every 2 levels beyond 1st." Is that right? If so that would meant the the composite blasts would start out at 8d6+8 because you can't get the expanded element until 7th level. 2d6+2 to start and 6d6+6 for the three sets of 2 levels beyond 1st you are at 7th level.
That's only for physical composite blasts; energy composite blasts do "2d6 + 1/2 the kineticist’s Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6 for every 2 kineticist levels beyond 1st". And note that for all of them, you have to take 2 points of burn to use them. While this can be reduced by gathering energy, until 11th level with supercharge, you have to take 1 round to completely avoid taking burn (or spend a point from your limited internal buffer while taking a move action to gather energy, but you can only do that a limited number of times per day without taking burn), which means you're basically skipping your turn (as well as opening up yourself to being attacked and potentially losing the benefits of gathering energy and taking the burn you were trying to avoid). Conversely, you could instead choose to empower your blast with metakinesis by gathering power as a move action and not take any burn, which would be a bit less damage, but is more sustainable.

But I am reading ti correctly then... 8d6 of damage at 7th level for 2 burn (possibly less)?


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Forgarn wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Forgarn wrote:
So I'm reading through the Kineticist and I got to the composite blasts and I was stunned. The book states that the composite blasts do "2d6+2 plus the kinteicist's Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6+2 for every 2 levels beyond 1st." Is that right? If so that would meant the the composite blasts would start out at 8d6+8 because you can't get the expanded element until 7th level. 2d6+2 to start and 6d6+6 for the three sets of 2 levels beyond 1st you are at 7th level.
That's only for physical composite blasts; energy composite blasts do "2d6 + 1/2 the kineticist’s Constitution modifier, increasing by 2d6 for every 2 kineticist levels beyond 1st". And note that for all of them, you have to take 2 points of burn to use them. While this can be reduced by gathering energy, until 11th level with supercharge, you have to take 1 round to completely avoid taking burn (or spend a point from your limited internal buffer while taking a move action to gather energy, but you can only do that a limited number of times per day without taking burn), which means you're basically skipping your turn (as well as opening up yourself to being attacked and potentially losing the benefits of gathering energy and taking the burn you were trying to avoid). Conversely, you could instead choose to empower your blast with metakinesis by gathering power as a move action and not take any burn, which would be a bit less damage, but is more sustainable.
But I am reading ti correctly then... 8d6 of damage at 7th level for 2 burn (possibly less)?

Yeah, barring special composite blasts like force blast, though remember that's also eating up any burn quotient that isn't being covered by your infusion specialization (-1 at 7th, -2 at 8th), you can only take 2 points of burn per round at 7th level, and can't take more burn than 3 + your Constitution modifier total. So you can't necessarily do it all that often, even if you wanted to take a lot of burn. Normal blasts will still be doing 4d6 + 4 + Con for physical, or 4d6 + 1/2 Con for energy. So on average a regular blast will do 18 + Con (Physical) or 14 + 1/2 Con (Energy), an empowered blast will do 27 + 1 1/2 Con (Physical) or 21 + 3/4 Con (Energy), and a composite blast will do 36 + Con (Physical) or 28 + 1/2 Con (Energy), though of course that's just on average, and leaves out the possible rider effects or shapes via infusions that might offer other advantages.

Silver Crusade

I'm missing something aren't I? The Mirage Focus Power for the Occultists Illusion Implement has a duration of concentration? Plus 3 rounds, correct?


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Part II of my review:

I'm rambling, I know. I'll break my format for a second here, mainly since it's Paizo we're talking about - on a formal level, the one thing that haunted some previous books, namely editing, is excellent herein. The fact that the artworks are AMAZING and copious, that the binding's nice, the paper good, the layout awesome - you all already knew that. Production-value-wise, this is a glorious tome and yes, index-wise, it leaves nothing to be desired.

Designers Logan Bonner, Mark Seifter and Stephen Radney-MacFarland, under the auspice of Jason Bulmahn, with authors John Bennett, Robert Brookes, Ross Byers, Adam Daigle, John Compton, Jim Groves, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Tom Philips, Thomas M. Reid, Alex Riggs, F. Wesley Schneider, Robert Schwalb, Ross Taylor and Steven Townshend have created an awesome, amazing to me that represents a development in PFRPG I wholeheartedly support.

You see, from the very beginning, there always were weird and occult themes in Pathfinder adventures; it's what drew me to the game. That being said, I sometimes have the impression that my own playstyle, particularly for my campaigns, is a bit more cerebral and roleplaying focused than that of many groups and I do believe and understand that Paizo needs to cater to that demographic. In fact, I do have players that itch for fights when there's too much talking involved. I get the wargame-aspect and appeal of the game and enjoy it tremendously...but at the same time, making room for the ROLEplaying aspect of the game is very important to me.

An example (ROTRL-spoilers ahead!):

When I ran RotRL, my pathfinders were agents of the lodge and had the task to prepare Sandpoint for becoming a halfway-station for agents. Each faction had a representative in town and PCs had to juggle adventuring, faction duties and a political balance, while I slowly seeded hints for them to pick up and slowly meld together. I created a rune-language for Thassillion for them to find and decipher, a task which would bring them to the frigid North as well and had them establish a frontier outpost against the bitter cold and dire threats looming at the top of the world, all while having them research the strange languages and customs of various tribes, from Shoanti to Vikmordere to ultimately, slowly put the pieces together that the war with the sudden influx of green-skins and the sieges were due to the machinations of the BBEG rune lord. Alas, I redesigned their magic to be an intentionally OP version of truename magic, coupled with soul magic and in order to have a fighting chance, the PCs would need to decipher the esoteric rules that govern this evil and radically different way of using magic. It is only via similarly involved contemplation that a certain dungeon could be found...and I'll stop rambling here. What I tried to illustrate was that, while the AP itself can be run as pretty straight-forward, its concepts and themes are already steeped in the occult. In fact, I only extrapolated concepts that were already there - whether it's the Shamballah/Eldorado-aspect of the finale of the AP, the notion of there being power in strange writing, even in characters...or any other component. The seeds are already here and just require watering to grow into a fully developed thing of eldritch beauty.

*End Spoilers*

The fact that Occult Adventures hardwires serious roleplaying, research, investigative tools, the mystical and the non-combat-centric into the very mechanics of most options herein, on its own, is a huge deal for me. I get the fun behind optimizing, mind you - but in the end, a character is more than a sum of his numbers. As a publisher, you can go the power-creep route and do just fine; heck, for ages, that was the business model of MTG...but it also was what disenfranchised me from that game. The story and game took a step back. Similarly, one can play Pathfinder pretty much as a wargame and there's nothing wrong with that; you can do so with occult adventures material and still have fun...but to me, this book reads like a rebuttal to the claim, often posed by rules-light advocates, that crunch-heavy games can't tell a good story and get in the way of roleplaying. Don't get me wrong - I love rules-light games just as much as crunch-intense monsters and each exist for a reason. But I do believe that their individual iteration is what makes the difference - it's not the system that hampers the story - it's the story-teller. Rules-light systems empower the GM and players by leaving blanks; rules-heavy systems empower them by providing new means or direct inspiration - it's leadership by leading or by omission - both have their pros and cons...but neither are responsible, provided their rules are solid, for getting in the way of a story set within their intended field of reference.

Pathfinder does tactical combat exceedingly well; with the advent of this book, we can see a focus in design on breadth, rather than depth. Instead of generating escalation, the focus here lies in making a more holistic array of class options that allow for the depiction of unique and rewarding heroes - whether from a roleplaying or rollplaying perspective. You can still optimize here and it is a rewarding experience...but it's not the sole goal of this book. It's about the story - of the campaign, of the world, of the characters, of their tools, tricks and allies.

Let me emphasize that: After I had almost given up on Paizo's non-bestiary hardcovers, occult adventures has risen to become my favorite book of such options they ever made. At a point where I thought that the golem may have lost his mojo regarding such options, the talented cadre of excellent writers has proven me false without any doubt. For me, as a person, this is better than Ultimate Magic and Combat and ARG and ACG combined. There is more I not only use, but love within the pages of this book. There is more storytelling potential here. And if you like the subdued, the strange, then this will be a revelation for you as well. I'm going even so far as to say that the design-paradigm shift this represents is very healthy for the game we all know and love...and that this book surpasses the Advanced Player's Guide. There. I said it. If I had to choose one Paizo hardcover for Pathfinder and get rid of all else, I'd choose this one. From the haunt-expansion to the classes, feats, skill unlocks - you name it. I adore this book. It may not be perfect, as no book of this size is bound to be perfect - but it gets as close as I haven't seen any rule-book get in ages. Heck, quite frankly, I want to see occult-only or mainly occult APs that give justice to the awesome framework we've been granted here.

At a time and place where I did not expect anything in that department from the golem anymore, but almost exclusively focused on the options/expansions brought forth by 3pps, this book has renewed my faith in the system and its potential...and it, honestly, is a courageous move from Paizo: This represents an expansion of themes regarding the type of game you play with Pathfinder beyond the confines of the Tolkienesque, towards shores of the imagination where fresh ideas, modules and campaigns loom, towards a type of cooperative storytelling that does not necessarily rely exclusively on the rolling of the dice - it's still important and won't go away - this is Pathfinder, after all - but the book, as a whole, dares to tread new paths to an extent you would never expect to see from an industry leader.

Dear authors - feel hugged for this book. Dear readers: If you were starting to feel disenfranchised with the system or have, like I did, mostly moved on towards the creative and fresh impulses of the 3pp-circuit, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out this tome. This provides the customization, cool classes you want, the novel themes you crave and the design-cohesion you require. In short, this is a resounding affirmation of the system's strengths and an utilization of its better aspects in a truly masterful fashion.

To spell it out for you: I consider this book a masterpiece, 5 stars + seal of approval...oh, and make that an EZG Essential, if you will - this book is absolutely required for any campaign I will ever run with PFRPG.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine, posted on amazon, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Well said Endz. Good to see that you and I still see eye-to-eye on basically everything. :)


We need to actually meet one day and talk shop/play/exchange stories, Elo! :)

Paizo Employee Designer

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Yeah, I think you and I see eye-to-eye as well, Endz, but then again I sort of knew that after the SotMR review. This was the first big summer release I ever worked on here, so I'm glad to know it impressed!

Silver Crusade

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I have to admit, I was amused that EZG name dropped me during this review, glad to have helped expanded on this class even if I'd have loved to have viscera be a 1p element.

Paizo Employee Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
N. Jolly wrote:
I have to admit, I was amused that EZG name dropped me during this review, glad to have helped expanded on this class even if I'd have loved to have viscera be a 1p element.

I'm just glad 3rd parties took the chassis and ran with it; I knew the basic structure would allow for a lot more experimentation and new elements!


Endzeitgeist wrote:

Part II of my review:

Im confused by your part I psychic duel concerns that the target of Instigate Psychic Duel is standing around to be hacked by the psychic's friends during the duel. It's a 2nd level spell, just like Hold Person and Hideous Laughter. Unlike those, it doesn't make the target helpless or prone, doesn't leave the caster free to cast more spells on subsequent rounds, and doesn't prevent the target from retaliating against the caster.

Indeed, psychic duels are actually a very bad thing to do in combat relative to other options, and only make sense as a flavor option for psychics in a university or fraternal organization to settle disputes for social dominance reasons. If you actually want to kill, capture, or incapacitate someone cast any of several better spells.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
Endzeitgeist wrote:
We need to actually meet one day and talk shop/play/exchange stories, Elo! :)

I would like that very much. Some day! Some day we shall walk the Forest Black, and speak of fantastical things. Well, and a few drinks along the way :)


Pathfinder Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber

I love this book it's on my top 5 pathfinder hardcover book list, well top 5 not including bestiaries;)


@Mark: Yeah, I very much enjoy your design-paradigms and I seem to be not the only one! :)

@Plausible Pseudonym: Hold Person affects only humanoids, Hideous Laughter has a much shorter range. An the duel should imho not have this stunlock-use, when a tweak to make it work in a more versatile manner is pretty easy to implement. Just saying "XYZ is a better use of resources" is a fallacy, considering that it does not pertain this explicit use, but rather than that just contextualizes it - you can always point out more efficient/different actions for anything, but that does not change potentially unintended uses of a given option.

@N.Jolly: Hey, I meant it when I wrote in the KoP-reviews that I love the broadened focus. Credit where credit is due!


Does a psychic weapon manifested by a Magus (Mindblade) using their psychic pool count as a weapon enhanced by their arcane pool for the purpose of Magus Arcana (such as Bane Blade, Devoted Blade, Ghost Blade, or Planar Hunter) or Feats (such as Banishing Critical)?


What spell list does a Magus (Mindblade) select spells from if they take Spell Blending at 3rd level before gaining Psychic Access at 4th level?

Grand Lodge

Cantriped wrote:
What spell list does a Magus (Mindblade) select spells from if they take Spell Blending at 3rd level before gaining Psychic Access at 4th level?

From the wizard list, though he casts them as psychic spells. Since Psychic Access has not yet modified Spell Blending, the latter does what it says it does.

It might avoid arguments if he took only 0 and 1st level spells that are on both the wizard and psychic lists, but not on the magus list. It shouldn't take long to find those.

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