Paranormal Adventures (PFRPG)

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Unearth ancient secrets, tap powers long forgotten or hidden, and delve into the unknown using Paranormal Adventures, by Everyman Gaming, LLC. Designed for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Paranormal Adventures allows players to tap into esoteric forces while similtaneously giving GMs the tools they need to infuse their campaigns with ancient rituals of immense power and horrific creatures better left forgotten.

Paranormal Adventures includes:

  • Two all-new 20-level base classes inspired by the new occult classes from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures.
  • New archetypes and class options for characters associated with the occult.
  • New feats and character traits.
  • Favored class options for characters who master the powers of the adaptive shapeshifter and the enigmatic vessel.
  • Simple creature templates and class templates that allow GMs to make any monster into a shapeshifter or a vessel, or that simply allow the monster to walk among mortals undetected.
  • Levialogi, horrific monsters born from the fetid blood of an ancient evil.
  • Tips for running an investigation-style adventure themed around the occult and paranormal.
  • And much, much more!

With Everyman Gaming, innovation is never more than a page away!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This massive book clocks in at 70 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 61 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Okay, after a brief introduction to the matter at hand (and an artwork that obviously details Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural as medieval iterations of themselves, setting a kind-of theme for the book), we dive into the first class, which would be the shapeshifter. The shapeshifter base class receives d10, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with club, dagger, darts, quarterstaff, shortspear, sling and spear as well as all natural attacks and light armor. They gain a full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Ref-saves.

So that's it chassis-wise. At 1st level, they gain the ability to...wait for it: Change shape. Blew your mind there, didn't I? ;P Kidding aside, the shapechanger gets the subtype of the same name, and in a perfect example of Alexander Augunas' holistic design philosophy, he also gain a bonus animal provided he does gain the ability to change into a respective animal via racial traits and applies the Disguise bonus to both the racial animal form and the other abilities of the assumed form. At 1st level, the shapeshifter gains the ability to assume a number of animal shapes drawn from the list of animal kingdoms (more on that later) and may, as a supernatural polymorph effect as a standard action assume the form of the animal shape. However, the animal form assumed does not grant Disguise-bonuses (as opposed to the humanoid shapechange, for example) and items do NOT meld into the new form.

When assuming a larger form, the shapechanger breaks his equipment and may be entangled unless he makes a Reflex-save based on size-bonuses to CMB granted by the larger form. If the form is significantly larger, he may even destroy his equipment! And yes, item-types and magic is taken into account. A shapechanger begins play knowing two animal shapes, +1 if his race already has the shapechanger subtype, with each level providing +1 shape. When such a form is chosen, the shapechanger needs to specify the animal kingdom, the specific creature and size of the animal shape. Initially, only sizes tiny, small and medium are available for animal shapes, with 5th level unlocking Diminutive and Large creatures, 9th level providing access to Fine and Huge ones, 13th providing access to Gargantuan and 17th to Colossal animal shapes. Animal shapes can be maintained indefinitely and when applicable any save-DCs granted by an animal are equal to 10 + 1/2 class level + Con modifier.

While in animal form, the shapechanger gains a bonus to damage depending on how far away from the largest size category available he is - e.g. if the shapechanger has access to Large shapes, he gains a +2 bonus to damage when assuming a Small shape, +1 when assuming a Medium shape, +3 when assuming a Tiny shape, etc. And yes, a handy table explains this in detail. Additionally, starting at 1st level, 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, the shapechanger receives one adaptation - basically the talent array of the class - and OH BOY are there many! From gaining one ability score from the chosen animal when in its shape to skill-bonuses, scaling fast healing (that is balanced by being negated by silver weapons and a daily limit, retaining compatibility with ALL, even the most gritty of campaigns!), faster movement, limited item melding, hybrid shapes, altering size categories (for e.g. diminutive wolves...), proper blending as a creature - there is a TON of material here. Particularly impressive: Several templates are available (you must choose, alas) that can be applied a limited amount of minutes to shapechanged forms for a boost and yes, swarm shapes. Need I say more?

This is, however, not where the customization ends: Starting at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the shapechanger gets one instinct - these would be the second type of talents of the class - and yes, once again we have an impressive array available: Burrowing Charges (at 8th level prereq balanced), distracting harassment in small shapes, empathy with one's kingdom, natural weapon flurry, high-level hide in plain sight, better charges with stingers, bites and gores, evasion and uncanny dodge and their improved brothers, animal shape combat maneuvers, hardness reduction, attack-prevention from one's kingdom's members, moving through thorns etc. sans taking damage at 4th level...pretty impressive. While I've gone on the record with my loathing of the stalwart ability, at 6th level and considering the issues of the class with equipment and the restrictions imposed on it, my playtest actually determined, somewhat to my admitted chagrin, that the ability works nicely here. *grumbles* Oh yes, Toss and Throat-Rip are part of the deal...and if you're like me and an utter fanboy of Alex's superb Ultimate Charisma - well, there's an option to make better use of psychological combat as well. (Mind you, even if you don't have that book, there are about a gazillion of options to choose from...)

At 3rd level, the class gains Savage Spirit a scaling bonus to atk, damage and AC, with bonus type being modified by animal shape (clever!) and said bonus is also added to additional parameters depending on which attribute-association the chosen animal shape has: Strength-based animals add it to CMB, Wisdom-based ones to Will-saves and Perception (and gain an increase of special senses, if applicable) - one again, a tactical, fun and complex rules-operation that manages to seemingly effortlessly provide strategic depth and get an ability right that would be a trainwreck in a lesser authors hands. Starting at 5th level, natural weapons are counted as magic, with further DR-mitigating properties being unlocked at appropriate levels. As a capstone, the shapeshifter may treat every animal form as though it were associated with every ability score, gaining a brutal omni-buff as well as free shapeshifting - even while in the process of executing a full-attack: Basically, become a morphing shredder of death 1/day. Awesome.

Now I noted animal kingdoms, which play a significant roles in the codification of the respective forms. Each kingdom has a base shape that determines forms, modifications to speed, sight, presence of hands, types of natural attacks, etc. Each is associated with two different attributes and provides increases in potency at 2nd, 8th and 15th level, including bonus feats, improved movement rates, etc. - 15 are provided and they include dinosaurs and humanoids! And yes, they span multiple pages. As a minor nitpick - the bear's 15th level ability obviously should not refer to the Diehard feats and instead apply the ferocity quality, as it references a feat not necessarily there - the special quality would circumvent this issue and is what the 2nd level ability grants. Apart from this one, I noticed no glitches in this massive chapter.

The second class could be summed up as "Castiel-or-any-demons/angels from Supernatural"-the class. Vessels get d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, a cleric's alignment aura corresponding to the passenger, proficiency with simple weapons, light armor and shields, 3/4 BAB-progression and full Will-save progression. Vessels cast psychic spells drawn from the cleric-list, governed by Charisma as key attribute, which affects spells per day and DCs, but NOT spells known. They are spontaneous casters and learn to cast spells of up to 6th level. Their 0-level spells are known as knacks. A vessel can't cast spells of an opposed alignment.

Vessels choose a passenger at 1st level - an outsider that must be within one alignment step of the vessel. This influences a couple of the class's abilities. It should be noted that mental control and possession immunity, unless practiced by a +4 levels more powerful individual are side-effects, which makes these guys pretty much the nightmare of all enchanters - not the biggest fan there. At 1st level, the class also gets the grace ability: A vessel accepts grace into his body using invocations - each such invocation allows the vessel to accept 1 point of grace into his body as a move action. An invocation remains in effect for 1 minute per class level or until a given combat ends. No, this cannot be cheesed A vessel can hold up to 3+Con-mod grace at a given time and may not use an invocation when his grace is full. Invocations provide bonuses depending on the type of invocations used and the bonuses stack over the levels - the closest analogue here would probably be judgments. Okay, so back to the grace ability: For each point of grace he accepts, the vessel either takes character level nonlethal damage or loses 1/2 vessel level spell slots, minimum 1. Now here's the interesting thing: The nonlethal damage incurred by this ability does NOT regenerate and can ONLY be healed via a full night's sleep - so no spamming and the precise wording prevents ANY attempts to cheese these mechanics I could come up with - watertight indeed.

Starting at 2nd level and every three levels thereafter, the vessel may choose an omen - these special powers are powered by grace expended and their DCs, if applicable are based on the 10+1/2 class level + Charisma modifier-based formula. The breadth and depth of these options is exceedingly impressive - whether we're talking about planar adaptation instead of receiving the benefits of the invocation, altering detect spells, selecting cruelties or mercies or synergy with the destructive invocation...or domains...or touch with effects governed by alignment of the touched creature in relation to that of the vessel's passenger, telekinesis...the amount of options and their internal class synergy and how they work is surprisingly unique. At 2nd level, he gains 1/2 class level to all caster level checks , skill checks and Int-checks pertaining occult rituals. 3rd level provides the grace overfloweth ability - whenever he accepts grace, he manifests a sign of his passenger's presence and gains grace boons based upon subtype of the passenger and vessel level. The first boon is gained at 3rd level, with an additional one unlocked every 3 levels thereafter. Grace manifestation may be suppressed as a full-round action, but this also suppresses all grace boons.

Starting at 4th level, a vessel begins the day with 1 grace that does not deal damage, +1 at 10th and 16th level, with maximum grace also increasing by this amount, though it should be noted that these do not activate aforementioned grace overfloweth abilities. At 6th level, a vessel can benefit from two invocations at once as separate actions or use one action to accept 2 points of grace, but these must be paid for in nonlethal damage and can't be negated via burning spells. A similar ability gained at 15th level does pretty much the same for 3 invocations instead. 7th level provides teleportation-related tricks powered by grace, which extend in potency and options at 10th level and every 3 levels thereafter, unlocking progressively better abilities at higher grace-costs Starting at 20th level, 1/day, they can accept 10 points of perfect grace - these can be used to activate any ability as though they were points of grace, count as minimum grace required and do not count against the limit of total number of points of grace. These points last for 1 minute and do not cause nonlethal damage.

Okay, so what about those passengers? Each belongs to a class of outsiders and has an alignment, associated domains, DR, different grace manifestations and a linear boon progression from 3rd level to 15th - somewhat akin to a more complex order or bloodline. Covered are Aeons, Agathions, Angels, Archons, Azata, Daemons (alas, lacking the 12th level ability), Demons, Devils, Div, Inevitables, Kami, Proteans and Psychoomps - so yes, there is a LOT to choose from and a lot of potential for expansion. The ability-dispersion along the levels when taken in combination with the respective domains and DRs generally result in an impressive internal balancing - overall, I considered none of the passenger ability-suites stronger than the others. Want an example for the abilities? All right! Psychopomp-passenger geta scaling body-upgrade at 3rd level and sights; 5th level allows for grace-expenditure for ghost-sight; Psychopomp's 9th level ability allows for the expenditure of grace to avoid auto-detection via e.g. blindsight etc., with 12th level granting spirit sense, 15th permanent tongues and 18th level apotheosis-style tricks...including rays powered by grace that may permanently slay/destroy the living and undead alike - which brings me to an interesting component: The kinda-apotheosis-like abilities of the vessel are surprisingly not boring - after having seen so many of these types of abilities, it's pretty hard to do something interesting for me in that regard and these passengers manage just that - kudos!

All right, so that would be the new classes, now let's take a look at the archetypes and class options contained herein! We begin with a firearm ranger combat style and then get the Monster Hunter Ranger archetype - yep, that would be the Winchester-archetype. These guys get an extended class skill list that includes the Knowledge-skills and they add 1/2 ranger level and Wisdom modifier to them when trying to identify creature abilities and weaknesses instead of wild empathy. I'm generally not a big fan of adding two attribute modifiers to a given skill check, though MAD at least partially mitigates this concern here. Instead of favored enemy, monster hunters receives bonuses when correctly identifying creature abilities and weaknesses. This ability has a sensible, level-based scaling mechanism. Starting at 4th level, monster slayers can apply aforementioned bonus always, for up to class level monster types or subtypes and higher levels provide means to reallocate these slaying specializations.

The shapeshifter has significantly more to offer than its already impressive basic class - namely an array of animal subkingdoms -a total of 10 of them, to be precise - whether we're talking about ant, tyrannosaur, triceratop, cheetah or gecko - each of them provides a rather complex modification of the base kingdom: Porcupine shapechangers have e.g. retributive quills that can also be implanted with tail slaps, with high level shapeshifter even combining quills with dirty trick maneuvers -so yes, the rules-operations are unique and complex and each subkingdom has at least one replacement abilities, while most have 3...and yes, venomous snakes and wasps can be found here as well. Personally, I consider the wasp subkingdom's 1st level flight at 30 ft, average maneuverability potentially problematic, since unassisted unlimited flight is usually relegated to higher levels, so that can be problematic, depending on your campaign. Beyond these subkingdoms, two different archetypes are provided. The mimicker needs direct contact to properly change in a specific creature, but does gain the ability to properly mimic the creature to not look like an odd version of the animal shaped mimicked, with higher levels providing more animal shapes and basically a "stored" shape after contact - a small archetype, but one with a truly distinct playstyle.

The second archetype provided would be the selfshaper, who is always treated as though it assumed the animal form associated with the shapeshifter kingdom that matches her true form, but sans gaining the shapeshifter kingdom's abilities and may not select adaptations or instincts requiring one or more animal shapes. This replaces shapechanger, while 1st level also allows the option to alter size or reach (at 7th level: both; with later levels further increasing the options) as a standard action, with a level-based progression of available options somewhat similar to that of the base class, obviously modified to account for the options of the archetype. Stretching body and grasp exclusive instincts, among others, make this one interesting.

Part II of my review can be found in the product discussion. See you there!


Not Bad At All

4/5

Alright, this is my first review, so please bear with me. I bought Paranormal Adventures earlier today. Primarily, I was interested in the Shapeshifter, a non-casting, full BAB class with abilities centered about what it's name suggests. Having gone over the material, I'm going to start over, at the beginning, and give my impressions, now that I've had the chance to mull it over a bit. This is also my first Everyman Gaming purchase, for what it's worth.

The PDF is 70 pages, beginning to end. Initially, I'd have liked to see a little more for the $15.00 investment. My opinion in that regard went back and forth as I read through the PDF - I'll discuss that more later.

First thing, the cover art. It didn't impress me. I've looked back and forth at the art in the book and just can't put a finger on what I dislike about it, however. Therefore, I'm inclined to write this one off as just a matter of personal taste regarding style. This didn't set a terribly positive expectation for the PDF, however.

There's a 1 page combination Table of Contents/Author's Anecdote. Being of a literary bent, I was appreciative of the latter. I think a more traditional ToC might have served better from an organizational standpoint but the combination fit them both on one page - efficiency is a good thing.

Chapter fiction - I really wanted to like these. The results were pretty meh but hey, how easy can it be to stuff an engaging snippet of story into such a tiny space?

The Shapeshifter - Now here we go. This is why I bought this product and here is where we go from 'not bad' to 'Wow!' in my eyes. I don't see any pointless breaks with tradition (ie. full BAB with a d6 HD, etc.) The Shapeshifter, as promised, looks to be a full-on shapeshifting combat-beast. I was quite surprised here. I felt a lot of concern that the class would read as way too impressive or far too weak to be viable. You start out with a limited number of shapes available, they increase over time, you can take larger shapes over time; yes, yes, yes. This is good. If anything I feel like the rules might be a little on the dense side -but- with a subject like shapeshifting, I expect that. Overall, seems quite clear. I have questions but nothing that makes me want to cry foul. The dovetail with shapeshifting races is a beautiful touch. I'd have liked to have seen an archetype that concentrated on a particular subset of shapes but room for expansion is good. My only problem here is that I think 1 new shape/ level is a bit much. Not as a balance issue, actually but just because I'd have liked one's choices of shape to remain a little more... defining? I suppose. All in all, can't overstate how much I loved this.

The Vessel - Red-headed stepchild of the PDF, as far as I was concerned, going in. But again, when it came down to concept and mechanics, I was impressed. Middle BAB, psychic clerical magic, interesting interaction between the character and their 'passenger'. I didn't love it the way I loved the Shapeshifter but that's only because I'm not sure how much space the Shapeshifter left in my heart for another interesting class. Well done; I'll leave the rest for someone who has a passion for the class that matches mine for the Shapeshifter.

Archetypes and Options - A firearm combat style for the ranger seemed slightly out of place until I thought about it. Monster Hunter Ranger archetype isn't really my thing but definitely seems to fit the theme of the book. Shapeshifter Subkingdoms for the more specific nature of some animal/vermin/etc. types? Love it. Might not use it, myself. But love it, all the same. Shapeshifter archetypes - Not so sure about these. Mimicker seems intriguing but limiting and Selfshaper... well. Stretching as a theme probably will interest someone, I'm sure. Just not me. Some interesting archetype possibilities for the Vessel. Don't seem to change anything enormously and that's probably well and within the scope of archetypes for a new class. Bookbonded Witch archetype looks neat but Songhexer doesn't speak to me the same way. Favored Class Options - looks good. Specific ones for different races along with 'Everyman Options' beyond the basic hp/skill point available to any race - this was an excellent idea. I would've liked to have seen more Feats. Nothing unusual here. Pretty well includes what I would've expected. Maybe a small opportunity missed? Cooperative Kin... heavily influenced by Supernatural? Or is it just my mind that went there? Traits as well. Often overlooked, much appreciated.

Rules Systems - Class templates to apply to monsters, giving them abilities like Shapeshifter or Vessel features without changing the class. I like this as a concept. Might have to try it out. Right here I was rather blind-sided by a small section on the Levialogi (say that three times fast). I don't generally enjoy new monsters in most of the (admittedly few) 3rd party products I've purchased. For whatever reason, these guys caught my eye. Prior to this section, I was pretty happy with the length - here I started wishing the PDF had an extra 10 pages because I thought this was freakin' awesome. Occult Rituals didn't impress me much but that's more because I thought the initial system in Occult Adventures unimpressive. Doubtless I will, at some point, look it over in greater detail and change my mind. There are two pages on the thematics of running a 'Paranormal' game. I'm torn here. I felt I would've liked a few more pages on the subject but can see that a lot of people might resent the space spent on it.

... and then seven pages of licenses, credits(?) and so on. That was a crushing disappointment. I'd been consoling myself ever since the Levialogi with a reminder that there was still quite a bit left. Then there wasn't. Still. That's a good note to leave a read on - I want more!

So a real quick breakdown in case anyone's bothered reading this far. I haven't playtested any of this. It seems pretty balanced at a glance but I'm no rules guru. Doubtless someone could break it. Someone can break any addition to the rules. I didn't catch any blatantly awful typos that made me want to cry. (But you might find some in my review, hah!) The mechanics look -solid- and I cannot emphasize enough how delighted that leaves me. Good flavor. Good PDF. If I get to playtest some of this stuff, I might add to the review. Time will tell.

All in all, I'd say it was definitely worth the price. I'm happy with the product and will consider other Everyman Gaming products because of it. I'd score Paranormal Adventures 4/5 stars.


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Liz Courts wrote:
Now available!

Thanks Liz, you're awesome! (And fast, too.)

The Exchange

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Huzzah!


So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.

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christos gurd wrote:
So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.

What do you find vague about the description?


Alexander Augunas wrote:
christos gurd wrote:
So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.
What do you find vague about the description?

well class names with a basic description of what they are and a general idea of what some of the cooler feats allow you to do would give me a clearer idea of what I'm looking into. I didn't even realize what your class names were till I read the favored class bullet point. Admittedly I can guess the shapeshifter's function.

Contributor

3 people marked this as a favorite.
christos gurd wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
christos gurd wrote:
So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.
What do you find vague about the description?
well class names with a basic description of what they are and a general idea of what some of the cooler feats allow you to do would give me a clearer idea of what I'm looking into. I didn't even realize what your class names were till I read the favored class bullet point. Admittedly I can guess the shapeshifter's function.

The shapeshifter is "the kineticist of polymorphing." She does one thing REALLY well, and with more flexibility then any other class in Pathfinder with shapeshifting options. As she levels up, she gets to create shapes that are associated specific kinds of animals (like "ring-tailed lemur" or "triceratops") and gains abilities based upon the type of animal shape she creates. The system is similar to a mesh between eidolon base forms and cavalier order abilities, topped with an ability score association not unlike the medium's spirits. (Although each animal shape is associated with two different ability scores, and that association governs how her other class features function while she's in that form.) She also gains the ability to gain special abilities called instincts while she's shapeshifted and can modify her animal forms using adaptations. For example, one adaptation allows you to bypass an animal shape's normal size limitations, allowing you to be a Tiny tyrannosaurus or a Colossal cockroach. (A 17+ level transformation, but still pretty cool if you want to be a massive bug. Or if you want to shapeshift into King Kong.)

The vessel is like a mix of the summoner and the spiritualist, except rather than summoning an outsider the vessel is fully possessed by it. He harbors a supernatural entity, such as an agathion, a psychopomp, or even an aeon within her consciousness. A vessel has the ability to invoke his outsider passenger by uttering invocations that grant him temporary benefits as well as grace, a resource system that functions similar to a kineticist's burn with one key exception: a vessel can spend grace that he has accumulated in order to power other abilities. Spending grace doesn't remove any nonlethal damage he has already suffered from accepting grace, but he can mitigate his damage taken by sacrificing spell slots. (The vessel is a 6th-level spontaneous psychic caster whose spells are drawn from the cleric spell list.)

Archetypes for the two classes vary heavily. There's a shapeshifter archetype that transforms the class into Mr. Fantastic / Elastigirl and another that transforms it into the Animorphs (the shapeshifter is very Beast Boy/Changeling in its shapeshifting by default). There are also "subkingdoms" that further alter the shapeshifter's base animal shape optiosn. The vessel gets a number of esoteric archetypes, such as the the planar scribe, which focuses on using bardic performances to spin the tales of the gods. Another, called the messiah, trades away the "I'm possessed by an outsider" aspect of the class for a "I'm the child of an outsider" aspect, allowing just about anyone to have creepy occult powers as a result of being the spawn of an otherworldly force. I'm certain I'm forgetting stuff, but that should be enough of a teaser to let you know what Paranormal Adventures is like; its very much designed to be a, "Bring the cult to Pathfinder," product, in which the "cult" is "cult TV shows and movies."

If you have any other questions, please ask!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Alexander Augunas wrote:
christos gurd wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
christos gurd wrote:
So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.
What do you find vague about the description?
well class names with a basic description of what they are and a general idea of what some of the cooler feats allow you to do would give me a clearer idea of what I'm looking into. I didn't even realize what your class names were till I read the favored class bullet point. Admittedly I can guess the shapeshifter's function.

The shapeshifter is "the kineticist of polymorphing." She does one thing REALLY well, and with more flexibility then any other class in Pathfinder with shapeshifting options. As she levels up, she gets to create shapes that are associated specific kinds of animals (like "ring-tailed lemur" or "triceratops") and gains abilities based upon the type of animal shape she creates. The system is similar to a mesh between eidolon base forms and cavalier order abilities, topped with an ability score association not unlike the medium's spirits. (Although each animal shape is associated with two different ability scores, and that association governs how her other class features function while she's in that form.) She also gains the ability to gain special abilities called instincts while she's shapeshifted and can modify her animal forms using adaptations. For example, one adaptation allows you to bypass an animal shape's normal size limitations, allowing you to be a Tiny tyrannosaurus or a Colossal cockroach. (A 17+ level transformation, but still pretty cool if you want to be a massive bug. Or if you want to shapeshift into King Kong.)

The vessel is like a mix of the summoner and the spiritualist, except rather than summoning an outsider the vessel is fully possessed by it. He harbors a supernatural entity, such as an agathion, a psychopomp, or even an aeon within her consciousness. A vessel has the ability to invoke his outsider passenger by uttering invocations that grant him...

nawp that should do it, sounds awesome! I may be picking up the bundle Friday then.

Community & Digital Content Director

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Removed some posts. If it's not about the product, please take it to another thread. Thanks!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the shapeshifter so far...just need a chance to try one out. Even if party of me grumbles that porcupines are quite capable climbers! (Well, that's old world versus new world if you reeeeeally want to get picky...)

Hope we get some further expansions in the future with more kingdoms, subkingdoms, and magic items for the shapeshifter...vessel doesn't seem bad, but shapeshifting's long been a favored concept of mine, yet I'm not really a druid fan...so this hits a lot of sweet spots for me. Thanks!

Contributor

Luthorne wrote:

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the shapeshifter so far...just need a chance to try one out. Even if party of me grumbles that porcupines are quite capable climbers! (Well, that's old world versus new world if you reeeeeally want to get picky...)

Hope we get some further expansions in the future with more kingdoms, subkingdoms, and magic items for the shapeshifter...vessel doesn't seem bad, but shapeshifting's long been a favored concept of mine, yet I'm not really a druid fan...so this hits a lot of sweet spots for me. Thanks!

"Capable climbers" isn't the same as "I have a climb speed" climbers. :-P

Luckily, if it REALLY bothers you that porcupines trade out the climb speed base ability, grab the adaptation that allows you to grant yourself a different movement speed while shapeshifting. Then you can climb all day, every day! (Of course, you won't be able to transform into a swarm of porcupines if you do that, but opportunity costs and what not.)

I left both the shapeshifter and the vessel open to expansion based on how people react to them. One kingdom (equine) actually had to get removed in order to keep this product on its size goal, and there literally SO many insect subkingdoms that I could do that I could seriously have a 68 page product on that topic alone. Plus I didn't get to do starfish! STARFISH!

And don't get me started on the vessel. I mean, sure. I covered a lot of the "generic" outsider races, but there are tons of weird, esoteric races that I could still do. Like oni. You'll DEFINITELY see this one sooner or later, as the plot for A Fox's Wedding requires an oni vessel at one point in the story.

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Also, if you like it then be sure to put a review on it. ;-)


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

Yeah, I noticed there could definitely be some more outsider types there, but I gave you points for including kami, even if you left out asuras, kytons, oni, rakshasas, and qlippoths. Also I guess demodands and elementals, but I'm not a fan of demodands, and kineticist works pretty well for elemental stuff. And of course we have manasaputra and sahkil now, but it would be highly unfair to waggle my finger at you about Bestiary 5 material. No matter how much reptoids need a shapeshifter favored class bonus. And an orang-pendak eventually getting to go King Kong would be pretty fun...hmm...that said, skinwalker is probably the most tempting when it comes to thematics. Will probably depend on the game, though. I mean, an oni-spawn tiefling who goes humanoid focused to reflect their oni heritage and gets big and smashy could be tempting too. But I ramble.

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Luthorne wrote:
Yeah, I noticed there could definitely be some more outsider types there, but I gave you points for including kami, even if you left out asuras, kytons, oni, rakshasas, and qlippoths. Also I guess demodands and elementals, but I'm not a fan of demodands, and kineticist works pretty well for elemental stuff. And of course we have manasaputra and sahkil now, but it would be highly unfair to waggle my finger at you about Bestiary 5 material. No matter how much reptoids need a shapeshifter favored class bonus. And an orang-pendak eventually getting to go King Kong would be pretty fun...hmm...that said, skinwalker is probably the most tempting when it comes to thematics. Will probably depend on the game, though. I mean, an oni-spawn tiefling who goes humanoid focused to reflect their oni heritage and gets big and smashy could be tempting too. But I ramble.

Luckily for me, reptoids fall under the "shapeshifters who take this class" clause under the shapeshifter class abilities, so they get a lot out of going shapeshifter already!

Elementals are sort of the odd ones, because as a concept they seem SUPER unlikely to want to possess people. They just sort of ... are. They don't really have many goals beyond their own planes, so the prospect of them taking vessels is somewhat strange. Demodands on the other hand are doable long-term; the demodands would take vessels in order to undermine mortal religions undetected and without any real risk to themselves.

But the new manasaputra and sahkil? Yeah, those would be REALLY cool passengers.... (Although I feel like there's big trouble in reality if a manasaputra ever takes a vessel....)


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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Yeah, I noticed there could definitely be some more outsider types there, but I gave you points for including kami, even if you left out asuras, kytons, oni, rakshasas, and qlippoths. Also I guess demodands and elementals, but I'm not a fan of demodands, and kineticist works pretty well for elemental stuff. And of course we have manasaputra and sahkil now, but it would be highly unfair to waggle my finger at you about Bestiary 5 material. No matter how much reptoids need a shapeshifter favored class bonus. And an orang-pendak eventually getting to go King Kong would be pretty fun...hmm...that said, skinwalker is probably the most tempting when it comes to thematics. Will probably depend on the game, though. I mean, an oni-spawn tiefling who goes humanoid focused to reflect their oni heritage and gets big and smashy could be tempting too. But I ramble.

Luckily for me, reptoids fall under the "shapeshifters who take this class" clause under the shapeshifter class abilities, so they get a lot out of going shapeshifter already!

Elementals are sort of the odd ones, because as a concept they seem SUPER unlikely to want to possess people. They just sort of ... are. They don't really have many goals beyond their own planes, so the prospect of them taking vessels is somewhat strange. Demodands on the other hand are doable long-term; the demodands would take vessels in order to undermine mortal religions undetected and without any real risk to themselves.

But the new manasaputra and sahkil? Yeah, those would be REALLY cool passengers.... (Although I feel like there's big trouble in reality if a manasaputra ever takes a vessel....)

Yeah, elementals are certainly odd candidates, but there are elemental lords and the elemental forces that mephits are noted to serve, so I can imagine it being potentially possible. Genies might be better candidates, though. But I guess ultimately I feel like the elemental planes should be fleshed out more...there are other elementals (creatures with the elemental subtype) besides elementals, but most of them tend to be either apathetic or virulently xenophobic, so they're mostly not any better as candidates, alas.

And yeah, definitely something big going on if a manasaputra would feel the need to inhabit a mortal. Either something's really wrong, or your destiny is really important for the future of your race...or both.


15 bucks for the pdf is quite a bit. how many pages?


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It's 70 pages in total, and really, there is a *lot* of great content within.


sounds good... maybe for my next paycheck

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The real question is - does the shapeshifter have the ability to turn into a chair? :p

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Iammars wrote:
The real question is - does the shapeshifter have the ability to turn into a chair? :p

I didn't have room for that archetype! D:

I want to do a PDF of Shapeshifter options early 2016 that should remedy that, however. The current battle plan is that it replaces shapeshifter kingdoms with materials, and each material has different abilities. So while there will be a stone kingdom and an iron kingdom, there will also be weirder things like a fabric kingdom and a crystal kingdom. At least, if all goes according to plan.


15 Bucks for a pdf is expensive. Some questions:
Can the shapeshifter, or one of its archetypes, turn into other humanoids, possibly copying individuals, with abilities to support infiltration? Can he transform in any of the following or only animals: Vermin, Magical Beasts, Oozes, Giants, Dragons, Undead (or at least undead versions of animals and vermin)? Most importantly, what is his BAB, HD and please tell me he doesn't cast spells.


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The shapeshifter has good BAB; it's not a spellcaster.


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The shapeshifter can transform into animals, humanoids, and vermin. Giants are under humanoids. By default they can't copy individuals, but there are adaptations and instincts that allow new options for shapeshifters, and one of the adaptations allows you to copy individuals,

They are full BAB, with good Fortitude and Reflex saves, 4 + Int skill points, and do not gain spellcasting.

I do kind of hope in the future for a mythical shapeshifter that can transform into magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, and dragons, but the adaptations can allow a number of different alterations to the forms they assume (like different sizes, alignment plane simple templates, etc.).

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VM mercenario wrote:
15 Bucks for a pdf is expensive.

66 pages is a lot of content.

Quote:
Can the shapeshifter, or one of its archetypes, turn into other humanoids, possibly copying individuals, with abilities to support infiltration? Can he transform in any of the following or only animals: Vermin, Magical Beasts, Oozes, Giants, Dragons, Undead (or at least undead versions of animals and vermin)?

A shapeshifter gains one or more new animal shapes at every level. When he gets an animal shape, he chooses a real kind of animal (such as 'black widow spider' or 'rattle snake'). When he uses his change shape ability to assume that animal shape, he gains a number of base abilities depending upon the shapeshifter kingdom that animal belongs to. Kingdoms include classifications such as "insects," "felines," "lizards," and "humanoids," and can even be further modified using a subkingdom mechanic introduced in the book. At 2nd, 8th, and 15th level, you gain an ability based upon your animal shape's kingdom.

Animal shapes by default aren't generic creatures of their kind; they have very specific characteristics that make it clear that you aren't a real animal of your kind. (Aka no bonus on Disguise checks.) This is modeled after Beast Boy / Changeling; you're essentially an animal version of yourself. However, the shapeshifter class gains two different class features that alter your animal shapes; instincts, which represent cunning tricks and abilities that give you bonuses or special abilities while you're shapeshifted, and adaptations, which allow you to modify the actual appearance that your animal shape takes. For example, one adaptation allows you to split a Tiny or smaller animal shape into a swarm of animals that are all mentally united via a hive mind (your mind). Another adaptation allows you to change into a more generic animal instead of "you-the-beast," and an improvement on that adaptation allows you to assume the form of specific, individual animals that you have encountered. There's also an archetype that removes most of the adaptations for special abilities, effectively changing the theme of the class from "Beast Boy" to "Animorphs" in that your animal shapes must always be of specific animals and you can't transform into an animal that you've never encountered before.

From your list, you can do animals, humanoids, and vermin. Monstrous humanoids aren't baseline, but certain monstrous humanoids are doable if you take the hybrid shape adaptation, which allows you to merge aspects of your real form with an animal shape. So when I add bulls to the mix down the line, you could add bull aspects to yourself in order to transform into a minotaur analog. There's even a specific option that makes centaur analogs a thing. (And if you want the upper body of a human and the lower body of a tiger, to be a cattaur, technically that's doable too.)

The system is by no means complete, but I think that when you'll see it, you'll be pretty impressed with the potential and ease of modification that the system has to offer.

Quote:
Most importantly, what is his BAB, HD and please tell me he doesn't cast spells.

Full BAB, no spellcasting. The class uses a modified version of the change shape universal monster rules, and if you belong to a race that already has change shape, you get a bonus animal shape based upon your true form. (For example, a kitsune could treat her human form as a humanoid (human) shape.)


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I think I want to get this one just to use the shapeshifters in non-occult campaigns and adventures. They sound amazing!

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
I think I want to get this one just to use the shapeshifters in non-occult campaigns and adventures. They sound amazing!

Hopefully people find the vessel just as amazing!

The vessel is a 3/4 BAB 6th-level spellcaster that casts psychic spells from the cleric spell list. Vessels are similar in many regards to kineticists and spiritualists merged together; each vessel has a specific kind of outsider that he harbors within his body; the book has a fair number of options, including aeons, angels, psychopomps, and even kami.

A vessel can accept raw planar power called grace into her body by uttering prayers called invocations. Accepting grace causes nonlethal damage in a manner similar to burn unless the vessel sacrifices a number of levels of spell slots equal to the vessel's level. Accepting grace gives you a benefit that's not unlike an inquisitor's judgement, and is either a sacred or profane bonus based upon what outsider you're harboring. But this isn't all grace does; a vessel can actually spend grace that he's accepted as a resource. Doing so doesn't remove the damage he's taken or return his spell slots; instead it allows him to fuel an ability called auspice, which allows him to roll an extra dice when rolling checks or rolls, or even allows him to reroll dice after the fact. Essentially, it allows the vessel to twist fate in his favor. Furthermore, other class abilities modify how a vessel accepts and spends grace, specifically his omens (which are sort of like arcanist exploits), and he even has class features that give him benefits if he chooses to gather a bunch of grace and just sit on it. He even has a buffer of grace that he can spend from without taking damage or sacrificing spell slots at higher levels.


Nice. Too bad I already got my books for november, but it's definetly on the cart for december. And if you can include Plant and Ooze kingdoms with the object ones I'm also sold on the expansion.


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This one looks like a buy - I have been wanting to see a decent shapeshifter that isn't built on dozens of shifting parts (Sadly, Rite's Taskshaper didn't end up what I was looking for). Then we'll see if I can play one during the next campaign.

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VM mercenario wrote:
Nice. Too bad I already got my books for november, but it's definetly on the cart for december. And if you can include Plant and Ooze kingdoms with the object ones I'm also sold on the expansion.

I think Plant is more likely than Ooze off of a cursory glance. I don't know how easy it would be to make an ooze form that felt satisfying to use. But I'll certainly look into it!

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Grey Lensman wrote:
This one looks like a buy - I have been wanting to see a decent shapeshifter that isn't built on dozens of shifting parts (Sadly, Rite's Taskshaper didn't end up what I was looking for). Then we'll see if I can play one during the next campaign.

I hope its exactly what you're looking for! If you end up getting Paranormal Adventures, I'd appreciate it if you left a review to let me know what you thought about the shapeshifter and everything else in the PDF. :D


Alex, are you aquainted with the Aquanaut psionic class by Allurea publishing? that and the naturalist (or something) by Interjection games already fill my dhapechanger needs. However, I'm really intrigued by the vessel. What can both classes do that no other can't? is the vessel like a synthethist summoner?


So here's a question-- I've always wanted a pathfinder class a bit like Exalted's luners-- people who can monster out into a deadly murder beast on demand. does this fit? Does it let you create your own warform or can you only change into one creature at a time, no mixing a matching allowed? I'm pretty interested in this, so I'd like to know more!

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the xiao wrote:
Alex, are you aquainted with the Aquanaut psionic class by Allurea publishing? that and the naturalist (or something) by Interjection games already fill my dhapechanger needs. However, I'm really intrigued by the vessel. What can both classes do that no other can't? is the vessel like a synthethist summoner?

I am not, but I wrote a lengthy post about what makes my shapeshifter different from the various "polymorph classes" that I've seen before. The big thing is that you can turn into almost anything you want, whenever you want. (The only exception are things that don't grant low-level shape sizes, like the elephant shape I'm currently working on.)

The vessel is like a conceptual spiritualist mixed with the kineticist's and oracle's mechanics. Its a 6-level psychic spellcaster that draws its spells from the cleric spell list. The vessel picks an outsider and harbors that outsider's sentient within her mind, and the outsider's presence gives her powers. First, it grants her the ability to accept and spend grace, the supernatural embodiment of a plane's power. Grace is accumulated like burn, except you can choose to spend spell slots in order to mitigate the nonlethal damage that you would have otherwise taken. Burn is accepted via a supernatural ability called invocation, which provides benefits that are akin to an inquisitor's judgment. Unlike the kineticist, you can actually spend grace that you've accumulated with a number of different special abilities, which is balanced by the fact that you don't lose any nonlethal damage that you took when you accepted your grace in the first place. You start off with auspice, which allows you to either roll two dice when making a roll or check or reroll a single roll or check, and unlock additional abilities that require the expenditure of grace as you level up. Finally, by holding on to a small portion of your grace, you can eventually allow your body to overflow with it, causing your pasasenger's presence to physically transform you and grant you special, outsider-themed powers as you level up.

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gharlane wrote:
So here's a question-- I've always wanted a pathfinder class a bit like Exalted's luners-- people who can monster out into a deadly murder beast on demand. does this fit? Does it let you create your own warform or can you only change into one creature at a time, no mixing a matching allowed? I'm pretty interested in this, so I'd like to know more!

At low levels, your animal shapes are pretty restricted. An animal shape has to match a specific kind of animal, which determines its size (and sometimes other features). As you level up, however, you gain abilities called adaptations and instincts that allow you to customize the abilities that you gain while shapeshifted. Instincts focus on tactical abilities, like dealing more damage in an Intelligence-based form, while adaptations physically alter your animal shape's appearance. You can only have one adaptation active at a time, but they go a long way towards customizing your abilities, and its relatively easy to switch your active adaptation. Some of the more fun ones include hybrid shape (you can be a "you" and "animal shape" hybrid, including a centaur like creature), impossible shape (your animal shape isn't restricted to realistic size categories), and swarm shape (you replicate your Tiny or smaller animal shape into hundreds or even thousands of copies that are controlled simultaneously by your consciousness, giving you certain swarm traits).

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As an update, I just got the "Proof Shipping" e-mail from our printer. If everything looks good, I'll be sending over the first shipment of print copies to Paizo soon. I'm hopping they'll arrive before Christmas, but the printing company has been unusually slow these past few months. (Could be Holiday Rush, might be something else entirely. I certainly don't know.)


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Picked up the PDF. It might have been a little expensive, but the quality of the thing makes it worth it.

I love both the classes - this is the best take on a shapeshifter class I have yet to read. The Vessel is a great idea overall, but not a personal favorite - I detest the "burn" mechanic. I'm thinking of just giving them a pool of points to use, and just drop 1 spell per level of spellcasting for it - need to read it much closer before I see a good way to handle that.

Everyman games material is general an "autopurchase" for me, like RGG, Legendary or Dreamscarred. This one keeps up that level of details. Can't wait to play a "dino-shifter"


Quite nice. Very, very nice. A few thoughts and questions.

1. are we going to see more archtypes and expansion material for this? Both concepts really cry out for it. (A varient multi-class optoni a'la Pathfinder Unchained would work very well for classes that want more freedom to be an animal than you get from wild shape).

2. How hard/unbalancing do you think it would be to do a varient shapeshifter that allows the creation of a warform with eidilon style customizations?

But I heartily recommend this product to anyone interested in it. Both classes are very flavorful, and just as importantly, play nice with the core classes and assumptions, which has been a problem with some 3rd party products. They're also simple enough in execution that the GM won't have to be doing a lot of looking over the shoulder of his players.

Well worth the purchase price!

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gharlane wrote:
1. are we going to see more archtypes and expansion material for this? Both concepts really cry out for it. (A varient multi-class optoni a'la Pathfinder Unchained would work very well for classes that want more freedom to be an animal than you get from wild shape).

Yes, I am totally going to do more with the two new classes. I'm slowly working on new animal shapes for the shapeshifter and down the road I want to do more passengers for the vessel. One idea that's been floating through my head is a ghost passenger, where instead of having an outsider in your subconscious, you've got a ghost. I have a couple of other ideas for some new vessel and shapeshifter archetypes too, and McTeague keeps bugging me for an archetype for the shapeshifter that can transform into inanimate objects.

[quote[2. How hard/unbalancing do you think it would be to do a varient shapeshifter that allows the creation of a warform with eidilon style customizations?

It'd be hard, but its another thing that I want to tackle with the class.

Quote:

But I heartily recommend this product to anyone interested in it. Both classes are very flavorful, and just as importantly, play nice with the core classes and assumptions, which has been a problem with some 3rd party products. They're also simple enough in execution that the GM won't have to be doing a lot of looking over the shoulder of his players.

Well worth the purchase price!

Thanks! I appreciate the endorsement. :D


I'm going to review this beast after I have read it thoroughly since I finally could pick it. The levialogi seem a bit like a stowaways in a class book. The shifter is cool and all but the vessel is awesome!

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the xiao wrote:
I'm going to review this beast after I have read it thoroughly since I finally could pick it. The levialogi seem a bit like a stowaways in a class book. The shifter is cool and all but the vessel is awesome!

I don't know if I would call it a class-focused book. Its more focus on the paranormal and strange, especially on conversions of occult stuff from pop culture into the Pathfinder RPG. That's where the levialogi fit in especially well.

Liberty's Edge

Will there be a tardigrade option?

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Krillnar wrote:
Will there be a tardigrade option?

I haven't decided how I'm going to handle microscopic creatures. Not sure if I'll be doing them at all.

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Sounds very interesting! Congrats on making this, Alexander. I'll put this on my to-buy list.

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Christina Stiles wrote:
Sounds very interesting! Congrats on making this, Alexander. I'll put this on my to-buy list.

Thanks, Christina! :D


I just got this ad read through it, and I agree with everyone who hopes we see more information and options for both the shapeshifter and the vessel.

I do have a question or two about the 'shifter: does the hybrid shape adaptation permit taking on half-animal forms like a gnoll or ratfolk or adlet? Or should the character stick to taking humanoid forms of them?

Also, just to be clear on my end, the shapeshifter doesn't get the ability bonuses or penalties you would if having spells like beast form or alter self cast on them, do they?

Also, one minor critique, the information for the 12th level grace boon granted by a daemon passenger to their vessel seems to be missing.

Really this is a great book. The new classes are very original and the options for other classes are great.

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