For curious readers who wish to hone their psychic skills, a plethora of occult tomes, lost scrolls, and even stranger items lie hidden throughout Golarion. From the kaleidoscopic Recursion Tablets to the never-ending Infinity Scroll, Pathfinder Player Companion: Psychic Anthology presents a diverse archive of texts elucidating esoteric ideas and techniques that can benefit any psychic spellcasting class, as well as other spellcasters. Alongside feats, magic items, and spells, this volume unlocks the hidden powers of the mind!
Inside this book, you'll find:
New archetypes for nearly every occult class, including the phantom blade spiritualist and the autohypnotist mesmerist.
Panoplies—collections of occultist implements that harness the power resonating between the items—and numerous kineticist wild talents for all the elements.
A new corruption arising from raw psychic energy that, if left unchecked, could mutate one's form into an all-consuming horror of writhing flesh.
This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.
Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:
I'm not going to talk about the psychic or mesmerist much here. The psychic gets to be the magic and magic item section, and it's a mixed bag. Mesmerist just isn't a class I much care to play (outside of one archetype), so I haven't spent much time looking at it.
Spiritualists get a nice chunk of stuff, a fun new emotional focus (and rules for using it with older archetypes). Two new archetypes, one bringing in some black blade magus fun, and a phantom animal one. I have intentions of using the phantom blade, the totemist I might if an appropriate campaign comes up. My only real problem with either is they lose emotional focus (something I enjoy about the flavor of the class).
Medium gets a fun new archetype. It doesn't really address any issues with the class, might even make some of them worse (forcing taboo). It get's fun abilities and has cool flavor though. Look for a thematic campaign to use it in.
Kineticist gets a lot of expanded selections. The invocations are a cool idea, and possibly a good tool for the future, but the feat look for most characters is disappointing. More talents, especially for wood and void is nice. Wood's new simple blast is disappointing, and makes for a (mostly) true pacifist if taken as your first. Not practical but interesting choice. More blade abilities make the melee fan happy. Speaking of which the Kinetic Knight is everything I ever wanted for the Kineticist, not just supporting but encouraging a strength based build, nice defensive features. I've already started playing one and it's one of m favorite builds. The lack of form infusions can be limiting somewhat though.
Occultist is another nice package here. The panopolies are great. Between giving you a way to go deeper into your spell list with out giving up too much versatility and some nice new focus powers. the archetype to support them is a nice addition too.
Overall a great book that supported the four psychic classes I care about in fun ways, and inspiring at least 4 new characters I want to play.
A Fantastic Expansion of Occult Options (for the most part)
This is a fantastic companion book for those interested in playing one of the classes in Occult Adventures. And for the most part, it gives these classes a lot of love. In order of how much (and the quality of) the love they receive:
1. (A+): The Spiritualist was originally my least favorite class in Occult Adventures. A class with cool flavor but weak mechanics. This book changes that. It introduces not one, but two archetypes that turn the Spiritualist into a viable and interesting option. The first is essentially a psychic version of the Blackblade Magus, and the second gives you a phantom animal companion (or two!) that's a viable option in combat. And it introduces a new Kindness emotional focus that the Id Rager can take(!). This went from a class I couldn't imagine getting myself to play, to a class I have at least two character ideas for. Fantastic stuff.
2. (A+): The Mesmerist, on the other hand, was one of my favorite classes in Occult Adventures. It's a lot like the alchemist -- a 6th level caster with lots of skill points and a bag of abilities that, though neat, don't obviously fit together (in the case of the alchemist: bombs, mutagens, self-buffing extracts, poison-using abilities and alchemy/potion-oriented abilities, in the case of the mesmerist: stares, tricks, touch treatments and a bevy of mind-affecting spells). In the case of the Alchemist, this was fixed by a bunch of great archetypes and options that allow you to really focus on one of the themes of the Alchemist (e.g., bomb focused alchemists, mutagen + self-buffing alchemists, poison-focused alchemists, etc). But until now the Mesmerist didn't really have the options to do the same.
This book starts to change that. It introduces a trick-focused archetype and a bunch of feats that make the Mesmerist's tricks cool and effective enough to really build a character around. Likewise, there are some great Stare feats that make stares effective enough to build a character around. Add in a cool Possession-focused archetype and a "mind-over-matter"-style archetype which moves away from *just* mind-affecting spells, and there are now a number of interesting and distinct options on the table to focus your Mesmerist around. More great stuff.
3. (A+): The Occultist was originally in the middle of the pack for me -- lots of flavor, and reasonably effective mechanically, but with a couple awkward features that make it hard to develop all of the versions of the class one might like to try (such as the dramatic difference in the power of different schools -- from the virtually obligatory Transmutation to the painfully bad Necromancy and Evocation -- and the strong disincentive to choose a school more than once, essentially locking you into a single spell per school). This book (combined with the incredible Silksworn archetype from the Heroes of the High Court) do a fair bit to change that. By adding panoply options (and the corresponding panoply-focused archetype) you now have a cool and flavorful way of getting multiple spells from a given school, and of spreading out your spell picks a bit more. There's still a few awkward features of the class left over (it's still hard to imagine building an Occultist without Transmutation, or with Necromancy and Evocation), but the class is definitely more fun to play with than before.
4. (A): The Kineticist was a class I liked a lot, and it also gets a lot of love, in the form of the first good Kineticist archetype (a melee-focused armor-wearing kineticist tank) and a big batch of new wild talents which open up the variety of builds to pursue, especially if you want a Wood or Void-focused Kineticist. Granted, a lot of them are high-level abilities which only the DM is likely to get to play with, and it's hard to not to wish there were even more utility Wild Talents and Kinetic Invocation options. (More! More! More!) But this still opens up a lot of interesting options, making this book pretty much a "must-have" for anyone building a Kineticist.
5. (B): The Medium was one of my least favorite classes in Occult Adventures. It had great flavor, making it a class I very much wanted to play. But mechanically, the only really viable option seems to be building your character around the Champion spirit and making them a kind of psychic-flavored fighter, which didn't fit very well with most of the Medium-style character ideas I wanted to play with.
This book adds some more neat flavor options to the Medium (you can tie yourself to a kind of outsider), with an accompanying archetype, which someone building a Medium might consider. But none of these options make the class feel like it would play very differently, or open up the possibility of making a Medium which isn't basically a psychic fighter. Of course, these demerits of the Medium class aren't this book's fault, and it's a little unfair to expect it to resolve all of the problems facing the Medium. Still, given how much I like the idea behind this class, it would be great to someday see some options for making a viable character focused around one of the non-Champion spirits.
6. (B-): The Psychic was originally another class from Occult Adventures in the middle of the pack for me. The disciplines have lots of flavor, but, much like the sorcerer's bloodlines, most of them don't have enough mechanical "meat" to make them feel like they'd play that differently. The amplifications are kind of neat-ish, but most don't do interesting enough things to be memorable. And the overwhelming focus on mind-affecting spells makes the Psychic feel a bit fragile, usefulness-wise, for a 9th level caster.
This book does a bit to round out the Psychic's spell casting possibilities, and adds in some psychic analogs of arcane spell-related magic items. But the class feels much the same as before (in both good ways and bad) in light of these options, and there's little that seems specific to the Psychic that's on offer. Okay stuff.
All told, if you're mostly interested in the Medium or the Psychic, then while there are some new options in this book, there isn't anything that you really need in this book. But if you're interesting in playing around with Spiritualists, Mesmerists, Occultists or Kineticists, then this is definitely a book you'll want to have.
Lots of great stuff and a little bit of really, really bad
I would strongly recommend you buy this book, but I can't give it more than three stars because it has some really poorly conceived and edited options in here that should be mildly embarrassing to Paizo.
The mesmerist, spiritualist, and occultist options are generally great, a couple of bad archetypes and unclear rules ("holding" panoply occultist implements) aside. As far as I can tell the medium and kineticist stuff is of similar quality, but I don't care about those as much. If you want more options for these classes absolutely buy this book and you won't regret it.
Where the book falls down is the Psychic items and spells section. I can agree that this was arguably more necessary to grow the class than an archetype or more disciplines would have been, but the implementation is pretty poor. Most of the magic items are uninspired psychic retreads of (bad) arcane options that in some cases already worked fine for psychic casters. The spells have some decent options, and a couple of weak options, but the real problem is that there are two absurdly strong options. One allows you to daze lock a creature even on a successful save (at 3rd level!), the other is basically a Moment of Prescience god mode that applies to almost every roll you do for 1 full minute. I think you can easily solo higher threat CR creatures in melee with this spell and a few standard buffs. It's that ugly.
Publishing either of these spells would have been irresponsible, publishing both makes me doubt Paizo takes this line seriously anymore with respect to maintaining the integrity and balance of their game. PFS will ban the hell out of them, but having this sort of awful munchkiness out there as an idea that someone at Paizo thought was ok to publish is troublesome.
My final complaint is that there are a few more than the usual (already disappointing) level of poor editing and rules mistakes that we've come to expect in the Player Companion line. You have an unprecedented casting time of "1 full round action" on some spells (a big problem on Psychic classes that need their move action to add metamagic or center and avoid concentration penalties and not an innovation that should be dropped in without explanation), missing explanations of partial saving throws, and a couple of other minor signs that this needed a better development pass from a responsible adult.
That aside, you should reward Paizo for the good things with your money and put the good options to use responsibly. I just hope the bad things get more attention in future products and don't become a trend.
The fluff and items range from good to alright, but everything else is sorta meh. The new spirits for the Medium are pretty cool, as well as some of the Stare feats/tricks for the Mesmerist, but other than that...
I'll be honest. I wanted more kineticist talents when I bought this book, and I was nothing but disappointed. Oh gee, more ways to melee as a kineticist - as though there weren't a half-dozen archetypes that did pretty much the same thing. Oh look, *more* blasts that expand the use of your kinetic blade! Oh look, *feats*! Like there aren't *enough* feats, and these simply add a few spells as kineticist talents.
It was alright overall, but frankly, I would've saved the 10 bucks.
I pride myself on long detailed reviews, but there is very little to say about this. Uninspired, tending to overly dramatic and "uncontrolled!" type wackiness. Lack of content covered by larger than normal bad magic items section.
Wow Kalindlara, you sure did put some ranks in Profession (rules designer) over the last few months!
DISCLAIMER: This post is NOT: snarky, ironic, based on insider knowledge, referring to former flame-wars, aimed at driving TOZ up the wall and/or intended to cause property or personal damage. It's genuinely honest. Yes, you can mark the day in your calendars.
Mark it on our calendars? Hell, it should be made into an international holiday!
DISCLAIMER: This post does contain some snark. Everyone needs to increase their snark production so that a snark-free Gorbacz post doesn't unbalance the universe and destroy us all.
Kineticists are almost certainly getting an archetype (as seen in the Twitch livestream). I'd guess Psychics getting just new disciplines, personally, since Mediums have gotten a lot of archetypes so far.