Pathfinder Player Companion: Psychic Anthology (PFRPG)

3.80/5 (based on 8 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Psychic Anthology (PFRPG)
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A Mind-Expanding Read

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.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-928-8

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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5/5

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)

5/5

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

3/5

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.


Good fluff, but wouldn't recommend...

2/5

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.


uninspired

2/5

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.


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Not really grocking the vexing trickster. Why does it get combat expertise? Is it supposed to be flanking with it's own splinters or something?

Contributor

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Not really grocking the vexing trickster. Why does it get combat expertise? Is it supposed to be flanking with it's own splinters or something?

So it can take Improved Dirty Trick at 3rd level if it wants to. The idea was that you could take the infiltration bold stare (from Occult Realms) and penalize your enemies' CMD with your stare, then inflict all manner of nasty tricks on them if you wanted to. But the class doesn't make you take Dirty Trick in case you, say, would rather go trip to similar effect. And if you don't want to take either? That's fine. Loosing towering ego for Combat Expertise is part of the archetype's balancing mechanism for getting SUPER good with trick feats. (The ability to stack them is really, really good, and between the bonus feats and the better trick usage, what you would otherwise get from the archetype is WAY better than touch treatment. Losing towering ego is needed to keep the archetype balanced.)


Just ordered this. ;)


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Lemartes wrote:
Just ordered this. ;)

Very wise. Possibly the best of the Anthologies. And I like ALL of them.

Love what was done for Wood element. Earth was my favorite with Water close behind...not sure that is the case anymore!


Good to know. I love psychics too bad they don't get much from this book. I tried to order a bunch of other books but my store didn't have them available yet. :(


Vexing trickster: Manifold hijinks.

This bypasses the rule about having 2 tricks that have been modified by trick feats on the same target.

Does it also bypass the more general rule against having two tricks on a subject, or is some other ability needed as a required secondary power?


Slick infusion says that Reflex Negates, but only seems to affect the terrain of the area of your blast, not those in it. Do those in or entering the area make a reflex save to treat the area as non-difficult terrain? Was the save supposed to be 'none'? Was this supposed to also potentially prone those who failed their saves, a la grease?


Can the phantom blade change its look over time or is it always the same blade?

Silver Crusade

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

It can change.


The PFS additional resources and campaign clarifications are out for this, and they burned down a lot of the good stuff.

Rend Body got this clarification:

Quote:
A creature who succeeds at a Fortitude save against a rend body spell takes half damage and does not lose a limb. A creature who loses half or more of its legs from rend body has its movement speed reduced to 5 feet.

That's not great, especially since they didn't fix the casting time.

Everything good for a Psychic got banned, the (too) good Mesmerist stare feats, and the best Occultist stuff, too.

Additional Resources wrote:
Archetypes: All archetypes in this book are legal for play except panoply savant and totem spiritualist. Equipment: All equipment in this book is legal for play except the centering jewel and ring of phrenic prowess. Feats: All feats in this book are legal for play except Blinding Stare, Confusing Stare, Kinetic Crafting, and Spell Trick. The Kinetic Invocation feat is legal but does not grant access to silent image. Spells: All spells in this book are legal for play except debilitating pain, glimpse of the akashic, and mass debilitating pain. Misc.: All kinetic blasts, infusion wild talents, outsider spirits (except daemon, demon, and devil), panaoplies, phantoms (and their associated emotion rules in the sidebar on page 5), utility wild talents in this book are legal for play except mage’s paraphernalia and trappings of the warrior.

I wish Player Companion developers would exercise some restraint rather than publish so much over powered stuff that will obviously get banned by the responsible adults in PFS.

Silver Crusade

12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Or they can keep doing what they've been doing.

Not everyone plays PFS.

Likewise, the people in charge of PFS have absolutely no authority over those who develop/design the books and do not get to proofread and strike an option from a book before it goes to print. That's is specifically what additional resources is for, taking out or reserving options from PFS.


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I would rather PC contributors do their own thing instead of worry about PFS. It is why I subscribe.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fourshadow wrote:
I would rather PC contributors do their own thing instead of worry about PFS. It is why I subscribe.

I can see both sides. On one hand, it isn't fun to think that one group of players (aka PFS) is controlling what type of content you're getting. On the other hand, if PFS is your primary method of playing it is equally frustrating when the publisher who makes PFS also puts out material that you aren't allowed to use in Organized Play.

Personally, I see it like Yu-Gi-Oh!'s banned, restricted, and limited list. I started playing Yu-Gi-Oh! when it was new to the States, and it was frustrating when that list came out (which was relatively early on in the set rotation) that basically told me that cards I had just gotten couldn't be used in Tournament Play. (At the time, Konami released card sets that the US wouldn't get for nearly half a year, so cards would be printed State Side that were banned before they were even printed.)

It is frustrating, but the first time you're Yata-locked in a house tournament, you come to appreciate the house's rules. And hey, when you wanted a challenge you could build wacky decks with your friends that ignored the banned list and have 15 Exodia cards in your deck if you wanted, and I always appreciated that difference. At least, that's my experience.


Luis Loza wrote:

The Phantom Blade has a lot to it, seeing as its entry is about as long as the bladebound magus entry. Here are some of the more exciting bits I wrote into the archetype:

1. You have no phantom at all, but have the phantom blade at 1st level. No waiting for 3rd level for your weapon.

2. The weapon is ectoplasmic, which means it is always a ghost touch weapon.

3. The weapon can be any weapon with which you are proficient. Are you an elf? Take an elven curved blade! Want a bow? Sure!

4. The ectoplasmic nature of the phantom blade means it's malleable. If you need to change damage types, you can eventually change the shape of your weapon to something better.

Just for some clarification, the weapon can BE any weapon with which the phantom blade is proficient, but does that mean that the class features FUNCTION with any weapon? So, can a phantom blade use spell combat and spellstrike with a 2h melee weapon? What about with a ranged weapon?


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Can we expect a Psychometabolic Oracle Curse, like the other Corruption Curses in Horror Realms? Please?

Paizo Employee Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sunstripe wrote:
Luis Loza wrote:

The Phantom Blade has a lot to it, seeing as its entry is about as long as the bladebound magus entry. Here are some of the more exciting bits I wrote into the archetype:

1. You have no phantom at all, but have the phantom blade at 1st level. No waiting for 3rd level for your weapon.

2. The weapon is ectoplasmic, which means it is always a ghost touch weapon.

3. The weapon can be any weapon with which you are proficient. Are you an elf? Take an elven curved blade! Want a bow? Sure!

4. The ectoplasmic nature of the phantom blade means it's malleable. If you need to change damage types, you can eventually change the shape of your weapon to something better.

Just for some clarification, the weapon can BE any weapon with which the phantom blade is proficient, but does that mean that the class features FUNCTION with any weapon? So, can a phantom blade use spell combat and spellstrike with a 2h melee weapon? What about with a ranged weapon?

Unfortunately not. The versatility of weapon types comes at a cost. You can either go one-handed and use Spell Combat or you can go with other weapons that are not the "typical" magus fare. Technically, you can let go of your weapon as a free action, cast a spell, and regrip your weapon again for two-handers. There is no ranged spellstrike option at all, however.


Luis Loza wrote:

The Phantom Blade has a lot to it, seeing as its entry is about as long as the bladebound magus entry. Here are some of the more exciting bits I wrote into the archetype:

1. You have no phantom at all, but have the phantom blade at 1st level. No waiting for 3rd level for your weapon.

2. The weapon is ectoplasmic, which means it is always a ghost touch weapon.

3. The weapon can be any weapon with which you are proficient. Are you an elf? Take an elven curved blade! Want a bow? Sure!

4. The ectoplasmic nature of the phantom blade means it's malleable. If you need to change damage types, you can eventually change the shape of your weapon to something better.

I am probably super late tot eh party here, but.. Super Serious question: In the Description of the Phantom Blade archetype it states that the Phantom Blade acts like a Black Blade from the Bladebound archetype. What is it copying from the Bladebound? I assume that the Phantom Blade does not get its own ectoplasmic pool, or does it? If it does does this mean, that the Spiritualist can then syphon points from the Phantom Blade as a Bladebound Magus would? My GM just wants the closest Lawyer answer in layman terms, lol. Apologize if this has already been answered once before. If so, just link me the post, and I will roam on over to it... I like this class and archetype, the flavor is rather awesome. I just need to ensure I am playing everything correctly, lol.

Paizo Employee Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zaechs wrote:
Luis Loza wrote:

The Phantom Blade has a lot to it, seeing as its entry is about as long as the bladebound magus entry. Here are some of the more exciting bits I wrote into the archetype:

1. You have no phantom at all, but have the phantom blade at 1st level. No waiting for 3rd level for your weapon.

2. The weapon is ectoplasmic, which means it is always a ghost touch weapon.

3. The weapon can be any weapon with which you are proficient. Are you an elf? Take an elven curved blade! Want a bow? Sure!

4. The ectoplasmic nature of the phantom blade means it's malleable. If you need to change damage types, you can eventually change the shape of your weapon to something better.

I am probably super late tot eh party here, but.. Super Serious question: In the Description of the Phantom Blade archetype it states that the Phantom Blade acts like a Black Blade from the Bladebound archetype. What is it copying from the Bladebound? I assume that the Phantom Blade does not get its own ectoplasmic pool, or does it? If it does does this mean, that the Spiritualist can then syphon points from the Phantom Blade as a Bladebound Magus would? My GM just wants the closest Lawyer answer in layman terms, lol. Apologize if this has already been answered once before. If so, just link me the post, and I will roam on over to it... I like this class and archetype, the flavor is rather awesome. I just need to ensure I am playing everything correctly, lol.

That bit about functioning the same as a black blade is meant to cover the intelligent aspects of the weapon. There was no need to eat into word count to reexplain the whole ego bits and whatnot. Essentially, it's intelligent like a black blade, but then gets the stuff on its own respective phantom weapon table. The blade does not get its own ectoplasmic pool.

Shadow Lodge

Alexander Augunas wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
I would rather PC contributors do their own thing instead of worry about PFS. It is why I subscribe.
I can see both sides. On one hand, it isn't fun to think that one group of players (aka PFS) is controlling what type of content you're getting. On the other hand, if PFS is your primary method of playing it is equally frustrating when the publisher who makes PFS also puts out material that you aren't allowed to use in Organized Play.

There's also the fact that PFS already has some strict limitations on most classes, hit points, 20 point-buy, etc. The wizard and alchemist are stripped of their crafting feats, etc. PFS is already toned down as it is, so one could argue that further limitations via additional resources can be the more frustrating for people who love to exercise the wide array of options made available so far by the PRPG. Most PFS players have adapted, however. The trick is to play things from books that are at least two years old...


Luis Loza wrote:
That bit about functioning the same as a black blade is meant to cover the intelligent aspects of the weapon. There was no need to eat into word count to reexplain the whole ego bits and whatnot. Essentially, it's intelligent like a black blade, but then gets the stuff on its own respective phantom weapon table. The blade does not get its own ectoplasmic pool.

Thank you most exceptionally, Luis! I greatly appreciate. I just needed to clarify for my GM is all. And now that I have it, onto my Shabti Phantom Blade...

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