General Discussion: Occultist


Rules Discussion

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I've only gotten the chance to play an occultist for the playtest, and it's a great class...idea.

Psychometry is cool and I don't remember ever having seen it in a game mechanic (actually, I think Longshot had it in Marvel). The occultist plays well with the intended overall theme of the new classes, too, and could be used to make conversions of Harry Dresden or Van Helsing without stretching very far.

The class is difficult to understand with a single reading, and the implement groups aren't balanced well against one another. There are only a few that have focus powers available and worth taking at first level, for instance. The spell list, as it sits, is unimpressive and lopsided.

Maybe good, maybe bad: occultists' casting is genuinely unique and eventually results in lots of high-level spells known, but few spells per day.

I really like the high number of skills and good proficiencies. I keep reading that it "advertises one thing but delivers another." I disagree, but it fits with my first negative point. All in all, the occultist offers a fun, versatile "jack-of-all-trades" class.

Thanks, Paizo.


Abyssian wrote:

I really like the high number of skills and good proficiencies. I keep reading that it "advertises one thing but delivers another." I disagree, but it fits with my first negative point. All in all, the occultist offers a fun, versatile "jack-of-all-trades" class.

Thanks, Paizo.

It can't find traps like an investigator, it has fewer skills than an investigator (and also gets less out of its skills), it fights far worse than an investigator, it is probably a worse party face than an investigator (investigators take better advantage of Orator), it has some versatility from focus powers (but I doubt it is better than the skill utility of inspiration) and it maybe can cast spells better than an investigator.

It can't buff allies like a bard, it has effectively fewer skills than a bard (and also probably gets less out of its skills), it fights worse than a bard, it does not as good as being the party face compared to the bard (who also does not need a feat), it has similar but maybe worse versatility than a bard (whose access to masterpieces and different performances is pretty broad), and it has worse spells than a bard.

It can't buff allies like a skald, it has a roughly similar number of skills compared to a skald, it fights far worse than an skald, ever with all its focus powers the Occultist will not catch up to the versatility of spell kenning combined with the various rage song effects, it is probably a worse party face than a skald, and it has worse spells than a skald.

I can continue with comparisons to Inquisitor and Hunter as well, but I don't think it is necessary. This class is not a great Jack of all Trades as it stands (though maybe the improvements to focus powers will go towards fixing that).

And if you don't think this class looks like a gish, look through this thread and see how many times people say magus.

Beckman wrote:

So here's my feedback so far:

What is this class supposed to do?

Look at the other 3/4s focus classes in the game. Magus, Alchemist, Summoner, Hunter, ect. I feel like I have a reason to take them. They DO something better than taking a Cleric or a Druid. If I took a Cleric or Druid I would get 9 levels of casting, 3/4 BAB and some random powers. If I take a Magus, though, I can cast spells through my weapon and eventually nova people for huge damage. A warpriest can buff up with Cleric powers faster than a cleric, gets some domains and can smash face.

It just feels like these resonant power are the ONLY thing they get to do that's special, and it doesn't make up for them having 3/4ths BAB. I tried to make a fighter, and he's just bad compared to a regular fighter. EVEN AT FULL FOCUS. It seems like some of the best things I could do would to be make a saves based character.

You also start out with a VERY NARROW starting spell list that upgrades to a slightly less restrictive restricted spell list. It's a million times worse than the Bard's spell list. A bard is actually easier to make a fighter than this class, since it has access to all the buffs it wants.

As it stands now, I can't find a reason to play this class that another class doesn't already have. It has an identity, but it's just very weak. One thing that entrances me about this class are the focus powers. They are very good, but you get so few of them. If you got more of these powers it might make the class more playable - you would have more options that would make the class more distinct. Maybe change this to something like 1st level, 2nd level, and every 2 levels thereafter.

The focus powers seem like what this class wants to do, and Focus already limits what you can do with most of them. I think the class could do for some more options. A feat to let them take another focus power with an implement they know would also be welcome.

Last, I want to talk about my favorite power for this class - Distortion - and how by my reading...

This guy gets it.


Fun and versatile. Not great.

I don't think that the occultist is supposed to be a gish. I do think that it should be at least somewhat able to be, via implement choices or archetypes.

I don't think that the occultist is supposed to be equal to rogues or investigators for skill-monkeying, either, but maybe with implements or archetypes, it could be.

As is, the poor guys are about third best at everything. (If you don't count ties for first or second). I'm hoping that the class can be cleaned up a bit to allow for some best at one thing or nearly best at a couple.

Maybe this cleared up a few things from my post, maybe it didn't. I'll summarize, too: the concept is unique and interesting, but the execution is rough and lacking for definite mechanical benefit.

Scarab Sages

I have really liked playing my Occultist so far. I took Evocation and Conjuration, and with my level up to 2, I will be taking Transmutation next I think.

I love the versatility of the Energy Ray, and the Servitor ability is a good thing to have in certain situations. I wish the Occultist got a couple more cantrip (knack) spells. I would also love to see a way to gain back focus points like a special feat (such as extra hex for the Witch) or possibly a way to gain them by through actions such as the Gunslinger's Grit points.

Overall though, I like the class so far. I think it has great flair. I can't argue with a class that lets me play Dresden. I look forward to seeing how the character progresses at higher levels. With each of the sessions I have played so far, my Occultist has been useful, hasn't felt under or over powered, and she survived. At level 1 sometimes survival is the hardest part.


Each spell level should have at least 2 spells per school on the spell list, including knacks. I would think the total should at least be 3 spells per level per school, but I could see having some choices just lose out.

There should probably be a limit on how many times you can choose one school. 3 seems reasonable. Of course, if 3 is the limit, each school should have three resonant powers (which would mean Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, and Evocation all need a new resonant power), so maybe 2 is an easier limit.

Perception and Disable Device are class skills. Flavor text describes the kind of person who would be a tomb raider. Occultist needs Trapfinding.

Some form of bonus feats would go a long way to shore up the holes that form at higher levels. Whether that just be bonus feats at 4,8,12,16,20 or possibly something that allows the spending of Mental Focus to grant access to a feat for 1 minute (any implement would be able to do this) and then scales as you level up so that by ~level 12 you could gain 3 bonus feats for a chunk of focus, etc. I prefer the former, personally, as I'd rather see different builds (some who take feats for combat, some who take feats for skills, some who take feats to expand focus powers/increase mental focus, some who take feats for spell casting, and some who mix it up) instead of all Occultists being able to "swap" builds on the fly. (or you could always do both, have the base version with static bonus feats and an Archetype swap out that gives a more limited version that is more flexible).


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Comments have been made about how the Occultist isn't an investigator, or a bard, or a skald. How it can't gish it up as well as a Magus, or be as powerful a caster at some other class.

To me, that's a *good* thing. If it was more like either of those, then... well, then what need would there be for an Occultist?

Arguments that the Occultist is second or third best at a little bit of everything, but not truly *good* at anything makes me kind of happy, actually. If I wanted to play a specialist, I'd do that instead. I very much like the idea of an adaptive generalist.

Sure, you can lock yourself into a role through your choice of spells or feats, but the base class gives you an option to participate in a lot of different scenes, be it in social or investigatory settings, in magical or physical combat, or even restorative efforts. Yes, it can't buff itself (or others) like a bard, but then again a bard can't easily match the mobility and magical firepower of an occultist. They're different classes, and that's a good thing.

Though, I do have to join in on the idea that it's peculiar how the Occultist has no way of gaining Trapfinding, since it allows them to handle magical traps. With their Magic/Binding Circle ability, you'd think they know all about mystical seals and dangerous glyphs.

Other than that, I find the decisionmaking whether to save or spend Mental Focus very interesting. It's like an Alchemist who loses access to their discoveries as their daily bomb-count goes down, which makes the choice to use that resource an actual choice, where either option presents something you want, and something you don't.

Also, like StratoNexus suggests, each spell-level should present a choice of several spells. Otherwise there would be much less incentive to revisit a specific Implement Group. Necromancy, for instance, is a little starved.

All-in-all, I find the class to be *interesting* and flexible with a lot of potential, especially with later addition of feats and archetypes to focus on certain aspects, should you want to.


Jerhidar wrote:

Comments have been made about how the Occultist isn't an investigator, or a bard, or a skald. How it can't gish it up as well as a Magus, or be as powerful a caster at some other class.

To me, that's a *good* thing. If it was more like either of those, then... well, then what need would there be for an Occultist?

Arguments that the Occultist is second or third best at a little bit of everything, but not truly *good* at anything makes me kind of happy, actually. If I wanted to play a specialist, I'd do that instead. I very much like the idea of an adaptive generalist.

Sure, you can lock yourself into a role through your choice of spells or feats, but the base class gives you an option to participate in a lot of different scenes, be it in social or investigatory settings, in magical or physical combat, or even restorative efforts. Yes, it can't buff itself (or others) like a bard, but then again a bard can't easily match the mobility and magical firepower of an occultist. They're different classes, and that's a good thing.

Though, I do have to join in on the idea that it's peculiar how the Occultist has no way of gaining Trapfinding, since it allows them to handle magical traps. With their Magic/Binding Circle ability, you'd think they know all about mystical seals and dangerous glyphs.

Other than that, I find the decisionmaking whether to save or spend Mental Focus very interesting. It's like an Alchemist who loses access to their discoveries as their daily bomb-count goes down, which makes the choice to use that resource an actual choice, where either option presents something you want, and something you don't.

Also, like StratoNexus suggests, each spell-level should present a choice of several spells. Otherwise there would be much less incentive to revisit a specific Implement Group. Necromancy, for instance, is a little starved.

All-in-all, I find the class to be *interesting* and flexible with a lot of potential, especially with later addition of feats and archetypes to focus on certain...

Well, I would say it is like 30th best at fighting and like the 15th best caster so it is a jack of all trades that can't fight past level 10 or so when it is finally catching up to other casters. It is also not a great caster even amongst jacks of all trades.

It really only has the focus powers going for it. The alchemist comment is valid (though alchemist bombs are probably a more potent offensive resource and the alchemist's mutagen and various discoveries are probably more useful in general since they are not all keyed to one resource pool). However, what exactly is this class getting to make up for the fact that its "discoveries" disappear?


Kalan wrote:


If an Occultist took Expanded Arcana would he be able to cast the spells with his chosen implement or would he need a second implement to cast those spells?

If he took the feat at 5th level when he could cast 2nd lvl spells and chose to gain 2 1st lvl spells would he have to chose them both from the same school or could he add 1 spell to 2 different schools.

Example 1
Transmutation: Mending(0), Enlarge Person, Feather Fall, Magic Weapon(1st), Spider Climb(2nd)

Example 2
Transmutation: Mending(0), Enlarge Person, Feather Fall(1st), Spider Climb(2nd)
Conjuration: Create Water(0), Cure Light , Unseen Servant(1st), Cure Moderate Wounds(2nd)

Does no one have an answer to the above?

In addition a question came to me about the Kineticist.
To begin with you can pick the Rare Metal Infusion one level before the Expanded Element wild talent that(If you pick earth a second time) gives you access to the Metal Composite blast. Both the Infusion and the Composite Blast have a burn of two. The infusion at least I think you can get down to 0 if you pick substance for your specialization at 5th level and spend a move action to gather energy. But the composite blast doesn't list a type. Does that mean you can't reduce the burn or was the type left out of the PT doc?


Kalan wrote:
Kalan wrote:


If an Occultist took Expanded Arcana would he be able to cast the spells with his chosen implement or would he need a second implement to cast those spells?

If he took the feat at 5th level when he could cast 2nd lvl spells and chose to gain 2 1st lvl spells would he have to chose them both from the same school or could he add 1 spell to 2 different schools.

Example 1
Transmutation: Mending(0), Enlarge Person, Feather Fall, Magic Weapon(1st), Spider Climb(2nd)

Example 2
Transmutation: Mending(0), Enlarge Person, Feather Fall(1st), Spider Climb(2nd)
Conjuration: Create Water(0), Cure Light , Unseen Servant(1st), Cure Moderate Wounds(2nd)

Does no one have an answer to the above?

There are also a few corner cases that presents odd situations with classes that has no spell-list entirely of their own, but who receives it from Implements or Spirits. Such as, what happens if you play a Samsaran Occultist or Medium, using the Mystic Past Life to be able to cast, say, a number of Spiritualist spells?

Though, there's a difference between spells *known*, through that feat, and spells added to your spell *list*.

It's a bit of a new circumstance that I don't remember seeing in previous classes.

If I were to hazard a guess about the Expanded Arcana feat, it would just modify the spell allowance by a single implement, making it so that the implement adds a spell of each spell level to your spells known (just as normal) - and then the feat tacks one or two extra spells on top of that to this particular implement.


Broxxigan wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

-----

With the Conjure Implements focus power, can you create implements made of special materials (Adamantine, Silver, Cold Iron, etc)?

My guess is no, you conjure a generic implement, though one of good quality.


Jesuncolo wrote:
Quote:

An Occultist is a dabbler, really. He certainly knows about magic, but he doesn't precisely cast it himself. No, he has toys. He scrounges up items that allow him to supplement his otherwise mediocre to nonexistent magical capabilities. In terms of precisely what he does in terms of the world, he's using psychometry to find objects with the right resonance and then forcing that resonance out into magical effects.

Thematically, he's not personally a spellcaster per se (though he is mechanically), he's a guy with amulet that can shield him from harm, or a wand that throws blasts of deadly energy, and who always seems to have another magic item up his sleeve. He probably has more in common with the Alchemist than the Wizard, with both relying on devices (extracts and implements, respectively) to provide them with magical effects that others can mostly get something like with magical items...but free of the cost that carries in gold.

Quote:

First, you need to compare to the right class, an occultist is very little like a Wizard, because they do not memorize spells, they do use weapons, and do wear armor.

The closest thing I have seen to an Occultist is a Magus with the Eldritch Scion Archetype (from the Ultimate Class Guide).

A Magus gains their spells by revelation via psychometric induction...which is a fancy way of saying they get it from objects. They have no spell book, no study requirement. They are more like a Sorcerer than a Wizard.

They do not take spell penalties for wearing armor, they can cast spells with their hands full and their mouths bound.

At low level, a Magus will likely beat a Wizard due to having better weapons, armor, and hit points, as well as a similar number of spells.

At high levels, the Wizard's top end spells will slowly turn the tide in their favor. Until at least level 5, however, he Magus should be a better character in most situations.

Thank you for your explaination, now I can see the class with a greater focus. That's a good concept!

Sorry about the error, I should have said 'Occultist" instead of Magus for everything except the first time I used the word Magus.

Sovereign Court

Jason Bulmahn wrote:
williamoak wrote:

Another questions:

In the "transmutation" implements, how does physical enhancement stack up?
1) Lvls 1-5: +2, 6-10: +4... or

2)Lvls 5-9: +2, lvls 10-14: +4...

If it's the second, it might be worth mentioning physical enhancement cant be used before level 5.

Good catch.

For the current build, lets go with option 2 and see how it shakes out. I may need to fix that one (along with a few others) here in the coming days.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

I was looking at this and with it being an enhancement bonus its pretty much worthless by 5th lvl because anyone who needs a physical stat buffed will already have a belt to buff that by then.

Quote:

The

implement grants a +2 enhancement bonus to that physical
ability score for every 3 points of mental focus invested in the
implement (to a maximum of +2 for every 5 occultist levels
you possess).

so as it was written at lvl 1-5 adding a +2 bonus, then a +4 bonus at 6th lvl is on par with general magic item developement.

Scarab Sages

Sarvei taeno wrote:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
williamoak wrote:

Another questions:

In the "transmutation" implements, how does physical enhancement stack up?
1) Lvls 1-5: +2, 6-10: +4... or

2)Lvls 5-9: +2, lvls 10-14: +4...

If it's the second, it might be worth mentioning physical enhancement cant be used before level 5.

Good catch.

For the current build, lets go with option 2 and see how it shakes out. I may need to fix that one (along with a few others) here in the coming days.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

I was looking at this and with it being an enhancement bonus its pretty much worthless by 5th lvl because anyone who needs a physical stat buffed will already have a belt to buff that by then.

Quote:

The

implement grants a +2 enhancement bonus to that physical
ability score for every 3 points of mental focus invested in the
implement (to a maximum of +2 for every 5 occultist levels
you possess).

so as it was written at lvl 1-5 adding a +2 bonus, then a +4 bonus at 6th lvl is on par with general magic item developement.

But they won't have a belt of +2 to two stats.


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I kinda wish the occultist had some sort of abilities that were tied to intelligent items. Maybe they add an intelligence to an implement to increase its power, but now you have to convince the item to cooperate.

Maybe a bonus in opposed ego checks.

Sovereign Court

the enhancement ability doesnt allow you to enhance 2 stats. im saying the ability is on par with the magic items that a 5th lvl character will have.


Sarvei taeno wrote:
the enhancement ability doesnt allow you to enhance 2 stats. im saying the ability is on par with the magic items that a 5th lvl character will have.

I believe what Imbicatus was meaning, is how an Occultist could be wearing a Belt of Dexterity +2, and add a Transmutation Implement belt with a resonant power that raises, say, Strength. Since Implements don't take up magic item slots, the Occultist can double up on some things like belts, rings, or what have you.

Or just, you know, add their psychic empowerments to the existing enchantments of an item. Nothing says you can't use magic items as Implements.


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Shane LeRose wrote:

I kinda wish the occultist had some sort of abilities that were tied to intelligent items. Maybe they add an intelligence to an implement to increase its power, but now you have to convince the item to cooperate.

Maybe a bonus in opposed ego checks.

Oooh, an archetype focused on a single implement that evolves similar to a magus' black blade.

Scarab Sages

Jerhidar wrote:
Sarvei taeno wrote:
the enhancement ability doesnt allow you to enhance 2 stats. im saying the ability is on par with the magic items that a 5th lvl character will have.

I believe what Imbicatus was meaning, is how an Occultist could be wearing a Belt of Dexterity +2, and add a Transmutation Implement belt with a resonant power that raises, say, Strength. Since Implements don't take up magic item slots, the Occultist can double up on some things like belts, rings, or what have you.

Or just, you know, add their psychic empowerments to the existing enchantments of an item. Nothing says you can't use magic items as Implements.

Yes, that's it exactly. You can use your Belt of Giant Strength +2 as your transmutation implement, add focus to it, and use the +2 Con resonate power. You have the equivalent of a belt of physical might for 4,000 gp instead of 10,000 gp.


Athel wrote:
Shane LeRose wrote:

I kinda wish the occultist had some sort of abilities that were tied to intelligent items. Maybe they add an intelligence to an implement to increase its power, but now you have to convince the item to cooperate.

Maybe a bonus in opposed ego checks.

Oooh, an archetype focused on a single implement that evolves similar to a magus' black blade.

Lol, I was just thinking about that this morning! The black blade would be perfect an occultist. However, I was hoping that something involving intelligent items would be a function in the class itself and not an add on via archetypes.

I also thought about how the occultist could interact with spirits. Maybe grant a class feature that let's them contain spirits or similar entities within items. Now you can play the ghostbusters!

Scarab Sages

Instead of a black blade, I would like the ability to have a bonded implement that would function like a wizard's Arcane bond. You get an extra spell per day from the spells granted by the implement, and you can enchant it at half cost like an arcane bond item.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Imbicatus wrote:
Instead of a black blade, I would like the ability to have a bonded implement that would function like a wizard's Arcane bond. You get an extra spell per day from the spells granted by the implement, and you can enchant it at half cost like an arcane bond item.

Yes, then I can finally do a wand-bonded spellcaster justice! (I grew up in the Harry Potter generation, cut me some slack.)

Seriously though, I think this would make possible a number of compelling character concepts, especially since popular media is saturated with characters in possession of significant magic items. Also, the idea tastes like Weapons of Legacy, which I'm sure many would appreciate.


Mikael Sebag wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:
Instead of a black blade, I would like the ability to have a bonded implement that would function like a wizard's Arcane bond. You get an extra spell per day from the spells granted by the implement, and you can enchant it at half cost like an arcane bond item.

Yes, then I can finally do a wand-bonded spellcaster justice! (I grew up in the Harry Potter generation, cut me some slack.)

Seriously though, I think this would make possible a number of compelling character concepts, especially since popular media is saturated with characters in possession of significant magic items. Also, the idea tastes like Weapons of Legacy, which I'm sure many would appreciate.

Seems like an additional-rules-heavy archetype unless the archetype just grants a lot of free focus power use or something.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Excaliburproxy wrote:
Seems like an additional-rules-heavy archetype unless the archetype just grants a lot of free focus power use or something.

That's actually exactly what I imagined. Maybe even multiple resonance powers if they can apply.

Sovereign Court

Imbicatus wrote:
Jerhidar wrote:
Sarvei taeno wrote:
the enhancement ability doesnt allow you to enhance 2 stats. im saying the ability is on par with the magic items that a 5th lvl character will have.

I believe what Imbicatus was meaning, is how an Occultist could be wearing a Belt of Dexterity +2, and add a Transmutation Implement belt with a resonant power that raises, say, Strength. Since Implements don't take up magic item slots, the Occultist can double up on some things like belts, rings, or what have you.

Or just, you know, add their psychic empowerments to the existing enchantments of an item. Nothing says you can't use magic items as Implements.

Yes, that's it exactly. You can use your Belt of Giant Strength +2 as your transmutation implement, add focus to it, and use the +2 Con resonate power. You have the equivalent of a belt of physical might for 4,000 gp instead of 10,000 gp.

That comes down to getting an enhancement bonus from 2 different sources and they already stated that was intended effect so why penalize it if they want you to be able to do that.

Sovereign Court

im kinda fed up with the intelligent item stuff. i feel its overplayed already for as rare as the items are meant to be.


Sarvei taeno wrote:
Imbicatus wrote:


Yes, that's it exactly. You can use your Belt of Giant Strength +2 as your transmutation implement, add focus to it, and use the +2 Con resonate power. You have the equivalent of a belt of physical might for 4,000 gp instead of 10,000 gp.

That comes down to getting an enhancement bonus from 2 different sources and they already stated that was intended effect so why penalize it if they want you to be able to do that.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Could you give an example?


Personally, I think that this class would be far better and more fun if the spellcasting was totally stripped from it, your magic item points scaled up much more quickly, and the selection of focus powers were significantly higher to compensate. Some of the powers could replicate spells where needed, but having a larger library of unique powers could carve out a niche for the occultist.


CaPensiPraxis wrote:
Personally, I think that this class would be far better and more fun if the spellcasting was totally stripped from it, your magic item points scaled up much more quickly, and the selection of focus powers were significantly higher to compensate. Some of the powers could replicate spells where needed, but having a larger library of unique powers could carve out a niche for the occultist.

Now THIS is super interesting. Are you saying no spellcasting and full bab? I think that could work really well and grant a nice little bit of theme-ing. Most martial classes in pathfinder are secretly 1.25 BAB classes. So if this class received no additional attack support beyond full BAB, there is a good chance that you could balance this class well against the fighter and similar classes.

On a round-to-round basis, the class would be weaker than the fighter or spellcaster but it could function as both reasonably well.

Maybe it would make sense to break the sacred taboo: a 1d8 hit die with full BAB

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

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Interesting thoughts folks. There was an early draft of this class that did not have any spell casting, but it felt entirely too linear without that option.

That said, I am seriously looking at rebalancing all of the implement powers to give this class a boost in a couple of vital areas. My end goal with this is to give the class a number of different directions it can take, allowing it to focus on one area if desired or split up the focus to give a more broad based support level.

Anyway.. keep the ideas coming...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer


Sarvei taeno wrote:
im kinda fed up with the intelligent item stuff. i feel its overplayed already for as rare as the items are meant to be.

I'm kinda blown away by this statement. Other than the black bladed magus what other class uses an intelligent item? What's more, their cost is insanely prohibitive. I've been asking that the occultist interact in some way with intelligent items, because it's unclaimed design space. No one is really good at dominating an intelligent or possessed item. The occultist seems perfect for this. Especially if they could force "spirits" into items and bind them. The very idea of implements and using their resonant energy for abilities is completely new terrain and automatically fleshes out a campaign. Sample histories could be provided as a tool for DM's dealing with this on the fly.

There's just so much potential in intelligent or possessed items. I'm baffled to think someone is already sick of them.

Liberty's Edge

Watching the TV show Charmed is what made me despise spellcasting. The climax of a Charmed episode was either a huge distraction or a main character “pausing” that week’s monster so the verbal component could be implemented (to kill the monster). Seeing how long it took to speak the words of a Charmed spell, even when edited for TV, messed with my perception of D&D spells, even though the preparation is separated from the final execution. However, I like how Order of the Stick uses the name of the spell as the verbal component.

An idea I’ve always toyed with in the back of my head is to replace spellcasting with spell-like abilities and make the “metamagic” monster feats available to PCs. I’m just not sure of the execution (number of spell-like abilities available, times per day, etc.), especially when the arcane bloodline sorcerer has so many other class features reliant on metamagic. I understand how eliminating spellcasting narrows a character’s options. This is a small problem associated with the kineticist, the playtest version of which seems to be mostly focused on combat magic vs. utility magic.

Decisions, decisions.


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Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thoughts folks. There was an early draft of this class that did not have any spell casting, but it felt entirely too linear without that option.

That said, I am seriously looking at rebalancing all of the implement powers to give this class a boost in a couple of vital areas. My end goal with this is to give the class a number of different directions it can take, allowing it to focus on one area if desired or split up the focus to give a more broad based support level.

Anyway.. keep the ideas coming...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

I really do like the idea of a class that can kind of build in a bunch of different directions. Right now, I feel like the bard, skald, hunter, investigator, and druid all do that really well.

Perhaps implements could have 2 categories each; In addition to their spell-school category, they could have "Martial", "Support", and "Magic" implements. At level 1, you can only really focus on one. Then maybe at level 11 or 12, you can do another. The base effects of all the implements stay the same but when you focus on a given aspect, you gain additional abilities based on the amount of focus you have invested.

For this to really work, you would need to have the abilities should probably stay "constant". That is: the initial focus investment decides the powers all day.

Proposed martial powers:
Abjuration: "Retribution" circumstance attack and damage bonuses against an enemy who has attacked you in the past 2 rounds.
Conjuration: "Allied summons" increase the bonuses (circumstance) that you and summoned creatures (yours and your allies) get from flanking with you and/or your summons. You gain the same bonus when flanking with a summoned creature.
Divination: "Precognitive Attack" May study the future of an enemy as a move action. Gain 1/2 level (as a circumstance bonus) to attack and damage rolls (up to some function of invested focus) on all attacks against that enemy before the end of your next turn. <<<works well with ranged builds
Enchantment: "Psyched up" Increase the effects of morale bonuses to strength, dexterity, constitution, attack rolls, and damage rolls. This is probably up to some function of your level as well as the usual maximum of the morale bonus. You can only add this bonus to one morale bonus at a time but if your "potential" bonus outstrips the normal maximum that you can receive normally then the excess can go towards other morale bonuses that you may be receiving.
Evocation: "Elemental brand" Add a large chunk of elemental damage to your standard-action attacks (gain d6-es of elemental damage; it is a full round action to change elemental damage type). Eventually you can add this to charge attacks (around level 9) and then to any one attack in a given round (around level 17).
Illusion: "Invisible coup" Large circumstance bonuses to attack and damage rolls when you attack a flat footed character, a character who is unaware of you, or a character who can't see you due to an interposing illusion.
Necromancy: "Soul stealer" whenever a creature within 60 feet of you falls unconscious, gain a large morale bonus to your attack and damage rolls until the end of you next turn.
Transmutation: "Transformative trance" Barbarian range with a short-list selection of "transforming" rage powers. Starts as a +2 morale bonus to strength, constitution, or dexterity but progresses to +2 to any 2, then +4/+2, and then +6/+4/+2. Rage powers should let you grow things like claws or wings. Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.

Proposed Support powers:
Abjuration: "Defensive aura" Characters in a certain radius gain an increasing shield bonus to their armor class (should not outpace the bonus from a heavy shield with appropriate enhancement modifiers). Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.
Conjuration: "Summoned leadership" Inspire courage but only for summoned creatures (maybe this should also apply to their spell-like ability DCs). Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.
Divination: "Precognitive focus" As a full round action, the Occultist does nothing but look into the future. A certain number of times per round (based on the amount of invested focus), the Occultist calls out a hint about the future and the ally may add 1d4+the occultist's int to an attack roll, a save, or the targeted creature's armor class (after a check is rolled or an attack is made; this may change the results).
Enchantment: "Defensive Hypnotism" The Occultist may spend a standard action to suppress a single mind effecting spell or other effect on all his allies. After the first round, maintaining the ability is a free action. Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.
Evocation: "Telekinetic tactics" As a standard action, the occultist moves a number of his willing allies (based on the invested focus and possibly including himself) with his mind 30 feet. This movement provokes attack of opportunity as normal. At a certain level, if this movement ends with the ally in the air, that ally does not fall until the end of the the Occultist's next turn if the occultist and the ally so choose (though this does preclude that ally from moving on his or her own).
Illusion: "Aura of mirrors" An ally within 30 feet gains one illusory double as per the mirror image spell. This happens once per turn and eventually twice or three times per turn but no single ally may have more than one illusory double. Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.
Necromancy: "Aura of life and death" Within 30 feet, your allies' attacks become "vampiric". When your allies attack a living creature, their attacks deal a number of points of extra negative energy damage based on the amount of focus invested while they also heal themselves by the same amount. When attacking undead creatures, they may instead take that same amount of damage themselves and deal twice that value in positive energy damage to the undead creature. Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.
Transmutation: "Aura of Enhancement" Within 30 feat, you and your allies gain a +2 enhancement bonus to one physical ability score. This increases as you level up. Rounds per day is a function of your invested focus plus your intelligence.

Proposed Magic powers:
This is essentially the same for all magic implements. You gain additional spell slots that can only be used to cast spells of that school (a 1st level slot for 1 focus, a 1st and 2nd level slot for 2 focus, etc.). Beyond that, focus may instead be added to a magic implement to gain extra spells known. For a 1 focus investment, you may add a school-appropriate spell to your spells known that day up to the highest level spell you know -1. For 2 points, you may add a spell of the highest level that you know. For double those points (2 for highest level -1 and 4 for a spell of the highest level), you may add a spell to your spells known from the wizard, cleric, psychic, or druid spell list (using the lowest level version of the spell and adding it to your list).

I think that last one kind of lets the class overtake the skald for being a sort of spell jack of all trades.

I know that is a lot of text.


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The way the class describes itself, it sounds like there should be the potential for some kind of synergy effect when using a magic item of any kind. Something based on the item powers possibly. Say, for example, that you use a Flaming Burst Sword, and it gives you access to the Fireball spell, but only while you have that particular kind of sword imbued with focus.

Possibly better would be the spells used to create the item may be accessible, that way you would know what those spells are without having to make up a list of synergy effects for every item you might encounter.


Jason Bulmahn wrote:

Interesting thoughts folks. There was an early draft of this class that did not have any spell casting, but it felt entirely too linear without that option.

That said, I am seriously looking at rebalancing all of the implement powers to give this class a boost in a couple of vital areas. My end goal with this is to give the class a number of different directions it can take, allowing it to focus on one area if desired or split up the focus to give a more broad based support level.

Anyway.. keep the ideas coming...

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

Perhaps allow the resonant powers to operate at their full value as long there's a single point of focus in them? This would certainly be helpful in making the focus powers more useful without losing your passive buffs until you had spent everything you had.

Or even just making it easier to swap points around would be a big improvement, say as a full round action that provokes AoO and doesn't lose any focus in the transfer. If so, it would still e nice to see the focus powers draw from a different pool so they can be used without burning off your resonance. I'm sure that some builds would still favor one or the other, but having a middle ground would be quite welcome.

I am currently building an occultist for a playtest game, and while I took Conjuration for a bit of healing, the school feels quite limited, or perhaps overly focused on conjured creatures and teleportation, ignoring some other Conjuration effects like blasting spells or creating walls and the like.

While I hope that plenty of Knowledge skills and Kirin Strike will help me out, and I have yet to see just how well the build holds up, I so far feel that the best use of occultist is a one level dip for a loremaster fighter. Here's hoping that whatever changes are being worked on can change that, because I really like the ideas behind the class!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Another thing that could be fun is an ability letting them burn spell slots for extra focus points. That'd complete the circle tying their abilities together and give them more flexibility in how they spend their resources.

Scarab Sages

Ssalarn wrote:
Another thing that could be fun is an ability letting them burn spell slots for extra focus points. That'd complete the circle tying their abilities together and give them more flexibility in how they spend their resources.

This is a really great idea. It would allow someone to make the spell-less occultist that relies on focus powers and resonant abilities if you wanted to, but still allows the flexibility of spells if you wanted to as well.

It could be similar to the arcanist consume magic item exploit, except you are sacrificing spells instead of consumable items. Although while we're at it, consume magic items would be great for an occultist to regain focus as it is.


I would totaly lose a few spells over the course of a day to stack up some points. There are quite a few magic item centric characters I'd make and mostly burn up points for the abilities.


It sounds like a reasonable suggestion, possibly it should be a feat, not a class ability?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

AlanDG2 wrote:
Possibly better would be the spells used to create the item may be accessible, that way you would know what those spells are without having to make up a list of synergy effects for every item you might encounter.

This I like. It takes advantage of something that already has to be described in the rules fairly explicitly and the amount of additional bookkeeping is minimal (looking up the spells used in an item's creation in the CRB or online once is hardly time-consuming). Maybe even something where you spend a number of points of mental focus invested in the magic item equal to 1 + the spell level to cast one of the spells used in its creation? (Plus any costly material components, of course.)

This would allow occultists some limited access to 7+ spells without needing to go beyond what they currently have available.


Mikael Sebag wrote:
AlanDG2 wrote:
Possibly better would be the spells used to create the item may be accessible, that way you would know what those spells are without having to make up a list of synergy effects for every item you might encounter.

This I like. It takes advantage of something that already has to be described in the rules fairly explicitly and the amount of additional bookkeeping is minimal (looking up the spells used in an item's creation in the CRB or online once is hardly time-consuming). Maybe even something where you spend a number of points of mental focus invested in the magic item equal to 1 + the spell level to cast one of the spells used in its creation? (Plus any costly material components, of course.)

This would allow occultists some limited access to 7+ spells without needing to go beyond what they currently have available.

It even makes sense in terms of the class abilities, since the class has psychometric abilities why not be able to tap the powers latent in the magic item?

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

AlanDG2 wrote:
It even makes sense in terms of the class abilities, since the class has psychometric abilities why not be able to tap the powers latent in the magic item?

I mean, those spells technically had to occur in the item's past anyway, so the psychometric angle is very present. And that's to say nothing of how, with slightly different flavor, this ability turns the occultist into an artificer, whose knowledge of magic item construction allows them a limited, but super-useful means of reverse engineering items for their spells.

Honestly, this idea gets top marks in my book. I might even houserule something like this if we don't see some incarnation of it in the final product.


Perhaps it should be an upgrade to the Object Reading ability, something gained at higher level. It could also be a feat, something not gained automatically but learnable with effort.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

AlanDG2 wrote:
Perhaps it should be an upgrade to the Object Reading ability, something gained at higher level. It could also be a feat, something not gained automatically but learnable with effort.

Either way, I hope this idea, or something very similar, makes it to the final iteration of the class. It's just too perfect.


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Call the ability "Psychometric Spell" and make it a universal focus ability...


I'm feeling where you guys are going with this.

Quote:

Spontaneous Focus (Su): An occultist can cast any spell he knows by expending a number of points of mental focus equal to 1 + the level of the spell to be cast instead of expending a spell slot.

Convert Focus (Su): An occultist can sacrifice a spell slot to gain points of general focus equal to the level of the slot converted.

Psychometric Casting (Su): When using a magic item as an implement, an occultist can cast any spell used in the construction of the item as if it were on his spell list by expending a spell slot of an appropriate level.

No idea what level would be best for these.


I have been reading through occult adventures and since I haven't done an actual playtest I believe this is where I post my feedback so here it is:

1) I like the variability and focus on items in the class, it's interesting and something I've never dealt with too much before(I've played artificers in 3.5 but those were a completely different monster).

2) I would like some sort of spelled-out rules for acquiring non-magical relics. While it is unlikely to lose all your relics or have all of them broken, if it occurred and your DM is unwilling to give you new relics(I've had a few DMs who would do something like this for a "challenge") you're now playing a next to useless character at low levels. At higher levels this becomes slightly less of a problem since your magical items can fill this role but the problem can still potentially arise.

3) For Blinding Pattern in the enchantment implements I think you should replace on a failed will save you're paralyzed to being stunned. This is simply because of the fact that being paralyzed means you become helpless and can be coup de graced making this ability really close to a save or die effect at level 7.


Some quick thoughts after a late playtest game last night.

1. Do the magic circle abilities fit this class? Would this set of abilities fit thematically with the Spiritualist instead?

2. I played the occultist more like a psychic artificer going with the transmutation,conjuration, and divination implements. Buffing the party, using magic devices, and identifying interesting items we came across. My question is: Would trapfinding be an appropriate ability with this class? I found it would have fit my "theme" for the character I played.

3. I found that the Occultist gains a lot of abilities and powers from items but would it be thematic if the occultist could imbue power into an item? For instance my character finds an old rusted sword and identifies that it was once an "important" weapon. Perhaps expending focus the sword could return to its glory days by being a fully functional magic weapon for a few rounds?


enrik wrote:

Some quick thoughts after a late playtest game last night.

1. Do the magic circle abilities fit this class? Would this set of abilities fit thematically with the Spiritualist instead?

2. I played the occultist more like a psychic artificer going with the transmutation,conjuration, and divination implements. Buffing the party, using magic devices, and identifying interesting items we came across. My question is: Would trapfinding be an appropriate ability with this class? I found it would have fit my "theme" for the character I played.

3. I found that the Occultist gains a lot of abilities and powers from items but would it be thematic if the occultist could imbue power into an item? For instance my character finds an old rusted sword and identifies that it was once an "important" weapon. Perhaps expending focus the sword could return to its glory days by being a fully functional magic weapon for a few rounds?

1) A Good question. My answer is: it depends. I can see it, a kind of psychic feedback ability, but not 100% sure if this is the class for it.

2) The question has been asked. I imagine there will be archetypes who do have Trapfinding, but like a Bard it probably will not be in the main class.

3)He can pretty much do so, by using focus. Still, I was wondering about an Occultist using Craft Magical Items being able to endow items with abilities that he does not actually know he spell for, if he has a focus ability with a similar effect.


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You know, when I first looked at this class, I was like "Oh man, they finally gave us an artificer".

I had all these visions of adding effects to all my allies' gear each morning and handing out little wands and stuff that they could use in a pinch (in the way the alchemist can hand out his potions and stuff).

But then I read the class more closely and I was sad.

Does anyone else think that sounds kind of cool?

Like: I wish that I maybe had like a couple different pools of points. One would let me improve my gear and the gear of my allies (probably bounded to +1 or +2 over their existing gear bonuses) and then another pool of points that I could use to make magic focuses that produce various magical effects (like the existing focus powers) that each could be used a couple times a day.

The occultist would get the most out of these items but maybe allies could use them a little less optimally.

I think that would be a neat class.

Dark Archive

Aghion, thanks for telling me where that ammo was. After reading it in the thread severaral days earlier, I forgot about it. I did go looking for it in the actual PDF but of course it was not there.

I want to say thank you for deviating from the norm and making several new classes, each with a new way of utilizing resources. It really breathes fresh air into the system for me. I am way more excited about these classes, especially the occultist, over how I felt about any of the ACG classes when I saw their final versions. Even the two ACG classes I like, I have small intentions of using.

Useing GM credit and a home version(great to playe a 3.5 Book of Nine Swords class of Swordsage again) of Jade Regent for PFS credit, I jumped into the play test using a 3rd level character in PFS. I am worried nobody will want to play this class while it is so limited at the earliest levels. For example, I will never agree to play an inquisitor again unless I can start at 4th level so I can have at least 2 judgements a day. Likewise I would never play an occultist unless I was at least level 3 so I could have a 1/2 decent choice of focus powers. Mind you, not even a good choice, just a 1/2 decent one.

I unexpectantly found a great joy in the object reading class feature at 2nd level. I developed a new catch phrase for me, "I want to touch it!" I sprung a trap in the process and tried to begin searching for traps more often before doing so. Of course with out the trap finding feature, my ability to do so was somewhat limited. Though I was glad I left wisdom at 10 and didn't dump stat it like I had strongly considered. Having perception as a class skill was also a significant boon. Other players got in on the fun too and started cracking many jokes about it. I loved that I could get info on the person who last used it. I can see this class feature being a regular vehicle for a GM to feed the party backstory and clues! Though next to nothing of the feature as I read the class. It was so similar to the 3.5 Bo9S Swordsage ability that I never got excited about even though I loved that class. In play, the extra info about users was awesome intel collection, I came to love it in play!

I really hope that OA will have archetypes right in the same book like the ACG, instead of waiting for another book like we had to do with the APG classes. I really want an archetype(or the base class itself) that grants heavy armor proficiency. I don't mind havering less offensive potential than other classes if I can stand up long enough in a fight. Then I could swing more often(by not getting knocked out so soon myself), to make up for less class features granting bonus to att/dam. Would be nice for those of us who want to swing a weapon on many of our turns.

I really like a class that sort of has extra gold each level in place of class features. I can use the resonance abilities to get the effects of standard/expected equipment and still have real gold left over to buy more unusual or fun equipment that otherwise would never make the cut with standard wealth by level allotment of funds. I know this is somewhat similar to the free craft magic item feats that an Eberron artificer gets in addition to it's pool to craft magic items without expending xp. I loved that about the artificer and would love to have a way to do so with the occultist. gives me an option in PFS where an Eberron Artificer is illegal to play. In PFS, even a wizard is prohibited from useing it's bonus feats to get crafting magic items. Also a nice way to get such a character style into a game with a PF fanboy fanatic GM that is closed minded to old 3.5 stuff but still open to expanded Paizo published material.

I am really happy and love the opportunity to wear medium, eventually heavy armor and also use bast focus powers/spells. I was never fond of the Magus option for such. I like that an occultist could start at 1st level with heavy armor at the cost of a feat or archetype instead of having to wait till much later like a magus would have to wait and not worry about arcane spell failure. I also hated how much the magus seemed dependent on dex. Considered going a str route for magus and could never justify it. I am not one of those people who complain about dex people needing 2 feats for dex att/dam and still coming up sort but looking at a magus with str not having any decent AC, at least not unless starting with a bunch of levels and GP, I just could never justify going that road. I think I could justify going the occultist method though. One feat or archtype is a cost I have an easier time swallowing. Doing 18str damage on a 2 hander is always respectable damage and enough for me. Especially when combined with a spring loaded wrist sheath and wand of shield along with medium/heavy armor. That type of staying power defensive wise, allows more swings that add up the damage.

I am so keen and super excited about the 5th level energy blast focus power that I felt I had to choose evocation as one of my first 3 implements to make sure I had access to it as early as possible. I really love that I can pick the energy type on the fly! After making knowledge checks on the monster to avoid wasting resources on an energy the monster is immune to!

Looking at the focus powers available at level one , only 2 looked any good to me. I choose the evocation one that allows me to exclude squares in area effects. It is even more important in PFS where friendly fire is prohibited. Sadly, I have no use for it because I choose the touch attack of shocking grasp(and option to later put it into a spell storing weapon vis transmutation ability) as way more important than a mandatory fixed to fire burning hands spell. I feel a little cheated about this. I really need that square exemption focus power in PFS to use energy blast at level 5 to avoid friendly fire shutting down the ability to be used at all. Please consider evocation getting some low level focus powers and/or base power alternatives like a 15' cone or a 5' radius.

I also like the abjuration focus to set up a warded area. Might work nice in conjunction with a reach weapon. Freeze them, smack'em next turn, back away and get AoO when they try to close again. Though the saveing throw may just make an initial readied attack a better option considering the warded area takes a standard action itself to use. This is why I did not bother choosing it even though I had every intention of starting each fight with a reach weapon. Change that warding activation to a move action or swift, and I am sure it will be consider by many more people.

I find there is a big difference between playing this in PFS vs a regular game when selecting spells. I believe in spending prestige to get sort of free wands/potions/scrolls. Comparatively, I would not expect sort of "freebies" like those in home campaigns where I would expect WBL, and thus don't feel I can justify spending gp on consumables beyond a team communal purchase of a wand of CLW. In PFS, I decided to buy 2 spring loaded wrist sheaths and used prestige to get both a wand of shield and a wand of CLW. I expect to get more prestige down the line, even less then full prestige accumulation would still be enough to replenish these two wands with new replacements. With these expectations, I deliberately choose not to take shield and CLW as spells known and am trying to think outside the box and come up with clever uses for the other spells on those implement lists. In a way, I feel like I am meta gaming the system. Some view that as bad, others as a good thing as it is harder to develop teamwork with a constantly revolving door of different partners one PFS game to the next. Anyway, I liked feeling the sort of freebie wands gave me an excuse and motivation to look for interesting ways to utilize other spells I would otherwise never have taken.

Love that psychic magic is like Psionics in that it is purely mental and can be executed even when paralyzed. Sadly my flash spell with a fort save would not work on the undead as they are immune to anything that required a fort save, but it could have worked vs. a spider or rogue with paralysis poison! While paralyzed, I also brainstormed using create water to try to make the floor slippery and harder for that undead to make acrobatic tumble checks. The GM didn't buy into such, but at least I was able to try to be creative and try something. Maybe next time I could use an unseen servant to knock stuff around and trick the enemy into thinking we have reinforcements coming from another direction.

Really excited to have a PC that can somewhat swing a decent melee weapon, and blast, and heal! I am currently ok with not being as good at any of those things as the classes really meant to focus on them. I just love the options to pick the right choice as the sitsuation sees fit.

I _was_ thankful the occultist has all martial weapons proficiency. I really appreciated(emphasis past tense) the option to switch among a large number of weapons in search of the right tool for the job at hand. With all martial weapon proficiencies , I didn't feel I really had to use a feat, PFS boon certificate, or PFS retired faction(Lantern Lodge) trait, Heirloom Weapon trait, 1/2 Elf alt race feature, ect. to get a 1/2 decent(not even good, just half decent) weapon to have a somewhat decent weapon swing option. In practice, I found this makes weapon focus MUCH, much, much harder to use. I was going to go without weapon focus this time, something I never did on any other weapon swinging character before, but with excalibur proxy constantly ranting about how poor of a combatant the occultist is, I thought I better grab that extra +5% chance to hit.

I often wondered if I would have been better off with weapons I usually use: meteor hammer, Dwarvern Dorn-Dergar, kusarigamma, 3.5 style spiked chain and their easier abilities to switch back and forth between reach and adjacent styles rather than having to drop one weapon and spend a move action to draw another(and maybe not have the reach weapon again if I later moved away from where I dropped it). After actually playing, I am really wondering if the all martial weapon proficiencies really matter as I am seriously questioning and now a little doubtful about the gp cost of enchanting two weapons, a great sword and Lucerne hammer for their ability to do more damage than a meteror hammer and similar weapons. This is after playing many PCs useing the various above mentioned exoctics(I tried all of them at least once and still rather just have a 3.5 spiked chain). I really wanted to experiment with just going for better bell curve damage(and crit options) with a martial weapon instead of the meteor hammer and similar crew, but now i am really seeing the value of those exotics, even at the same 2 feats compared to 2 feats comparisons but at least getting better action economy and less gp expenses. I know taking weapon focus twice is almost the same as taking weapon focus and exotic proficiency.

I choose to start each combat with a reach Lucerne Hammer because I wanted the bigger d12 damage over so many d10x3 reach weapons. I also liked that LH does both P/B damage. I found getting attacks of opportunity were very unlikely. Partially due to lack of combat reflexes. Mostly due to lack of partner players willing to wait for the enemy to close and provoke. I had planned to switch to great sword for better bell curve damage once the enemy and I were next to each other. I found I often had some reason to keep using reach so that plan did not work out so well. I took weapon fous in great sword thinking I would be using it more often. I find getting use out of weapon focus to be so much harder when switching weapons now. It really makes me wonder if the possible extra damage from multiple martial weapons is really worth taking over just taking an exotic again. Though I guess us feeling we have to make a hard choice is what is considered balanced instead of one option being purely better, maybe over powered?

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