I watch the waterfront: the Pearl Seeker paladin


Huh, the "Pearl Seeker" paladin archetype hasn't gotten any love. Let's take a look.

A pearl seeker is proficient with light and medium armor but not with shields, and gains Swim as a class skill.

Mmkay, not great but thematic.


Pearl seekers gain their power from a rare resonant sensitivity to the vision-granting entity. A pearl seeker gains Psychic Sensitivity as a bonus feat and can use detect psychic significance at will as a spell-like ability.

This ability replaces detect evil.

Man, I hate to lose detect evil. In return, you get... umm, a grab bag of weird skill unlocks? Of which unfortunately only three overlap with the paladin skill list (Heal/Faith Healing, Diplomacy/Hypnotism, and Sense Motive/Prognostication). Hum. Well... the occult skill unlocks are very situational, but there are times they can be useful. For instance, if you have a +1 Wis modifier and some knucklebones, it's a 60% chance to know a creature's alignment, and a 35% chance to know its class. Usable only once/day and requiring a 10 minute ritual, to be sure...

The cantrip is a cantrip. It might be better than detect evil; it really depends on how your DM chooses to interpret "psychic aura".


At 3rd level, a pearl seeker gains the 1st-level domain power of the Aquatic terrain domain, using her paladin level as her effective druid level. At 8th level, she gains the 6th-level domain power of the Aquatic terrain domain.

This ability replaces aura of courage and aura of resolve.

Dude! You're Aquaman! -- Seriously, in an aquatic or near-aquatic campaign? This is gold. The first level power is as follows: "You can channel energy (as a cleric of your druid level) a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Charisma modifier, but only to heal creatures with the aquatic or water subtype or to command them (similar to using the Command Undead feat against undead)." The bestiary is full of aquatic creatures with crap Will saves. Need to investigate that weird wreck? Throw some chum in the water, wait until a couple of sharks show up, now you have some strikers and flank buddies. Note that this works against ALL creatures with the aquatic or water subtypes, which is an immensely long list. At 3rd level you have a flat 5% chance of shutting down an ancient black dragon! More generally, as long as you're in or near water, you're in good shape. I'd consider throwing a feat at this just to get Improved Channel.


A pearl seeker casts divine spells spontaneously, using the spells known and spells per day from the bloodrager progression table. At 7th level, she gains slipstream as a bonus 1st-level spell known; at 10th level, she gains ride the waves as a bonus 2nd-level spell known; at 13th level, she gains fluid form as a bonus 3rd-level spell known; and at 16th level, she gains seamantle as a bonus 4th-level spell known. She also adds hydraulic push and hydraulic torrent (as a 1st and 3rd level spells, respectively) to her paladin spell list (but must learn these spells as normal).

This ability alters the paladin’s spells.

Okay, I'm not sure what to make of this one. Spontaneous casting is always good, but the bloodrager spell list is not all that -- it's mostly damage and combat spells that don't really integrate well with the paladin either mechanically or thematically. But OTOH I haven't spent that much time with the bloodrager, so maybe I'm missing something? The extra spells seem thematic but not particularly powerful.


At 5th level, a pearl seeker must choose a mount as her divine bond, gaining a hippocampus mount with the following companion statistics.

Size Large; Speed 5 ft., swim 80 ft.; AC +4 natural armor; Attack bite (1d6), tail slap (1d4; secondary attack); Ability Scores Str 18, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11; Special Qualities darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent, water dependency.

This ability alters divine bond and replaces channel positive energy.

Okay, this is probably why no love for the pearl seeker. This is both mechanically underwhelming and... well, silly. It's limiting the player to a very specific vision. It's bad enough restricting the paladin to one and only one mount. Sticking her with one of the dopiest mounts in the Bestiary is just adding insult to injury. Also, here at the end let's note that "Pearl Seeker" is just not a great name for any archetype, never mind a paladin.

That said, IF you ditch or amend the silly hippocampus, this actually looks like a flavorful and interesting archetype, if a bit underpowered. Thoughts?

Doug M.

I think the pearl seeker still uses the paladin spell list instead of bloodrager one. The description does not say anything about casting bloodrager spells as divine spells.

WagnerSika wrote:

I think the pearl seeker still uses the paladin spell list instead of bloodrager one. The description does not say anything about casting bloodrager spells as divine spells.

Interesting. Okay, that makes this a little better.

Doug M.

It's still a paladin (not viable in every campaign) specialised in fighting underwater (a sideshow in most campaigns). It basically screams 'NPC' to me.

avr wrote:
It's still a paladin (not viable in every campaign) specialised in fighting underwater (a sideshow in most campaigns). It basically screams 'NPC' to me.

Sure. But the hippocampus thing is still annoyingly specific, even for an NPC.

Let's see if we can't whip up something a little more interesting...

Doug M.

Okay, here's a first stab at a Pearl Seeker.

Eucrasia the Mudlark
Human Paladin (Pearl Seeker) 4

Str 13
Dex 12
Con 12
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 16 (+2 racial +1 level)

Feats: Alertness, Improved Channel, Skill Focus [Sense Motive], Two-Weapon Fighting

Skills: Diplomacy +7, Handle Animal +7, Heal +7, Perception +4, Sense Motive +13, Stealth +3, Swim +6.

Spells (4x/day): Blessing of the Watch (4 hours), Endure Elements

[if you let NPCs take traits, then give her a trait that makes Stealth a skill; this will allow her, in a pinch, to swim quietly around at night spamming detect psychic significance.]

Eucrasia is in her late thirties, a bit on the short side, mild-mannered but with very intense eyes. "The Mudlark" is her nickname. She's responsible for the waterfront of a small port city. Part beat cop, part social worker, with a dash of Customs enforcer. Everyone knows Eucrasia. Not everyone likes her (though many do), but almost everyone respects her.

She actually used to *be* a mudlark, back when -- which is a slang term for the poor children who live along the waterfront, and make a living by scavenging, begging, and stealing from ships. This city doesn't really have mudlarks any more; Eucrasia has seen that they're taken care of. In a good way.

Three slightly unusual things. One, Eucrasia can commune with the water once/day. (This is her Prognostication skill unlock.) She throws some special colored powder on the water's surface (that's the +2 item) and contemplates the movement of the colors for ten minutes. This gives her a Sense Motive check at +15 once/day to discover any creature's alignment (DC 15 + its HD), class (DC 20 + HD), level / HD (25 + HD), or to determine its fortune as per an augury spell (same). So, if an unknown boat docks with a sketchy looking captain who's actually a 5th level NE rogue, she'd get his alignment on a 5 or higher, character class on a 10, and level on a 15.

Eucrasia uses this power every day to check on the most interesting around the waterfront. Unlike Detect Evil, this can only be used once/day and doesn't always work; on the other hand, if it does work, it works on all levels and punches right through magical protection. And if Eucrasia doesn't get a result she'll keep trying. So, any dubious characters who come around the water front will be winkled out sooner or later. (+13 Sense Motive is also helpful here, of course.) If nobody interesting is wandering around, she tries to use the Augury power to check on orphan children or homeless people to make sure nothing is threatening them.

Second, she spams detect psychic significance many times a day. So while she can't detect evil, she would instantly pick up on the awful psychic aura of (for instance) a slave ship.

The last slightly unusual thing is that her Aquatic domain power lets her control aquatic creatures. Anything that fails a DC 17 Will save is under her complete control for the next 4 minutes. There are little crabs all along the waterfront; she can try to control them, and if they fail their save (Will +0), a CR 4 crab swarm forms within d3 rounds. If she's in the water, there's usually a large (CR 2 or 3) aquatic creature hanging around -- she has used careful feeding plus Handle Animal to make sure there's always a giant crayfish or a sea lion or something lurking around, and her domain power makes sure they'll come quick if she needs help. If given some advance warning, she might be able to attract the attention of more powerful creatures which she could then attempt to control -- chum in the water for sharks, and such.

Eucrasia is perfectly comfortable in water. She'll cheerfully dive into water that is icy cold (endure elements) or foully dirty (immunity to disease). Unusually for a paladin, she doesn't much care about decorum or cleanliness. Her job is first to keep the waterfront safe, and second to ensure that the laws are enforced. If that means spending a few hours clinging to an anchor chain of a boat full of suspected contraband, so be it. Nothing in the water is going to hurt her. Justice will be served.

Eucrasia can be a helpful background NPC; could rescue good-aligned PCs in a pinch; or could be a challenge or obstacle for criminal or evil ones -- "good luck getting that past The Mudlark!" Play her as a serious minded professional, though with a very tender heart under that no-nonsense exterior.


Doug M.

The monstrous mount feat might be used to get something more useful out of the water than a hippocampus. Exactly what to do with your griffon underwater would be a question of course. I guess some of those bonus spells might be relevant.

avr wrote:
It's still a paladin (not viable in every campaign) specialised in fighting underwater (a sideshow in most campaigns). It basically screams 'NPC' to me.

Could be useful in Ruins Of Azlant adventure path.

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