Why are bards occult? And what does occult mean?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I'd also add that it's VERY important to remember that Pathfinder's "occult" is VERY different from what most other fantasy RPGs label "psionic." There's much more focus on things being esoteric and mysterious, touching on barely understood powers, as opposed to just having a very powerful brain.

Thank god. I hated psionics from the moment it first came into D&D. It always just felt wrong because D&D requires magic and telepathy always seemed much more an element of science fiction.


Kyrone wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
Yeah, that oblivion oath instance was straight out of the playtest.
A little stronger actually, Zel recovered 14 hit points (2d6 instead of 1d6 + spellcasting I think) and got a +2 against mental effects instead of +1.

If Heal is 1d8+8 in final, I would assume Soothe will be 1d6+6 with rider effect. However, that doesn't add up to 14, so either Jason can't math or something else is at play (as 2d6+12 wouldn't add up either, too unlikely).

Having both Heal and Soothe heal 1d8+8 would work with the numbers and scale equally, with Heal having versatility and Soothe a niche rider, but somehow it doesn't feel right to me.

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Jason can math. It was a very good roll if it was indeed a 1st level casting, but 14 is possible for 1st-level soothe.

Liberty's Edge

Considering how easy it is to start with an 18 now I would be surprised if she didn't have one for Charisma. Given that, 2d6+4 could easily be up to 16 healing, so 14 is, like Mark said, achievable... of course, that's assuming the healing was literally doubled from the playtest version, but given that it's (probably) a 2 action cast vs the versatile casting of the heal spell that seems fair

Dark Archive

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kaineblade83 wrote:
Considering how easy it is to start with an 18 now I would be surprised if she didn't have one for Charisma. Given that, 2d6+4 could easily be up to 16 healing, so 14 is, like Mark said, achievable... of course, that's assuming the healing was literally doubled from the playtest version, but given that it's (probably) a 2 action cast vs the versatile casting of the heal spell that seems fair

It's also not impossible that it gained the same kind of buff that 2-action Heal got. 14 healing is plausible for 1d6 + 6 + CHA

Liberty's Edge

3Doubloons wrote:
kaineblade83 wrote:
Considering how easy it is to start with an 18 now I would be surprised if she didn't have one for Charisma. Given that, 2d6+4 could easily be up to 16 healing, so 14 is, like Mark said, achievable... of course, that's assuming the healing was literally doubled from the playtest version, but given that it's (probably) a 2 action cast vs the versatile casting of the heal spell that seems fair
It's also not impossible that it gained the same kind of buff that 2-action Heal got. 14 healing is plausible for 1d6 + 6 + CHA

Yeah that's very true, it might also be variable (which would be kinda cool, honestly)


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Looks like I didn't pay close enough attention to the Occult spell list. Though in my defense, I was looking for phrases like "heal x" and "cure x wounds."


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The longest part of rolling up my playtest bard was finding that damn spell.

My hope is that the CRB has short summaries for each of the spells instead of just the bare list.

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
My hope is that the CRB has short summaries for each of the spells instead of just the bare list.

It does.

Liberty's Edge

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Mark Seifter wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
My hope is that the CRB has short summaries for each of the spells instead of just the bare list.
It does.

Excellent. *steeples fingers*


Heal doesn’t seem to add Wisdom. Also, Mark said first level.
While 1d8+8 still feels wrong in my head, I’m going for single dice with flat modifier.


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BadHairDay wrote:
Thank god. I hated psionics from the moment it first came into D&D. It always just felt wrong because D&D requires magic and telepathy always seemed much more an element of science fiction.

If you can find a copy of it, read P.E.I. Bonewits' Authentic Thaumaturgy. It explains that the ability to do magic comes from innate psychic abilities, of which telepathy is just one, or actually two, sending and receiving. :-)

AT presents a magic system that could replace the system in just about any RPG. It doesn't provide a lot of spells - the emphasis is on using your innate psychic abilities and the laws of magic to devise your own spells. He does give a couple of examples, like "finger of blowing out of saddle", which requires a cheroot and a serape as materials. :-)

Oh, and "a spell is a process, not a thing." (It's the process of putting yourself in a mental state in which you can access your psychic abilities).


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Ed Reppert wrote:
BadHairDay wrote:
Thank god. I hated psionics from the moment it first came into D&D. It always just felt wrong because D&D requires magic and telepathy always seemed much more an element of science fiction.

If you can find a copy of it, read P.E.I. Bonewits' Authentic Thaumaturgy. It explains that the ability to do magic comes from innate psychic abilities, of which telepathy is just one, or actually two, sending and receiving. :-)

AT presents a magic system that could replace the system in just about any RPG. It doesn't provide a lot of spells - the emphasis is on using your innate psychic abilities and the laws of magic to devise your own spells. He does give a couple of examples, like "finger of blowing out of saddle", which requires a cheroot and a serape as materials. :-)

Oh, and "a spell is a process, not a thing." (It's the process of putting yourself in a mental state in which you can access your psychic abilities).

Those are great spell components. That does make me think of those old Weird Tales (and Dune) where psychic powers often involved sniffing something or drinking something (hmmmm, maybe the alchemist is already psychic). Maybe black lotus, hallucinatory mushrooms, Spice, and Granny's Moonshine as archetypes.....


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The problem is that the word "Occult" has lots of cultural expectations that are contrary to the cultural expectations associated with the word "Bard". Although occult works swimmingly with all those classes in the "Occult Adventures" book.

Mystic/Mysticism would have worked better for the fourth source of magic. The Bard, the classes in Occult Adventures and even a big pile of not yet released psionic classes would make sense with a Mystic magic source.


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avatarless wrote:
The problem is that the word "Occult" has lots of cultural expectations

I disagree. It's IMPOSSIBLE to pin down a "cultural expectation" of occult. I look at a book site and they say occult covers "the supernatural and occult, witchcraft and sorcery, vampires and werewolves, secret societies, esoteric philosophies, astrology, and other fascinating subjects" Another says it covers "Books about witchcraft, spells or the occult. Spellbooks, alchemy and herbalism." An occult bookstore describes themselves as " Skilled and experienced pan-traditional team focused on preserving the wisdom of the masters and keeping the knowledge of spiritual ancient mysteries intact."

If any complaint can be brought against occult, IMO it'd be it's too broad a term and doesn't have a single cultural expectation.

Silver Crusade

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avatarless wrote:
and even a big pile of not yet released psionic classes would make sense with a Mystic magic source.

Since Paizo doesn't make psionic classes that's rather a moot point.


Dream scarred will probably end up doing our pf2 psionic classes like last time.

Now I do expect the Psychic classes eventually at least the ones that aren't redundant.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:

Dream scarred will probably end up doing our pf2 psionic classes like last time.

Now I do expect the Psychic classes eventually at least the ones that aren't redundant.

I fully expect to see the Occultist at some point, though perhaps given a different name (bit on the nose in PF2, though we did have an Arcane caster called the Arcanist...) and I also suspect we'll see the Kineticist return. I think there's a lot of potential behind the idea of the Medium but uh, hopefully the second try goes better than the first.


It doesn't seem the most popular class, but I really like the Spiritualist, too. I want to see all the Occult classes come back. The Psychic will be an interesting one to design, however. A lot of those unique spells to the Psychic can definitely come back as focus powers, but I'm not sure what else it will need to make it stand out from a Sorcerer.


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Occult can mean creepy
Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult


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rainzax wrote:

Occult can mean creepy

Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult

Prog Rock Bards are arcane, though.


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Albatoonoe wrote:
rainzax wrote:

Occult can mean creepy

Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult

Prog Rock Bards are arcane, though.

That would make Christian Rock Bards divine.


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Feros wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
rainzax wrote:

Occult can mean creepy

Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult

Prog Rock Bards are arcane, though.
That would make Christian Rock Bards divine.

"You aren't making Sarenrism better, you are making folk dancing worse!"

Silver Crusade

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Stone Dog wrote:
Feros wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
rainzax wrote:

Occult can mean creepy

Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult

Prog Rock Bards are arcane, though.
That would make Christian Rock Bards divine.
"You aren't making Sarenrism better, you are making folk dancing worse!"

"I provide Inspire Courage and Inspire Courage rider effects."


Feros wrote:
Albatoonoe wrote:
rainzax wrote:

Occult can mean creepy

Musicians can be creepy
Bards can be musicians

Ergo, Bards can be Occult

Prog Rock Bards are arcane, though.
That would make Christian Rock Bards divine.

And Flower Power bards primal?

Too bad the sorcerer stole that niche from the bards that have their casting tradition tied to music genre.


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...Now I'm wondering what casting tradition Yngwie Malmsteen would be. Thanks guys. :P


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MaxAstro wrote:
...Now I'm wondering what casting tradition Yngwie Malmsteen would be. Thanks guys. :P

Neoclassical Metal is definitely arcane, it's largely the same ideas as prog rock taken in a very different direction.

I assume "three chords and the truth" genres like punk would likely still be occult?

Sovereign Court

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Would BOC and Pink Floyd be Occult or Arcane? I can see it a bit of both ways.


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Tim Statler wrote:
Would BOC and Pink Floyd be Occult or Arcane? I can see it a bit of both ways.

Pink Floyd feels Occult. Queen/Freddie Mercury is Primal, on the basis of Thunderbolts and Lightning. Arcane too stuffy.


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I think any music that can summon demons when played in reverse would be occult, right?


Mechalibur wrote:
I think any music that can summon demons when played in reverse would be occult, right?

Led Zeppelin certainly feels at home in occult to me. Sabbath, The Rolling Stones. Pink Floyd.

But then there’s some progressive rock I feel fits in a primal way, like TGD but then Rush feels very Arcane to me. And weirdly the Beatles, depending on Era, can kinda fluctuate. Hell, id say Paul has touched on every list in some sense, maybe not religion (Let It Be is kind of like a Divine song that he got because his muse gave it to him, in this case his mother).

Even Bob Dylan is still kinda occult though because understanding him when he sings is a secret in itself.


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Mechalibur wrote:
I think any music that can summon demons when played in reverse would be occult, right?

Chicago is definitely occult, yeah.


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MaxAstro wrote:
Mechalibur wrote:
I think any music that can summon demons when played in reverse would be occult, right?
Chicago is definitely occult, yeah.

Little Nicky reference I presume?


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I feel like bards slot into occult because faith healing, cartomancy, hypnotism, crystalmancy, automatic writing etc. are very much in the realm of the occult and it's certainly easier to see the carnival folk with their harrow cards and crystal balls as bards than any other mystic tradition.


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You guys have actually made me feel better about bards being Occult casters. Pink Floyd is definitely some outer gods music.

What bugs me is Bards getting the spell Bind Soul, while wizards don’t. It doesn’t even really bother me that Bards got it, it just bugs me that wizards didn’t. At least in the play test. Does anyone know if that continues to be true in the print version.

My wizard aspires to collect the souls of his enemies... an improved familiar that spits up soul gems would work too....


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I doubt it. Soul/Spiritual magic is not one of the essences Wizards mess with.


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I'm not gonna lie, I had very little interest in this topic until it turned into what spellcasting type actual musicians count as, now i am very interested.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
I doubt it. Soul/Spiritual magic is not one of the essences Wizards mess with.

This is likely correct for the arcane list as a whole. But if they went the route of Schools adding out-of-list spells like Bloodlines do, Soul Bind might wind up available to a Necromancer.

Alternatively, there might well be a Ritual for that, in which case anyone with ridiculous amounts of the right skills could do it.

Silver Crusade

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Maybe it has to do with the style of casting? You're not going to draw a soul into confinement with cold logic and academic jargon, souls respond to FEELINGS, and what do people always say about music? "It speaks to my soul!" ;)


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I doubt it. Soul/Spiritual magic is not one of the essences Wizards mess with.

This is likely correct for the arcane list as a whole. But if they went the route of Schools adding out-of-list spells like Bloodlines do, Soul Bind might wind up available to a Necromancer.

Alternatively, there might well be a Ritual for that, in which case anyone with ridiculous amounts of the right skills could do it.

True on both points. I've said before, it would be my preference for them to have gone that route for wizards, so hopefully they were able to make that happen.

That one of the stated reasons that the arcane list is so bloated was so they specifically didn't have to allow specializations to add spells to the arcane list like bloodlines do (for the playtest at least) doesn't give me hope though.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
That one of the stated reasons that the arcane list is so bloated was so they specifically didn't have to allow specializations to add spells to the arcane list like bloodlines do (for the playtest at least) doesn't give me hope though.

This isn't quite how this was phrased (it was always phrased as specialists needing spells, not them being unwilling to do the Bloodline thing), and was always presented as a problem they were looking for solutions to.

Doesn't mean they'll have done it, but I think the likelihood is higher than you're implying.

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Kurgon9 wrote:

You guys have actually made me feel better about bards being Occult casters. Pink Floyd is definitely some outer gods music.

What bugs me is Bards getting the spell Bind Soul, while wizards don’t. It doesn’t even really bother me that Bards got it, it just bugs me that wizards didn’t. At least in the play test. Does anyone know if that continues to be true in the print version.

My wizard aspires to collect the souls of his enemies... an improved familiar that spits up soul gems would work too....

I'm not up to date on pf2 spells/spell lists. Perhaps you can make a pact/planar binding with a devil to do the soul work for you.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
That one of the stated reasons that the arcane list is so bloated was so they specifically didn't have to allow specializations to add spells to the arcane list like bloodlines do (for the playtest at least) doesn't give me hope though.

This isn't quite how this was phrased (it was always phrased as specialists needing spells, not them being unwilling to do the Bloodline thing), and was always presented as a problem they were looking for solutions to.

Doesn't mean they'll have done it, but I think the likelihood is higher than you're implying.

If I'm wrong, if that wasn't exactly how it was phrased, then by all means give the exact phrasing. Because what I recall was them saying they wanted to make sure the arcane list was large enough and had a deep enough breadth of spells that all specialists had something to do with their specialist ability. The implication was that they added these spells to the arcane list, not the wizard spell list (which includes the arcane lists and any spells their class abilities would add). Afaik, there's no evidence that schools add spells (focus spells aside), merely enable more casts per day.

If that has changed, I would be pleased to hear it.

As an aside, was this a complete list of the CRB rituals, or just a selection, do we know:

92. Rituals by Level wrote:

2 Animate object, consecrate, create undead, inveigle

3 Geas
4 Atone, blight, plant growth
5 Call spirit, planar ally, resurrect
6 Awaken animal, commune, commune with nature, planar binding, primal call
7 legend lore
8 Control weather, freedom, imprisonment

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
If I'm wrong, if that wasn't exactly how it was phrased, then by all means give the exact phrasing.

Sure! Here's the main post on it from Mark Seifter.

AnimatedPaper wrote:
Because what I recall was them saying they wanted to make sure the arcane list was large enough and had a deep enough breadth of spells that all specialists had something to do with their specialist ability. The implication was that they added these spells to the arcane list, not the wizard spell list (which includes the arcane lists and any spells their class abilities would add). Afaik, there's no evidence that schools add spells (focus spells aside), merely enable more casts per day.

What was said made no reference at all to Bloodlines and how they work. It was a general complaint about the difficulty of trimming spells from the Arcane list and explaining why that was difficult and troublesome.

Bloodline-style spells for Schools are one solution to this problem, and not one people at Paizo have ever commented on one way or the other (at least not to my knowledge).

AnimatedPaper wrote:
If that has changed, I would be pleased to hear it.

I have no idea if they've done anything of the kind, I was just saying that they've never stated a definitive position against the idea.

AnimatedPaper wrote:
As an aside, was this a complete list of the CRB rituals, or just a selection, do we know:

We don't know.


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So, yeah. My earlier characterization was correct.

In the playtest, which was what my comment was about, wizard specialization didn't add spells. The arcane list was bloated specifically so that specialists could experience a full list despite specializations in the playtest not adding those spells for them (at least in part, I'll concede misremembered it being the only reason).

Quote:
there are eight schools of magic and the wizard specialist in a given school demands a place at the table, even for schools that mostly match an essence that isn't part of arcane.

Yes, they could change that. I would prefer that they had done so. But, as I said, them not doing so for the playtest, choosing a different method to solve the same problem, doesn't give me hope they ultimately changed it for the final product. In fact, given that there's apparently an additional pressure to allow the arcane list to cast a wide net even beyond just letting specialists have their toys, as Mark discusses in that post, now makes me feel it's even less likely.

Quote:
The idea that arcane is a big tent that covers most spells is real; pretty much all of occult's occult-only spells were created after a push to give occult some unique spells, and yet alpha playtesters still asked me why they weren't on the arcane list

I don't particularly like playing wizards, so the need to let wizard players feel like they can have the majority of all spells genuinely hadn't occurred to me as a concern. That's probably why I hadn't remembered it, and only focused on the bits about specialists.

Liberty's Edge

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
So, yeah. My earlier characterization was correct.

What you said was

AnimatedPaper wrote:
That one of the stated reasons that the arcane list is so bloated was so they specifically didn't have to allow specializations to add spells to the arcane list like bloodlines do (for the playtest at least) doesn't give me hope though.

Emphasis mine.

This implies the idea was considered and explicitly rejected. That may even be true, but it's certainly not anywhere in the post I quoted, and was the point I was objecting to. Which is relevant because if they've considered it and very specifically rejected it that's a very different situation from them not having approached it from that angle before.

So your initial post on this subject implied that they had specific and explicit objection to doing this, which they do not seem to. Rather, they didn't do it and we don't know why they chose that route. I don't disagree with you that they didn't do this in the playtest, I mean they obviously didn't. But you seem like you're assuming facts not in evidence in regards to their motivations in doing so.

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