Speculating About The Final Two Magical Traditions


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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There are four mystical essences: Life, Matter, Mind, and Spirit. These essences power magic, and each tradition of magic uses two. Arcane uses Matter and Mind, Divine uses Life and Spirit, Primal uses Life and Matter, and Occult uses Mind and Spirit. That leaves two possible combinations to be explored: Matter and Spirit, and Life and Mind. What are your thoughts about what these might look like? Do any of the existing PF1 classes maybe map onto them? Here are my thoughts.

Matter and Spirit have an interesting interplay. One concerns the body, the other the soul. Just the body, however; there are no thoughts in play, and no life force either. That would leave an inanimate object. Do inanimate objects have souls of their own? There is a possibility, but it is more likely that they would absorb the spiritual essence of whoever or whatever used them, or lived near them. Is there a class that fits that bill? Why, yes. However, it has the wrong name. My bet is that this tradition will be represented by a renamed Occultist.

The Life essence is the "animating universal force within all things," (CRB 300) and the Mind essence allows for thoughts and memories. Therefore, the last tradition would have to control both things. Say, by using their thoughts to control the minds and bodies of others. This doesn't have to be solely offensive; there are a lot of ways such a mage could help their allies as well as harm the enemy. For my money, this tradition would be best represented by the Mesmerist, a caster that can convince both ally and enemy of anything, and can affect their bodies to back it up.

How does any of this sound? What are your thoughts?

Liberty's Edge

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The pairs of Matter/Spirit and Mental/Vital have been presented as oppositional (ie: Mental and Vital are in opposition). Additionally, all the four existing traditions have a specifically linked Skill, which any new traditions would not.

I'm thus not at all sure there are going to be two more traditions in this fashion. It's certainly possible, but I wouldn't assume it will happen.


I guess Matter/Spirit could be the combination for psychic magic as the combination is kind of fitting for the telekinetic and ectoplasmic spell themes which were both a big part of it


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Seisho wrote:
I guess Matter/Spirit could be the combination for psychic magic as the combination is kind of fitting for the telekinetic and ectoplasmic spell themes which were both a big part of it

Having Psychic without the Mental essence wouldn’t make sense; that’s 75% of what people associate with the word. Telekinetic and ectoplasmic stuff all fall under Spiritual. Mental + Spiritual = Occult.


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In other posts (and I encourage you to look up Mark’s posts on essences, they’re great) Mark mentioned that Matter is linked to the elemental planes, while Spirit is linked to the outer planes. Thus, I grew curious if summoners, who draw on both of those, might have cool applications if they wound up with that spell list, which I call “Eldritch”.

I personally feel (based on analysis of the playtest spell lists and the PF1 witch spell list) that Witches would be closest aligned with Mind/Life (ethereal, shadow, and First World). But it’s hard to argue that psychic can’t be reflavored to cover this as well. I call this one “Mystic” for lack of a better term.

But as Deadman says, it’s entirely possible we’ll never get those as actual spell lists. I’m curious how they will step beyond the four lists we have, or if they never do officially and 3PP step into that gap.

I can’t wait to get the CRB and rerun my spreadsheets on the actual lists. I’m curious what changed they made since the playtest.


I find the Matter/Spirit (or is that material/spiritual) to be the overlap connection that the Occultist taps into.

Getting spiritual magical stuff linked to objects.

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