Thaumaturge Analysis (and Minor Playtest Experience)


Thaumaturge Class

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I’ve played with the class twice but in both sessions, the character was more or less not truly engaged in combat in either. I don’t think I’m going to get any more play out of it before the survey so this will all probably come off as more of a class guide but it’s whatever….

Base Chassis:
Key ability was a shock to me as many others but I’ve warmed to it. If they open it up to another mental ability score or leave it as is, it will not affect my opinion of the class much at this point but my preference in key abilities is CHA=INT>WIS. Charisma and intelligence allow multiclassing into any spell casting tradition but wisdom is going to be limited to divine and primal.

It’s been touched on by just about everyone else already but, yeah, this class is SUPER MAD and does NOT seem to be very charismatic (nor do I think it really wants to be) even though it is a charisma based character. Again, I’m still fine with charisma as the key ability but as a martial class, things like attack bonuses, defenses, hit points and skills need to be compensated for in some way if this class is going to be based around one of the least combat relevant ability scores.

I’m still not keen on the idea of the Thaumaturge “convinicing” the universe to change reality, but it seems that nothing in the class explicitly states that is what’s happening. I am perfectly happy with the currently introductory page’s description of the class. It should be a bit vague so each person can decide the workings of how their Thaumatuge does their thing.

8 hit points are what I would expect for a martial that dabbles in low magic but the MADness of the class makes me think bumping it up to 10 hp would at least be worth considering.

Getting up to master in perception makes sense but starting out expert gives the impression that you’d end up legendary. Sort of awkward.

The saving throws makes sense. I personally like that fortitude gets a bump before reflex but by the end, your better of the 2 is up to your build since they balance out. I’m surprised they get legendary in will saves so early. No complaints but I wouldn’t be surprised if they delayed the final will advancement.

Staring skills are great. I like how they give you the 4 magic tradition skills to compensate for needing them but likely not having a great starting intelligence. I also really appreciate the additional bumps to your choice of those skills. I would like them to add at least one more bump for them at 5th level so you can naturally go expert > master > legendary. It will push it a teensy bit in the skill monkey direction but only in a very particular direction and with no bonus skill feats. Another alternative idea I’ve had is give the class extra limited skill increases like the Investigator but keep them to arcana, nature, occultism or religion.

Weapon, armor and class DC proficiencies and advancement are fine as is.

Ancestry, general and skill feats. Nothing out of the ordinary from what I see. Perfectly fine. Nothing more to ask. I wouldn’t mind a few bonus skill feats for the magical tradition skills but….I won’t be hurt if it doesn’t happen. It’d be a pleasant surprise that made sense though.

I am indifferent to Dubious Knowledge. It makes sense but I know some people hate the feat in general. I feel like they should give the choice between this or Trick Magic Item or even both. Hefty Hauler might also be a good idea for a free feat since you know…you’re constantly carrying around a bunch of stuff. There are probably a few other skill feats that might work just as well. Overall, I’m fine with it as is but wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed by a change.

Esoterica, Find Flaw and Esoteric Antithesis are abilities I was VERY pleasantly surprised to see. Recall knowledge and monster hunting are something I did NOT expect the new Occultist to focus around but they are something I love building around anyway so I was stoked it was something the class is heavily based on. To me they are basically the new Legacy Weapon and Philosopher’s Touch with a better version of recall knowledge tacked on. Adding Implement’s Empower onto this is just….WOW! I get the impression all of this extra damage is due to the fact that builds will likely have a fairly poor success rate with attacks for a martial class so there needs to be some compensation. But I love it.

Implements:

I think they are all good in their own way. I have a preference for some over others but objectively, they all look good. Overall, I think they continue with what made the PF1 Occultist so special; the Thaumaturge is a class that can be built for a variety of roles. One critique: overall, I think Intense Implement should be core to the class. I think Thaumaturge’s should naturally end with 1 paragon, 1 adept and 1 initiate. It just seems to fill out the theme of “3 is significant” more; like, a tier 1, a tier 2 and a tier 3, and not, 2 tier 1s and a tier 3. Feel’s awkward.

Amulet is a great choice for a tank or defensive support build. Ok, maybe it won’t make you a great tank but it will greatly help you as a stand-in for the role.

I am mostly happy with the Chalice. I think the adept ability should allow you to lower conditions by one level and then the paragon should allow you to drop them by 2. I’m not sure if that would be too strong though. I’m not much of a healer player so I can’t really say if this is too strong, too weak or just right. It might be just right……

Lantern….hmm….I’d say perfect as is. Not my preferred choice but always tempting, especially for particularly spooky campaigns. I took this on my character to help detect haunts as we were in a haunted building. It has been helpful when used alongside Haunt Cunning.

Wand is an implement I will likely always pick at some point if my character is leaning toward magic. I think it should be changed to not specifically be a wand. I think anything that could reasonably be considered a spell focus should work. Examples being staves, holy symbols and rods. I would like a few more options for damage types and adept level debuffs and some should probably target different saves. Other than that, I am happy with it. This implement plus the pact feats plus the class being a charisma-based magical martial reminds me a lot of the 5e Warlock which I think many will appreciate as well.

Weapon is an odd one for me. I would probably take it at some point but I’m not crazy about it. I’ve never been a huge fan of using attack of opportunity. Not that I think AoO is bad in any way. It was just never something I fawned over. That being said, this in its advanced stages plus Esoteric Reflexes plus all the bonus damage from Esoteric Antithesis and Implement’s Empowerment seems BRUTAL!

I think somewhere in this class, there should be the ability to easily swap out implements and their improvements, possibly at a faster rate than retraining would allow.

Thoughts and suggestions for future implements:
A debuffing implement (active) – By far my preferred option
A stealth/concealing implement (active, passive or reactive)
A pet/companion implement (passive)
A mobility implement (active or passive)

Thaumaturge Feats:

I’m going to go over the feats that follow a theme or path and then the feats that are kind of just a thing of their own.

Esoteric Lore and Know-It-All are great. I like them as they are. MAYBE add a feat similar to Master Monster Hunter/Bestiary Scholar. I’m thinking Esoteric Lore might actually be something worth putting in the core chassis as the class still needs skill support. Otherwise, keep as is.

I’m surprised the familiar feats go up to Incredible Familiar but no complaints here.

The scroll feats plus Miracle Wonder are great. I’d kind of like for them to add that the scrolls you create don’t necessarily need to come in the form of scrolls but it’s really whatever. It would maybe just help add to the immersion of the class. I would like some additional feats branching off of Scroll Thaumaturgy that give the Thaumaturge the ability to freely use any wands or staves without needing Trick Magic Item as well.

The combat related feats such as Esoteric Warden, Rule of Three and Implement’s Assault (among a few others I missed I’m sure) are all great. If the scroll feats are for the caster-y Thaumaturge builds that maxed their charisma, these are for the Thaumaturge that want to thrive in martial combat. I did notice there are A LOT of them. I’m wondering if some of them should be consolidated or if some major ones should be swapped out for core abilities, like Rule of Three swapped with Esoteric Antithesis. Maybe one or two could just be straight added to the chassis….

Talisman feats. I’m honestly not a fan of talismans as is. However, these do seem necessary for the class because they are super on theme but other than that I really have no opinion of them. I’m wondering if they should be tacked on with the Scroll Esoterica feats.

The Magic Circle feats definitely came over from the PF1 Occultist. I like them. They are magical traps and as you are pretty much a monster hunter by default, these feats are very cool and on theme. It would probably be a big stretch but I want to find a way to use these for a makeshift Planar Binding. It is already stated but I think it should maybe be reinforced or stated more toward the end of the feat description that the circles work in 1 direction, inward or outward.

The Pact feats are cool and I hope there are more of them. I do agree with others that they should probably be available for anybody. They already seem more fitting for Witches so….but yeah. They are neat and appropriately uncommon.

Handy Esoterica and Implausible Esoterica are kinda coming off as overkill after the scroll and talisman feats. I think they are great but…..maybe just leave them for the less magical Rogues and Investigators.

Shared Antithesis and other feats that share your abilities with the party are awesome for making you a martial marshal. I like that they can, for the most part, be taken fairly easily with little to no prerequisites.

The initial demesne feat feels bad. It’s like….”Whoopy….I have…a house (or shack really)…Guess I don’t have to pay the negligible cost of a room at an inn in this one particular location.” It needs the first feat changed to have the ability to access this lowly shack from any location and the improvement feat needs to add various features beyond what a basic camp would provide, like a full kitchen or maybe even an alchemist lab or a study for research. These are definitely the most unattractive feats of the class that need the most improvement or removal to make space for other feats.

Binding Oath is interesting. It’s likely nothing I will ever take that I can think of but it seems good but I think your oaths should be permanent and if you ever break an oath with someone or a group, you should take a permanent penalty on those checks with that person or group. It currently comes off as a little too easy to abuse for what the mechanics represent. It maybe should be the entry level mundane version of the uncommon pact feats.

Divine Disharmony is cool. It helps compensate for your likely below optimal attack bonus in a very thematically awesome way. It also works off your charisma and lets you choose between 2 skills which is nice. Its only fault is that Rule of Three will later overshadow it as it will become too expensive with the action economy to consider worthwhile.

Haunt Cunning might be little too situational but perfect for a haunted house type campaign. I used it and was able to locate a major complex haunt for the party before they would have stumbled upon it haphazardly. Sadly, my only meaningful experience with this playtest revolved around this feat. At least I found it useful.

Root to Life is OK. Anyone can administer first aid but this makes it easier. Meh…I dunno. Again, I’m not much of a healer player. It might be great.

Call Implement: For that one time when you lost a major core features. I think it should be a 1st level feat or given for free at first level. Then again….it could be handy with a thrown weapon implement or another creative use which might warrant its current status as a 2nd level feat.

One More Activation is cool. I think it should work on wands as well. I also think it needs to clarify if you can use this ability “once per day” or “once per day per item”.

Thaumaturgic Ritualist is also cool. Keep it. I still don’t like that this is yet another uncommon feat but it’s understandable.

I’m not sure if Turn Away Misfortune would be used often. I get the impression it is VERY situational. I’m not sure if it should merit a class feat but then again, how else are you going to obtain it (?) and something like this SHOULD be a thing. There doesn’t seem to be many misfortune effect sources currently but I can easily see that change with the release of this book. Maybe add a once per day re-roll or penalty negation.

Thaumaturge’s Investiture feels like it maybe could be part of the core but they do already get a lot so…..but yeah, it’s great.

Esoteric Reflexes seems great for the 2 reactive implements we already have. I’m happy with it.

Implement’s Flight. WHAT!? Yeah, this is REALLY good! Very late game but understandably so.

I feel like Sever Magic should be lower level. Not sure how much lower but 16 feels a bit late. Either way, it is good.

Trespass Teleportation is cool but seems pretty situational and possibly dangerous. Imagine you’re battling a demon on the material plane and it decides to teleport to the abyss and you follow it, not knowing where you are going and your party can’t follow. I think it should give you innate teleportation but limiting to distances up to your top speed and requiring an equal amount of actions. Basically, it should just allow you to circumnavigate physical barriers such as walls, cliffs and large gaps. Although that’s not much different than Implement’s Flight. It’s very cool but needs a rework I think to keep it from being too dangerous but also different from Implement’s Flight.

Lastly, I want to touch upon the consumable item feats again. They are plenty but also railroad-y. Again, I think the Scroll Esoterica and Talisman Esoterica feats should maybe be combined and start at level 4.

Summary:

Overall, conceptually and thematically I’m definitely in love with this class. Power-wise, I’m not so sure. I haven’t had the opportunity to get any truly meaningful play with it to judge. It definitely needs some additions and adjustments. It should not be confused for a class that wants to be everything at once. It is a class that should be good but not the best at a few roles you build it for and so far it seems to be making an honest attempt of it. Competent martial combatant? It’s there in some form. Helpful support class? Definitely has the makings for one. Capable caster? The ability to prepare any spell in the game within some limits and have decent DCs and attack bonuses for those spell is there. Want to have a ton of ways to interact with all the weirdness you will inevitably encounter in Golarion? That’s practically already the class’s specialty and is heavily supported though I think it needs more. Should the class be able to get all of these specialties at once? No way and I don’t think it’s close to possible as is but you can still get a nice balance between 2 or 3 of those roles. It just needs a bump in competence or action economy efficiency.

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