Thaumaturge Esoterica - What is it?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


So what exactly is a Thaumaturge's Esoterica ?

It states: "You constantly collect and carry various smaller mystic objects, bits of materials with paranormal affinities, and items used in folk practices: your esoterica. These might include cold iron nails, scraps of scrolls and scriptures, fragments of bones purportedly from a saint, and other similar objects. You keep your esoterica in easy-to-access places on your person and are well practiced in brandishing your implement and esoterica together, so you can draw and use esoterica with the same hand you're using to wield an implement."

So, first off. If a thaumaturge 'looses' his gear, they can no longer attempt to Exploit Vulnerabilities i assume until they replace their nick-nacks of supernatural power?

What if a thaumaturges supply of Esoterica is destroyed, say he fell into lava and they all melted. How would this "Esoterica" be replaced ? Do these items take up encumbrance ? How many of these items are there supposed to be ? Do they need to be tracked ? what if they don't have silver shavings, how would you know? Do they need to list their different items..ugh!

Mortal Weakness: After identifying a creature's weakness, you use a thematically resonant bit of esoterica to attune your attacks to your discovery. Your unarmed and weapon Strikes activate the highest weakness you discovered with Exploit Vulnerability, even though the damage type your weapon deals doesn't change. This damage affects the target of your Exploit Vulnerability, as well as any other creatures of the exact same type, but not other creatures with the same weakness. For example, when fighting a pack of werewolves you might use silver shavings or crushed moonstone to deal damage that applies their weakness to silver to your attacks against any of the werewolves, but you wouldn't apply this damage to any other monsters with a weakness to silver.

- This right here makes me go... Umm, really? So, does the class just assume that the thamaturge has basically an unlimited supply of weired s#!@ they can apply to every situation they come across? It almost seems like they need a bag of holding for all the varities of supernatural gee-jaws that they would need to apply to every situation.

Anyone able to explain this for me, or it simply a situation where you turn your brain off and that it is just what happens, for because thats what happens?


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orphias wrote:

So what exactly is a Thaumaturge's Esoterica ?

It states: "You constantly collect and carry various smaller mystic objects, bits of materials with paranormal affinities, and items used in folk practices: your esoterica. These might include cold iron nails, scraps of scrolls and scriptures, fragments of bones purportedly from a saint, and other similar objects. You keep your esoterica in easy-to-access places on your person and are well practiced in brandishing your implement and esoterica together, so you can draw and use esoterica with the same hand you're using to wield an implement."

So, first off. If a thaumaturge 'looses' his gear, they can no longer attempt to Exploit Vulnerabilities i assume until they replace their nick-nacks of supernatural power?

What if a thaumaturges supply of Esoterica is destroyed, say he fell into lava and they all melted. How would this "Esoterica" be replaced ? Do these items take up encumbrance ? How many of these items are there supposed to be ? Do they need to be tracked ? what if they don't have silver shavings, how would you know? Do they need to list their different items..ugh!

- This right here makes me go... Umm, really? So, does the class just assume that the thamaturge has basically an unlimited supply of weired s~@~ they can apply to every situation they come across? It almost seems like they need a bag of holding for all the varities of supernatural gee-jaws that they would need to apply to every situation.

Anyone able to explain this for me, or it simply a situation where you turn your brain off and that it is just what happens, for because thats what happens?

Their esoterica is essentially just miscellanea that have significance. The specifics of what esoterica is good for what is intentionally vague. If a GM wants to be very hard about it though, I'd reason if all of their esoterica is destroyed, a downtime day to subsist by either finding esoterica out in the wild, or purchasing them from shops could probably do the trick.

Esoterica also appear on the same section as implements. And it implies that an otherwise mundane implement can be imbued with power with a downtime day. It's not a stretch to say that the same logic might apply to esoterica as well.

As for keeping track of individual items. The rules don't intend for you to. Their weight would be negligible unless you purposefully give them weight, and you either have enough esoterica to work with, or you do not. So you can probably flag Esoterica as a single negligible bulk item that encompases all the esoterica a given thaumaturge could possess. Think of a Spell Component's Pouch from Pathfinder 2E Legacy.

You are on track for me to agree that I would not think too hard about it. The logic of esoterica can be as simple and dumb as holding up a toothbrush and saying that they are weak to it because they simply don't like brushing their teeth, and applying that from a warg to a vampire to a troll to Asmodeus himself.

Dark Archive

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It is not an issue unless you make it one, at least rule-wise.
Sure, if you are stripped naked and forced to fight in a featureless dungeon, you could rule that you are unable to find anything to use that feature. Or not.


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It just happens. The class wasn't balanced around the esoterica being actual items you track/can lose so turn your brain off and have fun (plus tracking multiple bulk worth of junk in your bag would have been a chore and I'm glad they didn't).


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Much like how we never worry about a Fighter's weapon becoming dull, or used to worry about Wizards running out of random spell components, this is something that is generally assumed that the PC is taking care of replenishing during quiet time.

It only really comes up if it's specifically taken away from you for some reason. Otherwise you can just assume the PC is taking care of it. What that means is deliberately vague so as to not bog down the rules with details that for the purpose of the rules don't actually matter.

Narratively maybe they're visiting travelling merchants or occult shops. Maybe they harvest things from downed enemies, like bits of paper and charms that have no value but can be used for this purpose.


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orphias wrote:
snip

Your post has a lot of questions scattered throughout, so I'm just going to answer everything that has a question mark.

Quote:
So what exactly is a Thaumaturge's Esoterica ?

"Things that are esoteric; things that are impractical or specialised." " You constantly collect and carry various smaller mystic objects, bits of materials with paranormal affinities, and items used in folk practices: your esoterica. These might include cold iron nails, scraps of scrolls and scriptures, fragments of bones purportedly from a saint, and other similar objects."

It's a bunch of vaguely mystical odds and ends.

Quote:
So, first off. If a thaumaturge 'looses' his gear, they can no longer attempt to Exploit Vulnerabilities i assume until they replace their nick-nacks of supernatural power?

"Abilities that have the esoterica trait require you to be in possession of your esoterica to use them. Normally, you're assumed to always have your esoterica with you, but in some rare circumstances, you might either not have them on hand or have your gear stripped from you."

Yep.

Quote:
What if a thaumaturges supply of Esoterica is destroyed, say he fell into lava and they all melted. How would this "Esoterica" be replaced ?

They would find more. In-character, they would pick up some more salt and nails and scroll scraps and so on. Out of character, they'd have it again as soon as there was no longer a very good reason for them to not have it.

Quote:
Do these items take up encumbrance ?

No.

Quote:
How many of these items are there supposed to be ?

A little bit more than as many as needed.

Quote:
Do they need to be tracked ?

No.

Quote:
what if they don't have silver shavings, how would you know?

They do have silver shavings, if that's what they want to have. Alternatively, they know if they critically fail their Exploit Vulnerability check, but it doesn't stop them from having something that will substitute for it on the next check.

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Do they need to list their different items

No.

Quote:
Umm, really?

Yes, really.

Quote:
So, does the class just assume that the thamaturge has basically an unlimited supply of weired s+*+ they can apply to every situation they come across?

Yes.

Quote:
Anyone able to explain this for me, or it simply a situation where you turn your brain off and that it is just what happens, for because thats what happens?

- You act like they have "unlimited" supplies of whatever, but just treat it like a little bit of a lot of things that they don't use up. After the fight, they wipe the werewolf blood off their shaving of silver and pocket it.

- Flavoring esoterica is a common part of playing the class. One Thaumaturge might use passages torn out of a holy book for everything they fight, while another might keep a complete collection of alchemical samples, and a third reflavors theirs as an otherwise useless Robe of Many Things.
- Alchemists get the ingredients to make waffles and explosives every morning. Casters used to have material spell components that never ran out. Whatever excuses mean you didn't make a thread for those classes, just apply them here.
- Thaumaturge is a class that forms its own connections. So keep in mind that they might be meeting what they have half-way. Maybe the Thaumaturge doesn't have any cold iron on them, but they've got some regular iron and the ability to make it behave like cold iron.

Liberty's Edge

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Mayo works wonders against crustaceans.

Grand Archive

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Esoterica is my favorite class mechanic because it does actually give you permission to take out whatever weird object you want as long as it's negligible bulk and has no value. It's a creative tool for rp as much as it is for combat and the issues of loosing it are similar to the issues of loosing a spell book. It probably won't come up often but it should be simple enough to fix.


QuidEst wrote:
- Alchemists get the ingredients to make waffles and explosives every morning. Casters used to have material spell components that never ran out. Whatever excuses mean you didn't make a thread for those classes, just apply them here.

Or my favorite one: the Gunslinger feat that basically lets them just have Cold Iron/Adamantine bullets every morning with no material cost.


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orphias wrote:

- This right here makes me go... Umm, really? So, does the class just assume that the thamaturge has basically an unlimited supply of weired s#!! they can apply to every situation they come across? It almost seems like they need a bag of holding for all the varities of supernatural gee-jaws that they would need to apply to every situation.

Anyone able to explain this for me, or it simply a situation where you turn your brain off and that it is just what happens, for because thats what happens?

Pretty much that. Though creating a narrative justification for what happens and why is a lot of the fun of it.

Mechanically, Esoterica is any number of small items of your choosing. They are always considered to be worn and immediately accessible. They have no bulk. They are either not consumed on use or are replaced off-screen automatically. The Thaumaturge is assumed to always have their Esoterica available unless the circumstances of the campaign have specifically removed them - probably along with all of the other gear of the entire party (which is not a plot device that the game handles well since losing gear affects some characters less than others).

Narratively, Esoterica behaves a lot like Prescient Planner, though it has both fewer restrictions on when you can use it, and much more limited use of what you can have available (nothing of any mechanical value other than allowing you to use your Thaumaturge Esoterica abilities).

Some examples from games I have been involved in:

I used diatomaceous earth when fighting an insect creature.
I used a bit of soap when fighting Xulgath.
I used a pebble I found on the floor nearby when fighting an ooze.
In a different game, an ally used a scrap of a well researched, peer reviewed, publish archeological thesis paper when fighting someone who was defacing an ancient ruin.

None of those were things that we declared previously that we had available. We made them up on the spot.


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Loosing = The act if making something less tight.

Losing = No longer having track of one's posession.


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Thaum, more than maybe any of the Occult classes, is powered by the "vibes" aspect of the tradition. Believe hard enough and force the universe to comply.


Powers128 wrote:
the issues of loosing it are similar to the issues of loosing a spell book. It probably won't come up often but it should be simple enough to fix.

Only recovering esoterica costs nothing apart from maybe a bit of free time, but if you really lose your spellbook - it's really lost. Then you really need to buy or craft an empty one. And it's really empty. If the GM is kind, maybe you can write your last prepared spells for free (or with a great discount). Probably you don't need to re-learn anything you've learned separately. Maybe you can fill 1st level amount there for free. Maybe you can write there everything you knew for a cost of Learning a cantrip (per spell) without a check.

Or maybe not, and for everything you need to Learn a Spell with all the costs.
But anyway spellbooks and esoterica aren't the same and aren't really comparable.


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Errenor wrote:
But anyway spellbooks and esoterica aren't the same and aren't really comparable.

They aren't the same, but they are comparable.

Both are items of the player's own choosing. Both are given to the character at character creation with no additional cost. Both are needed in order to use class features and abilities - and have no other mechanical function other than enabling those class features and abilities, and have no defined sale value. Both are assumed to be available to the character that needs them unless the circumstances of the plot and GM Fiat have specifically removed them - which is a plot device that the game doesn't support well because doing so affects different characters to a much different degree of severity and cost to replace (which is most of what your post is talking about, and I don't disagree with that point of it).

Grand Archive

Errenor wrote:
Powers128 wrote:
the issues of loosing it are similar to the issues of loosing a spell book. It probably won't come up often but it should be simple enough to fix.

Only recovering esoterica costs nothing apart from maybe a bit of free time, but if you really lose your spellbook - it's really lost. Then you really need to buy or craft an empty one. And it's really empty. If the GM is kind, maybe you can write your last prepared spells for free (or with a great discount). Probably you don't need to re-learn anything you've learned separately. Maybe you can fill 1st level amount there for free. Maybe you can write there everything you knew for a cost of Learning a cantrip (per spell) without a check.

Or maybe not, and for everything you need to Learn a Spell with all the costs.
But anyway spellbooks and esoterica aren't the same and aren't really comparable.

I meant it's similar in Just that it hurts/disables your class mechanics if it's lost. There's probably a closer comparison I haven't thought of. Inventors innovation?


Powers128 wrote:
There's probably a closer comparison I haven't thought of. Inventors innovation?

Closest comparisions - meaning easy to replace if destroyed or stolen permanently - would be Alchemist Infused Reagents, Witch Familiar, and maybe Inventor Gizmos (used for Overdrive at least).

Near comparisons - farther because they are harder to replace if destroyed - would be Wizard/Magus spellbook, Alchemist formula book, Thaumaturge Implements, Companions such as Druid/Ranger Animal Companion, and Inventor Innovation.

The only one that I can think of that can't be replaced is Summoner Eidolon. There have been several threads on that one asking if it is possible for the Summoner's Eidolon to get perma-killed but the Summoner doesn't and what to do at that point.

Cognates

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Have you ever seen the Mummy?
If so, do you remember the scene where the guy pulls out every religious symbol he's carrying in order to try and protect himself?

That's your esoterica. A bunch of tiny stuff with some symbolic meaning or minor magical importance. Because it can be whatever, even if you lose all your gear, any thaumaturge worth their mystic salt would probably be able to replace it in a reasonable timeframe. IDK they find some loose rocks and scrape holy symbols into them.

The vagueness does require some DM fiat in very specific situations, sure, but it gives both the DM and especially the player more freedom in determining how their thaumaturge operates.

Liberty's Edge

BotBrain wrote:

Have you ever seen the Mummy?

If so, do you remember the scene where the guy pulls out every religious symbol he's carrying in order to try and protect himself?

That's your esoterica. A bunch of tiny stuff with some symbolic meaning or minor magical importance. Because it can be whatever, even if you lose all your gear, any thaumaturge worth their mystic salt would probably be able to replace it in a reasonable timeframe. IDK they find some loose rocks and scrape holy symbols into them.

The vagueness does require some DM fiat in very specific situations, sure, but it gives both the DM and especially the player more freedom in determining how their thaumaturge operates.

Beni was indeed mentioned as one of the inspirations for the class and its mechanics.


It's spoons.

Just a bunch of spoons you rub on weapons.

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