Occult Secrets: The Spiritualist
This expansion file for the Spiritualist base class clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
After a brief introduction, we begin this pdf with 3 different archetypes, the first of whom would be the forgotten: The forgotten exchanges Intimidate with Stealth as a class skill and at 3rd level is locked into the veiled or incorporeal bonded manifestation. The veiled one lets the forgotten, flavor-wise, hide in the cracks of history and nets a scaling sneak attack and makes the forgotten hard to directly attack or target, requiring a hefty scaling Will save DC to do so. Thankfully, this has a hex caveat that prevents abuse there. At higher levels, sneak improves and may strip targets of Dex-bonuses to AC, cloud the spiritualist in mind blank and even modify memory targets struck. Really cool! Instead of undead detection, the archetype can obscure significance and instead of seeing the invisible, the archetype can render itself invisible. While this looks like a minor tweak, it is a really amazing, flavorful little archetype.
The poltergeist replaces phantom and bonded sense with a kineticist telekinetic blast at one die size reduced, with 2nd, 5th, 2th and 17th level providing an infusion wild talent for said blast. The archetype uses Wisdom instead of Constitution as governing ability score, and instead of accepting burn, losing spell slots instead. 4th, 6th, 12th and 14th level net utility wild talents instead of spiritual interference, phantom recall, fused consciousness (should be greater spiritual interference) and spiritual bond. Instead of fused consciousness, 10th level nets the force composite blast (again, at d4 instead of d6).
The third archetype would be the totem bound, who is locked into the totemic emotional focus and may, instead of bonded manifestation, at 3rd level use a swift action to manifest the totem within herself for up to 3 + class level round. This nets -2 to AC, +2 to melee attack and damage rolls, throw weapon damage rolls and Will-saves. This does count as rage. Higher levels provide access to totem abilities while on this state and further enhances the bonuses. The total number of rounds is greatly increased at 17th level. The totemic focus is one of several new emotional foci.
It nets HD ranks in Survival and Knowledge (religion), with Skill Focus for them while confined in the spiritualist’s consciousness. Fort-and Ref-saves are made good, and the totemic phantom gets a kind of rage boost, with the subsequent abilities providing totem rage power access. The Location focus has Knowledge (geography) and Survival as skills, and, once more, Fortitude and Reflex as good saves. This one nets the phantom tracking and the attacks of the phantom may entangle targets. Problematic – several abilities reference a home terrain (including favored terrain-like boost), but the focus never properly codifies that. The focus includes greater teleport at 12th level in home terrain (1/day) and a DR-increasing shell of earth when manifesting in an ectoplasmic manner at 17th level.
The ancestral emotional focus gets Knowledge (history) and Sense Motive as boosted skills and uses Fortitude and Will-saves as good saves. The emotional focus increases the aid another bonus to +4, and its attacks briefly penalize attacks versus the spiritualist. Single target spells on the phantom have their duration increased and 12th level 1/day allows for the phantom to channel a spell from another spell list, allowing the spiritualist to cast the spell at the cost of a spell slot, which is increased to 2/day at 17th level. Finally, curiosity chooses two Knowledge skills as boosted skills and good Reflex and Will-saves. The focus gets a scaling bonus to the Knowledge checks while confined in the spiritualist’s consciousness. The strikes of the phantom can help detect thoughts and enhances this at 12th level. 7th level nets longer range free-roaming, and 17th level a 1/day moment of prescience like bonus. The Emotional Conduit feat, fractured mind archetype and spirit-bound blade note their benefits for the new foci.
The pdf also contains 6 new spells, though it should be noted that one, pierce the soul, is included in 6 variants: This is a mind-affecting spell with a close range that deals scaling untyped damage to the target, half as much on a Will save, with the damage applying also to e.g. phantoms. Not a fan of the untyped damage here. Aforementioned obscure significance obscures an item’s significance to e.g. psychometry, which is cool. Ancient guidance is a first level swift action spell that can temporarily net you a proficiency, a class skill (interaction correctly codified) or a cantrip/knack. Detonate phantom does what it says on the tin, causing damage and using the ectoplasmic splatter as a touch attack medium, this time correctly applying damage types. Nice one. Phantom charge is a knack that allows for a single attack at range from a phantom currently in consciousness. Neat! Ectoplasmic harvest is a third level spell that cannibalizes incorporeal creatures or haunts to heal fully manifested phantoms.
We also get 6 new feats: Bonded Movement prevents being surprised or flanked when using bonded senses, unless both spiritualist and phantom are surprised or flanked. Cleansing Recall lets you gain a reroll versus ongoing mind-affecting effects when recalling the phantom, and fortifies your will when in shared consciousness mode. Extra Bonded Manifestation does what it says it does – +3 rounds per day, may be taken multiple times. Phantom Insight renders the phantom’s focus skills class skills for you and allows you to take 10 in them when the phantom’s in your consciousness. Shared Tether lets you share phantoms for tether purposes, which can be really cool…and nasty. Spiritual Adoption, finally, nets you the AC-and save-bonuses conveyed by an allied phantom as though you were that phantom’s spiritualist.
Finally, the pdf features two occult rituals – at 4th level, command the forgotten allows for the calling of an insane queen and immediate retraining of NPC classes to spiritualist,. Which is a great angle to elevate an ally to a PC when a PC perished. Child’s guardian, at 6th level, makes the caster become a phantom for his offspring after death, which can be a rather cool narrative angle. The pdf also includes sample characters: Kalari, a CR 7 totem bound spiritualist and her phantom stone hawk, and Darag Chainwalker, a dwarven forgotten spiritualist CR 14 and his phantom nameless seeker. Both are pretty cool.
Editing and formatting are very good on a rules language level and a formal level. Layout adheres to the two-column b/w-standard of Zenith games, and the pdf uses b/w-art, many pieces of which I hadn’t seen before. The pdf, unfortunately, is not bookmarked, which constitutes a minor comfort detriment.
Landon Winkler’s spiritualist expansion is a pretty impressive little pdf. While I am not that fond of two of the 3 archetypes, the new foci and the forgotten archetype really rock. The supplemental material, particularly the occult rituals, similarly are intriguing, and, as a whole, while I am not enamored with everything herein, I do believe that this is very much worth checking out. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up.
You can get this cool class expansion here on OBS!