The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures book is fascinating to explore not just for its cool psychic magic, but also because the classes it brought into the play environment almost all had third-party analogs BEFORE it came out. Exploring all of these classes and how they relate to their 3rd Party cousins is an excellent portal into understanding how various third-party classes might interact with your gaming environment.
The medium, a host to spirits that augment his powers for daily durations, is the official (Paizo) benchmark when we discuss this family of classes. This class group includes: binders (from Radiance House and the ancestral system), the medium and warloghe (Amora Game), the medium (Purple Duck Game), the thaumaturge (Kyoudai Games), the vessel (Everyman Gaming) and the thaumaturge (Drop Dead Studios).
So aside from creepy cool the “I channel spirits from beyond” factor, why do we like these classes? Let’s take a look at medium to find out:
The Benchmark – Medium: Breakdown
Looking at the medium we see that:
Fragile Framework: Simple Weapons and up to medium armor, mid-BAB and strong Will save. Basics putting it somewhere between the frameworks of cleric and rogue which isn’t too far off the mark for later comparisons. Skills are similarly ranged.
Buddy from Beyond: Our main draw to these classes and the medium in particular is that of the spirit our medium can call. This ability represents a vast sea of entities willing to help your medium in exchange for the chance to affect the “living world.” The mediums spirits have:
- Six Legendary Families: These families correspond to the mythic paths of the core Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Mythic Adventures system which in turn mirror the popular core-classes: wizard/sorcerer (Archmage), cleric/druid (Heirophant), rogue (Trickster), bard (Marshal), paladin/tank fighter (Guardian), and ranger/DPS fighter (Champion). Each has a partial suite of powers, skills and virtual feats to allow you to step into the role of that spirit. It is worth mentioning that the original version of the class had 54 spirit families, mirroring the Harrow deck allowing for insane diversity. These spirits are at current, lost to us.
- Changed Daily: The channeling mechanics of the class allow the medium to switch spirits each daily allowing for example, a marshal in social situations and then a trickster for dungeon crawls. This variability is generally THE selling point for the class. Players who want to cover a lot of bases and get tired being “stuck” with the same character really might want to look at this class or its cousin.
- Buffs and Bumps: Each spirit gives a group of bonuses that ramp from +1 at 1st level to +5 by 16th to the things it is good at. And the ability to surge die rolls in exchange for power.
- Powers: A small collection of relevant ramping abilities. Surprise Attack dice for our Trickster, Proficiencies and extra attacks for our Champion, extra spells for our magical Archmage and Heirophant. And so on…
Buddy Swap: At 15th level the medium can add a third spirit briefly for a number of rounds. This ability is long in the coming but is incredibly powerful. Often becoming only a swift action away from exactly what the party needs, Trance of Three is amazing and a major indicator of the benchmark’s high-level power.
Spells and Flavors: The medium also gets a small number of spells (mostly divinations and other spirit themed effects), a few cool haunt and location based abilities, and the ability to take taboos to calm the spirits. Higher levels, add astral journey and projections, and even the ability to host a dead ally round out the suite nicely.
Lovely Limits: The influence mechanic and the location themes could be really difficult in the wrong game. If your party is traveling across a blasted battlefield for several days, Champion might be your only option. Make sure you understand what kind of location based limits the game you are playing will have. If you struggle with that piece we offer an early Book of Beyond WIP goody:
You have found a relic of such spiritual significance to a particular legend of spirit that you may call that spirit as if in a favored location.
Prerequisite: Knowledge (History) 3+ Ranks, spirit class feature
Benefit: Select one legend of spirit. You have located a historical relic with psychic resonance significant enough to call that spirit to you without being in its favored location.
Special: If your relic is destroyed you can replace it with a similar object found at a new appropriate location within 1 week. The GM has final say on what items qualify for this feat in their campaigns.
The versatility and fun of daily ability customization, the spiritual themes and unique mechanics of the medium make it a role-playing goldmine with plenty of mechanical effectiveness. Medium not your thing? Come back tomorrow for binders (from Radiance House) for more Host-filled fun.
Book of Beyond will be available later this winter or you can pre-order it as part of the Book of Beyond WIP subcription! You can see our other products at: d20pfsrd.com, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.