The fine folks at Paizo recently released a book that made me do a double-take. Not because of the title, but because of the subject matter. Titled OCCULT ADVENTURES, this new tome delves deeper into the darker side of Pathfinder magic, and it offers a more complex glimpse into games that are heavy in the arcane arts. I was surprised to see this, as many RPG games tend to shy away from an ‘occult’ label. Interestingly, Paizo tackles it head on, and the result is an intriguing and entertaining addition to the Pathfinder canon.
If you are not familiar with the PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: OCCULT ADVENTURES book, here is the synopsis courtesy of Paizo Publishing:
Delve into the occult secrets of psychic magic, mystic rituals, and esoteric sciences with Occult Adventures! Six new, occult-themed character classes bring the vast treasures of occultism and mysticism to Pathfinder players like never before. Set out on new adventures as a kineticist, medium, mesmerist, psychic, occultist, or spiritualist, or choose from dozens of archetypes for these and most existing Pathfinder RPG classes. Explore forbidden secrets long kept from the world to discover magical forces that unlock vast powers of mind and body. Uncover lost relics and proscribed spells to give your hero new powers in the fight against evil, and pick up new psychic tricks with a library of new feats based on occult traditions.
From other reviews I’ve read, this book seems to have been received well. One particular reviewer mentioned “the material seems to be largely situational and heavily campaign oriented,” and I can see his point. However, I think with a little tweaking here and there, many of the the components in this book could be used in almost any campaign.
PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: OCCULT ADVENTURES states up front several of the differences between an occult adventure and any other adventure. One of the primary components to an occult adventure is “a focus on the mind over direct combat and confrontation.” For example, instead of simply investigating the physical ruins of a castle, occult adventurers work to uncover the psychic history of places and objects as well. This unique take on exploration and discovery is an interesting twist on commonplace adventuring practices.
One of my favorite aspects of this book are the new magic items. I absolutely love the variety, and many of these new treasures are inventive and unique. Combine these with the new occult base classes and a slew of spells and feats to amp up your characters, and you’ve got the making of an amazing new campaign.
PATHFINDER ROLEPLAYING GAME: OCCULT ADVENTURES may not appeal to all players of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system, but I suggest giving it a look. This is another feather in the cap for Paizo, and I cannot wait to see where they take the game next. This book is available now.