In which we explore the effects of class on society

So as I mentioned in my first post I’m in the process of creating a horror modification for pathfinder. To that end this post will see the start to some significant changes and additions.

Horror is about dis-empowered people in scary situations. D&D and Pathfinder is about empowering people so they can handle scary situations. If I want to use a system my players are familiar with to tell a horror story I need to make some significant changes.

Change number one: Level cap at 5. This keeps hitpoints, saves and powers low.

Change number two: All new classes, new progression. While I want to keep my players conscious of their vulnerability, I want them to enjoy progression when it happens and to not feel like I’ve pruned all the fun out of the game. I’m basically going to be looking for my own balance outside of standard pathfinder progression and gameplay and unfortunately I don’t have the opportunity to test any of this out right now. If anybody gets the chance to try this stuff out before I do leave the results in the comments!

Change number three: Sanity points! Any decent horror game has a mechanic for tension and this is my attempt. This is the least refined of my ideas so far so I’m just going to include how many people will get and not the immediate effect of them. Currently I’m having them work almost exactly like hit points. Don’t run out. Players get 5 points plus wisdom bonus per level.

Here’s my plan for progression up to 5th for all classes:

Experience and Progression

Experience is simplified, and an additional ability score is handed out at level 2. Because progression ends at level 5, I felt certain things need to advance quicker. The simplified experience allows me to hand out 1 point for most situations the players successfully navigate with an extra point or two for exceptional situations. At roughly 5-10 experience points a night, players should level up around once a month if we play weekly.

Level

Experience

Feats

Ability Score

1

1st

2

40

1st

3

80

2nd

4

120

2nd

5

160

3rd

Besides experience being completely different the only big change is getting a stat point at level 2. Since this game only hits on even stats, I thought leaving it at only one point was a bit of a wet noodle.

And here is my first class, the Occultist:

Occultist

The Occultist is a dabbler in forces unseen and arcane. She draws her power from otherworldly sources through an occult focus, either a familiar, an idol, or a fetish. While the powers they gain are great and terrifying they come at a cost. Good society does not abide occultists, and the practice itself has a habit of deepening shadows and rasping at the veil between our world and others.

Role: The occultist is adept at recognizing the black arts and combating them, as well as applying their craft aggressively, defensively or investigatively in the field.

Alignment: Any non-lawful

Hit Dice: D6

Class Skills:

The Occultists class skills are Craft (Int), Dreaming (Wis), Fly (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Dreams) (Int), Knowledge (Occult) (Int), Knowledge (Nature) (Int), Knowledge (Planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Occultist

Spells Per Day

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Reflex Save

Will Save

Special

0th

1st

2nd

3rd

1

0

0

0

2

Occult Bond, Cantrips, Hex

3

1

2

1

0

0

2

Hex

4

2

3

1

1

1

3

Hex

4

2

1

4

2

1

1

4

Hex

4

3

2

5

2

1

1

4

Hex

4

3

2

1

Class Features:

The following are the class features of the occultist.

Weapon and armour proficiency: Occultists are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any kind of armour or shield. Armour interferes with an occultists gestures, causing spells with somatic components to fail.

Spells: An occultist casts arcane spells drawn from the occultist spell list. An occultist must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time.

To learn or cast a spell, an occultist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against an occultist’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the occultist’s Intelligence modifier.

An occultist can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Occultist. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score (see Table 1–3 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook).

An occultist may know any number of spells. She must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour communing in a ritual with her bonded familiar, idol or fetish. While communing, the occultist decides which spells to prepare.

Cantrips: occultists can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Occultist under “Spells per Day.” These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again. Cantrips prepared using other spell slots, due to metamagic feats for example, are expended normally.

Occult Bond: At first level an occultist forms a powerful bond with an object or creature. This bond can take the form of a familiar, fetish or idol. Familiars function the same as a witches familiar. Fetishes function the same as a wizards bonded item, but only as an amulet. Whatever the occultist chooses, their bond grants them spells as the witch’s patron spell ability and learns new spells as a witch’s familiar. Idols are unique to occultists and grant some unusual abilities in addition to patron spells, explained below.

Idols are small statuettes made of stone, roughly 36 inches tall, but varying in size depending on what they depict. Idols can grant the occultist strange and twisted visions of power. Once per day an occultist can spend an hour performing a ritual with their idol to regain a number of levels worth of spells up to their caster level in exchange for 1d6 sanity per spell level regained. At level 5 an occultist can choose to sacrifice a prepared spell as a swift action to increase the save DC of their next spell or hex by the level of the sacrificed spell.

Idols are immediately recognizable as sacrilegious objects although this does not immediately incriminate it’s owner. There are strict laws prohibiting practising the dark arts and if discovered in use there will be consequences.

Hex: Occultists learn a number of magic tricks, called hexes, that grant them powers or weaken foes. At 1st level, an occultist gains one hex of her choice. She gains an additional hex at every level after first, as noted on Table: Occultist. An occultist cannot select an individual hex more than once.

Unless otherwise noted, using a hex is a standard action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The save to resist a hex is equal to 10 + 1/2 the occultist’s level + the occultist’s Intelligence modifier.

Hex list and spell list are the same as the witch, I snipped them out of this version for a tiny bit of brevity. So the result here is hopefully a fragile caster with a lot of utility. Thoughts? Opinions? I’m not the sort to ever call a thing like this done or perfected. Once there is the full roster of classes made I will take another look at what I have and likely edit them all a fair bit, but for now I call this a good start.

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