Pacting in Pathfinder - The Radiance House Occultist Handbook [3PP] [Under Construction]

By Psyren

“Occultist?” What’s this all about?

This is a handbook for the Occultist, a 3rd-party Pathfinder class heavily inspired by the well-known Binder from 3.5’s Tome of Magic. It can be found in the 3rd-party book Pact Magic Unbound, Vol. 1, by Radiance House, or you can read up on it by going to the d20PFSRD site.

Isn’t 3rd-party material unbalanced? Why do a handbook?

It’s certainly no secret that 3rd-Party Product, or 3PP as it is commonly known in the community, tends to have a dubious/mixed reputation when it comes to power concerns. However, there are plenty of examples of 3PP publishers that have managed to get the formula right - designing material that offers a different experience from the 1st-party Paizo line-up, that nevertheless fits in with it more-or-less seamlessly power-wise. We’ve seen it before with Dreamscarred Press and their excellent psionics and ToB conversions, and now we’re seeing it here with Radiance House and their well-done take on Pact Magic.

I wrote this guide because I’ve always seen pact magic as a fun and cool subsystem for both players and DMs alike, and the Occultist is a well-made and faithful conversion of that concept; not brokenly powerful, yet not disappointingly weak either. Most importantly (for me anyway) is that it successfully captures the feel/flavor of the ToM Binder. The Occultist is a brave - many would say “foolhardy!” - practitioner of forbidden arts , one who greets each day with a stick of chalk in hand, or perhaps charcoal, or a vial of paint (or blood!) and a brush. He prepares to draw the complex geometric arrangements that will allow him to share his soul with very alien and ineffable interlopers from beyond reality itself.  In exchange for doing so, he gains access to an array of the disturbing, supernatural powers they command, while they gain the opportunity to experience the reality to which they no longer belong through his senses. And while his form of magic is relatively easy to learn, he must constantly struggle with these demanding entities for dominance over his attitude, mannerisms, and even his very appearance.  

The major appeal of this product to me, aside from the primary engagement of pact magic itself I described above is basically the same thing that drew me to Pathfinder in the first place - the Occultist is OGL, i.e. completely and legally free to read and play. Now, anyone who wants to run a Binder-like class in their d20 game (PF in particular, naturally) can do so without spending a dime, and anyone who wants to cook up new vestig- excuse me, spirits - for the class can feel free to do so using all of these great open mechanics as a springboard. (Of course, I do encourage you to buy the book/PDF, like I did - again, the material is well-crafted, and the fluff is pretty good too!)

TL;DR - if you liked the Binder class from 3.5 and always wanted to update it to Pathfinder, the Occultist may just be the class for you. Alternatively, if you’ve always wanted to give a Binder-like class a try in your d20 campaign but lacked access to Tome of Magic, now you have a totally free option that plays very similarly to how the WotC version did, and is greatly improved in many ways. Either way, this class is definitely worth checking out and its book is definitely worth your gaming dollar.

All right, I’m intrigued/you convinced me - where can I find the Occultist?

- Check it out on the PFSRD here. 

- You can purchase the book/PDF from Paizo here, and that product page also has clarifications from the designer on certain abilities, which I will do my best to incorporate into my recommendations below.

- There is also a FAQ thread maintained by the designer here. I’ll be referencing any errata/clarifications in my advice below as best I can.

- Finally, I have a discussion thread for this guide on the Giant in the Playground forums, containing further designer input on the questions I’ve raised here. If you have any feedback on this guide you can feel free to reply in that thread, or shoot me a PM there or on the Paizo forums.

UPDATE: Pact Magic Unbound Volume 2 has been released! With over 30 new vestiges across all the levels, expect a lot of changes to the guide over the next couple of months. This is lower priority until the contents of that book make it to the PFSRD however. (In the meantime, the volume 2 spirits have been posted online by another enterprising individual for those who want to check them out.)

Contents

Rating System

The Occultist

The Constellation System

How Binding Works

The Spirits

1st level

PMU1: Aza'zati, the Green Wyrmling (DC 17)

PMU1: Cave Mother, Sorceress of Secrets (DC 15)

PMU1: General Hessant, Patron of Lost Souls (DC 16)

PMU1: Sevnoir, the Meandering Mastiff (DC 16)

PMU2: Forash, Prince of Spirits (DC 17)

PMU2: Marat, Guardian of Shields (DC 15)

PMU2: Milo of Clyde, Detective of Despair (DC 14)

2nd-Level

PMU1: Lady Jarah, Mistress of Many Faces (DC 19)

PMU1: Mute Sylvus, Sole Survivor (DC 17)

PMU1: Tyrant Cromwell, the Black Knight (DC 18)

PMU1: Ubro, the Blind Hospitaler (DC 17)

PMU2: Al’kra, the Operated (DC 16)

PMU2: Humble Ohbai, Servant of the Elements (DC 20)

PMU2: Lord Foxglove IV, Exchequer of the Stolen Purse (DC 17)

3rd-Level

PMU1: Muse Istago, Painter of Paradox (DC 19)

PMU1: N'alyia, the First Vampire (DC 20)

PMU1: Vandrae, Drowess Poisontouch (DC 20)

PMU1: Xalen D'Marek, Archivist of Fell Secrets (DC 21)

PMU2: Cornelius Button, Gardener of Dreams (DC 18)

PMU2: Obba, Ella, Atasha: Dark Sisters Three (DC 17)

PMU2: The Nivea Nieces, Venomous Vixens (DC 17 or 22)

4th-Level

PMU1: Fey Baraddu, the Beast in the Woods (DC 23)

PMU1: Gulguthriana, the Glutton (DC 16)

PMU1: Hexus, the Living Curse (DC 21)

PMU1: Loh’moi, the Mad Geometer (DC 23)

PMU2: Ethaniel Midnight, The Inquisitive Torturer (DC 21)

PMU2: Jehotek, the Throne of Heaven (DC 21)

PMU2: Kandisha, the Desert’s Revenge (DC 22)

5th-Level

PMU1: Arturius, the Sleeping King (DC 23)

PMU1: Dagon, Tentacles from the Deep (DC 25)

PMU1: Dark Blood, the Rakshasa Princes (DC 24)

PMU1: Vodavox, the Hive Mind (DC 25)

PMU2:

PMU2:

PMU2:

6th Level

PMU1: Demos Kalagos, Sworn Enemy of Time (DC 27)

PMU1: Jayna Warlock, Traveler of Worlds (DC 26)

PMU1: Serapith, the Scouring Light (DC 25)

PMU2:

PMU2:

PMU2:

7th level

PMU1: Mare Loviatha, the Ice Queen (DC 27)

PMU1: Musha’Vadu, the Shadow-Bones Emperor (DC 27)

PMU1: Portenta, Seer of the Orphic Eye (DC 28)

PMU2:

PMU2:

PMU2:

8th level

PMU1: Essek Avix, the Twins Rejoined (DC 29)

PMU1: Evening Star, Bloody Mist of the Hills (DC 28)

PMU1: Young Kiros, Author of Sedition (DC 29)

PMU2:

PMU2:

PMU2:

9th level

PMU1: Daeminthos, Crystal Eye of the Mind (DC 30)

PMU1: King Mutaros, Vengeance Unfulfilled (DC 32)

PMU1: Malebolge Moors, 13 Traitors of Hell (DC 33)

PMU2:

PMU2:

PMU2:

Occult Feats and Binder Secrets

Builds, Spirit Combinations and Gear

Binder Archetypes

Rating System:

Excellent: This is a must-have or at least very strong option. You’ll find it hard to go wrong with this.

Good: This is a strong option. A single or small handful of drawbacks hold it back but it’s still solid.

Average: This option performs well in certain circumstances and won’t hurt you to take, but be mindful of any downsides in the wrong build.

Poor: This is only situationally useful. You need a good reason to want this, and typically something else does it better.

Avoid: This option has few redeeming qualities, is inapplicable to most Occultists (i.e. likely intended for some other class or archetype), or is a trap option of some kind.


The Occultist

The Occultist has lots in common with a 3.5 Binder, but quite a bit is different too. This section will break down the class itself; I’ll also highlight changes between the Occultist and Binder (and follow my usual convention of noting upgrades/advantages and downgrades/disadvantages where appropriate.)

The Occultist’s Tier:

In practice, I think most Occultists will clock in around T3. They have a very wide range of abilities available, particularly once they break out of the starting levels and become able to bind/combo multiple vestiges together. Like the Binder, once they can fire off several major abilities in one fight, their power tends to rise exponentially and you’ll have much fewer of what I like to call “crossbow moments.” Also like the Binder, they make dynamite party faces, decent secondary casters and crafters, and outstanding gishes. They are sharply limited, however, by their long cooldowns and the number of spirits they can house early on.

Their potential power however is much higher. A handful of spirits are capable of breaking the game wide open at mid-high levels if the DM is not careful. The first troublemaker you’re likely to run into is Muse Istago, though he at least doesn’t really go over the top until late-game. Other spirits to keep a close eye on are Hexus, Demos Kalagos, Jayna Warlock, and nearly everything above Serapith - though of course, the abilities of those spirits are benchmarked against similarly high-level spells. Because of these, I will say that the Occultist is capable of T2 if it’s allowed to go all-out, particularly as it enters those upper-mid levels and beyond.

Note on Multiclass Occultists: 

As with 3.5, Pact Magic is easy. The Occultist however takes this a step further than the Binder did - letting half your levels in non-binding classes count towards your EBL, ToB-style. For example: an Occultist 2/Fighter 2 has an EBL of 3 - two from Occultist, and (½ * 2 = 1) from Fighter. In addition, your binder levels from all binding classes stack - so if you are, say, a Warshade Fighter and you multiclass into Occultist, you will have full binding progression, for an EBL of 4 in the previous example. I’ll cover more on this in the archetypes and builds sections. This also means that you can have as few as 14 levels in a binding class and still make it to 9th-level spirits by 20. (14 + (½ * 6) = 14+3 = EBL 17.) Coincidentally, 14 just happens to be the level where Occultists get their 4th and final spirit slot, making that a great breakpoint if you were interested in branching out.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at the big daddy of binding.

Chassis

Hit die: d8

BAB: ¾

Proficiencies: Simple weapons, light armor. (no shields)

Skill Points: 4 + Int. You’re still not necessarily the best choice for primary skillmonkey - but with this increase, PF’s skill consolidation and the bevy of insight/untyped bonuses spirits can provide, you can be decent at the role, particularly with a day in advance to contract the right passenger for the job. Less intensive, subsidiary skill-based roles like “scout,” “lore” or “face” are well within your grasp also. Knowledge-wise you get 3 of the big 4 just from your chassis.

Class Skills: Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Linguistics, Knowledge (arcana, history, planes, religion), Perform, Profession, Spellcraft.

Suggested additional skills:

These are great skills to pick up for your build if you can, and are worth a trait, feat, or possibly even a dip for that class skill bonus.

Intimidate: Why the class didn’t get this is beyond me - Binders got it, and it fits the fluff well because some spirits/vestiges appreciate a firm/assertive pacter. I could see you browbeating, say, Aza’zati or Dagon or Kiros… anyway. Various effects, like traits, can remedy this oversight. Occultists, like their 3.5 forebears, make good party faces - so adding this skill to their repertoire should help you talk your way out of (or into) any trouble. It also has combat uses with the right feats.

Handle Animal: A lot of your vestigial companions are animal companions, which are stronger than familiars but cannot be commanded quite as easily. Your DM may require checks from this skill to make them do exactly what you want, and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down as a result.

Knowledge (Nature): The fourth of the “big four”, this skill has two major uses - Fey Baraddu, who gives you beast/vermin shape, and Evening Star who gives you Giant Form. Many DMs will want your character to have knowledge of the creatures you wish to turn into; if your DM is one such, definitely drop a few points here. A wide range of knowledge can also help you with Muse Istago’s paintings.

Perception: It’s far and away the most-rolled skill in the game, need I say more?

Sense Motive: If you’re the face it never hurts to have this, especially if you end up somewhere that the rest of the party can’t come along with you as a result and need to negotiate with someone untrustworthy or evaluate a statement on everyone’s behalf.

Use Magic Device: You’re Cha-based, so there’s no reason not to get this. Occultists can make decent crafters too with the right feats (particularly the Pact Magic Effigy binder secret), so this will let you use any toys you create. In addition, several vestiges grant you an (improved) familiar, which can hold various items and use your skill ranks - thus, investing in this skill will let your spirits activate magic items on your behalf, doubling your actions.

Craft (Alchemy): This is a class skill already, which is good news for you. I wanted to call it out here though so you know it’s a good idea to drop a few points in here if you can spare them. Some of the Spirits require a concoction of some kind either as part of their ceremony (e.g. Vandrae or Jayna) or as one of their totems for a quick bonus to the binding check (more on that later), and this skill can save you some dough if you plan on pacting with those spirits a lot. Also, Pathfinder has a lot of really nice alchemical items you can make with this skill, many of which can be useful to Occultists in the field, e.g. a dose of Shadowcloy so you can pact with N’alyia or Sevnoir at any time of day (or just conceal your heathen behavior from the rest of the party), and/or a tanglefoot bag for when a key vestige ability is recharging. That last bit isn’t necessary by any means but it certainly won’t hurt either if you can spare the time/cash to make them.

Class Features

Bind Spirits: This is the class feature that lets you form pacts with Spirits, this system’s version of vestiges. I’ll discuss the details of the process further (including any mechanics changes) in the “How Binding Works” section.

Constellation Aspects: Each spirit in the system is associated with a constellation - in a nutshell, this is simply a common theme possessed by a given subgroup of spirits. For instance, spirits hailing from a dark or devilish background would likely be found under the Fiend constellation, nature-themed spirits would probably be under Tree or maybe Beast, and bookish spirits would be found under Scholar or Mage. It also forms a sort of alignment system for the spirits, such as Noble leaning towards Law, Angel towards Good, and Thief towards Chaos. A constellation aspect is an extra minor ability you can add to any spirit by making its pact harder (DC +5.) Most of these are weak - on par with cantrips, really - but there are a handful of interesting ones, and even if you mess up the pact as a result of boosting the DC in this way you still get them. Therefore, if the spirit has a mild influence and you don’t care too much about its Capstone Empowerment (more on that later too), there’s no real reason not to at least try for these. I’ll cover them, and the abilities they grant, more in-depth later. Just keep in mind that their design is a bit unfortunate - most of these probably aren’t worth it past low levels; the majority don’t scale at all, and making the DC harder makes it more likely you miss a valuable Capstone. I will break them down in the Constellation Aspects section.

Finally, note that Occultists (as the de facto masters of pact magic) are free to mix and match spirits however they like. The opposing constellations rule only applies (a) to the aspects themselves, and (b) to the other pact-forming classes/archetypes in the system.  The latter doesn’t apply to this chapter of the guide and the former are, as previously stated, weak enough to ignore (or at least, not be a major factor) for the most part.

Pact Augmentation (Su): Similar to the Binder ability of the same name, you can gain your choice of additional minor buffs each time you form at least one pact. As before, you can spread these out among several abilities or focus them on one, causing it to stack despite being typed. (For instance, a level 10 Binder can choose Insight three times, gaining a +6 to initiative.) One difference here is that the Occultist needs to form at least one GOOD pact to gain the buff(s) - so if all your pacts are poor, you’ve essentially lost this class feature for that day. This is added incentive to pass your binding checks and therefore to have at least a decent starting Charisma, or at the very least to keep a weaker spirit in your retinue if you don’t. On the plus side, your pact augments are smoothed out, resulting in a slight acceleration at mid-high levels - instead of gaining them at 2,5,10,16 and 20 (the Binder’s progression), the Occultist gains them at 2,6,10,14,18, i.e. gaining the 5th one prior to the capstone. These are all good choices that depend on your build and the challenges you expect to face that day, so I won’t actually rate them; pick the ones that you feel will be the most help. (For example, Offense is a great way for a gish Binder to keep up with a full BAB melee class.)

The list of buffs is as follows (new/upgraded since 3.5 are blue):

Defense Augment: +1 insight bonus to AC and CMD. This bonus applies to both touch and flat-footed AC.

Fortitude Augment: 25% chance to ignore critical hits and sneak attack damage (max. 75%)

Insight Augment: +2 insight bonus on initiative checks

Luck Augment: +1 insight bonus on all saving throws

Offense Augment: +1 insight bonus on attack rolls and CMB checks

Speed Augment: +5 foot enhancement bonus to base speed

Toughness Augment: Damage Reduction 1/- (this benefit does not stack with other sources of damage reduction)

Vicious Augment: +2 insight bonus on damage rolls

Vitality Augment: +5 hit points.

The only one that didn’t make the cut from the WotC Binder was the energy resist 5 augment, but the rest are here. The AC, Attack Roll and Damage Roll augments have all been upgraded, and two new augments (Speed and Fortitude) have been added. Speed is nice at low levels but doesn’t stack with most speed increasers like Haste, so it falls off quickly; Fortitude meanwhile scales well with level, particularly if you’re fighting rogues or crit-fishing foes. The addition of CMB and CMD to the offense and defense augments is quite welcome. Finally, Vicious is a great way to squeeze extra damage out of your spirits and adds double the damage of the 3.5 Binder version.

Bonus Feats: As with the 3.5 Binder, there are some feats specific to Pact Magic; in this system however, they are placed under the header of Occult Feats. There are also special feat-like abilities that only Occultists can take called Binder Secrets, representing the Occultist’s increased dedication to the art of Pact Magic above and beyond that of other classes (these are thematically similar to the wizard’s Arcane Discoveries or the Bard’s Masterpieces.) Occultists can choose a Binder Secret in place of any regular feat or bonus feat as long as they meet the prerequisites; many require a minimum number of levels in Occultist (and all of the Secrets require at least one.) I’ll cover these further in the Occult Feats and Binder Secrets section.

Bind Additional Spirits (Su): Starting at 6th level (as opposed to the original Binder’s 8th) you can start binding more than one spirit. The frequency with which you can do this is accelerated - you gain another every 4th level after that (as opposed to every 6th, again) to a maximum of 4 spirits at 14th level. (i.e. the Occultist gains an additional spirit slot at 6,10,and 14, whereas the Binder gained them at 8,14, and 20.) Note that this ability has now been decoupled from the base Bind Spirits ability; i.e. a multiclass Occultist now needs a minimum of 6 levels in the Occultist to ever have a hope of binding more than one spirit, and binder archetypes generally do not gain this ability at all. (They do, however, typically have other class features they can use instead.)

As I mentioned earlier, one interesting aspect to the new system is that you now max out on spirits at 14th instead of 20th level; this makes 14 a good breakpoint if you wanted to grab a pacting archetype multiclass, particularly since your binding power will stack all the way to 20. There isn’t a whole lot left worth getting after this point either (see below.)

Constellation Mastery (Su): This ability lets you get the constellation aspect of your bound spirit(s) automatically, without raising the DC of the binding check. This is nice but by the time you’re this high up, very few of the constellation aspects matter anymore, and if you really want a certain aspect’s power, you could probably just have used one of your vestige slots to bind a lower-level spirit from that constellation, easily clearing the increased DC to unlock the aspect you need.

Spirit Mastery (Su): Choose 4 spirits when you gain this ability - you gain a +1 untyped bonus to the DC of all the granted abilities of those spirits. This is nice, but the even better benefit this gives you is that you can forego the bonus to ignore the consequences (i.e. Influence) of a poor pact with them. If there’s a couple of spirits (particularly high-level ones) whose abilities you find yourself relying on regularly, but whose influences can spell disaster, be sure to choose them here.

True Augmentation (Su): This is the capstone - a powerful ability that lets your spirits continue functioning in an AMF, provided that (a) you make a good pact and (b) the AMF’s caster level does not exceed your EBL. You can also 1/spirit/day immediately reset the cooldown on one of your spirits’ major abilities. This can give you substantial nova potential with the right combinations and is certainly worth staying in the class till 20 for, but in most games this of course won’t see use.

The Constellation System

As I briefly mentioned earlier, Radiance House added constellations as a new element to their Pact Magic system. In a nutshell, a constellation is a thematic grouping of several spirits; each one has allies or enemies among the other constellations as fits their theme. For instance, Noble has lawful/orderly leanings, and so opposes the chaotic/slippery Thief. As far as the spirits themselves are concerned, this celestial rivalry doesn’t actually affect Occultists much in practice – Occultists are skilled enough binders to form pacts with whichever spirits or combination of spirits they please, regardless of any celestial politics that may exist.

 

Rather, Constellations have four primary purposes:

 

Restricting Other Binders: There are binder-related archetypes for every core class in Pact Magic Unbound vol 1. For the most part, these archetypes allow these core classes to pact with spirits (usually in exchange for various class features, or via inhibiting or even removing their spellcasting.) However, these archetypes also typically face an additional restriction on the spirits they can bind based on constellation, such as being forced to choose one or a handful of constellations with which to align themselves, or being given a small list of constellations to choose from and being restricted to spirits in that list. This restriction can be hard (no chance of binding outside your allowed list) or soft (you can bind spirits outside your list, but at reduced power - ½ binder progression in most cases.) In either case, you will typically be barred from the enemy signs of your chosen/allowed constellation(s) completely. I’ll cover more on these in the Archetypes section.

 

Constellation Aspects: By adding +5 to any spirit’s binding DC, you can choose an aspect from among the powers granted by that constellation, and make it an additional minor ability granted by that spirit. Aspects are supernatural, at-will (or constant) with no cooldown, and tend to have power roughly in line with (or slightly ahead of) cantrips/orisons. As with all granted abilities, your CL = EBL, and the saving throw DC if any is 10+ ½ EBL+Cha. Finally, you cannot select the same aspect more than once (though you can select the same constellation more than once, gaining a different aspect they offer.)

Restricting Aspects: Although Constellations don’t restrict an Occultist’s spirit combinations, they do restrict the combinations of aspects you can have. For example, any Occultist could bind both Hessant (Noble) and Lady Jarah (Thief) despite the fact that their constellations are in opposition. But that Occultist could not add a constellation power from Noble to Hessant (e.g.  Graceless) AND add one from Thief to Lady Jarah (e.g. Betrayal) - the Occultist would have to choose one aspect or the other to tack on.

Constellation Focus: This great Occult feat increases the save DC of all spirit granted abilities under a particular constellation by +1, and increases your binding checks with those spirits by +2. Once you know who your favorite spirit (or set of spirits) is likely to be, this is a good feat to take to help you land those checks and stick their granted abilities. It also stacks with other DC boosters like Spirit Focus and Ability Focus to make your caster Occultist’s saving throws truly terrifying.

 

The main takeaway here is that, for the Occultist, constellations aren’t terribly important to worry about, but you should probably pay attention to who is who anyway. These ratings will be made with that in mind. (NOTE 9/15/14: The constellation ratings will fluctuate as new spirits are printed. In addition, the designer has plans to overhaul all of them in the compilation PMU product. Expect massive changes in this section!) 

Here’s the format:

Constellation Format

Rating: Summary of the constellation’s worth.

Allies: The supporting constellations.

Enemies: The opposing constellation.

Minimum Level: The lowest EBL at which you can bind this constellation’s aspects (along with the name of the spirit you need to access it.)

Minimum DC: The lowest DC you need to hit to get an aspect from this constellation and still have a “good pact.” (Note that if you attempt to get an aspect you will attain it no matter what, similar to pacting with a spirit. ) This is the binding DC of the lowest spirit identified above, +5.

Angel

Rating: Poor. Angel’s aspects are among the weakest.

Allies: Scholar, Tree

Opposes: Fiend

Minimum Level: 3 (Ubro)

Minimum DC: 22

Aspects:

 

Beast

Rating: Okay/Good. Beast is situational for the most part but has one ability that really shines.

Allies: Dragon, Fiend

Opposes: Scholar

Minimum Level: 1 (Sevnoir)

Minimum DC: 21

Aspects:

 

Dark Beyond

Rating: Good. Dark Beyond has powers that are relevant when it shows up, and that stay useful at all levels.

Allies: None

Opposes: All (Note - this means that you cannot have aspects from any other spirit while you have one from DB.)

Minimum Level: 5 (Vandrae)

Minimum DC: 25

Aspects: 

Dragon

Rating: Okay. Dragon is handy at the level you get him but falls off quickly. The high DC is also a turn-off, particularly since Aza’zati’s influence can get you in trouble with the group.

Allies: Beast, Thief

Opposes: Hero

Minimum Level: 1 (Aza’zati)

Minimum DC: 22

Aspects:

 

Fiend

Allies: Beast, Skull

Rating: Avoid. Fiend is very late to the party, and these abilities are all way past their shelf-life. Even if you could get them at 1st they would be pretty weak, but getting them this late is just a slap in the face. Don’t bother.

Opposes: Angel

Minimum Level: 9 (Dark Blood)

Minimum DC: 29

Aspects:

Hero

Rating: Okay. Hero’s abilities are aimed at endurance/survival, but you are fast approaching the levels where its assistance becomes meager.

Allies: Noble, Scholar

Opposes: Dragon

Minimum Level: 3 (Tyrant Cromwell)

Minimum DC: 21

Aspects:

 

Mage

Rating: Good. Mage is available at low levels, fairly easy to get, and has unique benefits.

Allies: Noble, Skull

Opposes: Seer

Minimum Level: 1 (Cave Mother)

Minimum DC: 20

Aspects:

 

Noble

Rating: Good. Noble is tied to the best low-level vestige and has useful abilities in its own right.

Allies: Mage, Hero

Opposes: Thief

Minimum Level: 1 (Hessant)

Minimum DC: 21

Aspects:

 

Seer

Rating: Good. Initiative manipulation is nice at all levels.

Allies: Thief, Tree

Opposes: Mage

Minimum Level: 5 (Muse Istago)

Minimum DC: 24

Aspects:

 

Scholar

Rating: Good. The skill-based abilities are handy even after the initial levels.

Allies: Angel, Hero

Opposes: Beast

Minimum Level: 5 (Xalen D’marek)

Minimum DC: 26

Aspects:

 

Skull

Rating: Okay. Skull’s abilities are weird and situational, and you’re starting to get to the point where constellation aspects aren’t as useful. Scaling at-will Ghost Sound has some fun uses though.

Allies: Fiend, Mage

Opposes: Tree

Minimum Level: 5 (N’alyia)

Minimum DC: 25

Aspects:

 

Thief

Rating: Good. Thief comes online fairly early with tricky powers, and is tied to a strong spirit.

Allies: Dragon, Seer

Opposes: Noble

Minimum Level: 3 (Lady Jarah)

Minimum DC: 24

Aspects:

 

Tree

Rating: Poor. Tree can be nice to have in the right kind of campaign, but its first spirit is a bit situational.

Allies: Angel, Seer

Opposes: Skull

Minimum Level: 3 (Mute Sylvus)

Minimum DC: 22

Aspects:

How Binding Works

As Binder players and their DMs know, one of the riskiest - and therefore most exciting - aspects of pact magic is just forming the pact itself. It’s a unique minigame whose outcome can have all kinds of unforeseen effects on your character, the party, the session, and even the campaign as a whole.

Before I get to the Spirits themselves, there are several key differences between the 3.5 and PF pact magic systems to cover first.

Spirit Levels: Spirits now go from 1st to 9th level. I consider this an improvement because now there is a more straightforward correlation/point of comparison between an Occultist capable of X-level spirits and a spellcaster capable of X-level spells, especially for DMs or players who seek to create their own custom spirits.. With a subsystem this far out of the ordinary, any familiar landmarks to help users find their way are very welcome.

Spirits Known: In 3.5 Pact Magic, Binders learned how to pact with every vestige their level allowed them to bind. This option is still the default in PF; however, some DMs may like the idea of pact magic being rare, and the binder needing to undertake some risky activities to gain the powers he/she wants to have (This goes double for new spirits added in the subsequent PMU volumes.) To that end, there are now three different default rules for the way spirit lore is disseminated throughout the game world. These are:

Prominent: This is the way Binders worked in 3.5 - Pact Magic is well known (at least, to groups that study esoterica anyway, like scholars, eccentric mages and various religions) and, particularly among that latter group,  it is generally  actively decried. This instills a healthy fear of binding in the common folk. Despite this, the seals that power spirits are widely disseminated and easily uncovered by those who can use them. Occultists in a Prominent setting begin play knowing every seal up to their maximum level, and learn all new seals as they level automatically.

Rare: Lore on Binders does exist, but the common or less educated observer is likely to mistake them for another form of spellcaster. Occultists know a decent amount of Pact Magic lore but not all of it, and must conduct research or (potentially dangerous) exploration to discover more seals. Occultists under Rare Pact Magic know 4 1st-level spirits, and gain knowledge of an additional seal at each level automatically, plus they can learn more from their travels or study at DM discretion.

Scarce: Binders are barely known to anyone. Perhaps it is a brand new form of magic and you are among the first to discover the enigmatic spirit world; perhaps there was a great purge and lore on pact magic was largely excised from the setting, but it is now generations later and beginning to seep back in. To many churches, pact magic is all-but unknown except as rumor (though still decried as heresy even so.) Occultists under Scare Pact Magic begin play knowing a single 1st-level spirit’s seal and must discover more through research and exploration - they get no others solely from levels.

In all three cases, you have no limit on your maximum seals known; in the latter two, however, the DM gets to decide exactly how you commit more to your memory; it may involve research, study, employing divinations of some kind, or even just trial and error. Regardless of which method your playgroup goes with, the key here is communication between the player and DM to set expectations ahead of time so everyone can have the most fun.

Pacting Process and Terminology

If you’ve played a Binder in 3.5 you’re probably familiar with most of this. You take a minute to draw a funky circle on the ground (at least 5ft. in diameter) using some material that will stay visible once you finish. (Chalk is most common, but ink/blood/paint, and even scratches in soft dirt etc. all work just as well.) Once you’ve done that, you get inside it, and you get the spirit’s attention somehow. There are key differences here as well.

Ceremony: This is how you call the spirit. Whereas in 3.5, you simply said the vestige’s name out loud and maybe cajoled it a little, PF Pact Magic requires a little more conviction on your part. Each spirit has a unique mini-ritual called a ceremony that you must perform within its seal to get its attention. Note that some of these require materials (like bits of leaf, or blood, or food or candles etc.); unless specified to be something valuable or unique, you are assumed to have the necessary items so long as you have a spell component pouch. There is however a clause about “items that cannot feasibly fit in the pouch”; in the spirit descriptions below, I note which ones are most likely run afoul of this issue and ways around them, however a permissive DM will simply let you handwave all of them.

Manifestation: This is mostly unchanged - the spirit/vestige appears once the ceremony is performed, as an illusory effect (a figment, to be exact) that cannot be harmed or interfered with. Other beings, if they are nearby, can see and hear it - though only the binder can negotiate with it as before. One key change is that, if a pact is not made, the spirit can linger within its seal for up to minutes at a time. This is in contrast to 3.5, where a vestige will vanish within 1 round if not addressed. So if you, say, start to form a pact but have to hide for a little while as a patrol goes by, or you  get ambushed while forming your last pact and need to take down your aggressor or something, you can return and resume your pact without starting over from scratch, provided not too much time has passed. Another change is that spirits can actually cease negotiations and leave you with nothing at any time before a pact is made; the book emphasizes how rare this is since spirits yearn to experience life again (like vestiges do) but it does allow the spirit a way to return home if you simply call out to it and sit there.

Negotiation: As before, gaining the spirit’s boon requires a binding check. Succeeding results in a “good pact,” while failing results in a “poor pact” - the ramifications of each state will be discussed in more detail below. Pacts last for 24 hours before they must be renegotiated, though there are ways to both prolong this arrangement or cut it short. The mechanics of the pact are harder now - 1d20 + ½ EBL + Cha, instead of full EBL as in 3.5. Making matters worse are that the DCs are for the most part unchanged, so you will have to roll well to avoid the influence of many spirits. This is balanced out a

bit by the higher number of +Cha races in Pathfinder; in addition, there’s a few other factors that can give you an edge in pacting to boost your check, such as using totems (discussed below), being a favored ally (also discussed below) and various feats. Finally, the DM can still give you a circumstance bonus for good roleplay as well, so polish those acting lessons if that’s your thing. The lesser contribution of EBL to your checks makes Cha more important to binders in PF than it was in 3.5, though that’s okay since they can get more mileage out of the stat too. Once a negotiation is complete, the seal and manifestation instantly vanish on their own - blowing away in the wind, getting absorbed into the earth etc.

Totems: A new aspect to binding in PF is the addition of totems - these are three specific additional actions you can perform or objects you can present to the spirit during the binding ceremony to please it, and so increase your binding check. Having all three totems gives you a +4 insight bonus on your binding check, while having only one or two gives you only +2. (In other words, if you only have two totems, it’s exactly as useful as having just one.) Unlike the items for the normal ceremony, any objects required for a totem are not assumed to be in your component pouch, so be sure to keep track of these. Some totems are very easy, such as simply having X ranks in a certain skill, so take a look through this section of the spirit entries and see what is reasonable for you to meet; the bonus goes a long way to helping you make your check. If they’re too difficult or onerous to get though, don’t worry about them - you suffer no penalties for not having them, they’re just a little optional boost you can give yourself.

Favored Ally: Another new concept to PF Binding is the Favored Ally. Each spirit has a particular kind of creature or being that they like as defined in their entry- if you qualify as that, you increase the Totem bonus given above, getting an extra +1 total if you meet one or two totems, or an extra +2 total for meeting all of them. In other words, if you are a spirit’s favored ally and meet only 1 or 2 of its totems, you will get a total of +3 insight to your binding check (+2 totem, +1 FA), whereas if you are a favored ally and hit all 3 of their totems, you will get a total of +6 insight to your binding check (+4 totem, +2 FA.) This is a great buff if you can get it, but again, it only matters if you’re using totems. to begin with

Favored Enemy: Unfortunately, spirits have beings or kinds of beings they detest, as well. If you’re unlucky enough to fall into this category, your totem bonuses are halved. So you will get only +1 for meeting 1 or 2 totems, and only +2 total for meeting all 3.

Note: Per the designer, if you count as both a Favored Ally and Favored Enemy to a spirit, they cancel out and are nullified.

The takeaway from the FA/FE concept is that totems never hurt (as long as you can use them without too much pain, opportunity cost or resource expenditure.) Even if you count as a favored enemy of a spirit, if you can readily qualify for its totems then don’t be afraid to do so - you lose nothing for trying and the gains can be very big. What it boils down to is that, ultimately, even though Serapith and Dagon hate humans (for example) you can still butter them up - like vestiges, they would much rather touch the world again than let some piddly grudge stand in their way.

Sign: As before, forming a pact results in a visible indicator of the spirit’s presence on the binder’s body. If you formed a good pact, you can suppress each sign as a move action; if you did not, you must resort to external means (mundane or magic) to hide the scarlet letter of your otherworldly agreement. Some abilities require displaying the sign to use them, such as the gore attack granted by Mare Loviatha’s unicorn horn - I will notate these with “(Sign)”. In addition, most spirits have two signs now - a passive sign that is simply a visible alteration and lasts for the duration of your pact, and an active sign that switches on briefly (lasting for 1 round) whenever you use an activated ability of that spirit. For example Serapith’s passive sign is a pair of white angel wings that sprout out of your back; his active sign causes the wings to pulse blood red for 1 round before becoming white again.

Personality (Influence): The “Personality” entry under each spirit describes how the spirit wants you to behave if you mess up your binding check. I’ve called it Influence in the guide because I like that term better :) Anyway, as with 3.5 Binding, you are actually free to ignore a spirit’s influence even if you form a poor pact, but doing so is debilitating as the spirit imposes a -1 penalty on just about everything you do (attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws and AC) until the pact ends unless you succeed on a Will save. (DC = Binding DC.) In addition, every time you deny a spirit you must make the save, and the penalties stack. Do your best to avoid making bad pacts, or at least pick spirits whose influence is relatively mild so you can let them have their way with you in relative safety.

Major Ability: This is each spirit’s signature (though not necessarily most powerful/useful) ability. These are capable of a wide variety of effects, but each has a few things in common; like all spirit powers, these are all supernatural (even if they mimic a spell), they’re all activated abilities (a standard action unless otherwise noted), and finally, they all have a 5 round cooldown.

Capstone Empowerment: Another attribute of Major abilities is that they get augmented if you really do well on your binding check. Whereas the Influence is negative incentive to bind poorly, this is definitely positive incentive and encourages you to have as high a Charisma as you can get away with. To achieve a Capstone Empowerment, the Occultist must succeed on his binding check by 10 or more. This means that to get a Capstone Empowerment and a Constellation Aspect, you need to beat the spirit’s normal DC by 15, and you must form a good pact. (In most cases, beating the DC will automatically give you a good pact anyway, but there are exceptions.) In the vast majority of cases, Empowerment is worth more than the Constellation Aspect, so if you’re going for the former on a particular spirit feel free to skip the latter to make the check easier. There are several feats that can help you hit this target more easily as well (see the Feats and Secrets section.)

Minor Ability: Each spirit grants you a small collection of other abilities. Some are passive bonuses to skills, grant you the effects of certain feats, and so on. others are additional activated abilities, such as Hexus’ Bestow Curse power. Note that activating a minor ability triggers your active sign just like activating a major one does. Some have limited uses per day (or per pact), some have cooldowns like major abilities, and some are usable at-will with no cooldown at all. Read these carefully and try to maximize the synergy granted by various spirits so that you’re doing something worthwhile every round, particularly on “caster” builds.

Vestigial Companion: This is a very useful ability granted by most spirits - you can modify your pact slightly by trading away a specific minor ability the spirit possesses, and gain a companion instead. The specific ability given up varies from spirit to spirit - in each rating/entry below, I have identified  the ability you have to give up with the notation “(VC).” Generally, this companion functions like a wizard familiar or druid animal companion, though there are other, more exotic options out there. For those companions with the “Share Spells” feature - which is most of them - they replace this ability with one called “Share Granted Abilities” instead. This lets you share the major and remaining minors of that particular spirit with the companion - copying not just the passive abilities of the spirit to your companion, but also activated abilities as well. Needless to say, this is an awesome ability - quite apart from the general utility of having a critter around to assist you (and a disposable one at that - if it dies, you can get a new one next time you form a pact with that spirit) Note: The designer has clarified that Share Granted Abilities uses your own HD and Cha score to set the save DC of your powers channeled through the companion. So for example, Vandrae’s Spider can sneak up to an enemy and deliver a full-power Sleep Toxin on your behalf.


+

The Spirits

This list is broken down by level. For a quick summary of each spirit’s rating, see the Contents page.

1st level

Pact Magic Unbound vol. 1:

Aza'zati, the Green Wyrmling (DC 17)

Summary: This dragonling spirit is conniving and money-grubbing. He boosts your social and swimming skills, as well as granting an acid breath attack, the ability to sniff out treasure, and the power to shrink.

Constellation: Dragon (naturally.)

Ceremony: You take a shot of swamp water, no chaser.

Totems: (1) Pact within 5 feet of a cave, forest or city spire. (2) Negotiate the pact in Draconic. (3) Bribe the little **** with a 5 gp sacrifice.

Sign (Passive): You get green scales on your body, and you look much younger. Combine with his shrink ability and you might be able to fool people into thinking you’re a child - well, a scaly green child.

Sign (Active): Your eyes turn into gold coins briefly. Think of a cartoon character who realizes he’s going to be rich, and add that cash register sound - Cha-ching! Pretty fitting for a greedy dragon. And speaking of greed...

Influence: You become extremely money-grubbing, willing to rob/betray the party for money. That won’t make your friends stay friends for long so this is one of the more dangerous Influences to fall under.

Favored Ally (Likes): Dragons (Any)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Arcane spellcasting humanoids

Major Ability: 

Acid Gout: You breathe a 30’ cone of acid. The range is good for such a low level attack and acid resistance is hard to find at low levels, but the damage (1d4/2 EBL) is pretty poor; without the augment I wouldn’t bother, and perhaps not even then.

Capstone Empowerment: the acid lingers on your targets burning them for damage equal to half your binder level every round for 1d4 rounds. The total damage altogether isn’t bad for 1st/2nd level (especially vs. multiple weak targets) but still, this isn’t great.

Minor Abilities:

Curious Edge: You get an insight bonus (½ EBL) to Diplomacy and Bluff; the bonus doubles if you’re trying to convince someone of your innocence, which you will likely have to do a lot of if you screw up and fall under his influence. He’s no Naberius, but this can help when insight bonuses are hard to come by.

Sniff Gold: Just what it sounds like, you can track down cash by scent. I don’t see this being particularly useful in most campaigns - if there’s treasure nearby, the DM is either probably going to lead you to it anyway, or it’s something you’re better off leaving alone (at least for awhile) like a dragon’s hoard or the king’s treasure chamber. But if the gold is next to something else - say, the plot item you need to find, or if it’s jewelry being worn by someone you’re trying to track - this can be pretty handy in instances like that.

Smaller is Better (VC): You shrink 1 size category for minutes/EBL, divisible as you choose using increments of one minute. Unlike Reduce Person et al., this doesn’t actually mention your equipment changing size with you, so be sure to clear that part with your DM first (or probably just don’t mention it, heh heh.) You can cancel it early if you need to as a move action. This can get small races like Gnomes and Halflings down to Tiny, making it handy for busting out of jail or sneaking around for instance.

Wyrmling’s Skin: You gain a (very slow, but untyped) scaling bonus to natural armor, and you gain a swim speed equal to your land speed. Note that it does not say base land speed - therefore, with the right buffs on you can become a torpedo with this. The armor doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t very impressive either; there are better AC-buffing spirits out there. Note that this should stack with the Dragon constellation’s natural armor as well - if you can swing the check WITHOUT falling under Aza’zati’s influence, this can give you a little extra boost of defense early on.

Vestigial Companion: You get a viper familiar, which gains all the abilities of a wizard’s viper familiar of your EBL. (This means, among other things, that you get another +3 to Bluff that stacks with Curious Edge, and it gives you Alertness if it stays near you as well.) This replaces your shrinking ability. Vipers are sneaky and fight dirty; vipers that can sniff out gold, breathe 30’ acid cones, swim and help you lie with a straight face are even better. If you bind Aza’zati at all, I recommend using his companion; send your serpent sniffing out the gold instead of you.

Overall rating: Poor. Aza’zati’s Major is weak, his other abilities situational, and his influence will likely get you staked out in the sun by the party long before it makes you rich. Worse still, he has the highest DC among the 1st-level spirits, so falling under his influence is a very real danger. If you must pact with him, do so only if you can pass the check - using his totems, Flexible Pactmaking, A focus or two, even being his favored ally if you can - and you get yourself a gold-sniffing snake for your trouble. Bump him up a notch if you’re in an aquatic/ pirate-themed campaign though - sniffing out gold and strong swimming can only be pluses there.

Cave Mother, Sorceress of Secrets (DC 15)

Summary: This elderly spirit helps you survive outdoors, swindle people, violate child labor laws, and lightly toast your foes with a short-range fire nova.

Constellation: Mage

Ceremony: You spit on some kindling, chant cave mother’s name, and burn it. (It’s unclear what you do if your race is unable to spit.)

Totems: (1) Pact in a cave or unound. (2) You are female or have a son. (3) You have Survival, 2 ranks.

Sign (Passive): You’ve been in the sun too long.

Sign (Active): You should really cut back on those cigarettes.

Influence: You become annoyed if asked for help and answer questions with more questions, or with scolding. Funny but harmless (unless you’re being interrogated.) If you have trouble remembering to do this one and don’t want penalties, “what do you think?” is a safe response.

Favored Ally (Likes): Living arcane spellcasters

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Undead (all)

Major Ability: 

Ghoulish Fire: You emit a 10ft. radius nova of flame. The damage and range are weak, but will automatically cause anyone who fails their save to catch fire (unlike, say, burning hands), needing a full-round action and a DC 15 Reflex save to snuff it out lest it do 1d6 at the start of each of their turns. Note that in case it matters, the ongoing fire is supernatural too. Per the catching fire rules, this will do an additional 1d6 immediately if the target has hair or is wearing flammable clothing. This likely does more damage than Aza’zati’s acid at low levels, but scales just as poorly and has much shorter range. The catch fire DC and damage never increase, so she only gets worse as you gain levels.

Capstone Empowerment: Your Ghoulish fire bypasses fire resistance equal to your level. This should apply to the DoT effect (but not the mundane fire for catching on fire) as well; check with your DM. Fire resistance is pretty common so this ability does help, a little.

Minor Abilities:

Deceptive Knack: You gain an insight bonus to Bluff and Sleight of Hand, and can take 10 if you use them to cheat. (Cave Mother was something of a grifter.) Note that the term “cheat” is actually undefined - a broad enough definition can apply it to just about any use of either skill, even things like concealing weapons or feinting in combat, so give it a try if your DM is the permissive sort.

Gather Provisions (VC): As a full-round action, you can create a nut that nourishes the target for a day and heals a small amount (=EBL), similar to a goodberry, except it scales. This is useful in a survival campaign as you can feed the entire party indefinitely at first level. The heal scales rapidly as a creature can eat 1 nut/EBL/day. This means it heals a maximum of 1 HP/day at 1, 4 at 2, 9 at 3 etc up to 400 at 20. Not too bad, for out of combat.

Read the Stars: You are under a constant Know Direction effect. Combine with Gather Provisions and you can pretty much live as a hermit indefinitely if you want to.

Undead Bane: Any weapon or supernatural attack you use on undead deals an additional 1d6 damage. This includes your fire nova, so you can toast a group of zombies and skeletons fairly well with this; on subsequent rounds, they’ll eat another 2d6 if they failed their reflex save (1d6 from the burn, and 1d6 from this.) Not too shabby at low levels. Unfortunately, it doesn’t scale one bit.

Vestigial Companion: You get a spectral servant, which functions as unseen servant, except as follows - it is visible (appearing as a male child of your race - i.e. your “son”), and has a Str score = your Cha bonus + ½ EBL, instead of just 2. (Thus, it is stronger than a regular unseen servant at first level if you have 14+, and only goes up from there.) At higher levels it can become about as strong as a PC, hitting a strength score of roughly 16-20 at the capstone. It can clean, mend, carry things and open things (doors/chests etc.)  and trigger traps. Because it is visible, you may be able to lure or trick people with it, even though it can’t fight. Unfortunately, it isn’t a familiar or animal companion so you don’t get to share your powers with it either. On the upside, if it is ever destroyed (requires 6+ points of area damage), you can make a new with a full-round action (rather than being stuck with no companion until you re-pact.) The uses however are fairly limited.

Overall rating: Poor. Like Aza’zati, Cave Mother has a weak major and middling minors. She is slightly better in that her influence is mild, her fire blast does more damage starting out and her binding DC is lower, but ultimately there isn’t a whole lot here and the short range of her major can quickly put you in danger. If you’re in a low-level survival campaign however, bump her up a step - with the ability to keep everyone fed and warm and never get lost, she is very handy to have on a wilderness trek.

General Hessant, Patron of Lost Souls (DC 16)

Summary: Now we’re talking! This spirit soldier offers you several ways to ruin your foes’ day, and helps you get around in style.

Constellation: Noble

Ceremony: You report for duty. Ten-hut, private!

Totems: (1) Sacrifice to Hessant the skull of a creature you’ve killed. (2) You are male, or a goblin/hobgoblin/orc/half-orc. (3) Salute Hessant with a longsword (focus) when he appears.

Sign (Passive): You badly need lotion.

Sign (Active): You get jaundiced (like a hobgoblin).

Influence: You lose all mercy/compassion. Note that this doesn’t make you evil or turn on your party, it just means you won’t take prisoners, so let your companions do any interrogating and deal the final blow if the group needs to capture someone.

Favored Ally (Likes): Anyone with a rank in Profession (Soldier.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any spellcaster

Major Ability: 

Hessant’s Punishment: Now this is a major. The earth grabs a creature you designate within 30 ft. of you, knocking them prone and entangling them - reflex negates. The creature can attempt to disentangle itself with another save at the beginning of each of its turns (as a full-round action), otherwise the entangle seems to be permanent. This is a fantastic ability - decent range, great tempo, and combos well with Hessant’s other powers. Note that the earth itself counts as an “immobile object” in which case your foe is completely unable to move from their square per the Entangled condition rules - at least not until they succeed at their reflex save (at a -2 penalty thanks to being entangled.) They suffer a whopping -6 to melee attacks (-8 for finesse attackers) while down, which needless to say is pretty crippling at this level, and cannot use ranged weapons at all (except crossbows) until they stand first.

Capstone Empowerment: You gain the ability to make a touch attack against a creature who has been successfully affected by your Hessant’s Punishment - doing so forces a fort save. If they fail, you bury them up to their head in the earth, rendering them helpless until another creature spends 1 min (10 rounds)/EBL digging them out. Helpless is a powerful status effect as it prevents them from acting at all and enables CDG; worse, they cannot escape on their own at all, so if you land this on the last enemy you win. This ability is basically like Phantasmal Killer (two saves or death, three if you count the CdG the following round). Sure it takes longer and requires you to be close to them, but at the same time (a) it’s not mind-affecting or a death effect, (b) it’s not a paralysis effect either, (c) it ignores SR/immunity and (d) it’s available at 1st level. It also scales well, since entangle/prone/helpless are useful conditions to apply at all levels and the DCs scale with your level. It’s unclear however if you can use either of these on flying enemies - check with your DM.

Minor Abilities:

Call Longsword (VC): Hessant lets you summon a longsword (with which you are automatically proficient) for the duration of your pact as a full-round action. It grows in power as you level, as follows:

1-3: Masterwork

4-7: +1 keen (+2 equivalent)

8-11: +2 keen flaming (+4 equivalent)

12-15: +4 keen flaming (+6 equivaent, can bypass cold iron/silver/adamantine DR. Update: due to the Mythic adventures ruling, this version and all higher versions also overcome DR/epic.)

16-19: +5 keen flaming burst (+8 equivalent, can bypass material + alignment and epic DR)

20: +5 keen flaming burst wounding (+10 equivalent, can bypass material + alignment and epic DR)

Courage of the General: You gain an insight bonus vs. fear. This is nice since it stacks with the more run-of-the-mill anti-fear bonuses -  morale, competence and resistance.

Dazing Strike: This attack lets you, as a full-round action, strike a creature (dealing damage normally) and force a fort save. If the save fails, they are dazed for one round. So long as they don’t make the save, you can actually spam this indefinitely (it has no cooldown), wailing on them each time. This is similar to the Totemist’s Gorgon Mask attack, except you’re doing damage with each strike as well. If one of those saves succeeds however, they are immune for 24 hours. (Note: you still have your swift, immediate, and a 5-foot step, so this is not quite a stalemate and works in your favor. But if you fail, you’ve wasted your turn for nothing, and this takes both an attack roll and a save, so the odds are ever-so-slightly against you.)

Iron Gaze: You get an insight bonus to Intimidate and Sense Motive.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a horse animal companion (as cavalier.) Like all animal companions, it gains HD and therefore feats/free tricks, all of which you can reselect every time you pact with Hessant. Unfortunately, since it inherits from cavalier rather than druid, it doesn’t gain “Share Spells” and therefore cannot share your powers. Horses are decent combatants and capable mounts, but without the ability to share Hessant’s powers it falls behind some of the other companions you could select, plus you give up the magic sword to get it.

Overall rating: Excellent. Hessant is pretty damn scary and can easily win fights for you at low levels. His abilities are suited to gish and caster Occultists alike; he rewards you for being in melee, but also wants you to have a good Cha for his save DCs. His abilities scale well throughout your career, he only gets easier to bind as you gain levels, and his constellation isn’t shabby either. A top-notch spirit.

Sevnoir, the Meandering Mastiff (DC 16)

Summary: This canine spook helps you unnerve your enemies, sprint like an olympian, and hide in the dark. Unfortunately he seems to be photophobic.

Constellation: Beast

Ceremony: You sit and blow a homemade dog-whistle. Here boy!

Totems: (1) Pact in a dark or shady spot. (2) Use an urn containing a family member’s ashes as a focus. (3) Bring/borrow a living dog as a focus, OR be an elf/half-elf/drow.

Sign (Passive): You get shaggy fur and your teeth sharpen. Sadly, you get no bite attack from this. You also get a spiked tail, but with no tail attack either. Boo.

Sign (Active): Your face briefly shifts into a snarl. Bad dog!

Influence: You become overly protective of your friends. Aww.

Favored Ally (Likes): Elves and... shadow mastiffs, of all things.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Halflings and humans.

Major Ability: 

Baying Howl: You howl, causing all enemies within 30ft. who can see/hear you to become shaken for 1d4 rounds, Will negates. Shaken is an okay debuff at low levels, but the designer has clarified that Intimidate will not stack with this in either order, limiting its usefulness beyond that.

Capstone Empowerment: The fear lasts longer in enemies who fail their save by larger amounts. This can help if you roll low on the 1d4 round duration above but generally you don’t have to worry about going all out to reach for this one.

Minor Abilities:

Blood Hunt: You can charge double-distance and gain the Run feat. In most fights this won’t matter, and Running can cause you to leave the party behind too, but this can be situationally useful to get up in a caster or archer’s grill in a hurry. This combos well with the speed pact augmentation if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

Effortless Intimidation: You can demoralize as a move action and suffer no size penalties to intimidate - great for small races like Halflings. (Size bonuses still apply.) Against a lone target this tends to work out better than howling. It also applies to the dog (see below.)

Feast on Fear: Your attacks (including spirit powers) that deal damage leech life (=½ EBL) off enemies suffering from fear. Any source of fear counts, so a low-level occultist can spam demoralize with their move actions and attack with their standards, siphoning HP off with every strike. This can quickly top you off towards the end of a fight but is unlikely to count for much at the beginning.

Shadow Blur (VC): You gain concealment for a number of rounds = your Cha bonus as a move action. Concealment is okay and move action activations are handy, but this is useless in daylight (natural or magical) and a lot of adventuring tends to happen in the daytime. Your best bet is probably to go with the dog (see below.)

Vestigial Companion: You get a dog animal companion (as druid.) This is likely a mastiff to keep with theme. Dogs are fast, small, good jumpers and have a great perception mod + scent. Spec him for things like tripping/tracking and you’ll have a fairly useful sidekick. He also shares your howl, fast charging and life leech abilities, and can even intimidate as a move action before biting for some healing. Animal companions can train intimidate, so feel free to max it for a very mean dog. In addition, you can get him to medium size at 4th level.

Overall rating: Okay. Sevnoir focuses on fear, which isn’t the best strategy at high levels but can be a nice debuff early on when a -2 is likely to be a significant difference. His move-action demoralize and Intimidate bonuses open up a wealth of strategic options. If you can, try to obtain Beast’s Speak With Animals power so you can give his dog companion orders directly without needing HA checks.

Pact Magic Unbound vol. 2:

Forash, Prince of Spirits (DC 17)

Summary: This regal rapscallion is known for introducing the first occultists to pact magic. More importantly, his powers make life much easier for fledgling “caster” occultists, i.e. those with poor physical endurance or combat skills.

Constellation: Fiend

Ceremony: You burn a wooden raven and rub the ashes on yourself.

Totems: (1) Speak Infernal or Abyssal. (2) Knowledge (planes), 2 ranks. (3) You burn a real raven instead of a wooden one.

Sign (Passive): You get wild and shaggy hair in the form of a mane.

Sign (Active): Your mane waves as though wind is blowing through it.

Influence: You become prone to betrayal. Thankfully this is unspecified, so restrict it to minor pranks unless you want the party to pink slip you.

Favored Ally (Likes): Goblinoids and Evil outsiders.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Dwarves and Elves.

Major Ability: 

Summon Fiend: You get to summon nature’s ally, as the spell, except it lasts 4 rounds (great at lower levels) and the creature comes out with the fiendish template.  While you only get one creature at a time, this scales with your maximum spirit level (i.e. up to SNA IX) and so will always have at least some use. Fiendish creatures also get darkvision and scaling spell resistance, very useful qualities for a disposable meatshield at low levels. Smite Good is unlikely to see use however, and watch out for who is around when you use this. (The paladin is unlikely to be impressed with your fiendish summoning prowess, if they weren’t already frowning over your pact magic in general, so be circumspect.) Finally, note that the cooldown starts after the monster disappears, so plan accordingly - that’s 9 rounds between critters, so you’re unlikely to get more than one of these out per combat.

Capstone Empowerment: Your summons are augmented for free (as Augment Summoning.) If you can swing the hard binding check early on, this will give you some very powerful minions indeed.

Minor Abilities:

Disappear (VC): 1+Cha times per day, you can turn invisible as a swift action for 1 round. This is great for getting you out of a dangerous melee situation, or giving you some breathing room to fire off your Summon Fiend (and even making it the primary target on the field, if you’re alone.) Swift invisible, standard summon, move to stealth behind some cover for instance. As handy as it is though, it’s still a hard choice whether to go with this or the companion.

Forash’s Lore: You get both Know (Planes) and Know (History) as class skills already, so the untrained bonus is unlikely to be worth much. The bonus does little at low levels but if you are expected to be the guru on these skills later then it couldn’t hurt.

Lion’s Roar: After you’ve summoned a guardian, this gives you something to do each round instead of whipping out the crossbow or spending what’s left of your allowance on alchemist’s fire. The damage isn’t great, but sonic is rarely resisted and area attacks can save your bacon at low levels. (A bee swarm can quickly fell many a stalwart low-level adventurer for instance.)

Unsettling Presence:  This is a pretty unique ability that can mess with the enemy all the way into the very highest levels. On the other hand, it is much more likely to screw with the party, who can easily forget you have it; 30 feet is a decent radius, and Forash will likely have you hanging back with the other ranged classes to boot. The inability to combine Selective Ability with this one makes it difficult to rate more highly. However, your companion can use this power too.

Vestigial Companion: You get a lion! And you can still summon another creature to fight alongside it! As a physically weaker Occultist, this gives you some serious muscle to put on the field and keeps you out of melee.

Overall rating: Excellent. Forash can be vicious, but if you can’t quite fend for yourself just yet, you will want that ferocity on your side. At levels when just one extra orc flanking the fighter, a hobgoblin bandit sneaking up on the back ranks of the party, or even a pack of hungry wolves can spell disaster,  Forash gives you the cannon fodder you need to help keep the party alive without putting yourself in harm’s way. Watch out for his Influence, but remember that its vagueness can be exploited to your advantage as well - confessing a fellow party member’s secret crush out loud is just as much “betrayal” as turning them in to the town guard, after all.

Marat, Guardian of Shields (DC 15)

Summary: This automaton apparition makes your tough “gishcultists” even tougher, turning them into stellar tanks who can man the front line at a moment’s notice.

Constellation: Hero

Ceremony: You sit and read a children’s storybook. The fluff suggests it is a specific one, though luckily it should be in your pouch by RAW all the same.

Totems: (1) You’re a gnome OR have Know (engineering), 2 ranks. (2) You speak Gnomish. (3) You bring 50gp worth of books into the seal. (Note: these are not consumed as written, so you can reuse them.)

Sign (Passive): Your skin turns metallic. Robo-cultist!

Sign (Active): A ghostly image of Marat’s chassis overlays itself on you. While odd, the significance of this is unlikely to be noted by any non-practitioners of Pact Magic.

Influence: You daydream a lot and your eyes glaze over. Pretty benign as far as influences go.

Favored Ally (Likes): Constructs.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Gnomes (which interacts oddly with his totems, but hey.)

Major Ability: 

Defend the Ward:  You teleport, swapping places with an ally as a move action.. This is great for stymieing an enemy trying to reach your back ranks, or in conjunction with a summon/animal companion for getting to where the enemy does not expect you to be.

Capstone Empowerment: You can now swap as a swift action, and at EBL 10, even an immediate action - letting you take an attack in place of an ally. A Marat-using gishcultist makes a fantastic cohort or party tank. Be mindful however and try to save this for when its needed - getting more than one per combat is tricky at best.

Minor Abilities:

Bodyguard (VC): This works like the Bodyguard feat; if you have that feat and this ability, you get an extra pool of AoOs ( = Cha mod) to use with it. Situationally useful and not really worth investing in - anyone adjacent to you should be a frontliner and therefore (hopefully) capable of protecting themselves. Thankfully, this is the ability you give up for your familiar.

Marat’s Body: This starts off as excellent and pretty much stays there. Gish occultists get full plate for free at level 1 and the abilities scale with you, saving you a ton in protection costs. Better still, this can be activated after you use other defensive abilities (e.g. shapeshifting) and per the polymorph rules it will not be absorbed into your form. Thus you can be a bear in full plate when you combine this with Fey Baraddu for example, and then layer on Tyrant Cromwell’s Phantom Armor for truly nightmarish AC, all free of charge. You give up some offensive ability for this trick but I doubt many occultists will care.

Marat’s Shield: You are protected by a continuous shield spell as long as you have Marat’s body active. While this is less exciting than Marat’s Body (no scaling or shield special abilities), it does give you a shield bonus while 2-handing, protects you from incorporeal attacks, and you are even immune to magic missile. Not bad at all. Together, the two powers give you a whopping +13 AC at level 1 - a number that would make even an Aegis blush, and gives you free reign to wade into enemy formations almost heedlessly.

Unimpeded: As if the free armor and constant shield spell weren’t enough, you also gain the ability to move in your armor without a speed penalty, and even get half your binder level docked from the armor’s check penalty. You’ll thus be able to do things like swim or tumble in it without having any issues before long.

Vestigial Companion: You get an Arbiter familiar (as wizard), but you must be EBL 7+ to choose this option. Arbiters are inevitables, which gives you access to all kinds of neat abilities - they have regeneration AND are immune to nonlethal, making them just as good at tanking as you are in many cases. They also have perfect flight, truespeech, a pile of construct immunities, resistance to illusions, and an electricity burst. It can also detect chaos at will, make whole 3/day and commune 1/week. Definitely go with this option whenever Marat is bound. One of the coolest companions to have around, and may potentially be too good.

Overall rating: Good. Marat does not bring quite as much to the table for a caster occultist as Forash does, but gishcultists should be all over him, for saving them 1500gp+ if nothing else. His companion is extremely durable for its size/maneuverability, and so makes a great vector for his swap ability to get you right in the enemy’s grill. (But be careful with it when fighting proteans, demons and the like.)

Milo of Clyde, Detective of Despair (DC 14)

Summary:  This spiritual sleuth helps you be good with a gun/crossbow,

Constellation: Scholar

Ceremony: You recite, and hold yourself to, RoboCop’s Prime Directives.

Totems: (1) you draw the seal of Obba, Ella, Atasha and deface it (this totem keeps you from binding OEA.) (2) You haven’t broken any serious laws in the last 24 hours. (3) You have Knowledge (local), 2 ranks.

Sign (Passive): You go through puberty (at least where facial hair is concerned - even if female. Watch for funny looks.)

Sign (Active): You furrow your brow. Now if only you had a Sherlock pipe...

Influence: You become a law-freak. Try not to bind this guy in a city if you can help it, where adventurers end up breaking the law fairly often even by accident.

Favored Ally (Likes): Victims (within 72 hours.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Criminals (within 72 hours.)

Major Ability: 

Milo’s Lucky Break: As an immediate, convert any lethal damage you would take this turn into nonlethal. This can potentially save your bacon since it applies to every attack an enemy might make that turn, as well as apply to unorthodox sources like spells and sneak attack (though be mindful that you cannot take immediate actions while flat-footed.) However, at low levels this is likely just to knock you out rather than kill you, unless you have some way of resisting nonlethal. Thus, this is unlikely to be truly useful until mid-high levels, and even then the cooldown makes it best for absorbing a heavy hitter like a critical hit or death spell.

Capstone Empowerment: You can convert damage that others would take, i.e. use this on the tank, or a rogue that’s about to check for traps.

Minor Abilities:

Amazing Reload: You can reload any crossbow, sling or firearm as a swift action; at 12th level it becomes a non-action. This is great for a guncultist using a rifle of some kind, or a crossbow occultist using a heavy crossbow. You can easily get two attacks out of such weapons (since swifts can be taken at any time, including during a full-attack) and by the time more than two are relevant you should have the necessary ability to make use of your BAB. Milo can be very helpful for occultist seeking to go for a crossbow or gun route.

Deft Fingers: Trapfinding, and a bonus to Disable Device. Handy if nobody else in the group has it, though this is less of a boon than it was in 3.5. At least its easier to get for you than it was for the 3.5 Binder.

Lion’s Roar: After you’ve summoned a guardian, this gives you something to do each round instead of whipping out the crossbow or spending what’s left of your allowance on alchemist’s fire. The damage isn’t great, but sonic is rarely resisted and area attacks can save your bacon at low levels. (A bee swarm can quickly fell many a stalwart low-level adventurer.)  

Lead Slinger:  Proficiency with all crossbows and early 1-handed firearms. (The latter is optional depending on the DM’s preference.) A heavy repeating crossbow is a nice choice at low levels, as is a Launching Crossbow to get those splash weapons across the field.

Street Savvy: Perception bonuses are always welcome. The Survival bonus to follow tracks is situational; consider it icing on the cake, because the former is the real reason we’re here.

Vestigial Companion: You get a talking ferret (stats as weasel.) This gets points for sheer coolness, combat ability be damned. Being able to talk might let it use command-word items; as always, talk to your DM.

Overall rating: Okay. Milo is situational, and while he can save you some feats with the right build (an archer of some kind) he doesn’t really help you out in that role in any meaningful way. His major, while it could save your bacon in some instances, most of the time will just reduce a fatal blow to a knockout - both of which are equally hazardous/debilitating during combat - or else just be wasted/unnecessary. (His ability works best just before a magical heal goes off from an ally, or right before you drink a potion - as that will cure an equal amount of both types and thus effectively let you double-dip.)

2nd-Level

Lady Jarah, Mistress of Many Faces (DC 19)

Summary: This vain spirit teaches you how to use your looks to get far ahead in life.

Constellation: Thief

Ceremony: “Bloody Jarah, Bloody Jarah, Bloody Jarah.”

Totems: (1) You have 2 ranks in Perform (Oratory) so you can tell her at length how cool she is; (2) You’re female or have long hair; (3) You’re wearing snazzy threads as a focus (75gp+.)

Sign (Passive): You smell great. Bind her before a hot date?

Sign (Active): Your skin shines like a mirror briefly. In case you couldn’t tell, Jarah likes being the center of attention.

Influence: In every negotiation you make you want something for yourself. Most PCs do this anyway, so this is one of the easiest ones to live with.

Favored Ally (Likes): Female humanoids and... doppelgangers? Huh.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Males who can’t Perform. Nyuk nyuk.

Major Ability: 

Aura of Distracting Beauty: You strike a pose, causing your unparalleled hotness to fascinate nearby creatures. The biggest disadvantage is that it doesn’t affect creatures with more HD than you (but see the Capstone Empowerment below) - however, everything else about it is pretty good. Compare it for example to the similar Hypnotic Pattern spell -  it’s not mind-affecting, it doesn’t require concentration, it can potentially last indefinitely vs. weak-willed targets, has no mass HD limit, is supernatural, and (barring a successful save) it is only broken if YOU attack the creature’s allies - meaning you can lock down half the battlefield while your party members mop up the other half, and even when they start going after the creatures you have drooling over you, only the ones specifically being attacked will break free. Furthermore, the cooldown can be counting down the entire time you have enemies enthralled, so for a longer battle you can potentially be ready to fire it again the instant they break free. Note that you can even walk away after using this and they will still have to keep making their saving throw to be able to do anything. Beware sightless enemies however - they must be able to see you for it to work.

Capstone Empowerment: You can now fascinate creatures with more HD than you. They do get a hefty +4 bonus on their will save, but this still removes the main obstacle to using the power. You could potentially lock down the BBEG with this.

Minor Abilities:

Across All Cultures: You can speak new languages = Cha bonus, reselectable each time you pact with Jarah. Secret languages are off-limits (e.g. no Druidic allowed) but others are fair game. Nice when you need it but unlikely to come up often. Combos well with her alter self ability (e.g. you can turn into a Drow who speaks Drow for an infiltration mission.)

Beauty Without Peer: Your stunning looks grant you a sanctuary effect, preventing anyone who fails their save from attacking you directly. Like the spell, this works regardless of range or awareness, so even  attackers you can’t see (like ambushers, invisible attackers or distant snipers) will have a hard time targeting you, and it helps you move about the battlefield safely as well. So long as they don’t save or you don’t attack them you can keep this up pretty much indefinitely. Unfortunately, enemies that do successfully save become immune for 24 hours, not needing to save further, so be careful. This gets broken if you attack; check with your DM whether your Distracting Beauty ability qualifies. Note however that even if you break the effect by attacking a target, only that target gains the 24hr immunity -  his allies are still susceptible and so you can reapply it on the following round, forcing more saves.

Rewrite Self (VC): As alter self, except it’s a move action to activate, and you can go one size up or down, rather than being specifically restricted to Medium or Small. That means medium races can go up to Large; in Pathfinder, Giants are humanoid, making them fair game for this power. The strength bonus is identical whether you are Medium or Large, but you also gain reach in Large form. And if you start out Small, you can go down to Tiny with this - if you can find a Tiny Humanoid that is. (Currently there are none.) This is at-will and so it has a wide variety of uses - disguises/infiltration (+10 to your check), base land speed (Hill Giants have 40’ base) and, best of all, natural attacks - for instance, if you turn into a Hill Giant, you get two slams for free.

Story Weaving: You gain a bonus on Bluff and Perform (Oratory) as well as the ability to take 10 on these. Note that the Bluff bonus applies to all uses, e.g. feinting, and taking 10 can get you out of some hairy situations as well. It’s quite possible to have a guaranteed 20+ bluff check at level 3 with this.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a parrot familiar (as wizard.) Parrots have identical stats to ravens - except the skill bonus, which thankfully is swapped from Appraise to the much more useful Linguistics. Score! You also get Alertness as with all familiars. The parrot itself gets +6 perception, LLV and 40ft. fly speed - these make it a good scout since it can actually tell you what it sees, and can easily blend into a forest or jungle environment, or accompany you to the high-society ball as an exotic yet nonthreatening pet.  You should probably fluff it as a very pretty talking bird like a cockatoo or mynah bird since it shares your ability to fascinate foes or seek sanctuary. Since it can speak, it can also use your Bluff and Oratory bonuses from Story Weaving, as well as your free languages from AAC. While in most cases I think the ability to change shape/size will be more handy for you (particularly for gishes), the bird has its uses as well, such as flying it over to some sentries and having it fascinate them while the party slips by.

Overall rating: Excellent. Jarah has strong control potential, blending offense and defense into a near-seamless whole, and is a great low-level precursor/companion to the more gish-oriented vestiges thanks to her size changing ability. Fascinated is a great status effect, and accessing it without mind-affecting or needing to concentrate is extremely rare. Her fluff is great (she helps you get a lot of mileage out of your high Charisma in more ways than one) and her unique method of neutralizing opponents seems like it will be both fun and effective at most game tables. The soft HD cap on her Major is her biggest drawback; considering how many enemies have more HD than their CR, definitely do what you can to land that capstone empowerment and at least give yourself a fighting chance against them. If you go after the Constellation, grab Betrayal to combine your reach with flanking bonuses, sowing havoc throughout the enemy as they help you against their own allies.

Mute Sylvus, Sole Survivor (DC 17)

Summary: This surly elf spirit makes you a pretty good shot in spurts - but offers little else.

Constellation: Tree

Ceremony: You say his name. Finally, a simple one.

Totems: (1) Pact in the deep forest. (2) You are an elf/half-elf, or have 2 ranks in Profession (Hunter) so you know bird-calls. (3) You sacrifice the beak of a “monstrous bird.”

Sign (Passive): You rolled in a bird’s nest - a thorny one.

Sign (Active): None.

Influence: You clam up.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any humanoid with Survival ranks.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any magical beast.

Major Ability: 

Strike True: Like the spell it is named for, this power gives you a hefty untyped bonus on your next attack roll.  Unlike True Strike, however, this is a swift action, so you can trigger the bonus and attack in one turn. The bonus is +10, but you get the full +20 if you’re using a bow, gearing Sylvus towards ranged Occultists. It’s pretty nice that this is a swift, but the cooldown and single attack does hurt its usefulness somewhat. Combos very well with Deadly Aim, Power Attack, Vital Strike, and poison. Also helps you land a tricky maneuver like a grapple or disarm, though of course that means you’re probably using it for melee.

Capstone Empowerment: You can cut the bonus in half (i.e. +10 with bows, +5 without) to apply it to a number of attacks on your turn equal to your Cha bonus, capping at 5. Needless to say, +10 untyped to all your attacks in a full attack routine is pretty nice and will help you rain down quite a lot of pain as an archer. The +5 to all melee attacks isn’t too bad either. Note that you can choose which attacks to add it to, so if you have more attacks than you can apply the boost (for example your Cha bonus is low, or you’re combining things like Haste and Rapid Shot), you can shift the bonus to your less-accurate iteratives and have a decent chance of landing all of them. Combine with Vandrae and a hefty initiative (such as from your Pact Augmentations) and you can put a lot of pain in the air before the enemy can so much as blink.

Minor Abilities:

Fast Movement: You get a scaling enhancement bonus (+10ft.) to move speed. This isn’t too impressive - it scales slowly (+20 at 9 and +30 at 15) and, being enhancement, doesn’t stack with similar effects like Haste. It’s okay if you have nothing else but won’t stay relevant long.

Improvise Weapons: You take no penalty with improvised or broken weapons. You honestly shouldn’t be using any in the first place.

Master Hunter: You get a bonus to Survival and low-light vision; if you already have LLV, your eyes get sharper. Chances are you won’t need these; Tree can help you deal with both starvation and getting lost if either is a concern, and his influence is mild so you don’t even have to go all out to make the binding check.

Peerless Archer (VC): You gain shortbow and longbow proficiency, as well as the benefit of the Precise Shot feat. This is particularly useful before you gain these abilities yourself e.g. by dipping. Unfortunately if you plan to be a dedicated ranged Occultist, chances are you will want PS anyway since so many other archery feats demand it, making this ability redundant.

Vestigial Companion: You have to go get one yourself - Sylvus gives you the power to form a bond with any friendly creature, sharing his granted abilities with it as though that creature were your vestigial companion. This actually gives you a unique trick - “creature” can be literally anyone, so you could therefore share Sylvus’ powers with a party member. Unfortunately, this ability gives you no control over that creature; even if it’s friendly, lacking the control that a familiar grants you, or even the more limited bond of the animal companion, can be a pain. In particular you have no real control over when your “companion” fires off your major ability, and you both get stuck with the cooldown regardless of which one actually used it. The minor abilities you get to share aren’t really worthwhile either. This ability is perhaps the worst of the companions and can even actively hurt you. To top things off, there’s no way to revoke the powers you give them except for ending the entire pact. And the one power you might want to share - free bow proficiency and Precise Shot - just happens to be the one you give up to access this. Having said that though, letting the monk borrow your true strike just before he tries wrestling that golem will at least make you his best friend.

Overall rating: Poor. Sylvus isn’t much to write home about. His seemingly useful major is hamstrung by its brief duration and cooldown, and the rest of his abilities are lukewarm at best. He’s an okay choice for an archer Occultist, but there are honestly better spirits out there even then. Tree is a mediocre constellation as well, though at least it gives you another option for keeping everyone nourished on a survival trek. The health it can give everyone per day is really starting to be inadequate however.

Tyrant Cromwell, the Black Knight (DC 18)

Summary: This brutal shade makes you a melee powerhouse. In true evil overlord fashion, he gives you a sneaky, snivelling sidekick to boot.

Constellation: Hero (?!)

Ceremony: You smear the blood of a recently-slain enemy onto a cloth. RAW your spell component pouch will contain what you need even if it doesn’t make sense; if you haven’t slain anyone recently and your DM gives   you grief over this, kill a rat or some other vermin that you hate, keeping the blood.

Totems: (1) You are evil, an orc, or a half-orc. (2) You have 11+ Str. (3) You know the black knight’s epitome, requiring either 4 ranks in Know (Religion), or 1 level of antipaladin.

Sign (Passive): You become Aryan. Gee, whatever could they be hinting at? (Be wary of your race - a drow or fetchling with blonde hair and blue eyes is probably going to stick out like a sore thumb for instance.)

Sign (Active): A sinister shadow hides your face briefly. Feel free to throw in a menacing chuckle while you’re at it.

Influence: You become somewhat axe-crazy, similar to Hessant but even meaner, and a bit manic as well. Let someone else handle the prisoners and do the talking if you’re under this guy’s influence.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any, alignment CE.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any, alignment LG.

Major Ability: 

Vestigial Might: For 1d4 rounds you get a profane bonus to Strength - +2 until 10th, after which it becomes +4. It’s not the most dramatic ability out there, but profane is such a rare bonus it may as well be untyped for stacking purposes, so this is nice for that reason. It’s a swift action too, so you can pump up and then full-attack. Str also applies to both CMB and CMD, helping you dish out and resist a variety of nasty maneuvers/effects alike. Note: a nice trick to make this last longer is to use Empower Granted Ability, which will boost the variable duration of this power.

Capstone Empowerment: The bonus goes up by another +2 (so +4 and +6, respectively.)

Minor Abilities:

Indiscernible Alignment: Your alignment can’t be divined. This is pretty helpful if there’s a paladin around, or your evil party needs to infiltrate some goody-goody temple, or on a villain  against the PCs. Amusingly, you can use this just as easily in reverse, e.g. a good-aligned Occultist wanting to infiltrate a fiendish cult, and creates the interesting paradigm of battling Cromwell’s influence the whole time to keep himself from gleefully hacking them all to ribbons.

Phantom Armor: You get a constant +2 insight bonus to AC. This scales pretty quickly (+3 at 6, +4 at 9 and so on up to+7 at level 18) and stacks with the more usual sources of AC (armor, shield, natural, deflection, dodge etc) so Cromwell is a pretty decent spirit choice for a gish. Best of all, this applies to your touch AC, flatfooted AC, and even to your CMD, as well as even applying if you change forms.

Savage Attacks (VC): You get the benefit of the Power Attack and Vital Strike feats for free, freeing up valuable feats for a gish Occultist build. Fortunately, this is also the ability you trade for your vestigial companion, so if you end up getting the feats later then this ability isn’t wasted - just elect for the familiar each time (unless you have a better companion of course, in which case you can simply absorb the loss).

Weapon Familiarity: You gain proficiency with the Greatsword, Lance and Garotte. Not the best set of weapons around, but they have their uses. He doesn’t actually give you these weapons though, so you’ll have to find your own.

Vestigial Companion: You trade Savage Attacks for a unique familiar - a nuglub gremlin. Fey familiars are quite rare and it’s a nice creature type to have as few spells/effects target fey specifically. Perhaps the best ability this little guy brings to the table is at-will prestidigitation, but other advantages include: high stealth and perception, decent trap crafting, small size (i.e. threatens squares and flanks) the ability to hold items/open doors/etc. 120 ft. darkvision and low-light vision,  at-will heat metal/shocking grasp/snare (1 hr. cooldown on these), and 20 ft. climb speed. 1/hour snare and enough rope can help you booby-trap a stronghold, and the traps last for the duration of your pact or until triggered/broken. Note that the gremlin shares Cromwell’s abilities with you, meaning he gains Phantom Armor and your Garotte proficiency, which gives him some neat combat uses. Be sure to get him a garotte and have him sneak up behind an unsuspecting spellcaster whenever possible. If you have Cromwell bound and no better choices among companions, you can get a lot of mileage out of his gremlin. The gremlin has bonuses to trip and grapple (the latter of which will help him with his garotting) and has decent AC thanks to Phantom Armor, but don’t rely on it too much in a fight if he hasn’t gotten the drop on your foe.

Overall rating: Good. Cromwell is a nice secondary choice for a gish, particularly since he’s one of the few spirits who is just as effective even if you have poor Cha - none of his abilities care about it. Caster occultists will like the AC bonus but there isn’t much else here for them. Cromwell’s Phantom Armor makes him a nice tank, keeping his AC decent even if you shapeshift or use a 2-hander; combined with his active ability, you’re pushed towards a hulking, power-attacking/charging build. His lance proficiency goes well with any of the mount companions, like Hessant’s or Nalyia’s.

Ubro, the Blind Hospitaler (DC 17)

Summary: This sappy spirit grants you a variety of healing powers and some defense.

Constellation: Angel

Ceremony: You blindfold yourself and light incense.

Totems: (1) you are good-aligned OR possess 4 ranks in Heal. (2) You are a halfing, OR are the eldest of your siblings (note: cannot be an only-child to count as “eldest.”) (3) You recite the hippocratic oath, which requires either 2 ranks of profession (Healer) or 1 level of cleric.

Sign (Passive): Your iris/pupils disappear. (You can still see.)

Sign (Active): A “mark of healing” appears on your chest. (Red Cross? Caduceus? Ankh?)

Influence: You become a healing doormat. Be careful as your DM may rule that this applies to the enemy too; even the healer can annoy the party if the enemy calls out for healing and you rush to obey.

Favored Ally (Likes): All animals, and anyone who is LG.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Anyone who is evil.

Major Ability: 

Healing Surge -  You gain a cleric’s channel energy, at full strength (i.e. 2d6 when you get Ubro, up to 10d6), usable only to heal. This is unlimited, however any given creature can only benefit 3 + Cha times (minimum 1) per day. In practice, this means that for your party the channel will be just as if a cleric or life oracle were using it - you won’t exactly run out, but after X applications they will cease to gain HP from it, so save it for when it is needed. However, it also means you have freedom to run around town healing NPCs, summons or called creatures, animals and children etc. too.

Capstone Empowerment: You can channel as a move action by reducing the amount healed by half. It’s unclear if you are eligible for Quick Channel so this may be handy (especially if you don’t want to blow a feat on Quick Channel anyway) but what’s really nice about this is that it doesn’t lower the healing limit per person per day (i.e. it still counts as 1 application of healing despite taking less time), so you can freely use this and still use another major in the same round.

Minor Abilities:

Heal Aches: 1/day/target, you can remove the blind or deafened condition from a creature. Not likely to come up, but if it ever does you’ll be glad you have it. Can help you treat an ally who accidentally got his retinas blasted by Serapith.

Healer’s Hands: You get an untyped bonus on Heal checks, and the time it takes you to treat poison, disease, or any wounds with the Heal skill is reduced by half. Magical healing is generally better but for a low-level or grittier campaign it’s nice to be able to bind Ubro and and get to patch people up more easily. It’s unclear what half of a standard action (in the case of treating poison) is - a move action? A swift?

Sand Skin (VC): You gain DR/Piercing that scales as you level, later improving to DR/Magic and Piercing, and then DR/Evil and Piercing. This scales up to DR 7 at 18th level, close to what an Invulnerable Rager gets. However, piercing damage is unfortunately common (arrows/claws/bites etc.) and lots of later monsters apply magic and evil to their attacks automatically too, so this is too often bypassed and unlikely to rise above “okay.”

Status: You get a Status ability usable at-will, but unfortunately this isn’t quite as beneficial as it initially sounds. It is instantaneous rather than lasting for hours, so basically you can use it to touch someone and find out if they are affected by a negative condition at that point in time, but not to monitor them on an ongoing basis (which would help you catch some harmful conditions, like disease, during their onset) or cast beneficial spells on them at range.

Vestigial Companion: Ubro doesn’t actually give you a companion in the normal sense - rather, you form a bond between yourself and up to Cha mod other creatures. Doing this allows you to trade d6s of your channel ability and heal that many d6s of ability damage afflicting your bondees instead. Each one can have a total points of ability damage cured each day equal to your EBL. This is quite powerful, on par with Naberius in terms of how much ability damage you can heal in a day, and best of all you can share it with others instead of it being self-only. Combined with your Healer’s Hands and Ubro can really help you not fear poisons and diseases. I consider this to be a decent trade for Sand Skin and your party will likely agree.

Overall rating: Okay. Ubro has some very nice support abilities, but he functions best as a secondary or even tertiary vestige, i.e. when you have additional spirit slots, or another power source to draw on entirely such as spells. He is particularly useful on one of the occult archetypes that let non-healing classes (like Monks and Sorcerers) bind spirits, but for a pure occultist he leaves a bit to be desired on his own. The sheer amount of healing he can pour out in a day (especially to multiple targets) is pretty phenomenal - when you get him, assuming 18 Cha, you can pump out around 14d6 (2d6 * 7) per person in one day, which is definitely a nice top-up at level 3. However, the cooldown makes him less reliable for in-combat care - you’ll probably only channel once or twice per fight - and he completely lacks offensive abilities. At the very least, he is better at healing than the 3.5 vestige Buer. If you plan to use him a lot, be sure to pick up Selective Channeling at a minimum so you’re not refilling the enemy too., or at least position the party appropriately. With his influence, be wary of making a poltergeist out of him.

PMU2:

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 16)

Summary: Did you get it? He’s Slenderman. Come on, what more do you people need??

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: You sing a song about Slenderman “The Tall Man” backwards.

Totems: (1) You sacrifice a living creature. (Bring an ant, or a petri dish/disease vial and some alcohol.) (2) You pact within 10 feet of a forest or abandoned building. (3) You place an effigy in the seal, requiring Know (religion) 4 ranks.

Sign (Passive): You get a birthmark resembling his seal on a random part of your body. Depending on where it ends up and the social situation, you could face some awkward questions.

Sign (Active): Shadowy tendrils erupt from your back. Yeah, definitely awkward.

Influence: You become aggressive and plot the murders of everyone around you. Thankfully nothing makes you actually carry these killings out, otherwise this spirit would be a big fat red.

Favored Ally (Likes): Aberrations.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill -  You debuff an enemy within 30 feet with gnawing fear, causing them to take various penalties and nonlethal damage for 3 rounds (however, they get a save to end each round, so it will likely be less.) The damage is negligible (3d6 isn’t terrible at this level, but spread across 3 rounds with chances to save for a reduction is less than ideal), but the debuffs can be pretty crippling since they will get a total of -4 to saves vs. fear, making it hard to shake off the ability since it is also a fear effect. If you’re going for a low-level fear-based Occultist though, Sevnoir is probably a better deal overall. If you can, try intimidating them first so that this is easier to land and they get up to frightened.

Capstone Empowerment: Your chill afflicts the target with wracking coughs, affecting their ability to speak and use verbal components. Note that this affects all abilities, not just spells - this could extend to supernatural abilities with verbal components too, like a Witch’s Cackle. A unique effect, but if you can get a caster to fail a will save there are probably better things to do with it.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: At-will Frighten as a standard action? Fantastic! If they save they’re immune, but this is almost as good as a Witch’s slumber hex. It’s definitely better than the major since there is no cooldown, and if you land both you can get a target to Panicked. Fear’s many resistances/immunities, including the 24-hour immunity on a successful save, keep this from a purple rating however.

Infectious Despair: As a swift action, you get to Shatter Defenses (as the feat) against anyone you have feared using either Intimidate or either of the abilities above. This would be great, except both of the prior abilities are standard actions, so capitalizing on your foe’s flat-footed nature will not be easy. If you have the Enforcer feat and a source of nonlethal, however...

Murder Master: +4 to your coup de grace save DC and +2 to those of your death effects. Generally if you’re in a position to CDG someone they are going to die, so this is overkill, and he doesn’t give you any death effects to use with the other thing.

Spatial Bleeding: Blur for EBL+Cha rounds/day, divided as you choose. This doesn’t shut off in the light like Sevnoir’s does, but even better than that - as written this applies to all spells, not just ones with attack rolls. You can cause magic missile and charm person to “miss you,” as written. I’ll put this one down for a designer ruling.

Vestigial Companion: None! (Though lets face it, Tall Man probably killed it anyway.)

Overall rating: Okay. As with Sevnoir, fear is an okay tactic at these levels, but it’s not something you want to rely on long term at all. Al’kra’s fear is much more potent than the Mastiff’s, but being a spirit level higher and limited to single-target does impede you a fair bit.

Humble Ohbai, Servant of the Elements (DC 20)

Summary: This jovial djinn helps you push people around (gently) and comes equipped with a suite of support abilities.

Constellation: Scholar

Ceremony: You light a brazier and put in traces of the seven elements (see Jayna Warlock to know what these are.) Per the designer, “void” is a puff of smoke, mist or fog. Also, hang onto this brazier if you want to summon Jayna later in your career.

Totems: (1) You use costly elements (50gp total.) For Water, try Evian. (2) You can speak all 4 elemental languages. (3) You pact with Ohbai in a caravan, trade city or on another plane.

Sign (Passive): Your breath is misty. Store some to use as “void” for future pacts, if you need to.

Sign (Active): You briefly shrink. It does not appear to change your size category.

Influence: You become obsequious to everyone. This shouldn’t impede you much - it’s possible to be humble and polite to someone even while you’re kicking their ass after all.

Favored Ally (Likes): Elementals and Genies (surprise, surprise.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any other outsider besides the above. (As written, non-genie elementals are both favored allies and favored enemies - this is unlikely to be intended.)

Major Ability: 

Genie Jaunt: You can move up to Cha mod creatures  within 30ft. (including yourself) 5ft. away from their starting positions, +5ft./3 levels. The range is tiny on this, though it does get better (up to 30ft. at 18th level.)  However, the true benefits are subtle. Here are some tricks to make the most of this:

Capstone Empowerment: You can Jaunt (or make someone else jaunt) as an immediate action. This is pretty handy - even a 5ft. shift can potentially be enough to save your bacon from some nasty area effects, like Blasphemy, or move you out of range just an enemy starts a nasty attack routine, grapple attempt etc. You can also move an enemy (or ally!) in front of you to block another enemy’s charge, or move yourself behind a pillar, or yank/shove an ally out of the way of something etc. Always get Ohbai’s Capstone if you can and you’re planning to use him.

Minor Abilities:

Elemental Ascension: For up to EBL+Cha rounds/day, gain resistance to 5 separate elements as an immediate action, you don’t need to breathe and you and also reduce falling damage by half. The resistance is pretty weak (= EBL, so 1/level max 20 in most cases), but the half falling damage mid-fall is still relevant at this level and turning off your breath can also be a lifesaver vs. gaseous attacks, dense smoke, quicksand or swimming. The variety of defenses this form enables elevates it to a good rating.

Elemental Tongue: You speak all the elemental languages (i.e. Auran, Aquan, Terran, Ignan.) Man, if only you could pact with this guy while pacting with this guy (yo dawg), you would easily qualify for that particular totem. Anyway, while this might sound situational, a great use for it is to communicate with summoned elementals (or your vestigial companion, which is an elemental.) Say you need to split the party underground, for instance - an earth elemental can carry messages between the two groups or follow instructions given in Terran, while an Air elemental can carry a party member that can’t fly at your direction. There are a number of uses for these languages.

Genie Steeds (VC): Conjure up phantom steeds for the whole party, and you can retreat to an elemental plane if things get hairy. (Since the steeds can eventually fly, Air is probably your best bet as a bolthole.) At high levels, you can do this a great many times per day, meaning the party will pretty much never need to walk anywhere ever again. They also last for hours (like the spell.)

Sustenance: You don’t have to eat or drink while bound to Ohbai. That matters at this level so it can be handy, and while it becomes less of a problem as you gain levels it never truly stops being useful.

Vestigial Companion: You get an elemental familiar; per Improved Familiar, these are Small, and therefore they can help out in combat a bit by threatening squares etc. Earth is probably the most useful due to its ability to scout for you while underground via earth glide, and Elemental Tongue will allow you to communicate with it if you don’t already have the languages yourself, allowing you to give it orders. It will also have Elemental Tongue and so can help the party translate with other elementals if you’re otherwise indisposed. Sustenance and Elemental Ascension won’t matter as much to it.

Overall rating: Good. While Genie Jaunt starts out on the weak side, the ability has potential and is one of the rare granted powers that works well for both offense and defense (with a little creativity.) The capstone empowerment in particular makes it a very potent defensive tactic. Ohbai’s other abilities make him a great support spirit as well. Overall, a solid choice, especially at mid-levels.

Lord Foxglove IV, Exchequer of the Stolen Purse (DC 17)

Summary: This lascivious lemure gives you deep pockets (literally) and helps you leave your opponents wide open to your assault.

Constellation: Dragon

Ceremony: You dress up and duke it out with Foxglove (mentally, anyway) over a fancy dinner.

Totems: (1) You pact in a princely place. (2) You bring a magic rapier with you (it is not consumed, thankfully.) (3) You bring in a piece of clothing from your last paramour (also not consumed, though if you are particularly… active, don’t forget to swap this out as needed.)

Sign (Passive): You get a fox-shaped birthmark on your neck.

Sign (Active): The fox runs around your head.

Influence: You become a hedonist and dislike being interrupted while at play. How long you have to spend… “indulging” is not specified, so try to keep it short for the party’s sake.

Favored Ally (Likes): Female humanoids.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Male humanoids. (This guy would get along swimmingly with Jarah…)

Major Ability: 

Curse Rivals: After a successful attack roll (this can be one made with a weapon or a supernatural ability, which covers most of your attack rolls), you can curse the target as an immediate action, getting -2 to your chioce of check for 4 rounds. This penalty scales as you level, up to -5. The will save to negate is not thrilling; however, it’s one of the rare none-mind-affecting will saves too, and being able to do this and attack in the same round is quite nice. Pity you can’t land this first and then your other attack...

Capstone Empowerment: Penalize two checks instead of one. AC + Saves are good choices for most fights, or attack rolls if you’re fighting something painful.

Minor Abilities:

Foxglove’s Finesse: Weapon Finesse and Improved Critical in one. Unfortunately, these do nothing if you have both. (Note: it is currently unclear whether FF and IC/keen stack. More to come.)

Mark of Seduction: I’m a big fan of no-save-just-suck abilities, and this is no exception. The touch range is not thrilling, but you can get around it by using your fox companion. Touch an enemy and penalize their saves vs. charm/compulsion (up to -6), as well as make it easier to Diplomacy them. What’s truly nice about this is that the creature needs to pass a sense motive to even notice you’ve done something special (though note, your damn neck tattoo might give you away here.) This can get you past many stuffy officials, bureaucrats and other gatekeeper NPCs. It also makes an enemy eligible for Curse Rivals, though it does not make landing that any easier. If you penalize their saves with this and follow up with Curse Rivals, you can give an enemy up to -8 to their save vs. compulsion, leaving them ripe for...

Hold Person (VC): Like N’aliya’s charm, “X Person” effects (i.e. humanoids only) wear out their welcome quickly, but this is handy for awhile even if it is only one target at a time, and you get it at the same level as a cleric. Use it like a Witch’s Slumber Hex. As mentioned above, a good combo here is Mark of Seduction - > Curse Rivals, then Hold Person on the following round while they have -3 to -8 to their saving throw. Or you can use a compulsion/charm granted by another spirit. A pity you can’t use this AND the Fox, otherwise you could double-debuff and freeze them all in one round.

Pockets of Holding: One of the pockets of the coat you wore to pact with Foxglove becomes a Bag of Holding, scaling in power/capacity as you gain levels. This is handy but there are also unanswered questions with it. (Note: what happens when the pact runs out or you take the coat off?)

Vestigial Companion: You get a fox familiar in place of Hold Person. It can’t use your pockets or Hold, nor does it do much with FF,  but it can be used to subtly deliver your Mark and Curse. Still, outside of social-heavy campaigns , not the best choice (and perhaps not even then, as polite society may frown on you bringing a fox everywhere, or even try to hunt it.) The reflex bonus is nice though.

Overall rating: Okay. Foxglove is very narrow in focus, but he makes a decent choice for a social campaign, augmenting your already strong social skills if people don’t mind you getting a bit touchy-feely first.

3rd-Level

Muse Istago, Painter of Paradox (DC 19)

Summary: This artistic apparition makes you a master illusionist, lets you spy on your foes and even draw buffs into your party.

Constellation: Seer

Ceremony: You get high (for inspiration, duuuuude) and paint some aspect of yourself.

Totems: (1) You have either 6 ranks in Craft (Painting) or Profession (Painter). (I recommend the former.) (2) You either are no longer, or never were, nobility. (3) You slept at least an hour before the ceremony.

Sign (Passive): Your skin and clothes are spattered with paint that can’t be washed off.

Sign (Active): A swirl of color briefly surrounds you. It’s unclear whether it floats in the air around you (3D) or just moves across your clothing/armor/skin (2D); check with your DM.

Influence: You become a doormat when you’re around people, but prefer to be alone. As with Ubro, if you fall under this guy’s influence, be careful not to let enemies/unfriendlies prevail upon your obsequious nature.

Favored Ally (Likes): Anyone with artistic Craft or Profession ranks. (Performing arts don’t count, sadly.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any nobility.

Major Ability: 

Paint Reality: This lets you “paint” a Major Image, as the spell, with a CL equal to your EBL. To summarize:

- The duration of your painting is “24 hours” instead of “Concentration + 3 rounds,” giving you the freedom to do other things while your image exists. However, to move or direct it, you must still concentrate.

- You start off with up to nine 10ft. cubes to work with (shapeable), both for creating and moving your “painting,” and gain an extra cube with each level.

- Your image can speak, but it must be a language you can speak as well or it will produce gibberish (Jarah can help you with languages you don’t know.)

-  As with all figments, your painting can be attacked - it has an AC of 10 + size mod, and you must make it react appropriately or it will disappear.

- Your painting can produce sounds, smells and thermal effects.

- The cooldown starts after you activate it, so you can have a second painting ready to go while the first is still active.

- You can only have one painting out at a time.

As with all illusions, how useful this is depends a great deal on your DM; who you can fool with it, how enemies will react to it, any combat applications etc. As such, this ability is hard to rate objectively and will need to be adjusted depending on your own DM’s adjudication of illusions. The more your DM balks at illusions in combat, the less useful this power becomes. Out of combat however, it’s as useful as your imagination lets it be. This does have an inherent advantage over most illusions of course - namely, the autoscaling disbelief save.

Capstone Empowerment: Muse Istago has perhaps the most powerful augment in pact magic- the ability to give life to his drawings, and even paint over the land itself. At first, this empowers your painting to be a Persistent Image rather than Major Image, i.e. letting it move/act according to a script set by you without needing concentration. Note that acing your binding check gives you access to Persistent Image at 5th level, a whopping 6 levels earlier than an Illusionist gets it, and furthermore yours lasts for 24 hours instead of min./level. In addition, as you gain level, this ability grows much stronger, as follows:

- At 9th-level, you gain the ability to paint hallucinatory terrain. Since you can only have one painting out at a time, this loses it’s primary source of usefulness, i.e. fake moat around your stronghold or whatever, but it’s great if you’re being chased by something nasty and landbound if they think there’s a giant mire or pit of lava in the way. You can also use it to cover up pit traps, at least per the example in the 3.5 PHB..

- At 11th-level you can paint a permanent image. This is pointless  since your paintings end when the pact does no matter what, and again you can only have one out at a time.

- At 11th-level your scenery-painting gets upgraded to mirage arcana. This is great for one reason - lots of hiding places on demand, though of course the party does have to actually make the effort (i.e. stealth checks) here.

- At 13th-level you gain the ultimate benefit of Muse Istago - the ability to paint a simulacrum, substituting your EBL for your CL. As this power is supernatural, your simulacra cost you no material components at all - letting you create a copy of any creature your EBL will allow free of charge. When you first learn this, your chosen subject can have up to 26HD; though they come out at half-strength, this can still enable you to summon nightmarishly strong backup. Have fun painting Balors (well, half-strength Balors anyway.) If you choose to use this, be sure to work out with your DM what abilities your creations will have, which they won’t and which will be altered ahead of time to minimize table bickering. Your DM may also call for checks - either Knowledge or Craft (Painting) or even both - to successfully paint a given creature. Regardless - free, standard-action simulacrum is solid gold, even if you only get one and the DM gets to choose its powers. Update: the author has expressed the desire to tone this down, likely by restricting you to equal-HD paintings instead of twice-HD as the spell. Even with that restriction the ability will be highly useful, since you’ll still be painting disposable minions for free, and “summoning” them even in places where traditional summons are prohibited.

Minor Abilities:

Dreams of the Muse: You gain the ability to scry at will as though using the spell scrying. You require no focus, instead falling asleep and dreaming of the target. (Note - this makes you helpless for 1 hour + however long you scry, so keep friends around you, hide in some painted terrain or at least have a painting stand guard.)  If the target saves they are immune for 24 hours, otherwise you can use this pretty much indefinitely. Unlike the spell, you cannot cast any other spells or abilities through the sensor. Aside from not needing a focus however, Muse Istago has another unique benefit over the spell - you can also scry on places/locations with this, increasing its usefulness tenfold as locations get no saving throw. It’s unclear what happens if you’re afflicted with Nightmare or similar during this ability.

Keen Eye: You gain an insight bonus to the two painting skills, as well as to Perception and Sense Motive. The painting skills are meh, but the other two skills are extremely important so this ability is quite welcome.

Mirrored Eyes: You gain an untyped bonus on saving throws vs gaze attacks, plus a chance to reflect gaze attacks back onto attackers. This will rarely see use, but it’s passive, so the few times it does come up you’ll be glad you have it. Note the reflection ability requires you to succeed on your saving throw, so successfully averting or closing your eyes means you also give up the reflect on that round as well.

Perfect Attributes (VC): You can give a number of creatures = your Cha mod (including yourself) an enhancement bonus to one ability score of your choice for the duration of your pact. Though it scales slowly, it lasts 24 hours, and you can always target a different ability score than the target has buffed, so it stays useful all the way up until everyone in the party has Belts of Physical Perfection and Headbands of Mental Superiority, i.e. enhancement bonuses to all their scores. When that happens, simply get the familiar instead.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a Chameleon familiar (as wizard.) This has the same stats as a lizard. This means you get the typical familiar benefits (e.g. Alertness) and a bonus to Climb checks of all things. Unlike Jarah’s parrot, this guy can’t talk - but he should be able to paint, and shares your illusion abilities if you ever send him out to scout, so just have him paint an image of what he sees. It also shares your Perception buff, making it a great extra pair of eyes in a dungeon. Finally, it can also scry like you, (relaying what it sees through your illusions) and it can reflect gaze attacks for you as well. Have it sleep in your pocket and scry on something while you travel - such as, say, the inside of the dungeon the party is trekking towards. The gaze attack reflection is great because that’s one of the few attacks almost every familiar will have to worry about, and he’s a lot more expendable than a regular familiar would be.

Overall rating: Excellent. Even if your DM is stingy when it comes to illusion benefits, Istago’s free Simulacrums, free Scrying, sharp eyes and free enhancement bonuses still make this spirit worthwhile, particularly since you can scry on locations. Muse Istago has the potential to be one of the most powerful spirits at mid to late game, and since unlocking that power requires his capstone empowerment, you will want a decent Cha to maximize your chances. He also comes attached with a great constellation  (Seer lets you reroll initiative.) Finally, you can also earn some bucks on the side by selling your paintings - they’re not supernatural and so will stick around after your pact ends.

N'alyia, the First Vampire (DC 20)

Summary: (Vampire-noise:) “Bleh!” That sums up her powers, but her companion is pretty good.

Constellation: Skull

Ceremony: You drink the blood of a sentient. As with Cromwell, rat blood can suffice here (the size of the “chalice” is not specified either) in case your DM is less than cooperative regarding the pouch.

Totems: (1) Draw her seal in the dark. (2) You are not bound, and agree not to bind, to any spirits that hate undead (e.g. Ubro.). (3) 6 ranks in Know (Religion) let you set up ritual candles around the circle.

Sign (Passive): You become pale/cold and lose your reflection.

Sign (Active): Your teeth sharpen and drip blood briefly.

Influence: You won’t enter a dwelling unless invited in. Can be funny if the party needs to infiltrate someplace. You also see those weaker than you as prey, though that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll try to eat them every time.

Favored Ally (Likes): Intelligent Undead

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any creatures that can channel positive energy or turn undead.

Major Ability: 

Vampiric Jaunt: You can teleport as a swift action... 5 feet away. Whoopie! For an ability with a long cooldown this is pretty criminal. You can explicitly teleport out of grapples, pins and entanglements with this, so that’s something at least - though if you port out of a grapple or pin you end up at your destination prone, needing to burn actions to stand up (and likely provoking since you’re almost certainly still within your tormenter’s reach.) To cap matters, you can only bring a light load with you and cannot teleport into a space containing daylight (either natural or the spell.) A 5-foot teleport is little more than a cruel joke.

Capstone Empowerment: This boosts the ability’s range, making it much more tolerable. You go up to 10 ft. immediately, with an additional 5 ft. every 4 EBL after that (i.e. 15ft. at 9th, 20ft. at 13th, 25 ft. @ 17th.) You’re still restricted to shadows but now at least you have a shot at reaching some. If you bind her at all, try to get that empowerment if you can.

Minor Abilities:

Enthrall: You gain Charm Person at will; a save makes the target immune for 24 hours and you can only have one “thrall” at a time. This would have been much better as Charm Monster, or at least Dominate Person; as it is, there’s too many creatures that can outright ignore this for me to rate it any higher. And even if you land it successfully, Charm’s usefulness depends fairly strongly on your DM’s interpretation of friendship. In a fight, at best this will be like a mini-daze (though against more savage races like Ogres you can probably get a traitorous beatdown among the enemy out of it); out of a fight it becomes much more useful though.

Monstrous Bat Form: You can turn into a monstrous bat hybrid for mins/EBL (hours/EBL at 10th and up), divisible as you choose. Unfortunately, as written, this does nothing but give you a fly speed (equal to your land speed though, which is nice) but with no maneuverability listed (most likely it’s average.) (UPDATE: I asked the designer about this, and he has confirmed that anwhere a maneuverability is not listed, use average.) Since this is a polymorph effect, you also gain the ability to choose whether or not subsequent polymorphs can affect you, as well as immunity to size-changing effects. If your DM is nice, you can argue that this makes you a werebat in hybrid form (giving you its natural attacks); that can get this to blue. But as written you get no attacks from this (though you can at least use your Shadow Bite, since it doesn’t depend on your form), and you probably lose some manufactured weapons too. You’re also locked in for a minimum of 10 rounds. After you get Fey Baraddu, kick N’alyia to the curb.

One With the Night: You gain an insight bonus on flight and stealth checks. Both are useful skills, though there are better spirits that grant stealth bonuses. The main benefit of this ability is giving it to her companion (see below.)

Shadow Bite (VC): You gain a 1d4 bite attack that forces a fort-save vs. Con damage. What’s nice about this is that your shadow does the biting, meaning that if you have a bite attack from another source (e.g. race, another spirit, or your bat form if your DM is nice) you’ll still get this one. You can even use it as a secondary natural attack, and you heal 2 hp for every point of Con damage your shadow bite deals. However, this too is useless in both kinds of daylight, keeping it from a blue rating.

Vestigial Companion: As you might expect, N’alyia sends you a dire bat animal companion (as druid), who replaces your shadow bite. Dire Bats are Large, giving you a flying mount (40ft. good) with a powerful bite. It also copies your charm, shadow jump, and hybrid form abilities. This is one of the better combat companions, but not the best. If you’re fighting in the daytime a lot, trade the bite in every time since it won’t work anyway.

Overall rating: Okay. N’alyia isn’t much to write home about - that major is hardly worth the action, two of her abilities hate daylight, and two rely on favorable DM rulings to be worth anything. Her companion however is solid at this level - a versatile steed that can bear you into battle, ferry the party across a gap, hop through the shadows and strike down your foes from above with you in tow. She’s not very great on her own though, or in the daytime.

Vandrae, Drowess Poisontouch (DC 20)

Summary: This treacherous dark elf teaches you the ways of the assassin.

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: You abuse RAW, guzzling spider poison without harm because it is technically injury poison. You munchkin. (Note - spider venom is costly, so this one won’t be in the pouch.)

Totems: (1) you are female, drow, or have murdered someone who loved you. (2) You draw her seal in darkness/shadow. (3) You sacrifice a male humanoid during the ceremony.

Sign (Passive): Your skin darkens.

Sign (Active): You blush head to toe. (What color do drow blush?)

Influence: You toy with your enemies, preferring to leave them alive and humiliate/torture them rather than finish them off. If you fall under her influence, have your allies finish things off.

Favored Ally (Likes): Female drow.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Male giants.

Major Ability: 

Sleep Toxin:  You inflict knock-out poison with a touch attack. This is unfortunately a poison effect, which means you will have various resistances and immunities to contend with, but the DC scales which is nice. Your target gets a save every round to break it, and succeeding on one ends the entire effect. Not the best major around but when it works, you and your allies should have little problem finishing them off. Consider it a (very) poor man’s version of the Witch’s Slumber Hex. Note that if you can get the cooldown below 4 rounds, you can actually stack up the poison in their system, increasing the DC and resetting the duration, per the affliction rules.

Capstone Empowerment: Even on a successful save, Vandrae’s poison makes the enemy groggy, taking a -4 penalty on attack rolls and perception checks for 4 rounds. I’m a huge fan of no-save-just-suck effects, particularly long-lasting ones like these. This is an excellent rider and because of the way the poison works, they will get afflicted with this even if they initially fail their save, fall asleep and then succeed/wake up on a later round.

Minor Abilities:

Dark Mantle (VC): You create a stationary globe of magical darkness as a move action. This has no duration, which is quite useful as it will give you enough time in the morning to form pacts with some of the other light-hating spirits like Sevnoir and N’alyia. You can also see through your own darkness field without penalty. Note: This ability has been FAQ’d by the designer - the globe drops prevailing light conditions one step within its radius and can indeed turn off darkvision. As you can still see through it, this makes it much more valuable because you will basically enable sneak attack on most targets.

Guile of Vandrae: Insight bonus to Stealth and Perception. These two skills are quite valuable (and synergize very well with her other powers) so this is a strong ability.

Hide in Plain Sight: This is perhaps one of the easiest ways to get this great ability in Pathfinder. Vandrae grants it one level before even the Shadowdancer gains access, and with no feat investment to boot!

Sneak Attack: You gain half-strength SA, i.e. 5d6 max. Note that this explicitly stacks with any rogue/ninja levels you might possess as well. This combos extremely well with your sleep toxin, letting you knock out a foe and then deal massive CdG damage to one-shot him.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a spider familiar (wizard.) +3 Climb isn’t going to win any awards but it does still give you Alertness. Unfortunately, spider familiars are magical beasts rather than vermin,losing their mind-affecting immunity in the process, but they can still communicate with others of their kind on your behalf. Still, it does gain sneak attack with his bite (if it can reach a vital spot) and is supremely good at stealth recon thanks to Tiny size, as well as sharing both your HiPs and Guile abilities. Finally, it can deliver your Sleep Toxin on your behalf if you prefer to stay distant. You do lose your Dark Mantle to get him though. The only downside to this guy is you’ll need some way to communicate with him if you want to use him as recon, otherwise you’re stuck with the empathic sensing that all familiars get.

Overall rating: Good. Vandrae is quite sneaky, and unlike the previous dark-loving spirits, she actually gives you the means to beshadow your surroundings. She’s also very good at helping you hide once you’ve turned out the lights. Her major, while not stellar due to allowing subsequent saves and being a poison effect, is nevertheless a solid attack and can potentially take a dangerous target out of the fight entirely, plus the no-save debuff augment which is nice as well. Her sneak attack is on par with the vestige Andromalius from the original Binder, giving you a nice damage boost under the right conditions and comboing well with any flankers (such as combat-focused vestigial companions) you may have access to. She is a must-pick for any Occultist striving for stealth, and not shabby on a melee occultist either. However, be sure to stock up on spider venom if you plan to bind her regularly. Her weak companion and lack of utility for caster Occultists keeps her from excellence however.

Xalen D'Marek, Archivist of Fell Secrets (DC 21)

Summary: This bookworm spirit makes you an insufferable (but valuable) know-it-all.

Constellation: Scholar

Ceremony: You flip through a blank book while calling Xalen’s name.  

Totems: (1) Your book is bound with the skin/leather from an exotic beast (75gp+); (2) You scribble trivia on one page of the book (Any Knowledge 6 ranks); (3) You pact within 10 feet of a school or lab.

Sign (Passive): You get glowing speech bubbles whenever you talk. The language isn’t specified (“sigils”), so no telling if it can be read by an onlooker; likely, it is incomprehensible unless they have comprehend languages or similar magic up.

Sign (Active): The symbols that appear when you speak orbit the target of your abilities briefly.

Influence: You become a grammar troll. Finally, all that intensive training on the internet pays off.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any humanoid with at least 1 rank in a Knowledge skill.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Interestingly, you get to choose one from among the following: Aberrations, Dragons, Magical Beasts, Giants or Oozes.

Major Ability: 

Shrink: As the name implies, you shrink either an unattended object (as shrink item) or a creature - reducing the creature two size categories (and affecting its equipment similarly.) In either case it lasts for min./EBL. It’s not clear what happens to items that leave a creature’s possession, e.g. will arrows stay tiny in flight etc. Headaches aside, this has potential against big dumb bruisers and nasty grapplers, bringing them down to the Fighter’s size, and since it’s a will save it’s probably effective against them too. Unfortunately, their speed seems to be unaffected - if it slowed them too I would give it a higher rating. Honestly if you can make them fail a will save there are probably more useful abilities out there, though this can also be used defensively or for utility as well (such as to slip through the bars of your prison.) This ability can actually hurt you when facing ranged attackers - it doesn’t affect their damage (projectiles will revert to normal size mid-flight) and makes their aim better due to the size bonus.

Capstone Empowerment: You can now shrink more than one target at a time, up to a max of your Cha bonus. The wording suggests it increases not just the maximum you can have shrunk, but the number you can shrink with one activation, which is good. However, the duration is powered up a lot too, lasting 24 hours (or until your pact ends.) This can be good or bad, depending on who you were planning to use it on and how much them being smaller is a hindrance to them (or to you.) There doesn’t seem to be a way to dispel it or otherwise end it early, save by prematurely terminating your pact.

Minor Abilities:

Enhance Vessel’s Mind: Xalen makes you quite a scholar - you gain a passive insight bonus to Intelligence, as well as max ranks in an unknown Knowledge skill of your choice. Note that this actually gives you ranks, not merely a bonus, so you can use it to meet certain requirements (such as the Knowledge requirement of another spirit’s totem or, if your pact lasts long enough, the prereq of another feat/PrC.) Use this to pick up obscure knowledges the party may not have covered, like Nobility, History, Geography, Architecture or Dungeoneering.

Forbidden Lore: You get a bonus on Knowledge checks to identify monsters, and a bonus on Spellcraft checks. These are great skills to have, particularly if your party doesn’t have a wizard/bard handy, and combos well with the previous ability.

Locate Writings (VC): You can track down any written work you have seen before. Not a bad ability but I can’t think of too many places it will be useful either. I would almost always go with the bird over this. You can however combo this with Muse Istago’s scrying ability if your target has some kind of writing nearby - for instance, spy on the enemy wizard while he is reading his spellbook, then home in on the book.

Thirst for Knowledge: You gain a constant comprehend languages effect. This doesn’t let you speak or write any of the languages you know however. You also get a bonus vs. symbol/glyph spells in case your wandering eyes read the wrong things. Again, not bad, but not guaranteed to come up either.

Vestigial Companion: You get a raven familiar. Appraise is not a very useful skill to boost, but at least this familiar can read and relay messages. Since he shares your EVM he’ll be pretty smart too, and he can grab yet another obscure knowledge skill to boost the party’s coverage even further. He also gets the same bonuses to spellcraft and knowledge that you do.

Overall rating: Okay. Xalen, like Ubro, is best used as a support vestige - a secondary or tertiary choice, rather than primary. His Major has potential but size modifiers are less powerful in PF, limiting its usefulness used offensively; similarly, using it as a buff for your ranged or dex-based classes is tricky since you have no way of ending the effect early, and is likely to harm melee more than it helps due to the loss of strength and reach. “Situational” is the word of the day with this guy.

Cornelius Button, Gardener of Dreams (DC 18)

Summary: This schizophrenic spirit is actually two vestiges in one, for double the fun. Which one you get is unfortunately random, but getting the side you didn’t prefer isn’t a total deal-breaker either.

Note: Cornelius has two forms - Light Cornelius and Dark Cornelius. This is due to his “Duality of Cornelius” ability, described below. Which one you end up with is random (50/50 shot on a d100) and determined after you have sealed the pact with him but just before you get any of the benefits. The version you end up with determines how some of his abilities work; I will notate the ones this affects below.

Constellation: Tree

Ceremony: You eat bug salad. Eww!

Totems: (1) You draw the seal of the Nivea Nieces and deface it (this totem keeps you from binding them.) (2) You burn 2500 gp of alchemical reagents. Yikes! (3) You pact on a beach, island or near a greenhouse..

Sign (Passive) (“Light”): Your arms are covered with cricket tattoos.

Sign (Passive) (“Dark”): Your arms are covered with butterfly tattos.

Sign (Active): The insects on your arms move around (both versions.)

Influence: You want to draw everyone who you meet for the first time. Just bring some chalk with you (which you’ll have,on you - you’re a binder, after all) and you’re set - hey, nobody says it had to be a GOOD drawing. You also get a hankering for herbal tea, but this can be ignored since it doesn’t say anything about having to drink any.

Favored Ally (Likes) (“Light”): Good Humanoids, Plants, and Magical Beasts.

Favored Ally (Likes) (“Light”): Evil Humanoids, Plants, and Magical Beasts.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Whichever the other version considers an ally.

Major Ability: 

Pollen Spray: Both versions of Cornelius fire a spray of pollen in a 20ft. cone, though the effects differ.

(Light): Light Cornelius sprays healing pollen (cures HP = EBL) and each creature can heal a maximum amount = 3x EBL. While the wording is nice enough to not count overheal (only actual healing is counted) this is far too weak to use in combat, even weaker than Ubro’s meager healing, and a major that’s too weak for combat has pretty heavy black marks against it to begin with. (Used in conjunction with his seedling bomb however, this becomes slightly tolerable as a way to save a grenade or two.)

(Dark): You spray Con contact poison wth a scaling DC. Ouch! One save cancels the whole effect though, so it won’t get more than a green rating. On top of that, it’s a poison effect (and so subject to many resistances/immunities), and 20ft. cones are also pretty short, putting you in harm’s way. It beats the weakass heal though, and if enemies are tightly packed you’re probably going to kill/debuff at least one.

Capstone Empowerment: Achieving Capstone improves both abilities considerably. Always try to get Cornelius’ capstone if you plan on binding him (read: be a caster occultist so your Cha is nice and high.)

(Light): Your spray now removes all diseases and poisons on each target, as remove disease and neutralize poison. Very handy when you need it, especially this gets you neutralize poison 2 levels before the cleric does. The 50/50 shot of missing this version does mean Ubro is more reliable though.

(Dark): Your opponents are sickened if they make their save. Sickened is a great debuff,  and I just love no-save-just-suck abilities. This is still a poison effect though; even at these levels you’ll have a lot of immune enemies to deal with. Note: as written they will NOT be sickened if they fail their save, paradoxically making you want them to succeed in some cases since the poison won’t affect the damage they do - however, it does mean that even if they shake off the poison later they end up sickened.

Minor Abilities:

Duality of Cornelius: As above, this is the ability that governs all the other ones you get from Cornelius. For an overall summary of the effects of this ability, refer to Cornelius’ Overall Rating.

Aura of Calm: You project an aura, and creatures within must make a will save - a failure means that any emotion-based effect is suppressed for as long as it last. You can keep the aura up for EBL+Cha rounds/day. This can save your bacon as it shuts off things like rage, bless and heroism, but it also suppresses these effects on your allies, On the other hand, you can also disable debuffs like crushing despair. Since Cornelius likely wants you to be a caster and therefore closer to your allies than the enemy, this will not see much use; worse, it’s a minor, so you can’t make it Selective.

Insect Tattoo (VC, Sign): Functions as summon swarm, originating from the tattoos on your arms, thus you must show them. Curiously, both give you insect swarms but the stats come from animal swarms - it is currently unclear whether these get the vermin or animal type (which affects certain area spells like sleep.) Stay tuned for updates here.

(Light): You summon a swarm of giant crickets (identical stats to a rat swarm.) Rat swarms have a slightly higher Distraction DC and transmit filth fever, but otherwise this is the inferior option; diseases are almost never useful in combat.

(Dark): You summon a swarm of butterflies (identical stats to a bat swarm.) Bat swarms fly, are much faster than rat swarms and have 20ft. blindsense, so yet again Dark Cornelius stomps his light counterpart.

Seedling Bomb: EBL+Cha/day, you create a seed pod which is basically a grenade. It has 8 different effects (4 per duality) of which you choose one. It functions as a splash weapon, so most (but not all) will be a 5 foot radius. (Note: these abilities are named after constellations, but the names are just fluff - they do not interact with any other constellation-related abilities or restrictions you may possess.)

(Light - Angel): Finally, Light Cornelius gets some nice things. Your pod is a healing bomb that heals 3d8+Cha per use. This scales by 1d8 every 2 levels up to 10d8+Cha per use, and heals minimum damage to everyone in the radius. Best of all there is no cap to the daily healing people can get from this. When you first get this, it heals a respectable 85 hit points on average to a single target and up to  35 to everyone in the radius around them. Aim it carefully so as not to heal the enemy (or better yet, don’t use it in combat at all if you can avoid it), but the aggregate amount is more than enough to keep the party happy. Just keep in mind that the healing uses count against your other grenades, so try using your pollen spray to heal as much as possible first until that caps out for a given individual.

(Light - Hero): Your bomb becomes a sticky mass of vines, as a tanglefoot bag, but with a granted ability’s scaling DC. Tanglefoot bags are quite nasty and have great effects (i.e. speed reduction) even on a successful save, You can even pull fliers out of the sky with this, provided you have a good throwing arm and they fly with wings; they then need to burn actions getting free. Best of all, everyone in the splash radius has to save as well; the radius folks get a bonus on their save, but they still suffer the no-save effects. You could potentially gum up an entire squad of attackers with one shot.

(Light - Seer): The bomb latches onto a foe, causing them to lose ½ EBL + Cha hit points each round. for 4 rounds. This never rises above “meh”; stick with the debuff options and leave the damage to the melee classes or your pet. Splash radius foes simply take damage = cha mod; it’s unclear if that damage also repeats each round or only happens once.

(Light - Tree): The bomb duplicates a stinking cloud spell. Nausea is a great effect and the cloud also functions as light battlefield control (blocking vision etc.). Between this and Hero, Light Cornelius has plenty to do when he’s not throwing out heals.

(Dark - Dragon): Your grenade fires a burst of sonic energy, starting at 3d4 and scaling to 10d4. Splash radius enemies take minimal damage (i.e. 3-10.) This doesn’t even add your Cha bonus, making it basically worthless at all levels.

(Dark - Fiend): Like Dragon, except acid, and d6s instead of d4s. Still bad.

(Dark - Mage): Your bomb acts like a targeted dispel magic, except it can only be used on creatures and cannot target a specific spell effect. It does nothing to splash radius targets, which can actually be a good thing if you need to avoid hitting allies or other enemies, but this is the odd one out all the same. Still, it earns a blue for having both offensive and defensive applications, like stripping a charm or dominate from an ally.

(Dark - Tree): Same as Light.

Vestigial Companion: This one is affected by Duality too. You either get a giant cricket (Giant Beetle stats) or a giant butterfly (Giant Wasp stats.) Both can fire your bombs, use your pollen spray, and project your calming aura. In general, these are better than the swarm tattoo you give up, though there can be exceptions.

(Light - “Cricket”): Giant Beetles are Small size, slow fliers, and have very middle-of-the-road stats. They also only have one attack. The high AC and mindless quality are the only real benefits here, and they aren’t much.

(Dark - “Butterfly”):  Giant Wasps start at Medium and quickly get to Large., making them great mounts. Once they grow, their strength almost doubles, too. In addition, they fly three times as fast as the Light option. Still only one attack (a sting this time rather than a bite) but it also carries scaling Dex poison, making it more brutal. The superior option by a mile. It does have lower AC than the “cricket” though.

Overall rating: Good. Though randomness in game mechanics can be (very) annoying, both sides of Cornelius are strong enough that you will never lack for something useful to do in a fight (or even outside of one.) He is most definitely a caster spirit - gishes and other low-caster builds should likely avoid him entirely - but casters get a host of offensive, defensive and utility options, with the balance between the three approaches varying somewhat depending on the version of Cornelius you end up with. Dark Cornelius has the overall edge in most cases, though Light can be situationally useful if you need to play doctor to the party. He has one of the milder influences in the system as well.

Obba, Ella, Atasha: Dark Sisters Three (DC 17)

Summary: These rather misogynistic malefactors help you seduce and bully everyone you meet.

Constellation: Thief

Ceremony: You get high. Well isn’t that straightforward!

Totems: (1) You’re a hot guy (Cha 15+ male) or are within sight of one. (2) You can make a really strong drug for the ceremony, requiring Craft (alchemy) 4 ranks.. (3) You  rip up a charm person scroll and smoke it with the rest of your “herbs.” (Use it to roll the joint!)

Sign (Passive): The hot get hotter.

Sign (Active): You briefly become hideous. Eek!

Influence: There are actually three, chosen at random! Roll 1d3 to get:  (1) Obba makes you a polite neat-freak. (2) Ella makes you a bleeding-heart liberal. (3) Atasha makes you a chatty Cathy.

Favored Ally (Likes): Incorporeal undead.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Humanoid arcanists.

Major Ability: 

Touch of Pleasure: You caress a foe as a standard action, dazing them for 1 round and staggering them for 1d3 rounds if they fail a will save. If they succeed, they’re instead shaken for 1d3 rounds. As I’ve said previously, I enjoy partial save effects and this is no exception. The touch range is a problem for a caster Occultist, but even if they make the save they’ll have a hard time counterattacking you.

Capstone Empowerment: They are now staggered even if they succeed. Stagger is a great debuff as it faces enemies with a difficult choice without shutting them down entirely - fun for the DM while still being useful for you. This is worthy of a cooldown.

Minor Abilities:

Hold Tongue: You silence a creature, will negates, for the entire combat (though they get saves to throw it off every round as a standard. This would be more useful if it didn’t target basically every caster’s strong save. Once they succeed on a save they’re immune for 24 hours too. Still, if you can land it, you’re going to steal at least one standard from them, possibly more. Combos well with the Touch’s stagger as they then have to use all their actions trying to throw off your debuff.

Love Spell (VC): This one’s pretty weird. You make two creatures fall in love, if they both fail a will save. If they’re incompatible they get a big bonus to resist, but if  they are compatible they actually take a penalty. Unfortunately, exactly who this will work on and what will result when it does are left entirely up to the DM, not to mention all the awkwardness this can cause in a campaign, so I cannot recommend this at all. And whatever you do, do not use this on party members unless the players are 100% cool with it. Even with the (magical) effects being temporarily, I see this as more trouble than it’s worth. I would trade it for the companion or pretend it’s not here.

Serpent’s Decree: You can do nonlethal damage without taking a penalty to your attack roll; in addition, you get the benefits of the Enforcer feat, which lets you demoralize anyone you hit with nonlethal as a free action. This is useful for bringing in enemies for questioning or taking down dominated party members.  Combos well with Al’kra, who gives you Shatter Defenses for free.

Temptation: This is pretty nasty. Starts as suggestion, then automatically upgrades to lesser geas and geas. As written, all three are a standard action; expect this to change. It’s also unclear whether you can choose to use a lesser form after unlocking a greater one. However, even using the original casting times of the spells themselves this is still quite powerful. It has a 24-hour cooldown per creature. However, be wary of the “ongoing effect” rule; if your pact with the ladies ends, your subject will be free even if they have not completed your task. Be sure to combine them with Flexible Pactmaking if you want a multi-day geas.

Vestigial Companion: You get a dove familiar (stats as raven.) Ravens can speak, thus it can use your Temptation ability and give orders on your behalf. It also gets your Hold Tongue and Touch of Pleasure, letting you take other actions. Finally, you get Alertness. Physically it is weak, but with all the great debuffs it can drop in your stead (quite innocuously too - who is going to suspect a dove on the magistrate’s windowsill?) it stays very useful. Frailty and the closeness (and potential slowness) of its powers keep it from a purple rating.

Overall rating: Good. OEA are great both in combat and outside of it. You will need another party member or spirit to seal the deal however; luckily, you’re near the level where you can start binding more than one.

The Nivea Nieces, Venomous Vixens (DC 17 or 22)

Summary:  Oh yay, another dual spirit. These are a pain to write up.

Note: Like Cornelius, the Nieces are two spirits in one - Mariath and Taydie. Also like Cornelius, which one you end up with is random (you must name the twin you want and guess the correct number on a d4 - i.e. 25% chance.) Failure not only means you get the other twin instead, but it boosts the binding DC by 5 - hence the “17 or 22” above, and increasing your chances of a bad pact. Since you have a 75% chance of losing, a smart Occultist will generally name the twin he doesn’t want and simply expect the DC to be 22. That way, your 25% chance of success becomes 75%, and if you fail, at least you’ll have a light check.

Constellation: Beast

Ceremony: You play hopscotch in the seal. Hope you have legs.

Totems: (1) You draw the seal with 500gp of poison mixed with mud (note: use injury or ingestion poison to avoid putting yourself at risk). (2) You draw the seal of Cornelius and deface it (this totem keeps you from binding him.) (3) You are a male of at most Adult age, OR your 6 ranks in Craft (alchemy) give you strong knowledge of poison.

Sign (Passive) (“Mariath”): Your dominant hand becomes a snake (see her “Snakebite” ability below.) This will actually keep you from using that hand for most tasks, including weapon/item use and spellcasting, so plan accordingly!

Sign (Passive) (“Taydie”): Your body sprouts thorns. This one, while still dramatic to any onlookers, is much less disruptive, and also easier to conceal via mundane means.

Sign (Active): Your facial features shift to become more snakelike (both versions.)

Influence: You become bad-tempered and pretty rude to everyone. Better let someone else roll the Diplomacy checks, but at least they don’t make you violent.

Favored Ally (Likes): Young Humanoids. (There is no age category called “Youth” - does this mean Adult and below?)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Middle-Aged and older Humanoids. Possibly a reference to Cornelius, or maybe they just don’t like old people.

Major Abilities: 

Mind Muddling (Mariath): This is a sort of a semi-confusion ability, giving affected creatures a 25% chance of performing each of the following actions: (1) act normally; (2) can’t move, but can otherwise act normally; (3) Has to move up to its speed in a direction of your choice, but can otherwise act normally, and (4) Double-moves (up to twice its speed) and can take no other actions. Thus the target has a 75% chance of performing a standard actiion normally, which for most enemies means a 75% chance of the ability doing nothing, and that’s after they fail their save. Worse the order of these is not specified, i.e. if a melee opponent lands on 60 and has to move in a direction of your choice, it’s not clear whether they can (a) attack you first and then move, or (b) choose how far to move, e.g. moving only 5 feet away so that if they land on “act normally” the following round, they can 5ft. back in and hit you again. Finally, they get to save every round to break it. This is pretty weak as written.

Capstone Empowerment: You get to roll  twice and pick the result you want. Better, but the weaknesses above still apply.

Venomous Whispers (Taydie): You infect a target with your hate, which takes the form of an inhaled supernatural poison. This one damages Wis (1d4/round) instead of Con and is quite nasty, because it requires two will saves to get rid of, and they must be consecutive. So not only  is this one hard to get rid of in general, it gets harder to get rid of every round, making it much more likely it will stick for the whole duration. Unfortunately, inhaled poison is easy to avoid - the target can just hold their breath, which gives them a 50% chance to avoid having to make a save (though it does expose them to potential suffocation.)

Capstone Empowerment:

Minor Abilities:

Mad Hallucination (VC, Mariath): This functions like the spell, albeit with the advantages of a granted ability (scaling DC and bypassing SR. Regardless, penalizing will saves will negates is a touch redundant - if you can make them fail a will save, just hit them with whatever you were going to hit them with. You can also only have it up on one target at a time and affected targets gain 24h immunity. I’d go with the companion.

Mariath’s Guide (Mariath): ½ EBL to Survival and Craft (alchemy) checks. Double bonus to make poison, find poison-making materials (e.g. plants) or make your way at sea. To be perfectly honest, at this level none of these are very useful.

Snakebite (Sign, Mariath): Mariath’s only decent ability, yet this too has its problems. Your hand transforms into a snake, granting you a bite attack (like Naliya’s shadow, this doesn’t use your head, so if you have a bite already this will get you  a second one.) The bite only does 1d3, but you get your Str bonus ,and it also carries a nasty Con poison that can do up to 12 points of Con damage per application (i.e. 1d3 per round for 4 rounds, save ends.) Note the poison gets applied every time you do damage; combined with the poison concentration rules you can get this to debilitating very quickly. The major downside is that you can’t use that hand for anything else - items, other weapons, shields, spellcasting (shouldn’t affect you much, but this matters for the archetypes) etc.

Bite of the Wolf Spider (VC, Taydie):  This is more like it. EBL+Cha rounds/day, Taydie allows you to polymorph into a…. were-spider thing, getting some decent stat boosts (+2 Str, +4 Dex, +4 Natural Armor) and a 1d6 bite attack. You also get the benefits of Blind-Fight for free. Since the form is (monstrous?) humanoid, you get to keep your gear (including armor) and weapons, which makes this a decent ability for gishes. Furthermore, the bonuses are all untyped.

Taydie’s Guide (Taydie): Works like Mariath’s guide, except Taydie helps you find your way through jungles and forests rather than at sea. This is much more common in most campaigns, giving Taydie another leg up over her sibling.

Thorn Skin (Sign, Taydie): This makes grappling you a pain - literally. 1d6 extra piercing, which also gets added to any of your natural weapons (including Taydie’s bite.) It also boost your natural armor even higher with an additional +2 untyped bonus. This means Taydie gives you a grand total of +8 AC just for pacting with her, and you still get your armor, shield etc. on top of that - not bad at all. It also means her bite goes up to 2d6, and grappled foes will take an additional 1d6.  The only downside is that the villagers might be a bit put off.

Poison Use: Both girls get this. and it works like  the ninja/rogue ability. It’s pretty superfluous for Mariath, who only has one hand free (and the other is poisonous already), but Taydie can make use of it since both her hands are free and she keeps her weapons.

Vestigial Companion: You get a viper (as druid.) Unlike Aza’zati’s viper, the Nieces’ version is an animal companion, making it much sturdier in a fight and granting it feats. In addition, animal companion vipers can grow to medium. However, you don’t have many useful abilities to share with it, and as Taydie you’re definitely better off keeping the shapeshift ability instead and using the companion from another spirit.

Overall rating: Poor. Taydie is a pretty good spirit (particularly for a dex-based gishcultist) - but the problem is that her sister sucks ass, and the one you get is random. In addition, the best way to get Taydie (by asking for Mariath) is not only tempting fate, but makes Taydie harder to bind even if you “win.” In addition, casters have next to nothing here. I wouldn’t blame anyone who decided to throw up their hands and tell both sisters where to shove their binding seal, especially with Vandrae beckoning quite seductively at the very same level.

4th-Level

Fey Baraddu, the Beast in the Woods (DC 23)

Summary: This sensual satyr gives Occultists a bevy of bestial benefits.

Constellation: Tree, oddly enough (not Beast?)

Ceremony: You chug a cocktail of animal blood and booze, strip naked and boogie down. If you’re in the woods when you do this, watch out for she-bears.

Totems: (1) You have 8 ranks in Perform (Dance) so you can really bust a move. (2) You have 8 ranks in Survival. (3) You wear animal furs while drawing the seal.

Sign (Passive): You smell musky. Again, watch out for she-bears.

Sign (Active): Your whites become whiter and colors become brighter.

Influence: You gain... er... urges. With anyone or anything you find attractive. Did I mention you should watch out for she-bears?

Favored Ally (Likes): Any Fey.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Lawful Outsiders.

Major Ability: 

Beast Shape: You morph into an animal, as beast shape II. This lasts indefinitely - you have to manually change back by activating it again, meaning you are stuck in whatever form you last shifted to for at least 5 rounds. So if you’re shifting at the start of combat, choose carefully! It may be a good idea to just be shapeshifted into your most likely combat form at all times, then when a fight starts the cooldown will already be up.

As a refresher, here are the bonuses granted by Beast Shape II (and polymorph effects in general). (Special thanks goes to Draxar on the Paizo boards for his excellent Polymorphamory handbook to shapeshifting!)

Pounce and flight alone are worth it, but there is a lot to love about this ability, particularly the ability to stay shifted indefinitely and change forms nearly at-will. You get this 1 level after a Druid gets an equal-power Wild Shape, but yours lasts longer and has unlimited uses/day (though it also has a 30-sec cooldown between shifts.)

Capstone Empowerment: Your Beast Shape grows in power and even scales as you level, granting you higher levels of beast shape and even vermin shape. Note that, unlike Wild Shape, you actually do get the Magical Beast forms out of your ability, making you an even better shapeshifter in some instances than a Druid.  

The benefits for empowerment are as follows:

- You can now shift as a move action.

- You also gain the option of vermin shape II - note that you get this even earlier than a Druid wearing a Scarab Breastplate, and yours still lasts all day right off the bat. Vermin shape II carries higher Natural Armor bonuses, grants a resistance bonus against mind-affecting effects, has a range of Tiny - Large and broadens your ability pool to include the following additional abilities: Tremorsense 30, blood drain, constrict, grab, lunge, poison, pull, trample, and web. (Be mindful that this form doesn’t grant pounce however.)

- At 9th level, you gain the option of beast shape III. You can now shift to Dimunitive or Huge animals, gaining corresponding natural armor and size bonuses; you can also shift to a Small or Medium Magical Beast. You gain the following additional abilities above beast shape II: burrow 30, climb 90, fly 90 (good), swim 90, blindsense 30, constrict, ferocity, grab, jet, poison, rake, trample and web.

- At 11th, you gain this spirit’s ultimate form - beast shape IV (even wild shape doesn’t go this high.) This grants you everything from BSIII; in addition, your magical beast range now goes from Tiny - Large, and you gain the following new abilities: burrow 60, Fly 120 (good), swim 120, blindsense 60, darkvision 90, tremorsense 60, breath weapon, jet, rend, roar and spikes. You also gain resist 20 to whatever element your chosen form has immunity or resistance to, but you also gain the chosen form’s vulnerabilities (if any.)

Minor Abilities:

Awesome Blow: You get the Awesome Blow feat for free without needing to meet the prereqs. The visual is cool but the feat itself doesn’t have much to offer. You can put it to best use with a Large or Huge form.

Baraddu’s Fangs (VC): This ability lets all your natural weapons in beast form count as +2 Cold Iron, and the enhancement bonus scales as you level - +3 at 10, +4 at 13 and +5 at 16. This is huge because in PF, static enhancement bonuses let you bypass DR, including adamantine and alignment-based. This also frees up your AoMF to carry enhancing qualities like Ghost Touch or Speed, since static magic items continue to function while shifted.

Wild Empathy: As the druid ability. Your Cha is likely to be much higher than a druid’s but this is still situational.

Woodland Stride: Nonmagical undergrowth doesn’t impede you. Thorns/bushes shouldn’t be an issue anymore at 7th level+. Note however that this should still apply during planar travel, in case there are nonmagical nasty plants or difficult terrain in a planar forest of some kind.

Vestigial Companion: FB sends you a Brownie familiar; as with Cromwell’s gremlin, fey familiars are nice for their hands and rare creature type. The brownie is particularly useful because it shares your shapeshifting ability, letting you double-team most threats together. Unlike most Major powers, FB’s is indefinite and therefore you can shift your familiar (or yourself) immediately after binding her rather than waiting until you get into a fight, making sharing the ability much less onerous. Physically the brownie is weak, but it has high dex - if you go this route, consider a Small form so that it can flank and attack using its Dex score. The brownie also brings the following to the table - Improved Initiative, Dodge, a massive Stealth mod, large Perception and Escape Artist, 4 languages, at-will Prestidigitation/Mending/Dancing Lights, and 1/day Lesser Confusion/Dimension Door/Mirror Image/Ventriloquism. There’s lots here to love, but unfortunately, the familiar does replace Baraddu’s Fangs if you select it - meaning neither of you will get the cold iron or enhancement bonuses. If you can get those another way (amulet, greater magic fang etc.) then by all means do so, but otherwise, you have a tough choice on your hands.

Overall rating: Excellent.  Fey Baraddu’s shapeshifting, like the Wild Shape it is based on, can make you a powerhouse gish - particularly with his built-in enhancements. There’s a lot of utility there too, giving you mobility, stealth, special attacks like web/jet, and defensive/perceptive forms too. The ability to “pre-buff” with him is unique to pact magic and quite welcome. You will have a hard choice between the strong enhancement bonuses and the excellent familiar in most cases, but it is a good problem to have. This is the prime cut for a melee Occultist, and combos well with other melee spirits like Cromwell, Loh’moi and Arturius. It is also another spirit that doesn’t really care about your Cha - even if you miss out on empowerment this is still good. (The influence is easy to live with too and creates hilarious roleplaying opportunities.) And finally, neither your shapeshifting nor your enhancements can be dispelled or disjoined, thanks to being supernatural - nor does, say, shapeshifting while already in melee provoke.

Gulguthriana, the Glutton (DC 16)

Summary: This disgusting spirit bolsters your kung fu, particularly your grappling.

Constellation: Noble (Oddly.)

Ceremony: You prepare a huge meal and stuff your face.

Totems: (1) You are chaotic or covered in poo (no, really.) (2) You’re suffering from the filth fever disease. (3) You pass a DC 22 fort save from adding garbage and poo as part of the Ceremonial meal. Basically, pact in a sewer and you should have no trouble hitting all three, aside from the aforementioned fort save.

Sign (Passive): You need lotion and your arms get longer.

Sign (Active): Your body swells into an oval briefly.

Influence: You get the munchies. You also forget your dining etiquette.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any aberration.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Elves.

Major Ability: 

Gulguthriana’s Greedy Grasp:  This acutely alliterative ability lets you stretch your limbs 5ft. for a round as a swift action, increasing your reach. Though reach is nice and this stacks with other methods (e.g. size increases), as a major power it’s a bit lacking since you basically only get the buff for one full-attack/AoO routine per fight. Not much else to say about it really.

Capstone Empowerment: Your reach extends to 10ft. No changes to duration or cooldown. Again, the cooldown and limited duration really hurts this. It would have been miles better if it lasted even 4 rounds.

Minor Abilities:

Gag of Gulguthriana: You gain the constrict ability. This combos well with your other abilities, and the damage die increases too (see below.)

Gargantuan Gulguthriana: You gain IUS, and  ½ a monk’s unarmed damage die (which stacks with any monk levels you may have.) An actual natural attack would be better in my opinion, but this can at least get you up to 1d10 punches. Note that this is not actually a monk’s unarmed strike, i.e. it won’t be treated as a natural weapon by spells. (The stacking actually makes her a pretty powerful choice for an Empyreal Friar, however.)

Gulguthriana’s Grapple (VC): You don’t provoke for trying to start a grapple, and you take no penalty for trying to grapple someone without gaining the grappled condition yourself. This means that for example you don’t take the penalty to Dex from the grappled condition, and you can still make AoOs against other attackers. If you don’t plan on dealing with anyone beyond the person you’re grappling, you can simply take Improved Grapple and call it a day instead.

Gluttonous Gullet: You get an untyped bonus vs. ingested poisons, sicken and nauseate effects. Nausea is pretty nasty so anything that helps you avoid it is a bonus, but the rest are situational.

Vestigial Companion: You get a dire rat familiar. Assuming this is treated similarly to the rat familiar you will get a bonus on fort saves; in addition, DRs are small (about the size of a dog) and can thus threaten/flank/grapple, albeit with penalties. It can inflict Filth Fever, which sucks but is something. If you plan on contracting with Gulgy for multiple days, you can always order your rat to bite you and fail your save, gaining the disease as a totem for subsequent bindings, but otherwise there isn’t a whole lot here. They do have skill focus Perception, LLV and scent to be a decent pair of eyes, and are fairly stealthy as well, particularly in places where a rat could reasonably expect to be seen. Finally, it shares your stretchy and constricty powers.

Overall rating: Poor. The squick factor is bad enough... but even if you get past that, her abilities are just weak. Just about everything she gives you, Fey Baraddu does at the same level and does it much better. If your check is too low to get FB’s capstone empowerment however and you still want Constrict, Gulguthriana is an alternate means of access.

Hexus, the Living Curse (DC 21)

Summary: This living spell gives you the power to debuff your foes and makes you rather tough to kill.

Constellation: Skull

Ceremony: You hammer a nail through an iron tablet and sprinkle grave soil on it. I feel like this is a reference to something but not sure what - does anyone know?

Totems: (1) You put a corpse in the seal as a focus (note: it appears this doesn’t have to be humanoid, so feel free to bring a dead animal with you.) (2) Your 8 ranks in Spellcraft or Know (Arcana) teach you the words of Hexus’ curse. (3) You place a family member or loved one’s bone in the seal. (note: “loved one” or even “family member” could arguably be a favorite pet, letting you accomplish two totems at once.)

Sign (Passive): You turn green and warty. I’ll get you, my pretty!

Sign (Active): Your eyes glow.

Influence: You become almost suicidally protective of your friends. Unless you’re in an evil campaign, this is one of the better Influences to live with. Not what I’d expect from a curse-spirit but we’ll go with it.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any ooze(??)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Divine spellcasting humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Possess Animal: You can magic jar into animals (just without the actual “jar”), will negates. This can last for the duration of the pact; the cooldown does not start again until you leave the animal behind. Keep your body restrained since the animal will be inside - by RAW it is “imprisoned” there but it’s unclear whether the animal’s soul gets any control of your old body. You take the following with you: all mental ability scores, level, class, BAB, save bonuses, alignment and mental abilities (including spirit powers - huzzah!) You gain the physical attributes, natural abilities and hit points of your host, so choose carefully. However, so long as you can stay within range of your real body, this basically removes the consequences of death or various conditions. Magic Jar at will is nice, but animals tend to become scarce opponents as you climb levels. (In addition to using this offensively, a nice trick is to combo this with one of your vestigial companions, letting you assume direct control of a disposable body with selectable feats while keeping all your occult powers; N’alyia’s bat is a good combat choice for instance, and she can even carry your body around.)

Capstone Empowerment: You can now magic jar into the corpses of humanoids and animals as well, giving them the zombie template but maintaining your mental ability scores and powers. This gives you an endless supply of bodies to hop into, as well as various undead immunities, but be sure to keep your “jar” within range. When you leave a corpse it is instantly destroyed. What’s nice about this is that you can possess an animal (including a vestigial companion), get it killed, and then possess it again as a zombie. Note however that zombies are perma-staggered, which can be bad for you.

Minor Abilities:

Agitate Animals: Animals within 30 ft. become shaken around you. Not a terrible ability but (1        ) again, animal opponents become less prominent as you gain levels, (2) shaken is a minor condition and (3) this affects friendly animals too, including animal/vestigial companions. There doesn’t seem to be a way to disable it, so it can affect animal companions too if you’re not careful (yours and those of your allies.) You can stack this up to higher forms of fear though, if you have the means (e.g. Sevnoir’s howl.) Shaken does lower saving throws though, making it that much easier to do your skinchanging.

Bestow Curse (VC): As the spell. This version is particularly brutal since it’s at-will, has no cooldown, the DC scales and it ignores SR/Immunity. It also inflicts a -2 penalty to everything for 1 round even on a successful save. This combos quite well with your magic jar ability since you can use a disposable body to get in the enemy’s midst and touch-curse everyone around you with impunity. A successful save makes the enemy immune for 24 hours though.

Rebuke Undead: You gain the ability to Command Undead, at-will, without needing Channel Energy uses to power it. This is the feat, not the spell, which means it actually functions as the even more powerful control undead. Since you are Cha-focused, you can get some pretty powerful minions this way. Mindless undead stay enthralled indefinitely, while intelligent ones get a new save each day (assuming your pact lasts longer than 24h that is.) If you have a means to animate or create undead you can amass a decent army with this.

Undying: You gain a supercharged version of the Diehard feat - letting you act completely normally while in negatives (i.e. full rounds worth of actions), auto-stabilize, and letting you stay alive all the way down to double your Con score. Needless to say, this makes you very, very hard to put down, particularly the staying conscious bit. Combine with Ubro and you can even treat your own wounds as needed.

Vestigial Companion: Hexus grants you a homunculus familiar in exchange for your curse ability. Construct is a great creature type due to its boatload of immunities, and the homunculus itself has several key advantages. Some of these are:

- 50 ft. fly speed (good)

- Sleep poison bite

- Darkvision + LLV

- Security camera vision/hearing out to 1500 ft.

- Can write (but not speak) common.

- Gains your magic jar ability (into animals or corpses.) Note: by RAW you can both use it back-to-back, because the cooldown doesn’t start until one of you leaves a possessed body behind.

- Gains its own Command Undead pool.

These are nice perks but at-will Bestow Curse is so good that it can be a difficult decision. Be very careful with it because if it dies, you will take 2d10 damage.

Overall rating: Good. Hexus has several unique abilities that are beneficial to a less sturdy occultist. The ability to act via proxy, combined with your extreme resilience, make you formidable in hazardous fights.  The need to keep your body nearby is a weakness, however do note that you only need to be in range when you leave your vessel and can roam around for very long distances and times until then - so feel free to, say, toss your inert body into a portable hole or something, only taking it out again when your pact is about to end. Combined with a brutal animal form (or a weak one with the ability to make it brutal, e.g. via Fey Baraddu) you can be a capable frontliner with minimal risk to yourself. Despite his utility, Hexus however is better as a secondary or tertiary vestige, supporting the primary strategy of another. If the creature types for his major were unrestricted he would be much stronger.

Loh’moi, the Mad Geometer (DC 23)

Summary: This wacky wunderkind lets you hop around the battlefield, and prevents others from doing the same.

Constellation: Mage

Ceremony: Just being able to draw this geometric genius’ elaborate seal is enough to get his attention.

Totems: (1) You are a father or have birthed a son. (2) You have Int 16+. (3) Your 8 ranks in Know (architecture) help you draw his seal perfectly.

Sign (Passive): Geometric lines cover your skin.

Sign (Active): The lines move.

Influence: You don’t want any help solving puzzles. Gimme a minute guys, I got it.

Favored Ally (Likes): Ethereal plane native outsiders.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Evil humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Transdimensional Ray:  You fire a force ray that unfortunately scales pretty poorly. 1d6 every other level just doesn’t cut it anymore, especially for a single-target attack.

Capstone Empowerment: You can fire your ray through every obstacle except total cover + total concealment. Much better but still weak. More importantly however, this now also applies a dimensional anchor effect (will negates) to your target - much more useful than the damage, especially since this one ignores SR. If you bind him at all, try to get the augment if you can.

Minor Abilities:

Bend to Freedom: You can contort, gaining a bonus to Escape Artist and squeezing through narrower passages than usual. The EA bonus is nice but the other is unlikely to come up.

Extra Space: Rope Trick at will. What’s nice about this is it’s undispellable, but do be aware that you may actually need a rope because some supernatural abilities require components in PF. Regardless, this gives you a fairly safe place to repact mid-dungeon, or use slow and risky abilities like Muse Istago’s dream-scrying. The other perils of PF Rope Trick apply, e.g. not being able to pull the rope up after you. (Be very wary about your pact ending while you’re in here, otherwise the party may be in for a rude awakening.)

Geometrical Step: You can Dimension Door as a move action up to your base speed in distance. If you extend this to a full-round action you can go twice the distance. Unfortunately, the full-round use provokes AoO (though since it’s supernatural, you don’t need to concentrate even if you get hit.) As with the DD spell, you can specify a direction, letting you blink past doors and other obstacles even if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. At-will move action teleportation blows N’alyia out of the water.

Geometrical Agility (VC): This is a cool ability, letting you act after you land in your destination square, and even flank with yourself. The ability to act after you D-Door means you can do it twice per turn. This even applies to the DD spell if you have some way of casting it, e.g. from a scroll.

Vestigial Companion: Perhaps the most powerful Companion of all - you get a summoner’s Eidolon (albeit with half the evolution points, but full progression everywhere else.) A summoner handbook can help you build the right one, and you can of course freely access the more situational evolutions if you want them since you reshape this one with every pact instead of waiting to level up. You give up the ability to act after a DD or to flank with yourself for this, but that’s okay since the big guy can be flanked with just as well.

Here’s what it has when you get it:

Overall rating: Excellent. Loh’moi’s major is weak, but the rest is gold - at-will, cooldownless move-action teleportation (if short range), at-will rope tricks for the party, and the strongest companion yet, an eidolon (who doesn’t even remove your teleportation.) Further, the eidolon shares your teleportation abilities for nasty mobility and can even help you lock down teleporting enemies with your transdimensional ray as needed. Loh’moi is a fantastic secondary spirit, particularly for a “caster” occultist who prefers to stay back from the action. Gish Occultists who forego the eidolon and fight in melee can use Loh’moi’s ability to flank with themselves to employ some interesting tactics.

PMU2:

Ethaniel Midnight, The Inquisitive Torturer (DC 21)

Summary: This sick spirit is aimed at villains rather than heroes. Unfortunately, his vaguely worded powers will likely cause far more torture at your table figuring them out than they actually inflict. I recommend you avoid this one until he is cleared up a bit.

Constellation: Fiend

Ceremony: You beat yourself up. Not the face! (Note: You must do at least half your total HP of nonlethal doing this, so don’t bind this guy if you’re injured already as you might end up knocking yourself out.)

Totems: (1) You deface the seals of Fey Baraddu and Loh’moi. (2) Your 6 ranks in Heal give you anatomy lessons. (3) You pact in a basement near the stairs.

Sign (Passive): Your body becomes covered in bruises and cuts. It’s not clear whether these hurt, but regardless, avoid injury poisons/diseases if you can.

Sign (Active): The wounds turn a pus-filled yellow. Yum.

Influence: You snark whenever someone is hurt. This one could actually wait.

Favored Ally (Likes): LE humanoids and (subtyped) outsiders.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): CG humanoids and (subtyped) outsiders.

Major Ability: 

Touch of Pain: With a touch, you deal 1d6/level nonlethal to your target, fort partial; if they succeed on the save, they simply take 3d6 nonlethal instead. Unfortunately, this is also mind-affecting and a pain effect, so there are a lot of ways to mitigate or be immune to this. The “damage” scales better

than most major abilities though.

Capstone Empowerment: You scar a target, which lets you target them at any range with any ranged granted abiility (similar to the Witch’s hex of the same name.) They must fail a save against your major for this to work (thus subjecting it to all the drawbacks above), and it’s pretty  situational to boot - most enemies weak enough to be affected by a mind-affecting fort save will just end up slain anyway.

Minor Abilities:

Crystallize Pain: This one’s really hard to rate because it’s so vague and confusing. Essentially you torture the hell out of someone for 8 hours, draining their Wis and Cha, transforming their anguish into a powerful crystal. When consumed, this crystal will give you +20 on Cha-based checks (this includes binding checks) and can even be used to replace expensive material components for spellcasting! Sounds great right? Well it is, but actually using the ability is extremely unclear. No range is listed, no restraint requirements on the target . I’m rating this one red because it is unlikely to be much use to a player - aside from both the act itself and using its product very likely resulting in an alignment shift (unless you’re already evil), it is also highly impractical due to needing 8 hours away from adventuring and a captured sentient to drain.

Discern Lies: Confusingly, despite the name, this actually functions as a single-target zone of truth rather than discern lies. The difference between the two is that discern lies (the spell, that is) allows the target to lie (and will not clue them in that you are aware of such if they fail their save) - whereas zone of truth (and thus, this ability), physically prevents lying, and the target is aware of it the entire time. Thus, they can choose not to speak at all. This is unfortunate, because DL is superior for subtle operations than ZOT; cluing the vizier/noble in on the fact that you don’t trust them isn’t exactly going to win you many friends, especially if they had no intention of lying to you to begin with.

Fasle Alignment: You can fake your alignment from anything, even that. Unlike effects like Undetectable Alignment or Cromwell’s Indiscernible Alignment, this actually lets you go a step further and set your alignment as a specific value; for example, rather than merely detecting as “not evil,” you can choose to register as “chaotic good.” Given that Ethaniel is aimed at evil characters (especially villainous NPC Occultists who actually have time to use his other abilities) this can be useful for hiding your tendencies from nosy PCs. You must choose the desired alignment when then pact with Ethaniel is made.

Instant Manacles (VC): The more I read this one the more confused I get. You create a pair of masterwork manacles that bind a creatures limbs, inflicting the grappled condition. But do they simply appear on the creature, or do you create them and have to apply them manually? Do you have to make a grapple check, and if so, what modifiers? Or is it a reflex save, or do you have to incapacitate the target and apply them normally? Can it work on creatures without legs, like a merfolk or ooze? Specialized manacles can be created for any size creature; does this mean this ability can be used on anyone? Can you manacle a Storm Giant, Ancient Red Dragon, or the Tarrasque? And if you use it on a larger creature, does the Strength DC to break them change? They are much stronger than normal manacles, with hardness and HP scaling with your binder level and Cha (rather than just being 10), but as written the Strength check to break them doesn’t change even if they are twice as sturdy. All in all this one needs some cleaning up. As written it appears that you have to apply them manually, making them exceedingly impractical for combat use; go with the companion.

Speak with Dead: This functions as the spell, except you get twice as many questions and can divide them up among corpses as you choose. Note the will save, which applies if the creature’s alignment differs from yours,  and being a corpse your Discern Lies power won’t help as written either. Situationally useful.

Vestigial Companion: You can animate objects, as the spell, but they must be torturer’s tools. Since just about anything can be used to torture (one of the examples given is a knife), this distinction is not as restrictive as it sounds. (Heck, chains and whips can be used to torture, and those can be nearly any size, so go nuts.) You can only animate one object at a time. The problem here though - as cool as this ability is, every spirit can animate objects with the Poltergeist binder secret, and furthermore this won’t share any of his abilities with you (so no having the spirit torture for you while you go off to do something else. So while it isn’t bad, this guy isn’t exactly bringing anything to the table that other spirits aren’t either, and they have fewer restrictions about what to animate (e.g. wagons or statues.)

Overall rating: Poor. A useful companion and semi-useful major aim this guy at caster Occultists. The Crystallize ability, if it is ever clarified, can be extremely useful for acing binding checks if you don’t care about your alignment, but the practical limitations of being sufficiently vile, obtaining a victim to torture and setting aside 8 hours of adventuring to pull it off will likely handicap  most players.

Jehotek, the Throne of Heaven (DC 21)

Summary: This spirit has one of my favorite names in the entire system. While his major is quite weak, he can be a very useful support spirit in a good-aligned caster Occultist’s repertoire.

Constellation: Angel

Ceremony: You chug holy water. You’re not undead, right? (Note: holy water is costly and thus not in your pouch - plan accordingly!)

Totems: (1) The holy water You drink came from Jehotek, specifically from his Blessings of Jehotek ability. The logistics of this one can be trickyFAQ. (2) Your 8 ranks in Know (Religion) let you recite an ancient prayer to Jehotek.. (3) You are LG or have been blessed by a LG priest within 24 hours.

Sign (Passive): Ashes appear on your brow. They cannot be washed off.

Sign (Active): Your brow shines. How much light is unclear.FAQ

Influence: You extoll the virtues of Jehotek, including above other gods. Cleric binders beware as this could get you in hot water with your real patron. It could also land you in trouble in the wrong locales (e.g. Razmir or Cheliax.) Other than those situations though this is pretty harmless - it’s not like the other vestiges will care, and your party likely won’t either.

Favored Ally (Likes): LG Outsiders or anyone with a good Aura (capital A, as in the cleric class feature.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): CE Outsiders or anyone with an evil Aura (as above.)

Major Ability: 

Fire From The Heavens: You unleash a 20ft. cylinder of energy (half fire, half divine i.e. untyped.) It starts at 2d6 (reflex half) and gains an extra 1d6 every 2 levels after that (i.e. 8d6 at 19/20.) This is downright criminal when you get it (ECL 7) and the saving throw makes it even worse; plus it does not get much better with level.

Capstone Empowerment: Jehotek’s fire does not harm good creatures or anyone bound to him. In addition, `1/day you can heal one such immune creature in the area = EBL (so 7 HP when you get this.) It’s nice that you can bathe your good-aligned allies in this, but unfortunately the monsters are unlikely to notice it either; you’ve got better things to do with your actions most of the time.

Minor Abilities:

Blessings of Jehotek: You can purify food and drink, as the spell, with a touch. Feed the hungry! Beyond that, you can also create doses of holy water or “blessed foodstuffs” each day = EBL. The effect of the blessed food is to confer the bless spell on the target for 1 minute. However, if you eat it, you get the benefit for 24 hours. Others can also get the extended benefit by agreeing to suffer Jehotek’s influence - which means extolling his virtues above other gods, so make sure the cleric sticks with the 1 minute version. Anyway, bless is a decent buff and holy water is still okay at this level, particularly if you hand it all to an alchemist.

Flock of Jehotek: By far his best ability - evil creatures take a penalty to their saves (higher DC) and good creatures get a bonus to their save (lower DC) vs. your abilities. This ability alone makes binding the guy worthwhile, at least as a secondary/support spirit in a caster build. The majority of enemies in campaigns are evil, and this will not penalize you vs. the neutral ones, so this is all upside.

Prayer to Jehotek (VC): 3+Cha times per day, you can standard-action ask Jehotek to do you a solid, granting your allies within 40ft.  +1 to attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws and skill checks and your enemies a a penalty to same, for rounds/EBL. (Not ability checks, sadly.) While this is minor, there is no saving throw and the bonuses are untyped, so they’ll stack with whatever else your team has got going on (e.g. your pact augmentations), so it never hurts to throw on each combat. Who knows, that +1 might save a life.

Rebuke Heresy: You can frighten any single enemy (or Turn any undead) as a standard action for rounds/EBL. While fear is easily resisted, Turning is not, and that keeps this very handy; much better than his actual major. As a reminder, frightened means you must try to flee, and whether you do or not you will suffer -2 to attacks, saves, skill checks and ability checks. They can attempt a save on later rounds to reduce this to shaken for the remainder of the effect - not only is this still good because the penalties stay on them, they also take that save at a penalty, making it harder to throw off. Turning meanwhile functions like panic, which is similar to the above except the undead drops anything its holding and cowers if it cannot escape, setting it up for a nice sneak attack if it’s corporeal.  Combine this with your prayer and flock vs. an evil undead and they are looking at a whopping -5 to their saves, or -3 if they save against the initial use of this. However, be very careful using it in a dungeon or enemy base, as a single fleeing enemy can have dire consequences.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a Harbinger Archon familiar (as wizard.) The art for these is really cool. Anyway, archons bring many of the goodies you come to expect from angelic/celestial companions - flight, truespeech, electricity and petrification immunity. This little guy can also rebuke heresy and purify food/water for you. Constant detect evil and at-will dancing lights are great - work out a signal whereby your little guy can scan the people you’re talking to and give you a discreet heads-up. He also gets 3/day protection from evil to ward party members from influence. Disassemble lets it squeeze into very tight spaces or out of grapples. Finally you get Commune (6 questions) for those burning queries.

Overall rating: Good. While his major leaves a lot to be desired, Jehotek brings enough other goodies to the table that I can recommend him. He makes an excellent secondary or tertiary spirit for a caster as he will make your other spirits much stronger just by being there. In addition, his influence is very mild - in most campaigns, the worst you have to worry about is annoying the party with your Jehotek pamphlets. (Watch out while in religiously strict countries however.) Also, avoid him in evil campaigns or on villains.

Kandisha, the Desert’s Revenge (DC 22)

Summary: She is a strong independent vestige don’t need no man.

Constellation: Seer

Ceremony: You strip and tie your arms and legs together near her seal. She’s a kinky sort.

Totems: (1) You’re young, female, or you’ve been tortured unjustly. (2) You kill a cock- excuse me, rooster. Men! (3) You pact in the desert.

Sign (Passive): Your lips harden into a beak. Hope you don’t have to make out anytime soon.

Sign (Active): A plume of feathers bursts behind you.

Influence: You become vengeful. Easy enough if you channel it the right way.

Favored Ally (Likes): All women except prostitutes..

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): All males except young boys.

Major Ability: 

Curse of KandishaFAQ: This multifunctional 30ft. range curse has a variety of effects you can choose from. The rating here is an average of these; individual ratings follow. While the curse only affects humanoids, it is also permanent until removed. You could potentially curse an entire city if you kept this up long enough, and unlike similar abilities there is no 24 hour cooldown to deal with, so you can just spam it every 5 rounds out of combat until it sticks. (Considering that she is 4th-level, you can also consider bringing these to your DM as Bestow Curse options - let me know if you’re successful!) This is one of those few wo;; saves that works on undead so she can be handy to keep in your repertoire. (Note: This may be subject to the “effects ending when a pact does” rule.)

(Dry Mouth): You impose 20% failure chance on abilities with verbal components as sand pours from the target’s mouth. Note that as written this can affect supernatural abilities too, e.g. a Witch’s Cackle. Situationally useful, but most things this will be useful against have good will saves.

(Erode Pride): -4 penalty to Con and Cha and target can’t bump uglies. The latter is probably going to be much more painful than the former. (How do they pee, I wonder?) This can be troublesome for some creatures but the effect is pretty mild for most since few classes use these attributes offensively (and the ones that do tend, once again, to have strong will saves.

(Personal MirageFAQ):While this is pretty unique, I have no idea how it’s supposed to work. You afflict the target with a permanent hallucinatory terrain, but what happens when they move outside the area? Do they just keep seeing the same one or do you dictate what they see forever? How do you know to do this? And what happens when they are presented with incontrovertible proof of the illusion’s falsehood - does the curse end, or does it continue but become irrelevant since they can now see the real work through the translucent overlay? As written that is exactly what would happen since it follows the spell, and this is pretty lame in combat anyway. Back to the drawing board with this one.

(Sun Foe:) The enemy is staggered in daylight (both natural and the spell!) and gains vulnerability to fire (+50% damage.) Combos well with Serapith. Perma-stagger is fun and noncaster (read: weak-willed) enemies tend to suffer more from this condition, creating synergy between those likely to fail the save and those most hurt by it.

Capstone Empowerment: You can choose two curses instead of one, granting a save for each. Use Sun Foe + Dry Mouth vs.  verbal casters, and Sun Foe + Erode Pride vs. martials and nonverbal casters (e.g. alchemists.)

Minor Abilities:

Avian Speech: You can speak with all kinds of birds, as speak with animals. Too situational for my tastes.

Sand Cloud: You form a cloud of sand (functions as solid fog) except it also penalizes perception checks for -2.; it lasts EBL+Cha minutes/day and you can divide the uses up in increments of a minute each. Solid Fog is still great control even with PF’s nerf, and you get a lot of them since they basically last all combat long with a single use.

Protection of Kandisha (VC): As protection from evil, yet any alignment, yet only functions against males. While flavorful, I feel like this will cause too many arguments to be worthwhile. “Is that skeleton male? How about that summoned animal? Or those bandits we can’t see firing arrows at us from cover?” You get EBL+Cha minutes of this per day, increments of one minute, similar to Sand Cloud. Throw it on, it can’t hurt, just make sure your DM knows what they’re in for; personally I would use the companion instead.

Scimitar of the Desert: Woo, free Dervish Dance! As long as your off-hand is empty and you’re using a scimitar (you gain proficiency), you can add Dex to attack and damage. Dex-based Gishcultists have a great reason to bind her.

Vestigial Companion: You get a “sand elemental,” i.e. an earth elemental (as wizard.) Elemental familiars are Small which means this little guy can threaten/flank. You might need Jayna to talk to it; if she’s not available, you both have avian speech so find a bird to use as an intermediary. Burrow and Earth Glide make it a good scout, plus you have empathic senses (and later scry) to see what it is seeing. Finally, it can deliver your curse and sand clouds for you, freeing you up to charge in swinging with your scimitar. Have it place the cloud in such a way that they take the attack penalty but not you, and can’t 5-foot out of it - this will help you neuter many melee opponents.

Overall rating: Good. Solid Fog doesn’t scale as well as it did in 3.5 but it’s still good, particularly at these levels. She is a very good choice for Dex-based Occultist gishes, saving you a feat on Dervish Dance and giving you scimitar proficiency.

5th-Level

Arturius, the Sleeping King (DC 23)

Summary: This royal revenant overclocks the damage of your other abilities - for a time.

Constellation: Hero

Ceremony: You toil to anoint yourself with oil and soil.

Totems: (1) You stab a masterwork longsword into the ground as a focus. (2) You have Know (Nobility) 10 ranks. (3) You pact within 10 ft. of a natural barrow.

Sign (Passive): Your gear is filthy no matter what you do.

Sign (Active): Your muscles surge with strength. Kaioken!

Influence: You are suspicious and jealous of everyone, but courteous and chivalrous at the same time. Shouldn’t be an issue.

Favored Ally (Likes): Fey.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Humans

Major Ability: 

Skill At Arms: As a swift, your weapon and supernatural attacks increase in damage by 3d6+3 for 1 round. This scales as you level - 4d6+4 at 13, and 5d6+5 at 17. This is not much on one hit, but you can really rack up the damage with iterative or area attacks. Because it is a swift, you can activate this, then activate another ability, such as Serapith’s laser or Aza’zati’s acid cone, boosting your damage accordingly. With iteratives however, this ability becomes especially nasty - equivalent to a +12 Str score or more. (Note that because this ability “increases the damage of your weapon,” you should get to combine this with Vital Strike too.)

Capstone Empowerment: Every attack or supernatural ability you land during this activation forces a fort save or the enemy falls prone. Bow to the king! With an area attack this basically acts like free Toppling Spell.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Courage: As the bardic performance of the same name, half-strength. This means that not only does it scale (albeit poorly, to +2), but starting at 14th level this becomes a move action to activate. Deliver a kingly speech while you do this. Note that you must choose whether your performance is audible or visual each time you use it. Combine this with your Skill at Arms for a little more damage.

King’s Dancing Blade (VC): You summon a dancing sword whose enhancement bonus scales with your level. It lasts for 4 rounds, but you can summon a new one at-will. Note that it takes a full round to get the blade going - move to summon, then standard to release so it can start attacking. (Or you can just wield it yourself instead.) Great trick here - Dancing weapons are “considered wielded and attended for all effects that target items” - since Skill At Arms explicitly applies to your weapon, your sword gets the bonus even if it’s dancing.

Royal Pleasantries: You get a bonus to Diplomacy and Know (nobility.) These are good skills to have, especially the first one.

Corpsewhisper: you can send a message to a creature whose name you know, up to miles away. This is situational and unlikely to come up, but it can have surprising uses, for example to contact someone during a rescue mission even if you’ve never met them.

Vestigial Companion: In exchange for your sword, Arturius lends you the services of a Faerie Dragon. Dragon is a great creature type due to high skills, darkvision + LLV, all good saves, full BAB and immunities. Faerie Dragons in particular gain the following: 100ft. telepathy, 4 languages, UMD, huge stealth and fly checks, small breath weapon that renders a foe staggered/sickened; 3rd-level sorcerer casting, and 3/day greater invisibility (self only, sadly.) Lots of great utility here.

Overall rating: Good. Arturius is a powerhouse support spirit for melee and (surprisingly) caster occultists alike, with yet another major that doesn’t especially care about your Cha score. A gishcultist who takes him, Cromwell and Fey Baraddu would be a force to be reckoned with.

Dagon, Tentacles from the Deep (DC 25)

Summary: This Lovecraftian horror helps you manipulate time, swim/fight like a squid and fills your mind with all the knowledge of the depths.

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: You cook and eat some calamari. Hope it stayed fresh in your pouch.

Totems: (1) You’re a good swimmer (Swim 10 ranks.) (2) You know Dagon’s true name, requiring Know (Planes) 10 ranks. (3) You pact within sight of a lake or ocean.

Sign (Passive): Your skin turns aquamarine.

Sign (Active): Tiny writhing tentacles briefly cover your skin. Eww!

Influence: You love to get wet, and lose your filter around new people. This can get you in trouble near the king so stay back.

Favored Ally (Likes): Aberrations.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any humanoid or aquatic animal.

Major Ability: 

Delay Harm: If nothing else this ability is very unique - as an immediate action, you delay any harmful attack or spell that would affect you for 1 round, ignoring it until your next turn. This is very broad - think along the lines of Iron Heart Surge, but a bit more clearly defined and a bit weaker (since you still suffer the effect, eventually.) At a minimum I would say anything that deals damage, inflicts a status condition of some kind, or has a (non-harmless) saving throw associated should be fair game. If the effect is an area attack, the delay still works, but only affects you. The ability to say “no!” (or at least “not yet!”) to negative levels, stun/paralysis, dominate and other nasty effects can be pretty handy, especially if you can quickly finish the battle before they become relevant again. Most importantly, the example shows you can delay something after you’ve failed the save.

Capstone Empowerment: Now you can delay the harmful effect for 1d4 rounds. This can let you ignore something potentially debilitating for potentially an entire combat. You still suffer the effects afterward, but hopefully by then you’ve mopped the floor with your assailant, or at least gotten to safety.

Minor Abilities:

Body of Dagon (VC): You become the one, the only, kraken-man! This grants you the following (for EBL+Cha rounds/day):

This is a polymorph effect, but unlike Baraddu, very few of the rider effects will be relevant here. What’s sad about this is that despite being the ultimate aquatic spirit, Fey Baraddu and even Aza’zati will make you a better swimmer, and both are lower level and give you natural armor besides. But this is still functional. The low duration hurts too (if you’re trying to swim any distance.)

Child of the Deeps: You gain a bonus on swim checks and can breathe underwater. This doesn’t give you a swim speed (see Body of Dagon for that) so once that effect wears off you will be forced to swim normally.

Dagon Knows: You get a boatload of divinations (as the spell) per day. This sounds nice on paper, but unfortunately, chances are you’re humanoid and Dagon therefore hates your guts; if that’s the case, you eat a whopping -50% to your chances at getting useful information, making this pretty much useless. Conversely, if you’re an aberration you will divine without fail. If you’re neither, you cast the spell normally. Since it’s a lot harder to not be humanoid in Pathfinder, this is going to be painful more often than not.

Whispers of Dagon: His best ability, you can make all knowledges untrained and get a huge insight bonus to all of them. Unfortunately, does not stack with Xalen and he probably does it better.

Vestigial Companion: You get a zombie cohort, with up to 2 HD less than you (including bonus HD), with your same base swim speed. As it is a cohort, you choose what you get, but be mindful that you can’t share Dagon’s powers with it. You also control it as though using Command Undead, which means basic commands only (“Go here” “Stand still” “Fight this” etc.) Don’t make it too big as this will cut down on your options, but a nice zombie dragon or sea monster is probably something to work towards.

Overall rating: Okay. Weak divinations and shapeshifting aside, Dagon does have some perks as a secondary. His Major is unique and can potentially be a lifesaver, especially if you stick that augmentation. If nothing else, it’s a good way to give your DM a headache, and that’s always a plus. The knowledge buffs are nice - I would go with him or Xalen, but not both.

Dark Blood, the Rakshasa Princes (DC 24)

Summary: This ghostly gestalt grants you nova potential, makes you the ultimate face, and lets you unleash bestial wrath on your foes.

Constellation: Fiend

Ceremony: You cut yourself for attention. Linkin Park CD optional.

Totems: (1) You speak Infernal or are male. (2) You rub the blood of a good outsider on yourself - note that this is an evil act. (3) You beat somebody up (even yourself) within the seal, doing half their total hit points in your choice of lethal or non-lethal damage.

Sign (Passive): You gain a beast’s head; you get to choose one. (Does not have to be feline.)

Sign (Active): Your hands reverse like a rakshasa’s briefly.

Influence: You swagger and act a bit more savage. Pretty minor considering the other stuff this guy wants you to do.

Favored Ally (Likes): Animals and Rakshasas.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Anyone with more HD than you. Since you’ll always have HD = your HD, this won’t affect your binding.

Major Ability: 

Thirst for Blood: In exchange for your swift, you get an extra standard action at the end of your turn; you are also staggered on the following round. Pathfinder Celerity! Well, almost; it’s a swift, not an immediate, but the drawback is lighter too (staggered instead of dazed.) This is a great power.

Capstone Empowerment: Instead of being staggered, you are simply fatigued for 4 rounds instead. As a reminder, you can’t run or charge and take a minor penalty to Str and Dex. Caster Occultists will barely notice the drawback; fatigue is pretty minor compared to staggered even if it lasts longer so go for it.

Minor Abilities:

Disguise Granted Abilities: You gain this bonus feat. At this point in the game you probably don’t need to be running from the villagers. but subtlety never hurts and Dark Blood has a pretty dramatic passive sign. This ability is nice to have if you screw up your check and make a bad pact, because nobody is going to react calmly to the guy with a tiger-head. Unfortunately, you gain nothing if you’ve already taken the feat on your own.

Rakshasa’s Rage (VC): You gain a barbarian’s rage, with a few additional benefits, as follows. You get the normal rage modifiers, i.e. +4 morale bonus to Str/Con, +2 morale to will saves, -2 to AC, bonus hit points, and the inability to use Cha/Dex/Int-based skills or abilities that require patience/concentration. (Note - supernatural abilities, such as your spirit powers, do not require concentration.) On top of these regular modifiers, Dark Blood gives you +2 natural armor (effectively cancelling out the AC loss from rage), +10 untyped bonus to your base speed, a 1d6+Str bite, and 2 1d4+Str claws. You get EBL+Cha rounds of rage/pact instead of 4+Con as well. Needless to say this ability will make you a powerhouse, and since it isn’t a polymorph effect, it will stack with several of your other quasi-shapeshift forms like N’alyia or Dagon. There may be a way to gain rage powers with this ability but I’m unclear on that. If you have a polymorph form like Baraddu, transform first and then activate this, and try to use a form that doesn’t have claws or a bite so you get all of them.

Read Mind: You can scan a creature’s mind as though using Detect Thoughts, except that it’s single-target, and you gain 3 rounds worth of information in a single standard action. This means that you can tell whether the creature has a mind, what its Int score is, and any surface thoughts it has, all in one standard action. Despite the targeting being cut down to one creature, this is still fantastic and has all sorts of story applications since you can use it at-will. Scan everybody at the corrupt lord’s ball and you’ll find the killer in no time...

Silver Tongue: You get a scaling bonus to all the face skills. Combined with Dark Blood’s ability to quickly scan the thoughts of whoever you’re speaking to and your Charisma, and you can talk your way out of just about anything. Fantastic!

Vestigial Companion: You get quite a sneaky and unique familiar (wizard) - a raktavarna, weakest of all rakshasa. They basically look like little snakes that can turn into daggers (or other tiny items) making him perhaps the easiest familiar to conceal. This little guy brings several goodies to the table:

This is one of the best familiars in the game for recon purposes. Combine its already massive bluff modifier with your Silver Tongue, PLUS the ability to read the target’s mind, and it’s going to be able to lie the pants of anyone in existence.

Overall rating: Excellent. Dark Blood is great both on his own and combined with other spirits. His abilities synergize quite well with each other and he makes you deadly in a fight too. This is another of the rare spirits that is a great choice for both caster and gish Occultists. His social buffs are powerful indeed, making you the smoothest-talking furry on the block. Subtler Occultists will likely want the familiar instead of the rage ability, but both are good.

Vodavox, the Hive Mind (DC 25)

Summary: This psychic sectoid

Constellation: Beast

Ceremony: You put an egg in his seal, and ponder the age-old question.

Totems: (1) You’re a drow, insectoid, or can read minds (without using another spirit.) (2) You impress either of Vodavox’s aspects (using 10 ranks in Know Nature or Know Arcana); (3) You engage in a little harmless cannibalism(???).

Sign (Passive): You get an insect’s head (and, er, “other parts”), plus a carapace.

Sign (Active): A swarm of gnats surrounds you (they do nothing.)

Influence: When hungry or threatened, you do not feel pain or empathy. Get your square meals a day, keep away from prisoners during a fight, and watch out for pets while you’re at it.

Favored Ally (Likes): Vermin and anyone with psionics.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Phrenic Blast: You unleash a 30 foot cone of untyped damage.  Untyped is nice, but you’re at the level where 1d4/2 levels just does not cut the mustard anymore (if it ever did). It’s also will negates, limiting it even further, though this at least means it can’t be Evaded. If you must use this, consider beefing it up with Arturius.

Capstone Empowerment: Affected creatures that fail the save for no damage are also dazed for 1 round. Very few things are immune to daze, and the DC for this scales like any of your other abilities, so like Loh’moi’s laser you can actually treat this as the primary effect and the weak damage as a bonus. Note also that you can “charge it up” for a few rounds, increasing the DC by 1-3 depending on how long you charge it. Given that the DC already scales with your level automatically, you can get it pretty nasty and hard to resist. It’s also not mind-affecting by RAW, though logically it probably should be, so feel free to daze skeletons or golems or whatever with it.

Minor Abilities:

Aberrant Mind: +4 untyped to saving throws vs. mind-affecting. Not amazing but not bad either.

Insectoid Body (Sign): Insight bonus to Escape Artist and Perception. Two very useful skills. You also triple your carrying capacity - proportional insect strength! Finally, you get +2 natural AC; this is untyped, so it should stack with barkskin, amulets, racial bonuses or similar effects. All in all, a good reason to bind him.

Spell-Warding Chitin (Sign): You gain SR = EBL +Cha. This is likely to be weaker than the Spell Resistance spell itself, but at least this scales better (potentially) and can’t be dispelled.

Telepathic Bond (VC): As the spell, but can’t be dispelled, lasts longer (24 hours or the duration of your pact), and takes longer to establish (10 minutes.) Do this in the morning. Telepathic Bond is almost mandatory for high-level parties and you get this at the same level as primary casters do. Personally though, I’d leave this up to the casters and get the companion instead.

Vestigial Companion: You gain your choice of one of the following companions each time you pact: giant centipede, giant leech, giant mantis, giant scorpion or giant wasp. These have potential as you climb levels, so let’s try and break them down.

To start with, they are Vermin companions - this makes them mindless, which cuts down the tricks they can learn (they still get the bonus tricks from the companion table, +1 base trick.) They also don’t learn feats or skills as a result. You can apply their bonus stat from gaining HD to Int, allowing them to learn feats and skills but costing them the mindless trait afterward, so decide which you want. They all start at level 11 because Vodavox is a 5th-level spirit, so keep that in mind when you’re advancing them and the other animal companion goodies. Finally, they are difficult to trip due to all their legs.

Here’s the breakdown:

Giant Centipede: Starts Small, can’t be tripped at all. Can eventually become medium. Has one bite complete with Dex damage poison.

Giant Leech: Aquatic. Very slow on land, so only call it in water. Also cannot be tripped. 30ft. Blindsight is highly useful, but the slow speed makes it a liability a lot of the time. Starts Small and can get to Medium. One slam, but also has attach which = auto-grapple therefore ruining a caster’s day; it must roll to maintain the grapple normally on subsequent round however (but with a +8 racial bonus.)

Giant Mantis: Starts at Medium, can get to Large at EBL 7. 40ft. fly speed and 30ft. climb means this guy can be a handy mount. 2 claws with grab make him a handy lockdown combatant. Finally, it can make a lunge attack at double its normal reach as a full-round action, and this attack also has reach. After it grows, it also gains the ability to full-attack in the surprise round and to chew on grabbed foes. Can be tripped but gains a +8 to resist. A very solid choice.

Giant Scorpion: 40ft. land speed. Starts medium and can get to Large. Similar to the Mantis except it can’t fly or climb, but has a nasty poison sting instead. Can be tripped but gains a +12 to resist. Aside from that, so far the mantis is better, so why is this guy blue? Three words: 60ft. tremorsense.

Giant Wasp: Starts medium and can get to large. Can be tripped but gains a +8 to resist. Only one attack (a sting of course) but this is the fastest flyer of the bunch at 60ft, so if you need to get somewhere in a hurry this is your guy. For general utility though I would stick to the Mantis.

Overall rating: Good.  Vodavox is one you’ll want to ace the check on for his great dazing cone. He’s great on a caster Occultist for this reason (and the fact that you’ll want a high will save DC for it.) His companion also makes a great mount for you, zipping you around the battlefield, fighting for you and keeping you out of harm’s way. Even if you remove their mindless trait, they still get Aberrant Mind to help protect them from will saves.

PMU2

Circe’s Runes, Refuge of Pacts (DC 23)

Summary:

Constellation: Scholar

Ceremony: You burn some books about magic in her seal. (Note: these do not have to be spellbooks, and certainly not expensive ones.)

Totems: (1) You burn a spellbook with at least one 1st-level spell in it. (2) You’ve been spurned by a lover within 24 hours OR you pact on an island. (3) You have a spell on you. (Note: this does not have to be a buff.)

Sign (Passive): The runes you have chosen (see her “Circe’s Runes” ability below) get tattooed onto your skin.

Sign (Active): The tattoo glows. (How bright? FAQ?)

Influence: Casting spells, or using granted abilities that duplicate spells, makes you curse at the top of your lungs. Circe isn’t very subtle so be careful when you choose to bind her.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any Outsider.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any Humanoid.

Major Ability: 

Séance of Circe: You can eject any spirit and replace it with another one, all as a single full-round action. (Note that this can be used on Circe herself.) This is

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

6th Level

Demos Kalagos, Sworn Enemy of Time (DC 27)

Summary: This tricky traveler will have you violating confounding causality and your foes alike.

Constellation: Thief

Ceremony: You perform a summoning ceremony for “a powerful outsider” backwards. (This is really unclear - do you need to actually cast it, such as from a scroll or spell,  or do you just say the words? And does knowing the words require a Spellcraft check?) My suggestion is that this simply means you know the verbal component for Planar Binding/Ally or a higher calling spell, which would require a spellcraft check sufficient to identify those spells being cast.

Totems:  (1) Place a 2500gp item you have stolen in his seal (thankfully, this is a focus, i.e. reusable.) (2) You have 12 ranks in Disable Device, or you’re a gnome/kobold. (3) You have 12 ranks in Know (Arcana.)

Sign (Passive): You randomly appear either one age category older or younger. This effect is cosmetic.

Sign (Active): You switch between older/younger every time you activate an ability.

Influence: You get pissy. Not too bad.

Favored Ally (Likes): Illusionists (including monsters with illusion abilities.)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Teleporters.

Major Ability: 

Time Trick: If you thought Dagon’s power could mess with the game flow, you haven’t seen anything yet. This powerful defensive ability lets you undo a target’s actions during the last round, making it as though they did nothing that round (will negates.) To help explain the intent of this ability, I’ll quote the designer directly:

“If you got fireballed in the face and you used Time Trick on the caster, the fireball spell would return to the caster's memory and all of the damage it dealt would be undone.

On the other hand, if you Time Tricked yourself in that same scenario, all of your actions would be undone, but you wouldn't lose the hit point damage you took because Time Trick only affects its targets' actions.”

Where this gets a bit messy is that it only affects the target - so decisions made by other characters in response to their action could become invalidated. So if your ally drank a health potion in response to that fireball, and you undid it, the damage from the fireball would be removed but the ally’s health potion would still be gone. Exercise caution when using this.

Capstone Empowerment: You undo the target as well as their action, mazing them for 1d4 rounds if they failed their save. Maze is a fantastic debuff and yours ignores SR. If it weren’t for the will save (and the potentially short duration) I would rate this purple.

Minor Abilities:

Borrow Time: You can take two swift actions - doing so prevents you from taking any (including immediates) next turn. Note that nothing stops you from taking your 2 swifts + immediate THIS turn. That’s probably a good way to get a CRB upside the head though. Anyway, this is a great ability - particularly in PF where many  powerful abilities are balanced by being swifts.

Create Trap: You can make any ranger trap out of thin air. This is a full-round action and the trap appears within 30 feet of you - including under a foe if you wish, in which case the trap instantly goes off. If an enemy saves against one of your traps they become immune to all of them for 24 hours. The save DC scales with your level, as do the Perception DC to notice it or the Disable DC to remove it. You can only have one out a time , but it lasts until triggered (or your pact ends), great if you need to guard a chokepoint (and they appear to persist even if you move out of range.) Note however that all of your traps are supernatural, even if you attempt to set an Ex trap or the Ex version of a dual-trap. However, Ranger traps use the Location Trigger, which can be problematic; enemies can walk around their square, and fliers/burrowers are generally unaffected at all. The full-round to set these can also be a problem. Finally, the “one trap at a a time” restriction hurts because it makes some traps off-limits, namely the ones that get added to another trap like Burning. (i.e. you try and add the augment trap and the base trap vanishes.)

 Here’s what you get from this and the ratings:

 

Resist Time and Space: You become immune to any effect that tries to age you or teleport you against your will. There aren’t many offensive teleportations, but the few that exist are typically quite nasty, so this can be situationally useful. Aging effects meanwhile come up even less often and tend to be less dramatic/life-threatening.

Trapfinding: As the rogue ability. Not as necessary in PF, but it’s nice that there’s a spirit that grants it all the same.

Vestigial Companion: None. Boo! Hiss!

Overall rating: Good. Demos has a lot of funky/unique abilities, so you’ll likely have to sit down with your DM before binding this guy, but even the bare minimum is quite powerful. Free, spammable traps, swift action novas, Trapfinding, and of course his rewind ability will have you messing with causality left and right. Just keep an eye out for Quaruts (or a blue police box) and run like hell if you hear them coming. Even with no companion, he is a solid secondary spirit both offensively and defensively.

Jayna Warlock, Traveler of Worlds (DC 26)

Summary: This jaunting genie comes in seven lovely flavors of whoop-ass.

Constellation: Scholar

Ceremony: You combine the 7 elements (air, earth, water, fire, wood, metal, and... void?) into a brazier. (Go Planet!) As part of the ceremony, you choose one of the 7 to be your primary for the duration of the pact - this will determine some of your powers below.

Totems: (1) You’re a suli, geniekind (e.g. Ifrit) or have 12 ranks in Know (Planes.) (2) You use an expensive brazier costing at least 3000gp. (3) You pact either on an elemental plane, or within 10 feet of a portal leading to one. (Hmm - does a portable hole count as Void?)

Sign (Passive): Your skin looks and feels like your chosen element. Not sure what this means for void either.

Sign (Active): You are surrounded by a nimbus of void. (Seriously, wtf is void??)

Influence: You get PMS. Wonderful. (Be careful, as the DM could interpret “lash out” to mean “attack,” so be sure to ask the party not to talk to you if you fail your pact.)

Favored Ally (Likes): Geniekind and Suli.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Elementals.

Major Ability: 

Jayna’s Wish: Anyspell! You get to cast any wizard elemental school spell of your chosen element up to 4th-level, except it’s still supernatural, and uses the save DC of a granted ability rather than a spell (making even the lower-level choices useful/powerful.) Note: if the duration is longer than Instantaneous, it is shortened to 4 rounds instead. As you can imagine, there’s a WIDE variety of effects you can get with this - I’ll list them below, but rating them will have to wait for another section or subguide. Just know that there are a lot of useful options here and again, be aware that even the low level choices will have pretty respectable saving throws. Best of all, you can pump the DC on ALL of them via  “Ability Focus: Jayna’s Wish” or similar effects.

Air: 0th—Message; 1st—alter winds, feather fall, shocking grasp; 2nd—elemental speech, elemental touch, glide, gust of wind, levitate, resist energy, summon monster II, whispering wind; 3rd—cloak of winds, draconic reservoir, elemental aura, fly, gaseous form, lightning bolt, protection from energy, wind wall; 4th—ball lightning, detonate, dragon's breath, elemental body I, river of wind, shout, summon monster IV.

Earth: 0th—acid splash; 1st—expeditious excavation, grease, stone fist; 2nd—acid arrow, create pit, elemental speech, elemental touch, glitterdust, resist energy, shatter, stone call, summon monster II; 3rd—draconic reservoir, elemental aura, protection from energy, shifting sand, spiked pit, stinking cloud; 4th—acid pit, calcific touch, detonate, dragon's breath, elemental body I, stone shape, stoneskin, summon monster IV.

Fire: 0th—spark; 1st—burning hands, dancing lantern; 2nd—burning gaze, elemental speech, elemental touch, fire breath, flaming sphere, pyrotechnics, resist energy, scorching ray, summon monster II; 3rd—campfire wall, draconic reservoir, elemental aura, fireball, flame arrow, protection from energy; 4th—detonate, dragon's breath, elemental body I, fire shield, fire trap, firefall, summon monster IV, wall of fire.

Water:  0th—ray of frost; 1st—hydraulic push, obscuring mist, touch of the sea; 2nd—accelerate poison, elemental speech, elemental touch, fog cloud, resist energy, slipstream, summon monster II; 3rd—aqueous orb, draconic reservoir, elemental aura, hydraulic torrent, protection from energy, sleet storm, water breathing; 4th—detonate, dragon's breath, elemental body I, ice storm, solid fog, summon monster IV, wall of ice.

Wood:  0—light; 1st—alter winds, animate rope, charm person; 2nd—cat’s grace, entangle, protection from arrows, web, whispering wind; 3rd—cloak of winds, tongues, tree shape, wind wall; 4th—charm monster, hallucinatory terrain, minor creation, plant growth, river of wind, secure shelter, sirocco;

Metal: 0th—mending; 1st—gravity bow, magic weapon, shocking grasp; 2nd—defensive shock, glitterdust, make whole, shatter, silk to steel; 3rd—chill metal, heat metal, lightning bolt, keen edge, greater magic weapon, versatile weapon; 4th—malfunction, shout, stoneskin.

 

Void: 0th—guidance; 1st—gravity bow, keen senses, shield, true strike; 2nd—continual flame, haunting mists, invisibility, masterwork transformation, see invisibility, share memory; 3rd—arcane sight, clairaudience/clairvoyance, dispel magic, nondetection, seek thoughts, call the void, twilight knife; 4th—minor creation, moonstruck, wandering star motes

Capstone Empowerment: Now you go up to 5th-level spells. Very good stuff here. Let’s see what else we get:

Air: 5th—elemental body III, overland flight, planar adaptation, planar binding, lesser, suffocation, summon monster V.

Earth: 5th—elemental body III, hungry pit, passwall, planar adaptation, planar binding, lesser, summon monster V, transmute mud to rock, transmute rock to mud, wall of stone.

Fire: 5th—elemental body III, fire snake, geyser, planar adaptation, planar binding, lesser, summon monster V.

Water: 5th—cloudkill, cone of cold, elemental body III, geyser, planar adaptation, planar binding, lesser, summon monster V.

Wood: 5th—command plants, fabricate, fickle winds, mirage arcana, sending, telepathic bond.

Metal: 5th—lightning arc, major creation, rapid repair, rusting grasp, soothe construct, unbreakable construct.

Void:  5th—fabricate, major creation, mind fog, telepathic bond, teleport.

Minor Abilities:

Aspect of Seven: As noted in the Ceremony, this is the ability that makes you choose an element. No rating.

Song of Elemental Fury: With a touch, you deal 5d6 damage corresponding to your chosen element. It’s nice that this is at-will but the damage is low for the level you get it, and you don’t get iteratives or anything. Void does Sonic, while Earth, Metal and Wood do physical damage (bludgeoning, slashing and piercing respectively) while the others do energy damage. None do acid.

Song of Rising Barriers: You create a wall corresponding to your chosen element, as the related spell. (So wall of fire for fire, wall of ice for water, wall of stone for earth, wind wall for air, wall of iron for metal, wall of thorns for wood, and wall of force for void.) You can only have one out at a time but these are still insanely useful, particularly Void. Note: the designer has FAQ’d the walls to last for 4 rounds, including the Earth wall (which would normally have been instantaneous.)

Song of Waning Elements: You gain either resistance (=EBL) or DR (=½ EBL) corresponding to your chosen element. The DR is high but easy to bypass, so don’t count on it mattering a whole lot, particularly against natural weapons.

Vestigial Companion: None. But with this much power, do you really need one?

Overall rating: Excellent. Jayna’s power is formidable, and she can easily serve as a primary vestige. She’s also the best blaster of all your spirits thus far (since her “spells” get d6/level instead of every other level, even with the cooldown, plus she can throw up energy walls), and she is likely to keep that crown all the way to endgame. These are Zceryll levels of power.

Serapith, the Scouring Light (DC 25)

Summary: This angry angel smites and scours your foes into nothingness.

Constellation: Angel

Ceremony: You fill the lines of his seal with candles and light them in sequence. Hope you weren’t trying to be sneaky with your pacting.

Totems: (1) You’re an Aasimar or have 12 ranks in Know (Planes). (2) You have 12 ranks in Know (Religion.) (3) You use the blood of fiends to draw his seal.

Sign (Passive): You sprout white angel wings.

Sign (Active): Your wings pulse red. Exterminate!

Influence: You become Miko. At least you can’t detect evil, but still, best not to go meet the corrupt duke whose help the party needs if you’re under this spirit’s influence.

Favored Ally (Likes): Good-subtyped outsiders.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): All Humanoids. Some Angel!

Major Ability: 

Scouring Light: You disintegrate a target with a 60’ ray, doing 1d6/level (5d6 on a failed save.) Finally, a decent blast, but too little too late -  you have Jayna now too, and Serapith only harms creatures. It also has a fort save, making it paradoxically useless against undead, though that does fit with Serapith’s legend a bit (he is more concerned with righteously frying the living before they can succumb to temptation, and therefore considers the undead too late to “save” - real charmer, this guy.) Still, the damage is at least untyped.

Capstone Empowerment: Your damage goes up to 2d6/lvl when zapping a humanoid. This is a common enough enemy type that this should be useful. If you’re not fighting any in your campaign though you don’t have to worry about this and can safely skip it.

Minor Abilities:

Angel’s Wings (VC): Serapith’s sign is for more than just show, as it lets you take to the sky at your base speed for EBL+Cha minutes per day. Once again. no maneuverability is given, so use average. Flight is useful but you can do better with Fey Baraddu.

Serapith’s Protection: +2 deflection to AC and +2 resistance to saves. Scales to +3 at 15 and +4 at 19. By this level you can certainly do better, and you almost certainly have these bonus types already. His familiar gives you these bonuses too and they do not stack.

Smite Enemy: You can smite Serapith’s favored enemy (i.e. any humanoid), adding your Cha modifier to the attack roll and your EBL to the damage roll. This applies to both weapon attacks and supernatural abilities (including his eyebeam), as well as other spirit powers like Jayna’s spells. Not bad at all, and this is infinite use as long as each target dies. With this, you’re looking at 22d6+11 starting damage to humans from his eye lasers with a scaling DC, and the target is disintegrated if they die - add in the bonus to hit and you’ve got a pretty deadly buff. Pity it only works on humanoids though.

Wrath of Daylight: You blast the area of a daylight spell around you (60ft. radius) with an instantaneous flare, blinding anyone who fails a fort save permanently. This is brutal - unfortunately, your allies are vulnerable to this too, and since it’s a minor, Selective Ability won’t let you exclude them. (Note: the designer has said that it wouldn’t be gamebreaking to let Selective Ability apply to minor abilities too - talk to your DM.) Make sure your allies take cover (daylight is an emanation, i.e. a burst, and so won’t go around corners to get at them), or send Serapith’s familiar into the enemy’s midst to fire it off more safely. Being supernatural, dispel magic won’t turn off the blindenss either - they will actually need remove blindness, limited wish, heal etc to get rid of it. If the enemy makes their save they are immune for 24 hours.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a cassisian familiar; this is a small angel that looks like a winged helmet. Being an Angel, it gets the standard angel traits - Darkvision 60, LLV, Acid/Cold/Petrify immunity, Fire/Electric resistance 10, +4 racial bonus against poison, and Truespeech - but unfortunately you don’t get the permanent Magic Circle against Evil or Globe of Invulnerability 20ft. This is a bummer - but your familiar does get the following helpful SLAs: constant detect evil (be VERY careful if you’re under Serapith’s influence), constant know direction, 1/day aid and daylight, and best of all, 1/week Commune. But wait,there’s more - Perfect Memory, 60ft. perfect flight, DR 5/cold iron or evil, and it can morph into a cherub, dove, dog or tiny fish. Finally, it does get a weaker version of the angel aura that you can benefit from, giving you +2 deflection and +2 resistance to saving throws vs. evil creatures.

Overall rating: Good. Serapith isn’t the best vestige for this level but he can definitely hold his own. His influence and Wrath of Daylight can put the party on your bad side, but in a humanoid-heavy campaign his smite can make up for it.

Death Howls, Knights of the Ghostlands (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

7th level

Mare Loviatha, the Ice Queen (DC 27)

Summary: This frigid phantom brings the pain no matter how well her enemies roll.

Constellation: Mage

Ceremony: Singing snowy songs, you soak snake skins.

Totems: (1) You agree not to bind other female spirits (and have none bound already.) (2) You have Know (nobility) 14 ranks. (3) You can speak Elven.

Sign (Passive): A black unicorn horn grows out of your forehead.

Sign (Active): Your skin and hair turn black briefly.

Influence: You become suspicious and ignore all offers of aid.

Favored Ally (Likes): Horses, Unicorns, and [Cold] subtyped creatures.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): [Fire] subtyped creatures and summoners.

Major Ability: 

Wrath of the Ice Queen: You petrify a target within 30 ft. (fort negates) that can see you, except they turn to ice instead of stone. Ice is crystalline and thus you or someone else can take them down with a Shatter after that; fort negates. As written this will work on incorporeal targets too (though not undead ones.) It’s also unclear if they can melt in excessive heat/sun.

Capstone Empowerment: Even creatures that succeed on their save become staggered for 1 round. This therefore becomes no-save stagger with a chance to petrify - not bad at all.

Minor Abilities:

Burden of Guilt (VC): You force a creature to start hurting itself for 1d8+Str damage every round (will negates.) This lasts a long time (EBL rounds but only has one save. However, it’s not clear what action they need to take to do this (if any) or whether the damage just happens automatically, whether it’s capable of interrupting a spell etc. Note that even if they save this staggers them for 1 round (and penalizes their AC), giving you another no-save-stagger. Update: the designer has clarified that the self-attack uses up their standard action, and I have upgraded this ability to blue accordingly.

Dark Horn: You gain a gore attack that deals 1d6+Str damage and counts as evil for overcoming DR. Baraddu gives you much better. Note that this is tied to your sign, so you can use it while shapeshifted into something else by

Mare’s Whispers: You get a bonus to Handle Animal and Ride. Meh.

Mounted Prowess: You gain the Mounted Combat and Mounted Archery feats. These will potentially go well with your mount below.

Vestigial Companion: You get a black unicorn animal companion. It’s very smart (+10 profane bonus to all mental ability scores) and has a constant magic circle against good and a gore attack. Unfortunately, aside from those differences, it has the stats of a horse rather than a unicorn e.g. no darkvision. There are also few abilities to share with it - it can’t use Handle Animal or Ride or the mounted combat feats. It does have a gore attack so it can be specced as a charger of sorts (particularly since it gets combat training), and large size + multiattack are nice. MCG isn’t the best ability around since a lot of high level foes are evil.

Overall rating: Good. Post-clarification from the designer, I think Mare is a decent option. Given the combat feats she gives you access to and that both her activated abilities have useful effects on a successful save (effectively, no-save stagger for two rounds on any enemy), she actually makes a decent choice for gish Occultists as well, particularly ones with Mute Sylvus bound. For a caster, she is a decent secondary source of lockdown/denial, particularly since she targets two separate saves (and again, is useful even if they make it.)

Musha’Vadu, the Shadow-Bones Emperor (DC 27)

Summary: This dark spirit bends the shadows themselves to your bidding.

Constellation: Skull

Ceremony: You offer a toast using the blood of a child. (Note: can be animal blood - kill a fawn or something.)

Totems: (1) you draw his seal in darkness. (2) You have 14 ranks in Know (Planes.) (3) You draw his seal with black chalk.

Sign (Passive): Your skin appears ashen.

Sign (Active): Your shadow makes different gestures than you for awhile.

Influence: You get surly and jealous. Not too bad.

Favored Ally (Likes): Shadow plane creatures.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Mortals. Yikes!

Major Ability: 

Shadow Storm: You hit a 20’ radius cylinder with a blast of shadows, dealing 7d4 negative energy damage + 1d4/2 levels. And here I thought Serapith meant we were out of the weak blasting zone.  Save for half - per the designer, this is likely to be errata’d to Reflex Half. (currently it is unspecified.)

Capstone Empowerment: For 4 rounds, the shadows you summon linger in the area (but not the damage effect) creating a deeper darkness effect. This plus your Umbral Sight can give you a place to hide, once the damage portion is over at least.

Minor Abilities:

Aging Touch: You can steal the youth of enemies, becoming younger and making them older and healing a small amount of HP/ability damage in the process. This is truly nasty for a BBEG Occultist and can effectively make Occultists immortal prior to their capstone.

Shadow Conjuration (VC): As the spell - at-will, but you can only make one at a time. With a scaling DC this can get pretty nasty. Pity it’s not GSC or Shades though.

Shadow Walk: As the spell. This has a use limit (3+Cha/day) and you must expend multiple uses to bring people with you (up to ½ EBL per trip.)

Umbral Sight: You can see through all forms of darkness. Combos well with Deeper Darkness if you can get it.

Vestigial Companion: You can summon your shadow, like a Shadowdancer. At this level few shadows are likely to be threatening in a fight, even with more HP; it can be a tough choice to go with this or the much more versatile SC. You don’t get to share any of your abilities with it either. However, it does make a fantastic scout due to flight, incorporeality, high stealth/perception and the ability to communicate with you. Send it through a door and have it report what is on the other side for instance, or travel through the floor to flank with your melee.

Overall rating: Good. Mushy has some great utility and mild blasting potential. Any vestige that can make you functionally immortal (if you don’t mind running around being a moroi) is aces in my book.

Portenta, Seer of the Orphic Eye (DC 28)

Summary: Portenta helps you see what’s coming in more ways than one.

Constellation: Seer (naturally.)

Ceremony: You look into a mirror. Well that one’s easy.

Totems: (1) You use a crystal ball as a focus. (2) You’re an orc, half-orc, elf, half-elf, or you can speak both languages. (3) You have Know (nature) 14 ranks.

Sign (Passive): A third eye opens in your forehead.

Sign (Active): None. (Does it blink maybe?)

Influence: You demand the best. Give someone your coinpurse before binding this one.

Favored Ally (Likes): Anyone who you love or loves you. (i.e. love yourself)

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Undead.

Major Ability: 

Fuse Flesh: The targeted opponent makes two saves (fort and will.) A fort failure causes them to become entangled and take 1d6 points of physical ability damage. A will failure causes them to go insane (permanent confusion) and take 1d6 points of mental ability damage. You choose the attribute in either case. The will save is the more debilitating of the two but both of these are quite nasty. Note that the entangle is unlikely to be anchored to anything, so they will remain mobile (if hampered.)

Capstone Empowerment: You deal damage to two ability scores per failed save instead of one. (i.e. max of 4 scores hit.)

Minor Abilities:

Dream Destiny: You can help a target tell its future after 1 minute of meditation. This ability is very DM-dependent and not likely to work in most campaigns; in addition, if you fail the check you get a false vision and can’t tell. I would skip using this unless your DM is very permissive.

Orphic Foresight: You get a +4 insight to Initiative, and can swap initiative results with one of your allies after everyone rolls. They get no say in the matter. Brilliant! Expect the party not to be happy with you though; focus on cohorts/companions with this if you can.

Spirit Step (VC): You can become incorporeal for EBL+Cha rounds/day, divided as you wish. Incorporeal is a powerful defense. By RAW, becoming incorporeal gives you your Cha to AC too - as a deflection bonus no less, which also adds it to your CMD! (Not that many maneuvers will work on you while incorporeal anyway.)

True Sight: As the spell, for rounds = ½ EBL + Cha per day, used as you wish - no material component. Very handy indeed.

Vestigial Companion: You can get any animal companion (DM’s choice, sadly) which is the target of an awaken spell. In spite of awaken’s prohibition, the designer has confirmed that your spiritual bond transcends the spell’s normal limitations and so the VC will serve as your animal companion normally, if with a slightly haughty attitude. You share your true seeing with it, which is nice, but the initiative ability sadly won’t mean much (it acts on your initiative) and neither will the weird prophetic dream power. I would probably stick with Spirit Step.

Overall rating: Excellent. Have I mentioned I love initiative shenanigans? There’s some parts of this spirit that could use clarifying but it’s not too shabby otherwise. Componentless true seeing and incorporeality are icing on the cake. A very strong support spirit, especially for caster Occultists.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

8th level

Essek Avix, the Twins Rejoined (DC 29)

Summary: This draconic duo fuels you with fission and fear.

Constellation: Dragon

Ceremony: You melt two candles into one.

Totems: (1) You have a sibling (same gender) watch you pact; (2) You’re an elf, have dragon heritage, or speak elvish with Know (History) 14 ranks; (3) Your candles cost 50gp.

Sign (Passive): Half your face gets dragony.

Sign (Active): None

Influence: You waffle.

Favored Ally (Likes): Any humanoid or dragon.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Any outsider.

Major Ability: 

Split the Twins: You copy yourself (your twin wears masterwork, mundane copies of your gear) for 4 rounds. You pool all resources into one except actions, which stack (i.e. one of you using a major ability starts its cooldown for both of you, but you can use one major while your twin uses another) and do not share summons, companions or other creature-granting abilities. Your twin’s personality is the opposite of yours but it will never work against you or try to harm you. Even with the cooldowns, this doubles your actions, so you can do some impressive novas with this.

Capstone Empowerment: Your twin’s weapons and armor copy all magical benefits. They cannot be sold, stored or transferred but this is otherwise great.

Minor Abilities:

Ferocious Display: You can Dazzling Display (as the feat) at-will - except yours is  either a standard action, or usable in place of one of your iterative attacks. While you do stand a good chance at landing this successfully, stacking it past Shaken is next to impossible in PF and fear effects aren’t very useful in general at this level. So why did I rate it so highly then? Simple, the Shatter Defenses feat - you can full-attack, replace your first strike with this, and all the rest of your strikes will be against a flat-footed foe. Combos well with Vandrae.

Intimidating: You get a bonus to Intimidate. This is untyped and so will stack with other bonuses, like that from the Dragon constellation or Hessant/Sevnoir. You can get your Intimidate check stupidly high this way, which combos well with the trick above.

Titanic Growth (VC): You can grow one size category, for min./EBL… as a full-round action... and it doesn’t stack with other size increasers. You know it’s bad when a 1st-level potion works just as well and even uses fewer actions. Perhaps the only real benefit this has is that it can’t be dispelled.

Unwilling Shield: As the spell. This is much more useful for you than a normal spellcaster since (a) it ignores SR/immunity, (b) the save DC scales as you level, and (c) no material component. In addition, this is at-will, so each twin can use it to spread your incoming damage out to multiple foes. Depending on your DM, you may be able to stack it onto the same foe as well, piling the damage onto foes quickly.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a pseudodragon familiar. It’s physically weak - but very stealthy, a fast flier and telepathic to boot. The 60ft. blindsense is probably the best thing it brings to the table. Just don’t expect it to bail you out in a fight though. Note that it too can use your intimidation and unwilling shield abilities, though you probably don’t want it getting hit. It can also split itself.

Overall rating: Excellent. The twins give your foes good reason to be afraid. You can spend almost the entire fight split, effectively doubling your actions - depending on the other spirits you have bound or any other abilities you possess, you gain a lot of spammability and nova potential, and the fear tricks you can pull off are the icing on the cake. The augment works very well for gish builds by copying both your feats and gear.

Evening Star, Bloody Mist of the Hills (DC 28)

Summary: This cosmic horror

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: You bake a mud pie along with some of your blood.

Totems: (1) You sacrifice 1000 gp worth of star metal as a material component; (2) You sacrifice an item that is either personally important to you or worth at least 5gp; (3) You have 16 ranks in Craft (Alchemy.)

Sign (Passive): Trickles of blood stream from your orifices. Ew.

Sign (Active): Worms wriggle under your skin. Yech!

Influence: You just wanna play! Why is everyone dying? (Note: stay far away from anyone the party needs to take prisoner.)

Favored Ally (Likes): Aberrations and Oozes.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Animals and Humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Wilting Mist: A mist surrounds you that does 1d4/EBL to every creature within 20ft - a successful save reduces this to 5d4. While more powerful than similar “blasting majors” like Aza’zati, it’s still very weak and the fort save isn’t good either.

Capstone Empowerment: A will save is added if they fail the fort, confusing all the enemies who fail both for 1 round. For starters, 1 round of confusion isn’t nearly enough to be useful, and second, that’s two saves just to get confused. This is blah.

Minor Abilities:

Body of Mist: Gaseous Form as the spell, for EBL+Cha min./day. It’s nice that you don’t need concentration checks to use your abilities, but DR/magic is long past its shelf-life by the time you get this. At least it’s a swift to use.

Horror from Beyond: You can Turn animals and humanoids. Panicked is great (drop items! Random escape path! Cowering!) but it can cause problems too if you’re trying to kill or capture someone out in the open or who can teleport/fly. This is spammable however which is nice, and isn’t actually a fear effect which is nicer. The creature types limit its usefulness however.

Troll Shape (VC): You can use Giant Form II  EBL+Cha rounds/day, but only to become trolls. GF2 gets you Huge forms (15ft. reach), e.g. Mountain Trolls, as well as massive Str/Con/NA bonuses (note: your armor and weapons still function because trolls are humanoid), a bite+claws+rend, regeneration 5, and rock throwing. Not a bad spirit  for a gish Occultist at all. Be VERY careful of this ability if you fall under its influence - nothing like being a Huge and mean child to make you want to pull the wings off butterflies. (By butterflies I mean “your party” and by “wings” I mean “arms.”)

Ventriloquism: As the spell but no save. I’m not inclined to rate this higher since its usefulness is very DM-dependent.

Vestigial Companion: You can revive any corpse you touch into a Simulacrum of itself. Unlike other companions, you can continue to make new ones if the old one dies, giving you a host of expendable shock troops. It’s like animate dead, only better (they keep their powers and follow your orders exactly), and free. The biggest downside is that you give up Troll Shape to get it.

Overall rating: Good. Evening Star’s powers are mediocre, though two very shining abilities set it apart. Aside from Fey Baraddu, ES is probably the most powerful melee shapeshifter around. It’s hard to justify the spirit slot due to that terrible major though. ES combos well with Arturius - ramping up the nova damage of your mist and making you a melee titan. Casters will likely want the Simulacrum.

Young Kiros, Author of Sedition (DC 29)

Summary: This revolutionary revenant helps you plant the seeds of dissent in your enemy’s ranks.

Constellation: Thief

Ceremony: You place a shrunken head (where do you even get one?) into a jar of koolaid. (Note - this one is unlikely to fit in your pouch even after being shrunk, so you may have to find one.)

Totems: (1) you’re young (age category-wise) or have 24+ Cha. (2) You use the head of a king in your ritual (unclear if the head is used up - and if you’re creative, would a lion count for this?) (3) At least 7 people watch your pact.

Sign (Passive): You look young and hot. Combine with Jarah and head out on the town!

Sign (Active): Your eyes sparkle.

Influence: You become an idealist.

Favored Ally (Likes): Commoners. Who doesn’t like them?

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Aristocrats. Boo!

Major Ability: 

Shrink Head: As the ability implies, you curse your foe, reducing their Int, Wis AND Cha by 2d6 permanently (to a min. of 1), will negates. It also loses any head-slot items, which are yours for the grabbing. If this was usable at range or stackable it would be better. This can be combined with Portenta’s Fuse Flesh to render someone catatonic quickly.

Capstone Empowerment: Even on a successful save you damage all 3 mental ability scores 1d4.

Minor Abilities:

Fate’s Whisper: This is quite nasty - you can send someone a message (as sending) and also package a debuff with it - your choice of confusion, contagion, bestow curse, poison or suggestion. This is spammable; each target can only be subject to one of the debuffs per day, but you can Send to people as often as you wish. While deadly for a BBEG, you’ll probably have a slightly harder time becoming familiar with your foes. Combine this with Muse Istago’s scry to gain familiarity and hit people long-distance. The uses here are nigh-limitless; unfortunately, the extremely long casting time of sending makes it very impractical for combat.

Off with Their Head (VC): You can make a ranged touch attack that does 1d10 slashing + 1.5* Cha. On a crit - not a natural 20 - you remove their head, as though hitting with a vorpal weapon. Nasty stuff, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to raise the threat range of spirit powers/supernatural abilities. I’d probably go with the companion instead.

Noble Tongue: Insight bonus to Bluff and Know (nobility.)

Undetectable Presence: You have permanent nondetection, your alignment cannot be discerned, and your thoughts can’t be read. Again, this spirit is tailor-made for a BBEG.

Vestigial Companion: You get an Adept cohort - a human male with the Young template, who is equal to your level. This gets you access to some useful powers, like restoration, remove curse, commune, raise dead, polymorph and true seeing. Note however that, as with all cohorts, the DM decides exactly what you get e.g. stats and feats. You also have to equip him yourself, but don’t fret over this too much - the designer has clarified that any items you give a vestigial companion will simply fall to the ground so you can reclaim them after a pact ends. One very good use for this guy is crafting things for you, as he can supply a variety of spells and you can have him assist you for multiple days at a time. Have him pick the feats/spells you’ll need and put him to work. (Pity you get him so late though.)

Overall rating: Okay. Kiros can be almost as good at debuff-spam as Hexus. His companion, despite not sharing his other powers, has a lot of utility, though DM involvement can limit its usefulness ( and the ability to curse or poison someone from across the globe is not bad at all. He’s well suited for an evil boss binder with a sniveling underling.

Mana, Observer of Lost Magic (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

9th level

Daeminthos, Crystal Eye of the Mind (DC 30)

Summary: This psychic pspirit psupplies you with pstellar psecondaries. (Psorry, couldn’t resist.)

Constellation: Mage

Ceremony: You sit in the circle and stare into a crystal.

Totems: (1) you can read minds (magically, racially or otherwise.) (2) You are old or have Know (Arcana) 18 ranks. (3) You sacrifice 2000gp worth of powdered diamond to draw his seal.

Sign (Passive): Your clothes and hair float around you, as though you’re underwater.

Sign (Active): None - quite useful for a psychic.

Influence: You become The Brain (the mouse.)

Favored Ally (Likes):  Constructs

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Muggle humanoids.

Major Ability: 

Crystal Shard: I really want to like this but it’s very meh for this level. You fling a giant crystal (RTA) at your foe for 5d6 damage, and it then explodes for 10d6 if you hit. If you miss, you get squat. The damage is typed (half-slashing, half-piercing) so DR likely applies, and it doesn’t scale at all. But the truly sad part is that numerically this is one of the stronger blasts you get. The burst portion is reflex half.

Capstone Empowerment: Even if you miss, the crystal explodes anyway, using the missed splash weapon rules. This means you can potentially miss your target entirely and even catch yourself or an ally in the blast. It’s a ranged touch so these outcomes aren’t too likely, but when you’re at 9ths and struggling to keep pace with Meteor Swarm, that doesn’t bode well for you. Selective Ability will help you protect allies and yourself from lacerations.

Minor Abilities:

Hold Monster: As the spell, usable at-will. A useful SoD with a scaling save; anything weak-willed is probably going down.

Psychic Foresight (VC): You get a number of, let’s call them tokens - you can cash one in (swift action) for a +10 insight to any d20 roll you make immediately thereafter. That’s attacks, skills, ability checks, initiative, anything. Each pact gives you Cha mod to use. Update: The designer has clarified that these are cashed in right before the roll they are meant to modify, making them hard to use on saving throws. In addition, they are indeed discharged once you have rolled. Since most saving throws will not be made on your turn, this ruling hurts them a bit but they’re still good for a crucial attack roll, CMB check, skill check or the like.

Psychic Sense: 60’ Blindsense - can’t go wrong with that.

Telepathy: As the monster ability, 5’ per EBL. This means at level 20 you’ll get the full 100 ft.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a Paracletus Aeon familiar. This little guy has some nice abilities, the knockout probably being the 1/week Commune, but it also has a decent array of immunities and resistances, 40 ft. fly, and 3/day calm emotions. For its emotion aura, your best choices are going to be the +2 morale to will saves, or the +2 (untyped!) to all face skill checks. In addition, he shares your Hold Monster, Blindsense and Telepathy powers, and finally since he is an Aeon he communicates via envisaging, which all creatures can (mostly) understand. The biggest downside of course is that you have to give up the amazing Psychic Foresight ability to get it. Personally I would forego him and take the motes.

Overall rating: Good. Daeminthos has a weak major, especially for a 9th-level anything, but his secondaries are all quite good and leave him as a decent contender regardless. Since his major does damage twice, damage boosters (like Arturius) should also apply twice, though expect your DM not to be too happy about that interpretation. Precision damage like Vandrae’s sneak attack will apply to the initial hit with his shard though, so that’s one way to get some more damage out of him.

King Mutaros, Vengeance Unfulfilled (DC 32)

Summary: This sorrowful monarch lets you split land and sky with your grief.

Constellation: Noble

Ceremony: You read the sad king his story.

Totems: (1) You have Know (History) 18 ranks; (2) you draw the seal of Tyrant Cromwell and deface it (this totem keeps you from binding TC); (3) You place the head of an enemy you slew in battle in the seal and wail on it, sacrificing it.

Sign (Passive): The areas over your throat and heart keep bleeding.

Sign (Active): You weep.

Influence: You becomes very sad, but keep it to yourself.

Favored Ally (Likes): Lawful humanoids

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Chaotic humanoids

Major Ability: 

Spark of Anger: You zap a target within 100 ft. with lightning from the sky, dealing 20d6 electricity damage and stunning them, reflex half and to negate the stun. This is great - long range and many nasty things at this level have poor reflex saves. Stun makes your target drop anything held and lose their Dex to AC too. The damage is icing on the cake and you can actually do 20d6 with this at 17. It doesn’t scale past 20, but it doesn’t really need to since PF has no epic to speak of.

Capstone Empowerment: If you use it outside, it gets maximized, i.e. guaranteed 120 damage or 60 on a successful save. The damage is nice, but again, reflex vs. stun at 100ft. is the real draw here.

Minor Abilities:

Heartbreak: You can create an earthquake, as the spell, except yours can last longer than 1 round (up to ½ EBL + Cha actually, and can be non-consecutive) though you must spend move actions to maintain it. Which is fine, since your standards are still free to wreak havoc with other abilities. This can cause unparalleled amounts of destruction, easily leveling entire cities. More importantly, it screws over every caster who isn’t you, because your abilities don’t need concentration and theirs do.

Legendary Warrior: You gain access to the TWF and Double Slice feats. Honestly if you were planning to use this combat style you’d probably already have them long before now. You can also disarm, sunder and trip without provoking.

Roar of the King (VC): An at-will 30ft. sonic cone that deals 5d6 damage and deafens enemies for 1 round; It’s weak but since it’s a move action you can tack it onto most other abilities (including your lightning strike for 25d6 at level 17, not too shabby.) The save is reflex half here too. Throw this onto your other area blasts to help bolster their damage as well, e.g. Vodavox.

Unstoppable Vengeance: You gain regeneration 5/piercing or bleeding. This is pretty blah - plenty of things do piercing damage at this level - but if you’re up against one of the few things that doesn’t, you can take quite a  bit of punishment. The healing isn’t much to write home about but it does mean you can start just about every fight at full health.

Vestigial Companion: You gain a resolute (lawful) weasel familiar. (Note: the book did not specify what kind; this is errata from the designer.) Weasels aren’t great, but you at least get Alertness, +2 Reflex saves, and it can use your Earthquake and lightning abilities for huge destructive potential. This is 9th-level stuff folks. You can also scry on it at this level, so send it somewhere you can’t reach and check up on it.

Overall rating: Good. Mutaros is capable of untold destruction. The weird TWF thing feels tacked on however, compared to the ability to collapse a cavern or blast a drake out of the sky.

Malebolge Moors, 13 Traitors of Hell (DC 33)

Summary: These disappointing devils are also the hardest spirit to pact with.

Constellation: Fiend (duh)

Ceremony: You solemnly pledge your soul to suck by taking these guys in.

Totems: 

Sign (Passive): You become a continual chew-toy. (It doesn’t hurt.)

Sign (Active): Hellfire surrounds your head.

Influence: You troll your lessers.

Favored Ally (Likes): any Humanoid.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): Evil Outsiders.

Major Ability: 

Flensing: You deal 10d6 damage (weak, but untyped at least) to a target within 30 ft., as well as 1d6 Cha and Con damage. Fort partial; if they make it, you do 5d6 hp damage and no ability damage. One of the weakest Occultist blasts around even with the ability damage to help it; even Cave Mother and Aza’zati at least hit an area. Ugh!

Capstone Empowerment: If you reduce a creature’s Charisma to 0 with this, they become your thrall, as dominate monster. Just one problem - if they have Cha 0 they’re comatose, so it really doesn’t matter if you can give them orders or not. Plus, lots of baddies at this level tend to have very high Cha (e.g. fiends) so this will take quite a while to chip through. They didn’t think this one through very well at all.

Minor Abilities:

Hellfire Grasp: I don’t care if it’s at-will or that half of it is untyped, 5d6 to one target as a standard action is unforgivable at this level. The other half is fire, which needless to say tends to be ineffective this high up.

Infernal Aspect: You gain resist 20 acid and cold, and your weapons count as evil for overcoming DR. The former is good, but most high-level threats resist evil damage, so this is not. You can switch this off by hiding their sign.

Infernal Immunity: You’re immune to fire, poison and pain effects. Decent I guess, though honestly these shouldn’t really be trouble for you at this level.

Word of Torment (VC): A word from you stuns a creature for 1d4 rounds. The cool part is that this is Will Partial - even if they succeed, they’re staggered for 1d4 rounds instead. Pretty sweet. You can only have one target stunned at a time - if you stun someone else, your previous target gets upgraded to staggered for the remainder of the duration. A solid attack.

Vestigial Companion: You gain an imp familiar - their most pertinent abilities for you will be the telepathy and the ability to see through supernatural darkness. In addition, they have at-will detect good, detect magic, fast healing 2, 50ft. fly, their poison sting, commune and augury, plus they can change shape. Note that you should technically get an Imp Consular (BS2 instead of BS1) due to your EBL. Personally I would go with the Word but this is a decent choice.

Overall rating: Poor. Mal has one decent minor but the rest of his abilities are quite weak for a 9th-level spirit. His immunities can protect you from certain attacks but in general, you’ll probably be better off binding other spirits.

PMU2:

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.

Al’kra, the Operated (DC 17)

Summary:

Constellation: Dark Beyond

Ceremony: xyz

Totems: (1) You. (2) You. (3) You.

Sign (Passive): You.

Sign (Active): xyz.

Influence: You.

Favored Ally (Likes): xyz.

Favored Enemy (Dislikes): xyz.

Major Ability: 

Paranoid Chill: ABC.

Capstone Empowerment: XYZ.

Minor Abilities:

Inspire Terror: Description.

Murder Master: Description.

Spatial Bleeding: Description.

Vestigial Companion: None!

Overall rating: Okay. Rationale.


Occult Feats and Binder Secrets

In addition to its wealth of spirits and updated mechanics, Pact Magic Unbound Vol. 1 brought us a number of feats tailor-made for Occultists as well. I also previously mentioned the unique feat-like abilities called Binder Secrets that only true Occultists can access - I’ll cover those in this section as well.

Occult Feats

Capstone Binder: Lowers the requirement to hit a Capstone Empowerment from beating the DC by 10+ to beating it by 5+. This is going to be mandatory for almost all Occultists - the capstones are that damn good even for gishes.

Constellation Focus: This is like Favored Vestige on steroids - all the spirits of a particular constellation are easier to bind with and get a +1 untyped to their save DCs. Casters definitely want this and gish Occultists might as well. Be mindful of celestial politics however because whenever you take this, you are locking yourself out of focusing on the enemy constellations of the one you chose. (Note: NEVER take this for Dark Beyond!)

Expel Spirits: Lets you end pacts early; that spirit won’t return your calls for a full day and the others look unfavorably on you for that time as well. The flexibility can be worth it, especially in an emergency; furthermore, even if you don’t plan on doing that often, you’ll probably want this before 11 as a prereq for Pact Poltergeist.

Extra Constellation Aspect: Most of the constellations only have one good aspect anyway (if that), so don’t waste a feat on this.

Flexible Pactmaking: Yes! This is the easiest way to power up your binding checks, especially on low-Cha Occultists. Many campaigns let several days pass between sessions anyway so you many not even have a drawback from this. For every additional day you agree to host a particular spirit, you get an additional +2 on your check, up to a maximum of +10 (120 hours or 5 days.) This can even be beneficial if you know there is a particular spirit you want to hang onto for the course of an adventure and you don’t want to take the time pacting every morning - this feat actually rewards you for that.  And to top it off, you can also form shorter pacts by accepting a penalty, if you know you’ll only want a particular spirit for a fraction of a day - you can reduce your pact by 4 hours for every -2 you accept to your binding check, to a total of -10 (-20 hours, i.e. 4 hours minimum.) This will let you bind a situational spirit in a hurry and get rid of it when the situation is over without all the other spirits giving you the stink-eye. A phenomenal feat and all-but mandatory.

Furious Strike: a mini-smite ability that lets you do extra damage on each attack you make to a spirit’s favored enemy after you designate it with a swift action. Using this counts as expending that spirit’s major ability and the damage scales over your career from +1d6 to +4d6 on each hit. Update: The designer has clarified this ability lasts for 1 round per use - still enough to get a full-attack off. Be sure to use this with spirits that give good FE coverage, such as Ubro’s hatred for undead and Serapith’s for humanoids. Update 2: This can currently be used with granted abilities that do damage to a target (including ones without attack rolls, like King Mutaros’ lightning) but you can only smite one target at a time.

        Life-Stealing Strike: Not really worth a feat.

Minor Binding: Useless for Occultists. (This is for non-binders.)

Improved Minor Binding: Useless for Occultists.

Greater Minor Binding: Useless for Occultists.

Opportune Ability: You can use a major ability (standard action or less)  in place of an AoO. This effectively gives you more immediate action abilities you can use. This combos very well with certain spirits, like Jayna or Vandrae.

Rapid Recovery: Honestly most fights will still be over in 4 rounds, so I wouldn’t worry about trying to speed up the cooldowns too much. If you can get it down to 3 rounds though it might be worth a look.

Rapid Reweaving: Useless for Occultists. (This is for the Spellweaver Wizard archetype.)

Selective Ability: Casters and support will want this. Gish Occultists can safely skip. Note: the designer has suggested that this be applied to minor abilities as well, e.g. Serapith’s Wrath of Daylight - talk to your DM.

Shield Against the Supernatural: Meh.

Spirit Focus: Handy and stacks with Constellation Focus. Casters will want to take this for their favorite spirits. Gishes can benefit too thanks to the binding bonus.

Supernatural Consciousness: Wis is a dump stat for you so don’t bother. Clerics will lose their minds over this however.

Supernatural Slayer: Watch out if enemies have this feat. For you there are better choices.

Suppress Physical Sign: This is campaign-dependent. If signs are going to be a problem (pesky villagers/churches) then this can be a good idea, otherwise I’d rely on good old fashioned illusions, mundane disguises, and forming good pacts.

Unyielding Personality: Some spirits can get you in a lot of trouble on a bad roll, e.g. Evening Star, Aza’zati and Serapith. If you plan on binding troublemakers this can help; personally, I would rely on Flexible Pactmaking, totems, and the Focus feats to just pass the binding check to begin with.

Binder Secrets

Note: you must have Occultist levels to take these even if no level requirement is given.

Create Pact Poltergeist: This is phenomenal - Animated Objects with CL = EBL is strong enough, but it can also hold one of your spirits for you. Between this and your Vestigial Companion, you’ll have plenty of backup even while adventuring solo. This generally means you can get up to Gargantuan objects. (Note: be VERY CAREFUL which spirit you use for this, as the object is under their influence - a spirit like Evening Star might go on a rampage for instance.)

Disguise Granted Abilities: If hiding your pacts is that big a deal and you’re unsure of your physical skills, just take Suppress Physical Sign.

Empower Major Ability: This is very useful, particularly for weak blasts like Aza’zati’s cone. Yeah the cooldown is twice as long, but you were probably only using one of these per combat anyway. But best of all are the non-blast abilities it powers up, like Arturius’ damage boost, Dagon’s Delay or Cromwell’s buff.

Exorcise Spirit: Very situational. One interesting use is to end a pact with a spirit early without taking the Expel Spirits penalty (Update: the designer has confirmed this use is unintended.) You can however use it on your Pact Poltergeists in case you need to send them back in a hurry - say, before they can squish a nearby orphan.

Immortality: Not bad as far as capstones go. Note however that it doesn’t actually remove your maximum age, so you’ll still die, but at least you’ll die hale and hearty.

Pact Magic Effigy: Like Master Craftsman, except you have a wider array of options e.g. Forge Ring and Craft Rod. Useful if you plan on some UMD-mancy; personally though I’d leave this to the actual casters in the party (if there are any.) This is useful if you’re alone however.

.

Quicken Major Ability: Mandatory for casters. Again, doubling the recharge time isn’t a big deal since it probably wasn’t going to be ready to use again in the same fight anyway.

Sage Lore: If you’re the lore guy, very useful, particularly combined with Xalen or Dagon. This is especially handy in campaigns where pact magic is rare and must be researched/sought.

Scribe Binder Tattoo: If you need to hide your pacting from the party, or you expect to go somewhere that drawing binding seals is impractical (e.g. prison) this can be quite useful. Most importantly, this gives you the ability to rush your check, useful if you need to rebind someone in a hurry.

Sustenance: Useful for survival campaigns but personally I would just pack rations or make puppy-dog eyes at the cleric. The immunity to drowning/suffocation at higher levels is also pretty nice though. Flavorwise it is cool.


Builds, Spirit Combinations and Gear

As with the first Binder, there are a lot of concepts the Occultist is able to realize, making them a great “5th-man” to any party. I’m working on a few of these, but I’m also hoping that the community will help me out in devising cool spirit combos. I’m sure there’s tons of potential here that I would otherwise miss. (Under Construction)


Binder Archetypes

In this section I plan to discuss both the archetypes of the Occultist itself, and the binding archetypes of the other base classes in Pathfinder. (Under Construction.)

Occultist Archetypes:

Archetypes for Other Classes:


Version Log:

12/23/13 - 0.85a: Guide released. Occultist, Spirits, and Occult Feats complete. To-do: Builds, archetypes, non-Occult feats and items.

Feat/Binder Secret questions:

- What is the duration on Furious Strike? Does it last until the pact ends, until the target is dead, for 1 round, for  4-5 rounds, or something else?

- Can Furious Strike damage be added to supernatural abilities, or only to weapon attacks?

- Can you designate multiple enemies for Furious Strike at a time?

- Pact Poltergeist: If you have multiple spirits bound, can you create multiple poltergeists or only one?

- Pact Poltergeist: If you “download” a spirit into an object, does that free a slot on you to pact with a replacement? Is it possible to have 4 spirits in the Occultist and one in a poltergeist object?

- Can Exorcise Spirit be used on yourself to end your own pacts without taking the Expel Spirits penalty?

- Can Exorcise Spirit be used on a Pact Poltergeist you’ve created for the same benefit as above?

- If you form a pact by using Scribe Binder Tattoo, do you still need to carry out a spirit’s ceremony, including any items? For example, if I have Vandrae’s seal tattoed on me, do I still need to have and drink spider venom?

PMU2 Questions: