View Full Version : Pathfinder Dark Scholar (PEACH, WIP)

Urist Mcmage
2015-10-29, 12:04 PM
After much editing, I have finally created what I think is am more thematic version of the occultist class produced by Paizo. I will be adding more content such as more forbidden lores and archetypes when I have the time. In the meantime, PEACH.

EDIT!: this is no longer the current version of this class. The current version can be found http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?507818-The-Dark-Scholar-v2-A-Pathfinder-Base-Class-PEACH&p=21449316#post21449316

The Dark Scholar

“If knowledge is power, then I am a god”
-Arkona Skaldrath, Occultist

The dark scholar is the seeker of hidden truths, the master of forbidden lore and the speaker of forgotten truths. Unlike a sorcerer, who casts spells using innate talent, or a cleric, who receives spells from the gods, the dark scholar takes his power from scraps of forgotten lore and dread secrets. Ancient truths, words of fell power and invocations of binding and summoning are all part of the scholar's arsenal.

Making a Dark Scholar

The dark scholar is a potent user of magic. Their abilities are varied and broad, making her very versatile. 
Depending on the scholar’s 
focus they might be a master of warding and protection spells, a commander of dark minions, a superlative manipulator, or any combination thereof. Like most spell users, their role depends largely on the magic they choose. Those who walk the dark road of the occult must fortify themselves against ancient powers and dark secrets. This constant struggle between themselves and the darkness strengthens occultist’s will. Few scholars are leaders of adventuring groups, being more concerned with expanding their knowledge of occult secrets

Abilities: The dark scholar must be clever and studious, brave and determined; Intelligence affects their spells and some special abilities. Because occultists rarely wear armor, a high Dexterity proves helpful.

Races: The majority of dark scholars are humans, half-elves or gnomes, individuals whose quest for power, or knowledge is a crucial part of their persona. Almost all cultures tend to regard dark scholars as dangerous individuals who have delved deeper into forbidden lore than is entirely good for them. Whether the offending scholar is let off with a warning or burned at the stake is the main differentiating factor between different culture’s views on dark scholars.

Alignment: Dark scholars deal with dark powers that are often evil in nature. Mastering the spells and invocations, and learning to resist the sanity destroying truths that an dark scholar works with requires an exceedingly disciplined, organized mind. Thus, while dark scholar can be of any alignment, those with good or chaotic alignments are exceedingly rare.

Starting Gold: 3d4x10 (75 gp).
Starting Age: As wizard.

Class Features
Your class features represent a growing mastery of black magic and an increased knowledge of dark powers.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons. You are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with your gestures, which can cause your spells to fail.

Dark Word: you speak words of power in a dark language mortal minds are not meant to know. As a swift action you may speak a word of dark power that shatters concentration and breaks weak minds. All creatures within 30 feet of you must make a fortitude save with a DC equal to 10 plus half your dark scholar level plus your intelligence modifier or be sickened for 1d4 rounds per dark scholar level. At level three, six, nine, and fifteen, the DC of the ability is increased by +1.

Spells: A dark scholar casts arcane and divine spells drawn from the dark scholar spell list presented below. A dark scholar must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time. To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the scholar must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a scholar’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the scholar’s Intelligence modifier. A dark scholar can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table 3–16. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table 1–3 in the Core Rulebook). 
A dark scholar may know any number of spells.

Spellbook: A dark scholar must study his spellbook each day in order to be able to cast his spells. He cannot cast any spell not recorded in his spellbook. A dark scholar begins play with a spellbook containing three 1st-level dark scholar spells of his choice. The dark scholar also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to his Intelligence modifier to add to the spellbook. At each new dark scholar level, he gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that he can cast (based on his new scholar level) for his spellbook. At any time, a dark scholar can also add spells found in other spellbooks (regardless of whether they belong to wizards or dark scholars) to his own (see Chapter 9 of the Core Rulebook).

Level 1 Spells
Beguiling Gift
Cause Fear
Charm Person
Confusion, Lesser
Death Knell
Forbid Action
Ill Omen
Litany of Weakness
Litany of Sloth
Memory Lapse
Murderous Command
Summon Monster I

Level 2 Spells
Animate Dead, Lesser
Arrow of Law
Blood Transcription
Blood Biography
Blistering Invective
Burning Gaze
Cacophonous Call
Dispel Magic
Dread Bolt
Dust of Twilight
Feast of Ashes
Haunting Mists
Hold Person
Howling Agony
Mad Hallucination
Magic Circle against Good/Law/Chaos
Stone Call
Shard of Chaos
Summon Monster II
Time Shudder
Twisted Space

Level 3 Spells
Air Geyser
Animate Dead
Arcane Concordance
Blood Sentinel
Bestow Curse
Crushing Despair
Cast Out
Chain of Perdition
Excruciating Deformation
Hold Monster
Hostile Juxtaposition
Haunting Choir
Jester’s Jaunt
Litany of Escape
Loathsome Veil
Litany of Sight
Litany of Entanglement
Litany of Eloquence
Marionette Possession
Malicious Spite
Pain Strike
Phantom Steed
Speak with Dead
Speak with Haunt
Spiritual Ally
Sands of Time
Summon Monster III
Silver Darts
Vision of Hell
Vampiric Touch

Level 4 Spells
Black Tentacles
Curse of Burning Sleep
Chaos Hammer
Control Summoned Creature
Contingent Scroll
Dimension Door
Debilitating Portent
Eyes of the Void
Feed on Fear
Fleshworm Infestation
Inflict Serious Wounds
Litany of Madness
Litany of Thunder
Order’s Wrath
Planar Ally, Lesser
Shadow Step
Symbol of Revelation
Symbol of Slowing
Slay Living
Summon Monster IV
Unholy Blight

Level 5 Spells
Astral Projection, Lesser
Castigate, Mass
Curse of Magic Negation
Curse, Major
Fire Snake
Trap the Soul
Magic Jar
Pain Strike, Mass
Planar Ally
Scouring Winds
Shadow Walk
Song of Discord
Summon Monster V
Symbol of Pain
Symbol of Sleep
Vampiric Shadow Shield

Level 6 Spells
Banshee Blast
Cloak of Dreams
Hostile Juxtaposition, Greater
Phantasmal Revenge
Scrying, Greater
Summon Monster VI
Symbol of Weakness
Word of Chaos

Occult Knowledge: you add half your dark scholar level (minimum one) to all Knowledge (The Planes), Knowledge (Religion) and Knowledge (Arcana).

Font of Dark Lore: You have a vast knowledge of occult lore. You count as having automatically rolled a 19 on all knowledge checks that you make. In addition, add up to four 7th and four 8th level spells from any list to your spellbook. You can cast these spells as if they were 6th level spells.

Forbidden Lore: As a dark scholar gains experience, she learns a number of talents that aid her a number of ways. Starting at 2nd level, a Dark scholar gains one Forbidden Lore. She gains an additional forbidden lore for every two levels of dark scholar atained. Unless stated otherwise, a dark scholar cannot take a individual Forbidden Lore more than once. Forbidden Lores marked with an asterisk add effects to the scholar's Dark Word ability. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual use of dark word and the decision must be made before the ability is used.

Forbidden Lores:

Minor Blood Magic: you have dabbled in blood magic that strengthens your spells at the cost of your health. When you cast a spell, you may inflict 1d4 damage per half spell level (minimum one). If you do so, you get +1 caster level for that spell and +2 to the spell's DC. The damage dealt by this ability cannot be reduced or ignored.

Incantation of Primal Fear*: You can summon up a foes darkest nighmares to torment them with but a word. When you use your Dark Word ability you may utter it as a full-round action instead of a swift action. If you do so, all enemies within the radius of your Dark Word ability must make a will save with a DC equal to 10 plus half your level plus your intelligence modifier or be panicked for 1d4 rounds

Lore of Fell Flame: you have established mastery over the fires of the lower planes.You may add Burning Hands to your spellbook. At 4th level, you may also add Scorching Ray and Flaming Sphere to your spellbook. At 7th level, you may add Fireball to your spellbook.

Master of Hellfire: You have learned the infernal art of weaving soul energy into your fire magic, burning the soul as well as the flesh. When you cast a spell with the [Fire] descriptor, you may inflict 1 constitution damage on yourself per spell level of the spell as you are casting it. If you do so, you may add one metamagic of your choice to that spell without increasing its casting time, and half of the damage is divine damage that cannot be resisted in any way. You must have taken the Lore of Fell Flame forbidden lore in order to take this lore.

Chant of Madness*: You have studied the language of dread beings whose very speech brings madness. When you use your Dark Word ability, you may choose utter it as a full-round action rather than a swift one. If you do, all creatures sickened by your Dark Word are instead confused as the Confusion spell for 1d4 rounds.

Incantation of Binding Chains*: You have studied the forbidden magic of the Kytons. When you use your Dark Word ability, you may choose to utter it as a full-round action rather than a swift one. If you do so, all enemies within the radius of your Dark Word must make a reflex save with a DC of 10 plus half your level and your intelligence modifier or be entangled for 1d4 rounds.

Dark Curse: You are adept at weaving foul curses. You may spend one use of your dark word ability to cast Bestow Curse as a standard action. At 10th level, you may also spend two uses of your dark word ability to cast Greater Bestow Curse as a standard action.

Lesser Blood Rituals: You have discovered the power of ritual sacrifice, using it to fuel you magic. You may ignore any material components, even costly ones, by sacrificing a living intelligent creature. Doing so is a standard action, but the creature must be unconsious or restrained for the ritual to work properly.

Lesser Secrets of the Underworld: The shades of the dead have tought you some of their most minor secrets. You may expend one use of your Dark Word ability to cast Speak with Dead or Speak with Haunt as a full-round action.

Blood Magic: You have delved even deeper into the study of blood magic. Whenever you kill a creature with HD greater or equal to your own, you may choose to have the next spell that you cast be effected by one metamagic of your choice. You must have taken the Minor Blood Magic forbidden lore in order to take this one.

Dark Summoning: You are a master of fell summoning rituals. You may expend one use of your dark word to summon any non-good outsider with HD equal to your level. The outsider is not bound to serve you, but you are able to banish it back to its home plane with a full round action. Depending on the outsider, it may accept souls, treasure, sacrifices other more esoteric goods in return for serving you. Depending on the weakness of the outsider in question, you may even be able to intimidate it into serving you. The outsider lasts for twenty-four hours or until you release it back to its home plane

Invocation of Decay*: You speak words first tought to mortals by the Horseman of Death, withering flesh and rusting metal under the inevitable aunslought of time. When you use your Dark Word ability, you may cast it as a full-round action rather than a swift one. If you do so, all creatures sickened by your dark word also take 1d4+1 per five class levels of constitution and strength damage, and creatures without a constitution and/or strength score instead take 2d6/damage per class level.

Lore of Binding: You have formed a bond with a normally unintelligent creature.You gain a familiar, as the wizard class feature.

Greater Lore of Binding: You have learned to bind ever greater beings to your service. Your gain Improved Familiar as a bonus feat. You must be at least 7th level before taking this forbidden lore.

Greater Blood Magic: You have fully mastered the study of blood magic. When you deal damage to yourself for any reason, the next spell you cast ignores spell resistance. In addition, whenever you deal damage to yourself to activate Minor Blood Magic, you may choose to have the next spell that you cast be effected by one metamagic of your choice, without increasing its casting time or increasing the spell slot it uses up.You must be at least 10th level and have taken the Blood Magic forbidden lore in order to take this one.

Minor Incantation of Ruin*: You speak the lesser words of unmaking said to have been first uttered by the gods themselves. When you use your Dark Word ability you may utter it as a full-round action rather than a swift action. If you do so, all creatures sickened by your Dark Wordalso take 1d4 damage per caster level (maximum 10d4).

Incantation of Ruin*: You speak the words of unmaking said to have been first uttered by the gods themselves. When you use your Dark Word ability you may utter it as a full-round action rather than a swift action. If you do so, all creatures sickened by your Dark Word must also make a fortitude save with a DC of 10+half your level+your intelligence modifier take 1d6 damage per caster level (maximum 10d6).

Greater Incantation of Ruin*: You speak the greatest of the words of unmaking said to have been first uttered by the gods themselves. When you use your Dark Word ability you may utter it as a full-round action rather than a swift action. If you do so, all creatures sickened by your Dark Word must also make a fortitude save with a DC of 10+half your level+your intelligence modifier or take 1d8 damage per caster level (maximum 10d8).


Occult Knowledge, Dark Word 3/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 4/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 5/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 6/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 7/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 8/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 9/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 10/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 11/day

Forbidden Lore

Dark Word 12/day

Font of Dark Knowledge

Class Skills: Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha) Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Dungeoneering), Knowledge (Local), Knowledge (Religion), Knowledge (The Planes), Spellcraft (Int), Linguistics (Int) Use Magic Device (Cha)
Skill Ranks Per Level: 6+Int modifier

Ethereal Gears
2015-10-30, 04:50 AM
Since the occultist is probably one of the funnest, best-designed classes Paizo has ever created, I find the idea of a homebrewed "replacement" for it a bit questionable. Now, I think your class is rather flavorful and fun, but I don't see any point in it replacing anything. My suggestion would be to rename it; the Paizo occultist is an awesome class, and it's sort of got "dibs" on that name now. I know there was a 3pp class that had that name before it but, well, cluttering the field up with yet another occultist is not going to be helpful in any direction.

As for the class itself, I have a few simple constructive changes I would advocate. I like the old-school occultist/satanist flavor of it, and I think the main mechanics look good. Just a few things that stand out which I think need changing:

Dark word should be usable thrice per day at 1st level, and then one additional time per day at 3rd level and every odd-numbered class level thereafter. I think your current progression is too clunky.

The dark word DC increases are crazy. At the very least, you should reduce them to +1 at the indicated levels. I like the forbidden lores, and would love to see more of them. There may be some balance issues among them I'm missing. I'll post again if I notice anything.

Good job, though. I think this is a promising class. Looking forward to see how it expands and develops.

- Gears

2015-11-03, 04:08 PM
I assume this is d8 hit die?

I feel it has too many skill points. It doesn't strike me a skilled class. It's also Int based and gets bonuses on knowledge.

2015-11-03, 10:46 PM
pretty cool, man

2015-11-04, 05:37 PM
I like the concept. I don't really see the connection with occultist, but I like the concept.

My critiques so far would be as follows:

Regarding the class as a whole:

Is there a reason Dark Word is a swift action? It seems more like something that should be a standard, based on the effect. As it is you could apply a debuff and cast a spell in the same round, which is usually only available at fairly high levels. This isn't intrinsically a problem, I'm just curious whether it was the intention.
Font of Dark Lore is a pretty weak capstone ability, on the whole. By level 20 Knowledge checks just aren't that big of a deal, I don't think. The new spells add some power, I suppose, but it isn't particularly interesting power. I tend to feel like the best capstones are the ones that add something really unusual, preferably something unique to the class, rather than giving it better ability to mimic other classes. Also, why 19? Couldn't you bump it up to a 20?
6+Int is going to be a lot of skill points for an Int-based caster, probably more than is really necessary. The class skill list definitely feels too short for that many skill points. And for a class built around knowing things, not having all Knowledge skills as class skills feels rather strange. I get that they specialize, but knowledge is their shtick, so why not make them good at it?
It would be helpful to know whether their abilities are spell-like or supernatural. That's going to have a lot to do with how balanced they are, I think.

Regarding Forbidden Lore:

My initial thought is that there should be multiple tiers with access limited by level, to prevent people from jumping on the most powerful abilities all at once. I suppose you could put level restrictions on the powerful ones individually, but I think that splitting them up into tiers is cleaner, easier to remember, and provides a nice milestone to look forward to. Maybe look at the witch's hex/major hex/grand hex progression for inspiration here?
Minor Blood Magic is awkwardly worded. I'm not quite sure how much damage it does, and based on the wording it isn't even clear who is being damaged.
For Master of Hellfire, I would suggest that the amount of damage be based on how many spell levels the metamagic feat adds. It shouldn't be as easy to cast a Quickened spell as a Silent one. Also, do you need to know the metamagic feat to apply it?
Lesser Blood Rituals seems exploitable. I can sacrifice a bunny to cast wish without components? And yes, I know that wish isn't on the spell list, but I feel confident that someone would figure out a way to make it happen. Or something equally absurd, anyway. Maybe make it ignore components with the value based on HD of the creature sacrificed?

Overall a nice concept, though.

2015-11-06, 05:59 PM
How do the spells work, in relation to things that interact with Arcane magic differently from Divine magic?