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Pathfinder - Medium Archetypes Breakdown

Last Updated: December 8th, 2017

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Archetypes

Mediums are in desperate need of a clear function in a party, and unfortunately none of the Medium Archetypes do that without making the Medium just a worse version of an existing class.

Kami Medium

The Kami medium picks up some kami-related abilities, but somehow makes the Medium's spellcasting worse, and it gives up some of the Medium's best class features. What you get is thematic, but mostly useless.

Kami Channeler (Su): Giving up an options is annoying, and you don't get to give your party members the Archmage Seane benefit with Marshal, but Archmage isn't great so it's no big loss.

Natural Taboo (Ex): Avoiding metal armor is fine. Just get some studded leather (wood or bone studs) and you're set.

Ofuda (Su): For those unfamiliar with the term (like me), and Ofuda is a small strip of paper with text on it. It's about the size of a book mark. So your Medium creates these little strips of paper and they stick to the targets of your spells. Removing the paper ends the spell, so anything you cast with a duration other than instantaneous can be ended in a gesture.

Shikigami (Ex): Familiars are fantastic. Initially you get an animal familiar, but at 5th level it becomes a Shikagami. Shikagami are small humanoid-shaped outsiders that can speak, so they can do a lot of things that humans can do, like using a wand. They also have some excellent spell-like abilities, including at-will Invisibility on themselves. Be sure to read the Kami Subtype to get an idea of what your familiar can do.

Ask the Kami (Su): Useful, but nowhere close to as good as Ask the Spirits. Also, your Shikagami can cast Commune with Nature once per day as a Spell-Like Ability, so you've probably been doing this for 8 levels before you get this ability.

Ward (Su): This grants you very little. You can meld with your ward to spy on creatures or to reappear somewhere unexpected, but that's really all you get.

Replaced Features: Spirit (altered), taboo (altered), spellcasting (altered), haunt channeler, location channel, connection channel, ask the spirits, astral journey.

Compatible Archetypes: None.

Reanimated Medium

Did you die once? Are you planning to die a few more times? Do you tend to die a lot and want to minimize the penalties for doing so? Reanimated Medium is for you. What? People don't expect their characters to die frequently? Huh, weird, it's almost like there's a ton of ways to avoid dying and most players will choose to take them instead of rolling onto enemy's weapons to use Ease Passage and Lingering Spirit. This archetype is a cool theme, but the way it was implemented is pointless. You give up some of the Medium's few useful abilities in exchange for being better at dying.

Channel Self (Su): This ability is weird and bad. You have a maximum of 6 on your Influence pool, but only get 3 per day, so you generally only want to go adventuring every other day. Other than that, you count backwards for Influence compared to other Mediums.

Nothing Is Taboo (Ex): Taboo was a minor annoyance in exchange for two free uses of Spirit Surge. Spirit Surge is excellent, so giving up those free uses is disappointing.

Ease Passage (Su): I hope you never need this enough for it to matter.

Lingering Spirit (Su): This gives your allies time to move to you, which is important becuase Breath of Life takes a full round action to cast. Even better, then can use cheaper healing spells to save you.

Spirit Warding (Su): Death saves and negative energy become gradually more common at higher levels, so bonuses to resist them and then immunity are both amazing.

Living Legend (Su): With the exception of Spirit Surge, I don't think your allies are going to be very excited to borrow any of your abilities.

Replaced Features: Spirit (altered), taboo, haunt channeler, location channel, connection channel, spacious soul, astral beacon.

Compatible Archetypes: None.

Relic Channeler

Relic Channeler makes it even easier to lose access to your spirits, but if you plan to use the Champion mystery exclusively, Powerful Bond improves it by getting you an extra exotic weapon proficiency and an extra feat from Legendary Champion. Otherwise, this archetype just robs you of the utility of changing spell lists when you channel an Archmage or Hierophant.

Relics (Su): So now you have to carry around some nice stealable trinkets to summon your spirits, you're permanently locked into any choice you make regarding a specific spirit. So your spells from Archmage Arcana are fixed, almost totally removing what tiny bit of useful utility the spirit provides. If a relic is destroyed it costs a truly astounding amount of gold to fix it.

Powerful Bond (Su): You get more choices with the spells, feats, and weapons that you need to select. For feats this is usually better because you're probably going to pick the same feats every time anyway. For everything else, this is worse.

Object Reading (Su): I like Object Reading better than Haunt Channeler. It's more useful in more types of campaigns.

Apport Relic (Su): Was your relic stolen? Is the person who stole it still within about 50 feet of you? Apport the object back to you. Otherwise, just walk over to it an pick it up.

Connection Specialty (Sp): Basically no change to the original ability.

Replaced Features: Spirit (altered), haunt channeler, connection channel (altered).

Compatible Archetypes: Spirit Dancer

Spirit Danger

Spirit Dancer improves the versatility of the Medium by allowing them to change spirits on the fly, but it massively diminishes their usefulness as a support character by handicapping Shared Seance. It also discourages you from emphasizing a favored spirit, so you'll never be good at anything specific.

Spirit Dance (Su): You no longer pick a single spirit at the beginning of the day. Instead, you plan out all 6 and can switch into one by dancing, similar to how Bardic Music works. While this offers excellent utility, it also flies in the face of the Medium's need to focus on one spirit to actually be good at something. You could still focus on one spirit, but doing so will be difficult because you get so few rounds per day in which to dance.

Nothing Is Taboo (Ex): Taboo was a minor annoyance in exchange for two free uses of Spirit Surge. Spirit Surge is excellent, so giving up those free uses is disappointing.

Spirit Aura (Su): You still get Shared Seance's benefits, but only while dancing.

Spirit Troika (Su): Very powerful, but this will eat through your daily dancing rounds very quickly.

Attacca (Su): This makes it much easier to start and stop your dance without crippling yourself.

Dance of Infinite Forms (Su): The Supreme spirit abilities are excellent, but many once-per-day limitations. This lets you use all of them every day, opening up some truly spectacular options. The improvements to Spirit Dance are also nice.

Replaced Features: spirit bonus, spirit surge, taboo, shared seance, trance of three, spacious soul, astral beacon

Compatible Archetypes: Relic Channeler

Storyteller

You give up Seance Boon, which is one of the Medium's most useful contributions to a party, but in exchange you get Bardic Music. That's a huge improvement to the Medium, offering a clear way to make yourself a Support character. Unfortunately, it also gives way to more comparisons between the Medium and the Bard, and Mediums are clearly worse.

Diminished Spirits (Ex): Seance boons are reall useful, especially when shared with your allies, and you give up one of the very few Influence points that you can safely spend in a day.

Knowledge of Tales (Ex): Intelligence is the Medium's only dump stat, and you only get three knowledge skills as class skills.

Versatile Surge (Su): Spirit Surge is best used for important saving throws, and no matter which spirit you choose as a vanilla Medium you will always have saving throws which you can't use Spirit Surge upon.

Storyteller's Performance (Su): You get all of the Bard's most important Bardic Music abilities, giving you a clear role as a support character.

Learn the Story (Sp): Access to some excellent divinations, but they cost a ton of music rounds per day, greatly diminishing your usefulness in combat.

Living Story (Sp): Perform a 9th-level save or suck spell at the cost of one round of music. Creatures with 16 or more hit dice can't be affected for 24 hours if they save, but against creatures with less hit dice you can use this every round until it works.

Replaced Features: Spirit (altered), spirit bonus (altered), spirit surge (altered), shared seance, taboo, haunt channeler, propitiation, trance of three, connection channel, spirit mastery, astral beacon

Compatible Archetypes: None.