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Pathfinder - The Spiritualist Handbook

Last Updated: Sept 11, 2018

Disclaimer

I support a limited subset of Pathfinder's rules content. If you would like help with Pathfinder player options not covered here, please email me and I am happy to provide additional assistance.

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks. Also note that many colored items are also links to the Paizo SRD.

Temporary Note: Paizo has recently discontinued support of their official SRD. From this point forward SRD links on RPGBOT.net will instead link to d20PFSRD.com. While Archive of Nethys is now Paizo's officially licensed partner for the purposes of serving the Pathfinder SRD, Archive of Nethys is a horribly designed website and it simply doesn't match d20PFSRD's ability to keep pace with published content and d20PFSRD's search functionality.

If you encounter any links which still point to the old SRD, please email me so that I can correct them. I also recently added a page explaining my supported content which you may find helpful. --September 15, 2018

Introduction

Before you read further, a warning: Prepare to be frustrated. Over two years after publishing Occult Adventures, the Spiritualist class has a number of extremely obvious errors in its text. They've been pointed out on the Paizo forums, and the designers have apparently publicly discussed corrections, but there has been no errata made to formally correct the issues. Because of these issues, several mechanics make it unclear how to determine the Phantom's armor class.

Spiritualists are like the occult equivalent of Hunters or Summoners. They're a 2/3 spellcaster built around a cool pet. Phantoms are relatively simple compared to other pet mechanics, but they're also less versatile and customizable.

The Spiritualist's biggest problem is that the Spiritualist itself doesn't have a clear role. The Phantom does most of the heavy lifting, but the Spiritualist doesn't have clearly useful options in combat. Expect to spend your feats trying to find something useful to do like firing a crossbow or something because there aren't enough useful feats for Spiritualists to consume more than a handful of your feat slots.

Spiritualist Class Features

Hit Points: d8 hit points in light armor makes you very squishy.

Base Attack Bonus: 2/3 BAB.

Saves: Two good saves, and they're the important ones.

Proficiencies: Light armor, simple weapons, and a couple extras. Lack of shields is annoying, but Darkwood shields have no armor check penalty, they cost next to nothing, and Spiritualists use Psychic spells so they don't need to worry about arcane spell failure.

Skills: 4+ skills with a decent skill list, but very few of them are Wisdom-based. Your Phantom also gets its own skills which can nicely complement yours.

Spellcasting: Spiritualists are 2/3 Wisdom-based spontaneous psychic spellcasters. Their spell list is mostly support and utility options, but there are a handful of offensive options in the mix that you'll probably want to ignore, plus Undead Anatomy I, II, and III for some reason.

Phantom: Phantom is the Spiritualist's defining ability. It's like an animal companion, but spooky. For help with your phantom, see my Practical Guide to Spiritualist Phantoms. I strongly recommend reading it before proceeding because understanding the Phantom is so fundamental to understanding the rest of the class.

Shared Consciousness (Su): This is a nice consolation prize for when your phantom is hanging out in your brain instead of being useful. Remember that fully manifesting your Phantom takes a full minute, so you don't want to walk into a fight with your Phantom inhabiting your brain instead of ready to fight.

Etheric Tether (Su): The first part of this ability allows you to sacrifice hit points to keep your Phantom alive. The second puts a leash on your Phantom, preventing it from ranging too far away from you. Most of the time you'll want your Phantom to remain within 50 feet of you. Ectoplasmic phantoms can only go out to 100 feet if you spend your turn concentration, and Ethereal phantoms can only range beyond 50 feet for a few rounds at a time. In either case, if the Phantom is outside the 50-foot leash at the wrong time it can be banished.

Bonded Senses (Su): This would be great for other pets, but Etheric Tether sets a short leash for your Phantom, so you won't get much use out of this. Eventually when your Phantom can spend more time away from your while Ethereal, which will make this more useful.

Bonded Manifestation (Su): Briefly wear your Phantom and gain some cool abilities.

Spiritual Interference (Ex or Su): The shield bonus won't stack with your Darkwood Shield, but circumstance bonuses to saving throws are rare, which means that they'll stack with just about anything you already have. Ectoplasmic clearly has the better option here.

Detect Undead (Sp): You could cast this as a spell at level 1.

Phantom Recall (Su): Your phantom will almost never be more than 50 feet away, but if your phantom is about to die and you need to run away, this could be helpful.

Calm Spirit (Sp): You could cast this as a spell at level 4.

See Invisibility (Sp): You could cast this as a spell at level 4.

Fused Consciousness (Su): Most of the benefits of keeping your Phantom confined without actually confining it.

Greater Spiritual Interference (Ex or Su): An excellent improvement to Spiritual Interference, but don't expect your allies to follow your spirit around just to keep the bonuses.

Spiritual Bond (Su): Until now you've been sacrificing hit points to keep your Phantom alive. Suddenly the Phantom can do something similar.

Call Spirit (Sp): You could cast this as a spell at level 13.

Dual Bond (Su): The name doesn't make sense, and Bonded Manifestation is mediocre at best.

Empowered Consciousness (Su): This is a really disappointing capstone. There aren't enough mind-affecting effects which involve possession to make this meaningful.

Abilities

Spiritualists are primarily dedicated to supporting this Phantom, so their ability scores should be built around that capacity

Str: Dump it to 7 and get a crossbow.

Dex: In light armor with d8 hit dice you really need a bit of AC. Your best weapon option is probably a crossbow, so a bit of Dexterity helps there, too.

Con: Your Phantom is going to be doing most of your fighting, and while it gets d10 hit dice it only gets 15 hit dice over 20 Spiritualist levels. Expect to spend a lot of your own hit points to protect your Phantom via Etheric Tether. With only d8 hit dice, you don't have a huge pool of hit points on your own, so improving your Constitution is important.

Int: Nice for skill ranks and to complement your Knowledge skills, but you don't need it for much else.

Wis: Wisdom is the Spiritualist's spellcasting ability, but they're only 2/3 spellcasters, so you never strictly need more than 16.

Cha: Dump to 7.

25 Point Buy 20 Point Buy 15 Point Buy Elite Array
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 16
  • Int: 13
  • Wis: 16
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 16
  • Int: 11
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 7
  • Dex: 16
  • Con: 14
  • Int: 11
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 7
  • Str: 10
  • Dex: 14
  • Con: 13
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 15
  • Cha: 8

Races

Your choice of race matters surprisingly little. Even your spellcasting ability isn't all that important, and you can easily get all of the Wisdom you need from your base ability score and items. Racial favored class bonuses are all terrible, too, so expect to spend your favored class bonus on additional hit points.

Skills

Feats

Weapons

Your choice of weapon largely comes down to how you want to keep yourself busy while your Phantom is doing something important. I recommend a crossbow, personally.

Armor

Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.