Last Updated: January 3, 2023
Implements are equal parts equipment and subclass, but unlike most classes you get to choose more than one and can combine their benefits to a degree. This allows a lot of freedom, but also requires a lot of careful consideration.
Selecting your Implements is a long-term game of planning combinations and considering interactions, overlaps, and potential use cases. You’ll go most of the level range with 2 Implements, but will eventually get 3 if you’re lucky enough to reach such high level. You also need to consider which Implements will get their Adept Benefits (only 2 of the 3 unless you take Intense Implement at level 18) and which one will get its Paragon Benefit since you’ll only get one of them.
Pay special attention to your action economy. Several implements rely on your Reaction, which means that you’ll only be able to use one of those Reactions per turn. For example, the Amulet and the Bell both provide Reaction options which you use in response to being harmed in some way, so you might find that they overlap too much to take on the same character. Esoteric Reflexes relaxes the strain on your Reaction, but it’s not available until level 14, so it’s still unwise to take a bunch of Reaction options.
You also need to consider your exact role in your party. If you are your party’s primary Defender, implements like Amulet and Weapon are helpful. If your party needs a Striker, you might benefit from Wand. If you need utility, consider Lantern or Tome. You can dip into several roles depending on your build, and your choice of Implements is the first step on the way to do that.
Table of Contents
- Implement Options
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
A fantastic and easy option no matter how much or how little you want to invest in it. Amulet’s Abeyance scales well and it’s a consistently effective use for your Reaction which functions very similarly to the Shield Block feat without the action cost of Raise a Shield and without the constant need to repair shields.
- : Consistently useful, and it scales well enough that it remains effective throughout your career.
- : Amulet’s Abeyance is great, but since it costs your Reaction you can only use it once per round. This allows your target to resist damage from additional attacks, which is crucial when facing numerous enemies or enemies which like to make multiple Strikes.
- : Consistently useful and effective in any combat encounter.
- : Excellent protection against area damage effects, but remember that the lingering resistance still applies to allies within 15 feet, so even if Amulet’s Abeyance is triggered in response to a single-target attack, you can share resistance to whatever damage type.
Bell competes for space with Amulet since both rely on your Reaction in response to something unpleasant happening. But unlike Amulet, which has a specific and guaranteed effect, Bell applies a condition (which might not happen due to a save) which then has a chance to do something useful. It’s a lot of cost and failure points and frustration for something that’s just clearly both harder and less reliable than Amulet.
Even if you go really far into Bell, it never gets impressive. It’s constantly a little better, but never good enough to really say “okay, this was worth the investment.”
- : The target gets a save to resist the debuff, then if they fail there’s a 10% chance that the debuff won’t matter. It’s especially annoying that Stupefied won’t impose the usual chance to lose the spell beng cast. Clumsy will at least reduce the target’s AC, but it’s only for one round until you get the Adept Benefit.
- : 3 rounds is long enough for the debuff to have a meaningful impact, especially Stupefied against a spellcaster.
- : The penalty has a 40% (60% on a crit) chance to worsen the target’s degree of success when you use Ring Bell, which means that you can count on the debuff much more readily. Of course, you do need to do the setup to use Exploit Vulnerability and then Strike the target, so it’s hard to spread this around in encounters with numerous enemies.
- : The increase ]to the debuff is great, but very late. Being able to affect creatures other than your Exploit Vulnerability target is nice, but the fact that the debuff expires at the beginning of your next turn rather than lasting a full round means that the target’s location in the intitiative order is a huge determining factor in the effectiveness of the debuff.
A decent low-cost options for temporary hp and easy healing, but it competes with less expensive options like Battle Medicine, Focus Spells like Lay on Hands, potions, alchemical items, and all manner of actual spellcasting. There many other ways to provide the same functions, many of which are better and less costly, so while Chalice certainly isn’t bad, it’s not going to impress anyone.
- : The amount of temporary hp is fine, but it only lasts until the beginning of your next turn, so this imposes a persistent and problematic tax on your action economy to provide the same sort of damage mitigation which Amulet can do as a Reaction. The ability to heal an ally with this is nice, allowing you to easily save a dying ally. However, you can get much of that same benefit from the Battle Medicine skill feat at a much lower cost. Alternatively, consider a multiclass archetype which offers healing via a Focus Spell.
- : The additional temporary hp and healing are nice, but don’t change the tactics. Outside of combat, you can poke an ally with a needle before having them drain the cup to heal faster.
- : Not a numerically significant improvement, and certainly no change to your tactics.
- : Covers a wide variety of problems that you’ll commonly face in combat, but by this level your party almost certainly has several ways to solve these problems.
An easy, mechaniclaly simple option, the Lantern’s benefits are largely passive, so they’re easy for new players or as a second or third implement, but for more experienced and more mechanically-inclined players you may find that Lantern doesn’t provide any satisfying buttons to push at low levels.
- : A free check to find hidden dangers is great, and the +1 bonus to Recall Knowledge will be consistently useful in combination with Exploit Vulnerability.
- : Consistent protection from invisible/etheral enemies without needing to burn spell slots on See Invisibility or to revert to more desperate measures like throwing flour around.
The second benefit prevents your target from being Concealed. This notably means that invisible creatures targeted by your Exploit Vulnerbility are no longer Concealed when in the area of your lantern, allowing you to completely negate invisibility for the target.
: This one is
complicated. The primary benefit is to make it hard for the target of your
Exploit Vulnerability to hide. You get +2 to find them and they get -2 to
Hide. Most enemies don’t rely on hiding, so this is only situationally
- : Only situationally useful.
Consistently useful, but at a persistent Action cost. Still, an easy way to flank without relyong on options like Feint means that you’ll be able to hit with your attacks more consistently, and the Adept Benefit allows you to deal some easy damage between turns without any additional cost. Combine this with Amulet to mitigate the damage, and you can effectively use the Adept Benefit to send a low-cost bomb shaped like yourself into crowds of enemies.
- : A great way to get easy flanking and to reposition yourself. You can choose to make the newly-created version of yourself the “real” version, which in many ways works like teleporting becuase you can activate Mirror’s Reflection, move from the reflection’s space, and thereby forcibly end the effect and make the reflection the real version.
- : You were going to take the damage anyway, so your reflection exploding for automatic damage is free dmaage. This does encourage risky behavior like standing in crowds of enemies or dopping your reflection there, but remember that you do still take damage from the hit, so don’t get reckless.
- : 20% miss chance on all of your target’s attacks against you. Triggering the Adept Benefit will be harder, but I think it’s still better if they miss you.
- : Effectively a free Action on almost every turn in combat.
Regalia gives you some extra capabilities as a Face and as a Support character.
- : A bonus to your Charisma-based Face skills, which is great on top of the Thaumaturge’s Key Ability Score beng Charisma. The additional protection from fear is nice, too.
- : The save bonus will apply often enough to feel meaningful, and a +2 bonus to damage rolls will have a lot of impact over time, especially since it scales with level. Remember that it’s all damage rolls, so even spells like Fireball are affected.
- : Helpful and consistently useful, but by this level +1 Circumstance bonuses are extremely common, so you’ll likely run into issues with stacking.
- : Negating flanking is a major advantage, and reducing penalties from the listed status condition will be very helpful since those conditions frequently appears as “Whatever 1”.
A great option if you need to fill skill-heavy roles in your party like Face and Scout, and it also provides a bonus to the skill check to use Exploit Vulnerability. The initiate benefit is good enough that you could easily fit Tome as any of your three Implements.
- : A +1 bonus to Recall Knowledge will be consistently helpful since the Thaumaturge relies heavily on Exploit Vulnerability in combat. You also get two free skills which you can change every day, allowing you to pick up weird, situational skills like lore skills if you know you’ll need them. Even better, the skills advance automatically to keep up with skills that you’re improving normally with your Skill Increases.
- : A free Recall Knowledge every turn means that you can easily figure out whatever you need about your target if your initial Exploit Vulnerability didn’t tell you everything. You also get a +1 Circumstance bonus if you succeed, which is nice but won’t stack with most other temporary buffs.
- : Imagine that you have two Actions to spend on making Strikes. Do you Strike twice, or do you use Intensify Vulnerability to pre-roll an attack, then Strike once? Striking twice means that you might hit twice. Using Intensify Vulnerability could give you a terrible d20 roll, in which case you’re just going to Strike once, or it could give you a good roll, in which case you’re going to Strike once and hopefully hit. Even with a Multiple Attack Penalty, I think it makes more sense to make two Strikes in almost every case, which makes this barely worth having.
- : A significant improvement to most of the Tome’s other benefits, and rolling Initiative with one of your best skills and a +3 bonus will be consistently helpful.
Relying on Fling Magic as an offensive option can either be a thing you do when weapons won’t suffice (range, etc.) or it can be your go-to combat option. As your Wand improves, you add more range, more damage types, secondary effects, and the paragon benefit gives you an AOE blast option. It’s a bit like being a spellcaster.
Unfortunately, the Wand implement doesn’t benefit from Exploit Vulnerability’s imposed weaknesses (those only apply to unarmed strikes and weapon strikes), so you are giving up a significant amount of damage in exchange for range, non-weapon damage types, and the debuffs from the Adept Benefit.
- Damage Types: You will eventually get all three damage
types, but you’ll be using 2 for the majority of your career.
- : Helpful if your enemies aren’t already in close quarters.
- : Hugely beneficial if your party relies on Strikes at all. If you’re in melee, you can lead with Fling Magic to make your target Flat-Footed, then follow up with a Strike.
- : Resistance/immunity are common, but the ongoing damage from the Adept Benefit adds even more damage so it’s easy for this to be your go-to damage option.
- : Roughly as much damage as a good cantrip. You could easily use this as your go-to offensive option. Use the boosted damage as early and as often as possible since there’s not cost to doing so.
- : Add a second damage type and secondary effects on whichever types you use.
- : A little bit of extra damage never hurts.
- : Basically a fireball every turn if you want it, plus the secondary effects from the Adept Benefit.
Good, but by no means required. It’s easy to think “I need a weapon, therefore I need a Weapon Implement”, but that’s not the case. Weapon adds a bit of Fighter-style Defender to your Thaumaturge, and while that’s excellent, the Thaumaturge is not a Defender by default.
That said, Weapon is still good. The Reaction lets you Strike and apply your excellent damage output as a Reaction, and the Intensify Weakness option is consistently useful and effective. The Adept Benefit is disappointing, but you can get plenty out of Weapon if you go no further than the Initiate Benefit.
Weapon is notably the only implement which feasibly allows you to use a shield. Since you’re able to draw and use esoterica with a hand holding an implement, your weapon hand is doing all the work. However, if you switch implements (which you can do as a Free Action when using an implement action), you might find yourself holding a shield and a lamp or something equally non-violent and then need to spend two Actions to stow your non-weapon and draw your weapon. If you plan to use a shield, expect to only do so from levels 1 to 4 before you get a second Implement.
- : The granted Reaction is effectively Attack of Opportunity, except that it only applies to the target of your Exploit Vulnerability. Adding Critical Specialization Effects at level 5 is a good benefit, too, but remember that you can get those from an Ancestry Feat on many ancestries.
- : A nice consolation prize, but it’s a situational benefit on a situational reaction, so it’s not going to apply frequently enough to make a difference.
- : A consistent +2 Status Bonus is massively impactful. It does only last until the beginning of your next turn, but that notably includes any attacks you make with Implement’s Interruption.
- : A big improvement to Implement’s Interruption.