What you are about to read is an analysis of the occult, and reading any further forfeits any excuse or deflection of blame for what might happen to you or who you might become after having read further. Like an earwig clawing its way into your eye socket, the occult can be a wanderous and terrifying path to unexplored parts of your mind.
At GenCon 2015, Paizo debuted a hardcover rulebook, as they are wont to do. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures introduced players of the game and the game itself to occult magic. They wrote rules for unknowable knowledge. Like a musician past his prime buying ghosts in a bid for eternal youth, Pathfinder enthusiasts turned to a new level of supernatural to rejuvenate their games.
Now, on the cusp of All Hallows’ Eve, Know Direction network team makes a pact with you, our listeners, to unearth these occult options together. This is Occult October, and here is why:
“There are just some topics that make you go ‘meh.’ When Occult Adventures was announced, it felt redundant in a game that already supported a wide variety of horror subgenres. We were getting six new base classes a year after the pace of base class releases went from casual to all out, and as far as I could tell, the six classes were the kineticist and five flavours of psychic. And then, with one sentence, the book, the rules, the whole concept grabbed me:
“She must have at least one hand free to aim the blast (or one prehensile appendage, if she doesn’t have hands).”
“Occult Adventures is an entire hardcover on a topic Paizo historically does well. I don’t know why I originally saw that as a failing. That one sentence from the kineticist’s blast class feature, nonchalantly accounting for the possibility of prehensile appendages, spotlights the eerie but playful tone that sets Occult options apart. That spotlight may feel like a flashlight lighting Paizo’s face from below, but have you seen Paizo’s scary flashlight face? They have a really good scary flashlight face.”
Jefferson Jay Thacker (also known as Perram)
“”I really miss the days of playing that I didn’t know what every creature in a dungeon could do. Didn’t have all the Bestiaries memorized. When every challenge in front of me was fresh, new, and of course… mysterious. And that’s why I love what Occult is doing for Pathfinder. Its bringing the unknown, the dread, the mystery back to the game. Magic from the darkest corners and hidden secrets of the world. Adventures that start with myths, rumors, and urban legends. Where the more you learn, the less safe you feel. And of course being the type of characters that not only survive this dark underworld, but thrive in it. Paizo could have phoned this one in, no one knew what to think. But no one was thinking it would be this. And now… it’s time for me to set fire to some books.””
“I am SO pumped for Occult October that it isn’t even funny. Not one bit. I got my start in the industry writing the Pact Magic Unbound series, a product line that is seeped in occult lore both real and fictional. For me, occult is more than just the ‘weird,’ its the chill that runs down your spine when you think about nothing, the paranoia that overwhelms you when you feel like you’re being followed down an empty street, or the unearthly silence that follows every bump in the night. To me, the occult is the human attempt to know the unknown (and possibly the unknowable), and the awesome journey that befalls any who take the plunge into the rabbit hole.”
“October has always been a special month for me. Where I live the nights grow noticably longer, the shadows deeper, and the woods somehow sinister. New England has a long and storied tradition with horror stories. HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, and the contemporary Steven King, names associated with some of the best works in the genre are all from this small geographical region of the US North East. Something about this area brings a creeping sense of unease. Never more so than around this time of year.
It’s a perfect time to talk about any and all things occult. A time to ruminate about what things that go bump in the night. And to look longingly at the Abyss and wonder what might be staring back. I’m excited that Pathfinder now has support for more elements in this genre. That I’ve been given more and better tools to tell weird stories and strange tales. I like that I can build NPCs and monsters that have abilities and powers that can get into the heads of both my players and their characters, sometimes in the literal sense.
Occult October is going to be a great month. For all of us here at KnowDirectionPodcast.com and for you, our listeners and readers. But maybe not for my players…
Join us all October long for new articles and topics on the occult.