Iconic Design — Hollow’d You Do That, Alex?

When you heard that I was doing a build using Psychic Anthology, I’m sure you thought that I’d be using this build to plug my own contributions to the game. But surprise! You were WRONG! I’m using this build to LUIS’S contributions to the game instead! So take THAT!

PS. For those at home who are counting, this is my 150th Iconic Design Build. Huzzah!

In case you’ve been living under a rock and have missed all of Luis Loza’s sick monsters and encounters, Luis designs sick monsters and encounters for Know Direction. But what’s more, he’s a Paizo designer just like Anthony and I, and in Psychic Anthology he wrote spiritualist stuff! But by far, my favorite thing he created for Psychic Anthology is the phantom blade archetype for spiritualists, which is basically Soul Reapers from Bleach.

So what can we do with a magical ghost weapon? Surprisingly, tons! Read below and see for yourselves.

Build Concept

Any information important to understanding the build or its roots goes here.

  • Classes: spiritualist (phantom blade) 12
  • Feats: Spell Focus: conjuration (1st), Power Attack (Bonus), Greater Spell Focus: conjuration (3rd), Furious Focus (5th), Weapon Focus (7th), Weapon Specialization (Bonus), FREEBEE (9th), Dimensional Agility (11th)
  • Abilities: calm spirit 2/day, detect undead, ectoplasmic pool, etheric focus, phantom tether, phantom weapon, reshape, spell combat, spellstrike
  • Phantom Weapon: Alertness, phantom touch, quick manifest, telepathy
  • 4th-level Spells (4): cure critical wounds, black tentacles, dimension door, inflict critical wounds
  • 3rd-level Spells (4): inflict serious wounds, fly, haste, heroism
  • 2nd-level Spells (5): blur, cure moderate wounds, inflict moderate wounds, stricken heart, touch of idiocy
  • 1st-level Spells (6): burst of adrenaline, chill touch, cure light wounds, inflict light wounds, shield
  • Knacks (6): detect magic, detect psychic significance, grave words, mage hand, read magic, stabilize

Play Description

Okay, so this is 100% a PFS build schematic, assuming that this archetype becomes PFS legal. (As of 3/13, Psychic Anthology hasn’t been added to the Additional Resources page yet.) Basically, because the phantom blade’s biggest draw is, “I have my own, personalized weapon,” I think that its usually best to pick a weapon that can be two-handed. Since stat allocation is real for the spiritualist and this build plays similar to a magus, I’m just going to recommend the good, old-fashioned staple of “big two-hand weapon” for this build.

So, the phantom blade LOOKS like a magus, but it sure as heck doesn’t play like one. That’s because the phantom blade lacks the magi’s signature spell, shocking grasp. That means that we actually need to care about and invest in touch spells to use with our spellstrike ability. (The horror!) To that end, the spiritualist actually doesn’t want for spells to use—she has access to cure and inflict spells, after all. So take life and death directly into your hands! Spellstrike the living with negative energy and spellstrike the dead with positive energy. Yes, despite being a psychic spellcaster, this build plays like a cleric-magus with plenty of fun arcane-style tricks. You can fly using the fly spell, cast haste and heroism, blur yourself for extra defenses, dimension door all over the place (which means if you plan on using this build in an AP, you could, theoretically, build towards a Dimensional Dervish build), and even drop some sick black tentacle beats.

Now, in addition to staples like Weapon Focus, Power Attack, and Furious Focus, one feat chain that I was sure to pick up for this build was Spell Focus (conjuration). Why? Because our main spellstrike spells allow Will saves for half damage, so we want that DC as high as possible. Other then that, this build looks and plays like a black blade magus. A less bursty-but-can-also-heal-you magus with a ghost sword, but hey, the flavor’s neat and different, and ultimately, that makes a build more than its massive numbers!

That’s it for this week’s Iconic Design. Tune back in two weeks for more ideas for your next PC or NPC! Take care!

Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex also cohosts the Private Sanctuary Podcast, along with fellow blogger Anthony Li, and you can follow their exploits on Facebook in the 3.5 Private Sanctuary Group, or on Alexs Twitter, @AlJAug.


Alex Augunas

Alexander Augunas lives outside of Philadelphia, USA where he tries to make a living as an educator. When he's not shaping the future leaders of tomorrow, Alex is a freelance writer for esteemed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game publishers such as Paizo, Inc, Radiance House, Raging Swan Press, and more, and also acts as a co-host and blogger on the Know Direction Network, where he has earned the nickname, "The Everyman Gamer." Recently, Alex has forayed into the realm of self-publishing through his company, Everyman Gaming, LLC.


  1. I am going to have to check this out, food for thought.

  2. James Krolak

    This is a little late, as I missed this when the article was published, so I apologize for that. But there are a few clarifications needed:

    – You still can’t legally use Spell Combat with a two handed weapon. Sadly, the archetype says that it works like the Magus’s Spell Combat, which has a limitation that you must have a hand free.
    – You COULD still do a Dimensional Dervish build for PFS, but it wouldn’t come online until 10th level at the earliest since that’s when you get Dimension Door. (there is an alternative way to get that a level earlier by taking the Horizon Walker prestige class, but it’s probably not worth it here) The key to making it work is to retrain feats as soon as you hit 10th level. That should allow you to get Dim Agility, Dim Assault, and Dim Dervish at 10th. You couldn’t qualify for Dim Savant until 12th. Sadly, you can’t retrain your bonus feats using the retraining rules–otherwise, it would be much easier.

  3. BardWannabe

    For 3rd level spells, one might also want to consider “sands of time” which provides a touch attack that hurts *constructs* as well as undead.

    This looks like a fun build.