Sometimes you get into a creative rut. The cause of it can be any number of things. Sometimes, you get two, three, or many things that knock you around while you’re trying to be creative. That’s what happened to me late this Summer and this Fall. Up until this article, any articles I put out since August were like pulling teeth for me to get finished. I’d like to say that the ones I did, I did out of loyalty to the KD Network, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. The ones I published, I did because I honestly felt a little bit better after each time I hit the publish button. Ryan and the rest of the KD team have been amazingly understanding though when it comes to life knocking a contributor around. I could say more, but I want to save some stories for the future.
I’m not going to call it a series unless I end up with three or 4 articles about it, but I’d like to do some class features tied to time. I’ll start with something that at first glance feels super easy but when you remember that this is the choice that this class gets to make it adds weight to every design decision that is made. We’re going to make a Mystic Connection!
Anatomy of a Connection
The twenty connections currently published by Paizo allow for a wide range of different characters and playstyles. With those examples, we take a look at what makes up a Mystic’s Connection!
- Short 3-4 sentence description
- Associated Deities: We want to have mystics that could worship deities, and which ones would typically have mystics with this connection.
- Associated Skills: Arguably the first mechanical choice we’ll be making since these are skills that the mystic will get insight bonuses to!
- Spells: These are the bonus spells that the mystic gets as they level up.
- Special Abilities. We’ll be creating 1st, 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th level abilities. This is where the meat of the Connection comes through. Everything else is just dressing. [We will be creating these abilities in the next installment!]
Who Associates with Time?
Its easy to look at all of the portfolios of the deities currently listed on Archives of Nethsys and say that all of them should be listed, but I want to try to keep it down to the ones that would have worshipers deeply interested or invested in the concept of time, both past and present. Since time is not directly listed in any of the portfolios, I’ll want to check the related settings in both 1st edition and 2nd edition Pathfinder. For first edition gods, we get:
For 2nd edition gods, including Pantheons we get:
With Brigh and Casandalee, two aspects of Triune listed, Triune will definitely be on the list we’re putting together. While Shyka is not listed specifically in Starfinder, we do have a short entry for the Eldest. I’ll need to look at other connections to see if the Eldest are listed as a group or if individual Eldest are called out. Either way, Shyka should be included in our list of associated deities. Yog-Sothoth is not in published Starfinder material, but the outer god Nyalathotep is. While Yog-Sothoth is not a major deity in the Starfinder setting, I think it would be fine for them to be included in our list (who knows maybe in the future I’ll do a write-up for Yog-Sothoth brought to the future!). With how tied to fate and time Pharasma ultimately is, it would be a shame to exclude her and her worshipers.
Now, after doing that digging, I still want to include at least one or two of the new gods that were introduced in Starfinder. Oras feels like a good fit to me, as a god of adaptation, evolution, and natural selection, all three of those things require time. I almost missed it, but as a god of history, Eloritu should be included as well. I want this connection to be about both the past and the future, not just one or the other!
I think all told that brings our un-alphabetized list to Triune, the Eldest, Yog-Sothoth, Pharasma, Oras, and Eloritu.
Skills of Time
This should be a shorter section than the deity selection! The first will be Physical Science. Time is so intrinsically tied with physics that I personally cannot separate it in game terms. The next is a bit of a toss-up for me. I can see Mysticism making sense because so much time manipulation in the Pathfinder setting is only achieved through magic. However, the argument for Culture is could be represented as studying how the passage of time affects cultures and peoples. Life Science could be used as the study of evolution and adaptation over time and where it might go. I might cheat a little and take a cue from the Shaper connection. I’ll have Physical Science and then a choose 1 among Mysticism, Culture, or Life Science. I will need to look closer at the Shaper connection though, to see if that flexibility is “paid” for by slightly less powerful connection abilities further down the road.
Spells of Time
I won’t lie, in a book like Tech Revolution or Character Operations Manual, when I see a new connection I’d like at least 1 of the spells being a new spell that is introduced in that supplement. I’m not going to make that sort of guarantee for this connection, but if I honestly see a need at a particular spell level I might make a place-holder name for a spell we’ll develop down the road. The nice thing about connection spells though is that they aren’t necessarily tied to just the mystic spell list. Let’s get cracking!
1st Level – It will probably come down to Recall or Incompetence. Both in my mind deal with memory, and memory is something that relies upon time. I’ll likely make a final decision when I’ve gotten more of the spells ready to go. I want to make sure there is an okay blend of buff, debuff, and potential attack spells. Ideally targeting a variety of ACs or Saves.
2nd Level – This is one of the levels that I would put as a candidate for a new spell. Predict Foe, by just the title you think, might be time-related, however, based on the spell description I feel that it is more about watching the foe intently, not time-related. I’m probably going to go with Augury for now though. It’s not tied to ‘asking’ an entity whether something will be bad. It can be flavored as a sort of Doctor Strange brief hazy look into the future.
3rd Level – Thanks to the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous computer game, we do get to see some time manipulation out of the Aeon mythic path. One of the unique spells that the path gives a player is a 3rd level spell that acts as PF1 Haste to allies & PF1 Slow to enemies. The ability is called Relativity. Now, we’re not going to do that here but what it does inspire me to do is to actually grant a choice to players. They will get to choose either Starfinder’s Haste or Slow.
4th Level – Modify Outcome is the clear winner for this level, being able to look at different possible timelines is pretty cool.
5th Level – A spell with the prefix of ‘retro’ is a quick choice here, so Retrocognition it is!
6th Level – There are some powerful spells at 6th level, but surprisingly little variety between the spell lists. Each list has a handful (I haven’t counted) of spells unique to it at this level, but not many. Akashic Revival is close but still doesn’t have that “time manipulator” feel that I’d want out of a 6th level spell.
Overall, I think this list might change once we get a chance to see the Precog in Galactic Magic and any associated new spells. I might even revisit this spell list when it comes out, particularly the 2nd and 6th level spell slots!
The Top of Time
With all of that, let’s put the “top” of this connection together to see what it looks like.
The ebbs and flow of time calls to you. Whether you are more concerned about the past or how time might affect the future, you’ve dedicated your energy to harnessing the power that has eluded so many throughout time.
Associated Deities: Eldest(Shyka), Eloritu, Oras, Pharasma, Triune, Yog-Sothoth
Associated Skills: Physical Science, Choose 1 of the following: Culture, Life Science, or Mysticism
Spell: 1st – recall, 2nd – augury, 3rd – Choose 1: haste or slow, 4th – modify outcome, 5th – retrocognition, 6th – akashic revival
I went into this really thinking I was going to put out an entire connection today. Instead, when I saw that I was at over 700 words before starting the spells section, I knew that to give the connection abilities the space they needed for development and explanation, I’d want to do an entire article focused on just those. So, for now, we’ve got the “top” of the connection.