Iconic Design: Nosoi, No Problem!

Welcome to Iconic Design! So the final hardcover product for Pathfinder 1st Edition has been unleashed, so now we gotta figure out what we’re going to do with it? No, seriously, we got maybe a month before everyone’s eyes turns to the new hotness (the PLAYTEST) so now its up to me to try and give us some builds to mess around with. Within this book, my absolute favorite archetype from a flavor concept is the soul warden. But does it hold up mechanically? Let’s build one and find out!

Build Concept

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

  • Race any
  • Classes spiritualist (soul warden) 12
  • Feats Spell Focus: necromancy (1st), Weapon Focus: scythe (3rd), Dazzling Display (5th), Threnodic Spell (7th), Shatter Defenses (9th), Greater Spell Focus: necromancy (11th)
  • Class Features (Spiritualist): calm spirit 2/day, detect undead, nosoi scribe, phantom elegy, psychopomp’s bond, see invisibility, warding vessel
    • 4th-Level Spells Known (4): black tentacles, enervation, possession, shadowform
    • 3rd-Level Spells Known (4): bestow curse, dispel magic, fly, vampiric touch
    • 2nd-Level Spells Known (5): emotive block, inflict pain, inflict moderate wounds, purge spirit, touch of idiocy
    • 1st-Level Spells Known (6): chill touch, cure light wounds, psychic reading, remove fear, remove sickness
    • 0-Level Spells Known (6): detect magic, grave words, guidance, mage hand, stabilize, telekinetic projectile


I was REALLY worried at first that I wasn’t going to be able to find anything cool that this build can do, and then I read the phantom elegy ability. This 8th-level class feature is why you go soul warden. Basically, every phantom in Occult Adventures has a super strong, super awesome aura ability. And at 8th level, your nosoi can spend its rounds of haunting melody (a nosoi racial ability that gets enhanced by the nosoi scribe class feature) to basically become a tiny bard and “sing” to provide those auras to your party as you need. Yes, the nosoi appears to be able to cycle between the auras, which means:

  • Anger: Allies within 20 feet basically mini-rage. They get +2 to attack rolls (no bonus type, so it stacks with everything) and –2 to AC. Surprisingly, this doesn’t come with the rage rider of “You can’t do stuff that requires concentration,” which is GREAT for you. This is the ability you use when you have a bard in the party and you want attacks to land.
  • Dedication: Your nosoi sings and all allies get +2 to AC, CMD, and on all saving throws. The AC bonus is a deflection bonus, but the others are untyped. This is incredibly good at protecting your team from spellcasters.
  • Despair: Your nosoi sings a fear effect that causes enemies to take a –2 penalty to all saves. No saving throw allowed. This is INCREDIBLE, and it makes the spiritualist’s list of save or suck spells all the deadlier. (Nosoi sings, you cast possession with a +2 bonus from your Spell Focus feats. Enjoy your new body.)
  • Fear: Your nosoi can sing a song that causes fear effects used on enemies that fail a Will save to amplify. This build is DESIGNED to take advantage of this. Basically, you have your nosoi fly around with this song, then use your Dazzling Display ability. Enemies who you successfully demoralize have their fear condition amplified to frightened instead.
  • Hatred: Your nosoi can sing a song that gives it attack and damage benefits against one target. This is probably the one song you will never have your nosoi sing. Its BAB isn’t great, and as a Tiny creature its damage and the fact it has to fly into enemies’ spaces make it very unlikely that using rounds in this way will ever be useful.
  • Jealousy: Your nosoi can sing a song that makes opponents take a Will save or become staggered whenever they target a creature with an attack or spell that doesn’t affect it. If you want, you can use your nosoi’s at-will invisibility to make targeting it nearly impossible then have it sing this song. It’s bound to annoy your enemies VERY fast.
  • Zeal: Allies get +2 to attack rolls and saving throws. It’s a competence bonus, so don’t bother if you have a bard in the party. Otherwise this is INSANELY strong. It doesn’t scale like a bard’s inspire courage or provide damage, sure, but you have six other awesome songs. Don’t complain.

So yeah, my verdict on this build is: insanely fun once you get to 8th level. You’ll feel like a bad psychic until 8th level, though. The familiar on its own just isn’t as good as a phantom until it gets the insanely powerful, insanely versatile phantom elegy ability. But I think that once you get there, you’ll love this build. You’ll love it so, so much for its versatility. Next week I’m going to be doing another Iconic Design, but I’m going to switching from Pathfinder to Starfinder. This time I’ll be looking at a build for a pirate. Because pirates are FUN! Until then, take care!



Alex Augunas

Alexander "Alex" Augunas is an author and behavioral health worker living outside of Philadelphia in the United States. He has contributed to gaming products published by Paizo, Inc, Kobold Press, Legendary Games, Raging Swan Press, Rogue Genius Games, and Steve Jackson Games, as well as the owner and publisher of Everybody Games (formerly Everyman Gaming). At the Know Direction Network, he is the author of Guidance and a co-host on Know Direction: Beyond. You can see Alex's exploits at http://www.everybodygames.net, or support him personally on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/eversagarpg.