13th Age Character Builds: Shadow Blade Occultist

Ocultist

By ASH LAW

The occultist is an odd class—there is only ever one occultist in any campaign. The occultist is The occultist, singular.

As the occultist you’ll need to pay careful attention to what is happening at the table. Most of the occultists powers involve rewinding time, nudging reality, and so forth. Your powers all interact with and are triggered by the actions of others, so you’ll be keeping a constant eye on what is going on at the game table.

As an occultist you get more talents than just about any other class: six compared to the usual three. Your choice of talents is far more important than your spell selection to what your character can do—after all your spell selection can be chosen anew at the start of each day. In addition, your flexible recharge feature lets you pick a new spell when one recharges instead of recharging the same spell (in effect you roll to recharge spell slots rather than spells). So with the spells listed in occultist builds I’m listing the spells that you are most likely to pick at the start of each day, rather than the totality of occultist spells that you might use throughout the day.

Shadow-Blade Occultist

Download Shadow Blade Occultist character sheets here.

This build is all about survivability—increasing defenses, avoiding damage, and preventing enemies from attacking you. Meanwhile the build gives you the flexibility to either cast spells or use an edged weapon in melee combat.

Your hewer of truth talent lets you use edged melee weapons without penalty, and an epic feat for your implements will let you use a magic weapon you find as a spellcasting implement. However, keep in mind that you’ll want to gain focus to cast spells, and that requires a standard action. If you choose to attack with a melee weapon, you’ll not be using that action to gain focus. The otherworld shadow and stance of necessity talents give you the ability to either negate damage against you, or to boost your defenses. The fourth starting talent is brain-melting secrets which prevents enemies that you attack from attacking you back.

At champion tier the icon envoy talent gets you the ability to mess with icon rolls to the party’s benefit. At epic tier superior rebuke gives the ability to cast karmic rebuke when you lose focus.

Talents

Brain-Melting Secrets

When you hit an enemy with a psychic attack they can’t attack you on their next turn unless you are the only nearby enemy. This means our usual spell choices are going to focus on psychic damage whenever possible.

Hewer of Truth

Use edged melee weapons without penalty, using Intelligence to attack and Wisdom for damage. When you hit an enemy engaged with you with a spell, you deal twice your miss damage to that enemy.

Otherworld Shadow

Your shadow is a companion to you, taking attacks on your behalf and giving you extra recoveries.

Stance of Necessity

Boost your defenses for a whole battle, and with the right feats aid your allies too.

Icon Envoy (gained at 5th level)

Improve the icon rolls of the party.

Superior Rebuke (gained at 8th level)

A 15% chance of casting karmic rebuke whenever you lose focus.

Race

For this odd class, why not an odd race? The twygzog (13th Age Bestiary page 87) is a rare plant rather than humanoid race. Their fungal biology power gives a once-per-battle save reroll (including death saves), and the fungal survivor feat gives mid-battle healing when you miss with a melee attack—pairing nicely with your higher likelihood of making melee attacks with this occultist build and ensuring the no melee attack you make is ever wasted.

Attributes

Intelligence and Wisdom are key attributes, with Constitution is also useful for higher hit points: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 18 (+4) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 10 (0).

1st level

Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 16 (+3) Dex 10 (0) Int 18 (+4) Wis 15 (+2) Cha 10 (0).

Racial Power: fungal biology

Talents: brain-melting secrets, hewer of truth, otherworld shadow, stance of necessity

Spells: karmic rebuke (class feature), bitter lessons, inevitable fall, moment of karma, timely mistake

Feats: otherworld shadow

2nd level

Spells (1st level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

3rd level

Spells (1st level: inevitable fall, brilliant comeback 3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, bitter lessons, diversion of pain), new feat (hewer of truth).

4th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), spells (3rd level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, timely mistake, bitter lessons, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (delayed magical healing).

5th level

New talent (icon envoy), spells (3rd level: bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, fateful confrontation, call of doom), new feat (fungal survivor).

6th level

Spells (5th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

7th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (5th level: fateful confrontation, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, liberating blow, call of doom, brilliant comeback), new feat (otherworld shadow).

8th level

New talent (superior rebuke), spells (7th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, liberating blow, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (arcane implements).

9th level

Spells (7th level: fateful confrontation, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, 9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, rewind the skeins, liberating blow, call of doom, brilliant comeback), new feat (retain focus).

10th level

+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom), Spells (9th level: karmic rebuke (class feature), moment of karma, rewind the skeins, liberating blow, fateful confrontation, call of doom, bitter lessons, timely mistake, inevitable fall, brilliant comeback, diversion of pain), new feat (hewer of truth).

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