I asked Twitter what sort of classes they felt are currently missing from rpgs, and I got some really interesting answers. A few people said they want to see an intelligence or lore based class. One person suggested an Occultist and that idea struck me.
The path the leads most to becoming cultists is not usually a pleasant one. Whether it begins with an unhealthy curiosity for the magical arts or an earnest desire to learn the occultist is meant to be an intelligent character who dabbles in magic without mastering it. I love the idea of a character who delves into lore a bit like a bard, but relies on ordinary research. Maybe it’s because I’m married o a librarian?
In order to make the occultist at least a little combat effective I gave them access to some spells and abilities, but largely this is a class that favors brains over brawn.
This is an extremely rough draft I only just finished so I know it still needs a lot of work. I only plotted it out to level 5 because I wanted to do some tinkering and see if how it is working up to that point. If you have any thoughts/suggestions please share.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per occultist level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per occultist level after 1st
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, and shortswords
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose 3 from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
*(a) a longsword or (b) any simple melee weapon
*(a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
*(a) a holy symbol or (b) an arcane focus
Occultists are almost to a one masters of ferreting out secrets everyone else has either forgotten, or hidden behind walls, armed guards, and “No Trespassing” signs. Your ability to conduct such painstaking academic endeavors has granted you a special insight into a variety of topics. Once+ your Intelligence modifier per day so long as your character has access to a library or any other similar facility your character may utilize the location to carry out such research.
Making a Intelligence saving throw with a DC as indicated on the table below. The final decision for what type category the information in question falls under is at the discretion of the GM.
Common Knowledge DC 5
Legends DC 7
Obscure Knowledge DC 10
Lost Knowledge DC 15
Hidden Knowledge DC 25
Forbidden Knowledge DC 30
Very few occultists fail to specialize in one topic of study or another, and those that do so normally don’t live very long. Choose a topic from among the following possibilities: Constructs, Druidcraft, Fey Folk, Magical History, Religious Obscura, Secret Societies, Shapeshifters, The Undead, Wards, & Witchcraft.
You have advantage on: Charisma (Deception), Charisma (Intimidation) Charisma (Persuasion), Intelligence (Arcana), Intelligence (History), Intelligence (Investigation), Intelligence (Religion), Wisdom (Animal Handling), Wisdom (Insight), and Wisdom (Medicine) checks made so long as they pertain to your chosen Favored Topic.
Half-Remembered Incantations & Ancient Relics
Traditionally speaking occultists are not magic-users, and most will never take their knowledge beyond the realm of the theoretical, however some are foolhardy enough to try and practice what they’ve read about in ancient books and scrolls. At the 2nd level you gain spellcasting feature. You also learn a number of cantrips from another class equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier. These spells might serve to confound and amaze commoners but true magic-users will see them as little more than parlor tricks. They are also the sum & total of your efforts.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your spells. You magic comes from countless hours of toil and study that have yielded little result. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellasting ability. In addition you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving the DC for a spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC= 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Spell attack modifier= your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Choose an occultist archetype, which describes the path your arcane research has lead you down: Demonologist or Arcaneologist, both detailed below.
Whispers from books sealed with chains and immersed in wells filled with blessed water have drawn more than one aspiring occultist to them. The promise of greater power fueled by commiserating with demonic beings is a temptation some simply can’t refuse, but it is a path best forgotten. Through years of research you have figured out a way to contact and bind a lesser demonic entity (usually this would be a suitably weak entity, occultists are beneath the notice of any truly powerful demons). These demons grant minor favors and snippets of knowledge, but they will continually try to take advantage of the interaction and twist it to their advantage.
Upon choosing the path of the Demonologist at your 3rd level you learn Abyssal.
At the 4th level you gain the ability to cast Banishment once per day without using a spell slot, however you must still use spell components, and the spell can only be used against demons.
At the 5th level you gain a demonic follower of a CR equal to ½ your current Occultist level rounded down. You may only have a single such follower at any time. The demon will obey some of your commands, but will not risk its own life without cause. The demon is in no way truly loyal however and will seek to take advantage of you if it is able. You may banish the demon at any time as a bonus action, however you cannot summon another follower for 1d20 days after doing so.
Devoted scholars who study the history of magic and its impact on cultures the arcaneologist is part scavenger part historian.
When choosing the path of the Arcaneologist at the 3rd level you gain the ability to double your proficiency bonus when making either an Intelligence (Arcana) or Intelligence (History) check.
Many types of magic seek to befuddle the mind or ensnare the senses. You have learned to resist such spells. At the 4th level you gain advantage on saving throws against being charmed. If you already have advantage on these checks from a racial ability you are immune to being charmed.
Ancient magic is often unstable and the protective wards left behind to defend lost strongholds are often more potent than when they were first cast. Layers of protective clothing interwoven with weak protective wars offer you minor protection against such threats. At the 5th level choose one of the following (acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder, bludgeoning damage from magical weapons, piercing damage from magical weapons, or slashing damage from magical weapons), you now have resistance to that type of damage.
At the 3rd level you gain access to a minor ritual. Protective wards and incantations are fairly simple aspects of magic, but powerful never the less. You have mastered a minor variant of such a spell allowing you to shield yourself against attack if only briefly. You may cast the spell Guards and Wards once per day without using spell slots but you must still use the spell components. The spell is also cast with the following modifications.
*The casting time is increased to 20 minutes.
*The wards only protect 1,000 square feet.
*You cannot use any of the other spell effects listed under the spell.
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known
1st +2 Research, Favored Topic 0 0
2nd +2 Half-Remembered 1+ 0
3rd +2 Occultist Archetype, Wards 1+ 0
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 1+ 0
5th +3 ———————- 1+ 0