No One Expects It

We have two new classes coming out Monday for a playtest, the Psychic and Occultist Thaumaturge. When they come out, I’ll be delving into the playtest on stream and then on here as well, but for now, knowing the next two classes leaves me open to wildly speculate and homebrew options for other classes! I threw out the ideas that Inquisitor or Kineticist might be the next classes to return due to their popularity. Since neither has, I’ll just share my own versions! As always, the rules are consolidated over on the side, but I’ll go through piece by piece here.

I’m going to start with inquisitor because it’s way shorter. In 1e, inquisitor was a fun little beast of a class. I saw it as sort of an anti-bard: 6 level spellcasting with a lot of skills and a smattering of proficiencies, but much more “selfish” with its abilities compared to bard’s support role. You increased your own initiative, perception checks, knowledge checks, intimidation checks to demoralize, survival checks to track, and sense motive checks, cast detect alignment of any type, cast discern lies for even better lie detection, get bane on your weapon for whatever you like, and you could gain a bunch of personal bonuses through judgment. You could even use Teamwork Feats all by yourself! How much more selfish can you get?

To make a 2e version of inquisitor, I don’t see it as requiring a whole new class. Paizo has even said they want to combine stuff under similar umbrellas because the system really accommodates that well, so why make a brand new class when it could much more easily be melded into something that already exists? Cleric right now only has two doctrines, their class’s ‘subpath’ choice, which are cloistered cleric – the cast-y type – and warpriest – the smash-y type. Inquisitor would fit great as another doctrine filling in the gap of skills, utility, and the like. The class functioned in a similar role to 1e warpriest in that it was less cast-y and more smash-y than cleric but very close to it in other ways. Inquisitor got a lot more utility and skill stuff than warpriest but comparatively less combat focus. 

Since the 1e class was a lot like warpriest in 1e, the doctrine’s progression is pretty similar to the warpriest doctrine. Both were less spell focused, so they both max at master spell proficiency. Having a bit more martial focus translates to increasing proficiency earlier on. Both get increased Fortitude saves over what cloistered cleric gets. I stuck with light armor since even warpriest got knocked down to medium only, and inquisitor was always one degree lower than warpriest. No Shield Block for the same reasoning.

Incredible Initiative and later on the increased Perception proficiency act as Cunning Initiative, which is pretty simple overall. Stern Gaze and Track are skill bonuses that don’t play well with 2e’s numbers. I wish I had a better way of representing that part of the class here. I thought about giving them bonus skill increases to make up for this, and an early version even increased the deity’s favored skill proficiency at 3, 7, and 15 in an attempt to free up increases for other skills. Instead, I decided an extra trained proficiency would help assuage the cleric’s lacking skills better, and the bonus skill feats thing that swashbuckler gets felt way more fun and interesting. Hopefully that makes the doctrine feel like it lands somewhere between skilled and utility based.

One of the coolest features inquisitor had was the Judgment ability (which I still feel should be spelled “Judgement” but whatever). Use it to get a buff of some sort from a pretty long list, and at higher levels take two and eventually three options at once. It wasn’t ever especially humongous bonuses, but over the course of a fight it would definitely add up. The only things the old version did that I didn’t translate here are a bonus to spell penetration – which isn’t a thing at all in 2e – and the ability to overcome damage resistances – which I sort of melded into the bonus damage option but mostly just ignored.

The one thing about this that I’m not super happy with is the fast healing. Bard gets a similar focus spell in hymn of healing, which gives twice the healing and temporary hit points every turn. Way better than this, right? Except it takes two actions to cast, needs to be Sustained, and only lasts for 4 rounds. Plus, the versatility of this spell counts for something. I’m still not sure.

Also, the spell school is impossible to nail down for this spell. Technically, the resistance, AC, and saving throws options should be abjuration, the attack bonus should be divination or enchantment, the damage should be evocation, and the fast healing should be necromancy. That’s too much to add to an already complicated spell. I went with transmutation despite it not fitting on any of those effects because it felt like the best option for “it does lots of things.”

Another neat thing inquisitor had was an ability called Monster Lore, which added their Wisdom modifier to Knowledge checks for finding out about creatures. Specifically limiting this to monster checks would be kind of clunky, so I expanded it to all Recall checks and changed the name. Now it does the same thing as Bardic Lore. Where bards upgrade their lore by investing in occultism to tap into the vast knowledge from their muse, clerics invest in religion to better crusade in the name of their deity. Overall it still makes sense thematically, and it helps with the “skilled cleric” idea by covering several skills’ purposes. 

Allowing access via knowledge domain just makes sense to me, but it also opened up a recurring theme for the doctrine: some feats I wrote here are domain related, but inquisitors can also take them. In a weird, roundabout way, this brings back how 1e inquisitor gets a domain by letting them dabble in abilities from domains without taking them. Plus, since the existing doctrines don’t have much in the way of exclusivity in their feats, this method cuts down on that as well.

If you want to build an inquisitor more focused on identifying threats, this feat does the job. Other classes like fighter get similar effects, so I didn’t want to lock this to only inquisitors. The deity’s favored weapon part seemed like a bit of fun flavor, but really it’s not 100% necessary. Still, doing that makes it feel unique and interesting, I think.

I knew early on that I wanted to use cleric’s divine font to fuel the various abilities that grant bonus spells to the inquisitor. At the time, this was mostly for discern lies, but detect alignment works well in this regard too. Since the spell is uncommon, the feat here is as well, which becomes a theme as we keep going down the list of feats. I can kind of see why they kept the spell from being universally accessible, but I didn’t want to go with the champion’s common level 8 vague-sense version since it wouldn’t be a utility-font anymore.

As mentioned above, having some domain-centric feats that the inquisitor doctrine can cheat its way into is a nice way to emulate the class’s domain access. Originally I didn’t know how I’d include the Bane ability. Luckily, Secrets of Magic not only reintroduced the weapon property as a rune, but it also provided the conflux spell runic impression that does something similar.

Also as mentioned above, this ability is uncommon rarity because the bane rune itself is uncommon. Technically I could skip making this one uncommon because runic impression, a common magus feat, eventually permits the keen rune, which is uncommon. However, since this ability only grants an uncommon rune, I didn’t want to push it. After all, rarities are just a tool for GMs to restrict things that could be problematic, so if it doesn’t seem like it would be an issue, who cares?

Once again, a bonus spell that inquisitor got in 1e that works great with divine font. Once again, an ability that works well with a related domain and plays into inquisitor’s looser relationship with domains. Once again, an option that is uncommon in 2e. Regardless, this is one feature I had in mind from the very beginning, and I’m still happy with it like this. With it, inquisitor is still the best lie detector in town.

Also, side note: I could have sworn inquisitor got zone of truth instead of discern lies in 1e. I was so sure that I didn’t even look it up and wrote this feat for zone of truth at level 6. I only changed it after noticing while checking on something unrelated. I am convinced there are some bearenstein / bearenstain bears shenanigans going on. 

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I loved the inquisitor in 1e. It was one of the only non-bard classes I made multiple characters of to play. If Paizo does decide to bring the class into 2e some day, I hope it isn’t as its own class because honestly I really don’t see it needing all that extra stuff to function well.

It doesn’t have to be quite like this though; inquisitor could work great as a champion specific archetype like how wizard now has the runelord archetype. It could even just make it an archetype that grants deific powers to any class like judgment and the spells. There’s a lot of options out there, which is part of what I love the most about this system.

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Inquisitor Doctrine Rules

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