The Making of the Eldritch Artist Archetype

Howdy y’all! It’s Lonesomechunk here (or otherwise known as Conner Berkheiser on Pathfinder Infinite) I figured I’d go over the creation of one of my favorite pieces of Infinite content that I’ve worked on: the Eldritch Artist Archetype.


The Ideas Phase

Archetypes+ began writing sometime last summer and It was my first project with Team+. Tony informed us of the plans for the project as well as ideas for it, such as what archetypes we wanted to focus on improving (like the pirate or assassin), however, we were also informed that we would get to create at least one brand new archetype as well! As exciting as this was, it was also somewhat daunting; “should I convert a beloved 1e prestige class to 2e? should I create something silly? something cool?”  I couldn’t decide, at least not for a little while. I discussed it with my co-writers and bounced ideas around, maybe I could do a magical girl archetype, or maybe I could do something inspired by the Revenant class from Guild Wars 2, but both didn’t really click (and considering the Starlit Sentinel and Animist would be announced months later, I’m glad I didn’t go for my initial ideas!). Ultimately, I let it simmer in the back of my mind for a good while as I got to work on other parts of the project.

Around this time I was playing Bravely Default II on the switch, as someone who loves RPGs, they sometimes make their way into my writing, inspiring me with ideas that might not be currently well-supported in the game. JRPGs in particular tend to have more “niche” or “odd” classes sometimes, especially Final Fantasy games and their spin-offs, you’d be hard pressed to find a western rpg with classes like “Patissier” or “Gambler”. This is for good reason of course, especially in a game like Pathfinder 2e where classes tend to be somewhat broad in concept, at least broad enough to encompass a whole 20 levels worth of content, usually complete with subclasses and such. Some of these more specific job concepts therefore would make for good archetypes, seeing as they can be easily applied to existing classes and don’t necessarily need to sacrifice their more “niche” appeal to do so. All of this is to say, when I obtained the Pictomancer job in Bravely Default II, something clicked, and I knew I found my archetype. As an artist myself, it seemed so obvious and so perfect, Pathfinder 2e didn’t have anything like it, and I already had plenty of ideas for what I wanted to do with it.

Folie the Pictomancer from Bravely Default II

The Creation Phase

So when it comes to creating an archetype or any kind of subclass, what I tend to do first is think about what kinds of things inspired it, what kinds of examples could I draw on to help inspire this idea? What cool moments did I want to help enable and is there some kind of theme that can tie it all together? At this time, the Eldritch Artist wasn’t fully formed, but I did have a strong inkling of what I wanted to do with it. In Bravely Default II the Pictomancer was more of a debuff focused class with the painting aesthetic, and while that certainly could have been route to take with the Eldritch Artist, I felt that in the context of a game like PF2e, I could get a lot more creative with it! I thought about characters like Sai from Naruto, summoning animals in combat from his Ink paintings or how the Pictomancer in Bravely Default II had a strong color theme to their abilities, leading to the idea of creation and visual effects. Due to the existence of spells like Dizzying Colors (at the time called Color Spray) as well as various illusory effects that mess with one’s vision, I knew that combining magic and art would let me tap into some unique elements that we currently didn’t have much of in the game. While Bards are great buffers and debuffers themselves, they’re also specifically occult and focused on music and auditory art forms, not visual, so I wanted Eldritch Artist to stand apart from it by going a different route.

Now that I had a stronger idea for what concepts & themes that I was going to focus the Eldritch Artist on, now came the part where I roughed out ideas, creating bullet points & simple descriptions for various feats, stuff like “being better against illusions (optical illusion theme)” or “summoning creatures from art”. From there I did my research and looked into different parts of PF2e where similar effects may already exist to gauge the rough power level of my ideas and where I could place them. I saw Psychic had the Thoughtform Summoning, which allowed them to modify their summons in a unique way, and I also saw how archetypes like Hallowed Necromancer or Dragon Disciple allowed you to nab spells that might not be on your list normally, which would be extremely fitting for things like Prismatic Spells or other spells with the Visual trait. I also thought about the Colorful Coatings from Treasure Vault, wonderfully fun items that didn’t scale super well but had a lot of potential in something like Eldritch Artist, once again calling back to the theme of color. My own real life experiences as an art student also made naming the feats and coming up with concepts tons of fun, I’m particularly proud of feats like Color Thaumaturgy, being a play on the word Color Theory or how fun Paranormal Pigments is to say (I’m a big fan of alliteration in my naming conventions). I also just knew that I had to include something to allow for the creation of one’s personal artistic demiplane, there was even module written early in Pathfinder 1e called Gallery of Evil that included a part where you went inside a painting to fight some monsters, sick!

An Eldritch Artist Wizard I made for a Playtest in a Magic the Gathering themed One-Shot

The Refinement Phase

Luckily when it came to the Eldritch Artist, the refinement phase was fairly smooth sailing. By the time I had written out most of the feats and abilities I turned it over to Tony for feedback and was given some really great suggestions that helped to guide it to its finished state. Most of it stayed pretty much the same but even those small tweaks really helped to give stuff like the Dedication and feats like Conjuring Canvas some real juice, defining them more clearly and making them more unique from similar effects. Unfortunately, now also came the time for the dreaded naming phase, what the hell was I gonna name this thing? It might seem a little odd to hear but I struggle with names and I didn’t actually land on the name Eldritch Artist for a while. I thought of just stealing Pictomancer but that name feels so rooted in Final Fantasy I wasn’t sure it would be okay, and It was mechanically distinct enough that I didn’t want direct comparisons. Maybe something else thats like a play on those words? I’ve always heard that “-mancy” was technically incorrect since that word technically refers to a style of divination while “-thurge” is technically more accurate (Pyrothurge being more linguistically fitting than Pyromancer despite many using the latter term quite often to mean the former). What about Ikonomancer? Ikonothurge? Maybe that’s too out there? Maybe Arcane Artist? It has the alliteration but this isn’t meant to be Arcane specific, ultimately what I landed on was Eldritch Artist, somewhat based on Eldrtich Archer. To be quite honest, looking back I kind of wish I stuck with Ikonothurge as unfamiliar of a term as it might be, Eldritch Artist feels almost a tad bit plain. Ultimately though I still elected to include the term in the flavor text, referring to the synthesis of magic and art as “Ikonothurgy”.

Closing Thoughts

Being involved in the creation of Archetypes+ was a ton of fun and an incredible learning experience, I got to really push myself to write more than I thought I was capable and really stretched my design muscles to do things I wasn’t fully comfortable with at the time (such as creating high level feats). Eldritch Artist in many ways is probably one of the things I’m most proud of, I have a lot of fondness for it as something that is uniquely mine and inspired by me being both an artist and JRPG nerd. Even If I can look back and see a number of things I would like to change (and a number of things that might require changes due to the Remaster), I nonetheless still hold it near to my heart. If you ever create a PC using the Eldritch Artist archetype please let me know! I’d love to hear all about them! Until next time!



Pathfinder Lore Nerd, Gay Illustrator, Lover of Cats and a bunch more! If you’re part of the Team+ Discord, chances are you’ll see me around, I’m @Lonesomechunk! I also made the “Golarion Unleashed” product line on Pathfinder Infinite and have contributed to projects like Player Core 1 Expanded,  Archetypes+ &  Feats+!
Infinite Products