Alhazred the Occultist

Afflicted with the terrible curse that comes with knowledge, Alhazred the Occultist uses his eldritch powers to mend the wounds of his allies. And harm foes.

Who Is Alhazred the Occultist?

Who Are Alhazred the Occultist?

The road to the darkest dungeon is full of death and regret. Some, like Dismas, regret actions they've made in the past. Others, like Amani, regret the things that have happened to them. Alhazred, the Occultist, regrets what he has learned.

After spending a lifetime researching deeper and deeper into the void, Alhazred is cursed by his knowledge of the eldritch horrors that lurk there. The tendrils come ever closer, driving everything they touch to madness.

His only chance of survival outside of the hamlet is to inflict the visions of what he has witnessed on others. It's grim.

Like many newcomers to Darkest Dungeon, I thought the Vestal was the best healer at first. I mean, it's obvious, right? Her heals don't have crazy downsides, like wild variation or inflicting some malady like bleeding.

But as the game goes on and the dungeons get, well, darker – the limitations of a healbot start to shine through. Every turn and action becomes too important. If a turn goes by that does not require a heal from a dedicated healer, that turn is somewhat wasted.

Enter the Occultist. As his power grows over time, the good rolls on his heals become high enough that the average is worth the risk. Meanwhile, his many non-heal abilities never lose their lustre. The opposite is true, in fact. In the darkest dungeon, the Occultist's curses, forced movement and bleeding can be the difference between winning and losing, regardless of healing.

So how do we build him in Pathfinder?

Keys to the Character

occultist curse

$%*! (Cursing)

Alhazred's years spent researching eldritch horrors have left him resistant to their effects, but cursing others with a glimpse of them really ruins their day!

wyrd reconstruction

The Bad Doctor

Generally we prefer our healers not to injure us in other ways while they treat us. Well you can't always get what you want.

bloody dagger

What's the Bloody Point?

When curses and visions of horrible aberrant monsters don't work, there is always the backup plan: stabbing.

eldritch tendril

Call of the Void

Alhazred's magic is powered by awful, abyssal eldritch horrors. Aberrant tentacles, creepy eyes, and many other shocking things are par for the course.

Building Alhazred the Occultist

In Pop Culture Pathfinder terms, Alhazred is listed as a Healer, rather than an Enchanter. This is true to my experience with Darkest Dungeon – despite having much more utility and damage skills than healing overall, I would slot the Occultist into my party in the healer role. Let's continue with that here, making a healer who can heal, but mainly wants to curse and hinder his foes.

The distinction reminds me of MOBAs, where the "support" role often has the longest stuns and the craziest movement shenanigans. The power imbalance compared to the carries is there to make up for the (Ed. Note: perhaps?) less fun time spent healing allies.

With that in mind, on the battlefield Alhazred the Occultist is a powerful healing support. With many feats invested into making Battle Medicine more powerful, frequent and useful, he is always ready to patch up his allies when they are willing to risk the treatment.

Plus, his Occultist magical tradition gives access to a few magical heals – like Soothe – or other, "wyrder" ways of reconstructing allies health – like Spirit Link.

But where Alhazred really shines is those actions between healing friends. Rather than sit about ineffectually, like some dainty cloistered cleric, the Occultist makes life a living torment for his foes. In doing so, he severely weakens them, leaving them open for cleanup by his allies. The best defense really is a terrifying offense.

To meet this goal, Alhazred uses a combination of Witch hexes and Occult curses – both from his own magical tradition and a Curse Maelstrom Archetype, which is powerful enough to debuff everyone nearby, including allies.

Outside of battle, Alhazred's legendary intimidation can terrify people into giving the party what they want – but surely there is a better way to get it, right?


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  • Skill-based healing leaves lots of class feats
  • Weakens foes for allies to finish
  • Reads a lot
  • Might plague his party with visions
  • Curses may spread to friends
  • Am I bleeding more than before?


Versatile Human

I didn't realize until now that there isn't really an "aberrant" ancestry or heritage available in Pathfinder. There is an aberrant bloodline, and there are many fey ancestry feats, but that's as close as it comes.

That doesn't affect this build in any way – after all, Alhazred is a human who has merely witnessed the horrors of the aberrant. It just seems like a missed opportunity.

In any case, the Versatile heritage gives our Occultist access to Battle Medicine right from level one. This establishes a theme that will be found throughout the build: loading up on healing General & Skill feats, while using class feats for curses and hexes.





General Training

For Battle Medicine, to get Alhazred's medical treatments started.



Gloomseer? What, did he look at himself in the mirror?


Multitalented: Rogue Dedication

This is just to beef up the Occultist's dagger action, but really it's about not letting the best human feat go to waste.


Stubborn Persistence

You've gotta be stubborn to learn about the void and then keep researching. Alhazred doesn't get fatigued easily.



Upgrade that gloomseer to full dakrvision.



This may be one of the shortest blurbs we write for a background. It's literally in his name, it's just missing two letters.

The background gives a free skill training of our choice, since his class already gives him Occultism, and the Intelligence boost is what we're looking for.

The Schooled In Secrets represents the Occultists vast knowledge of edlritch horror – we hope he keeps it to himself.


Witch - Curse Patron

The Witch class gives our Occultist a few very occult-y things right from the get go. For one, access to spellcasting and the occult spell tradition. That's table stakes for Alhazred, but the flavor doesn't stop there.

Hexes, one of the unique features of the Witch class, are exactly what we're looking for in a curse-heavy Occultist build. And the Curse Patron, while not quite an Aberrant Patron (which doesn't exist currently), is a great source of extra cursing and other debilitating. This primarily starts with Evil Eye, the Curse Patron's hex cantrip.

Evil Eye frightens enemies 1 or 2 on a failed check, then leaves them immune to the cantrip for 1 minute. The immunity is annoying for a cantrip, which doesn't require a spell slot or focus point. However, while the hex is active, the foe can't fall below frightened 1. A penalty of 1 to every DC and check can be very powerful over time – it makes every other curse and spell the Occultist casts on the foe easier to hit, as well as all those of the Occultist's allies.

Alhazred has multiple ways of sustaining curses like Evil Eye – Cackle, Effortless Concentration and just hard-casting Sustain a Spell among them. So if Evil Eye lands, he can keep a target frightened for as long as he wants.

To meet the fantasy of our Darkest Dungeon Occultist, we'll add a fee archetypes to the Witch class. The main one is the Curse Maelstrom archetype. This gives Alhazred the option of rerolling a successful check in order to enter a curse maelstrom state, which confers a penalty to all checks and saving throws to everyone nearby.

The second archetype is a Rogue Dedication, courtesy of Multitalented. We just grab one feat from it otherwise – sneak attack, to give a little extra damage to those rare dagger strikes.






Through Natural Ambition. One of the ways Alhazred will extend his curses.


Basic Lesson: Life

Some healing over time to add to the skill-based treatments.


Curse Maelstrom Dedication

Invite abyssal entities to debilitate everyone – friend and foe – nearby.


Unnerving Expansion

Extend the area of that awful curse maelstrom. Make sure no friends are around.


Share Burden

The Occultist can bare the brunt of curses, offering to take one in a friend's place.


Major Lesson I: Shadow

Send a foe's shadow to attack them, and continue attacking every time the spell is sustained.


Torrential Backlash

Make those aberrant visions a reality, damaging everyone in range of the curse maelstrom.


Sneak Attacker

Focus points are full. We got all the good curse maelstrom feats. Might as well stab better.


Effortless Concentration

One free sustain per turn. Alhazred has lots of things to sustain.


Split Hex

Send a hex like Evil Eye or Malicious Shadow – or if Alhazred is feeling nice, Life Boost – to two targets.


Hex Master

Hex multiple targets per turn, and cackle sustains all of them! Curses!

Skills & General Feats

Obviously, to make being a healer curse-hog work, Alhazred will need legendary Medicine.

Other than that, he is equally skilled at Occultism (his knowledge of the abyss) and Intimidation (scaring people with that knowledge). Honestly, with the high intelligence needed to do witch things, he is almost trained in everything, but those are the three areas the Occultist excels.

Legendary: Intimidation, Medicine, Occultism

Master: -

Expert: -





Battle Medicine

From Versatile Heritage. Use a medicine check to treat an allies wounds in an encounter.


Risky Surgery

Get that wyrd healing in. Heal an ally better, but maybe it hurts them.


Ward Medic

Treat a bunch of allies at once, just don't get distracted.


Godless Healing

Enough of all this helping allies. When someone treats wounds on the Occultist, it works better.


Continual Recovery

Alhazred can treat a patient's wounds more frequently. That's great because sometimes he makes them.


Paragon Battle Medicine

Treating wounds in battle does more than heal, it gets rid of a bunch of status effects. Even ones the Occultist caused!


Mortal Healing

If Alhazred is the main healer in the party, and there are no sources of divine healing, then he is critting those heals.


Disturbing Knowledge

From Rogue Dedication. All out of hexes? Frighten a foe with pure knowledge.


Advanced First Aid

Reduce status effects on allies, rather than just stabilize them.


Consult the Spirits

Are the Elder Gods really who we should ask for help?


Bizarre Magic

It's really hard to figure out what kind of magic Alhazred is using... other than beign called "The Occultist".


Terrified Retreat

Being intimidated by a being capable of evoking the abyss leaves foes running for the exit.


Legendary Medic

Once per day, use Treat Wounds to treat truly terrible afflictions.


Battle Cry

Start every encounter by screaming out some random information about the Elder Gods, scaring everyone.


Terrifying Resistance

You think you can hurt the mind of Alhazred? It's already broken from knowledge.


Scare to Death

What do foes do when they get a glimpse of the Occultist's knowledge? Die.


Lasting Coercion

If the Occultist makes someone do something, they do it out of fear.

Attribute Increases

Level Str Dex Con Int Wis Cha
1 12 14 12 18 12 10
5 12 14 14 19 14 12
10 12 14 16 20 16 14
15 12 16 16 21 18 16
20 12 18 18 22 18 18


Suggested Starting Equipment

Alhazred the Occultist's Signature Items

Key Spells






When the focus points are gone, and the spell slots are spent, and they're out of range of the dagger... daze them.


Spirit Link

Healing for an ally, at the expense of Alhazred's health.



Some non-medical, non-damaging healing. All upside.


Claim Curse

Take a curse on behalf of an ally. You can't kill what already wants to die.


Bestial Curse

Force an enemy to transform into a hideous beast-creature. Watch out for its claws.


Bloodspray Curse

A horrible version of bleeding where an enemy is curse to gush blood whenever they are injured.


Black Tentacles

Make the visions real with a Darkest Dungeon style tentacle attack from the abyss.


Mariner's Curse

Curse an enemy with sickness, like they are on the roiling sea.



Stupefy (or worse) an enemy forever.


Summon Ancient Fleshforged

Eldritch Horror Go! Make the nighmares a reality for the Occultist's enemies.


Alhazred the Occultist Resources