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Carl
2013-11-02, 10:08 PM
My main though when re-doing the Archmage was to address my biggest issue with the core Archmage: The fact that it felt completely random and divorced from the concept of what an Archmage should be about.

An Archmage to me was always about mastery of magic. About taking the essence of magic and getting the most out of it. There may be individualís with more raw magical oomph out there, but the Archmage can beat even them thanks to his superior mastery of how to apply his magic to best effect.

The Core Archmage on the other hand just felt like a bunch of cool tricks and random cool ideaís lumped together under a PrC heading.

Requirements: Ability to cast 5th level Arcane Spells, Quicken Metamagic, Character Level 10th

Class Skills: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + Int Modifier

Hit Dice: D4

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st |+0 |+0 |+0 |+2 |Improved Spell Capacity, Empowered Casting, Finesse Casting, Unlimited Power
2nd |+1 |+0 |+0 |+3 |Empowered Casting, Improved Counterspell, Archmages Study
3rd |+1 |+1 |+1 |+3 |Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+2)
4th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Empowered Casting, Multi-Casting, Archmages Study
5th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Empowered Casting, Greater Counterspell, Irresistible Spellcasting (+4)
6th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Empowered Casting, Archmages Study
7th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+6)
8th |+4 |+2 |+2 |+6 |Empowered Casting, Superior Counterspell, Archmages Study
9th |+4 |+3 |+3 |+6 |Empowered Casting, Improved Multi-Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+8)
10th |+5 |+3 |+3 |+7 |Empowered Casting, Archmages Study, Perfection, Perfect Counterspell
[/table]

Weapon & Armour Proficiencies: An Archmage Gainís no further weapon or armour proficiencies.

Class Features:

Improved Spell Capacity: An Archmage gains a number of additional spell slot of every level up to his existing maximum spell level equal to his Archmage level. In addition each Archmage level taken increases their caster level, (but not anything else), in all qualifying arcane caster classes by 1.

Remember what I said about making the class better at what it already does? Well one of the issues of doing that without giving out an increase in maximum spell level like other caster Prcís is that at higher levels it leaves casters with much more limited resources after taking this PrC than would be the case with a pure class as it where. By giving you more spell slots of the levels you already know I hope to help alleviate this issue. The caster level increase was an obvious move for the same reasons.

Itís also important from a thematic PoV that players feel like theyíre getting some form of direct power progression. Archmages shouldnít sit still. I just donít think combining high level spells with some of the other features below is appropriate either.

It was also important to try and represent their efficiency in spellcasting more directly than the metamagic elements.

Archmages Study: An Archmages knows 1 additional spell of each level up to the maximum he can cast, these must be drawn from the spell lists of the class or classes that qualify for the Archmage Prestige class, (note this is 1 total, not 1 per qualifying class). He gains the benefits of this 1 additional time at 5th and 9th levels.

If the character already knows all qualifying spells of a given spell level they may pick one spell of that level from the Sorcerer/wizard list. If they know all spells from that list they may use any arcane caster list they wish.

In addition if the character possessed any barred schools prior to taking the Archmage class they lose the baring and gain one known spell of the relevant school/s of each spell level up to their maximum spell level.

With Archmages having so many spell slots of the same level now and no progression in their base class/s I felt it necessary to hand out a few more known spells to keep things fresh, I tried to strike a balance between sorc style and wizard style with some, (admittedly abusable), rules in place for situations where you know everything already.

Empower Csting: At 1st level and every Archmage level thereafter pick any metamagic feat with a base cost of 2 or less and gain it as a bonus feat. You must meet all qualifying restrictions.

In addition each time you gain empowered casting, pick 2 metamagicís you know with a cost of 2 or less. You may now apply this to any spell of 1st through 5th level with no increase in the spell level of the spell.

You may pick the same metamagic multiple times, if you do so the maximum spell level affected increases by 2 each time.

Metamagics applied via this ability no longer count as metamagicís for the purposes of cost reducers only, (e.g. Arcane Thesis).

This was the core idea I had to start with I changed the class from providing full base class progression to no base class progression afterwards, but I feel that makes this ability all the more useful and vital as the much reduced maximum spell level would greatly hamper their use of metamagic. Though it takes a bit more investment to effect youíre your highest spell levels. I also but a limit in place to keep the most powerful and thus broken metamagics out.

Overall though it really emphasises that core idea I brought up to begin with. Do what they already know how to do better.

Irresistible Spellcasting: At 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levelís the DC of all spell saves and your caster level for the purposes of penetrating spell resistance increase by 2. These bonuses are cumulative for a total of +8 at 9th level

The biggest issue with the fairly low level limit on spell levels is that itís going to seriously reduce the save DCís of your spells to the point higher level opponents will find them trivial, this bypasses that as well as upping itís abilities vs spell resistance to boot.

Unlimited Power: Any spell which has an effect which scales with caster level that has any form of cap on maximum caster level it scales to now ignores that cap and uses a cap equal to 10 + Archmage level.

In addition if the character possessed any barred schools prior to taking the Archmage class they lose the baring and gain one known spell of the relevant school/s of each spell level up to their maximum spell level.

Yet another scalar effect for the low level spellís, admittedly there are still a number that work off enemy max HD that would be unscaled, but theyíre amongst the most broken anyway so Iím happy to forget them.

The last point is pretty much pure thematic, an Archmage having barred schools makes no sense.

Improved Counterspell: An Archmage gains the Improved Counterspell feat for free at 2nd level. If he already possesses this feat then he may select any Metamagic feat he qualifies for as a bonus feat.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Dispel Magic as an Immediate action. Dispel Magic does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Dispel Magic and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Dispel Magic is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

Greater Counterspell: At 4th level an Archmage may expend any spell of equal or higher level, regardless of school to Counterspell a spell cast at him. In addition you may now attempt to counterspell any spell cast by an enemy that you are aware of without needing to ready an action or expend an action to do so.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Greater Dispel Magic as an Immediate action. Greater Dispel Magic does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Greater Dispel Magic and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Greater Dispel Magic is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

Superior Counterspell: At 7th level an Archmage may expend any spell of any level to counterspell a spell, even a higher level spell.

Perfect Counterspell: An Archmage may counterspell one spell per round without expending a spell slot.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Mageís Disjunction as an Immediate action. Mageís Disjunction does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Mageís Disjunction and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Mageís Disjunction is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

Iíll admit this stuff was a last minute addition. Whilst I felt the earlier elements did an excellent job of giving Archmages superior casting punch with what they already had, you kind of expect Archmages to be beasts in magical duels as well, working with and expanding upon the existing dispel mechanics seemed the obvious route.

Overall I expect this to be a mixed blessing of a PrC, in campaigns where the DM is limiting safe resting opportunities and/or there are an usually large number of encounters per day the huge number of spells per day will likely come into itís own. A similar thing would apply if SR and/or widespread strong saves are in effect as the Archmage can more easily penetrate both. Medium magic settings when the Archmage is with a party of mundanes would also make a high level Archmage very strong as he could keep even groups of casters shut down for extended periods.

High magic settings however would likely seriously down-power the Archmage as the lack of high level spell slots and the sheer power they represent would be crippling compared to other casters.

That said Iím sure there are abusable combinationís I havenít seen I did throw this together in just a few hours on the spur of the moment, and interactions between people dipping just a few levels of this and going otherwise mostly full caster base class are hard for me to predict.


Ok I re-jigged the arrival time of certain abilities and did some re-wording to make more stuff scale of Archmage level. This let me reduce a bit of clutter on the features list and make going deeper into the Archmage more valuable. The change in requirements supported the new Unlimited Power and put Wizards at the same entry level as everyone else. I also added some new utility to the counterspelling feature chain.

Iíve added some new features but those are detailed and discussed individually below.


Finesse Casting: An Archmage who does not otherwise have access to them, (Note: Access is defined as unable to select due to too low a maximum spell level or unable to select due to not appearing on the qualifying class/s spell list/s), may select a single spell at each Archmage level from the list below to know as a 5th level spell. However they may never apply metamagic to spells gained in this way except via the Empower Casting class feature.

Spell List:

Antimagic Field
Guards and Wards
True Seeing
Forceful Hand
Banishment
Spell Turning
Plane Shift
Teleport, Greater
Forcecage
Grasping Hand
Control Weather
Dimensional Lock
Mind Blank
Clenched Fist
Freedom
Teleportation Circle
Foresight
Crushing Hand
Astral Projection
Etherealness
Time Stop

As pointed out further down the thread, whilst there are a huge range of effects that high level spells pull that are just bigger numbers or AoE versions of lesser spells there are some that are genuinely unique or canít be replicated via metamagic. Whilst I can throw a few effects in as metamagic modifications or riders thereís a lot that simply canít be replicated. Many of these spells, I wouldnít want to replicate or allow to an Archmage, they get too many other goodies for it to be very balanced. But this littlie list gives a nice selection of hopefully not too OTT spells with a good sampling of the higher level unique effects.

Obviously feedback and suggestions appreciated.


Multi-Casting: As a Full Round action you may now cast 2 spells with a casting time of 1 standard action or less. You may choose different targets and otherwise cast each spell as if it where cast separately. You cannot split this full round action across multiple rounds, nor is it reduced by affects such as Quicken metamagic or Haste spells that would normally modify casting time or allow Full Round actions as another type of action.

Improved Multi-Casting: You may now cast 3 spells as a Full Round action via the Multi-Casting Rules.

Iíd wanted to let Archmages unload multiple spells right from day one, but doing so in a way that works for prepared and spontaneous casters equally was a challenge. Balance was also an issue, I didnít want too much Nova potential.

That said a lot of PEACHíing on this new trick would be appreciated, the action economy isnít great so it has itís limitís, on the other hand itís still a lot of spells a round in the right circumstances.

Perfection: An Archmage may expend spell slots in the normal manner, but treating the as exceptional abilities rather than spells, though they follow all the normal rules they otherwise would. As such they now function in anti-magic fields and similar effects. However if they do this they may not use the Multi-Casting, Improved Multi-Casting, Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spell, or any Metamagic feats. They also may not cast spells gained via the Finesse Casting class feature, or use the Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic, and Mageís Disjunctions granted via the Counterpelling line of class features.

After writing down my inspiration source and deciding to hand out Anti-Magic field as an option I realised that working in an anti-magic field would be kind of Archmagery all by itself. It takes a lot of effort and skill to get around an effect that normally excludes magic. That said I threw a ton of limits at it, itís potentially very powerful, so yeah not sure how this comes out power wise.


Okay not got the new metamagic feats done that I wanted, but itís a start.

Old V1.0 Archmage below in spoiler tags.

Requirements: Ability to cast 5th level Arcane Spells, Quicken Metamagic,

Class Skills: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + Int Modifier

Hit Dice: D4

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st |+0 |+0 |+0 |+2 | Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Unlimited Power, Irresistible Spellcasting (+2), Archmages Study
2nd |+1 |+0 |+0 |+3 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Improved Counterspell
3rd |+1 |+1 |+1 |+3 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Irresistible Spellcasting (+4)
4th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Greater Counterspell
5th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Archmages Study
6th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Irresistible Spellcasting (+6)
7th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Superior Counterspell
8th |+4 |+2 |+2 |+6 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic
9th |+4 |+3 |+3 |+6 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Archmages Study, Irresistible Spellcasting (+8)
10th |+5 |+3 |+3 |+7 |Improved Spell Capacity, Automatic Metamagic, Perfect Counterspell
[/table]

Weapon & Armour Proficiencies: An Archmage Gainís no further weapon or armour proficiencies.

Class Features:

Improved Spell Capacity: An Archmage gains 1 additional spell slot of every level up to his existing maximum spell level at 1st level and every Archmage level thereafter. In addition each Archmage level taken increases their caster level, (but not anything else), in all qualifying arcane caster classes by 1.

Remember what I said about making the class better at what it already does? Well one of the issues of doing that without giving out an increase in maximum spell level like other caster Prcís is that at higher levels it leaves casters with much more limited resources after taking this PrC than would be the case with a pure class as it where. By giving you more spell slots of the levels you already know I hope to help alleviate this issue. The caster level increase was an obvious move for the same reasons.

Itís also important from a thematic PoV that players feel like theyíre getting some form of direct power progression. Archmages shouldnít sit still. I just donít think combining high level spells with some of the other features below is appropriate either.

Archmages Study: An Archmages knows 1 additional spell of each level up to the maximum he can cast, these must be drawn from the spell lists of the class or classes that qualify for the Archmage Prestige class, (note this is 1 total, not 1 per qualifying class). He gains the benefits of this 1 additional time at 5th and 9th levels.

If the character already knows all qualifying spells of a given spell level they may pick one spell of that level from the Sorcerer/wizard list. If they know all spells from that list they may use any arcane caster list they wish.

In addition if the character possessed any barred schools prior to taking the Archmage class they lose the baring and gain one known spell of the relevant school/s of each spell level up to their maximum spell level.

With Archmages having so many spell slots of the same level now and no progression in their base class/s I felt it necessary to hand out a few more known spells to keep things fresh, I tried to strike a balance between sorc style and wizard style with some, (admittedly abusable), rules in place for situations where you know everything already.

The last point is pretty much pure thematic, an Archmage having barred schools makes no sense.

Automatic Metamagic: At 1st level and every Archmage level thereafter pick any metamagic feat with a base cost of 2 or less and gain it as a bonus feat. You must meet all qualifying restrictions.

In addition each time you gain Automatic Metamaic, pick a metamagic you know with a cost of 2 or less. You may now apply this to any spell of 1st through 3rd level with no increase in the spell level of the spell.

You may pick the same metamagic multiple times, if you do so the maximum spell level affected increases by 3 each time.

Metamagics applied via this ability no longer count as metamagicís for the purposes of cost reducers only, (e.g. Arcane Thesis).

This was the core idea I had to start with I changed the class from providing full base class progression to no base class progression afterwards, but I feel that makes this ability all the more useful and vital as the much reduced maximum spell level would greatly hamper their use of metamagic. Though it takes a bit more investment to effect youíre your highest spell levels. I also but a limit in place to keep the most powerful and thus broken metamagics out.

Overall though it really emphasises that core idea I brought up to begin with. Do what they already know how to do better.

Irresistible Spellcasting: At 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th levelís the DC of all spell saves and your caster level for the purposes of penetrating spell resistance increase by 2. These bonuses are cumulative for a total of +8 at 9th level

The biggest issue with the fairly low level limit on spell levels is that itís going to seriously reduce the save DCís of your spells to the point higher level opponents will find them trivial, this bypasses that as well as upping itís abilities vs spell resistance to boot.

Unlimited Power: Any spell which has an effect which scales with caster level that has any form of cap on maximum caster level it scales to now ignores that cap and uses a cap equal to your Archmage level plus your level in the highest level qualifying class.

Yet another scalar effect for the low level spellís, admittedly there are still a number that work off enemy max HD that would be unscaled, but theyíre amongst the most broken anyway so Iím happy to forget them.

Improved Counterspell: An Archmage gains the Improved Counterspell feat for free at 2nd level. If he already possesses this feat then he may select any Metamagic feat he qualifies for as a bonus feat.

Greater Counterspell: At 4th level an Archmage may expend any spell of equal or higher level, regardless of school to Counterspell a spell cast at him. In addition you may now attempt to counterspell any spell cast by an enemy that you are aware of without needing to ready an action or expend an action to do so.

Superior Counterspell: At 7th level an Archmage may expend any spell of any level to counterspell a spell, even a higher level spell.

Perfect Counterspell: An Archmage may counterspell one spell per round without expending a spell slot.

Iíll admit this stuff was a last minute addition. Whilst I felt the earlier elements did an excellent job of giving Archmages superior casting punch with what they already had, you kind of expect Archmages to be beasts in magical duels as well, working with and expanding upon the existing dispel mechanics seemed the obvious route.

Overall I expect this to be a mixed blessing of a PrC, in campaigns where the DM is limiting safe resting opportunities and/or there are an usually large number of encounters per day the huge number of spells per day will likely come into itís own. A similar thing would apply if SR and/or widespread strong saves are in effect as the Archmage can more easily penetrate both. Medium magic settings when the Archmage is with a party of mundanes would also make a high level Archmage very strong as he could keep even groups of casters shut down for extended periods.

High magic settings however would likely seriously down-power the Archmage as the lack of high level spell slots and the sheer power they represent would be crippling compared to other casters.

That said Iím sure there are abusable combinationís I havenít seen I did throw this together in just a few hours on the spur of the moment, and interactions between people dipping just a few levels of this and going otherwise mostly full caster base class are hard for me to predict.


Anyway your thoughts on this hasty little construction?

anacalgion
2013-11-03, 01:12 AM
So at first I missed the part where you don't get higher level spells and I was terrified, but then I noticed it and I loved the class. Looks cool to me. I'd play one.

EDIT: And I'll thoroughly PEACH when I have time.

TuggyNE
2013-11-03, 06:30 AM
This is very confusing to me. An archmage PrC that doesn't technically progress spellcasting? What? :smallconfused: Ending up with a level 20 full caster that can't cast forcecage or wish or chain lightning or even meteor swarm just seems strange.

Am I correct in supposing that Improved Spell Capacity eventually gives you 10 extra slots for every level? That seems extremely wasteful and, past a certain point, not terribly helpful. I'd suggest cutting it down to a more efficient progression.

One would think Archmage's Study would improve the number of spells known, but since the class doesn't progress spellcasting it's actually a lot less even than Sorcerer. (15 spells known of lower levels vs 19 of higher, assuming entry starting at ECL 11.) That should probably be bumped up.

Not really sure what the counterspelling stuff is doing there.

It's not a bad class, all in all, I'm just puzzled about the name.

Hamste
2013-11-03, 08:16 AM
The trick is to Beholder mage 9 levels and then go into this class.

If I ever want to make a magic missile expert I would definitely go this class...even if I wasn't I may still try it as it seems pretty good. I particularly like the extra spells per level (scaling is nice as well to keep the caster relevant) and the counter spell power thing. I can just imagine how annoying this character must be for the DM who likes to send spell casters. First that level 9 spell was countered without a slot and then the metamagiced quickened spell was shot down with a read magic.

Carl
2013-11-03, 12:17 PM
This is very confusing to me. An archmage PrC that doesn't technically progress spellcasting? What? Ending up with a level 20 full caster that can't cast forcecage or wish or chain lightning or even meteor swarm just seems strange.

Am I correct in supposing that Improved Spell Capacity eventually gives you 10 extra slots for every level? That seems extremely wasteful and, past a certain point, not terribly helpful. I'd suggest cutting it down to a more efficient progression.

One would think Archmage's Study would improve the number of spells known, but since the class doesn't progress spellcasting it's actually a lot less even than Sorcerer. (15 spells known of lower levels vs 19 of higher, assuming entry starting at ECL 11.) That should probably be bumped up.

Not really sure what the counterspelling stuff is doing there.

It's not a bad class, all in all, I'm just puzzled about the name.

1. Like i said when i think archmage i think serious master of magic not in the sense that he's got massive amounts of raw magical power to throw around, (though he may well have), but that he can use that power very very well to achieve impressive effects at minimal effort. In effect he doesn't necessarily need 9th level spells to make a mess of his opponents he can stretch much lower level spells to his needs.

2. Yes it adds 10 extra, it is i admit a bit ott. It's a legacy of when i was going to provide a graded improvement, (i.e. cheapening until it became automatic), of quicken metamagic over the level's, but i dropped that because A) i was concerned the action economy it offered would be too powerful, and B) i couldn't figure out how to make spontaneous and prepared casters work with that without giving spontaneous a huge power up along the way.

3. I went on the cautious side there if people feel it's maybe a few too few that's ok, i just didn't want to hand too many out.

4. It mostly came from the thought of what would happen if an archmage encounter a fellow caster of higher level. They'd be all but defenceless against them when really an Archmage should be able to deflect magical attacks better than most others. So i buffed up his counterspelling so he can deal with all levels of casters with better than usual efficiency.

5. I had the same reaction to the base Archmage tbh. Bear in mind there's also othign stopping you taking 18 levels of a full caster than picking up your next 2 normal and next 8 epic levels as archmage levels. Or taking further base class levels after tacking archmage levels. They're not exclusive so a high enough level archmage can have 9th level spell slots with archmage features. Just not outside of epics. Which is a fair balance point IMO. You really can't do a class that does magic "better" than other magic users and keep the power level the same or lower without some kind of tradeoff.



The trick is to Beholder mage 9 levels and then go into this class.

If I ever want to make a magic missile expert I would definitely go this class...even if I wasn't I may still try it as it seems pretty good. I particularly like the extra spells per level (scaling is nice as well to keep the caster relevant) and the counter spell power thing. I can just imagine how annoying this character must be for the DM who likes to send spell casters. First that level 9 spell was countered without a slot and then the metamagiced quickened spell was shot down with a read magic.

Glad you like it, not familiar with the beguiler though, care to clarify that?

Hamste
2013-11-03, 12:36 PM
Beholder mage not beguiler. They get 9th level spells in 9 levels. They learn as many spells as they want but casts spells like a sorcerer...oh, they also break action economy like mad (12 spells per turn or something similar). It is incredibly over powered as it requires someone to be a beholder first (using PAO shenanigans). It was pointed out more as a joke as no DM would ever allow the Beholder Mage.

Carl
2013-11-03, 01:30 PM
that'll teach me to watch what i type but thanks for the reply. Tierd atm,

Theoboldi
2013-11-03, 01:48 PM
To be honest, right now this PrC gives me the opposite feel of what you intended. The increased save DCs, higher caps for blasting spells, free metamagic, and large amounts of spellslots all give me the feel of someone who has a large amount of magical power, but lacks the finesse and intelligence to actually use it in higher level spell effects. It seems to be more about brute force than manipulating arcane energies in a fine way.

Carl
2013-11-03, 02:01 PM
but lacks the finesse and intelligence to actually use it in higher level spell effects. It seems to be more about brute force than manipulating arcane energies in a fine way.

I think this comes back to PoV TBH. I see using high level spells to solve a problem as the brute force way. I see spell slots as equivalent to the raw magical energy behind the spell as it where.

So a wizard who can ash a dragon with a 5th level spell is able to pull a lot more finesse than one that needs a 9th level spell to do it. Because the 5th level user is getting an equivalent effect for a lower input of actual magical energy.

Think of it this way. A traditional sorcerer beyond 10th level learns to channel his increasing reservoir of magic into ever larger more flashy spells. The Archmage learns to channel it into a greater number of less energetic spells. But is able to achieve effects that are nonetheless well beyond the normal energy level because he can achieve better fine control.

I'm guessing though you see 9th level spells as somehow requiring more finesse than 5th level ones?

Theoboldi
2013-11-03, 02:22 PM
The problem for me lies int he fact that this PrC offers mostly only bigger numbers. You can do more counterspelling, cram more metamagic into a spell, give your blasts more power.

Higher spell levels, on the other hands, offer more options and ways to manipulate the world around you. That strikes me as using more finesse than throwing increasingly powerful fireballs at enemies.

One of the things I like about the original Arch Mage is that it could actually change the way spells worked. Turning touch spells into ranged attacks, for example, greatly increased the useability of a spell without directly giving more power, simply by allowing you to stay out of reach of your enemies. Similarely, being able to change the area of effect of a spell allowed to make a spell more versatile and better aplicable in more situations. Something like this can of course be achieved by the free metamagic your PrC gives, but that still seems more limited to me than the abilities of the original.

TuggyNE
2013-11-03, 05:51 PM
So, it looks like the best entry for this class is probably Wizard 17/Archmage 3, gaining an extra eighth-, two extra seventh-, and three extra sixth- and below level spell slots compared to Wizard+3, as well as +4 to spell DCs and penetration, 9 spells known instead of 6, three bonus feats instead of one, and three metamagic reducers.


I think this comes back to PoV TBH. I see using high level spells to solve a problem as the brute force way. I see spell slots as equivalent to the raw magical energy behind the spell as it where.

Some high-level spells are merely "the same, but more of it". Some, though, are not: forcecage, for example, or gate, or (limited) wish, or time stop, or foresight, or disjunction, or mind blank, offer wholly new capabilities that really cannot be mimicked any other way. An archmage that entirely lacks these capabilities is a strange archmage indeed. And yet, the most natural entry to this class will end up neglecting those spells entirely, because the archmage simply does not have the skill to cast them.


I'm guessing though you see 9th level spells as somehow requiring more finesse than 5th level ones?

More total skill, yes. They require more intelligence/charisma, are only available to those with a great deal of experience, and have some uniquely powerful capabilities.

Carl
2013-11-08, 02:16 AM
Some high-level spells are merely "the same, but more of it". Some, though, are not: forcecage, for example, or gate, or (limited) wish, or time stop, or foresight, or disjunction, or mind blank, offer wholly new capabilities that really cannot be mimicked any other way. An archmage that entirely lacks these capabilities is a strange archmage indeed. And yet, the most natural entry to this class will end up neglecting those spells entirely, because the archmage simply does not have the skill to cast them.

I can understand this argument quite well. I agree there are some higher level spells that absolutely fall into the higher finesse range, (though a few like wish are so blatantly overpowered without massive DM fiat that i have no issue losing them), but a hell of a lot of the higher level spells are either AoE formats of lesser spells, (implosion and the various mass spells), or bigger number forms, (most blasting spells), or have secondary effects available via metamagic's my archhmage can access.

I'll come back to you in a second while i just drop a reply to Theoboldi.

@Theoboldi: Bear in mind that my archmage can do everything the old one can but without the limit's, and with a lot larger range of effects that the old can't touch with it's class abilities. I think this is where my issue with the core archmage sits. Nearly everything it does can be achieved at a lower cost and with greater flexibility in how it can be applied. I also don't really consider anything the archmage does in the core iteration to be especially archmagey. That kind of thing should be something any mage is capable of doing if he chooses to go study in that area. An archmage should be set apart by the array of effects and ease of application of those, not by being able to do them at all (in general, exceptions exist).

I chose metamagic as my means of doing things for that very reason. It's got the built in flexibility, and with non-core added in, an enormous number of options capable of replicating nearly any spell effect that isn't unique or transforming a single target into an AoE. And i should think reasonable metamagics could be invented for those.


@Both of you: To come back to sort of where i left of with TuggyNE, the biggest issue with creating any kind of full caster class or PrC is that the existing full casters are largely T1 or T2 yet have minimal class features beyond spell levels so if you give them full caster you've either got to seriously restrict their spell list to cut out basically every really powerful spell or not have any class features of your own. So short of creating it as a base class there's no real way to do the archmage, (or other full caster PrC), and give it high level spell slots whilst maintaining balance.

That said this little discussion has got me to sit down and think about how i could replicate some tricks as suitable metamagics or extra class features to try and cut into some of the issues you've mentioned.

Also the noted issue of going full archmage being one of the lower idieal paths is an obvious issue.

TuggyNE
2013-11-08, 05:17 AM
Bear in mind that my archmage can do everything the old one can but without the limit's, and with a lot larger range of effects that the old can't touch with it's class abilities.

Hmm. Ocular Spell is a fair stand-in for Arcane Reach; Mastery of Counterspelling is certainly inferior to the options here, though they don't directly replace it; and Energy Substitution isn't the worst trade for Mastery of Elements ó but what options does it give to mimic Arcane Fire, Mastery of Shaping, Spell Power, or Spell-Like Ability? Reserve feats could do the first of those, but they aren't metamagic. And the last three really don't exist as any kind of metamagic at all. (Core Archmage can get up to +5 CL for all purposes, or time stop 8/day, which is nothing to sneeze at.)


@Both of you: To come back to sort of where i left of with TuggyNE, the biggest issue with creating any kind of full caster class or PrC is that the existing full casters are largely T1 or T2 yet have minimal class features beyond spell levels so if you give them full caster you've either got to seriously restrict their spell list to cut out basically every really powerful spell or not have any class features of your own. So short of creating it as a base class there's no real way to do the archmage, (or other full caster PrC), and give it high level spell slots whilst maintaining balance.

What's wrong with having it chop off spell slots, representing both a moderate sacrifice of power, and a greater efficiency/skill/finesse with what remains?


That said this little discussion has got me to sit down and think about how i could replicate some tricks as suitable metamagics or extra class features to try and cut into some of the issues you've mentioned.

Well, there's a good list up at the top of this post. :smallwink:

Carl
2013-11-08, 09:03 AM
Just a quick a dirty reply TuggyNE:

Innate spell apes spell like ability and according to D&D tools at least one (http://dndtools.eu/feats/players-guide-to-faerun--22/innate-spell--1651/) splat book has it as a mertamagic feat, though now i look carefully at that entry, (i ran through the entire metamagic index when building the archmage to see how many abusable combinations there where but only quick glanced), i note there are several other versions that are not metamagic feat's, have to consider that one as i know complete arcane is generally the preferred version for many people when it comes to caster stuff.

Spell Shaping is my screw up, i didn't look back at the archmage entry before posting the last reply and got it into my head it aped sculpt spell, (admittedly still a mighty useful capability).

Arcane Fire i don't see as a loss, unless your facing opponents with access to force resistance or you really need the range most blasting spells and particularly Orb of Force can ape the effects via unlimited power + Empower spell as an automatic metamagic. Hell just with access to complete arcane most pure wizard/sorc builds can throw around much nastier spells than that rather easy, it's only real special capability is the ability to bypass even the relatively rare force resistance. Basically i got the same effect in a more roundabout way from my PoV.

Spell Power, well between existing feats and the limit's on spell scaling anyway the loss of that means little, there's a tiny handful of spells that would benefit from it and that's it. I didn't see it as worth adding an effect for.


What's wrong with having it chop off spell slots, representing both a moderate sacrifice of power, and a greater efficiency/skill/finesse with what remains?

Short version. That naturally to me implies a less skilled caster, not a more skilled caster. It all comes beck to this concept that every time a caster casts a spell they expend some magical energy to do it. How many spells they can cast of a given level is determined by how much energy they have available. An Archmage should be using less energy to cast his spells, not more even before tricks, (represented via metamagic), are applied. And of course i see an archmage as being able to more easily play with his spells for that matter.

Long Version: Whilst i had a fairly firmly established notion of what an archmage was well before reading the books, i admit a strong source of inspiration here was from the Dresden Files. Specifically Ivy at the Shedd in Small Favour. For those not familiar with the work i'll provide a brief summary in spoiler tags below.

All-right minior disclaimer, DF verse magic is a tad hard to directly compare to D&D so bear that in mind when i describe the effects below. Mainly conservation of energy is absolutly in effect so area spells are huge works of magic. Leads to oddities like disintegrates, (and equivalent elemental spells), being thrown about like candy whilst a good fireball is rare and a firestorm needs a minor deity to cast it. Other similar oddities apply across a wide range of effects.

Basics of the scenario are that a bunch of fallen angels are trying to capture Ivy and t do it they create a huge magic circle that effectively isolates the entire area physically and magically from the outside area. Magic users in DF do a lot of their spellcasting by drawing on outside sources of magic and when cut off like that have real trouble casting anything. Harry who can normally throw modest fire blasts around till the cows come home manages just a couple of them before he's out. Ivy being 10 years old gets even less energy to work with than him, (how much you can have is dependent on physical mass to some degree). Yet she not only vaporises one as an intimidation attempt, she then goes on to fight a multi-minute battle with the remaining power against 3 opponnents.

Not only is she very efficient at what she does though, she achieves it via a very efficient and subtle means. She creates a shield to deal with prehensile hair attack's, now if this was Harry or another magic user it would be a solid globe of force that would absorb the energy of, or destroy anything that touched it whilst also preventing the caster working any other magic. Ivy creates a thin spiderweb of energy strands and just nudges the hair strands a little off target each time so they miss or become tangled in each other.

She encases another bad guy in a globe of force. Again normally if he tried to throw himself against it the caster would have to dissipate the energy of that attempt by spending power. She gets around that by making it frictionless so he just spins himself in circles, (and keeps adding a nudge of force with another spell to keep him disorientated).

And at the same time as working all 3 of those spells she's busy deflecting blasts of lightning from the enemies own very serious adult caster, (who could blast Harry to nothing under normal circumstances), and those are the only things to seriously drain her energy.

Ivy may have what amounts, (in D&D terms), to 9th level spell slots normally. But even when she's reduced to a handful of her lowest spell slots she's able to throw about effects of sufficient potency to hold off multiple serious enemies using what amounts to much more power. She's able to manipulate her magic to achieve very potent effects whilst using almost no power.

Now admittedly Ivy is a particularly spectacular form of the concept, she takes the minimal energy usage even further than my Archmage does and she's an example that under normal circumstances throws much more powerful spell slots about than a non-epic form of my archmage does. That was the balance factor though, if you want an archmage with full archmage features and high level spell slots simply go epic.

Carl
2013-11-08, 09:18 PM
V2.0 is up. More PEACH please.

Carl
2013-11-12, 03:59 PM
Ok er, bump, looks like this got forgotten by tuggy e.t.c.

anacalgion
2013-11-13, 12:15 AM
Eh, what the heck. I wasn't getting work done anyways.



Requirements: Ability to cast 5th level Arcane Spells, Quicken Metamagic, Character Level 10th

Does it need the Character level 10th? Feels heavy handed.

Class Skills: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (Arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

Ok. Very sparse. Maybe include a few more knowleges? You are the archmage after all.

Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + Int Modifier

Hit Dice: D4

{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st |+0 |+0 |+0 |+2 |Improved Spell Capacity, Empowered Casting, Finesse Casting, Unlimited Power
2nd |+1 |+0 |+0 |+3 |Empowered Casting, Improved Counterspell, Archmages Study
3rd |+1 |+1 |+1 |+3 |Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+2)
4th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Empowered Casting, Multi-Casting, Archmages Study
5th |+2 |+1 |+1 |+4 |Empowered Casting, Greater Counterspell, Irresistible Spellcasting (+4)
6th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Empowered Casting, Archmages Study
7th |+3 |+2 |+2 |+5 |Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+6)
8th |+4 |+2 |+2 |+6 |Empowered Casting, Superior Counterspell, Archmages Study
9th |+4 |+3 |+3 |+6 |Empowered Casting, Improved Multi-Casting, Irresistible Spellcasting (+8)
10th |+5 |+3 |+3 |+7 |Empowered Casting, Archmages Study, Perfection, Perfect Counterspell
[/table]

Weapon & Armour Proficiencies: An Archmage Gainís no further weapon or armour proficiencies.

Class Features:

Improved Spell Capacity: An Archmage gains a number of additional spell slot of every level up to his existing maximum spell level equal to his Archmage level. In addition each Archmage level taken increases their caster level, (but not anything else), in all qualifying arcane caster classes by 1.

Yup. This is a lot. Maybe half his level? Its just a metric crap ton of spells.

Archmages Study: An Archmages knows 1 additional spell of each level up to the maximum he can cast, these must be drawn from the spell lists of the class or classes that qualify for the Archmage Prestige class, (note this is 1 total, not 1 per qualifying class). He gains the benefits of this 1 additional time at 5th and 9th levels.

If the character already knows all qualifying spells of a given spell level they may pick one spell of that level from the Sorcerer/wizard list. If they know all spells from that list they may use any arcane caster list they wish.

In addition if the character possessed any barred schools prior to taking the Archmage class they lose the baring and gain one known spell of the relevant school/s of each spell level up to their maximum spell level.

Sure. Looks good to me.

Empower Csting: At 1st level and every Archmage level thereafter pick any metamagic feat with a base cost of 2 or less and gain it as a bonus feat. You must meet all qualifying restrictions.

In addition each time you gain empowered casting, pick 2 metamagicís you know with a cost of 2 or less. You may now apply this to any spell of 1st through 5th level with no increase in the spell level of the spell.

You may pick the same metamagic multiple times, if you do so the maximum spell level affected increases by 2 each time.

Metamagics applied via this ability no longer count as metamagicís for the purposes of cost reducers only, (e.g. Arcane Thesis).

What if you made some sort of inverse scaling thing, where the metamagic bonus and the spell level couldn't go past, say, 6? So you can fire quickened magic missiles all day, but your 5th level spells aren't broken.

Irresistible Spellcasting: At 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th levelís the DC of all spell saves and your caster level for the purposes of penetrating spell resistance increase by 2. These bonuses are cumulative for a total of +8 at 9th level.

Yup. High DCs. Fun stuff.

Unlimited Power: Any spell which has an effect which scales with caster level that has any form of cap on maximum caster level it scales to now ignores that cap and uses a cap equal to 10 + Archmage level.

In addition if the character possessed any barred schools prior to taking the Archmage class they lose the baring and gain one known spell of the relevant school/s of each spell level up to their maximum spell level.

You already took out barred schools. Pretty sure this is a repeat. Other than that, there's nothing like a class feature called Unlimited Power. Fun stuff.

Improved Counterspell: An Archmage gains the Improved Counterspell feat for free at 2nd level. If he already possesses this feat then he may select any Metamagic feat he qualifies for as a bonus feat.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Dispel Magic as an Immediate action. Dispel Magic does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Dispel Magic and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Dispel Magic is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

I like this. It makes counterspelling a bit easier.

Greater Counterspell: At 4th level an Archmage may expend any spell of equal or higher level, regardless of school to Counterspell a spell cast at him. In addition you may now attempt to counterspell any spell cast by an enemy that you are aware of without needing to ready an action or expend an action to do so.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Greater Dispel Magic as an Immediate action. Greater Dispel Magic does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Greater Dispel Magic and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Greater Dispel Magic is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

And suddenly counterspelling is fun. Again, good stuff. Makes the archmage good against other casters without making them step too hard on say, a warblade or something.

Superior Counterspell: At 7th level an Archmage may expend any spell of any level to counterspell a spell, even a higher level spell.

Delicious. This is fun stuff.

Perfect Counterspell: An Archmage may counterspell one spell per round without expending a spell slot.

In addition you may now expend a 5th level spell slot to cast Mageís Disjunction as an Immediate action. Mageís Disjunction does not need to be prepared in the spell slot if the base class is a prepared caster, the spell prepared is instead converted to a Mageís Disjunction and then expended just like a Cleric spontaneously converting spells to cure spells.

If Mageís Disjunction is on your spell list/s but you do not already know it. You now add it to your list of known spells. If it is not on any of your spell lists, or requires a spell slot higher than your maximum spell level, you now know it as a 5th level spell.

Ehhhhh. Disjunction as a 5th level spell? When as written you get an extra 10 5th level spells per day? Nah. I love the class, but that's just silly.


Finesse Casting: An Archmage who does not otherwise have access to them, (Note: Access is defined as unable to select due to too low a maximum spell level or unable to select due to not appearing on the qualifying class/s spell list/s), may select a single spell at each Archmage level from the list below to know as a 5th level spell. However they may never apply metamagic to spells gained in this way except via the Empower Casting class feature.

Spell List:

Antimagic Field
Guards and Wards
True Seeing
Forceful Hand
Banishment
Spell Turning
Plane Shift
Teleport, Greater
Forcecage
Grasping Hand
Control Weather
Dimensional Lock
Mind Blank
Clenched Fist
Freedom
Teleportation Circle
Foresight
Crushing Hand
Astral Projection
Etherealness
Time Stop

This is brutal. I don't know if you want to do this. That is a lot of time stops. A lot.

Multi-Casting: As a Full Round action you may now cast 2 spells with a casting time of 1 standard action or less. You may choose different targets and otherwise cast each spell as if it where cast separately. You cannot split this full round action across multiple rounds, nor is it reduced by affects such as Quicken metamagic or Haste spells that would normally modify casting time or allow Full Round actions as another type of action.

Better. I like this.

Improved Multi-Casting: You may now cast 3 spells as a Full Round action via the Multi-Casting Rules.

Without the 9th level spells, sure. With them, you've got to be joking.

Perfection: An Archmage may expend spell slots in the normal manner, but treating the as exceptional abilities rather than spells, though they follow all the normal rules they otherwise would. As such they now function in anti-magic fields and similar effects. However if they do this they may not use the Multi-Casting, Improved Multi-Casting, Empowered Casting, Irresistible Spell, or any Metamagic feats. They also may not cast spells gained via the Finesse Casting class feature, or use the Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic, and Mageís Disjunctions granted via the Counterpelling line of class features.

Are you thinking of extraordinary abilities?

Anyway your thoughts on this hasty little construction?

In bold. Think I touched on everything.