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Thread: Shadowcaster Remix

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    Troll in the Playground

    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Default Shadowcaster Remix


    “The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”
    ― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

    “One realized all sorts of things. The value of an illusion, for instance, and that the shadow can be more important than the substance.
    All sorts of things.”
    ― Jean Rhys, Quartet

    This is a revision to the shadowcaster class from Tome of Magic, intended to make the class sufficiently flexible to remain useful in a variety of campaigns and settings. It incorporates both some revisions suggested by the original designer of the class along with original contributions by myself and my local gaming group. Shadowcasters have the following game statistics.

    Abilities: Intelligence and Charisma are the most important abilities for a shadowcaster, as they determine how powerful a mystery he can cast, and how hard those mysteries are to resist. A shadowcaster benefits from high Constitution and Dexterity scores much as a sorcerer or wizard would.

    Level Base Attack Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Fundamentals Mysteries
    1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Umbral sight (darkvision) 3 1
    2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Bonus feat; see text 3 2
    3rd +1 +3 +1 +3 Gathering dark, sustaining shadow (no need to eat or drink) 3 3
    4th +2 +4 +1 +4 Sudden shadow 1/day, veiled presence 4 4
    5th +2 +4 +1 +4 Supernatural mystery 4 5
    6th +3 +5 +2 +5 Gathering dark, sustaining shadow (no need to sleep) 4 6
    7th +3 +5 +2 +5 4 7
    8th +4 +6 +2 +6 Sudden shadow 2/day, umbral sight (see in darkness) 5 8
    9th +4 +6 +3 +6 5 9
    10th +5 +7 +3 +7 Gathering dark, sustaining shadow (immune to poison and disease) 5 10
    11th +5 +7 +3 +7 5 11
    12th +6/+1 +8 +4 +8 Sudden shadow 3/day 6 12
    13th +6/+1 +8 +4 +8 6 13
    14th +7/+2 +9 +4 +9 Gathering dark, sustaining shadow (no need to breathe) 6 14
    15th +7/+2 +9 +5 +9 6 15
    16th +8/+3 +10 +5 +10 Sudden shadow 4/day 7 16
    17th +8/+3 +10 +5 +10 7 17
    18th +9/+4 +11 +6 +11 Gathering dark, sustaining shadow (immune to fatigue and exhaustion) 7 18
    19th +9/+4 +11 +6 +11 7 19
    20th +10/+5 +12 +6 +12 Sudden shadow 5/day 8 20
    CLASS SKILLS (4 + Int mod per level, x4 at 1st level)
    A shadowcaster's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disguise (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis).

    “So," he asked. "How's death?"
    "Hard," she said. "It just keeps going.”
    ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods

    Your class features represent a growing mastery of shadow magic and a more intimate connection to the Realm of Shadow.

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The shadowcaster gains proficiency with all simple weapons but not with armor or shields.

    Fundamentals of Shadow (Su): As a shadowcaster, you must master certain basic powers before proceeding to deeper secrets of shadow. These powers, known as fundamentals, function as at-will supernatural abilities. Your number of fundamentals known is shown on the table above. The save DC of any fundamental is equal to 10 + ˝ your hit dice + your Cha modifier.

    Mysteries and Paths: A shadowcaster invokes mystical secrets known as mysteries, spell-like abilities which are drawn from the shadowcaster mystery list (see below). Although you are not a spellcaster, you have a caster level for using mysteries equal to your shadowcaster level, and you suffer an arcane spell failure chance if you attempt to invoke mysteries while wearing armor.

    The four grades of mysteries are fundamentals, or 0th-level mysteries, apprentice mysteries of 1st to 3rd level, initiate mysteries of 4th to 6th level, and master mysteries of 7th to 9th level. Within each of the latter three grades, mysteries are organized into paths of three thematically connected mysteries, one of each level.

    Your collection of mysteries known, together with your shadowcaster bonus feats (if you have any), is referred to as your patina. You begin play with a single patina containing three fundamentals and one apprentice mystery. As you advance in level, you will acquire the ability to assume different patinas, and learn additional mysteries and bonus feats which you will add to each of your patinas. Essentially, each patina is a container which grants you a completely different set of bonus feats and mysteries known, and you can choose each day which container you will access.

    Within each patina you know, you can learn a number of fundamentals as shown on the table above, and may select whichever fundamentals you wish. You can learn a number of higher-level mysteries equal to your shadowcaster level, but you can only add a mystery of a given level to a patina that already contains at least two mysteries of the previous level. If you learn all three mysteries in a given path, you are said to have “mastered” that path, and receive special benefits (see below). To learn a mystery, you must have an Intelligence score of 10 + the mystery's level.

    Upon reaching 3rd level, and at every shadowcaster level after that, you can replace a mystery (within a single patina) that is at least two levels lower than the highest-level mystery you know, choosing a different mystery of the same level. This may cause you to gain or lose a bonus feat within that patina. You may swap only a single mystery at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the mystery at the same time that you gains new mysteries known for the level.

    You can invoke fundamental mysteries at will. You can invoke other mysteries once each per day or twice per day if they are not in the highest grade of mysteries you know. You gain an additional use per day of any mystery in a path that you have mastered. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a mystery is 10 + the mystery's level + the shadowcaster’s Charisma modifier. You can learn a mystery more than once. Each time you do, you gain another set of daily uses of that mystery, and its save DC increases by +1. Although you do not prepare spells, you must meditate for 15 minutes at dusk each day to regain your use of mysteries just as a sorcerer or bard must meditate to regain use of spell slots. At this time, you also choose which patina you will assume, which determines which mysteries and bonus feats you can access for the next day.

    Spoiler: Designer's Note
    As compared to the standard shadowcaster, the remixed shadowcaster has better save DCs for fundamentals and they are immediately usable at will. This makes fundamentals much more relevant to gameplay. The rules for learning new mysteries are relaxed to make it easier to get the important ones, and the patina mechanic allows the shadowcaster to build several different "loadouts" optimized for different situations, choosing each day the one he thinks will be most useful. Note that for this incarnation of the shadowcaster, mysteries are spell-like abilities, much like a warlock's invocations. The shadowcaster can master them and treat them as supernatural abilities (see below), but they never count as spells. However, they incur an arcane spell failure chance even when used as spell-like abilities. These simplifications make mysteries a lot easier to learn and use during play.

    Umbral Sight (Ex): A shadowcaster learns to see in darkness. You gain darkvision with a range of 60 feet, or the range of your existing darkvision increases by +60 ft.

    Upon reaching 8th level, your darkvision is effective even within magical darkness.

    Bonus Feats: Beginning at 2nd level, you add bonus feats to your patina equal to half the total number of paths in the patina (to a maximum of one bonus feat per two class levels). Whenever you assume the patina, you gain access to its bonus feats. When a patina becomes inactive (such as whenever you assume a different one), you lose access to the bonus feats it contains.

    You must meet the prerequisites for a feat to select it as a shadowcaster bonus feat. The list of feats you can choose from includes any [shadow] feat.

    Your shadowcaster bonus feats are temporary feats. You can’t use them to meet prerequisites for any permanent benefit, such as prestige classes or a permanent feat gained from another source. However, you can use a shadowcaster bonus feat to meet the prerequisites of other temporary feats, such as other shadowcaster bonus feats, fighter bonus feats, or the feat granted by the heroics spell.

    Gathering Dark (Ex): Just as shadows deepen with the coming of dusk, so too does the shadowcaster’s power grow more menacing with experience. Upon reaching 3rd level, you gain a second patina, complete with its own set of mysteries and bonus feats known. During your 15-minute meditation at dusk, you must choose which patina you will assume. You gain access to that patina’s mysteries and bonus feats, and you lose access to the mysteries, and bonus feats of your inactive patinas. You also lose any benefits the other patinas would have provided, including path mastery bonuses.

    You gain an additional patina at 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level. No matter how many patinas you have, only one can be active at a given time.

    Sustaining Shadow (Ex): When you reach 3rd level, your bond to the Realm of Nightmares allows you to absorb dark energies, eliminating certain biological needs. You no longer need to eat or drink.

    Beginning at 6th level, you no longer need to sleep. At 10th level, you become immune to poison and disease as your metabolism slows to a virtual standstill. At 14th level, you draw your last breath, and no longer need to breathe. At 18th level, frailty of the flesh is almost forgotten, and you become immune to fatigue and exhaustion.

    Sudden Shadow (Ex): A shadowcaster of 4th level or higher can twist the twist the stuff of mystery with echoes of the past or hints of the future to cast a mystery from one of his currently inactive patinas. You can “lose” one available use of a mystery in your active patina in order to cast any other mystery in one of your inactive patinas of the same level or lower. You do not gain any path mastery benefits when casting this mystery. You can use this ability once per day per four levels you have.

    Spoiler: Designer's Note
    The sudden shadow mechanic grants a limited amount of forgiveness to a player if he chose poorly when selecting his dominant patina for the day, and allows him a limited amount of flexibility if the day suddenly demands something of him that is very different from what was expected.

    Veiled Presence (Ex): Upon reaching 4th level, you become so at home in darkness that you gain a competence bonus to Bluff, Disguise, Hide and Move Silently checks equal to half your level whenever you stand within concealment that can be used to hide.

    Supernatural Mystery (Ex): Upon reaching 5th level, you learn to invoke mysteries from any path you have mastered as supernatural abilities rather than spell-like abilities. The save DC of a supernatural ability is equal to 10 + ˝ your hit dice + your Cha modifier.

    Spoiler: Designer's Note
    In this vision of the shadowcaster, mysteries become supernatural only when you master the path to which they belong. This creates an incentive to master as many paths as possible. However, mastering more paths means learning mysteries from fewer total paths and thus gaining fewer total bonus feats, so the shadowcaster's player must make trade-offs. Does he want more supernatural mysteries or more bonus feats?

    Spoiler: Version Log
    1.0 Original version
    Last edited by jiriku; 2018-09-06 at 06:08 PM.
    D&D Remix for 3.x: balanced base classes and feats, all in the authentic flavor of the originals. Newest: shadowcaster. Most popular: monk and fighter.

    Innovative new mid-tier classes compatible with 3.x and 3.x Remix: Machinist, Shapeshifter, Avatar, Magus of Blades, Ritualist, Magician, Dawnblade, Summoner, plus 5 elemental casters!