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    Default Shadowcaster Gish?

    In this Iron Chef someone made a verybinteresting gish using a Shadowcaster base. The mysteries were mostly used to enable a pseudo-shadow pounce by combining Sun's school and flicker with some of the more defensive mysteries thrown in. I am not really familiar with mysteries so I was wondering if it is viable to make a more "normal" gish, that is self buffing and kicking ass, using mysteries.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    I'm actually working on the beginnings of a Shadowcaster handbook where I'll expand on this, but yeah, it can be done. You'll suffer a bit at the low levels, but it's certainly possible.

    (By the way, if you use the author of the class' suggested fix, it becomes a way better option. The main problem is that, while there are several decent mysteries for a gish, they're almost always on a path that is otherwise full of things that you might never use. The suggested fix lets you pick any mystery whose level you qualify for without needing to follow the path, and instead gives you bonus feats for COMPLETING a path, to encourage you to stay in.)

    Flicker is about as good as it gets if shadowpouncing is your goal - like Abrupt Jaunt, it's immediate action teleportation, but unlike Abrupt Jaunt, you can teleport greater distances, and you can use it once per round. (Also, whereas Abrupt Jaunt leaves some gray areas in the rules about what happens when you use it to avoid an attack, Flicker is pretty explicit.)

    Without shadowpouncing, Flicker is still a super useful defensive mystery - but it's probably not worth slogging through the otherwise rough Ebon Whispers path to get it.

    Swordsage 2/Shadowcaster 14/Telflammar Shadowlord 4 is a pretty excellent build as far as shadowpouncers go - you get master path mysteries (and at-will fundamentals, which is not too shabby), a very tight little shadowpouncing technique, and a few decent maneuvers and stances from swordsage. (Use Step into Shadow to qualify for Telflammar Shadowlord.)

    Bolster is also pretty solid for a gish. It gives you five temporary HP per hit die, up to a max of 75 HP. Suddenly that d6 hit die isn't so bad...

    Other than that, there's not a ton that screams gish, but there's some usable stuff. The Touch of Twilight apprentice path has three pretty decent touch based mysteries. Umbral Touch in particular is nice for a third level mystery - it's a multi-use touch attack, deals pretty good damage, and slows the enemy.

    Not as much that's particularly great for gishes on the initiate level beyond Bolster - there's a lot of neat things there, but none of them really scream gish. Still, Bolster alone is good enough to be worth taking a couple of times.

    The master path mysteries are a mixed bag. Some really powerful effects (Shadow Time, for example, is time stop with an improved duration), but again nothing that cries out gish to me. Eyes of the Night Sky is probably your best bet - the first mystery is an improved version of true seeing, and the 9th-level mystery, Reflection of Things to Come, gives a huge insight bonus to initiative and lets you always act in the surprise round, plus Uncanny Dodge and some decent AC boosts. Other than that, I'd probably go with the Dark Metamorphosis path to nab Shadow Time, even if the other two mysteries in the path aren't that handy for a gish.

    Prestige classes are definitely a big help. Dipping cleric or ur-priest lets you theurge your way into some extra melee abilities. Or, for something fun and a little different, take Sentinel of Bharrai and turn into a shadow-bear that teleports around eating your enemies...

    TL;DR version: It's tough, but doable. Bolster and Flicker are really the stand-out mysteries for that. You won't be the traditional gish, so you'll probably have to pick up some extra melee abilities through multiclassing.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Oh, and here is the suggested fix by Ari Marmell (the creator of the Shadowcaster). If your DM allows it, I highly recommend it. It turns it from "doable but difficult" to "fun and unique."

    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Marmell/Mouseferatu (The Author of the Class)
    Okay, I've been giving this a lot of thought, taking into account what people here have been saying, as well as comments from other folks, and a few other RPG writers. The following alterations are what I'm currently considering. This is not official errata. This is not even unofficial errata. I may well change my mind on one or all of these, before I give my "final" stamp of approval on any tweaks to the class. (And of course, even once I do, it'll have no official weight.)

    Now, this doesn't go as far as some of you have requested, but it's where I'd like to start. If some of you would like to volunteer to run a few playtest adventures with these changes in place, I'd very much love to know how it goes.

    1) Grant bonus mysteries per day based on Int. These would work just like bonus spells. For instance, if your Int is 14, you can cast one extra mystery of 1st-level equivalent and one of 2nd-level equivalent per day. (Note that each mystery does give an equivalent level, even though you don't learn them by level.)

    2) Eliminate the rule that says you have to take mysteries in a given Path in order. If you want to jump around, so as to broaden your versatility, you can. You must still have at least one mystery of any given level equivalent (1st, 2nd, etc.) before you can get a mystery of the next higher level within a type (Apprentice, Initiate, Master), but they need not come from the same Path.

    3) Eliminate the rule that says you get a bonus feat equal to half the number of paths you have access to. Instead, you get a bonus feat equal to the total number of Paths you complete. Thus, while you are no longer required to take the entirety of a given Path, there's still encouragement to do so.

    4) Allow the shadowcaster to swap out mysteries, like a sorcerer does spells, with the caveat that if you suddenly "un-complete" a Path, you lose a feat as well.

    5) Once your Apprentice Mysteries become supernatural abilities, change the save DC from 10 + equivalent spell level + Cha to 10 + 1/2 caster level + Cha. This makes them useful even against high-HD opponents, and follows the pattern for other supernatural abilities.

    (And BTW, the warp spell mystery shouldn't say that it allows a Will save. The caster level check determines success or failure.)

    Now, be aware that I have not playtested the changes myself. I'm not running a game at present--my last campaign wrapped up a few weeks ago--nor am I currently playing a shadowcaster. I also haven't been able to devote too much time to considering them, as I've just wrapped up a huge gig for WotC, and am about to dive into a short one for Vampire, before (tentatively) starting another for WotC. So I'll be the first to admit, there might be repurcussions to these ideas that I haven't yet seen. I'm quite eager to hear any thoughts you folks have, and any results that might come up in play. As I've said before, the shadowcaster was my first attempt to design anything so fundamentally different from the standard classes, and I won't pretend it's perfect.

    So let's make it perfect.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    I wish I could help, but this is something I was about to post before yours caught my eye.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    The details would need hashing out, but there are quite a few skillmonkey/gishes that build off source-neutral CL.

    Before ironing out the fluff or skills exactly, I'd probably look into something like
    Halfling Ranger 1/Shadowcaster 4/Impure Prince 5/Cyran Avenger 5/Dragonslayer 1/Halfling Whistler 4
    for an archer gish. (BA 17/CL 17)
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-11-19 at 07:44 PM.

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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Thanks Piggy Knowles, that was pretty thorough, from what I see getting some Sneak attack or precision damage would be a pretty good option for a Shadowcaster gish with those touch-mysteries.

    @eggs: That build does sounds pretty interesting; but where is Halfling Whistler from? I've never heard of it before.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    @eggs: That build does sounds pretty interesting; but where is Halfling Whistler from? I've never heard of it before.
    It's one of the PrCs wizards sneaked onto their webpage. It's mostly just a filler-level PrC, but it's sometimes useful for its 10/10 casting, easy access, 3/4 BA and unusual skill list for a full caster.

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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    I must say it is a weird class; but yeah 3/4 bab, 10/10 casting and a pretty good skill list with good SP per level makes for excellent filler (and some of the class features are quite nice, counterwhistle could be pretty useful if you have some spare standard actions, swiftblade perhaps?)
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    A two level dip in Totemist with Blink Shirt bound to Totem chakra can let you qualify instead of Shadowcaster, with a move-action DimDoor for even MORE shadowpouncing shennanigans. Goes something like this:

    Turn 1: Standard action: Flicker. Move action: DimDoor, shadowpounce.

    Turn2: Activate Flicker, shadowpounce. Move action DimDoor, shadowpounce again.

    If you can somehow manage to get 6 levels of Warlock into it, for Flee The Scene, you could have three shadowpounces per turn! One from Flicker, one from Blink Shirt, and your standard action for Flee The Scene.

    Pretty sick, yo.
    Last edited by ShneekeyTheLost; 2012-11-20 at 07:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    If you can somehow manage to get 6 levels of Warlock into it, for Flee The Scene, you could have three shadowpounces per turn! One from Flicker, one from Blink Shirt, and your standard action for Flee The Scene.
    Actually, that doesn't work; Blink Shirt's teleport and Flee the Scene are both "as dimension door", which means using one of them ends your turn. You'd still get shadow pounce, because it doesn't use any actions, but you couldn't use the other ability.

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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Thanks Piggy Knowles, that was pretty thorough, from what I see getting some Sneak attack or precision damage would be a pretty good option for a Shadowcaster gish with those touch-mysteries.
    Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty good option. Take, for example, the Swordsage 2/Shadowcaster 14/Telflammar Shadowlord 4 I recommended earlier. With Assassin's Stance, Craven and Umbral Touch, you can make full attacks as touch attacks. Each deals 7d6+20 damage and forces a save or be slowed. With haste (off of the Shadowlord's spell list) and potentially two full attacks a round (regular full attack, immediate action Flicker + full attack... more if you look into some of the multipouncing shenanigans that Shneekey mentioned), that's incredibly dangerous.
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    Default Re: Shadowcaster Gish?

    Another option would be to use Umbral Fist with more combat oriented bonuses stacked upon it such as Dungeon Crasher Fighter ACF and the Improved Disarm/Trip/Bullrush feats.

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