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    Default High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    Introduction

    For people who don't know what E6 is, I recommend reading this excellent rpg.stackexchange answer first.

    I really enjoy the E6 concept. Lower- to mid-level D&D is a certain type of fantasy that D&D 3.5 past certain levels breaks away from, and lately, my group has been playing a variant of it that's been quite fun. A game about action heroes and later on, low-end superheroes, fighting monsters and mooks. It's not perfect (I have issues with the squishiness of low levels, which our variant addressed), but it does deliver.

    But sometimes, one gets to thinking: what about higher-level magic? What about plot magic, like resurrections, scrying, teleportation, and curse removal? If someone in E6 dies, are they dead for good or is there a way to quest for their revival?

    With that in mind, I've made this list, finding out what sort of things can be done, with effort, that E6 normally bars. Why? Because it’s a good thing for players to know (certain specialist builds might break “rules" of the setting and end up with something incredibly neat), and it may be a particularly useful DM tool. Have you ever asked yourself what you can “fairly” give an NPC in E6, without fiat? Well, that’s what this is about.

    So without further ado, let's get down to business.



    4th- and 5th-level Spells
    The two easiest ways to break the 3rd-level “cap” of E6’s spells are artificer and cleric.

    The artificer can, out of the box, begin to scribe scrolls and make wands of 4th-level spells off of any spell list, starting at 5th level. This means that many options, such as reincarnation or animate dead, are available to them at a cost of gold, experience, and time.

    The cleric as a much more focused answer to the level-cap problem:

    • The spontaneous domain caster ACF from the PHBII trades spontaneous casting of cure spells for spontaneous casting from a single one of your domains.
    • The Customize Domain feat (Dr325) allows a cleric to swap out what spells are on their domain list. The list is very limited and specific, though, so it may not be ideal for many clerics. Multiclassing into another class will also allow the cleric to expand their possibilities for adding to the list, but not the restrictions themselves.
    • The Versatile Spellcaster feat (RotD) allows this cleric to expend two of their spell slots of the same level to cast a spell of one level higher. This allows them to cast 4th-level domain spells from their chosen domains by burning two 3rd-level spell slots.
    • Either have Magical Training (PGtF, and a racial feat for humans and elves, so not ideal), the ability to cast anyspell (from the Spell domain), or a level of an arcane spellcasting class.
    • Finally, they must have the Alternative Source Spell feat (Dr325), allowing them to prepare arcane spells.
    • In a given day, what the cleric needs to do is this:

      1. Use Versatile Spellcaster to cast two 4th-level spells.
      2. Use (or UMD) a pair of wands. In particular, the High Priest needs to cast the siphon spell (Complete Scoundrel). When he does, he burns 5 charges off of a wand that has a 4th-level spell... and in doing so, regains a 4th-level spell he has cast today. The older version of this used the "regain spell slots" spontaneous version, but since you can't regain something you never had, I have adjusted the approach.
      3. Do this twice, netting you two 4th-level spells prepared, then use Versatile Spellcaster to chain it up to a single 5th-level spell.

    • Together, this means that when you take a master cleric, a mage of the highest degree (and who has even dabbled in other types of magic), who has spent several feats and maybe levels focusing on this one ritual, and have them work in tandem with an allied master of magical engineering, an artificer to make the wands, they can perform a ritual involving a complex ordering and combination of spells to cast a single spell the likes of which the world rarely (if ever) sees. Alternatively, perhaps the cleric has acquired the 4th-level wands in other ways, such as by sending adventurers to raid tombs, stealing from archmages, or asking their god for that power. Regardless, it has some lovely plot hooks built right in.
    • Thanks to this large amount of focus and specialization, I am going to call these clerics “High Priests” for the purposes of this document.

    The “High Priest” concept is one that I really quite like. This is one of those relatively rare moments where even an extremely-optimized build, with the default fluff just... falls into place. A select few people who can tap the power of their gods further than anyone else on the world, and in particular, the fact that it's done in tandem with someone who can make the wands to fuel the High Priests magic is just neat, to me. Reminds me of Redcloak and Xykon, with their ritual to control the Snarl.

    In any case, what does this mean for a world? Here are some examples of how this ends up working out:

    • In order to get someone returned to life, you might track down a High Priest of Life, one of the only people in the world who can cast raise dead. Or you might instead be helped by a High Priest of Trickery, who, through his power, can use reincarnate to steal their soul back from death, before putting it in into a new body as some sort of “afterlife witness protection.”
    • High Priests of the Oracle or Knowledge domain are some of the most knowledgeable people around. They have access to prophetic visions (commune) and long-distance viewing, so they might be schemers of the highest degree, or are perhaps just oracles.
    • High Priests of Death gods can cast hallow or unhallow, depending on their and their deity's alignment. The grand cathedrals of Wee Jas are likely blanketed with areas of both, as befits a goddess with many servants, living and undead.
    • Some of the only long-distance teleportation comes from High Priests of Travel... who may not be able or willing to burn all of their spell slots to return the next day, instead, favoring the long walk back.

    Finally (so far…), in addition to High Priests clerics, the beguiler, dread necromancer, and warmage classes have their own ways of accessing plot magic:

    • Versatile Spellcaster, as above, allows these classes to cast spells of up to 4th level. They know all the spells on their spell lists, but they normally don’t get access to them unless they can use the spells already, which creates a bit of a looping problem. The missing link is actually accessing that level of spells, so that you learn your whole list.
    • The Mother Cyst feat (Libris Mortis), as well as Bloodline feats (Dr311 and Dr325) give spellcasters (arcane-only, for bloodlines) new spells known at each spell level, even before they reach that level normally.
    • The Arcane Preparation feat (CArc) will let them prepare their spells.
    • After using these spells, you can do the same trick with siphon, working with an artificer to create the proper resonance to cast these spells.
    • So if you have an arcane spellcaster, dedicated to his craft, and possessed of either foul, dark magic or a particularly supernatural bloodline, they can undergo a ritual that involves a complex ordering and reusing of magic to access 4th- and 5th-level spells off their lists as well (plus the Bloodline list).
    • Thanks to the investment, focus, and fluff lineup here, I’m going to call these characters “Archmages” for the purpose of this handbook.
    • Notably, Mother cyst and Bloodlines give any appropriate spellcaster access to certain plot magic abilities, but not all of them do. I’ll be listing these instances individually in the sections alongside the Archmages themselves.

    I think that this sort of magic is a good thing to have, rarely, in E6 campaign settings, and even on players, it can mean some very fluffy and interesting plot and character developments.

    I have found ways to access the following types of normally-barred, world-shaping magic through these methods. As a note, every high priest must have a way to cast arcane spells in order to access their 5th-level domain slots. A character who has 6 levels in divine classes (such as cleric 5/druid 1) must do so through the Spell domain, the Magical Training feat, or a similar method.

    Atonement
    Granting a fallen paladin back their powers, or forgiving a similar misdeed, is quite difficult in E6. I expect that there’s a lot more blackguards than repented paladins around.

    • A High Priest cleric with the Renewal domain can cast atonement as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Protection domain and Customize Domain can cast atonement as a 5th-level spell.
    • A character with the Heretic of the Faith feat (Power of Faerun) can break their code without the normal repercussions. Taking this feat offers an avenue for fallen characters to keep their powers, be they clerics, paladins, or another divine class.

    Calling Spells
    Physically calling outsiders to the Material Plane is a time-honored tradition of powerful mages, and locked away to most, forcing them to rely on summon spells and similar effects. Artificers and High Priests can manage it, though. See below for more on calling spells.

    • Artificer scrolls of lesser planar ally as a 4th-level spell.
    • Artificer scrolls of lesser spirit ally (OA) as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Celestial, Dragon Below, Lust, or Summoner domain can cast lesser planar ally as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos domain and Customize Domain can cast lesser planar ally as a 4th-level spell, but only calls outsiders of that alignment.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast lesser planar ally as a 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage dread necromancer can cast lesser planar binding as a 5th-level spell. Notably, they can’t cast magic circle, so they will have to team up with someone.
    • A High Priest with the Celestial domain can cast lesser spirit ally as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/shaman 1 with the Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos domain and Customize Domain can cast lesser spirit ally as a 4th-level spell, but only calls spirits of that alignment
    • A High Priest cleric 5/shaman 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast lesser spirit ally as a 5th-level spell.

    Hallowed Ground and Sacred Locations
    Hallow and unhallow are amazing defensive spells to tie to an area such as a church, and perhaps fittingly, High Priest clerics can grab them.

    • An Archmage dread necromancer can cast unhallow as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Deathless domain can cast hallow as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Good domain and Customize Domain can cast hallow as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Evil domain and Customize Domain can cast unhallow as a 5th-level spell.
    • Oddly enough, a High Priest cleric with the Death domain and Customize Domain can cast their choice of hallow or unhallow as a 5th-level spell, locked in when they take Customize Domain. However, a cleric of a neutral god can totally find a way to retrain back and forth as needed.

    Fabrication of Goods
    The fabricate spell allows a caster to totally outdo mundane craftsmen, creating in an instant what might normally take years.

    • Artificer scrolls of fabricate 3rd-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 4/rogue 1/trapsmith 1 with the Luck domain and Customize Domain can cast fabricate as a 4th-level spell. If the DM rules that the Kobold domain’s “trapfinding in every way but the name” ability counts for the trapsmith’s prerequisites, then they can do this more easily as a cleric 5/trapsmith 1.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Artifice, Dwarf, Greed, or Trade domain can cast fabricate as a 5th-level spell.

    Long-Distance Communication
    Communication can revolutionize a world, or at least warp some plots. Just ask the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. There's only a few ways to do instant calls.

    • A High Priest cleric with the Trade or Herald domains can cast sending as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Magic domain can cast sending as a 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage beguiler can cast sending as a 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage beguiler can cast Rary’s telepathic bond as a 5th-level spell. It's possible to team up with a High Priest to permanency it.

    Long-Distance Teleportation
    The teleport and greater teleport spells represent a huge advancement in movement magic, and invalidate or change many types of stories irrevocably. In addition, in a setting without much of it, people may not be particularly prepared to counter scry-and-die tactics. Nearly every extraplanar outsider family worth talking about has greater teleport (self only) SLAs scattered through its ranks, but for PCs:

    • A High Priest cleric with the Portal or Travel domain can cast teleport as a 5th-level spell.

    Mind Control
    While soft mind control effects like charm person, suggestion, and similar are all over the place in E6, hard mind control like dominate person, as well as total personality rewrites like mind seed and programmed amnesia, aren’t much of a thing. Some High Priests can do it, though, as can characters with the right low-level tools.

    • Many spellcasters can combine charm person (sets attitude to Friendly) with hypnotism during its duration to give them a post-hypnotic suggestion that stays embedded after the spells end, towards which their attitude is Fanatical (if epic skills are considered to be in play) or Helpful (otherwise).
    • A spontaneous spellcaster with the Mother Cyst (LM) feat can cast necrotic domination as a 4th-level spell on any target with a necrotic cyst.
    • A spontaneous arcane spellcaster with the Necromantic Bloodline or Serpent Bloodline feats (Dr325) can cast dominate person as a 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage beguiler can cast dominate person as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Domination domain can cast dominate person as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Temptation domain can cast dominate person as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/bard 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast dominate person as a 5th-level spell.
    • Any character that rises as a vampire can use dominate person as a supernatural ability, though the level adjustment may be prohibitive in E6.
    • An Archmage beguiler can cast feeblemind as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Mentalism domain can cast modify memory as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/bard 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast modify memory as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/bard 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast lesser geas as a 4th-level spell. Replacing bard with sorcerer or wizard makes this 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage dread necromancer can cast magic jar as a 5th-level spell.
    • An Archmage dread necromancer can cast oath of blood as a 5th-level spell, extending a lesser geas from a High Priest into death.

    Omniscience
    Along with scrying and teleport, commune and contact other plane are some of the big ingredients to a well-informed, paranoid mage. Like calling spells, it’s not a thing really accessible normally, however

    • A High Priest cleric with the Knowledge domain can cast divination as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Insight, Oracle, or Zeal domain can cast commune as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Knowledge domain and Customize Domain can cast commune as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/sorcerer or wizard 1 with the Knowledge domain and Customize Domain can cast contact other plane as a 5th-level spell.
    • Any character with the Omniscient Whispers feat (Unearthed Arcana) can ask one question and get an answer as if by commune once per week. However, in order to gain this feat, you have to have been exposed to (“that is, targeted by or otherwise affected by”) the commune or contact other plane spells.

    Permanency
    Usage of the permanency spell to make a buff spell last forever is probably not as useful as finding or making magic items in E6, but clerics can do it!

    • A High Priest cleric with the Time domain can cast permanency as a 5th-level spell.

    Planar Travel
    Going to and from other planes is hard in E6. You can find a natural portal or some strong outsider, but if you want to travel the Wheel under your own power, there isn’t much to do.

    • A nomad psion 5 can use the 3rd-level power astral caravan to bring people with them to the Astral Plane, through which they can then go to other planes.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Travel domain and Customize Domain can cast plane shift as a 5th-level spell.
    • The Shadow Creature template (savage progression in Dr322, requires you be Hit Dice 4/template 2, if the progression is treated as a class, or have +2 LA if not) can cast plane shift 1/day as a spell-like ability, but only to and from the Plane of Shadow.

    Removing Horrible Debuffs
    Though remove curse is a 3rd-level cleric spell, petrification, some curses, and similar abilities that can only be removed with a break enchantment or more specific spell are hard to undo in E6.

    • Artificer scroll of break enchantment as a 3rd- or 4th-level spell.
    • An Archmage beguiler can cast break enchantment as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Arborea, Liberation, Luck, and Spell domain can cast break enchantment as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/bard 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast break enchantment as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Protection domain and Customize Domain can cast break enchantment as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 4/rogue 1/trapsmith 1 with the Protection domain and Customize Domain can cast break enchantment as a 3rd-level spell. If the DM rules that the Kobold domain’s “trapfinding in every way but the name” ability counts for the trapsmith’s prerequisites, a normal cleric 5/trapsmith 1 with the Protection domain and Customize Domain can cast break enchantment as a 3rd-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/adept 1 with the Healing domain and Customize Domain can cast heal as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/healer 1 with Trickery domain and Customize Domain can cast stone to flesh as a 5th-level spell.
    • A Domain Wizard (UA) with the Antimagic domain, Sanctum Spell, Versatile Spellcaster, Spell Mastery, and Signature Spell can cast break enchantment as a 5th-level spell. The rest of the domain wizards can do similar things, but they don't really have the Phenomenal Cosmic Power going on; it's just more of the same stuff they got earlier.

    Returning the Dead to Life
    The obvious answer here is divine intervention or an outsider’s hand. Genies, angels, and many similar creatures have access to raise dead SLAs or higher-level cleric spells, so questing for a rezz is always an option. On the mortal and PC end of things, though:

    • Artificer scrolls of reincarnate as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Renewal domain can cast reincarnate as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/druid 1 with Trickery domain and Customize Domain can cast reincarnate as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric 5/druid 1 with the Magic domain and Customize Domain can cast reincarnate as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Healing domain and Customize Domain can cast raise dead as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric of Orcus 5/death master 1 (Dragon Compendium, evil necromancers that serve Orcus) with the Death Domain and Customize Domain can cast create undead as a 5th-level spell, allowing them to create bone and corpse creatures (BoVD), sentient versions of the skeleton and zombie templates.

    Scrying
    Long-distance surveillance is nearly unheard of in an E6 world. So who can do it? Not even many outsiders…

    • A spontaneous spellcaster with the Mother Cyst (LM) feat can cast necrotic scrying as a 2nd-level spell on any target with a necrotic cyst.
    • Artificer scrolls of scrying as a 4th-level spell.
    • An elf with the Lesser Dragonmark feat (mark of shadow, ECS) can cast scrying as a spell-like ability.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Oracle domain can cast scrying as a 4th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Lust domain can cast scrying as a 5th-level spell.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Knowledge domain and Customize Domain can cast scrying as a 5th-level spell.
    • A normal cleric 5/bard 1 with the Knowledge domain and Customize Domain can cast scrying as a 3rd-level spell.

    Zombie Apocalypses
    Though naturally-occurring undead are a way to generate spawn and powerful minions, the create undead spell is in short supply in E6. As far as I can tell, there is only one way to outright create the more esoteric forms of undead:

    • A High Priest cleric of Orcus 5/death master 1 (DrC, evil necromancers that serve Orcus) with the Death Domain and Customize Domain can cast create undead as a 5th-level spell.

    For some more common non-skeleton/zombie minions, though, summon undead (SpC) will work.

    • A High Priest cleric with the Death or Evil domain and Customize Domain can cast summon undead IV as a 4th-level spell to summon a ghast, which can then create spawn for you.
    • A High Priest cleric with the Death or Evil domain and Customize Domain can cast summon undead V as a 5th-level spell to summon a shadow, mummy, vampire spawn, or wight, which can then create spawn for you.
    • Archmage dread necromancers can do both of these things as well.



    Lesser Allies
    Except for ritual sacrifices (see below), the only calling effects accessible here are lesser planar ally and lesser spirit ally. High Priest clerics with an alignment domain can only call creatures of that alignment, but characters who have the effects in a different way can call any of these creatures (as long as, in clerics’ cases, the alignment isn’t opposed to theirs). Artificers with scrolls can likewise call all of these.

    For the purposes of lesser spirit ally, a “spirit” is defined in Complete Divine as any incorporeal, fey, or elemental creature, creatures with astral bodies (such as through astral projection) that are not physically present on the Astral plane, creatures with the spirit subtype, spirit folk, telthors, and anything specifically called out as a spirit.

    Lesser spirit ally was updated in Dragon #318 to cap at 6 Hit Dice, like lesser planar ally.

    As of this moment, I have gone through the Monster Manuals I through III and the Fiend Folio. More to come as I have time.

    Fabrication of Goods
    • Rejkar (lawful evil, planar, MMIII) can use fabricate at-will as a spell-like ability.

    Long-Distance Teleportation
    Many outsiders have an at-will, self-only greater teleport spell-like ability. Though their SLA is self-only, if you have an item that creates an extradimensional space that you can fit into, they can carry you with them.

    • Bearded devils (lawful evil, planar, MMI).
    • Hound archons (lawful good, planar, MMI).
    • Lantern archons (lawful good, planar, MMI). They do not have thumbs, though, so you’ll have to strap your bag to them.
    • Succubi (chaotic evil, planar, MMI).

    Mind Control
    • Formian taskmasters (lawful, planar, MMI) can use a dominate monster at-will as a supernatural ability (caster level 10th). Successful saves make someone immune for 24 hours, and they can only have four creatures dominated at once, but wow.

    Omniscience
    • Movanic Devas (good, planar, FF) can use commune 1/day as a spell-like ability.

    Planar Travel
    • Jann (unaligned, planar, MMI) can use ethereal jaunt 1/day as a spell-like ability. This SLA lasts for 1 hour, but is self-only, so they need the extradimensional space trick listed above with the teleportation monsters.
    • Jann (unaligned, planar, MMI) can use plane shift to bring people to the Astral Plane, Material Plane, and/or any of the elemental planes.
    • Movanic Devas (good, planar, FF) can use ethereal jaunt and plane shift each 3/day as spell-like abilities.
    • Nightmares (evil, planar, MMI) can use astral projection and etherealness each at-will.
    • Succubi (chaotic evil, planar, MMI) can use ethereal jaunt at-will as a spell-like ability. Like their greater teleport SLA, this helps you if you can climb into an extradimensional space on their person, then have them take you with them.

    Returning the Dead to Life
    • Movanic Devas (good, planar, FF) can use raise dead 1/day as a spell-like ability.
    • Nymphs (chaotic good, spirit, MMI) can cast reincarnate as a 4th-level spell.

    Simulacra
    The only way, as far as I can tell, to create a simulacrum in E6 is through a mirror mephit.

    • Mirror mephits (unaligned, planar, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits) can use simulacrum 1/day as a spell-like ability (caster level 8th).

    Zombie Apocalypses
    • Wraiths (lawful evil, spirit, MMI) can create spawn after being called.



    Ritual Sacrifices
    The sacrifice rules from the Book of Vile Darkness are, in many ways, broken. Thanks to the ease of boosting skill checks, the entire table of benefits for sacrifices is accessible (instant power, just add guidance of the avatar). So with that in mind, sacrifices have been given their own section. So what can a sacrifice do, if your Religion check is pumped high enough?

    • Lesser planar ally to call an evil outsider for 1 hour per Hit Die of the victim.
    • Planar ally to call an evil outsider for 1 hour per Hit Die of the victim. This will enable pretty much everything on the above lists.
    • Greater planar ally to call an evil outsider for 1 hour per Hit Die of the victim. This will enable everything on the above lists.
    • Limited wish for the celebrant. This will enable everything on the above lists, and then a lot more.
    • Control weather directed by the celebrant for 24 hours.
    • Wish for the celebrant. This can only happen once per person, but it will enable every sort of plot magic.

    The BoVD’s sacrifice rules are basically a “get out of E6 free” card, and as such I don’t really recommend them, but here they are.




    So, that's what I've got so far. My major to-do list stuff is to continue combing the monster manuals and other book for lesser planar and spirit allies, as well as looking for other ways of breaking the cap. One big thing that comes to mind is the ardent. An ardent can, if they have a way to spend 1 more power point (reaching 7-cost powers), when they reach 6th level, learn 4th-level powers. You cannot make an orange ioun stone in E6, so it’s fairly difficult to do that. I haven’t found a way to get this to work, but if anyone is aware of something that will give +1 ML or the benefits of the original torc of power preservation, then ardents can get mindwipe, psionic fabricate, and remote viewing.

    Thanks for reading this far. Hope you enjoyed!
    Last edited by Forrestfire; 2017-08-03 at 09:58 AM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Considering the stacking effects to get some 5th level spells, shouldn't a Deurgar technically be able to craft Ioun stones? If yes, they can probably become a Lich too.

    I expect a Wish from a Genie (or other source) should technically work too, no?

    If Clerics can cast 5th level spells, can't Beguilers, Dread Necros, Warmages, and/or (maybe a Sorcerer with) Mother Cyst spells do similiar?

    In any case, I like the E6 focus.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    What about using the Spontaneous Domain Casting ACF (Player's Handbook II 37) to spontaneously cast domain spells instead of cure or inflict spells? That way, you can teleport there and back in a day, if I understand things correctly.

    What about abilities that further reduce the slot level of Heightened spells, like Easy Metamagic, Practical Metamagic, and Metamagic School Focus?

    Psionics: What about Overchannel? What about Hyperconscious?
    Last edited by Endarire; 2017-07-06 at 05:08 PM.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by DrKerosene View Post
    Considering the stacking effects to get some 5th level spells, shouldn't a Deurgar technically be able to craft Ioun stones? If yes, they can probably become a Lich too.

    I expect a Wish from a Genie (or other source) should technically work too, no?

    If Clerics can cast 5th level spells, can't Beguilers, Dread Necros, Warmages, and/or (maybe a Sorcerer with) Mother Cyst spells do similiar?

    In any case, I like the E6 focus.
    Ioun stones require you actually be character level 12th or higher to craft. You can't make them otherwise. Genie wishes could work, yes, but they're outside the scope of this game (as you can't summon efreet or noble djinn as a PC, it's entirely up to DM fiat).

    Warmage, Beguiler, and Dread Necromancer + Versatile Spellcaster shenanigans have always been fairly questionable. Unlike the Cleric with the ACF, these classes call out that you have to have access to a given level of spells in order to have those spells on your spells known list. Versatile Spellcaster only works for spells you already know, so by the time you may have accessed a higher-level spell, you can't have cast it with that effect. Mother Cyst might apply, though. I will look it up.

    Glad you like it, in any case!

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    What about using the Spontaneous Domain Casting ACF (Player's Handbook II 37) to spontaneously cast domain spells instead of cure or inflict spells? That way, you can teleport there and back in a day, if I understand things correctly.

    What about abilities that further reduce the slot level of Heightened spells, like Easy Metamagic, Practical Metamagic, and Metamagic School Focus?

    Psionics: What about Overchannel? What about Hyperconscious?
    Spontaneous Domain Casting from the PHBII is actually what I was using. I erroneously listed Complete Champion as the source for that. My bad

    Regarding that though, the reason that High Priests of Travel can't teleport back is because they need to be in their sanctum to get the synergies working. Outside the sanctum, Sanctum Spell no longer applies.

    Easy Metamagic doesn't seem to work because it can't reduce the spell's required slot lower than its spell level. Unlike most metamagic feats, Heighten Spell raises both (by dint of increasing real level). Metamagic School Focus has a similar issue: Heighten Spell doesn't cost anything. It just lets you prepare spells as higher, actual spell levels. Practical Metamagic, on the other hand, only works for metamagic feats that you're spontaneously applying, so it doesn't add any more to the slots beforehand (when you can burn them for Versatile Spellcaster).

    On Overchannel: it doesn't do anything to let Ardents break the level cap, because it only applies to a single power, which you have to be manifesting already to use the feat on. Finally, Hyperconscious is not a D&D 3.5 book (even Dragon Magazine is an official D&D product), so I did not apply it to this handbook.

    Thanks for taking a look! Hope you enjoyed.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Honestly, I've never played in a game where it wasn't understood the DM could do things that the players can't. There are a lot of attitudes towards gaming here I haven't experienced much and I'm not sure if I'm just lucky with my gaming groups or people here are unlucky/weird.

    That said, if you need plot magic, have plot magic. The ONLY question you ever need to ask yourself as a DM is "will this make the game more fun or less fun for everyone, myself included." This of course necessitates knowing your players, but the question of whether it's "fair" for you to do something is buying into the false idea that D&D is some competition between the players and the DM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    Honestly, I've never played in a game where it wasn't understood the DM could do things that the players can't. There are a lot of attitudes towards gaming here I haven't experienced much and I'm not sure if I'm just lucky with my gaming groups or people here are unlucky/weird.

    That said, if you need plot magic, have plot magic. The ONLY question you ever need to ask yourself as a DM is "will this make the game more fun or less fun for everyone, myself included." This of course necessitates knowing your players, but the question of whether it's "fair" for you to do something is buying into the false idea that D&D is some competition between the players and the DM.
    One thing about E6 is that it lends itself to more consistent worldbuilding. Unlike standard D&D campaign settings where 10-20 level casters are all over the place yet seem to have no effect on the setting, or a tippyverse where high level casters remake the setting, E6 lets you try to build a world consistent with the amount of magic you're saying is out there.

    I wouldn't allow some of what OP is allowing (versatile spellcaster *cough*) but it's now a feature of his world that there ARE in fact High Priests out there somewhere in the campaign world that can give the PCs access to 4th and 5th level spell effects. I'd allow a lot of the same sort of thing, even if I didn't rigorously follow the RAW of how it works.

    At first glance, allowing any given cool thing into the campaign seems like fun. But part of the reason E6 exists is the hard-won experience that 3.5 can break and become unfun if not carefully monitored. RAW gives a discipline to work within, rather than just having the DM guess.

    (My E6 has a ritual to create a Talisman of Refuge, back to the sanctum of the cathedral of the national capital. That's RAW an 8th level spell, but c'mon.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    Honestly, I've never played in a game where it wasn't understood the DM could do things that the players can't. There are a lot of attitudes towards gaming here I haven't experienced much and I'm not sure if I'm just lucky with my gaming groups or people here are unlucky/weird.
    I'm not sure where I implied that my group (or I) didn't think that's the case. However, given that D&D 3.5 touts PC–NPC transparency as such a major component of the game, it's nice to see what is possible by the rules. Of course the DM can change what they want, and can do what players can't. But it's nice when they don't have to, in my opinion. It allows for a more consistent setting, for those who value consistency, and even better, it allows the players more narrative agency by letting them know what may be possible without the DM having to step in.

    And, heck, one doesn't even need to follow the RAW, here. The whole point of this thought exercise was to show that through an intersection of default fluff and rules interactions, something rather neat can be created, showing where "plot magic" shows up in a setting. It certainly existed anyway, through outsiders and monsters, but now one can see that it exists for mortals as well. What gets done with that is wholly up to a group and DM. Is it ignored, keeping the cap more solid? That's perfectly fine, and probably more within the bounds of E6. It might be expanded, allowing certain 'High Priest' NPCs to get any given 5th-level spell if you quest for it, or used as a tidy justification for divine intervention for particularly faithful player characters. Or it could be used as-written, and show clear limits for both players and DMs to see and write around, helping them keep the setting more solidly grounded in consistent, known rules. There's lots of options, and none of them are incorrect. If you took this thread as implying any of them were, my apologies for being unclear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    That said, if you need plot magic, have plot magic. The ONLY question you ever need to ask yourself as a DM is "will this make the game more fun or less fun for everyone, myself included." This of course necessitates knowing your players, but the question of whether it's "fair" for you to do something is buying into the false idea that D&D is some competition between the players and the DM.


    It's not about the game being a competition between the players and the DM. It's about seeing what kind of worldbuilding can be done within the rules and limitations themselves. From a personal standpoint, my group is one of the most freeform-heavy, make-it-up-as-you-go groups that I've seen, and yet we still value the game rules. We tend to hold the opinion that the DM and players should work together actively to make the most fun story possible for the group, even (and especially) when it means changing or ignoring game rules. But even then...

    You might disagree, but I think that it adds something to the game and setting, when you can have an option exist somewhere and go "yes, this is possible without fiat." As a player, it feels cool to know what's possible (even if I'm super unlikely to use it). And as a DM, I'd be lying if I said that I don't find it nice when the rules can handle something for me in an elegant, legal fashion. I can and do change the rules (seriously, I've lost count of how many houserules and custom monsters I've used), bend the setting, introduce elements as needed, but like...

    When I can find something like this in the game rules, that gives me exactly what I'm looking for without having to change anything, when it's oddball, unintuitive, or arbitrary? That's beauty, to me.

    And with regards to optimization, it is, of course, heavily group-dependent. But even with our huge emphasis on the storytelling aspects, my group tends to enjoy tinkering with builds and mechanics in order to represent the characters we want to play, and game optimization is a fun pastime for us. When you stick a group of writers and game developers in a room and tell them to play D&D, you get something weird, I guess.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    I like this for the nifty idea seeds, personally. The High Priest concept is just so cool. Both because it's a cool magical world-shaping thing that doesn't totally shatter the setting into a posthuman magical dystopia, and because it's nice to know that, in the seething nuclear chaos of D&D 3.5, sometimes the things that break apart do so in a surprisingly elegant and beautiful way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hackulator View Post
    Honestly, I've never played in a game where it wasn't understood the DM could do things that the players can't. There are a lot of attitudes towards gaming here I haven't experienced much and I'm not sure if I'm just lucky with my gaming groups or people here are unlucky/weird.

    That said, if you need plot magic, have plot magic. The ONLY question you ever need to ask yourself as a DM is "will this make the game more fun or less fun for everyone, myself included." This of course necessitates knowing your players, but the question of whether it's "fair" for you to do something is buying into the false idea that D&D is some competition between the players and the DM.
    You're talking past the point. While its true that DMs should have access to things PCs don't, this isn't operating under that premise. This is operating under the premise of "what kind of tools do E6 NPCs give to DMs".
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    As an aside, looking into the Mother Cyst feat has led me to a way to get warmage, beguiler, and dread necromancer into the realm of plot magic. I'll be putting an update to this up sometime tonight, once I finish sifting through all the material. Thanks for the suggestion, DrKerosene
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    My understanding is that Heighten Spell changes the spell's level and the slot, but Easy Metamagic, etc. reduce the slot level but not the spell level.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Okay! Just added a section on Dread Necromancer, Beguiler, and Warmage Archmages, as well as one on long-distance communication. Thanks again, all, for taking a look ^^

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    My understanding is that Heighten Spell changes the spell's level and the slot, but Easy Metamagic, etc. reduce the slot level but not the spell level.
    As far as I can tell, that seems wrong. Heighten Spell does change the spell's level and the slot, yes. But Easy Metamagic can't actually reduce it there: "You can never reduce the spell-slot cost below one level higher than the spell's actual level." Thanks to Heighten Spell increasing the actual level, it can't reduce the slot down.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Love the idea, especially high priests.
    kinda blah that there isn't a similarly powered option re. wizards (i mean there's the versatile spellcaster domain wizard elven generalist thing with the bootstrapping, but that one feels... wobbly?)... though perhaps it is just as well: NPC "wizards" are actually artificers.

    It does mean that Clerics are stronger than any other casters... but that sorta makes sense? i mean they are fueled by gods after all.

    Edit: Ninja-ed by the archmages. Domain Wizards also get the bonus spell, so it needn't be bloodlines, just wizards focused to one particular branch of magic (Abjuration, Antimagic, Battle, Cold...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deophaun View Post
    Player: I'll use a classic ploy. "Help! Guards! He's having a seizure!"
    DM: You're the only one in the prison.
    Player: I'm very convincing.
    DM: And there are no guards.
    Player: But there's masonry.
    DM: It's not even animate, let alone sentient.
    Player: That's ok. I'll take the penalty.

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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Gildedragon View Post
    Love the idea, especially high priests.
    kinda blah that there isn't a similarly powered option re. wizards (i mean there's the versatile spellcaster domain wizard elven generalist thing with the bootstrapping, but that one feels... wobbly?)... though perhaps it is just as well: NPC "wizards" are actually artificers.

    It does mean that Clerics are stronger than any other casters... but that sorta makes sense? i mean they are fueled by gods after all.
    There is now! See "Archmages".

    EDIT: They're not wizards, but. They're arcane casters, at least. And an Arch-Warmage or Arch-Beguiler is pretty much everything you'd want from a terrifyingly powerful master of magic.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    There is now! See "Archmages".

    EDIT: They're not wizards, but. They're arcane casters, at least. And an Arch-Warmage or Arch-Beguiler is pretty much everything you'd want from a terrifyingly powerful master of magic.
    Note that the trick with versatile spell caster works with Arcane Domain wizards.
    It has a limited selection of 4ths and 5ths ... interesting ones being Minor Globe of Invulnerability (Abjuration domain), Remove Curse (Antimagic), Break Enchantment (Antimagic), Wall of Ice (Cold), Wall of Stone (Conjuration), Wall of Force (Evocation), and Baleful Polymorph (Transmutation)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deophaun View Post
    Player: I'll use a classic ploy. "Help! Guards! He's having a seizure!"
    DM: You're the only one in the prison.
    Player: I'm very convincing.
    DM: And there are no guards.
    Player: But there's masonry.
    DM: It's not even animate, let alone sentient.
    Player: That's ok. I'll take the penalty.

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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Gildedragon View Post
    Note that the trick with versatile spell caster works with Arcane Domain wizards.
    It has a limited selection of 4ths and 5ths ... interesting ones being Minor Globe of Invulnerability (Abjuration domain), Remove Curse (Antimagic), Break Enchantment (Antimagic), Wall of Ice (Cold), Wall of Stone (Conjuration), Wall of Force (Evocation), and Baleful Polymorph (Transmutation)
    Arcane Domain wizards have to prepare their spells; they just get a domain slot like clerics do. Without the Spontaneous Domain Casting ACF, it won't work, sadly.
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    Arcane Domain wizards have to prepare their spells; they just get a domain slot like clerics do. Without the Spontaneous Domain Casting ACF, it won't work, sadly.
    Oh yeah.
    Hmm... Spell Mastery + Uncanny Forethought wouldn't work because it technically isn't spontaneous casting either.
    oh!
    Signature Spell works...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deophaun View Post
    Player: I'll use a classic ploy. "Help! Guards! He's having a seizure!"
    DM: You're the only one in the prison.
    Player: I'm very convincing.
    DM: And there are no guards.
    Player: But there's masonry.
    DM: It's not even animate, let alone sentient.
    Player: That's ok. I'll take the penalty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gildedragon View Post
    Oh yeah.
    Hmm... Spell Mastery + Uncanny Forethought wouldn't work because it technically isn't spontaneous casting either.
    oh!
    Signature Spell works...

    Domain Wizard with Spell Mastery and Signature Spell
    Nice. I'll add those to the list.
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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    1.As far as I can tell, Wizards can learn spells by adding them to their spellbook without the ability to cast them.

    2.A Wizard and Artificer might cooperatively be able to create an arcane scroll of a wizard spell of 4th level. An Artificer's independent scroll, per errata, is not sufficient for this.

    Assuming these two premises are true(and as far as I can tell, they both are), a Wizard can, with sufficient time spent with an Artificer ally, learn and cast any and every 4th level wizard spell within a system that allowed these other shenanigans to exist.
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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    Sanctum Spell doesn't seem to work that way? It changes the effective level once cast, but it does not change the actual level before casting so Versatile Sanctum Charm Monster can take effect as a 5th level spell, but this does not provide access to Dominate Person as a 5th level spell because the effect of Sanctum (post casting) is always applied after Versatile (part of the act of casting).

    You might also find the E6 Circle Magic interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthrowhale View Post
    Sanctum Spell doesn't seem to work that way? It changes the effective level once cast, but it does not change the actual level before casting so Versatile Sanctum Charm Monster can take effect as a 5th level spell, but this does not provide access to Dominate Person as a 5th level spell because the effect of Sanctum (post casting) is always applied after Versatile (part of the act of casting).

    You might also find the E6 Circle Magic interesting.
    I believe the trick for 5th level spells is to prepare a random 4th level Sanctum spell with versatile casting, and spontaneously swap it for a 5th level domain spell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    1.As far as I can tell, Wizards can learn spells by adding them to their spellbook without the ability to cast them.

    2.A Wizard and Artificer might cooperatively be able to create an arcane scroll of a wizard spell of 4th level. An Artificer's independent scroll, per errata, is not sufficient for this.

    Assuming these two premises are true(and as far as I can tell, they both are), a Wizard can, with sufficient time spent with an Artificer ally, learn and cast any and every 4th level wizard spell within a system that allowed these other shenanigans to exist.
    I could have sworn that it exists somewhere, but all I can find for collaborative item creation is "A Completely Unofficial Rule" from the wizards site, which I'm not sure I'd want to count given its obscurity and explicit unofficialness.

    Do you know the source on the first part of point 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    I believe the trick for 5th level spells is to prepare a random 4th level Sanctum spell with versatile casting, and spontaneously swap it for a 5th level domain spell.
    While this is true, they have a good point that Sanctum Spell calls out working on cast. I will look into that in a few, see if I'm horribly wrong in every way and need to revise this list mistaken.

    EDIT: Turns out I was not only wrong about Sanctum Spell (it does only proc on cast), but in retrospect, I also think Versatile Spellcaster may not work with Heightened spells, meaning it'll get only 4ths. Right now, I'm researching ways to revise the High Priest build, and we will see what's intact, I guess.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    I could have sworn that it exists somewhere, but all I can find for collaborative item creation is "A Completely Unofficial Rule" from the wizards site, which I'm not sure I'd want to count given its obscurity and explicit unofficialness.

    Do you know the source on the first part of point 2?
    DMG 3.5, pg 215 under pre-requisites

    If two or more characters cooperate to create an item, they must agree among themselves who will be considered the creator for purpose of determinations where the creator's level must be known. (<snip>), The character designated as the creator pays the XP required to make the item.
    Its not 100% clear if an Artificer collaborating with a Wizard in the particular way needed for this trick *CAN* create an Arcane scroll, but it seems to with the flex of RAW.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    As an aside, looking into the Mother Cyst feat has led me to a way to get warmage, beguiler, and dread necromancer into the realm of plot magic. I'll be putting an update to this up sometime tonight, once I finish sifting through all the material. Thanks for the suggestion, DrKerosene
    Is there any reason that this method wouldn't also work for the Sorcerer class?

    Regarding the Duergar crafting an Ioun stone. Is it not possible to make a UMD check to emulate being of a high enough (class) level? My google-fu is terrible for previous discussions on such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godskook View Post
    DMG 3.5, pg 215 under pre-requisites



    Its not 100% clear if an Artificer collaborating with a Wizard in the particular way needed for this trick *CAN* create an Arcane scroll, but it seems to with the flex of RAW.
    Thanks, totally missed it. It looks like that line calls it out as specifically "for the purposes of determinations where the creator's level must be known." They'd both still be creating the item, so I'd think by a particularly strict reading, the errata ("Magic items created by an artificer are considered neither arcane nor divine.") would step in to cause issues there.

    On that note, I have not been able to find a way to gain a second level of boosting to the spells of either High Priests or Archmages, so I'm adjusting the opening post to omit the 5th-level spells for the time being, until something shows up that works.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrKerosene View Post
    Is there any reason that this method wouldn't also work for the Sorcerer class?

    Regarding the Duergar crafting an Ioun stone. Is it not possible to make a UMD check to emulate being of a high enough (class) level? My google-fu is terrible for previous discussions on such.
    Sorcerers can do so, yeah. I've listed Mother Cyst as requiring any spontaneous spellcaster with the feat(s) to pull it off.

    For artificers creating ioun stones, while they can emulate prerequisites, there's no provision for simply emulating character level. If it requires a class feature as a 12th-level specific class, then it would work, but since it just says "creator must be 12th level," there does not appear to be a way for the artificer to beat that.
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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    I always saw Easy Metamagic (Heighten) and co as, "You can't reduce the spell below its non-Heightened slot level with this ability."

    Interpretation, I s'pose.
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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    For artificers creating ioun stones, while they can emulate prerequisites, there's no provision for simply emulating character level. If it requires a class feature as a 12th-level specific class, then it would work, but since it just says "creator must be 12th level," there does not appear to be a way for the artificer to beat that.
    Well, if there is no way to make a UMD check to fake being 6 levels higher, then couldn't a creature with 6RHD and 6 character levels potentially craft such an item (assuming they meet the other pre-reqs)? Though I still think Duergar Artificers would be legendary.

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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Forrestfire View Post
    Thanks, totally missed it. It looks like that line calls it out as specifically "for the purposes of determinations where the creator's level must be known." They'd both still be creating the item, so I'd think by a particularly strict reading, the errata ("Magic items created by an artificer are considered neither arcane nor divine.") would step in to cause issues there.
    My reading has that rule allowing the collaboraters to decide arbitrarily who is considered the creator for every other purpose except "determiniations where the creator's level must be known". Combined with the opinion that "is this scroll divine, arcane or 'other'", is not among the excepted purposes because it doesn't rely on the creator's "level".
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    Default Re: High Priests and World-Shapers: Plot Magic in E6

    Quote Originally Posted by Eurus View Post
    I like this for the nifty idea seeds, personally. The High Priest concept is just so cool. Both because it's a cool magical world-shaping thing that doesn't totally shatter the setting into a posthuman magical dystopia, and because it's nice to know that, in the seething nuclear chaos of D&D 3.5, sometimes the things that break apart do so in a surprisingly elegant and beautiful way.
    Hey! I was going to say that.

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    Default Re: High Priests and Archmages: Plot Magic in E6

    Another minor revision: LA is handled differently in E6, via penalty to point buy rather than a change in ECL. Hence a shadow creature can have a full 6HD with an 18 point buy. This might allow a few more level based template abilities up to LA+4 (0 point buy).
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