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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    For those of you who don't know what I mean by E8, it is the E6 variant with two extra levels.

    This class assumes you have access to Libris Mortis & the SRD.

    This class is intended to replace all full casting classes.

    For the following reasons:
    1) The campaign isn't going to be High Magic. So I don't want things like CoDzilla available. While I could ban things like Divine Power, I like this approach better. Especially since it creates a psuedo-Mystic Theurge, if with very few spell slots compared to one.

    2) I like the moral issues of effectively stealing some or all of another being's soul in order to power magic. Even if the 'good' wizards have to harm others (by removing their ability to ever learn magic by damaging that person's soul) to work more than a small amount of magic per day.

    3) I just like the concept. :)
    __________________________________________________ _______________________

    Alignment
    Any (See Constrained Ethos for how your alignment limits your class feature selection)

    Hit Die
    d4

    Class Skills
    The Vitae Mage's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

    Skill Points at 1st Level
    (2 + Int modifier) ◊4.

    Skill Points at Each Additional Level
    2 + Int modifier.

    Vitae Mage
    {table=head]
    Level
    |
    BAB
    |
    Fort Save
    |
    Ref Save
    |
    Will Save
    |
    Special

    1st|
    0
    |
    0
    |
    0
    |
    2
    |
    Form of Power, Vitae Casting (1st), Turning or Rebuking Undead, Constrained Ethos

    2nd|
    1
    |
    0
    |
    0
    |
    3
    |
    Channel Energy, Draw Power

    3rd|
    1
    |
    1
    |
    1
    |
    3
    |
    Vitae Casting (2nd)

    4th|
    2
    |
    1
    |
    1
    |
    4
    |
    Bonus Metamagic Feat

    5th|
    2
    |
    1
    |
    1
    |
    4
    |
    Vitae Casting (3rd)

    6th|
    3
    |
    2
    |
    2
    |
    5
    |
    Bonus Metamagic Feat

    7th|
    3
    |
    2
    |
    2
    |
    5
    |
    Vitae Casting (4th)

    8th|
    4
    |
    2
    |
    2
    |
    6
    |
    Arts of the Archmagi

    [/table]

    Class Features

    Weapon and Armor Proficiency
    Vitae Mage's are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a vitae mage's movements, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.

    Spells
    A Vitae Mage casts arcane spells which are drawn from five of the schools on the sorcerer/wizard spell list as well as divine spells drawn from two clerical domains plus the Cure or Inflict line of spells. (See Form of Power Class Feature)
    To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the wizard must have both an Intelligence and Secondary Attribute Score (see Form of Power Class Feature) equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wizardís spell is 7 + the spell level + the vitae mageís Intelligence modifier + the vitae mage's secondary attribute modifier. (See Form of Power Class Feature)

    Like other spellcasters, a Vitae Mage may only cast a certain number of spells per day. However, this limit is purely that of the amount of lifeforce energy that Vitae Mage has drawn into his/her amulet plus his/her personal reserves. A Vitae Mage has personal reserves equal to his Secondary Attribute Modifier plus 1. (See Form of Power Class Feature) A Vitae Mage's personal reserve is refreshed once the Vitae Mage has rested for eight hours. Cantrips count as half a spell level for this purpose.

    Unlike a bard, a Vitae Mage may know any number of spells. However, the Vitae Mage can only cast spells which he/she currently has memorized. A Vitae Mage must spend a full day in study to memorize a different list of spells. Vitae Mage may memorize a number of spell levels equal to his Class Level times his Natural (his 'starting' intelligence score plus his attribute increases from levels, only) Intelligence Modifier. For purposes of memorization, Cantrips count as half a spell level. A Vitae Mage may not memorize a spell which is of a higher level than he can cast. This capability functions like a spontaneous caster's 'spells known' list except it can be modified with greater frequency and breadth. A Vitae Mage may memorize a spell from a scroll (this counts as 'using up' the scroll) or from a traditional spellbook.

    Vitae Mages are treated as spontaneous casters for purposes of applying Metamagic to their spells.

    Spellbooks

    A Vitae Mage begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level wizard/sorcerer spells (except those from his/her prohibited schools) plus three 1st-level spells of your choice. For each point of Intelligence bonus the Vitae Mage has, the spellbook holds one additional 1st-level spell of your choice. At each new Vitae Mage level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on his/her new Vitae Mage level) for her spellbook. At any time, a Vitae Mage can also add spells found in other Vitae Mages' spellbooks (or from scrolls) to her own.

    Vitae Mage's may also research new spells as a wizard does.

    Form of Power
    A Vitae Mage's power comes in one of two basic forms, that of the Lifebond or 'white magic' and that of the Lifetheft or 'black magic'.

    A master of the Lifebond relies on his Wisdom (This stat becomes a Lifebond Vitae Mage's Secondary Attribute) and finding people willing to sacrifice what little chance they may have at wielding magic to offer themselves as a power source for the Lifebond Mage. Masters of Lifebond magic are inexorably tied to Positive Energy. Whenever a new class feature is gained, the Lifebond Mage chooses the Positive path. Lifebond Mages add Sense Motive and Heal to their list of class skills.

    A Lifebond Mage wields the strongest of Arcane Magics but lacks of the ability to store power over multiple days or the stronger capstone abilities of a Lifetheft Mage.

    A master of Lifetheft relies on his Charisma (This stat becomes a Lifetheft Vitae Mage's Secondary Attribute) and his ability to capture the souls of the Slain. Masters of Lifetheft magic are inexorably tied to Negative Energy. Whenever a new class feature is gained, the Lifetheft Mage chooses the Negative Path. Lifetheft Mages tend towards the mysterious and charismatic rather than the openly helpful of their Lifebond kin, as such they receive Diplomacy and Bluff as class skills.

    A Lifetheft Mage wields greater destructive potential and is, once he has truly mastered his art, is more powerful in open warfare than a Lifebond Mage. A Lifetheft Mage also may 'store' his power forever if he/she wishes.


    Vitae Casting
    Positive Path
    The Lifebond Mages and their channeling of positive energy permits them access to the Arcane schools of Abjuration, Enchantment, Conjuration, Transmutation, and Divination. It also grants them access to the spells from the Clerical domains of Community, and Protection. Lastly, a Lifebond Mage may know spells from the Cure line of Clerical Spells.

    Negative Path
    The Lifetheft Mages and their channeling of negative energy permits them access to the Arcane schools of Evocation, Necromancy, Illusion, and Divination. It also grants them access to the spells from the Clerical domains of Magic and Undeath. Lastly, a Lifetheft Mage may know spells from the Inflict line of Clerical Spells.

    Both Paths
    The number in parenthesis governs the maximum spell level the Vitae Mage can memorize and cast.

    Turning or Rebuking Undead (Su)
    Positive Path
    Once per day, a Lifebond Mage may attempt to Turn Undead. This attempt functions as the Cleric Class Ability of the same name.

    Negative Path
    Once per day, a Lifetheft Mage may attempt to Rebuke Undead. This attempt functions as the Cleric Class Ability of the same name.

    Constrained Ethos (Su)
    Positive Path
    A Lifebond Mage must be of Good or Neutral (on the Good-Evil axis). If at any time the Lifebond Mage fails to meet this requirement, he/she loses all class features until the Mage has been re-trained as a Lifetheft Mage or regains at least a Neutral alignment (on the Good-Evil axis).

    Negative Path
    A Lifetheft Mage must be of Evil or Neutral (on the Good-Evil axis). If at any time the Lifetheft Mage fails to meet this requirement, he/she loses all class features until the Mage has been re-trained as a Lifebond Mage or regains at least a Neutral alignment (on the Good-Evil axis).

    Channel Energy (Su)
    Positive Path
    A Lifebond Mage holds a reserve of positive energy within his flesh. He may draw some of the that power out to cast Cure Minor Wounds a number of times per day equal to his Secondary Attribute Modifier times his Class Level.

    Negative Path
    A Lifetheft Mage holds a reserve of negative energy within his flesh. He may draw some of the that power out to cast Inflict Minor Wounds a number of times per day equal to his Secondary Attribute Modifier times his Class Level.

    Draw Power (Su)
    Positive Path
    A Lifebond Mage who has moved beyond the basics of magery may draw power from sentient (who have not learned to use Magic, yet) beings. A Lifebond Mage may draw one spell level worth of 'power' per 2 HD of targets per day. Such power cannot be stored and the Lifebond Mage may only draw power from a number of HD equal to his Natural (Just the starting stat plus stat gains from leveling) Secondary Attribute Modifier times his class level minus one. Any being who has had power drawn from them in this manner may never enter the Vitae Mage class.

    Negative Path
    A Lifetheft Mage who has moved beyond the basics of magery may draw power from sentient beings who have been struck down by his magic (spell, magic item, raised undead, or a creature compelled to obedience through supernatural means. e.g. A Kobold Zombie commanded by Rebuking). A Lifetheft mage's allies may permit him to draw the souls from beings struck down by mundane (not a spell or a supernatural ability) means. This power is stored, until used, in an amulet (which does not 'use' an item slot) worn around the Lifetheft Mage's neck. Amoral Lifetheft Mages often murder their colleagues to acquire said colleague's amulet, it is a quick way to obtain more power when compared to hunting goblins or other undesirables. For each soul drawn from a corpse, the Lifetheft Mage's amulet gains a spell level worth of power for 3 HD. (e.g. Killing 3 goblins would net a Lifetheft Mage one spell level worth of power. Killing a Troll would net a Lifetheft Mage two spell levels worth of power.)

    Both Paths
    Sentience is stat'd as an Int score of 3 or higher.

    Bonus Metamagic Feat
    At 4th and 6th Level, the Vitae Mage gains a Bonus Metamagic Feat. The Vitae Mage may select any Metamagic feat for which he/she qualifies for. This feat is in addition to any gained from advancing in levels.

    Arts of the Archmagi (Su)

    Positive Path
    Choose one of the following abilities:

    Aura of Life
    All allies of the Lifebond Mage gain Fast Healing 2 and Immunity to Fear Effects when within 60' of the Lifebond Mage.

    Mastery of Power
    A Lifebond Mage who has mastered the art of manipulating lifeforce is able to negate the metamagic cost of a single application of any metamagic feat the Lifebond Mage knows. This ability functions twice per day.

    Shields of the White Archmage
    The Lifebond Mage gains Spell Resistance equal to 10 + Class Level.

    Negative Path
    Choose one of the following abilities:

    Aura of Fear and Decay
    The Lifetheft Mage projects an aura of Fear and Decay over a radius of 60'. All enemies of the Lifetheft Mage affected by this Aura are shaken. All beings affected by this Aura take 2 points of negative energy damage (Like the Inflict Light Wounds spell, beings healed by negative energy are healed by this ability rather than harmed.).

    Pact with Darkness
    The Lifetheft Mage has made a pact with the Darkness That Devours. In exchange for the Lifetheft Mage's soul (when the Lifetheft Mage dies), the Darkness That Devours grants the Lifetheft Mage greater power over the Undead. The Lifetheft Mage is able, once per day, to Command anything he normally could Rebuke. The normal HD cap for Commanding undead via Rebuking still applies (e.g. An 8th level Liftheftmage with this ability can't compel 3 wights into obedience, but he could manage 2 plus a 2HD skeleton.). In addition, a Lifetheft Mage may Command (via Rebuking) an extra 2HD worth of Undead.

    Pact with Hell
    The Lifetheft Mage has made a pact with a Duke of Hell. In exchange for the Lifetheft Mage's eternal servitude once his mortal existence ends, the Duke provides a loyal evil outsider to aid the Lifetheft Mage. Such Champions can only be defeated, not destroyed. A Champion that reaches 0hp returns to Hell for 24 hours to regain his/her strength.

    This Champion is a Chain Devil.
    Last edited by RandomFellow; 2008-06-12 at 02:58 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    So this is a base class, but I only see 8 levels. Are there more to come? I like the concept so far; it has some commonalities with the Bio-Mage (see signature), but it leaves me wanting more.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    So this is a base class, but I only see 8 levels.
    It is intended for an E6 or E8 (the same thing, except with 2 extra levels basically) campaign. Therefore, there are only 8 levels instead of the normal 20. I may expand it later to a 'normal' base class once that campaign is underway and the class has had some play testing.

    Are there more to come? I like the concept so far; it has some commonalities with the Bio-Mage (see signature), but it leaves me wanting more.
    I'll look at the Bio-Mage (I don't remember ever seeing the thread before).

    I tend to go overboard when building things. (See Erth, there is just too much untested stuff and I got so few comments I kinda abandoned it as a viable project). But, ya...I may turn it into a full base class and/or add PrCs for it later.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    I've revised it to include some things I failed to put in and some word ommissions/errors.

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    I like seeing people homebrewing for E8, as it's sort of what I'm working on.

    Some good elements here. Magic having a real cost, and all casters being of two types, are good flavor.

    You don't really ever explain the process for adding someone's soul energy to your reserve, and how it actually affects your number of spells/day. If I played this, I just wouldn't know how many spells/day I can really get -- which is the one area where I think this class could potentially end up broken (i.e. if a black Vitae Mage managed to enslave an entire village and add them to his amulet?).

    As long as you're replacing all casters with this, you could take the opportunity to redo the magic system and make it less Vancian, too. Maybe change it to a parallel of the Psionics system, with points instead of spell slots?

    And maybe your two Domains that you have access to should also count against your limit of 5 Schools -- i.e., 5 schools, or 3 schools and 2 domains. Or 4 schools and 1 domain. But I guess this doesn't work unless you're willing to re-write Domains and give them more than just 4 spells (for level 8 characters); everyone would just pick the schools instead of the domains.
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    Work on my homebrew system, CRE8, is still marching slowly onwards. I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel -- an Alpha release -- in the distance now. Read my Design Goals here.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    I like seeing people homebrewing for E8, as it's sort of what I'm working on.

    Some good elements here. Magic having a real cost, and all casters being of two types, are good flavor.
    I'm glad you like it.

    You don't really ever explain the process for adding someone's soul energy to your reserve, and how it actually affects your number of spells/day. If I played this, I just wouldn't know how many spells/day I can really get -- which is the one area where I think this class could potentially end up broken (i.e. if a black Vitae Mage managed to enslave an entire village and add them to his amulet?).
    I thought I did but it seems it wasn't clear enough. =)

    A White Mage is capped at:
    ((Natural Wisdom Modifier * Class Level) / 2) + Spell Reserve
    So at level 8, he'd get ((8*5)/2) + 5 or 25 spell levels worth of spell energy.

    So if he had, say Black Tentacles memorized, he could cast it 6 times and then cast Detect Magic a couple times. Then he would be out of 'power' for the day.

    A 'normal' wizard with the same stats (20 Int instead of 20 Wis) would have 40 spell levels, but less flexibility. And that is without specializing or the Focused Specialist variant. A sorcerer would have even more spell levels, but wouldn't be able to change his spells known wholesale like a Vitae Mage can. But the sorcerer would know 25 spell levels worth of spells to the Vitae Mage's 40. Although, a Vitae Mage couldn't manage a 'natural' 20 Int and 20 Wis. So the Vitae Mage would be more like +2 Int, +5 Wis which would net only 16 spell levels worth of known spells.

    A 'smarter' white vitae mage 'knows' more spells at any given time, a 'wiser' white vitae mage can draw more spell power.


    ----
    A Black Mage under the 'normal' encounter (assuming he is the only Mage of ANY KIND in the group) guidelines would get:

    Assuming Maximum Cha, 4 Personal Reserve at levels 1 through 7 and 5 Personal Reserve at level 8 plus the following:
    Level 2: 4 CR 2 Encounters / Day (Bugbear, 3HD) = (3/3)*4 = 4 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 3: 4 CR 3 Encounters / Day (Giant Eagle, 4HD) = (4/3)*4 = 5 and 1/3 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 4: 4 CR 4 Encounters / Day (Owlbear, 5HD) = (5/3)*4 = 6 and 2/3 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 5: 4 CR 5 Encounters / Day (Ochre Jelly, 6HD) = (6/3)*4 = 8 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 6: 4 CR 6 Encounters / Day = (Chain Devil, 8HD) = (8/3)*4 = 10 and 2/3 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 7: 4 CR 7 Encounters / Day (Black Pudding, 10HD) = (10/3)*4 = 13 and 1/3 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage
    Level 8: 4 CR 8 Encounters / Day (Elder Arrowhawk, 15HD) = (15/3)*4 = 20 Spell Levels/Day for Black Mage

    The above assumes you are getting high HD mobs. If the DM throws something like a Troll or an Ogre Mage at you, you'll get less.


    ----

    A Black Mage would need to kill an entire village with magic, compelled undead, etc.

    If the Black Mage uses spells (say Fireball against 1st level Commoners), he would need to kill 9 of those commoners just to get an 'even' return. How many commoners are stupidly suicidal enough to group together against a Mage? Probably not many. Everyone knows Mages throw fireballs. =)

    If the commoners/villagers 'run away' rather than band together in a large concentrated group to attack said Black Mage, the Black Mage can't really 'gain spell levels' by killing random NPCs.

    This means he'd need to be a necromancer using undead to do the killing (or having non-magical groupmates do it). Running around with an Army of Undead is likely to result in the local authorities coming for you. Local Authorities most likely aligned (or run by) Lifebond Mages who want to keep their sentient livestock alive and feeding them power.

    Also, a NPC Lifebond Mage relies a semi-symbiotic relationship with NPCs in order to do more than a couple spells a day. Odds are, said Black Mage will get hunted down after the first massacre. That is assuming there isn't a (group of) decent Lifebond Mage(s) to kill him already in the Village feeding off the people in said Village. It takes like 40 1st level commoners to 'support' an 8th level Lifebond Mage. While they aren't as common as grass...the odds of a handful of 6th level Lifebond Mages feeding off a particular village is high enough that the DM can easily argue that they come to kill the person killing their Food. =)

    In addition, a Lifetheft Mage which just massacred a village would have alot of spell power in his/her amulet. Any nearby Lifetheft Mage will want to steal said amulet since it is easier to steal said amulet than spend one's life being hunted by every militia, army, and Lifebond Mage in the world.

    Theoretically, if the DM takes no action to defend random villages and said villagers are too stupid to run away the moment a Black Mage starts hurling fireballs / unleashing undead at them and their village, a Black Mage can reach infinite spell levels worth of power. Just like, Theoretically, Pun-Pun can exist in certain campaigns. Unlike Pun-Pun, a Black Mage can still get his neck slit by a skilled group of assassins no matter how much spell power he has due to the 'time limit' of actions per round.

    So, in the end, I'm relying on the DMs common sense to 'defend' the villages sufficiently that such tactics aren't practical. Or at least, to dispatch people to hunt the villain down or just steal his amulet since without it, all that work was for nothing.

    As long as you're replacing all casters with this, you could take the opportunity to redo the magic system and make it less Vancian, too. Maybe change it to a parallel of the Psionics system, with points instead of spell slots?
    I like the idea of Mage's having to memorize things. How many of us can come up with a complex math formula on the fly without first memorizing it? Beyond the limiting the spell's 'known' there isn't really any 'Vancian' casting here.

    Those 'spell slots/levels/whatever' of power is just the term I'm using since spells are classified by 'level'. You could just as easily call them 'Mana Points' and say each spell costs a number of 'Mana Points' equal to the spell level of the spell.

    And maybe your two Domains that you have access to should also count against your limit of 5 Schools -- i.e., 5 schools, or 3 schools and 2 domains. Or 4 schools and 1 domain. But I guess this doesn't work unless you're willing to re-write Domains and give them more than just 4 spells (for level 8 characters); everyone would just pick the schools instead of the domains.
    Yep. The 3ish domains is 12 spells which is not as good as 1 school, but since they are things an Arcane Caster normally doesn't have access to...I think it is as good as 1 school.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    This thread feels...unloved.

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Very interesting class. The flavor is also very good, and the simple "mana" system is appealing, I believe.

    I want to see a level 20 version as well.
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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Quote Originally Posted by Draken View Post
    I want to see a level 20 version as well.
    As do I; a 20-level progression would warm my cold, black heart.

    Also, for further thoughts on White/Black Mages, check out my current project, Final Fantasy X D20 (see signature). You may find the Summoner & Black Mage classes illuminating.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Quote Originally Posted by Draken View Post
    Very interesting class. The flavor is also very good, and the simple "mana" system is appealing, I believe.

    I want to see a level 20 version as well.
    I guess you don't think it is broken then? =)

    I'll probably declare the level 8 version 'done until play-tested' if no one besides the one guy in the DnD Online Games forum thinks it isn't acceptably balanced.

    Once that is done, I'll build a final level 20 version but for now it most likely will be the following:

    Progression of Mana/Spells known continues to weaken (as it is tied to primary attributes) in comparison to a Wizard or Sorcerer.

    At Levels 14,18:
    The Vitae Mage will gain a Bonus Metamagic Feat (this will give him 4 Metamagic feats to the wizard's Scribe Scroll + 4 more flexible).

    At Level 10,16,19: (Basically a short range detect magic/souls ability)
    A Vitae Mage is able to sense magical energy based on his long years of study. However, this ability identifies anything containing magic (including living beings). This ability does not penetrate any type of barrier (e.g. You can't use it through walls. You can't use it to see inside containers).

    At Level 10:
    The Vitae Mage can sense the absence or presence of lifeforce (magic and/or living people) auras within a 15' cone in front of him.

    At Level 16:
    The Vitae Mage can sense the number of lifeforce (magic and/or living people) auras as well as the most potent aura.

    At Level 19:
    The Vitae Mage can sense the locations of the lifeforce (magic and/or living people) auras.

    At Levels 12, 16, and 20:
    Arts of the Archmagi will increase in 'power' according to the the path you chose. (e.g. the CR of your Hell servant will go up, the Fast Healing of the Aura of Life will increase, Pact with Darkness will give you necromancer fetish abilities).

    At Levels you gain Vitae Casting (X):
    9th = Vitae Casting (5th)
    11th = Vitae Casting (6th)
    13th = Vitae Cating (7th)
    15th = Vitae Casting (8th)
    17th = Vitae Casting (9th)

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Vitae Mage [3.5, Base Class for E8]

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    As do I; a 20-level progression would warm my cold, black heart.

    Also, for further thoughts on White/Black Mages, check out my current project, Final Fantasy X D20 (see signature). You may find the Summoner & Black Mage classes illuminating.
    I'll look at it thanks. +)

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