Alternate Class - Shadowcaster

"Behind the fire, between the worlds, in all the empty spaces, at the end of all things, we are there. Matter, light, life - these things are fleeing. Shadow, only shadow, is eternal." - Eddas Coradran, lord of the First House, Parliament of Shadows

All things fall into shadow, even light. Shadows do not represent the absence of light; they show the presence of darkness. Thus, shadow and darkness are not death or diminishment; they are the fundamental state of the universe, the constant that existed before, that exists now, and that will exist when all other things are snuffed out. So it is with the Plane of Shadow, that dark mirror to the Material Plane and many other realities. Shadowcasters tap into this most fundamental of forces and planes to work their dark wills. By tying themselves to the Plane of Shadow, they maintain a tenuous link to the ultimate force of existence.

The shadowcaster understands the true, primal power of darkness, attunes herself to the Plane of Shadow, and learns great shadow mysteries the equal of any mundane spell. These dark casters are workers of alien magic, possessing an occult understanding of the world and magic that even other spellcasters find disturbing. They are masters of a dark power - and perhaps, as some worry, its servants as well.

Making A Shadowcaster

The shadowcaster is a potent magic user. Her abilities are tightly focused, making her somewhat less versatile than other spellcasters, but what she lacks in range she makes up in sheer capability. Shadow magic is unfamiliar to most enemies and, especially at higher levels, far more difficult to counter, disrupt, or dispel. Depending on the shadowcaster's focus and choice of paths, she might be an exceptional scout, a master of scrying, a commander of shadowy minions, a thief of life, or any combination thereof. Like most spell users, her role depends largely on the magic she chooses.

Those who walk the dark road of shadow magic must fortify themselves against the pull of the Plane of Shadow. As the power the plane grants grows, so too does its grip on a shadowcaster's soul. This constant contest between shadow and soul strengthens a shadowcaster's will and fortitude.

Few shadowcasters are leaders of adventuring groups, being more concerned with expanding their knowledge and understanding of the mystical in general, and of shadow in particular.

Abilities: Shadowcasters must be both clever and confident, studious and determined; Intelligence and Charisma both impact their mysteries. Wisdom is useful for perception, particularly if they opt for any of the scrying-oriented paths. Because shadowcasters rarely wear armor, a high Dexterity proves helpful.

Races: The majority of shadowcasters are humans or half-elves, individuals whose quest for power, understanding, or knowledge is at the forefront of their personas. Dwarves tend to see shadowcasters as agents of evil, even if they are unwitting ones. Elves do not necessarily consider them evil, but they do see shadow magic as unnatural, and therefore harmful even when their masters intend no malice. Gnomes are more accepting of shadowcasters. They view them with suspicion, but simultaneously respect their drive and wonder at the great arcane secrets they possess. Halflings fear shadowcasters for their powers but envy their ability to enter and explore the dark, hidden places. Half-orcs tend to distrust shadowcasters, although some lust after their abilities; however, few half-orcs have the mental capacity to be effective shadowcasters.

Alignment: Shadowcasters deal with dark powers, magic often associated with evil, and live with a skewed perception of the world itself. Mastering the paths and mysteries, and learning to comprehend the world through the alien filter of the Plane of Shadow, requires an exceedingly disciplined, organized mind. Thus, while shadowcasters can be of any alignment, those with good or chaotic alignments are exceedingly rare.

Starting Gold: 3d4x10 (75 gp)

Starting Age: As wizard

Class Skills

The shadowcaster's class skills are Concentration, Craft, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), Move Silently, Profession, Spellcraft, and Spot.

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

Skill Points at each additional level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

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

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons. You are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with your gestures, which can cause your mysteries to fail when they function as spells.

Fundamentals of Shadow (Su): As a shadowcaster, you must master certain basic powers before proceeding to deeper secrets of shadow. These powers, known as fundamentals, function as supernatural abilities usable three times per day. You begin play with three fundamentals and gain an additional fundamental at 4th level and every four additional levels beyond 4th. At 14th level, you can use your fundamentals an unlimited number of times per day. You can, when gaining a new level, choose a new fundamental in place of another mystery. When choosing a fundamental, you can "relearn" an already known fundamental, thus gaining another set of uses of that fundamental per day. The save DC of any fundamental is equal to 10 + your Cha modifier.

Mysteries and Paths: You do not cast spells as other classes do, but instead invoke mystical secrets called mysteries (see pages 139-153 Tome of Magic). You know one mystery at 1st level and gain one additional mystery every class level. Up to 6th level, you can learn only apprentice mysteries. At 7th level, you gain access to initiate mysteries, and at 13th level you become able to use master mysteries. You can choose your new mystery from any category you have access to (including fundamentals). For instance, at 8th level, you could select either a fundamental, an apprentice mystery, or an initiate mystery.

Shadow magic progresses in very specific stages. You may not "jump ahead" in a path, although you need not complete a path if you do not wish to. Within a category (apprentice, initiate, master), you can only learn mysteries of a new level if you have learned at least two mysteries of a previous level, and you must know all previous mysteries within a path to select a mystery from that path. For example, you cannot learn congress of shadows (the second mystery of the Ebon Whispers path) until you know at least two 1st-level mysteries, one of which must be voice of shadow (the first mystery of that path. However, you can always select the first mystery in a path of a category you have access to, even if you didn't complete the lower category paths. For example, you could learn the shadow vision mystery, the first one (4th level) in the Initiate, Veil of Shadows path, even if you know no 3rd level mysteries (all of which are in the Apprentice category).

Mysteries represent thought patterns and formulae alien that other spells seem simple in comparison. As you progress, however, your connection to the Plane of Shadow grows stronger, and your mysteries become more ingrained in your essence. When you are capable of casting only apprentice mysteries, you cast them as though they were arcane spells. They all have somatic components, armor-based spell failure chance, and are subject to interruption (but they do not require material components, foci, or verbal components) Whenever you cast a mystery as an arcane spell, observers can make a DC 15 Spot check to note that your shadow is making different gestures from the ones you make when you cast the mystery (see Detecting Mysteries, page 138).

At 7th level, when you become capable of casting initiate mysteries (whether or not you choose to learn any), your apprentice mysteries become so much a part of you that they now function as spell-like abilities, and they no longer require somatic components. Your new initiate mysteries (when you learn them) function as arcane spells and follow the rules described above.

When you reach 13th level and become capable of casting master mysteries, another change occurs. Your master mysteries now function as arcane spells, and your initiate mysteries function as spell-like abilities. Your apprentice mysteries become supernatural abilities. (See page 139 Tome of Magic for rules governing supernatural abilities.)

You can learn a mystery more than once. Each time you learn a mystery, you gain another set of uses of that mystery per day.

You can use each mystery you know a certain number of times per day depending on whether it is cast as a spell (once), a spell-like ability (two times), or a supernatural ability (three times). The allotments per level are given on the table below , but only apply if you are able to cast mysteries of the level indicated. For example, if you choose breadth over depth and know no 4th-level mysteries as a 7th-level shadowcaster, you cannot take advantage of the one use per mystery per day detailed in the table. Unlike spellcasters, you don't get bonus mysteries for a high ability score. Although you do not prepare spells, you must rest for 8 hours and meditate for 15 minutes each day to regain your use of mysteries just as a sorcerer or bard must rest and meditate to regain use of spell slots.

In order to cast a mystery, you must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the mystery's level. The save DC for your mysteries equals 10 + mystery level + your Cha modifier. Even though as a shadowcaster you do not "cast spells" in traditional sense, your levels in this class count for the purpose of determining your overall caster level.

Uses Per Mystery Per Day

Bonus Feats: Beginning at 2nd level, you gain bonus feats equal to half the total number of paths you have access to, rounded down. For instance, most shadowcasters know the first mystery of two different paths at 2nd level, so they gain one ~bonus feat. If you learn the first mystery of a third path at 3rd level, you still have only one bonus feat, but if you learn the first mystery of yet another path at 4th level, you know four paths, and therefore gain a second bonus feat. Thus, you have a choice: fully master fewer paths and gain access to more high-level mysteries, or branch out into more paths and gain more feats but fewer high-level mysteries. You do not gain a new bonus feat for repeating a path you already know, and fundamentals do not apply for the purpose of bonus feats.

You must meet the prerequisite (if any) in order to select a feat as a bonus feat. The list of feats you can select includes any metamagic feat, Favored Mystery, Greater Path Focus, Nocturnal Caster, Path Focus, Shadow Vision, and any metashadow feat.

Umbral Sight (Su): When you reach 3rd level, your vision extends slightly into the Plane of Shadow. You gain darkvision out to 30 feet. If you already have darkvision, or gain it from some other source, the effective distance of that vision is increased by 30 feet. At 11th level, you become able to see perfectly in complete darkness, even magical darkness, out to 60 feet.

Sustaining Shadow (Ex): When you reach 5th level, your bond to the Plane of Shadow allows you to absorb dark energies, mitigating certain biological needs. You need eat only a single meal per week to maintain health. At 10th level, you only need 1 hour of sleep per night (but you must still rest for 8 hours to regain your mysteries for the next day). At 15th level, you gain immunity to nonmagical diseases and poisons. Finally, at 20th level, you no longer need to breathe, and need never eat or sleep.

ShadowcasterHit Die: d6
1st+0+2+0+2Fundamentals for shadow, apprentice mysteries
2nd+1+3+0+3Bonus feat; see text
3rd+1+3+1+3Umbral sight (darkvision 30 ft.)
4th+2+4+1+4Bonus fundamental
5th+2+4+1+4Sustaining shadow (eat 1 meal/week)
7th+3+5+2+5Apprentice mysteries (spell-like), initiate
8th+4+6+2+6Bonus fundamental
10th+5+7+3+7Sustaining shadow (sleep 1 hour day)
11th+5+7+3+7Umbral sight (see in darkness 60 ft.)
12th+6/+1+8+4+8Bonus fundamental
14th+7/+2+9+4+9Unlimited uses of fundamentals
15th+7/+2+9+5+9Sustaining shadow (immune to poison/disease)
16th+8/+3+10+5+10Bonus fundamental
20th+10/+5+12+6+12Bonus fundamental, sustaining shadow (no need to breathe, eat, or sleep)

Shadowcaster Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (the planes) can research shadowcasters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

A bardic knowledge check can reveal the same information as these skill checks, but in each case the DC is 5 higher than the given value.

Source: Tome of Magic

Alternate Character Classes
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