General Prestige Class : Force Missile Mage
by Jishuo Yang, Dragon #329
The spell magic missile is one of DUNGEON & DRAGONS'S most iconic elements, a favored staple of many arcane spellcasters and an example of raw magical force. Thus, it is no wonder that a cabal of arcane spellcasters focuses their studies on this spell, determined to perfect its casting technique above all others. As these spellcasters obsessively explore magic missile's secrets and press its boundaries, every rune and magical symbol of the spell becomes inexorably etched upon their minds. The outcome of such focused study results in the ability to warp the magical energies involved in casting magic missile, which leads to the creation of new abilities that augment the spell's effects. Eventually the most devoted researchers come to a new understanding of how magic works, revealing unplumbed depths of power out of the reach of ordinary spellcasters. These inspired spellcasters are known as force missile mages.
Other spellcasters don't understand the force missile mages' dedication to only one spell and frown upon what they see as misguided research. In their reasoning, force missile mages are a discredit to all spellcasters as they limit their understanding of magic to delve into the secrets of what many see as ultimately an insignificant spell. Due to this disdain, force missile mages avoid their more widely studied peers, either pursuing their studies subtly or in seclusion. This has led many to take up the life of a wanderer, traveling from one school or library to the next, learning more about their spell of choice and exploring the world. To some, this is merely a necessity of their studies, but others travel out of a more philosophical interest in embodying the motion and unbounded nature of their magic. Many force missile mages favor wide-open spaces, where they might see their magic soar to its farthest reaches. Thus, many purposefully make their travels through areas rich with plains, savannahs, and deserts, although any wide area of geographical openness appeals to most force missile mages.
Rarely does a spellcaster simply decide to become a force missile mage. Only those with the most peculiar attachment to the magic missile spell ever begin researching additional uses for it of their own accord. Rather, many spellcasters hear of such dedicated magical scholars in passing and seek them out to learn their ways. Wizards stand to gain the most from becoming a force missile mage, but some sorcerers and multiclassed clerics also benefit from the class's unique focus. Clerics with access to the Force domain often take levels in force missile mage and view their research into one of their faith's most fundamental spells as a religious undertaking.
While many who embark upon the path of the force missile mage claim to do so in order to gain a deeper understanding of magic in general, the majority take on the arduous task in order to become better killers. These arcane snipers hone their skill with magic missiles not out of curiosity, but for less scholarly reasons: wealth, revenge, or the power to kill with impunity.
Many of the more scholarly members of the force missile mage community work with argent savants to maximize their understanding of force spells in general. While argent savants take a wider view of force magic, the force missile mages keep their studies focused exclusively on unlocking the potentials of magic missile. More than once a force missile mage and argent savant have come to magical blows over their differing philosophies.
Most NPC force missile mages intently focus their experiments and resources on their chosen spell, always eager to discover new force spells like magic missile or improve on existing ones. They often engross themselves in their research to such a degree that they refuse to tear themselves away from their labs, frequently hiring adventurers to find some obscure spell or magic item. On the other hand, some wandering force missile mages might join characters in their adventures, seeking new opportunities to use their magic to its fullest extent.
To qualify to become a Force Missile Mage, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Concentration 9 ranks, Spellcraft 9 ranks
- Feats: Combat Casting.
- Spells: Ability to cast magic missile once per day.
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the force missile mage prestige class.
Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Force missile mages gain no new weapon or armor proficiencies.
Spells per Day/Spells Known: A force missile mage continues training in magic as she gains levels. At each level after 1st, the force missile mage gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in an spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If the character has levels in more than one spellcasting class before becoming a force missile mage, she must decide to which class she adds each level of force missile mage level for the purposes of determining spells per day.
Bonus Missile: At 1st level, a force missile mage gains increased mastery over her spell of choice. Every time she casts magic missile an additional missile is created, even if this extra missile exceeds the normal maximum of five missiles that the spell normally allows. Thus, a 1st-level force missile mage/6th-level wizard creates five magic missiles, while a 1st-level force missile mage/8th-level wizard produces six missiles.
At 5th level, the force missile mage benefits from an additional bonus missile. This means that a high-level force missile mage can create up to seven missiles with a single casting of magic missile.
Still Missile (Ex): All of your magic missile spells do not have a somatic component. You cast magic missile as if using the Still Spell feat but without an increase in spell level.
Energy Missile (Ex): A force missile mage becomes intimately attuned to the energies that compose the spell magic missile and may alter them in significant ways. Starting at 2nd level, a force missile mage may add either the acid, cold, electricity, or fire descriptor to any magic missile she casts.
The type of energy added to the spell is chosen at the time of casting, and you can choose a different type of energy each time you cast magic missile. This altered descriptor affects all missiles created by a single casting of magic missile. Although still a force spell, any magic missile altered in this way deals additional damage against vulnerable creatures and less damage against creatures with related resistances and immunities.
Swift Shield (Sp): A force missile mage realizes the need to defend herself against the magic missiles of other spellcasters. A 2nd-level force missile mage can cast shield once per day as an immediate action. (An immediate action is like a free action, but only one can be made per round. This spell is cast in addition to the force missile mage's usual number of spells per day and at the force missile mage's highest caster level.
Overpowering Missile: At 3rd level, the force missile mage's magic missile spells become especially potent, breaking through spell resistance more readily than normal. She gains a +2 bonus on caster level checks to overcome a creature's spell resistance with the spell magic missile. This benefit only applies to magic missile spells she casts.
In addition, a force missile mage's magic missiles penetrate shield spells and brooches of shielding as if they didn't offer protection from the spell.
Reflective Shield (Sp): At 4th level, a force missile mage becomes immune to the spell magic missile. For the purposes of being affected by magic missile, a force missile mage is constantly treated as being under the effect of the spell spell turning, thus reflecting offensive magic missiles back at their caster. If that caster is protected by the shield spell or a brooch of shielding these reflected magic missiles are negated. Missiles reflected back against a caster who also has spell turning in effect require the force missile mage to roll on the spell turning mishaps.
|Force Missile Mage||Hit Die: d4|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Bonus missile, still missile||-|
|2nd||+1||+0||+0||+3||Energy missile, swift shield||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Overpowering missile||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|4th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Reflective shield||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Bonus missile||+1 level of existing spellcasting class|
Favored Spells Of The Force Missile Mage
Force missile mages have a long and prolific history of using and creating magic similar to their spell of choice. Provided here are several spells likely to appear in the spellbooks of many force missile mages. Also see Force domain
Source: Dragon #328
Dragon Compendium Vol. 1