General Prestige Class : Osteomancer

by Andrew M. Scott, Dragon #317

Not all arcane spellcasters who specialize in bones traffic with the undead. Many osteomancers, in fact, see themselves as artists; sculptors who just happen to use their bones (or to use their terminology, their "core") as their chosen medium.

The pioneer of osteomancy was Wendell Chirain. He was a complex man, driven by passions no person truly understood. He was a pragmatist and sneered at even the suggestion of sentimentality. Yet he was given to acts of astonishing charity, often to people he met once and would never see again.

Osteomancers are no more inclined to good or evil than any other character, but their macabre accouterments and their tendency toward the bizarre tends to alienate the average person. There appears to be a resonance within the practice of osteomancy that causes portions of Chirain's worldview to be adopted by his fledgling students. There are many tales of mischievous osteomancers scaring tavern-goers witless by ostentatiously sneezing and then using their ability to turn boneless and slumping to the floor, as if struck down by some curse or magical plague. Others have put on impromptu shows to amuse local children by extending and retracting bone spurs at random. However, such displays often have social consequences, and wise osteomancers - or ones who have grown tired of being chased out of cities at pitchfork-point - learn discretion. Those who are less wise do not live as long. Interestingly, this class does not attract those who specialize in necromancy; at its heart (or rather, marrow), osteomancy is about transmutation. Druids tend to be polarized in their attitudes and are either appalled or enchanted. No other class has a prejudice one way or the other, although they - like anyone else - might be taken aback by an osteomantic display. Osteomancers tend not to come from the longer-lived races. Dwarves, gnomes, and elves tend to be deeply suspicious of magic that warps their mortal frames. After all, they are possessions they intend to keep intact for centuries.


To qualify to become an Osteomancer, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The osteomancer's class skills are Concentration, Craft, Disguise, Heal, Intimidate, Knowledge (all skills taken individually), Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the osteomancer prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Osteomancers gain no additional proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells Per Day: At every even level gained in the osteomancer class, a character gains new spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (improved chance of rebuking or controlling undead, metamagic or item creation feats, and so on), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an osteomancer, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Boneless (Su): At will, as a full-round action, an osteomancer may dissolve or restore his own skeleton. He becomes able to travel at a speed of 10 feet through muscular control taught to all novice osteomancers (he may not run). The osteomancer may now fit in minute spaces and crawl under barriers, with one important caveat: the osteomancer must at all times take care to protect his organs, making sure they are not squashed or crushed. For simplicity's sake, assume the osteomancer cannot travel through any space smaller than 6 inches in diameter.

While in this form, the osteomancer is considered prone. He cannot use a shield, and loses his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class. He can't attack or cast spells with verbal, somatic, material, or focus components while boneless. (This does not rule out the use of certain spells that the osteomancer might have prepared using the feats Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials.)

Immunity to Disease (Ex): Due to their phenomenal understanding of bone and the role it plays in the immune system, osteomancers are immune to disease, including supernatural and magical diseases.

Skeletal Shift (Ex): As a standard action, 2nd-level osteomancers can shift the bone structure of their limbs and face (including teeth) to appear as a different person, at will. This ability grants a +3 bonus to Disguise checks.

Bone Spurs (Su): The 3rd-level osteomancer may, as a free action, cause portions of his skeleton to break his skin and protrude, causing him no damage or disability whatsoever. The protruding bones act as armor spikes and spiked gauntlets. The osteomancer is automatically proficient in the weapons forged directly from his own skeleton, but not the normal weapons of the same type. Note that while normal bone is far more fragile than any forged weapon, the osteomancer's supernatural skill causes his exposed bones to have the strength of steel. He may use this ability at will. As natural weapons, the osteomancer's bone spurs cannot be sundered.

Unnerve (Su): As an extension of the above ability, an osteomancer may sculpt his protruding bone into terrifying shapes, such as sinister leering faces. Creatures within 30 feet of the osteomancer attempting to strike or otherwise directly attack the osteomancer, even with a targeted spell, must attempt a Will save (DC 10 + osteomancer level + Charisma modifier). If the save succeeds, the opponent is unaffected and immune to that particular osteomancer's unnerve effect for 24 hours. If the save fails, the opponent suffers a -2 penalty on every attack roll against the osteomancer for the next 24 hours. A creature only has to make one save against a particular osteomancer per 24 hour period. This is a mind-affecting, fear effect.

Enlarge/Reduce (Sp): Beginning at 4th level, once per day, the osteomancer may cast enlarge person and reduce person on himself, as cast by a sorcerer of the osteomancer's class level.

Iron Bones (Su): A 4th-level osteomancer's bone spurs act as cold iron weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Seize the Core (Su): Once per day, the 5th-level osteomancer can take temporary control of the skeletons of his opponents, paralyzing them. He can affect up to one creature per osteomancer level within 60 feet, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart. Each subject is allowed a Fortitude save (DC 10 + osteomancer level + Charisma modifier). Creatures without skeletons (such as oozes) are not affected. Subjects affected by this ability are held immobile as though paralyzed. As this ability targets the bone structure of a being, rather than its mind, corporeal undead are subject to its effect. A winged creature affected by this ability cannot flap its wings and falls. A swimmer cannot swim and might drown. Creatures immune to paralysis are not immune to this effect.

Silver Bones (Su): A 5th-level osteomancer's bone spurs act as both silver and cold iron weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Aligned Bones (Su): At 6th level, an osteomancer's bone spurs take on any non-neutral alignment the character has (chaotic, evil, good, or lawful) for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. For example, a lawful neutral osteomancer's bone spurs act as lawful weapons. A wholly neutral osteomancer must choose for his bone spurs to be chaotic, evil, good, or lawful for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Once chosen, this alignment component cannot be changed.

Adamantine Bones (Su): A 7th-level osteomancer's bone spurs act as adamantine, cold iron, and silver weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Sap Life (Su): As a touch attack, an 8th-level osteomancer can cause a malaise to settle into the core of an opponent's bones. This effect deals 2d4 points of Strength damage unless the opponent makes a Fortitude save (DC 10 + osteomancer level + Charisma modifier). The osteomancer can use this ability a number of times per day equal to plus his Charisma modifier (minimum 1). This ability can only affect living creatures with a skeleton.

Wield the Core (Su): At 9th level, the osteomancer can telepathically control the physical actions of any creature with a skeleton. The target creature must be within 30 feet, and is allowed a Fortitude save (DC 10 + osteomancer level + Charisma modifier) to negate the effect. On a failed save, the osteomancer can control the movements of the subject by forcing its bones to move however the osteomancer wills.

The effect only allows the osteomancer to control the movement of the creature's bone structure, and not its mind. Thus, the osteomancer cannot make the controlled creature speak, but he can cause the creature's jaws to clench shut, which would prevent a character from casting a spell with a verbal component or using an item that has a command word. This effect lasts for 1 minute per osteomancer level.

Obviously self-destructive commands such as forcing the creature to walk off a cliff or jump into lava, end the effect. Once control is established, the range at which it can be exercised is unlimited, as long as the osteomancer has line of effect to the subject. Because the osteomancer must remain in line of effect (and therefore potentially keeping himself in harm's way), commanding a creature to face an obviously superior foe does not end the effect.

As this power targets the bone structure of a being, rather than its mind, corporeal undead are subject to its effect. The osteomancer can use this power three times per day.

Osteophage (Su): This 10th-level ability is the most lethal power at the osteomancer's command. Once per day, an osteomancer can cause the skeleton of target to liquefy in a matter of seconds, causing the target to collapse in on itself. This collapse causes instant death on a failed Fortitude save (DC 15 + Charisma modifier); a successful save prevents skeletal collapse but still deals 10d6 points of damage.

OsteomancerHit Die: d8
CLBABFortRefWillSpecialSpells per Day
1st+0+2+0+2Boneless, Immunity to disease-
2nd+1+3+0+3Skeletal shift+1 level of existing class
3rd+2+3+1+3Bone spurs, unnerve-
4th+3+4+1+4Enlarge/reduce, iron bones+1 level of existing class
5th+3+4+1+4Seize the core, silver bones-
6th+4+5+2+5Aligned bones+1 level of existing class
7th+5+5+2+5Adamantine bones-
8th+6+6+2+6Sap life+1 level of existing class
9th+6 +6+3+6Wield the core-
10th+7+7+3+7Osteophage+1 level of existing class

Source: Dragon #317
Dragon Compendium Vol. 1

General Prestige Classes