General Prestige Class : Wyrm Wizard
"Every dragon is like a library full of books so old their titles have been forgotten. Most would pay dearly for a chance to plunder such a resource, but only I have the key to the library doors." - Doran Stout, wyrm wizard of the Free City
Wyrm wizards are spellcasters who learn new spells not through research and experimentation but rather by tapping into the vast wealth of arcane knowledge possessed by dragons. Like many other wizards, wyrm wizards spend a great deal of time perfecting their spellcasting techniques, though most of their spells are based on the teachings of friendly dragons. A wyrm wizard and his dragon mentor might spend weeks or months in seclusion, discussing the finer points of spell manipulation or exploring new concepts. Unlike many others who interact with dragons, wyrm wizards also act as comrades to spellcasting dragons, providing insight into magic that the creature might not otherwise possess.
Generally, only wizards become wyrm wizards because of their dedication to the study of magic. Other arcane casters explore more dynamic and instinctive spellcasting techniques instead of conducting methodical research. Wizards of any specialty follow this path, though diviners - thanks to their love of learning - are slightly more common than others.
To qualify to become a Wyrm Wizard, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
- Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 9 ranks, Spellcraft 9 ranks.
- Feats: Any metamagic feat,
- Spellcasting: Ability to prepare and cast 1st-level arcane spells.
- Languages: Draconic
Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Wyrm wizards are exceptionally good at understanding the basics of spellcasting and magic. Thanks to the insight of draconic mentors, wyrm wizards can craft whole new spells based on complex magical theories and unravel the inner workings of any spell in the blink of an eye. Their extensive research, performed side by side with dragons, gives them a wealth of knowledge regarding arcane magic.
Spellcasting: At every level other than 2nd, 4th, and 6th, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do nor, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a wyrm wizard, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Knowledge of the Wyrm (Ex): You spend a great deal of time exploring the depths of a dragon's magical knowledge, giving you a distinct advantage over spellcasters who do not have the benefit of draconic tutelage. Starting at 1st level, by spending at least 1 hour doing nothing but performing research, you can add your class level as an insight bonus on Knowledge (arcana) checks made for the next 8 hours. You need not consult with a dragon to gain this insight, though if you do, the insight bonus improves by 2.
At 5th level, you also gain this bonus on Spellcraft checks, for the same duration.
Spell Research (Ex): One of the greatest advantages that you gain from consulting draconic lore is the ability to unlock magical secrets forbidden to other wizards. Starting at 2nd level, select one spell from any class's spell list (including divine spells), of a level equal to or lower than the highest-level arcane spell you can prepare and cast. You can add this spell to your arcane spellcasting class spell list as a spell of the same level; all other aspects of the spell remain unchanged. At every even-numbered level thereafter, you gain the knowledge and use of one additional spell in this manner.
Draconic Discovery (Ex): At 3rd level, you make startling discoveries into the nature of magic thanks to the unique insight of your dragon mentors. Select any arcane spell of up to 2nd level that you are capable of preparing and casting, and any one metamagic feat you know (with a maximum spell slot adjustment of four). Once per day, you can apply the effect of that metamagic feat to the chosen spell without adjusting the spell slot of the spell or preparing it ahead of time.
At 6th level, you can select a second arcane spell (of up to 4th level) to gain this benefit (choosing either the same or a different metamagic feat that you know). At 9th level, you can select a third arcane spell (of up to 6th level) to gain this benefit, again selecting either the same or a different metamagic feat that you know.
Convert Counterspell (Su): Starting at 7th level, you can identify the components of an incoming spell instantaneously and convert stored arcane energy into a counterspell. You can lose any prepared spell of 3rd level or higher in order to cast dispel magic as a counterspell, or you can lose any prepared spell of 6th level or higher in order to cast greater dispel magic as a counterspell. This ability does not allow you to convert spells for general use into dispel magic and only applies to counterspelling. The normal rules for casting a counterspell still apply.
Break Spell Resistance (Su): At 10th level, you gain great insight into the way creatures naturally resist magic by studying the magical defenses of dragons. Whenever you succeed on a caster level check to overcome a target's spell resistance, you can lose a prepared spell as a free action to negate the target's spell resistance. The target loses its spell resistance for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell you expended.
|Wyrm Wizard||Hit Die: d4|
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Knowledge of the wyrm||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|3rd||+1||+1||+1||+3||Draconic discovery (2nd)||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|5th||+2||+1||+1||+4||Knowledge of the wyrm||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|6th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Draconic discovery (4th), spell research||-|
|7th||+3||+2||+2||+5||Convert counterspell||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|8th||+4||+2||+2||+6||Spell research||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|9th||+4||+3||+3||+6||Draconic discovery (6th)||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|10th||+5||+3||+3||+7||Break spell resistance, spell research||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
Playing a Wyrm Wizard
You have always known that magic holds more promise than your mind could imagine. Some mysteries of the multiverse are beyond human comprehension, but this fact does not stop you from trying to puzzle them out, making every attempt to explore the great secrets of magic. Unlike some who cloister themselves in towers or spend every hour with their nose buried in a book, you prefer to seek out others who have followed your same path. Dragons, magical creatures of legend and potent spellcasters, are your preferred source of knowledge, and no other will suffice. As such, you have little regard for established centers of learning - colleges, churches, wizard academies - and you see no need to offer the deference and respect that they seem to expect. Indeed, you are skeptical of any arcane knowledge that does not come directly from a dragon unless you see it with your own eyes.
You often face prejudice and anger from those who do not share your beliefs, and as such you become defensive when others question the validity of your research. Additionally, your ability to make amazing discoveries in conjunction with your dragon allies has given you great confidence to see beyond the accepted rules and find wisdom elsewhere. Above all, you believe that dragons hold the key to new knowledge and advancement of magical abilities, and your best course of action is to befriend and learn from them.
Like most spellcasters, your strengths lie not in your ability to barge into combat, but in your talents that allow you to strike from a distance. Furthermore, thanks to your advanced understanding of magic gleaned from many hours with dragon mentors, you have an uncanny knack for unraveling spells cast by others. As such, you often hold your strength in reserve, choosing to react only when other spellcasters attempt to cast spells of their own. When you are not faced with such a threat, you prefer to cast spells that have been strengthened by your research, relying on them to provide a significant advantage over the standard spells of your enemy.
You started learning magic in the traditional ways - through study and experimentation. Soon, however, you discovered that there are greater avenues to knowledge than books and self-teaching. Under the tutelage of dragons, you began to learn more about how magic works, and soon you were able to apply their instinct and experience to your own magical studies. You seek the counsel of dragon mentors to solve arcane mysteries and explore your talents, relying on their insight as other wizards rely on musty tomes and aging instructors. To you, the world of magic is embodied in a living, breathing being, known to most as a dragon but to you as a teacher.
As a wyrm wizard, you benefit greatly from feats and abilities that improve your power to overcome magical defenses, such as the Spell Penetration feat. Additionally, anything that grants you extra spells (such as magic items that increase your Intelligence) helps to compensate for your slower acquisition of new spells.
Dragons are your greatest and primary resource. By befriending and studying under true dragons, you can learn much about how magic works. Additionally, dragons often provide you with knowledge or items that can prove invaluable while adventuring. Moreover, any dragon that acts as your mentor likely becomes protective of you, sometimes coming to your defense if you are threatened. Though you cannot rely on this protection every time you're in a difficult situation, having a dragon back your actions on occasion is a powerful advantage, especially when you are facing down a superior foe.
Wyrm Wizards in the World
"Can you ever really trust the word of a dragon? Surely creatures that so covet wealth must also hoard arcane lore, and it seems farfetched that they would allow mere humans access to such closely guarded knowledge. After all, is not each mortal wizard a potential thief of a dragon's spell hoard?" - Kaija, wizard of the Hidden Mask
Wyrm wizards choose living creatures as their source of knowledge rather than books or relics, meaning that their learning process is far more dynamic than that of the typical spellcaster. Unlike most characters, a wyrm wizard does not simply stop by a local library to research magical matters, and instead must seek out a friendly dragon to get the most from his studies. As a result, wyrm wizards remain in areas close to several friendly dragons, ensuring that they are never far from the source of their knowledge. Some are reluctant to stray too far from their base of operations, though adventuring wyrm wizards do travel in order to seek out the different perspectives of different types of dragons.
A wyrm wizard highly prizes the knowledge and wisdom of dragons, often seeking the best way to ingratiate himself into dragon society. As such, some wyrm wizards live among dragons for long periods of time, acting as both students and partners in arcane research. On the other hand, groups of wyrm wizards will, from time to time, invite a particular dragon to live among them in order to facilitate greater research. In many cases, wyrm wizards actually organize in much the same way that dragons do, with older and more learned wyrm wizards at the top of the power structure and new, younger wyrm wizards at the bottom. Natural spellcasting aptitude has little to do with a wyrm wizard's position in the hierarchy, since most wyrm wizards respect only those who have truly unlocked the secrets of dragon magic.
Most wyrm wizards spend the bulk of their free time engaged in discussion and debate with dragons over the nature of magic and the intricacies of spellcasting. While traveling or adventuring, wyrm wizards take every possible moment to record the progress of their journey in log books or on scrolls so that, once they return to a place where they can rejoin their dragon mentors, they have a full account of anything that happened to them. This allows them to consult their dragon teachers regarding anything strange that might have happened on the journey, a practice most wyrm wizards see as absolutely necessary given the great wisdom of older dragons.
Though both kinds of characters study arcane magic, wyrm wizards are not usually welcomed by more traditional wizards and magical researchers. Their choice to seek out alternative methods of learning is considered offensive by some and dangerous by others, meaning that most traditional wizards and academics will be indifferent at best or unfriendly at worst. Some see wyrm wizards as double agents who serve dragons, intentionally allowing their minds to be poisoned in the name of seeking greater power.
Dragons regard wyrm wizards with a variety of sentiments, and while good dragons might be helpful, many evil dragons are unfriendly or hostile. Often, evil dragons see wyrm wizards as lesser beings out to plunder the secrets of dragonkind without earning them. In such cases, a normally trusting wyrm wizard might find himself in a situation that turns dangerous quickly.
Wyrm Wizard Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research wyrm wizards to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
- DC 10: Wyrm wizards are arcane scholars who use the knowledge of dragons for their research.
- DC 15: Most wyrm wizards are capable of altering their spells in a way that no other wizards can, turning the dragons' intuitive knowledge of magic into wizard spell principles.
- DC 20: Wyrm wizards can counter the spells of other casters due to their understanding of magic. Also, through their consultation with dragons, wyrm wizards can puzzle out arcane knowledge that other wizards cannot.
- DC 30: Characters who achieve this level of success can learn important details about a specific notable wyrm wizard, the areas where he operates, and the kinds of activities he undertakes.
Wyrm wizards are less common than standard wizards but still can be found anywhere spellcasters congregate. However, adventurers out to locate one should not waste their time looking around colleges of wizardry or vast libraries. Instead, they should seek our the nearest dragon's lair.
Wyrm Wizards in the Game
Wyrm wizards work in any campaign that features opportunities for research or quests for knowledge. Though their versatility as spellcasters makes them useful in adventuring situations, wyrm wizards truly shine when they have time to conduct research between adventures. Additionally, a wyrm wizard's amazing discoveries can compensate for a lack of alternative spellcasting in a party without a diverse cadre of casters. Though a wyrm wizard loses some of his more powerful spells, he still contributes in a variety of ways, forgoing a focus on arcane spells in exchange for greater utility in the campaign.
In campaigns where conferring with dragons is not common (or might be taboo), simply revise the wyrm wizard class so it gains knowledge from another source. Since a wyrm wizard's class features stem from his ability to sift through the knowledge of ancient magical creatures, try substituting another long-lived race with natural spellcasting abilities, such as elves, celestials, or infernals. Regardless, adapting the class in this way requires little more than altering its background and should not involve significant changes to game mechanics.
Source: Dragon Magic