Author Topic: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2  (Read 36055 times)

Offline gorfnab

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Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« on: November 07, 2011, 10:39:40 PM »
Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook


Shadowcaster is a mage like class found in Tome of Magic starting on page 109.

Links of what has come before

Shadow Magic
A Guide to Shadow Magic
Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns
CO Diary: The Shadowcaster
Homebrew Pathfinder Shadowcaster Stuff
Shadow of Murder (Homebrew Prestige Class)

Red = bad, highly situational, or useless
Black = okay, standard, or somewhat useful
Blue = good, best choice, or very useful

Stats

Str - dump
Dex - you're squishy, you'll want a decent AC
Con - again you're squishy, you'll want some hit points
Int - primary casting stat
Cha or Cha - you can dump this if you choose the right mysteries, otherwise this determines your DCs
Wis - dump

Class Abilities

HD = d6
BAB = poor
Saves = Fort, Ref, Will
-You're definitely a caster

Skills - Concentration, Craft, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (the Planes), Move Silently, Profession, Spellcraft, Spot
-You can potentially scout so Spot, Hide, and Move Silently are nice; plus not being seen generally means not getting hit. If you have a decent Cha you could pull off some tricks with Intimidate.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies
Simple Weapons - Your best options are Longspear, Dagger, Light Crossbow, and Morningstar. The Planar Handbook has the Heavy Sickle which is the weapon pictured on page 111 of ToM. It's okay but I would still go with the previously listed weapons.
Armor - None. However if you pick up the feat Still Mystery you could multiclass and pick up some armor options. If you do this you'll probably just want to stick with light armor.

Umbral Sight - Good if you don't get it from your race, meh if you already have it. At 11th level you can see through magically created darkness.

Sustaining Shadow - mostly fluff and sadly the best stuff comes very late in the game.



Fundamentals and Mysteries

Int - determines level of mysteries you can cast (same as wizard, you need a 19 Int in order to cast 9th level Mysteries)
Cha - determines save DCs (with the right Mysteries this can actually be a dump stat)

Here is a way to explain Shadowcaster casting from a previous post of mine.

Level - Casting ability
1st - Fundamentals (basically cantrips) function as Supernatural Abilities, Apprentice Mysteries cast as arcane spells with some minor differences (see list).
7th - Apprentice Mysteries function as Spell Like Abilities, Initiate Mysteries cast as arcane spells
13th - Apprentice Mysteries function as Supernatural Abilities, Initiate Mysteries function as Spell Like Abilities, Master Mysteries cast as arcane spells

Mysteries are mostly cast like spells except with the following differences.
  • Mysteries function in darkness or any sort of ambient light.
  • Mysteries have somatic components.
  • Mysteries do not have verbal, foci, or material components.
  • Mysteries have Arcane Spell Failure when they are cast as spells.
  • Mysteries are subject to interuption.
  • When casting a Mystery as a spell, observers can make a DC15 Spot check to notice your shadow making different gestures than the ones you make when casting the Mystery.
  • Mysteries can be dismissed at will if the duration is longer than instantaneous.
  • Mysteries require a standard action to cast.
  • Mysteries are subject to the same stacking rules as spells.
  • Mysteries do not interact easily with spells. Using a Mystery (like Shadows Fade) to dispel a spell or using a spell (like Dispel Magic) to dispel a Mystery takes a -4 penalty.
  • Mystery users with no levels of spellcasting take a -4 penalty to Spellcraft checks to identify spells.
  • Spellcasters with no levels of mystery-using classes take a -4 penalty on Spellcraft checks to identify mysteries.
  • Mysteries cannot benefit from feats that enhance spells (such as metamagic feats) or spell-like-abilities (such as Empower Spell Like Ability or Ability Focus). Instead mysteries benefit from metashadow feats.

Fundamentals can each be cast 3/day. At level 14+ Fundamentals are usable at will.
When Mysteries are cast as arcane spells you can cast each of them 1/day
When Mysteries become Spell Like Abilities you can use each of them 2/day
When Mysteries become Supernatural Abilities you can use each of them 3/day

At 1st level you know 3 Fundamentals and 1 Mystery. You gain 1 Mystery known at every level (similar to how a Psychic Warrior and its Powers Known) and at 4th level and every 4 levels after you learn an additional Fundamental. You get bonus feats, chosen from a specific list, equal to half the total number of paths you have access to rounded down (I prefer to use the author's fix and go with whenever you complete a path you gain a bonus feat). The level of Mysteries you can cast is equal to the same level of Wizard and what level of spells they can cast (ie. a 5th level Wizard can cast 3rd level spells, a 5th level Shadowcaster can cast 3rd level Mysteries).

Mysteries come in sets called Paths. When choosing mysteries, in order to advance to the next level of mysteries you must have the lower level mysteries of the same path. You can't cherry pick the best mysteries of each level (unless you use one of the fixes). Basically you start off with an Apprentice Mystery Path. You have to take the first level mystery of that path in order to take the second level mystery of that path. You can have multiple paths going at the same time (and are encouraged to do so with bonus feats for having multiple paths), however doing this too much will cause you to delay getting the higher level mysteries.

Apprentice Mystery Paths contain Mysteries of levels 1 through 3.
Initiate Mystery Paths contain Mysteries of levels 4 through 6.
Master Mystery Paths contain Mysteries of levels 7 through 9.

Quickest way to get to the higher level mysteries
1. Mystery Level 1 (Path 1)
2. Mystery Level 1 (Path 2)
3. Mystery Level 2 (Path 1)
4. Mystery Level 2 (Path 2)
5. Mystery Level 3 (Path 1)
6. Your Choice - either has to be Mystery Level 3 from Path 2 or a 1st level Mystery from some other path
7. Mystery Level 4 (Path 3)
8. Mystery Level 4 (Path 4)
9. Mystery Level 5 (Path 3)
10. Mystery Level 5 (Path 4)
11. Mystery Level 6 (Path 3)
12. Your Choice - either has to be Mystery Level 6 from Path 4 or a 1st or 4th level Mystery from some other path
13. Mystery Level 7 (Path 5)
14. Mystery Level 7 (Path 6)
15. Mystery Level 8 (Path 5)
16. Mystery Level 8 (Path 6)
17. Mystery Level 9 (Path 5)
18. Your Choice - either has to be Mystery Level 9 from Path 6; or a 1st, 4th, or 7th level Mystery from some other path (Path 7)
19. Your Choice -  Mystery Level 9 from Path 6 (if you haven't already chosen it); a 2nd, 5th, or 8th level Mystery from Path 7; or a 1st, 4th, or 7th level Mystery from some other path (Path 8)
20. Your Choice -  Mystery Level 9 from Path 6 (if you haven't already chosen it); a 3rd, 6th, or 9th level Mystery from Path 7; a 2nd, 5th, or 8th level Mystery from Path 8; or a 1st, 4th, or 7th level Mystery from some other path (Path 9)
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:44:20 AM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 10:40:07 PM »
Fundamentals

Fundamentals are basically cantrips that function as supernatural abilities. You start off with 3 fundamentals of your choice and gain new ones at 4th, 8th, 12, 16th, and 20th level. These are usable 3/day starting off and become at will at 14th level. Prestige Classes do advance learning of new fundamentals as well as when they become at will.

Arrow of Dusk - At low levels this can knock opponents unconscious. This also works nicely with sneak attack. At higher levels this may not see use since most opponents will be immune to non-lethal damage (ie. undead, constructs, oozes, elementals).

Black Candle - Darkness or Light. Sadly since fundamentals are SUs this will not work with the feats Intensify Darkness, Instinctive Darkness, or Blend Into Shadows without DM fiat. 20% concealment is still nice at lower levels.

Caul of Shadow - Deflection bonus to AC. Not that useful at low levels, but once you hit level 14 this becomes pretty much always on. Before level 14 consider getting a Ring of Protection, After level 14 go with this and sell the ring.

Liquid Night - If you're short on gp you could potentially bottle it and sell it. However it does glow with the light of a candle so if you put it in a vial you would have a cheap light source.

Mystic Reflections - Detect Magic

Shadow Hood - Extremely minor debuff, will negates. Pass

Sight Obscurred - Decent boost to obvious uses of Hide, Sleight of Hand, and Move Silently checks. May also work on Feinting in combat and using Bluff to create a distraction to Hide.

Umbral Hand - Mage Hand but better weight limit

Widened Eyes - Low Light Vision, meh very situationally useful.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 08:22:10 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2011, 10:40:25 PM »
Apprentice Path Mysteries

Most of the lower level Mysteries are lackluster but some do shine out above the rest. Italicized mysteries require a saving throw for half or negate and thus need a decent Cha in order to use effectively. Save for partial effect are underlined.

Cloak of Shadows
1. Steel Shadows - Mix of Mage Armor and Shield, duration could be better
2. Sight Eclipsed - Mini Hide in Plain Sight, short duration
3. Sharp Shadows - Minor damage to whoever hits you with a non-reach melee weapon and SR applies, pass

Dark Terrain
1. Carpet of Shadows - Creates difficult terrain, still not as good as Grease or Entangle
2. Black Fire - A shapeable wall of cold damage, an okay battlefield control
3. Clinging Darkness - Makes creatures immobile, not too shabby

Ebon Whispers
1. Voice of Shadows - Command (as the spell) or Daze (affecting Undead or Constructs)
2. Congress of Shadows - Basically Sending but on the same plane
3. Flicker - Once per round mini Dimension Door that can be used as an immediate action to save your ass, very nice

Eyes of Darkness
1. Bend Perspective - Somewhat useful for scouting, can see around corners or on top of objects
2. Piercing Sight - See Invisibility but at 1 minute per level, also gives you Darkvision 60ft.
3. Killing Shadows - Does 1d8/CL damage (max 10d8) in a cone, Will for half. Not exactly "killing" but at least it's untyped damage

Shutters and Clouds
1. Dusk and Dawn - Shadowy Illumination, and that's it
2. Shadow Skin - Immediate action one round DR based on CL. Would have been better if the DR was 1 round/CL instead.
3. Dancing Shadows - Grants Concealment to 1 target/5CL for rounds/CL.

Touch of Twillight
1. Life Fades - Nonlethal damage and potential fatigue as a touch
2. Flesh Fails - 4 Str, 4 Dex, or 2 Con damage
3. Umbral Touch - 5d6 untyped damage as a touch, potential slow effect, multiple touch and you're considered armed and can make AoOs. Very nice

Umbral Mind
1. Mesmerizing Shade - Daze and a minor debuff, meh
2. Thoughts of Shadow - Eagles Splendor, Fox's Cunning, or Owl's Wisdom
3. Afraid of the Dark - 1d6 +1/4CL Wis damage, Will for half

Night's Long Fingers
1. Quicker than the Eye - Bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, stacks with Sight Obscured, works with Umbral Hand
2. Trail of Haze - Track a subject using a shadowy haze
3. Umbral Fist - Basically mini Bigby's Hands
« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 01:40:29 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2011, 10:40:48 PM »
Initiate Path Mysteries

Much stronger and more versatile than the Apprentice Mysteries. Choosing Mysteries of these levels could prove challenging. Italicized mysteries require a saving throw for half or negate and thus need a decent Cha in order to use effectively. Save for partial effect are underlined.

Black Magic
4. Warp Spell - Successful counter spell leads to free casting of an Apprentice Mystery
5. Echo Spell - Copy spell or mystery cast in the previous round, works great with a party member who can Persist buffs or has a decent spell list. Also can be used to copy a BBEG spell.
6. Flood of Shadows - Mini Shadow planar bubble. Can potentially mess with other casters or negate their spells. Free Empower for mysteries or spells with the Shadow subschool.

Body and Soul
4. Bolster - Subject gains 5 temporary HP/HD (max 75) for 10min/CL and its shadow grows larger
5. Languor - Slow or Hold Monster
6. Shadow Investiture - Cold resistance 15, evasion, see in darkness for rounds/CL. Too little too late in my opinion

Dark Reflections
4. Shadow Evocation - As spell, good for evocations lower than 5th level, awesome (will save disbelief as normal spell)
5. Feign Life - Animate Objects and give them Concealment
6. Shadow Evocation Greater - As spell, good for evocations lower than 7th level, awesome (will save disbelief as normal spell). Contingency anyone?

Ebon Roads
4. Step into Shadow - Dimension Door
5. Pass into Shadow - Plane Shift to or from the Plane of Shadow
6. Voyage into Shadow - Shadow Walk but faster

Elemental Shadows
4. Aura of Shade - Protects from cold temperatures, absorbs 12 points of cold/CL (max 120), gives subjects weapons +1d6 cold damage
5. Dark Air or Water - Control Water or Control Wind
6. Shadow Storm - 1d6/CL (max 20d6) half cold half electricity damage, arcs to secondary targets for half.

Unbinding Shade
4. Shadows Fade - Dispel Magic
5. Unravel Dweomer - Break Enchantment (casting time of a standard action instead of 1 minute)
6. Shadows Fade Greater - Dispel Magic Greater

Veil of Shadows
4. Shadow Vision - Subject takes -4 on attacks, saves, ability checks, and skill checks. You gain total concealment against the subject
5. Curtain of Shadows - Wall deals 1d6 cold damage/CL (max 15d6) and blocks line of sight
6. Unveil - Removes a laundry list of adverse conditions

Darkened Alleys
4. Fearful Gloom - Darkness + Fear/ Panic effects, lots of things are immune to fear by now
5. Sickening Shadow - Darkness + Sicken/ Nauseate effects
6. Deadly Shade - Darkness + Negative Level or DR


« Last Edit: September 21, 2014, 01:40:50 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2011, 10:41:06 PM »
Master Path Mysteries

Lots of blah and meh. Only a few really stand out as being useful. Italicized mysteries require a saving throw for half or negate and thus need a decent Cha in order to use effectively. Save for partial effect are underlined.

Breath of Twilight
7. Life Fades Greater - 1d6 nonlethal damage/CL, potential exhaustion. Would have been better many levels ago
8. Flesh Fails Greater - 6 Str, 6 Dex, or 4 Con damage. Can affect multiple subjects.
9. Ephemeral Storm - Basically Wail of the Banshee but those who save still take 5d6 damage

Dark Metamorphosis
7. Ephemeral Image - Project Image with concealment
8. Umbral Body - Incorporeal subtype for rounds/CL
9. Shadow Time - 1d4+1 rounds Time Stop

Ebon Walls
7. Prison of Night - Immobilizes subject, blocks line of sight and effect, impenetrable barrier from the outside. Subject takes 1d6 cold damage per round, Fort save to get out or avoid taking Con damage.
8. Tomb of Night - As Prison of Night but 3d6 cold damage per round and Fort save to get out of avoid taking negative levels
9. Consume Essence - Slay target and then animate it as your puppet for rounds/CL

Eyes of the Night Sky
7. Truth Revealed - True Seeing with some added minor divination effects
8. Far Sight - Greater Scrying + Truth Revealed
9. Reflections of Things to Come - Uncanny Dodge, +10 to initiative, +4 insight to AC, discharge to cause an attack to miss you. Would have been better a few levels ago. Sort of functions like a mini Foresight.

Heart and Soul
7. Dark Soul - Force one subject per round/CL to melee attack nearest target in reach
8. Soul Puppet - Dominate Monster
9. Shadow Surge - 1 round Dominate Monster up to 1 target/CL

Shadow Calling
7. Summon Umbral Servant - Summon one huge, two large, or four medium shadow elementals as Summon Monster spell
8. Shadow Plague - Cold damage Incendiary Cloud
9. Army of Shadow - Summon one elder, two greater, four huge, or eight large shadow elementals as Summon Monster spell

Shadowscape
7. Grasping Shadows - Evard's Black Tentacles + Blindness, where was this spell 2 or 3 levels ago?
8. Menagerie of Darkness - Gives you pets if there are animals or vermin in the area, extremely situational
9. Black Labyrinth - 1 mile radius effect with a duration of 24 hours/2CL of some serious battlefield control
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 09:14:40 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2011, 10:41:27 PM »
Races (+0LA)

Human - Bonus feat and bonus skills.

Whisper Gnome - If you plan to dump Cha, this is definitely a nice option. Extremely sneaky. Consider taking Magic in the Blood to supplement your casting at lower levels. One level of Rogue will also open up the Silencing Strike feat which pairs nicely with Arrow of Dusk if you want to take out or take hostage targets without being noticed.

Gray Elf - Another option if you plan to drop Cha. The -2 Con may hurt though.

Strongheart Halfling - Bonus feat and some useful skill bonuses

Kenku - Very sneaky mixes well with Rogue

Magic Blooded Template - Gives you +2 to Cha and -2 to Wis. Gives you low-light vision but gets rid of any previous racial vision (Shadowcaster gives you Dark Vision anyways so no big loss). You also get some pretty nifty SLAs too. This would be fun slap on a Whisper Gnome with the Magic in the Blood feat.

Races (+1LA)

Dark Creature - Makes you even more sneakier. If you put this on a Whisper Gnome expect the DM to hit you with a book. Blue if buyoff is allowed otherwise just buy the "always on" Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis.

Catfolk - Bonuses to two useful stats

Tiefling - Bonuses to two useful stats

Draconic Creature - Much needed Cha boost

Chaos Gnome - Bonus to Cha, Dex, and Con. Some semi-useful SLAs (works with Magic in the Blood)

Fey Touched - Bonus to Dex and Cha, some flavorful minor skill bonuses.

Races (+2LA) - If buy off is allowed, otherwise this will slow down your shadowcasting

Shadow Creature - Evasion, Fast Healing, Plane Shift, Luck bonus to saves, more stealthy stuff, and it fits thematically. Nice.

Phrenic Creature - Bonus to Int and Cha, plus some nifty psionic powers

Half-Fey - Huge bonus to Cha, lots of useful SLAs, and flight with wings

« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:51:41 AM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2011, 10:41:46 PM »
Multiclassing

I recommend going Something 1/ Shadowcaster X since Shadowcaster has low HP and a low number of skill points at 1st level. This should help with survivability and versatility at lower levels.

Rogue - Gives you some much needed skills, light armor, and sneak attack. The sneak attack works nicely with Arrow of Dusk and Umbral Touch. The Craven feat will give you a nice increase to the sneak attack damage.

Warblade - Gives you an HP boost, martial weapons, and some maneuvers

Swashbuckler - Gives you HP, martial weapons, some skills, and free Weapon Finesse.

Swordsage - 2 levels taken later in the game will give you Assassins Stance and Shadow Jaunt. The Shadowblade feat will give you a boost in damage if you have to resort to melee.

Wizard - Gives you some more spell options. You can also get double 9s (see builds) with the right build.

Factotum - Lots of skill points, light armor, and martial  weapons.

Prestige Classes
Quote
PRESTIGE CLASS CASTING ADVANCEMENTS
When a shadowcaster gains new casting class levels from advancement within a prestige class, this includes the knowledge of new fundamentals, and the transformation of lower-level path mysteries into spell-like or supernatural abilities. It does not include gaining bonus feats for learning new paths or any other shadowcaster class features.

Quote
Shadowcasters and Prestige Classes

Shadowcasters are a breed apart and do not always qualify for prestige classes that are available to more common magic users.

Levels in shadowcaster qualify for prestige classes with the following entry requirements.
  • A caster level requirement, if no type (arcane or divine) is specified.
  • Ability to cast spells of X level, if no type (arcane or divine) is specified.
  • Ability to cast mysteries of X level, or a specific mystery.

Levels in shadowcaster do not qualify a character for prestige classes with the following entry requirements:
  • A caster level requirement where the type (arcane or divine) is specified. Exception: Shadowcasters can qualify for the mystic theurge prestige class. In order to do so, they are allowed to substitute the ability to cast 2nd-level mysteries for the ability to cast 2nd-level spells. They must meet all other requirements for the prestige class normally. In addition, if a shadowcaster takes cleric levels to meet the divine spellcasting requirement, he must be devoted to a god that grants access to one of the following domains: Knowledge, Magic, Darkness, or Illusion.
  • Ability to cast spells of X level where the type (arcane or divine) is specified.
  • Ability to cast a specific spell, even if a mystery exists with a similar effect.

Getting Shadowcaster in to prestige classes can be convoluted. With some tweaking and DM fiat some prestige classes could actually work nicely with Shadowcaster. Three prestige classes that would only take minor tweaking for Shadowcaster to qualify for would be Escalation Mage, Anima Mage, and Arcane Trickster.

Shadowcaster Specific Prestige Classes

Child of Night - 9/10 casting, speeds up sustaining shadow, scaling cold resistance, and concealment. It's okay but not much more than just taking more levels of Shadowcaster.

Master of Shadow - 9/10 casting, scaling cold resistance, and a pet shadow elemental. The pet shadow elemental becomes very useful at higher levels since it gains HD and the benefits thereof (such as feats and skill points).

Noctumancer - 10/10 Shadowcaster and 10/10 arcane casting, decent buffs to counterspelling. The obvious multiclass entry is Wizard (see builds). With early entry cheese Beguiler or Sorcerer could also work. This prestige class gives you some of the versatility and power that Shadowcaster normally lacks.

Shadowsmith - Only gives you 3 mysteries known from one apprentice path. This is an attempt at a Shadowcaster gish though not a very good one. 1st level does give you proficiency in martial weapons, shields, light armor, +1 BAB, d8 hp, 1 apprentice mystery, and 6 skill points. This class does allow you to make tools and weapons on the fly using shadow (or force if you use the adaptation on page 135). If you take all 10 levels of it you would end up with a +5 Shadow Striking Weapon, +5 Shield, or +5 Improved Shadow Light Armor (you can either have 1 item at +5 or split the enhancement bonus between 2 items). Other than that it really is not that good and should usually be avoided. If you want to use this see if you can just flat out gestalt this with the Shadowblade prestige class, this will still keep it's flavor but at least give you a few more options.

Mystic Theurge
- 10/10 Shadowcaster and 10/10 other. Specifically mentioned on page 117 of ToM, Shadowcasters can count as either the divine or arcane side of the Mystic Theurge. This is a good finish to Noctumancer (see builds). Also this could be used with Ur-Priest to get double 9s.

Shadow Adept - The prereqs say "Able to cast 3rd-level arcane or divine spells" page 117 of ToM states Shadowcasters can qualify for prestige class that have the prereq of "Ability to cast spells of X level, if no type (arcane or divine) is specified". Technically this prestige class would need DM approval because of the wording of how/what kind of prestige classes Shadowcaster can take. Overall though this is a great one level dip for a Shadowcaster to take (if allowed) or an overall okay prestige class for the Shadowcaster to take all the way through.

Prestige Classes Shadowcaster qualifies for without tweaking.
(click to show/hide)

Non Shadowcasting Advancement Prestige Classes

Normally you'll want to go with the optimization rule of "Thou shalt not loose caster levels", however there is one prestige class of note that you can qualify for with some multiclassing. Telflammar Shadowlord has a prereq of Dimension Door as a spell or spell-like ability. You can qualify for this with the 4th level mystery Step Into Shadows (with DM fiat). The 3rd level mystery Flicker also works very nicely with this prestige class.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 08:23:06 PM by gorfnab »

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2011, 10:42:07 PM »
Shadowcaster Deities

Any deity with the Darkness or Shadow domains would be appropriate for a Shadowcaster to worship. Some of the deities associated with thievery and trickery might work as well. Here are the more obvious choices for a Shadowcaster to worship.

Core - Boccob, Vecna, Nerull, Olidammara, and Wee Jas. No real advantages to worshiping any of these from an OP stand point.

Faerun - Shar. The Shadow Weave has a write up in ToM and in this article. With DM Fiat and some easy tweaking the Shadow Weave Magic feat and the Shadow Adept prestige class would working nicely with Shadowcaster.

Eberron - The Dark Six, specifically The Shadow. With DM Fiat and some easy tweaking the Escalation Mage prestige class would actually work quite nicely with Shadowcaster and it would also work thematically.

Other - Erebus, Featured in Dragon Magazine #322. Xan Yae is an option if playing in Greyhawk.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:52:36 AM by gorfnab »

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2011, 10:42:25 PM »
Feats

Shadowcasters get bonus feats, chosen from a specific list (basically the Metashadow and Other ToM feats listed below), equal to half the total number of paths you have access to rounded down (I prefer to use the author's fix and go with whenever you complete a path you gain a bonus feat).

Metashadow Feats

- Each metashadow feat is usable once per day.
- You can take metashadow feats multiple times to gain more uses per day.
- Empower, Enlarge, Extend, Maximize, Quicken, and Reach metashadow feats basically affect mysteries as their metamagic feat counterparts affect spells.
- Line of Shadow is a once/day that allows you cast a mystery at a target you don't currently see.
- Still Mystery is an exception in that it affects all mysteries you cast, thus allowing you to wear whatever armor you're proficient with. It also makes  all of your mysteries unidentifiable since mysteries themselves do not have verbal components and Still Mystery removes the remaining somatic components (your shadow doesn't have to move now to cast mysteries either).

Other ToM Feats

Favored Mystery - Choose a mystery you know, it now becomes a SU. If it would later have become an SU you gain one extra use of the mystery.

Nocturnal Caster - Mystery DCs +1 at night

Path Focus/Greater - Basically Spell Focus/Greater for a specific path

Shadowcast - As long as you're not surrounded you do not provoke AoOs when casting

Shadow Familiar - Gain a familiar. Familiar Gains the Dark Creature Template

Shadow Reflection - 50% miss chance against AoOs

Shadow Vision - Know the number of creatures in an area of darkness or shadowy illumination as a move action

Other Feats

Imperious Command - Combine with the skill trick Never Outnumbered and a decent Cha to give you a way to debuff at the beginning of combat as you lay down some battlefield control, SoD, or SoS

Knowledge Devotion - If you have levels of Wizard or Factotum this will give you a damage boost.

Weapon Finesse - Chances are your Dex is decent and your Str sucks, so you may want this if you're forced into melee.

Martial Study - There are lots of maneuvers you can benefit from. If you don't go Swordsage one combo you can pull off is to take Martial Study: Shadow Jaunt and then pick up Crown of the White Raven (Shadow Hands version) set to Assassins Stance.

Vow of Peace - If you have a decent Cha and choose the right mysteries this can really be a nice boost

Darkstalker
- With so many ways to boost your Hide checks, create darkness, or whatnot this is almost a no brainer. Also not being seen or easily located generally means not getting hit or easily targeted.

Improved Familiar - These familiar options will also gain the Dark Creature Template from Shadow Familiar. Some alternate Improved Familiar options I have used in previous campaigns are in the spoiler.
(click to show/hide)

Note on Shadow Weave Feats
According to this article Shadowcasters can take Insidious, Tenacious, and Pernicious Magic feats. In this case they would apply to mysteries cast as spells. Shadow Weave Magic is required for these 3 feats so by extension one can assume that this feat would apply to mysteries when cast as spells. Shadow Weave Magic feat could lead into the Shadow Adept prestige class if your DM allows it.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:53:09 AM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2011, 10:42:47 PM »
Gear

Equipping a Shadowcaster is similar to equipping a Beguiler. You're not exactly a Rogue but you're not a Wizard either, though you can function like both at times. You'll want light armor like a Mithral Chain Shirt and Mithral Buckler (Twilight for the shirt if you did not go with Still Mystery), a ranged weapon like a light crossbow, a decent melee weapon like a morningstar or longspear, and a score of daggers. You'll also want to pick up a Handy Haversack as soon as possible since chances are your Str score sucks.

Shadowcasters can create potions, scrolls, staffs, and wands of mysteries. Costs to create/purchase are the same as the normal arcane/divine counterparts. Load up on extras of your most used mysteries.

Metashadow Rods are basically metamagic rods. They can be used 3 times per day. Lesser rods work with fundamentals and apprentice mysteries, normal with initiate mysteries, and greater with master mysteries. Extend and Quicken are probably the most useful. Reach can also work nicely with specific mysteries such as Umbral Touch.

Orbs of Shadow are basically the Shadowcaster equivalent of Pearls of Power (the cost is even the same). Buying a few of these is never a bad option.

Collars of Umbral Metamorphosis not only work well for Rogues but also work nicely on Shadowcasters since some mysteries are very useful in aiding attempts to Hide. Buy the always on one when you can afford it, unless you already have the Dark Creature Template through "buy off".

Shadow Maniples (MIC page 133) can give Shadowcasters some minor healing. Healing Belts (MIC page 110) will give you even more healing.

Umbral Awn (ToB page 141) is not a bad option if Weapons of Legacy are available. And actually two levels of Swordsage is a decent dip for Shadowcasters if taken at the right levels (Assassins Stance and Shadow Jaunt).

Ring of the Darkhidden (MIC page 122) is quite nifty for Shadowcasters considering how many ways you can put your opponents in situations where they would have to use their Darkvision. Also nice when combined with the Darkstalker feat.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 08:23:36 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2011, 10:43:09 PM »
Ari Marmell's (a.k.a. Mouseferatu, the author/creator of the Shadowcaster) Fix
(click to show/hide)

Some Other Quick Fixes
- If in a high powered group/campaign consider changing mystery uses per day to mystery uses per encounter
- If not the above suggestion, just flat out double the amount of mystery uses per day.
- If not the above try Recharge Magic from UA  (Shadowcaster Recharge Magic Chart)
- Make DCs Int based so the class can be SAD
- For Prestige Classes let Mysteries = Spells and CL = Arcane CL for the purposes of qualifying for prestige classes
- 20th level capstone. The Shadowcaster becomes an Outsider native to the Plane of Shadow or gains the Dark Creature or Shadow Creature Template.
- Add Sleight of Hand and possibly Use Magic Device to class skills.
- Make Fundamentals At Will at level 10 possibly even lower (like level 1 if using Pathfinder material) or make them 3/encounter until level 14 when they become at will
- Let Mysteries and Fundamentals work with feats that modify SLAs (like Mortalbane, Intensify Darkness, Blend into Shadows, Ability Focus)
- Give them the spell per day progression of a Beguiler of equal level, fundamentals = cantrips, mysteries = spells, spell list is all fundamentals and mysteries, spontaneous casting like a Beguiler, bonus spells per day based on Int score, bonus feat progression as wizard but using the Shadowcaster bonus feat list.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 05:49:01 PM by gorfnab »

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2011, 10:43:29 PM »
Builds

Shadowcaster 3/ Wizard 3/ Noctumancer 10/ Mystic Theurge 4 - double 9s and SAD

Wizard 1 (2nd level spells through early entry of choice) / Shadowcaster 3/ Noctumancer 10/ Mystic Theurge 6 - double 9s and SAD, slightly cheezy

Shadowcaster 5/ Assassin 3/ Noctumancer 7/ Arcane Trickster (advancing Shadowcaster) 5 - requires Whisper Gnome or Spell Hand for Mage Hand prereq

Shadowcaster 5/ Assassin 3/ Noctumancer 2/ Arcane Trickster (advancing Shadowcaster) 10 - requires Whisper Gnome or Spell Hand for Mage Hand prereq

Shadowcaster 8/ Swordsage 2/ Telflammar Shadowlord 6/ Arcane Trickster 4 - requires Whisper Gnome or Spell Hand for Mage Hand prereq

Umbral Fist based Shadowcaster/ Factotum Gish by Red Dog
« Last Edit: February 20, 2012, 09:18:20 PM by gorfnab »

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2011, 10:43:51 PM »
Shadowcaster Feats for E6

Expanded Shadowcasting [General]

Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Gain one new mystery or fundamental of a level you can use. You can use this new fundamental 3/day or this new mystery 1/day.
Gaining a mystery in this way does not count towards gaining bonus feats from having access to multiple paths. You must still follow paths in order to gain higher level mysteries. Thus in order to gain a 3rd level mystery you must have the 1st and 2nd level mysteries of the same path.
Special: This feat may be taken multiple times. Each time this feat is taken choose a different mystery of fundamental.

Extra Mystery [General]

Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose one mystery or fundamental you know. Gain 1 extra use per day of the chosen mystery or fundamental.
Special: This feat may be taken multiple times. Its effects stack.

Initiate Shadowcaster [General]
Prerequisite: Shadowcaster 6
Benefit: Your Apprentice level mysteries are now cast as Spell Like Abilities. You are able to see perfectly in complete darkness, even magical darkness, out to 30ft.
Special: You do not gain extra uses per day of your mysteries as a Shadowcaster normally would when their mysteries become usable as Spell Like Abilities. You can, however, still take feats (such as Extra Mystery and Favored Mystery) to improve the number of uses of a mystery per day.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 08:24:02 PM by gorfnab »

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2011, 10:43:59 PM »
reserved
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 08:24:10 PM by gorfnab »

Offline Psyren

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Re: Compiled Shadocaster Handbook V2
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2011, 11:34:44 AM »
Can we rename this handbook's thread title to "Shadowcaster" instead of "Shadocaster?" That'll make it show up more in google searches.

Offline veekie

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Re: Compiled Shadocaster Handbook V2
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2011, 03:27:08 PM »
Thread OP can rename the thread.
Everything is edible. Just that there are things only edible once per lifetime.
It's a god-eat-god world.

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And to the mercies of a moment leaves; The vast concerns of an eternal scene.

Offline gorfnab

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Re: Compiled Shadocaster Handbook V2
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2011, 08:24:41 PM »
Can we rename this handbook's thread title to "Shadowcaster" instead of "Shadocaster?" That'll make it show up more in google searches.
Wow, never noticed that typo until now. Fixed.

Offline Darbius Maximus

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2015, 03:38:39 PM »
Hey, a Shadowcaster can qualify for Candle Caster from Tome and Blood super easily. How useful is it as a PRC to a Shadowcaster?

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2015, 09:40:29 PM »
Hey, a Shadowcaster can qualify for Candle Caster from Tome and Blood super easily. How useful is it as a PRC to a Shadowcaster?
May require some DM tweaking since a Shadowcaster does not have spell slots and only the highest level mysteries able to cast are somewhat counted as spells. A slightly mechanical mostly fluff twist would be that the Shadowcaster's Candle Caster candles shed shadowy illumination in a 5ft radius instead of dimly illuminating a 5ft radius.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 09:42:20 PM by gorfnab »

Offline Darbius Maximus

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Re: Compiled Shadowcaster Handbook V2
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2015, 07:26:04 PM »
Hey, a Shadowcaster can qualify for Candle Caster from Tome and Blood super easily. How useful is it as a PRC to a Shadowcaster?
May require some DM tweaking since a Shadowcaster does not have spell slots and only the highest level mysteries able to cast are somewhat counted as spells. A slightly mechanical mostly fluff twist would be that the Shadowcaster's Candle Caster candles shed shadowy illumination in a 5ft radius instead of dimly illuminating a 5ft radius.

I like it :D