Alternate Arcane Casters

More thinking out loud than anything, but the following are some ideas for other specialized casters of various sorts.

Swap ability to make potions, constructs, and crossbreeds for the ability to turn/control undead at first level and the ability to create sinkholes of evil at 11th; tie this latter ability into sanctum construction somehow.

Make death, healing, and protection spells easier; blast, illusion, and movement spells harder.

In my Eíre setting, necromancers are criminals, allied with Chaotic forces.

War Wizard
Break the class-building rules a bit - build as a thief with 1d4 hit die, and swap out all of the thief skills for spell-like custom powers at the various levels. The end result should look like an inflexible mage who can spam magic missiles.

In my Eíre setting, war wizards would be mostly from the Summer Empire; exotic and feared, but with powers that are reasonably well known.

Base bonus repertoire spells on CHA instead of INT.

Potions are cheaper and faster to produce … but have a limited lifespan. Maybe call them herbals.

Scroll spells are a little cheaper and faster, but are stored in a familiar instead of paper - can’t be traded to others, and require the familiar on hand to use. On the other hand, not as bulky! Maybe add a proficiency that gives the familiar a thief’s chance of using one of its own scroll spells on the mage’s behalf.

Swap constructs for elementals.

Swap crossbreeds for the ability to craft permanent curses of some sort on a region, family, or political group.

Make summoning and transmogrification easier; make blast and death harder.

Require a sanctum to be in borderlands or wilderness.

In my Eíre setting, when a primitive group has a special unit with 1d4 mage levels, I would swap out witch levels. Human witches would be rare - civilized wizards prefer blast spells and constructs over hokum.

Neat stuff. If you write these up, I hope you'll share!

I intend to :-).

I’ve been working on a couple of versions that use the thief with spell like abilities instead idea. Hopefully I’ll have a few to post soon.


Previously, I planned for Eíre arcanists to be re-skinned mages, and to include custom classes for illusionists, necromancers, and witches. During my enforced break from typing, however, I had time to think (dangerous for me), and decided to revisit the whole concept as a single, unified class.

The class is the arcanist (PDF), with four specialties available: alchemist (closest to a standard mage), illusionist, necromancer, and witch.

All arcanists have certain things in common: the specialties give a few themed benefits and abilities on top of that. They mostly look like they did before, but are more thoroughly mathed-up in the PC class-building sense, and may be slightly better balanced.

Note that I dropped dungeon-building from the mage build, and provided various alternative sanctum benefits. You can drop the alternative sanctum benefits and throw the dungeon back in without issue.

The other two caster classes I intend to have are the war wizard (a spell-like abilities individual), and something else I’m still working on, a psionicist.

Comments and criticism, as always, is welcome.

I haven’t been able to make new posts in the House Rules forum (for some reason, this forum no longer loves my user id?), so I’m adding this here.

The psionicist is built as a mage, with the following changes:

  1. Spell points
. . . instead of spells-per-day-by-level. The number of spell points is reduced to balance the increased flexibility:

Level : Points
1st : 1
2nd : 2
3rd : 3
4th : 7
5th : 15
6th : 30
7th : 45
8th : 60
9th : 75
10th : 90
11th : 105
12th : 120
13th : 140
14th : 160

  1. Spell research
Blast ×2. Death ×1. Detection ×0.75. Enchantment ×1. Healing ×1.25. Illusion ×1.5. Movement ×0.75. Protection ×1. Summoning ×2. Transmogrification (partial) ×0.75. Transmogrification (whole) ×1.5. Wall ×1.5.

This is mostly not as good as a mage, but not quite as bad as a cleric; and in a few key areas they are better than a mage.

  1. Prime Requisite is WIS.

  2. No scrolls, potions, dungeon, constructs, crossbreeds, or undead (this is approximated as being worth 5 custom powers). Those are spent as follows:

Level 1: Empathy (always know exact results of reaction rolls unless CHA exceeds WIS)

Level 3:
Lay on Hands (heal 2 hp per experience level, once per day)
Longevity (age at ⅓ rate; immune to ghoul paralysis)

Level 6:
Strength of Spirit (immune to fear)

Level 7:
Harmony of Spirit (+2 on all saves)
Purity of Body and Soul (immune to diseases)
Wholeness of Body (immune to poisons)

Level 8:
Spiritwalk (as for shaman)

As always, comments welcome, this is a work in progress, and so on.

For my own amusement:

Starspawn are tall, slender humanoids with fleshy, featherless wings; two long, coiling tentacles and natilus-like beak for a mouth; four bead-like black eyes; and fingers that end in long, claw-like nails. Their skin is a pustulent greenish-yellow, the beak and claws jet black.

(Inspired by but not wholly similar to the starspawn of the Cthulhu mythos.)

% Lair: 50%.
Encounter: Gang (1d6); Lair (1d6 gangs).
Alignment: Chaotic.
Treasure: as NPC.

Typical Starspawn. AC 0; Move 120, fly 60; HD 1+2* (6 hp); attack 2× claws 1d2–1 + grab nil (wrestle, +2 to hit, target –4 to save, deals bite 1d3 on subsequent rounds) or weapon; cast as psionicist-1; hide in shadows and move silently as thief-1; save thief-1; morale –2. XP 21. Weigh 10 stone, but 6 feet tall.

Starspawn can advance up to HD 11.

A starspawn starts at HD 1+2, with an attack throw of 10+ and the saves of a first-level thief. They progress in attack thows as a psionicist and saving throws as a thief.

Starspawn are unable to use weapons beyond club, dagger, or dart; and cannot wear armor, fight with two weapons or two-handed weapons, or use shields.

They can hide in shadows and move silently as a thief of the same level; and cast spells as a psionicist of the same level. Starspawn gain all of the same abilities as a psionicist of the same level, can establish a sanctum at 9th level, and can research and cast ritual psionic spells at 11th level.

1+2: 0
2: 3,200
3: 6,400
4: 12,800
5: 25,600
6: 50,000
7: 100,000
8: 200,000
9: 300,000
10: 400,000
11: 500,000 (max)

The starspawn were built with 4 mage and 3 thief build points; essentially a psionicist with an additional 2 thief skills and 8 customs (which were then spent on my estimate of the value of their slow, awkward flight and weak-ish natural attacks).

Great writeup; thanks for providing yet another model of what I ought to be doing.

Eh, I dunno that there’s any “ought” to it - I still don’t have a game started!