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Author Topic: Shadowcraft Mage Handbook  (Read 45023 times)
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Gnorman
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I'm a monster. Rawr.


« on: September 01, 2009, 07:13:36 PM »

(Ed: Verbatim repost from 339. Trying to archive the good threads for posterity here.)

This is a work in progress, so please bear with me. Oh, and feel free to suggest additions and amendments.

Last Update: June 16, 2009


Shadowcraft Mage Handbook
By nineinchnall


A summary of concepts and tricks used to create the Killer Gnome, originally brought to light by Snow Savant.
Further credit goes to Michael Tree, Garjon, and Zweanslord for their discoveries of the Heighten Spell, Earth Spell, and Arcane Disciple techniques. The original build can be found here. The Killer Gnome has come a long way since Snow first posted her build, and that thread is essentially a log of the character’s evolution from merely solid to freakin' awesome.

Introduction

All spellcasters are faced with the same set of problems. They have access to a limited selection of spells throughout the course of any given day, necessitating a great deal of planning in order to maintain utility over several encounters. Further, a spellcaster can only increase the save DC of one school of spells at a time through feats like Spell Focus. The Killer Gnome build template is a way to mitigate these difficulties by allowing one school, and indeed one spell, to do the work of three schools. It will allow the character to cast many spells with a high save DC and will do so while maintaining versatility.

The heart of the character is the third level ability of the Shadowcraft Mage prestige class from Races of Stone, so if you don’t have access to that book, then this character is not for you, although some of the tricks used may still be of interest. The class’s third level ability is called Shadow Illusion, and from it we will construct one of the most versatile spellcasters around.

   [Races of Stone]: Shadow Illusion (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a shadowcraft mage is able to
    infuse some of his figments (see the list below) with material from the Plane
    of Shadow, making them partially real. The subschool of these spells changes
    from figment to shadow. A shadowcraft mage can use the altered spell to
    mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning), conjuration (creation),
    or evocation spell at least one level lower than the illusion spell. The
    altered spell functions identically to the shadow conjuration or shadow
    evocation spell, except that the spell's strength equals 10% per level of
    the figment spell used.

 

    Shadow Illusion (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a shadowcraft mage is able to
    infuse some of his figments (see the list below) with material from the Plane
    of Shadow, making them partially real. The subschool of these spells changes
    from figment to shadow. A shadowcraft mage can use the altered spell to
    mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning), conjuration (creation),
    or evocation spell at least one level lower than the illusion spell. The
    altered spell functions identically to the shadow conjuration or shadow
    evocation spell, except that the spell's strength equals 10% per level of
    the figment spell used.
    
    A shadowcraft mage can apply shadow illusion to any of the following figment
    spells: silent image, minor image, major image, persistent image, and
    programmed image.



On the Proper Application of Shadow Illusion
It is immediately obvious that Shadow Illusion is a powerful ability, as it allows a Wizard who has prepared an image spell to achieve either the spell’s original, completely illusory effect or alter it to create quasi-real mimicries of any Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), or conjuration (summoning) spell.

Some subtle points to remember about these Shadow Illusions:
- Mimicked spells use only the components for the image spell altered.
- Mimicked spells use the casting time of the image spell altered.
- Mimicked spells all allow SR, regardless of whether the actual spell would.

Even without optimization, the versatility gained from this ability is astounding, allowing an illusionist to prepare as many image spells as he cares to, thereby also preparing every spell of the appropriate levels from the mimicked schools. We can do better, though.

Shadow Illusion specifically depends not upon the image spell used, but instead upon the level of that spell. Therefore, if one of the image spells were to be level nine, we would be able to use it to mimic spells of level eight or lower. While at first glance, none of the spells listed is ninth level, perhaps we could change the level of one of those spells. The PHB itself gives us the tool that we need: Heighten Spell.

   [SRD 3.5]Heighten Spell [Metamagic]
   Benefit
    A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.


Note that Heighten Spell specifically states that “all effects dependent on spell level … are calculated according to the heightened level.” So we treat a silent image spell heightened to ninth level as a ninth level spell for Shadow Illusion, as capabilities of a Shadow Illusion are dependent upon spell level. We can now, using any image spell Heightened to ninth level, mimic any Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), and conjuration (summoning) spell of eighth level or lower. And at 90% quasireality to boot, 10% higher than shades.

Heighten Spell is the second linchpin of the character. It should be included in every Killer Gnome build. With it a character need know only silent image in order to cast every Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), and conjuration (summoning) spell ever published. All spellcasters will derive great benefit from this: Sorcerers effectively break their spells known limits into tiny pieces, while Wizards can prepare as many images and come close to Sorcerer in terms of spontaneity.

It rankles that we can’t mimic ninth level spells, though, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able mimic meteor swarm, summon elemental monolith, or detonate? You’d think that there would have to be a way.

There is, and its name is Earth Spell.

    [Races of Stone] Earth Spell [General]

    Benefit: …, you can use Heighten Spell to added effect. If you cast a spell using a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level, the spell is treated as a spell of two levels higher and your effective caster level is increased by one. If you use a spell slot two levels higher, the spell is treated as three levels higher and your effective caster level is increased by two, and so on.

So if, for example, we were to heighten silent image to ninth level, Earth Spell would further increase that to tenth level, letting us mimic ninth level and lower spells at 100% quasireality.

Earth Spell is the final piece of the puzzle that turns the Shadowcraft Mage into the Killer Gnome.

On the Selection of Feats
There are quite a few feats that are provide special benefit to the Killer Gnome. These feats provide more benefit to him than to most other spellcasters. You should remember, however, that a Shadowcraft Mage is even more feat strapped than other characters, as four of his feats are set in stone from the beginning (Spell Focus [illusion], Earth Sense, Heighten Spell, and Earth Spell.) That leaves a Sorcerer-based character but three remaining feats.

Choose wisely.

Arcane Mastery:
The ability to take 10 on caster level checks (even under stress - check the errata) is great for anyone who uses a large number of spells that allow SR. As all shadow illusions allow SR, this is obviously a good thing. With nothing else to boost caster level, a 20th level Shadowcraft Mage can automatically beat SR 30 with his spells; and Earth Spell makes even higher levels of SR meaningless.

Signature Spell: Signature Spell can be a boon to prepared casters like Wizards, as it allows them to load up with nothing but utility spells. By choosing silent image for the feat, the Wizard can then spontaneously convert any prepared spell into a heightened silent image and alter that spell with Shadow Illusion.

Greater Spell Focus (illusion): You get more bang for your buck from illusions than anyone else. Your save DCs should be as high as possible, and every +1 helps. This feat is pretty much just gravy, though, and is only required for entrance into the Shadowcrafter PrC (see below).

Spell Penetration: Spell resistance is your bane. Everything that you can do to beat SR should be done. If you have room in your build, toss in this feat and its greater version.

Steady Concentration: Every spellcaster needs a good Concentration check, and illusionists more than most, as so many spells have durations of concentration. A solid choice, especially when used in conjunction with Extraordinary Concentration.

Extend Spell: The quintessential buffing metamagic. There isn’t a better +1 SLA metamagic feat in the books. The fourth level Shadowcraft Mage specifically stacks with this feat, to boot, giving you durations that make your enemies cry. You're still likely better off just using metamagic rods, but the option is valid. Additionally, you can further stack this with the 5th level gnome Illusionist substitution level to get those durations to a total of TIMES EIGHT.

Enhanced Shadow Reality: Adds 20% extra quasireality for all damage on your shadow illusions. The only difficulty is that the feat is from Dragon (#325), so getting access to it may be a trial. Remember, this is only for damage, so if you plan to do more shadow summoning than shadow blasting, this isn't the feat for you.

Shadow Weave Magic: As I mentioned before, spells’ save DCs are extraordinarily important for most Shadowcraft Mages, and another +1 can’t hurt. The feat also opens access to several other feats that can be gained on their own or through one level in Shadow Adept, and all of them synergize quite well with the class features of Shadowcraft Mage.

Arcane Thesis: Arcane Thesis has the potential to add significant power to the Shadowcraft Mage. The feat is normally somewhat restrictive, needing to be applied to a single spell. This is no drawback to the Shadowcraft Mage, whose bread and butter is one spell, silent image, that does the work of an uncounted number of spells. A +2 bonus to caster level is always helpful for the increased duration, resistance to dispelling, and ability to punch through SR. The reduced metamagic cost, while specifically not applicable to Heighten Spell, applies to everything else. So load up on low cost (+1 or +0) metamagic feats via whatever method you want (I suggest Incantatrix) and blast away with silent, stilled, enlarged, widened, and doubly extended Shadow Illusion at no level adjustment.

Dazzling Illusion:
Dazzling Illusion allows you to dazzle enemies within 30' whenever you cast an illusion spell. While dazzling not a great effect, the fact that the feat does not allow a save keeps the feat from being worthless. It's still just a flavor feat, though. Take it only if you're already content with your power level.

Metamagic School Focus: This feat allows one to apply any metamagic feat to a spell of the appropriate school at reduced cost thrice per day. So three times per day you can mimic a spell a level higher than normal, even past what Earth Spell alone would allow. Not a bad option, should you have the feats available.

Rapid Metamagic: For Sorcerer, Beguiler, and Bard ScMs this eliminates the casting time penalty of applying metamagic. A very good feat that has been too long in coming.

Melodic Casting: Every Bard-based ScM will want this feat. Don't even bother arguing with me. It's like Natural Spell for Bards, making it so they never have to choose between singing or casting.


Feats Deserving of Special Mention
Below are three feats that have a profound effect upon a build. Each requires a certain degree of explanation.

Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell): Practical Metamagic reduces the spell level adjustment of the selected metamagic feat by one, to a minimum of +1. So this means that a magic missile heightened to third level occupies a second level slot.* Heightened to ninth, it occupies an eighth level slot. So we can mimic a spell of level X in a slot of level X, as long as X is less than nine. The limitation exists because Heighten Spell can only increase a spell’s level to a maximum of ninth.

By way of this feat and Earth Spell, a Sorcerer can mimic spells of one level higher than the slot used (except for ninth level slots, which, as mentioned above, are unaffected by the Practical Metamagic adjustment). So he can cast a 100% real meteor swarm from an eighth level slot, and it will be treated as a tenth level spell for all purposes, including save DC.

Dragon #325 has a feat similar to Practical Metamagic called Easy Metamagic. That feat can be acquired by any spellcaster. By using all three feats, it is possible to mimic ninth level spells in seventh level slots.

*Note that it is debatable whether the use of Heighten Spell constitutes a spell slot adjustment, so a DM is perfectly justified in not allowing Practical Metamagic or Easy Metamagic to work with Heighten Spell. You have been warned. Wink

Arcane Disciple (luck): All right. You’ve managed to get your character to mimic ninth level spells, but you’re still chafing at something. You can only mimic all the spells from one and a half schools. How unfair is that? Miracle is an evocation spell. If only it were on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list, then we could mimic it and thereby mimic any spell of seventh level or lower. Well, it’s time to shatter the game and stomp on its remains, cackling in a little, gnomish soprano.

(i) A spell is a sorcerer or wizard spell if and only if it is on the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list.
(ii) Arcane Disciple adds the spells on the selected domain list to "your class spell list."
(iii) For a Sorcerer or Wizard character, "your class spell list" refers to the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list.
(iv) By (ii) and (iii), Arcane Disciple (luck) adds, for you, miracle to the Sorcerer/Wizard list (for a Wizard or Sorcerer).
(v) By (i) and (iv) miracle becomes a sorcerer or wizard spell, for you.

Simple enough. Now let's analyze what that means to the Shadowcraft Mage.

When using a shadow conjuration or shadow evocation spell (or Shadow Illusion) to mimic a given spell, the mimicked spell is not actually cast. For example, a mimicked summon monster spell does not actually summon a monster; rather, you create a quasi-real illusion of the effect using material from the plane of shadow. Likewise, a mimicked forcecage does not actually cast the spell and neither does it evoke any real energy, instead forming an illusory cage of shadow stuff.

Extending this to a mimicked miracle, we note that we are not actually calling for deific intercession - or, indeed, any divine intercession - we are simply creating a quasi-real illusion of the spell's effect from shadow stuff. So here's the thing: there is nothing preventing us from creating an illusion of miracle's greater effects through Shadow Illusion. The spell is capable of greater things than mimicking spells of lower than 9th level, and since what we are casting is not actually the spell, just an illusion of it, we are not limited by deity or alignment review.

Only choose this feat if you’re on very good terms with your DM, and he knows what’s in store.


Residual Magic:
One of the problems a spellcaster faces is his limited number of high-level spell slots. You have all sorts of fun blasting away with your eigth- and ninth-level slots, only to be left with piddling, low-level slots for the rest of the day. Residual Metamagic could be the answer to your prayers.

How does it work? By casting a spell modified by a metamagic feat in one round, one can apply metamagic feat to a spell in the next round, but with one benefit: the metamagic causes no adjustment to the level of the spell slot required to cast the spell.

So in the case of the Killer Gnome, he casts a silent image heightened to tenth level in a ninth level slot. The next round he does the same thing, but this time that tenth level silent image occupies only a first (or cantrip, for certain illusionists) level slot! He could even load up on other metamagics the second round. These would, of course, adjust the level of the required spell slot as normal, but with eight levels of metamagic to play with, a lot of things are possible. How does a Twinned, Repeated crushing fist of spite sound to you, maybe further maximized via a metamagic rod? I thought so.

Feats to Avoid
Some feats just aren't worth the miniscule cost of the ink they're printed with. Worse yet for the beginner or the trusting, there are sections of supplements decoted to praising and recommending these feats. Don't fall into these traps.

Reserve Feats: Yes, all reserve feats are bad. A spellcaster has better things to do with his time. The reserve feats don't have the power to be significant against strong enemies, and you might as well let the Fighter feel useful every now and then by letting him take on the mooks singlehandedly. Seriously, stay clear.

Heritage Feats:
Seriously, who thought these things up? Two feats to get access to a couple first level SLAs per day? Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.



On the Acquisition of Prestige
There are a few PrCs that synergize well with the abilities of the Shadowcraft Mage. For every base class except the Beguiler, use of at least one of these PrCs is suggested.

Incantatrix
Feat Prereqs: Iron Will, any one metamagic feat.
Benefits: Aside from the always awesome Metamagic Effect, bonus feats, and slew of other class features, the tenth level Incantatrix ability lessens the spell level adjustments of metamagic feats. See Practical Metamagic in the feats section, above, for an explanation of the effect this can have.

Shadowcrafter

Feat Prereqs: Spell Focus (illusion), Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
Benefits: +4 to overcome SR with shadow spells, +20% quasireality on shadow conjurations/evocations, and more. There isn’t much point in taking this class past level eight, however, so you should plan an exit strategy. Using this class it is possible to get 140% quasireal shadow illusions (160% with Enhanced Shadow Reality). The catch on this one is that high save DCs tend to counteract high quasireality percentages, as those percentages only apply to disbelieved spells.

Mage of the Arcane Order
Feat Prereqs: Cooperative Metamagic, one other metamagic feat
Benefits: Two bonus metamagic feats, spellpool access. The spellpool access continues the versatility thing you’ve got going, adding access to any Sorcerer/Wizard spell in the PHB.

Shadow Adept

Feat Prereqs: Shadow Weave Magic, any one metamagic feat
Benefits: As a one level dip, the class gives you three feats that add a good deal to your potence as an illusionist: Insidious Magic, Pernicious Magic, and Tenacious Magic.

Dweomerkeeper
Feat Prereqs: Any item creation feat, any metamagic feat
Special: Must be able to cast divine spells and have the Magic domain.
Benefit: The important thing that we gain from DK is the mantle of spells. For those not playing in FR, this can serve as an able replacement for Signature Spell.

Stoneblessed
Benefit: This is for all of the non-gnomes that want to enter the Shadowcraft Mage Prc. The thrid level of Stoneblessed allows the character to count as a gnome for all purposes, including meeting racial prerequisites. So with three levels of Stoneblessed, a human could enter Shadowcraft Mage, provided that he can meet the ScM prereqs, of course. The problem with Stoneblessed is that it offers no spellcasting advancement, so it would be preferable to use the ScM spellcasting advancement to further a fast spellcasting PrC, such as Sublime Chord. The simplest and least optimized example of such would be Bard 7/Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5.

Master Specialist

Benefit: The Master Specialist class is a nice four level dip for Illusionists seeking to enter Incantatrix, as the prerequisites fit well with both that class and Incantatrix. The fourth level ability grants a +2 bonus to the save DC of any illusion spell you cast that has an entry of "Will (disbelief)", which is totally awesome, but the rest of the class is less than exciting. Try Illusionist 3/Master Specialist 4/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Incantatrix 8 for barrels of win.

Nightmare Spinner

Benefit: The Nightmare Spinner provides a nice way to cap off a Shadowcraft Mage build. It doesn't provide any spellcasting advancement, so it should be taken only after ninth level spells have been acquired. However, for that one lost caster level, you get an extra spell slot of every level you can cast.



On the Base of the Killer Gnome's Power

There are three base classes that make good, standard entrances to Shadowcraft Mage. These are the Beguiler, Sorcerer, and the Wizard. Each has its pros and cons, yet each is a solid choice for the character.

Beguiler
Pros: Spontaneous casting from a large and varied spell list of some of the most useful non-blasty spells out there. Automatic knowledge of all spells on the class spell list. A huge skill list and the skill points to make use of it, due to six base skill points per level and Int-based casting. You also get a bunch of useful and flavorful class features. Ignore ASF in light armor.
Cons: No transmutation spells, so no polymorph. As the class uses its own spell list, the Arcane Disciple cheese does not work. New spell levels on even class levels, as Sorcerer.
Overall: A Beguiler based Shadowcraft Mage will have the versatility that a normal Beguiler lacks, having the ability to directly damage his enemies, summon allies, and create many other effects that otherwise would be unavailable. Heightened legion of sentinels lets a Beguiler qualify without need of Advanced Learning.

Sorcerer

Pros: Spontaneous casting from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. Can use Arcane Disciple (luck) to mimic miracle.
Cons: New spells on even levels. No class features to speak of. Few skill points.
Overall: A Sorcerer based Shadowcraft Mage sidesteps his small number of spells known, choosing to learn mostly spells that he cannot emulate via Shadow Illusion. Unlike other Sorcerers, he has the freedom to choose any spells he wants, even very situational, utility style spells as his spells known, since he knows that everything else he can do via silent image.

Wizard

Pros: Int-based casting. Can use Arcane Disciple (luck) to mimic miracle. Can use the racial substitution levels from Races of Stone or the variant Illusionist features from Unearthed Arcana.
Cons: Prepped casting requires Signature Spell or Dweomerkeeper to make optimal use of Shadow Illusion.
Overall: Potentially the most powerful of all the Shadowcraft Mage bases, the Wizard’s array of options for customization allow for the combination of the many feats and class features. With Shadow Illusion, he enjoys situational flexibility comparable to that of the Sorcerer.


Other classes take a little more wrangling to become potent Shadowcraft Mages. These include such things as the Bard and the Cleric.

Bard

Pros: Light armor casting. Great skills. Bardic music. d6 HD.
Cons: Maxes out at 6th level spells. Arcane Disciple cheese does not work. Late entry into Shadowcraft Mage (no illusion (shadow) spells until 10th level). Just grab either dead end or dark way from the Spell Compendium, and you can use one of the dirty tricks for early qualification.
Overall: A straight Bard/Shadowcraft Mage build provides the Bard character with a lot more versatility. To make the most of a Bard entry requires Sublime Chord. A Bard 7/Incantatrix 3/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Incantatrix 4-7 would work quite nicely.


Cleric

Pros: You can make use of all the standard Cleric tricks like Divine Metamagic. D8 HD, armored casting, healing spells, ... Is there anything bad about being a Cleric with full access to the Wizard's best blasting spells?
Cons: Requires the use of an Eberron domain (Shadow) - likely not going to happen except in an Eberron game. Pretty much requires the use of Domain Spontaneity from PHB2 for the Illusion domain.
Overall: It's like being a Mystic Theurge, but with one pool of spell slots and without having any delayed progression. Walk around all day with persistent greater consumptive field and watch the caster level for your shadow illusions soar.



On the Substitution of Levels and the Variation of Class Features
Here are a few substitution levels and variants that are of potential benefit to a Shadowcraft Mage. I have only included the worthwhile options, as no one needs to see the poorer ones.

Substitution Levels
Wizards:

Gnome Illusionist 1: You learn illusion spells earlier and get a bigger caster level boost from Earth Spell. What could be better?

Variant Class Features
Sorcerers:

Metamagic Specialist: Sorcerers looking to make the most of the Shadowcraft Mage PrC would be well served to make use of the Metamagic Specialist variant from Player’s Handbook II. Your familiar would only be a liability without continued advancement, so you’re losing nothing, really.

Wizards:
Chains of Disbelief: Anything that makes it harder for your enemies to detect your illusions is a good thing. Definitely a good trade off for a familiar.

Illusion Mastery: The Illusion Mastery variant dramatically increases the character’s spells known and reduces his dependence on his spell book. Furthermore, it provides us with the necessary requirements for Signature Spell. This is probably a good trade off for the bonus spells per day from specialization.

Focused Specialist: This feature is just full of fun and joy ... and joyness... You give up an extra school of magic and one generalist spell slot per spell level to get two extra illusion slots. For the WIN.


On the Aggregate of What Has Come Before
Now let’s take a look at a few sample builds, each making use of all five levels of Shadowcraft Mage and the Earth Spell feat. Please feel free to suggest more, as all of these are simply templates to be personalized.

The Iconic Shadowcraft Illusionist: Illusionist 5/Shadow Adept 1/Shadowcrafter 9/Shadowcraft Mage 5.

Code:
Level Class Level Feat(s)
1 Gnome Illusionist 1 Spell Focus (illusion), (chains of disbelief, illusion mastery)
2 Illusionist 2
3 Illusionist 3 Shadow Weave Magic
4 Illusionist 4
5 Illusionist 5 Heighten Spell
6 Shadow Adept 1 Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
7 Shadowcrafter 1
8 Shadowcraft Mage 1
9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Signature Spell (silent image)
10 Shadowcraft Mage 3
11 Shadowcraft Mage 4
12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Sense
13 Shadowcrafter 2
14 Shadowcrafter 3
15 Shadowcrafter 4 Earth Spell
16 Shadowcrafter 5
17 Shadowcrafter 6
18 Shadowcrafter 7 Arcane Disciple (luck)
19 Shadowcrafter 8
20 Shadowcrafter 9

This character gets a total of +40% to the quasireality of his illusions, +4 shadow spell penetration, +4 illusion spell DC, and all sorts of other goodies. He also gets three bonus feats from Shadow Adept 1, all of which make his spells incredibly hard to defeat. His Illusion Mastery ability means that he is still mostly fine even when without his spellbook, as every illusion spell he knows is automatically considered mastered.


The Hidden Gnome: Beguiler 14/Mindbender 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5
Code:
Level Class Level Feat(s)
1 Beguiler 1 Spell Focus (illusion)
2 Beguiler 2
3 Beguiler 3 Heighten Spell
4 Beguiler 4
5 Beguiler 5 (Silent Spell)
6 Mindbender 1 Mindsight
7 Beguiler 6
8 Beguiler 7
9 Shadowcraft Mage 1 Earth Sense
10 Shadowcraft Mage 2
11 Shadowcraft Mage 3
12 Shadowcraft Mage 4 Earth Spell
13 Shadowcraft Mage 5
14 Beguiler 8
15 Beguiler 9 Darkstalker
16 Beguiler 10 (Still Spell)
17 Beguiler 11
18 Beguiler 12 Arcane Thesis (silent image)
19 Beguiler 13
20 Beguiler 14

He also purchases one specific item. (Thanks to prototype00 for this one.)

    [jian]: For all those sneaky characters out there the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis from Tome of Magic is definitely a must. For 10,800 gp you can gain the Dark creature template for 10 min a day.

    In addition to such goodies as +8 Hide, +6 Move Silently, +10 ft move speed (all unnamed), cold resistance 10, superior low light vision, and Darkvision 60ft, you even get the ex. ability to Hide In Plain Sight which is the real winner.

    If you need more than 10min/day, you can have a continuous collar for 22,000gp.

This character uses the first level Shadowcraft Mage ability combined with the HiPS of the collar to allow him to hide in anything short of full daylight. Because of the Darkstalker feat, he can remain hidden even from creatures with extraordinary senses. He can cast his Shadow Illusions in silence and stillness automatically.

J-A-R-N-O’s Archivist Entry: Archivist 3/Church Inquisitor 2/Shadowcrafter 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5
Code:
Level Class Level Feat(s)
1 Archivist 1 Spell Focus (illusion)
2 Archivist 2
3 Archivist 3 Greater Speell Focus (illusion)
4 Church Inquisitor 1
5 Church Inquisitor 2
6 Shadowcrafter 1 Heighten Spell
7 Shadowcrafter 2
8 Shadowcraft Mage 1
9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Earth Sense
10 Shadowcraft Mage 3
11 Shadowcraft Mage 4
12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Spell
13 Shadowcrafter 3
14 Shadowcrafter 4
15 Shadowcrafter 5 Quicken Spell
16 Shadowcrafter 6
17 Shadowcrafter 7
18 Shadowcrafter 8 (Free)
19 Shadowcrafter 9
20 Shadowcrafter 10

Due to the Shadow domain, the Archivist has the potential to learn the requisite shadow spell.

    [J-A-R-N-O]: This character is not as powerful an Illusionist as his specialist Wizard brother, because he lacks for example those great substitution levels and the UA variant, and is very tight on skills at the early levels, but he has the amazing Archivist casting to make that up. The potential to learn nearly all divine spells coupled with his amazing shadow spells make him one versatile son SOB

    You could try to fit a level or two of Shadow adept or something else like that in there, I just thought this as the simplest and most iconic-like Archivist/Shadowcrafter build.

ed209's Sublime Shadowcraft Illusionist: Bard 5/Gnome Paragon 3/Shadowcraft Mage 2/Sublime Chord 2/SCM +3/Shadowcrafter 5.

Linky, linky. (Ed: Link is dead. Broken. Gone.)

ed209's Sublime Shadowcraft Illusionist: Bard 5/Gnome Paragon 3/Shadowcraft Mage 2/Sublime Chord 2/SCM +3/Shadowcrafter 5.
Linky, linky.(Ed: Another permanently dead link. Damn you, WotC.)

PhaedrusXY’s Cloistered Cleric Entry: Cloistered Cleric 5/Shadowcrafter 2/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Divine Prankster 8
Code:
Level Class Level Feat(s)
1 Cloistered Cleric 1 Spell Focus (illusion) [Special: Gnome and Shadow domains]
2 Cloistered Cleric 2
3 Cloistered Cleric 3 Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
4 Cloistered Cleric 4
5 Cloistered Cleric 5
6 Shadowcrafter 1 Heighten Spell
7 Shadowcrafter 2
8 Shadowcraft Mage 1
9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Divine Metamagic (Heighten Spell)
10 Shadowcraft Mage 3
11 Shadowcraft Mage 4
12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Sense
13 Divine Prankster 1
14 Divine Prankster 2
15 Divine Prankster 3 Earth Spell
16 Divine Prankster 4
17 Divine Prankster 5
18 Divine Prankster 6 (Free)
19 Divine Prankster 7
20 Divine Prankster 8

Note that this build is using the Domain Spontaneity variant from PHB2 to use the Gnome domain spontaneously.

    [PhaedrusXY]: Can spend 1+X Turn Undead attempts to Heighten spells by X effective spell levels. Divine Metamagic is not capped by the normal max spell level you can cast. Can spend 1 Turn Undead attempt to add +10 to Figment save DCs. Can spend 1 Turn Undead attempt to spontaneously change any spell into a Silent Image, and then turn that into a Shadow Evoc/Conj spell which gets bonuses to its quasireality percentage.

    So, all together, this means that this character can, at level 12, cast any Conjuration/Evocation spell of up to 8th level spontaneously, using any level spellslot he feels like (even 1st). The only components any of these spells need are Somatic, and they all have a casting time of 1 round. At 18th level, this increases to include 9th level spells, thanks to Earth Spell. Using Divine Meta: Heighten like this will burn through turn attempts like mad, though.

    You could leave out Shadowcrafter entirely if you want. However, it overlaps with Shadowcraft Mage for feat prereqs, and lets you meet the skill prereqs for Divine Prankster more easily. It's not like GSF: Illusion is a bad feat for this build, either.

    With another feat (from a Flaw, or leaving out Shadowcrafter entirely), you could spend his Comedic Performances to apply Heighten Spell by using Metamagic Song. This is limited by the normal spell level he can cast, and he only has 8 uses of this ability at level 20. It is still worth a feat I think.



« Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 07:58:12 PM by Gnorman » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 07:14:01 PM »

On the Quasireality of Illusions
The quasireality level of your Shadow Illusions depends on the build you’re using. Let's assume you go Wizard 5/Shadowcrafter 2/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Shadowcrafter 3-10.

Feat selection would be something like:

1) Spell Focus (illusion)
3) Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
5) Heighten Spell
6) Earth Sense
9) Earth Spell
12) Easy Metamagic (Heighten Spell)
15) Enhanced Shadow Reality
18) Signature Spell (silent image)

Okay, so at level 10 (the level we get Shadow Illusion) we can make use of Earth Spell. That nets us a total of +20%/+10% quasireality to the slot used for conjurations/evocations. This works out as 5th level slot (6th level spell due to Earth Spell) which is a base quasireality of 60%, to which we add the 10% of Shadowcrafter when using mimicking conjurations. So ...

At levels 10-11:
Code:
Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation
1st -- 30%/20%
2nd -- 40%/30%
3rd -- 50%/40%
4th -- 60%/50%
5th -- 70%/60%
This stays the same until level 12, when we add another +20% due to Powerful Shadow Magic, bringing us to +40%/+30% to the slot used. But now we also have Easy Metamagic to consider, which effectively gets us another 10% to each side, due to casting a level X spell in a level X-2 slot. So we're at +50%/+40%

At level 12:
Code:
Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation
1st -- 60%/50%
2nd -- 70%/60%
3rd -- 80%/70%
4th -- 90%/80%
5th -- 100%/90%
6th -- 110%/100%
At level 13, Shadowcrafter adds another 10% to evocation illusions, evening things out with conjurations. (+50%)

At level 13:
Code:
Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation
1st -- 60%/60%
2nd -- 70%/70%
3rd -- 80%/80%
4th -- 90%/90%
5th -- 100%/100%
6th -- 110%/110%
7th -- 120%/120%
At level 15, we add another +20% to damage done by any of our mimicked spells. (Enhanced Shadow Reality) So that's +50% (+70% for damage.)

At level 15:
Code:
Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation (damage)
1st -- 60%/60% (80%)
2nd -- 70%/70% (90%)
3rd -- 80%/80% (100%)
4th -- 90%/90% (110%)
5th -- 100%/100% (120%)
6th -- 110%/110% (130%)
7th -- 120%/120% (140%)
8th -- 130%/130% (150%)
By level 17 we gain another +10% to both evocation and conjuration effects. So we're up to +60% (+80% for damage.)

At level 17:
Code:
Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation (damage)
1st -- 70%/70% (90%)
2nd -- 80%/80% (100%)
3rd -- 90%/90% (110%)
4th -- 100%/100% (120%)
5th -- 110%/110% (130%)
6th -- 120%/120% (140%)
7th -- 130%/130% (150%)
8th -- 140%/140% (160%)
9th -- 140%/140% (160%)
You'll notice that the quasireality level of 8th and 9th level slots is the same. This is because Heighten Spell caps out at 9th level, so we lose the benefit of Easy Metamagic until epic levels (Improved Heighten Spell


On the Use of Dirty Tricks

Early Qualification!
Through the use of Practical Metamagic or Earth Spell, casters can enter classes that require the ability to cast X level spells earlier than otherwise possible. For example, a Sorcerer normally only qualifies for Shadowcraft Mage at level 8, due to the requirement for 4th level spells. However, by using Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell), he can heighten a spell to 4th level using a 3rd level slot. So, as soon as he has the feat and a 3rd level slot, he can cast 4th level spells, qualifying him for Shadowcraft Mage.

Example feat progressions:
Sorcerer or Beguiler (Dragonborn Gnome):
1) Spell Focus (illusion)
3) Heighten Spell
6) Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell)

Wizard
1) Spell Focus (illusion)
3) Earth Sense
5) Heighten Spell
6) Earth Spell

Each of the above is ready to enter Shadowcraft Mage.

Extra Reality and Free Maximization

    AlienFrom wrote:

 [Jian]: For all those sneaky characters out there the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis from Tome of Magic is definitely a must. For 10,800 gp you can gain the Dark creature template for 10 min a day.

        In addition to such goodies as +8 Hide, +6 Move Silently, +10 ft move speed (all unnamed), cold resistance 10, superior low light vision, and Darkvision 60ft, you even get the ex. ability to Hide In Plain Sight which is the real winner.

        If you need more than 10min/day, you can have a continuous collar for 22,000gp.



    To build upon this, there's a little trick from the original thread that was brought up that becomes easier with this item. Planar Bubble from the Planar Handbook creates a 10-ft. emanation that emulates a creature's native plane. A Dark creature is a native of the Plane of Shadow. The effects of the Shadow Plane are as follows:

       [SRD]: Enhanced magic. Spells with the shadow descriptor are enhanced on the Plane of Shadow. Such spells are cast as though they were prepared with the Maximize Spell feat, though they don't require the higher spell slots.

        Furthermore, specific spells become more powerful on the Plane of Shadow. Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Evocation spells are 30% as powerful as the conjurations and evocations they mimic (as opposed to 20%). Greater Shadow Conjuration and Greater Shadow Evocation are 70% as powerful (not 60%), and a Shades spell conjures at 90% of the power of the original (not 80%).

        Impeded magic. Spells that use or generate light or fire may fizzle when cast on the Plane of Shadow. A spellcaster attempting a spell with the light or fire descriptor must succeed on a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). Spells that produce light are less effective in general, because all light sources have their ranges halved on the Plane of Shadow.


    The trick is then to cast Planar Bubble (level 7 Sor/Wiz/Cleric spell) while using your Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis (continuous or otherwise) to create a 10-ft emanation of the Plane of Shadow around yourself, Maximizing your shadow spells, and even making Greater Shadow Conjuration/Evocation useful with all the reality enhancers you have.



Entering Shadowcraft Mage as a Non-gnome
Stoneblessed: The Stoneblessed PrC from Races of Stone is a three level class that eventually allows a character to be considered a gnome for the purposes of effects and prerequisites. By taking all three levels of the class you can push a member of any race into the Shadowcraft Mage class, albeit at a somewhat higher level than can be accomplished by a gnome.

As Stoneblessed does not advance spellcasting, the use of a fast-progression PrC is a necessity. The basic structure would be Bard 7/Gnome Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5. You end up with full Sublime Chord casting, so you're epic ready and can be mimicking 9th level spells by 17th level. Keep in mind that this is just a skeleton build; it is far from twinked.

Racial Emulation: This changeling feat allows a changeling to count as a member of the race he's mimicking for all purposes. So a changeling can qualify for Shadowcraft Mage as long as he stays in gnome form.

« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 07:18:32 AM by Gnorman » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 07:17:13 PM »

I suppose a FAQ might go here ...

On the Non-Racist Shadowcraft Prerequisites
The adaptation section of the Shadowcraft Mage suggests that the class might be used without the gnome racial requirement. Here are a few sample builds using that variant:

McJarvis's Circle Magicians:
How about the hands-down coolest version (because it was made by me) from Rashemen? I'm a big fan of circle magic, so the Hathran prestige class from the Player's Guide to Faerun is the natural choice. Note that I'm going to assume you understand Circle Magic. It can be easily found in the DMG, even though the Hathran isn't found there...they are mechanically the same. Below are sample cleric and wizard Hathran builds, as well as a Red Wizard build...all using shadow magic.


Human. Use Illusion Mastery par-unearthed arcana

The easy ones: Wizard based. Specialty schools of illusion all the way

Hathran(good aligned)(very potent)

Wizard 1-Ethran, Spell Focus
Wizard 2
Wizard 3-Earth Sense
Wizard 4
Wizard 5- Heighten Spell
Wizard 6- Leadership
Wizard 7
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 1
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 2-Earth Magic
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 1
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 2-Signiture Spell
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 3
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 4
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 5-Extra Followers
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 6
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 7
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 8-Arcane Disciple(Good)
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 9
Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 10

evil-aligned(less potent)

Wizard 1-Tattoo Focus, Heighten Spell
Wizard 2
Wizard 3- Extend Spell
Wizard 4
Wizard 5- Quicken Spell
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 1- Spell Focus
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 1
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 2-Earth Sense
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 3/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 4/ShadowCraft 3-Leadership
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 5/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 6/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 7/ShadowCraft 3-Earth Magic
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 8/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 9/ShadowCraft 3
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 3-Signiture Spell
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 4
Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 5

Cleric version(very potent!)(good aligned)

Cleric 1-Ethran, Spell Focus
Cleric 2
Cleric 3-Heighten Spell
Cleric 4
Cleric 5
Cleric 6-Leadership
Cleric 7
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 1
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 2-Earth Sense
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 1
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 2-Earth Magic
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 3
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 4
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 5-Spell Mastery
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 6
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 7
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 8-Signiture Spell
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 9
Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 10


At level 20:

Using leadership, create a circle magic ring every morning. Assuming a leadership score of 25 or higher(reasonable- there are a couple special powers involved in this build as well as cha boosting items..)

17th level cohort casts a 9th level spell- 9
4 6th level followers cast 3rd level spells- 4x3=12
4 5th level followers cast- 4x3=12

Total of spell levels=33
This is only 29 if the "extra followers" feat is not taken.


33 extra heighten spells, or maximize, or empower. Worried about SR? You don't have to anymore since all of those could go towards bonus caster levels.

Rashemen spirit magic also lets you convert any spell you currently have prepared into any spell you know, so long as you are on Rashemen soil. Even if you aren't on rashamen soil you can use this ability 3x per day.

Of course you get all the normal bonuses of being a shadowcraft mage as well...granted you don't get extra %'s on being real, but there is so much *more* adaptation power you can achieve with those variable 33 spell/caster levels. :-)

The real power behind the Hathran builds on either side is that Holy Word is in the good domain, and is an evocation spell. They can use circle-casting to boost their caster level to ridiculous levels, then use imaginary castings of holy word to kill with. SR won't be a problem, and they can pretty much cast holy word all-freaking day long. Spontaniously. Caster level will be up in the 40's, so anything short of another character massively higher than you in level will die instantly. The real advantage on the shadow-crafter wizard side is that she can get off multiple holy-word's a day this way, by casting illusionary style instead of "for real".

Wow. That's alot more powerful then I thought when I started this.


Plus if the Cleric-Hathran is on his home turf she can cast any cleric spell she wants spontaniously instead of what she has prepared. :-O


-----

In closing: This might be the most powerful build for the shadowcrafter pre-epic. Being able to holy-word at will(silenced holy word at that) and, because of super-high caster level, being able to ignore any spell resistance you come up against...is just super cool.


PS- It should be noted that to get the cleric-version off you need material from both ebberon and forgotten realms. The wizard version, however, is all forgotten realms. Thumbs up to the Wizard-Hathran. Also, the Wizard-Hathran technically has two slots open for more prestige classes, but I didn't feel like bothering with requirements and whatnot.((she goes up to level 7 wizard))

Iry's Wu Jen Entry:

    Not even remotely optimized, but certainly worthwhile for people into the flavor...

    Human Wu Jen1/Paragon3/Shadowcrafter3/Shadowcraft Mage5
    1st: Spell Focus(Illusion)
    1st: Greater Spell Focus(Illusion)
    1st: Heighten Spell
    3rd: Earth Sense
    3rd: Earth Spell
    6th: Arcane Thesis (Silent Image)
    9th: Fell Frighten
    12th: Easy Metamagic(Fell Frighten)

    Human Wu Jen1/Paragon3/Shadowcrafter3/Shadowcraft Mage5 is no faster than a Sorcerer but is almost completely feat legal so long as your DM approves Humanizing the Shadowcraft Mage. It also nets you a +2 Ability Bonus, and one skill for the entirety of your life. The fact that Wu Jen do not get the Shadow Conjuration/Evocation spell line is eliminated by Shadow Illusion.

    Shadow Illusion is amazing for Wu Jen, since it opens up a very large list of Sorcerer/Wizard spells otherwise completely closed to them. It would have been nice to get Wu Jen 3, Spell Secret, but then the Wu Jen would need to take a flaw instead of Human Paragon. Another major perk to this build is accomplishing violent capability in just 12 levels, but still holding promise for increased power.

    Here's a combo: Fell Frighten has ambiguous wording "You can alter a spell that deals damage...". While we can agree that Silent Image does not deal damage, the Shadow Illusion class ability makes this spell "...function identically to the shadow conjuration and shadow evocation spells...". Those spells have specific text regarding Damage that seems to fulfill the requirements of Fell Frighten. (Naturally, a spell that doesn't deal any damage recieves no benefit from Fell Frighten in the first place)

    Freezing Fog is one such impressive spell. It not only makes them Shaken, with NO save but the Will Save, but it inflicts a total of -4 to the enemies attack. Enemies that become more afraid spend turns running away at 5' per round. Since the spell is Silent, you can make sure the enemy is always within 'Hearing' distance just by yelling at them.

    All manner of other spells can be used to inflict the Shaken state. It's a bit of a stretch, but casting Fell Frightening Shadow Conjurations to summon creatures with an AOE attack will result in a lot of Panicked enemies very quickly.

On Complete Characters, Ready to Play

Here I will provide pregenerated characters of various levels that you can drop into any game. Think of it as something like the sample NPCs in the supplements, except these won't be sucktastic and will actually follow the rules. Each will include the character's current stats at whatever level he's created, as well as build and equipment.

Title: The Phoenix's Shadow
Category: Gish (Caster Focused)
Race: Gnome (rock gnome)
Class Composition: Warblade 1/Bard 4/Fighter 1/Jade Phoenix Mage 9/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 4
Build Stub: Warblade 1/Bard 4/Fighter 1/Jade Phoenix Mage 4/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 4/Jade Phoenix Mage +5

Note: If your DM uses CustServ's interpretation (which also happens to be mine) of the Crusader recovery mechanic, then you'd be better off using Crusader rather than Warblade.

Build Progression:
Code:
Level Class Feat(s)
1 Warblade 1 Martial Study (Shadow Hand: Clinging Shadow Strike)
2 Bard 1
3 Bard 2 Spell Focus (illusion)
4 Bard 3
5 Bard 4
6 Fighter 1 Shadow Blade, (Martial Stance: Island of Blades)
7 JPM 1
8 JPM 2
9 JPM 3 Earth Sense
10 JPM 4
11 Sublime Chord 1
12 ScM 1 Heighten Spell
13 ScM 2
14 ScM 3
15 ScM 4 Earth Spell
16 JPM 5
17 JPM 6
18 JPM 7 Shadow Trickster
19 JPM 8
20 JPM 9

Feats:
Code:
1) Martial Study (Shadow Hand: Clinging Shadow Strike)
3) Spell Focus (illusion)
6) Shadow Blade, (Martial Stance: Island of Blades)
9) Earth Sense
12) Heighten Spell
15) Earth Spell
18) Shadow Trickster

    Notable Class Abilities & Build Features:

    - Epic ready with both +16 BAB and 9th level Sublime Chord spells (caster level 16).
    - Initiator level 15, granting access to an 8th level maneuver of the Desert Wind or Devoted Spirit schools.
    - All illusions are automatically Extended.
    - Constant 35% miss chance (concealment) when not in sunlight - this effect does allow for Hide checks.
    - Shadow Illusion - see the Shadowcraft Mage Handbook for more information on the importance of this ability.
    - Dex to damage with Shadow Hand weapons (Shadow Blade)
    - Shadow Trickster gives +2 to the save DCs of your illusions.
    - Not a single Warblade or Jade Phoenix Mage maneuver or stance is specifically needed by the build, so you are free to develop your own fighting style.
    - Once per encounter you can Quicken a spell for free.
    - Once per encounter you can Empower a spell for free.
    - You essentially gain two new stances:
        - Mystic Phoenix Stance: increased caster level, +2 AC, and DR X/evil.
        - Firebird Stance: fire resistance, increased caster level for fire spells, and an aura of fire.[/list]
    - You can make all Knowledge checks as if trained and get a +2 on all Knowledge checks.
    - Arcane Wrath - basically Arcane Strike.

    You end up a sneaky blaster/mind-controller/summoner who can hardly ever be hit and can heal himself during battle (Devoted Spirit maneuvers and stances).

    « Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 07:54:23 PM by Gnorman » Logged
    Havok4
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    « Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 07:36:40 PM »

    There seems to be some formatting work that needs to be done but thanks for transferring this, I plan to play one of these someday.

    Quick question though, would the shadowcrafter 10 level ability shadow self which makes you an outsider make the plane of shadow your native plane? It would make the planar bubble trick even easier to pull off.
    « Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 07:38:47 PM by Havok4 » Logged
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    « Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 07:46:34 PM »

    There seems to be some formatting work that needs to be done but thanks for transferring this, I plan to play one of these someday.

    Quick question though, would the shadowcrafter 10 level ability shadow self which makes you an outsider make the plane of shadow your native plane? It would make the planar bubble trick even easier to pull off.

    I have absolutely no idea. I'm just transfering the guide.
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    « Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 08:37:14 PM »

    The class specifies you become an outsider [native]. The reference is taken word-for-word from MM3.
    « Last Edit: September 01, 2009, 08:41:32 PM by Suzerain » Logged

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    « Reply #6 on: September 05, 2009, 11:00:40 PM »

    Okay I may be playing a shadowcraft mage in the near future. Starting at level five does limit my options somewhat but I think it would be fun to play an illusionist anyway.

    Here is what I have planed

    Gnome illusionist 5 (focused specialist, spontaious divination, chains of disbelief)
    1. Spell focus (illusion), earth sense (flaw), Heighten spell (flaw)
    3. Greater spell focus (illusion).


    And I will continue with shadowcrafter 2/ shadowcraft mage 5/ Shadowcrafter 3-10

    6. Earth spell
    9. Spell mastery
    12. Residual magic
    15. Signature spell
    18. Arcane mastery

    Any advice for equipment or spell selection.
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    « Reply #7 on: September 06, 2009, 01:22:46 AM »

    It's worth noting that Forest Gnomes from the MM are like regular gnomes but slightly better.

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/gnome.htm

    Forest Gnome Traits (Ex)

    These traits are in addition to the rock gnome traits, except where noted.

        * Pass without Trace (Su): A forest gnome has the innate ability to use pass without trace (self only, as a free action) as the spell cast by a druid of the forest gnome’s class levels.
        * +1 racial bonus on attack rolls against kobolds, goblinoids, orcs, and reptilian humanoids.
        * Automatic Languages: Gnome, Elven, Sylvan, and a simple language that enables them to communicate on a very basic level with forest animals (this replaces the rock gnome’s speak with animals ability). Bonus Languages: Common, Draconic, Dwarven, Giant, Goblin, Orc. This trait replaces the rock gnome’s automatic and bonus languages.
        * +4 racial bonus on Hide checks, which improves to +8 in a wooded area.

    I mean, there's times where I'd rather play a Whisper Gnome, but with the forest gnome's +1 to illusion DC's I'd go for it most times. 
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    « Reply #8 on: September 10, 2009, 11:50:44 AM »

    How is Anima Mage as a PrC to use with shadowcraft mage? Easy requisites, extra spell slots from vestiges, and Vestige Metamagic 3/day, I think it could be a good class to use with shadowcraft mage..
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    « Reply #9 on: September 10, 2009, 12:00:31 PM »

    How is Anima Mage as a PrC to use with shadowcraft mage? Easy requisites, extra spell slots from vestiges, and Vestige Metamagic 3/day, I think it could be a good class to use with shadowcraft mage..
    I posted a build in the Anima Mage handbook on 339. I agree, it could be a very powerful combination, especially depending on how you interpret vestige metamagic interacting with Heighten Spell and SCM...
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    « Reply #10 on: September 10, 2009, 12:14:51 PM »

    How's this one:

    Gnome Wizard 2/Binder 1/Anima Mage 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Blah 2 where Blah is any full casting 2 levels you want (Shadow Adept 1 and Mindbender 1 maybe?)

    Feats are simply Precocious apprentice, PrC requirements, and the usual other stuff for a shadowcraft mage, and Improved Binding of course.
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    « Reply #11 on: September 10, 2009, 12:57:22 PM »

    Gah... now you've made me go and look mine up... I assumed that you can Heighten cantrips to 10th level for free using Vestige Metamagic and Earth Spell. I also used retraining to get into anima mage even earlier than you did.

    Quote
    I originally posted a version of this in the "Finish what you started" thread, but I think it is sufficiently bad-ass to warrant reposting here. Big Grin

    Gnome Wizard 1/Binder 1/Anima Mage 10/Shadocraft Mage 5/Magical Trickster3

    I'd suggest taking the gnomish illusionist sub-level at 1st to get Silent Image as a cantrip, and also consider making this a Focused Specialist (Illusionist). You can emulate Conjuration and Evocation, so you could drop both if you want, and then either Enchantment or Necromancy (or both of the latter, and Evocation). The build requires two feats at first, so you either need to use one Flaw, or the non-gnome adaptation of SCM.

    The trick: use Vestige Metamagic to Heighten Silent Image for free to 10th level with Earth Spell to cast 9th level conjuration/evocation spells as early as 10th level (Bind1/Wiz1/AM5/SCM3). Big Grin Add on Residual Metamagic, and you can emulate a 2nd 9th level spell using a Silent Image for free on the next round. Finally, combine this with the Magical Trickster's Tricky Metamagic to also apply Repeat Spell to the first one, and you could cast three 9th level spells using two cantrips in two rounds once per day, and ultimately get a total of seven 9th level spells per day cast from 0th/1st level slots...

    Progression: 1 Focused Illusionist 1 Precocious Apprentice, Toughness
    2 Binder 1 [Retrain Toughness to Improved Binding]
    3 Anima Mage 1 Heighten Spell
    4 AM 2 [Retrain Prec. App. to Earth Sense]
    5 AM 3
    6 AM 4 Earth Spell
    7 SCM 1
    8 SCM 2
    9 SCM 3 Residual Magic, [Shadow Illusion]
    10 AM 5 [Vestige Metamagic]
    11 AM 6
    12 AM 7 Repeat Spell, [Vestige Metamagic x2]
    13 AM 8
    14 AM 9 [Vestige Metamagic x3]
    15 AM 10 Chain Spell
    16 MT 1
    17 MT 2 Quicken Spell
    18 MT 3 [Metamagic Trick], Open Feat
    19 SCM 4
    20 SCM 5

    Skill Tricks: False Theurgy, Swift Concentration, Collector of Stories

    Alternative: You could use Uncanny Trickster instead of Magical Trickster. By advancing Anima Mage with this, you could get an EBL of 15 for the purposes of what level vestige you can bind, allowing you to bind vestiges of up to 7th level. You'd lose the free metamagic from Magical Trickster, but it might be worth it.
    « Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 12:59:13 PM by PhaedrusXY » Logged

    A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

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    « Reply #12 on: September 10, 2009, 06:09:00 PM »

    Out of curiosity, Phaedrus, how are you retraining Toughness to Improved Binding? You can only retrain a feat to another that you would have qualified for at the point you took that first feat - when you took Toughness, you didn't qualify for Imp Binding, so the retrain is illegal unless I'm missing something.
    « Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 06:16:00 PM by Agita » Logged

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    « Reply #13 on: September 10, 2009, 07:21:09 PM »

    Out of curiosity, Phaedrus, how are you retraining Toughness to Improved Binding? You can only retrain a feat to another that you would have qualified for at the point you took that first feat - when you took Toughness, you didn't qualify for Imp Binding, so the retrain is illegal unless I'm missing something.

    DCFS/Psychic Reformation?  Here's one copy/pasted from notepad :
    Dragonborn Forest Gnome

    1)Cloistered Cleric 1-Earth Sense, Earth Spell, Heighten Spell, Domains (Gnome, Shadow)
    2)Cloistered Cleric 2-
    3)Cloistered Cleric 3-Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell)
    4)Cloistered Cleric 4-
    5)Cloistered Cleric 5-
    6)Shadow Adept 1-Spell Focus:Illusion
    7)Shadowcraft Mage 1-
    8)Shadowcraft Mage 2-
    9)Shadowcraft Mage 3-DMM: Heighten Spell
    10)Shadowcraft Mage 4-
    11)Shadowcraft Mage 5-
    12)Mindbender 1-Alternate Source Spell
    13)Incantatrix 1-MM Feat : Twin Spell
    14)Incantatrix 2-Cooperative Metamagic
    15)Incantatrix 3-Metamagic Effect, Mindsight
    16)Incantatrix 4-MM Feat : Chain Spell
    17)Incantatrix 5-Metamagic Spell Trigger
    18)Incantatrix 6-Seize Concentration, Extra Slot (17th level)
    19)Incantatrix 7-MM Feat : Innate Spell (Miracle)
    20)Incantatrix 8-Snatch Spell

    CL : 20
    BAB : 20 w/ Persistent Divine Power

    55 Feats for DCFS

    Heart Aspect

    Packing every spell and power in the game, with all the possible TBoS tricks, and it can steal everything off the REAL TBoS to boot via Incantatrix goodies.  Rawr!  Oh, and Forest Gnome to me feels like Kender without copyright infringement, so that's bonus sexy points.  Of those 55 feats bought through locations, make sure to snag the two for burninating shit...I'll call him Mabus Jinaru Buuthin Wink
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    « Reply #14 on: September 10, 2009, 09:25:48 PM »

    Heck, if you're going for the 55 feats from DCFS shtick, why not just use the cleric version of infinite feats that i posted in the dirty trick handbook that was later overshadowed by the mad linguists familiar version?
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    « Reply #15 on: September 10, 2009, 10:43:44 PM »

    Out of curiosity, Phaedrus, how are you retraining Toughness to Improved Binding? You can only retrain a feat to another that you would have qualified for at the point you took that first feat - when you took Toughness, you didn't qualify for Imp Binding, so the retrain is illegal unless I'm missing something.
    I haven't read retraining all that carefully. You're probably right. Meh, doesn't matter much to the build.
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    A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

    Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
    ...thanks
    Agita
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    « Reply #16 on: September 11, 2009, 08:33:28 AM »

    Out of curiosity, Phaedrus, how are you retraining Toughness to Improved Binding? You can only retrain a feat to another that you would have qualified for at the point you took that first feat - when you took Toughness, you didn't qualify for Imp Binding, so the retrain is illegal unless I'm missing something.

    DCFS/Psychic Reformation?  Here's one copy/pasted from notepad :
    Yeah, that'd work. PsyReform's XP cost is laughable, so you should be able to afford having a Psion manifest it for you by level 2.
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    « Reply #17 on: September 11, 2009, 10:29:52 AM »

    I see alignment issues with being a dragonborn mindbender.
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    « Reply #18 on: September 11, 2009, 10:33:10 AM »

    I see alignment issues with being a dragonborn mindbender.
    Wouldn't neutral work? I thought dragonborn was non-evil and mindbender was non-good?
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    A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

    Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
    ...thanks
    Agita
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    SFT is mai waifu.

    Justym2c
    « Reply #19 on: September 11, 2009, 10:35:42 AM »

    Phaedrus is correct. (And also a goddamned ninja.)

    Quote from: Races of the Dragon, page 8
    Prerequisites: In order to be accepted as a suitable candidate, the supplicant must be non-evil and have an Intelligence score of at least 3.

    Quote from: Complete Arcane, page 54
    Alignment: Any nongood.

    Leaves three whole alignments to work with.
    « Last Edit: September 11, 2009, 10:37:36 AM by Agita » Logged

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