Epic Insights07/12/2002


Epic Insights - Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting Prestige Classes



This month we posted the Epic Level Handbook web enhancement, which explores epic-level progressions for prestige classes selected from various Dungeons & Dragons core products. In this column, we continue to explore other epic-level progressions. This month, we give the same treatment to four prestige classes taken from the Forgotten Realms campaign setting: the hathran, Red Wizard, runecaster, and shadow adept.

Epic Hathran

As far as outsiders believe, there are no hathrans above the rank of othlor among the Witches of Rashemen. That is because those few hathrans who exceed this level of power keep their identities secret and often disappear from public view. They may continue to work from behind the scenes, but more likely they travel incognito to distant lands or planes of existence in search of greater knowledge.

The epic hathran has perhaps the widest array of bonus feats available to any class. Your choice of feats largely depends on your spellcasting preference (arcane or divine). Former clerics might select Bonus Domain or Improved Alignment-Based Casting, while arcane hathrans probably lean toward improving their metamagic capabilities. Regardless of your background, general feats such as Epic Spell Focus and Epic Spell Penetration come in very handy, and you can't go wrong with Improved Spell Capacity.

Focus on increasing the ability score that controls your spellcasting, whether that is Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, as your primary option. An occasional bump to your secondary spellcasting ability score (since hathran are multiclassed spellcasters) is a reasonable second choice.

Other Options: An epic hathran who seeks to become a ruler among her people might consider Epic Leadership or even Legendary Commander.

Hit Die: d4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic hathran's caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic hathran's number of spells per day does not increase after 10th level.

Fear: The epic hathran may use this ability one additional time per day for every 3 levels gained above 9th.

Bonus Feats: The epic hathran gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic hathran feats) every 2 levels after 10th.

Epic Hathran Bonus Feat List: Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Bonus Domain, Enhance Spell, Epic Leadership, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Familiar Spell, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment-Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Scribe Epic Scroll, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Hathran
Level

Special
11
12 Bonus feat, fear (4/day)
13
14 Bonus feat
15 Fear (5/day)
16 Bonus feat
17
18 Bonus feat, fear (6/day)
19
20 Bonus feat

Epic Red Wizard

It should come as no surprise that the Red Wizards were among the first in Faerûn to explore the realms of epic power. Thankfully for the rest of Faerûn, the Red Wizards' need for secrecy and politicized society prevent them from sharing this power among their number too widely.

For a Red Wizard, it's all about magic. Crank up your save DCs with Epic Spell Focus and Improved Heighten Spell, ready a barrage of spells with Automatic Quicken Spell and Multispell, or emerge from the lab with truly awesome magic items thanks to feats such as Craft Epic Staff or Forge Epic Ring.

Epic Red Wizards should work to boost the ability score that their spells rely on, whether that's Intelligence or Charisma.

Other Options: Every self-respecting Red Wizard needs a mighty bodyguard, and Epic Leadership can fit the bill (particularly for those high-Charisma sorcerer/Red Wizards). If you can't pick up one of those, Epic Reputation might let you talk your way out of a problem, or Epic Toughness might give you the extra hit points you need to make your escape.

Hit Die: d4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic Red Wizard's wizard caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic Red Wizard's number of spells per day does not increase after 10th level. The epic Red Wizard does not learn additional spells unless he selects the Spell Knowledge feat (see the Feats section of the Epic Level Handbook).

Specialist Defense: The bonus to the epic Red Wizard's saves against spells from his specialist school increases by +1 for every 2 levels after 9th.

Spell Power: Add an additional +1 to the DC for saving throws against spells of the epic Red Wizard's specialty school, and to his caster level checks to overcome spell resistance using spells from this school, for every 2 levels after 10th.

Bonus Feats: The epic Red Wizard gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic Red Wizard feats) every 5 levels after 10th.

Epic Red Wizard Bonus Feat List: Augmented Alchemy, Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Epic Staff, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Enhance Spell, Epic Leadership, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Familiar Spell, Forge Epic Ring, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Scribe Epic Scroll, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Red
Wizard
Level

Special
11 Specialist defense +5
12 Spell power +6
13 Specialist defense +6
14 Spell power +7
15 Specialist defense +7, bonus feat
16 Spell power +8
17 Specialist defense +8
18 Spell power +9
19 Specialist defense +9
20 Spell power +10, bonus feat

Epic Runecaster

Epic runecasters are particularly common among the dwarves and giants, who originated this form of magic. A runecaster of this level is likely a legend among his people, and the power of his runes is beyond comparison.

The epic runecaster should pick up Inscribe Epic Rune (a new feat described below) as soon as possible. Beyond that, any feat that helps your spellcasting become more powerful is a good choice, from Enhance Spell to Improved Metamagic to Spell Stowaway.

If your divine spellcasting relies on Wisdom, that's the best place for your ability increases. Constitution is a solid second choice, since many runecasters take pride in their physical toughness.

Other Options: Epic Toughness is a good choice for epic runecasters looking to emulate their dwarf or giant teachers. You might also work with your DM to create other rune-based epic feats, such as ones that mimic metamagic feats.

Hit Die: d8.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

New Feat: Inscribe Epic Rune

You can inscribe runes of epic power.

Prerequisite: Intelligence 19+, Inscribe Rune, Craft (appropriate skill) 24 ranks

Benefit: You can inscribe runes that exceed the normal limit for such items (as described above). For instance, you could inscribe a rune with a spell of greater than 9th level, or a rune with a caster level greater than 20th.

Even this feat does not allow you to inscribe a rune with an epic spell (see Chapter 2: Epic Spells in the Epic Level Handbook). Such magic defies the power of the written word and thus cannot be scribed into runic form.

Spells: The epic runecaster's divine caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic runecaster's number of spells per day does not increase after 10th level.

Rune Craft: The epic runecaster's bonus to Craft checks made to inscribe runes increases by +1 for every 3 levels after 10th.

Rune Power: For runes created by the runecaster, add an additional +1 to the DC of all saves and attempts to erase, dispel, or disable the rune, and to caster level checks to overcome the spell resistance of a target, for every 3 levels after 9th.

Crafting Epic Runes: As with scrolls, you can't create a rune with a spell level above 10th or an effective caster level above 20th without using the Inscribe Epic Rune feat (see below).

Bonus Feats: The epic runecaster gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic runecaster feats) every 3 levels after 10th.

Epic Runecaster Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Bonus Domain, Efficient Item Creation, Enhance Spell, Epic Skill Focus (Craft [any]), Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Epic Toughness, Ignore Material Components, Improved Alignment-Based Casting, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Inscribe Epic Rune (new feat), Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Domain Access, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Runecaster
Level

Special
11
12 Rune power +4
13 Rune craft +4, bonus feat
14
15 Rune power +5
16 Rune craft +5, bonus feat
17
18 Rune power +6
19 Rune craft +6, bonus feat
20

Epic Shadow Adept

The benefits of the Shadow Weave are as potent as they are tempting. A rare few who follow this path make it to epic levels, and those who know their names dare mention them only in whispers, and even then only in bright daylight.

As a spellcaster, you should focus on picking up feats that bolster your spellcasting power, such as the ever-popular Improved Spell Capacity. Epic Spell Focus, particularly in Enchantment, Illusion, or Necromancy, serves you well. Improved Low-Light Vision boosts your visual acuity in the shadowy conditions you love.

As with any epic spellcaster, you should improve the ability score that controls your spellcasting. Other than that, Dexterity is a good choice, particularly if you typically go without armor.

Other Options: If you're satisfied with your spellcasting prowess, consider picking up feats that accentuate your other abilities. If you have the prerequisites, Self-Concealment fits well with the shadow adept's motif. Spectral Strike is another interesting choice for shadow adepts who were clerics before embracing the Shadow Weave.

Hit Die: d4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Spells: The epic shadow adept's caster level increases by 1 per level gained above 10th. The epic shadow adept's number of spells per day does not increase after 10th level.

Shadow Defense: The epic shadow adept's bonus to saves against Enchantment, Illusion, Necromancy, and darkness spells increases by +1 for every 3 levels gained after 8th.

Spell Power: For every 3 levels gained above 9th, add an additional +1 to the DC for saving throws against Enchantment, Illusion, Necromancy, and darkness spells cast by the epic shadow adept, and a like amount to his caster level checks to overcome spell resistance using the spells from this school.

Bonus Feats: The epic shadow adept gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic shadow adept feats) every 4 levels after 10th.

Epic Shadow Adept Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Enhance Spell, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Low-Light Vision, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spectral Strike, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Shadow
Adept
Level

Special
11 Shadow defense +4
12 Spell power +4
13
14 Shadow defense +5, bonus feat
15 Spell power +5
16
17 Shadow defense +6
18 Spell power +6, bonus feat
19
20

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the Epic Level Handbook, and grab a copy of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Of course, you'll also need the Player's Handbook,Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual!

About the Author

Andy Collins is the co-designer of the Epic Level Handbook. Read more about him and his projects at www.andycollins.net.

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