Epic Insights03/14/2003


Epic Level Magic



Are you jealous because you can't fire your staff of power as quickly as the archer fires arrows? After reading this column, you won't be! Alternatively, beef up your favorite spells, pursue the path of the epic spellsword, or become a master arcane artisan.

New Epic Feats

These four new epic feats are created just for spellcasting epic characters. At the DM's option, you can add them to the list of epic bonus feats for any magically oriented character (including sorcerers, wizards, clerics, many of the prestige classes in Tome and Blood, and the like).

Game Resources: To make full use of the material in this article, check out the following resources:

Focused Spell Penetration [Epic]

Choose a school of magic for which you have selected the Epic Spell Focus feat. Your spells of that school are more capable of overcoming spell resistance.

Prerequisites: Epic Spell Focus (chosen school), Spell Focus (chosen school), Spell Penetration, ability to cast 9th-level spells.

Benefits: When casting spells of the chosen school, you gain a +4 bonus to caster level checks to defeat spell resistance. This stacks with all other bonuses to overcome spell resistance; however, having this feat does not make such bonuses stack with each other if they normally don't.

Special: You may select this feat multiple times. Each time you select this feat, it applies to a different school of magic for which you have selected Epic Spell Focus.

Epic Spell Specialization [Epic]

Choose a spell that you can cast. That spell is more powerful when you cast it.

Prerequisites: Spellcraft 24 ranks, ability to cast 9th-level spells.

Benefits: When casting the chosen spell, treat your caster level as 2 higher for all purposes, including range, duration, resistance to dispel checks, and overcoming spell resistance.

Staff Expertise [Epic]

You can activate staffs with the speed that an archer fires arrows.

Prerequisites: Craft Staff, Master Staff, Quicken Spell, Spellcraft 30 ranks.

Benefits: You may activate a staff in place of an attack instead of as a standard action. As a full-round action, you could thus make as many staff activations as you could normally make ranged attacks. For instance, if your base attack bonus is +11, you could activate a staff three times as a full-round action. If you also had the Rapid Shot feat, you could activate the staff four times as a full-round action.

Each activation after the first costs one additional charge from the staff, cumulative. Thus, the second activation in a round costs 2 extra charges, the third activation 3 extra charges, and so forth.

Wand Expertise [Epic]

You can activate wands with the speed that an archer fires arrows.

Prerequisites: Craft Wand, Master Wand, Quicken Spell, Spellcraft 25 ranks.

Benefits: You may activate a wand in place of an attack instead of as a standard action. As a full-round action, you could thus make as many wand activations as you could normally make ranged attacks. For instance, if your base attack bonus is +11, you could activate a wand three times as a full-round action. If you also had the Rapid Shot feat, you could activate the wand four times as a full-round action.

Each activation after the first costs one additional charge from the wand, cumulative. Thus, the second activation in a round costs 2 extra charges, the third activation 3 extra charges, and so forth.

Epic Spellsword (Tome and Blood)

The epic spellsword weaves magic and melee together with unparalleled skill.

Since you mix combat with your spellcasting, your epic feat selection should mirror that combination. Keep up with the fighter-types with Epic Prowess and Epic Toughness, but make sure that the other spellcasters aren't kicking sand in your face by beefing up your spells with Epic Spell Focus, Improved Spell Capacity, or Intensify Spell. Try to resist the temptation to spread your ability increases too widely -- you're probably better off focusing on Strength and either Intelligence or Charisma, depending on what controls your spellcasting.

Other Options: If you have the time and ability, consider learning Epic Spellcasting and coming up with some unique spells that fit your tactics. If you're a finesse-fighter, focus on improving your Dexterity over your Strength -- if you can't hit the target, your spell channeling isn't much good.

Hit Die: d8.

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

Spells: The epic spellsword's caster level increases by 1 per even-numbered level gained above 10th. In addition, at every even-numbered level, the epic spellsword gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class, up to the number of spells per day possessed by a 20th-level character of that class.

Channel Spell (Su): The epic spellsword's ability to channel continues to improve after 10th level. At 15th level, the maximum allowable spell level that may be channeled by the epic spellsword is 4th. This maximum level increases by 1 for every 5 additional levels gained (5th-level spell at 20th, 6th-level spell at 25th, and so on).

Ignore Spell Failure (Ex): The reduction of arcane spell failure chance increases by 5% for every two levels above 9th (to 35% at 11th, 40% at 13th, and so on). For instance, at 17th level the epic spellsword could wear full plate armor and a large shield and suffer no chance of arcane spell failure.

Bonus Feats: The epic spellsword gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic spellsword feats) every 4 levels after 8th.

Epic Spellsword Bonus Feat List: Automatic Quicken Spell, Automatic Silent Spell, Automatic Still Spell, Enhance Spell, Epic Prowess, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Spell Penetration, Epic Spellcasting, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Ignore Material Components, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Heighten Spell, Improved Metamagic, Improved Spell Capacity, Intensify Spell, Multispell, Permanent Emanation, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Spontaneous Spell, Tenacious Magic.

Spellsword
Level Special
11 Ignore spell failure 35%
12 Bonus feat
13 Ignore spell failure 40%
14
15 Channel spell (4th), ignore spell failure 45%
16 Bonus feat
17 Ignore spell failure 50%
18
19 Ignore spell failure 55%
20 Channel spell (5th), bonus feat

New Epic Prestige Class: Master Arcane Artisan

Some arcane spellcasters aspire only to perfect their own spellcasting powers. The master arcane artisan instead focuses her efforts outward, creating vessels of great power to wield against her enemies.

Most master arcane artisans are wizards, since few other classes have the ability to learn the wide range of item creation feats required for the class. However, bards and sorcerers who focus their attentions can qualify for this class as well. A variety of prestige classes also offer good preparation for this class, including the gnome artificer and the master alchemist.

Master arcane artisans tend to have many acquaintances -- everyone seems to like the wizard with all the toys -- but few true friends. Many arcane spellcasters, particularly sorcerers, disdain the artisan's reliance on trinkets, but it's hard to argue with the result.

Hit Die: d4.

Requirements

To qualify to become a master arcane artisan, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Skills: Craft (any) 12 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 24 ranks, Spellcraft (24 ranks).
Feats: Efficient Item Creation, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana]), any four item creation feats.
Spellcasting: Able to cast 6th-level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The master arcane artisan's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Alchemy (Int), Appraise (Wis), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

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

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the master arcane artisan prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The master arcane artisan gains no proficiency with weapons or armor.

Spells: The epic master arcane artisan's caster level increases by 1 per even-numbered level gained above 10th. In addition, at every even-numbered level, the epic master arcane artisan gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class, up to the number of spells per day possessed by a 20th-level character of that class.

Rapid Item Creation (Ex): When crafting any magic item for which she has selected the Efficient Item Creation feat, a master arcane artisan can craft magic items at an even more accelerated rate. At 1st level, she can craft such items at a rate of 20,000 gp per day. This increases by 10,000 gp per day for every 2 levels gained after 1st (30,000 gp per day at 3rd level, 40,000 gp per day at 5th, and so on). This ability has no effect on creation times for items that require feats for which she has not selected the Efficient Item Creation feat.

Item Creation XP Pool (Ex): A 2nd-level master arcane artisan has a source of magical energy from which she can draw the equivalent of XP to contribute toward the creation of magic items. At 2nd level, the pool has the equivalent of 3,000 XP in it. Every level thereafter, the pool gains a number of points equal to the level gained times 1,000 (+3,000 at 3rd level, +4,000 at 4th, and so on). These points can be spent only to create magic items, and once spent, the points are gone.

Bonus Item: At 4th level the master arcane artisan gains a single magic item of her choice (whose market price can't exceed 100,000 gp) that she could craft herself. She need not spend any time working on the item, and she need not expend any gp or XP. She is assumed to have been working on the item during her studies and spare time, and she completes it for free as part of gaining the new level. The master arcane artisan must meet all the item's prerequisites herself.

Every 4 levels after 4th, the master arcane artisan gains an additional free magic item, and the maximum market price of the item gained increases by 100,000 gp (to 200,000 gp at 8th, 300,000 gp at 12th, and so on).

Cannibalize Magic Items (Ex): A 10th-level master arcane artisan gains the ability to cannibalize magic items to harvest the power held within. The process requires 1 day per 100,000 gp of the item (or fraction thereof), at the end of which the artisan can add a number of points to her item creation XP pool (see above) equal to one-half the XP required to create the item. For instance, if a master arcane artisan cannibalized a +5 longsword (which costs 2,000 XP to create) she would add 1,000 points to her pool. A charged item that isn't fully charged only contributes a proportional amount of XP. For instance, a wand with only 25 charges would contribute half the normal points of a fully charged wand. The power harvested from such activity contributes only to the character's item creation XP pool, not to her normal XP total.

Bonus Feats: The master arcane artisan gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic master arcane artisan feats) at 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter.

Epic Master Arcane Artisan Bonus Feat List: Additional Magic Item Space, Augmented Alchemy, Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Epic Rod, Craft Epic Staff, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Efficient Item Creation, Forge Epic Ring, Improved Spell Capacity, Master Staff, Master Wand, Scribe Epic Scroll, Spell Knowledge.

Master Arcane Artisan
Level Special Spellcasting
1 Rapid item creation (20,000 gp/day) --
2 Item creation XP pool +1 level of existing class
3 Bonus feat, rapid item creation (30,000 gp/day) --
4 Bonus item +1 level of existing class
5 Rapid item creation (40,000 gp/day) --
6 Bonus feat +1 level of existing class
7 Rapid item creation (50,000 gp/day) --
8 Bonus item +1 level of existing class
9 Bonus feat, rapid item creation (60,000 gp/day) --
10 Cannibalize magic items +1 level of existing class

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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