Excerpts 03/03/2006


Tome of Magic Excerpt
By Matthew Sernett, Dave Noonan, Ari Marmell,
Robert J. Schwalb



Tome of Magic introduces three new magic subsystems for the D&D game. Any or all of these systems can easily be inserted into a campaign. Pact magic gives characters the ability to channel lost souls, harnessing their abilities to gain supernatural powers. Shadow magic draws power from the mysterious Plane of Shadow. Truename magic gives characters that learn and properly use the true name of a creature or object immense power over it. All three systems introduce new base classes and spellcasting mechanics. Also included are new feats, prestige classes, magic items, and spells.

The excerpts below include information about each of the three new systems, a couple of vestiges, the noctumancer prestige class, a weapon special ability, the Lexicon of the Evolving Mind list, and a creature. For more from the main introduction in this book, check out the February 2006 Preview.

Noctumancer

Eveneth Stillwater, an elf noctumancer

"Consider the power offered by magic, by the ability to manipulate reality. Imagine how much greater, then, the power available to he who can manipulate magic itself."

-- Eveneth Stillwater, Lord of the Third House, Parliament of Shadows

Noctumancers bridge the gap between shadow and arcane magic. Those who succeed in becoming one of these elite not only gain a boost to their mystery user and arcane caster abilities, but are able to manipulate the mysteries and spells of others as no others can.

BECOMING A NOCTUMANCER

Given the requirements of the class, multiclass shadowcaster/ sorcerers and shadowcaster/wizards make up almost the entirety of noctumancers. The rare shadowcaster/bard might be found, but virtually no other combination offers the proper abilities, and given the steep requirements of the prestige class, any additional multiclassing drastically slows (or even prevents) its acquisition.

Entry Requirements

Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, Spellcraft 6 ranks

Shadowcasting: Able to cast 2nd-level mysteries

Spellcasting: Able to cast 2nd-level arcane spells

CLASS FEATURES

As a noctumancer, you excel at controlling all magics in the area around you.

Mysteries/Spellcasting: At each level, you gain new mysteries or spells per day and an increase in caster level (and mysteries or spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in both your mystery-using class and your arcane spellcasting class. You do not, however, gain any other benefits a character of these classes would have gained. If you had more than one mystery-using or arcane spellcasting class before becoming a noctumancer, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Capture Magic's Shadow (Su): At 1st level, when you successfully dispel a mystery or spell (such as with the mysteries shadows fade or unravel dweomer, or the spells dispel magic or break enchantment), you can absorb its energy. You add one-half the level (round down, minimum 1) of the mystery or spell you dispelled to the caster level of any mystery or spell you cast in the next round. For instance, if you dispel a 4th-level spell, you add +2 to the caster level of the spell you cast in the next round. You cannot draw power from dispelling your own mysteries or spells.

Innate Counterspell (Su): Starting at 2nd level, you can attempt to counter a mystery or spell without using a readied action. Once per day, you can counter a spell as an immediate action, by expending a mystery use per day, a spell slot (if you prepare spells), or a spell use (if you are a spontaneous caster) as long as the mystery or spell expended is of the same level or higher as the mystery or spell to be countered.

At 7th level, when you successfully counter a mystery or spell using this ability, you retain some of the magical essence of the countered dweomer. You can choose to either gain one additional use of a mystery, regain an expended spell slot (if you prepare spells), or gain the use of an additional spell (if you are a spontaneous caster). The level of the mystery or spell you gain is equal to one-half the level of the mystery or spell you countered (rounded down, minimum 1).

You can use innate counterspell once per day at 2nd level, two times at 5th, and three times at 8th.

Eldritch Disruption (Su): At 6th level, you can use a standard action to disrupt the magical energies of a single target within 60 feet. That target must make a Will saving throw (DC 10 + your noctumancer level + your Cha modifier) or take a -4 penalty to its caster level for any mysteries or spells it casts for 1 minute. You can use eldritch disruption three times per day.

Eldritch Vortex (Su): At 10th level, you can emit mystic energies in a 20-foot-radius burst around yourself. Any creature other than you within that area takes a -4 penalty to caster level for any mysteries, spells, or spell-like abilities it casts or uses. The vortex lasts 1 minute and can be used once per day.

Shadow's Persistence (Su): At 10th level, you gain temporary immunity to any mystery or spell captured or countered by means of your capture magic's shadow or innate counterspell ability. For 1 minute, you cannot be affected by any casting of that mystery or spell.

PLAYING A NOCTUMANCER

You are a rising master of two forms of magic, able to shape substance, shadow, and sorcery at your whim. You are most likely studious and knowledgeable, although some noctumancers come by their abilities more instinctively. While you might never reach the same heights of magical ability as your single-classed contemporaries, your mastery of magic as a whole makes you at least their equal, if not their better.

Every major shadow-based organization has a place for noctumancers. The Tenebrous Cabal and Nightshade Covenant treat you much like standard shadowcasters, determining your position by your overall mystical aptitude. The Votaries of Vecna venerate you, for you combine shadow powers with the arts practiced by Acererak and (before his divinity) Vecna himself. Also, despite the common distrust of shadow magic in arcane organizations, some such guilds might welcome you, fascinated by your ability to manipulate others' magic.

COMBAT

At lower levels, your combat techniques do not greatly differ from those of other arcane casters. You should normally stay out of immediate physical danger, using your spells to influence the flow of battle.

As you progress, however, your options grow wider. Your ability to absorb magic even as you dispel it makes it even more worthwhile than normal to strip your foes of their mystical protections or to remove ongoing baneful effects from your allies. Your innate counterspell ability gives you a powerful defense against enemy casters, and your tactical options grow as you gain the ability to shape your spells and mysteries around your allies.

At your highest level, you might wish to focus most of your efforts in combating enemy casters or magic-using creatures, for you now have the ability to render at least some of their efforts useless. This frees your companions from having to defend against them, allowing them to go on the offensive.

Table 2-5: The Noctumancer Hit Die: d4

Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Mysteries/Spellcasting
1st +0 +2 +0 +2 Capture magic's shadow +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
2nd +1 +3 +0 +3 Innate counterspell 1/day +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
3rd +1 +3 +1 +3 -- +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
4th +2 +4 +1 +4 -- +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
5th +2 +4 +1 +4 Innate counterspell 2/day +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
6th +3 +5 +2 +5 Eldritch disruption +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
7th +3 +5 +2 +5 Innate counterspell (retain power) +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
8th +4 +6 +2 +6 Innate counterspell 3/day +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
9th +4 +6 +3 +6 -- +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
10th +5 +7 +3 +7 Eldritch vortex, shadow's persistence +1 level of existing mystery-using class/+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Concentration, Craft, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), Profession, Spellcraft.

ADVANCEMENT

Your arts are at least partially learned ones, even for the most spontaneous sorcerer. You are likely a member of a shadow-related organization, approached and trained by noctumancers who saw potential in your combination of abilities. Alternatively, you might have sought out instructors, having heard of noctumancy. Although such individuals are rare, you might have been a multiclass shadowcaster/arcane caster, discovered the secrets of the noctumancer in ancient tomes, and managed to train yourself.

Continued advancement requires substantial practice and study, equal to if not greater than that required of a shadowcaster or wizard. While you need not (and in fact cannot) learn the most difficult spells or mysteries, you possess techniques for combining these very different forms of magic.

Once you become a noctumancer, you face the same choices as high-level mystery users and spellcasters, only even more of them. Pay careful attention to the synergy between your spells and mysteries, so that you do not wind up with redundant abilities. Consider mastering the path of Black Magic, because its mysteries complement your class abilities. Raising both Intelligence and Charisma is clearly a wise idea, and feats and items to raise your caster level also prove valuable.

RESOURCES

Unless another noctumancer belongs to a rival organization, you tend to view him as a kindred soul in an elite society. You frequently trade spells and minor items (potions, scrolls, wands). You'll likely want staffs, defensive items, and items to boost Intelligence and Charisma -- much like any other caster.

NOCTUMANCERS IN THE WORLD

"My magic is everything I have, everything I am. If someone else can wrest control of my magic from me, what does that make me?"

-- Hennet, sorcerer and adventurer

A noctumancer is the logical extension of abjuration magic, the path of Black Magic, and even the existence of arcane magic in general. It seems only natural that some would devote their efforts to mastering not the use of magic, but the literal control of it. It should appeal to players who enjoy the notion of manipulating the forces that many others take for granted.

DAILY LIFE

A noctumancer's time is largely devoted to the study and research required to master new mysteries, new spells, and the interactions between them. Noctumancers usually devote their remaining time either to advancing the goals of their organization, or adventuring to obtain both new magic and expertise with their abilities.

Noctumancers rarely have the time for governing, but those who do take full advantage of their abilities, either to protect or dominate their subjects. Even the most well-meaning noctumancer rulers often grow arrogant, as they become convinced of their mastery of eldritch forces.

NOTABLES

Noctumancers are exceptionally rare, but a few have still managed to obtain notoriety. Eveneth Stillwater, Lord of the Third House, is the most recent addition to the Parliament of Shadows, and one of only a half-dozen noctumancers in the Cabal's ruling body. The shadow lich known only as Intempestus leads a cadre of Nightshaders who lair in a shadowstuff castle on the Plane of Shadow, near a permanent portal to the Material Plane.

ORGANIZATION

Noctumancers function more or less as other mystery users and spellcasters in their respective organizations. The Votaries of Vecna might honor their abilities, but they don't actually bestow any true authority that the noctumancers haven't otherwise earned. Similarly, the Nightshade Covenant and the Tenebrous Cabal respect the noctumancer's knowledge, and often put such individuals in charge of mystical research and interactions with other arcane factions, but they are treated just like any other members when it comes to advancement.

NPC REACTIONS

The vast majority of people react to noctumancers exactly as they would to an arcane caster or shadowcaster, whichever the noctumancer most resembles. Only a very select few -- mostly casters themselves -- recognize the noctumancer as something different. In general, shadowcasters are indifferent or friendly (if they are of the same organization) to noctumancers. Many arcane casters are hostile toward noctumancers, for they fear their ability to manipulate others' spells.

NOCTUMANCER LORE

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research noctumancers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.

DC 10: The noctumancer is a spellcaster who combines arcane magic and shadow magic.

DC 15: Noctumancers have the ability to use spells and the powers of shadow, and can also hinder the magic of others. They can counter spells with an act of will.

DC 20: The noctumancer's abilities, such as spells and mysteries, are limited by the number of times they can use them. You can sometimes overpower a noctumancer through simple attrition.

A bardic knowledge check or a Gather Information check can reveal the same information as these Knowledge checks, but in each case the DC is 5 higher than the given value.

NOCTUMANCERS IN THE GAME

Noctumancy is not only a difficult art, it requires a relatively high level before one can enter the prestige class. Thus, it's unlikely that characters in a low-level or even mid-level game will encounter noctumancers, allowing DMs to introduce one or more as the campaign progresses, without having to explain their prior absence.

Players should think that their characters' levels in noctumancer are worthwhile so long as they have semifrequent encounters with magic users or ongoing spell effects. The prestige class allows them to progress in both classes, so they will not be particularly weak in any case, but it is against other casters that the noctumancer truly comes into his own.

ADAPTATION

A noctumancer can exist in settings that do not make use of shadow magic, although it requires some alteration. The prestige class might instead represent a branch of arcane magic focused on controlling the magic of others. Remove the shadowcaster-related prerequisites.

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