At first, it seems like a contradiction -- an arcane spellcaster that "loses herself" in a blind fury. Yet, the rage mage makes for an interesting case, since her approach to magic is based on the primal passion of magic more than the studious quasi-scientific approach. The rage mage prestige class is sure to enliven any campaign, because it raises fascinating questions on the true nature of magic and magic use. But don't ask the rage mage to answer those questions herself -- she's not interested in the "why," only the results.
A rage mage taps into the primal essence of magic, using her own natural anger and frenzy to channel the arcane power in flashy, flamboyant ways. Like the barbarian, the rage mage is often the product of a less civilized society. All rage mages must have at least some background as a barbarian (or some other class that grants a rage or frenzy ability), as well as training as a wizard, sorcerer, or -- very rarely -- a bard.
Rage mage NPCs are usually found working with barbarians. They tend to shy away from traditional spellcasters and avoid the colleges and guilds where such individuals usually gather.
Hit Die: d8.
To qualify to become a rage mage, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.
Alignment: Any nonlawful.
Base Attack Bonus: +4.
Feat: Combat Casting.
Spells: Able to cast 2nd-level arcane spells.
Special: Rage or frenzy ability.
The rage mage's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).
Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the rage mage prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Rage mages gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.
Spells per Day: At every even-numbered level gained in the rage mage class, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. If the character did not belong to a spellcasting class (but otherwise met the requirements for the rage mage class), she gains a sorcerer spellcasting level. In neither case, however, does she gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting (but see spell rage, below). If a character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a rage mage, she must decide to which class she adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.
Spell Rage (Ex): A rage mage can cast spells while in a rage, as long as the spell's casting time is no more than one full round. When she casts a spell of the abjuration, conjuration, evocation, necromancy, or transmutation school while in a rage, the rage mage uses her character level as her caster level. This ability only works when the rage mage is in a spell rage.
While in a spell rage, a rage mage becomes reckless and loses her some of her ability to defend herself. She temporarily takes a -2 penalty to Armor Class.
Unlike with a barbarian's rage, a rage mage can use any type of skill or feat while raging. A fit of rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 3 + the character's Constitution modifier. A rage mage can end her rage voluntarily. At the end of the rage, the character is fatigued (-2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, can't charge or run) for the duration of the current encounter (unless the rage mage is 10th level, when this limitation no longer applies). A rage mage can only fly into a rage once per encounter, and only a certain number of times per day (determined by level). Entering a rage takes no time itself, but a rage mage can only do it during her action, not in response to somebody else's action.
Overcome Spell Failure (Ex): At 2nd level, a rage mage learns to ignore some of the restrictive nature of armor. Her arcane spell failure chance when wearing light or medium armor decreases by 10%.
Rage (Ex): A rage mage can enter a rage one additional time per day at 3rd level and another time per day at 8th level.
Angry Spell (Ex): Beginning at 5th level, when a rage mage casts a spell of the abjuration, conjuration, evocation, necromancy, or transmutation school while raging, the save DC for the spell increases by +2. At 10th level, this increase becomes +4.
Spell Fury (Sp): Upon reaching 7th level, a rage mage can quicken one spell of 4th level or lower (as if she had used the Quicken Spell feat), but without adjusting the spell's level or casting time. She may use this ability once during each rage.
Tireless Rage (Ex): At 9th level and higher, a rage mage no longer becomes fatigued at the end of her rage.
Warrior Cry (Sp): A 10th-level rage mage may scream out a warrior's cry once per day as a free action on her turn and gain the benefits of the Tenser's transformation spell, with one exception: She does not lose her spellcasting ability for the duration of this effect. The rage mage's caster level for the purpose of this effect is equal to her character level.
* NOTE: This excerpt was pulled out of an early version of the manuscript, so it may have changed by the time it goes to print.