By Edward Bolme
Who says spellcasters are weak fighters when it comes to direct combat? Mages make especially interesting characters when they prepare to engage in combat. Many spells lack somatic components, and can therefore be used without penalty while wearing armor. Among my personal favorites are ventriloquism, blur, and true strike. You mislead an attacker with ventriloquism, cast blur on yourself, and as your foe investigates the magic noises, you attack from behind with true strike.
Masters touch is a helpful spell in several ways. It allows wizards and sorcerers at the end of their spellcasting to participate in combat. Its a nasty surprise for those who think mages carry only ineffective weapons. And, finally, it allows spellcasters to use any cool magical item (like the dwarven waraxe +1 in The Alchemists Eyrie) that happens to fall into their hands.
This spell is most commonly used by bards, multiclassed wizards, and sorcerers (who can therefore wear armor), and rage mages (Dragon, issue 277).
Level: Brd 1, Sor/Wiz 1
Components: V, F
Casting Time: 1 action
Duration: 1 minute per level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
Masters touch is a spell often found in the repertoire of the adventurers that specialize in casting arcane spells. It grants casters the knowledge and experience to claim proficiency in whatever single weapon or shield they hold in their hands when the spell is cast. The lack of a somatic component means the spell may be cast in the midst of a fight while keeping ready whatever items stand between the caster and danger.
Proficiency is granted for only a single, specific item, although multiple castings allow for multiple proficiencies. For example, a sorcerer holding a short sword and rapier, with a buckler strapped to his off hand, could cast the spell three times, once for each weapon and shield.
Note that this spell does not grant proficiency for a class of item, but only for the one specific item held in the hand at the time the spell is cast. Should the caster set that item down or otherwise lose his or her grip on it, proficiency does not fade away; the proficiency is due to knowledge gained, not due to any transmutation of the caster or the item. The caster may therefore recover that specific item and continue to use it with proficiency until the spells effect runs out.
Masters touch does not convey any information about a magic item to the caster. The caster may not even be aware that an item is magical at all.
Arcane Focus: The item in whose use the caster wishes to be proficient.
About the Author
Edward Bolme has written for a variety of games, including Paranoia, Castle Falkenstein, Cyberpunk, Cybergeneration, and Necroscope. His fiction work includes Title Deleted for Security Reasons, The Wind Blows Also Softly, and the forthcoming short stories "The Dragon's Paw" and "The Dagger of Chaos," both due out this year. His next novel should be released in March 2002. Check out his original online adventure The Alchemists Eyrie.)