Arcane Trickmaster (3.5e Prestige Class)
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What if Arcane Trickster didn't suck so much... 10 6 Moderate Poor Good Good Prepared Arcane Spellcasting Spontaneous Arcane Spellcasting Sneak Attack Full
|“||Poof, I vanish!||”|
|—Priscilla the Invisible Girl, Half-Dragon Human Arcane Trickmaster, Mysterious Painting|
Being a rogue is great; it's got sneak attack, and skills, and stealth. Being a wizard is great; you get spells that do all sorts of things. Both are really great... hey, what if we could be both?
Arcane Trickster? Oh god no, they struggle to do both and end up doing neither well, spending the first 8 levels of their life in suffering.
But perhaps there is a way...
Becoming an Arcane Trickmaster
It's clearly a replacement for the good idea that is the Arcane Trickster, but woefully broken by poorly thought-out prerequisites. Still, the idea is the same. A caster who is also sneaky. A rogue with a magical touch. As such, the mental ability score of choice and a strong Dexterity wins the day here. And best of all, it's not as fragile as paper.
|Skills:||Disable Device 7 ranks, Knowledge Arcana 5 ranks.|
|Spellcasting:||Ability to cast mage hand and the ability to cast at least one 2nd level spell or higher.|
|Special:||+2d6 sneak attack or skirmish.|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Ranged Legerdemain, Surprise Spellcasting +1||+1 level of existing class|
|2nd||+1||+0||+3||+3||Sneak Attack +1d6||+1 level of existing class|
|3rd||+2||+1||+3||+3||Silent or Stilled Casting 1||+1 level of existing class|
|4th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Sneak Attack +2d6||+1 level of existing class|
|5th||+3||+1||+4||+4||Bad Touch, Improved Ranged Legerdemain, Surprise Spellcasting +2||+1 level of existing class|
|6th||+4||+2||+5||+5||Sneak Attack +3d6||+1 level of existing class|
|7th||+5||+2||+5||+5||Silent or Stilled Casting 2||+1 level of existing class|
|8th||+6||+2||+6||+6||Sneak Attack +4d6||+1 level of existing class|
|9th||+6||+3||+6||+6||Surprise Spellcasting +3||+1 level of existing class|
|10th||+7||+3||+7||+7||Sneak Attack +5d6, Spell Attack||+1 level of existing class|
Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level.)
|11th||+1 level of existing class|
|12th||Sneak Attack +6d6, +1 level of existing class|
|13th||Surprise Spellcasting +4, +1 level of existing class|
|14th||Sneak Attack +7d6, +1 level of existing class|
|15th||+1 level of existing class|
|16th||Sneak Attack +8d6, +1 level of existing class|
|17th||Surprise Spellcasting +5, +1 level of existing class|
|18th||Sneak Attack +9d6, +1 level of existing class|
|19th||+1 level of existing class|
|20th||Sneak Attack +10d6, +1 level of existing class|
All of the following are class features of the arcane trickmaster.
Spellcasting: At each level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level in a spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a arcane trickmaster, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Ranged Legerdemain (Su): If the arcane trickmaster could not before, they now gain the ability to use mage hand at will, and may perform any one-handed task they could with their actual hand, including wielding a weapon, out to a 30-foot range. Weapons wielded use their normal attack bonuses, as if you were attacking in melee as normal. Working at a distance increases the normal skill check DC by 5, and an arcane trickster cannot take 10 on this check. Any object to be manipulated must weigh 5 pounds or less. You cannot sneak attack with a weapon wielded by your ranged legerdemain.
Surprise Spellcasting: Whenever you catch an opponent flat-footed or denied their Dexterity bonus to AC (not simply flanked) and you cast a spell, the spell receives a +1 bonus to the DC for catching them off-guard. This bonus increases by 1 every four levels beyond 1st (5th, 9th, etc).
Sneak Attack: This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th). If an arcane trickmaster gets a sneak attack bonus from another source, the bonuses on damage stack.
Stilled or Silent Casting: At 3rd level, the arcane trickmaster can choose to gain either Silent Spell metamagic or Still Spell metamagic as a bonus feat. If the arcane trickmaster already has (or later gains) Silent Spell or Still Spell, the metamagic becomes a +0 adjustment instead of +1.
At 7th level, you gain whichever metamagic you did not choose previously (Silent Spell or Still Spell).
Bad Touch: An arcane trickmaster has the advantage of sneak attacking with weapon-like spells, but what good is it if he provokes? At 5th level, an arcane trickmaster no longer provokes attacks of opportunity for casting touch range spells.
Improved Ranged Legerdemain (Su): At 5th level, the arcane trickmaster's ranged legerdemain improves. They get an extra mage hand when they use their ability, now able to use tasks with two hands, their range increases to 60 ft, and their maximum weight for each hand rises to 10 lbs (20 lbs using both hands). The penalty for performing tasks at range remains, nor can they take 10.
Spell Attack: At 10th level, an arcane trickmaster who makes a sneak attack can choose to forgo the sneak attack damage and instead cast a targeted or weapon-like spell on the target of his sneak attack as a free action. Surprise spellcasting may apply if the target is denied Dexterity or flat-footed. The spell affects only the target, even if it would have other area effects. You can only cast a spell whose level is equal to or less than the number of sneak attack dice you possess. For example, you would have at least 7d6 sneak attack by the end of this class, allowing you to cast up to 7th-level spells through spell attack. You need 9d6 sneak attack in order to cast 9th-level spells through this attack.
You choose to use spell attack at the beginning of your turn, and forgo sneak attack damage until the beginning of your next turn. Regardless of however many sneak attacks you would have gotten, you can only use spell attack once per round.
Playing an Arcane Trickmaster
Combat: You're still a rogue, but you may fight more with touch spells than things like daggers. As a spellcaster, you have options open to you, though you need to split focus between having a high spell DC and having a high attack bonus and/or high AC. Most important, you're less item-dependent than your mundane brethren.
Advancement: Consider Eldritch Knight to continue on the way of the gish, or focus more on spellcasting or sneak attack in other classes.
Resources: Arcane Trickmasters are fairly few, and so would either be found in the company of wizards, or the company of thieves. Sometimes both.
Arcane Trickmasters in the World
|“||I transformed myself into a wooden log and hid myself in the fireplace to try and escape the guards. In hindsight, I should have fled once they came in bearing marshmellows and tindertwigs.||”|
|—Nickers the Pig, Slightly Burned Pyyga Arcane Trickmaster|
NPC Reactions: The only thing worse than thieves are thieves with the unpredictability of magic. You suspect people would not be fond of you upon hearing about your profession of choice, so it's best to keep it on the down-low.
Arcane Trickmasters Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge Arcane can research arcane trickmasters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Half rogue, half spellcaster, all trouble. Arcane trickmasters can sneak attack with their weapon-like spells or perform tricky operations at range. Some even fight at range.|
|15||Don't get surprised by an arcane trickmaster or they might put you under a spell. Even without surprise, they can cast in melee and strike you from behind if you're not careful.|
|20||Powerful arcane trickmasters can even cast in the middle of stabbing out all your blood, making them a double threat.|
|30||Those that reach this level of success can research specific arcane trickmasters, their motives, whereabouts, recent activity, and other details.|
Arcane Trickmasters in the Game
Adaptation: The class is flavored as arcane, but it's easy to adapt to a divine trickmaster or psionic trickmaster, provided they can use mage hand (or the psionic version, far hand).
Pathfinder versions use a d8 instead of a d6, and add Fly to their class skill list.
Sample Encounter: The infamous thief known as the Black Fox is going to steal the crown jewels. No one has ever stopped the mystical menace before. Can you be the first to foil his plans?
EL 11: PENDING
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Prepared Arcane Spellcasting +, Spontaneous Arcane Spellcasting + and Sneak Attack +|
|Class Ability Progression||Full +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Poor +|
|Identifier||3.5e Prestige Class +|
|Minimum Level||6 +|
|Rated By||Leziad + and Ghostwheel +|
|Rating||Rating Pending +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Good +|
|Skill||Appraise +, Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Concentration +, Craft +, Decipher Script +, Diplomacy +, Disable Device +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Forgery +, Gather Information +, Hide +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Listen +, Move Silently +, Open Lock +, Perform +, Profession +, Search +, Sense Motive +, Sleight of Hand +, Speak Language +, Spellcraft +, Spot +, Swim +, Tumble +, Use Magic Device + and Use Rope +|
|Skill Points||6 +|
|Summary||What if Arcane Trickster didn't suck so much... +|
|Title||Arcane Trickmaster +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|