Shadowcaster (3.5e Class)

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This is the Book of Elements Shadowcaster. You may be looking for the Shadowcaster in the Tome of Magic or one of the many other fixes and rewrites it has had done to it

Author: IGTN (talk)
Date Created: 6 Oct 2009
Status: Essentially Complete
Editing: Mechanics on talk, please
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Somewhere in the darkness, we are waiting. And the darkness can always find you.

Alright, the Shadowcaster. The Shadowcaster suffers from a lot of things, which is sad because it's a really cool concept. Multiple attribute dependency, lack of endurance (seriously, at best, it has two powers that are at all equivalent to level-appropriate spells, which it can use once per day each), and a lack of actual understanding as to what it's actually supposed to do are its worst problems. Fixing the last requires a complete rewrite, which can also fix the first two, so that's what I'm going to do here. The Shadowcaster is supposed to be a stealthy mage who is also the primary user of Shadow Magic. That means that they can sneak around and that they have magical abilities that make them good at everything Shadow Magic is supposed to be good at. Shadow Magic already, before the Tome of Magic, included creating quasi-real illusions and darkness effects, and was described in the Tome of Magic as being good at manipulations of other magic. So that's what the Shadowcaster will be good at, making them a kind of magic ninja with the option of taking powerful antimagic powers.

Shadowcasters enslave their shadow and force it to work for them. They are also able to turn others' shadows against them through their mysteries, and wield formidable magical powers. However, their endurance with their mysteries, their most powerful magic, is harshly limited.

Playing a Shadowcaster[edit]

Shadowcasters have a variety of powers, but have to play subtle to make best use of them. They have an advantage over other mages of being able to use their spells from hiding without giving away their position, and their magic allows them to hide in ways that others can't. They also have cool vision powers. This gives them a great deal of versatility as a scout.

Abilities: The highest level Mystery a shadowcaster can learn is based on her Intelligence, and the save DCs of her Mysteries are based on Intelligence. Dexterity helps, too, as Shadowcasters often need to be stealthy and engage in close combat.

Alignment: Shadowcasters come in all alignments. More align themselves with the Plane of Shadow than any other plane, although most are scattered across the Great Wheel.

Races: Shadowcasters come from all races. Shadow Genasi produce a substantial contingent, as do Gnomes, due to their affinity for illusion, and, naturally, Humans, on account their curiousity and greed for power. Goblins, Drow, and Tieflings also frequently become Shadowcasters, due to their affinities for darkness. Most Shadow Magic organizations accept all races, and many Shadowcasters live in areas where being a Shadowcaster is illegal.

Starting Gold: 4d4×10 gp (100 gp).

Starting Age: As wizard.

Table: The Shadowcaster

Hit Die: d6

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Mysteries, Essentials, Gaze into Shadow, Shadow Weaponry (Arrows)
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Scavenging Shade
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Evasion, Shadowsight
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Shadow Weaponry (Sword)
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Attach Shadow, Stomach of Shadow
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Umbral Eye, Shadow Guide (1/day)
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Greater Mysteries
8th +6 +2 +2 +6 Shadow Weaponry (Two Swords)
9th +6 +3 +3 +6 Shadow Blood, Revealing Shadows
10th +7 +3 +3 +7 Eternal Shade
11th +8 +3 +3 +7 Penumbral Soul, Shadow Guide (At Will), Lesser Mysteries (Supernatural)
12th +9 +4 +4 +8 Beshadowed Heart Shadow Weaponry (Damage Reduction)
13th +9 +4 +4 +8 Improved Evasion, Deep Mysteries
14th +10 +4 +4 +9 Sorcerous Perceptions
15th +11 +5 +5 +9 Ubiquity of Shadow
16th +12 +5 +5 +10 Shadow Weaponry (Quality)
17th +12 +5 +5 +10 Greater Mysteries (Supernatural)
18th +13 +6 +6 +11 Eyes of Eternal Midnight
19th +14 +6 +6 +11 Speed of Shadow
20th +15 +6 +6 +12 Grand Shadow

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, selected individually) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Shadowcaster class. Anything that asks for a nonspecific shadow does not refer to her own shadow. Nothing in this class refers to the Shadow monster.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Shadowcasters are proficient with all simple weapons and with light armor. They are also proficient with their Shadow Weaponry (see below). They are not proficient with any kind of shield. Nothing bad happens to them if they use any of these save that arcane spell failure applied to their mysteries with Somatic components.

Mysteries: A shadowcaster casts Shadow Magic mysteries, chosen from the Mysteries List (below). A shadowcaster learns one new mystery per class level, of a level up to half their Shadowcaster level, rounded up. Mysteries are spell-like abilities that, unlike other spell-like abilities, have somatic components. If the Shadowcaster is touching her shadow, then she can force her shadow to make the somatic components for her; otherwise, she suffers from arcane spell failure chance if wearing armor.

Each mystery of her highest two levels of available mysteries is usable once per day unless otherwise noted. Each lower level mystery can be recharged. A shadowcaster of at least 11th level may use Lesser mysteries as supernatural abilities at will, and a Shadowcaster of at least 17th level can use Greater mysteries as supernatural abilities at will. When used as supernatural abilities, mysteries lack somatic components. If a mystery can be recharged, it can be used once, and then used again provided that in between the uses the shadowcaster spends at least one consecutive minute not using any mysteries.

When the shadowcaster has her shadow make the somatic components of a mystery, others who aren't specifically looking for it but are aware of and paying some attention to her (being in combat against her is enough) can notice that she's moving differently from her shadow with a DC 15 Spot check. Those watching her directly need only make a DC 10 Spot check, as does anyone who makes a Spellcraft check to identify the Mystery being cast.

Mysteries are grouped into Paths. Every time a Shadowcaster completes a path, she learns a new manipulation of her Shadow Magic. Select a Metamagic feat. She may apply that Metamagic Feat to any applicable Mystery as she casts it. Each such ability can be used a number of times per day dependent on the number of Paths she has completed and the number of levels the metamagic feat would normally add:
No levels added: At will
One level added: Once per completed path
Two levels added: Once, plus once per two completed paths, or twice per three completed paths, whichever is more
Three levels added: Once per two completed paths
Four levels added: Once per three completed paths
Six levels added: Once per six completed paths

Essentials (Sp): All shadowcasters know a number of essential mysteries that form the basics of their craft. All essentials can be used as supernatural abilities at will:

  • Eyes of Magic: As the spell Detect Magic.
  • Hand of Shadow: As the spell Mage Hand.
  • Shadows Recede: As the spell Light.
  • Vague Dimness: As the spell Darkness, except that it sets light levels to shadowy illumination even if they are already darker. While in an area of Vague Dimness, everything casts a shadow if a nearby surface is available.

Gaze into Shadow (Su): All shadowcasters have low-light vision due to long hours of practice in the shadows. If they have low-light vision from another source, they can add another increment to the range of light. For example, an elven shadowcaster would be able to see 60' in torchlight as though it was brightly illuminated.

Shadow Weaponry (Su): A shadowcaster can force her shadow to form certain kinds of weaponry for them out of other shadows. Doing so requires that she be in contact with her shadow, and that there be other shadows within five feet per level. At 1st level, she can create arrows that can only maintain their substance briefly. Creating such an arrow is part of the action of attacking with it; these arrows neither need nor benefit from any kind of bow or other launcher, although they do require a free hand. They require a ranged touch attack to hit, and inflict 2d4 damage with a x3 critical multiplier. They may inflict either lethal or nonlethal damage, at the shadowcaster's option. She can make multiple attacks per round with these arrows as a Full Attack action, if her base attack bonus allows it or she conjures them from both hands.

At 4th level, she may conjure a sword as a swift action. This sword hits with a touch attack, deals 1d6 damage for a medium shadowcaster, and has a critical threat range of 18-20/x2. It has an enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls of 1/3 of the shadowcaster's character level. She may only conjure one sword at a time, and it disintegrates instantly on leaving her hand.

At 8th level, she may conjure two swords as a single action. She still may not have more than two swords at a time. When fighting with these two swords or with her Shadow Arrows, she need take only a -2 penalty to allow her a full series of off-hand attacks and off-hand attacks of opportunity, the latter with the swords only.

At 12th level, all of the shadowcaster's shadow weapons ignore damage reduction as though they were made of any special material of the shadowcaster's choice. The special material they are made of is chosen when the weapon is created, or can be changed as a swift action.

At 16th level, all of the shadowcaster's shadow weapons gain a single moderate quality (see the Book of Gears) of her choice when she creates them. She may choose between Frost, Lifestealing, Sharpness, and Wounding. Different weapons can be created with different properties.

Scavenging Shade (Ex): A shadowcaster of second level or higher can send her shadow to gather food and water for her from the Plane of Shadow, reducing her needs. She need only eat one meal per week, and may drink a tenth what she normally must.

Evasion: A shadowcaster of 3rd level or higher gains evasion, as the rogue ability of the same name.

Shadowsight (Su): A shadowcaster of 3rd level or higher can see clearly through shadows. She can treat any area of shadowy illumination (even those that she can only count as shadowy due to her low-light vision) as fully illuminated. Also, her Gaze into Shadow ability becomes Extraodinary instead of Supernatural.

Attach Shadow (Su): As a swift action, a shadowcaster touching her shadow may attach it at the point of contact (usually her feet). Such a shadow remains stuck to her even if there is no directional light to cast it or no surface to cast it on.

Stomach of Shadow (Ex): A shadowcaster of 5th level or higher can sustain herself off the shadows within her body. She no longer need eat or drink, and a single hour of sleep provides her with the benefits of a full night's rest, although she still needs to not adventure for eight hours to recover her mysteries.

Also, her bodily fluids become inky. Her blood, sweat, saliva, and similar fluids are usable as black ink. At her option when releasing the ink, it may glow as bright as a candle in any sufficiently ominous color when in darkness. Sweat, saliva, tears, and similar fluids are water-soluble. The ink in her blood, however, is not.

Umbral Eye (Su): A shadowcaster of 6th level or higher can see in any kind of darkness, even magical darkness, out to a range of sixty feet.

Shadow Guide (Sp): A shadowcaster of 6th level can cast Shadow Walk once per day as a spell-like ability. Her group moves five miles per hour per character level of the shadowcaster.

At 11th level, this ability improves to be usable at will and allow movement at doubled speed. It also allows her to choose to arrive anywhere outdoors on the material plane, with perfect accuracy, when she exits the shadow plane. Finally, she may cast a version of Dimension Door that passes through the shadow plane, at will.

Shadow Blood (Ex): A shadowcaster of 9th level or higher needs not sleep and is immune to poisons and diseases that don't specifically target shadow creatures. She also has a reduced need for breath, and can hold her breath for a minute per point of constitution.

Revealing Shadows (Su): A shadowcaster of 9th level or higher can see invisible creatures as though she benefitted from a permanent See Invisibility spell. Also, her Shadowsight ability becomes Extraordinary.

Eternal Shade (Ex): A Shadowcaster of 10th level forever remains, as she is then, a immense shadow of her former self. She stops aging and will no longer die when she reaches her maximum age.

Penumbral Soul (Ex): Whenever a shadowcaster of 11th level or higher is not on the Plane of Shadow or a plane coexistent to it, a demiplane almost exactly like border shadow exists coexistent to her out to a radius of 10' per class level. The plane's traits are the same as those of the Plane of Shadow, except that it inherits the elemental and energy traits, and adds the magic traits, of the plane the Shadowcaster is on. This demiplane connects to Deep Shadow the same way as Border Shadow does and can be accessed by any effect that accesses the Shadow Plane. If the shadowcaster enters it or the Plane of Shadow, the demiplane remains where it is until the shadowcaster leaves for another plane, at which point any creatures still in it are deposited into the plane it was coexistent to. The shadowcaster can take this plane with her when Shadow Walking across another plane. If she dies, the plane remains around her body, grave, or the place where her body is destroyed, whichever is more workable and dramatically appropriate.

Beshadowed Heart (Ex): A shadowcaster of 12th level or higher needs not breathe and is immune to negative levels and death effects.

Improved Evasion (Ex): A shadowcaster of 13th level gains Improved Evasion, as the rogue ability of the same name.

Sorcerous Perceptions (Su): A shadowcaster of 14th level can see magic auras, as the Greater Arcane Sight spell, permanently. Her Umbral Eye ability becomes extraordinary.

Ubiquity of Shadow (Ex): A Shadowcaster of 15th level or higher is at home anywhere shadows exist. She is immune to any effect that targets an extraplanar creature as long as she is in a shadow. Additionally, if barred from a plane, she may still enter the plane as long as she is never in an area of bright illumination (which she can feel as if a solid wall). If she ever finds bright illumination forced upon her while in a plane she is barred from entering, she is immediately shifted to the Plane of Shadow, which is her home plane for purposes of all magical effects.

Eyes of Eternal Midnight (Ex): A shadowcaster of 18th level's vision cannot be blocked out by magical interference. Her Sorcerous Perceptions and Revealing Shadows abilities become extraordinary.

Speed of Shadow: Shadows can move faster than anything else in the universe, and shadowcasters can exploit this effect. At 19th level, a Shadowcaster may cast a mystery usable as a supernatural ability as a swift action. Each mystery may be cast in this manner once per day.

Grand Shadow: At 20th level, a shadowcaster learns a spell to cause shadow to become the ascendant force of the multiverse. If she uses this ability, the entire multiverse becomes its shadow reflection. Having the ability to decide the fate of the multiverse in a single action means the shadowcaster wins D&D.

Mysteries List[edit]

A Shadowcaster may take any Mysteries from Wizards of the Coast's Tome of Magic (Apprentice Mysteries there become Lesser, Initiate Mysteries become Greater, Master Mysteries become Deep), plus the following, which are designed to be sufficient to play a Shadowcaster for those without access to the Tome of Magic. The first spell listed on a Path is the lowest level in its category (1st for Lesser, 4th for Greater, 7th for Deep); the second and third are each one higher than the previous. Note that Mysteries are just an alternate way of accessing spells, and will be treated as such.

Lesser Mysteries[edit]

*at will
*Enlarge Person or Reduce Person, chosen on casting.
*Sumoned swarm is made of solid shadows.

Greater Mysteries[edit]

*As Acid Fog, but does Cold damage instead

Deep Mysteries[edit]

*or Freedom, chosen when casting


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Allowed AlignmentsLawful Good +, Lawful Neutral +, Lawful Evil +, Neutral Good +, Neutral +, Neutral Evil +, Chaotic Good +, Chaotic Neutral + and Chaotic Evil +
Article BalanceVery High +
AuthorIGTN +
Base Attack Bonus ProgressionModerate +
Class AbilityAlternate Magic +
Class Ability ProgressionFull +
Fortitude Save ProgressionPoor +
Identifier3.5e Class +
Length20 +
Minimum Level1 +
RatingUnrated +
Reflex Save ProgressionPoor +
SkillBluff +, Concentration +, Craft +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Knowledge (all skills, selected individually) +, Move Silently +, Profession +, Search +, Spellcraft +, Spot + and Tumble +
Skill Points4 +
SummaryA stealthy magic user and weilder of shadow magic. +
TitleShadowcaster +
Will Save ProgressionGood +