View Full Version : [3.5] Eclipser class (the Sorcerer to the Shadowcaster's wizard)

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-26, 11:11 AM
I wish I knew how to make tables...for now here's a poor man's alternative below. Hopefully.

To make full use of this class requires the Tome of Magic and Tome of Shadow (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74519), which adds new classes, prestige classes, feats, mysteries, magic items, and monters to Shadow Magic.

“I didn’t ask for this power. But I have it, and I’ll be damned before I let your Cabal stop me from using it.”
- Amaya Morimaya, Eclipser

Not all shadow magic users learn their art through rigorous training or devotion to the reflection of worship. Some beings simply have a natural connection to the Plane of Shadow that manifests as the ability to utilize mysteries. These beings, known as eclipsers, are to shadowcasters what a sorcerer is to a wizard. Without formalized training or guiding, they are less varied in what mysteries they know - but they make up for this lack of knowledge with sheer skill and capability.
The natural connection to the Plane of Shadow is usually not apparent in most youths, though some may seem somewhat withdrawn or uncomfortable in bright light. As their abilities manifest, usually sometime around puberty, the house of a budding eclipser can appear to be haunted as wild shadowstuff creeps through it. As the eclipser comes to realize that she is the source of this ability, they often withdraw themselves or even leave home - and those that don’t are often chased out of it.

Making an Eclipser
Unlike a Cultist or a Hollow, an Eclipser can become just as skilled at mystery usage as a shadowcaster, and this is the core of their being and their class. They aren’t as varied in their talents, but the focus that results allows them to utilize the mysteries that they do know more often and, possibly, to greater effect.

Eclipsers do not undergo a grand ascent into shadowstuff as shadowcasters do, but the Plane of Shadow does extend some boons to them. Their connection to the Plane of Shadow strengthens their minds and enhances their reflexes, though it leaves their fortitude wanting.

Eclipsers rarely take command of a situation, even though most have great personal charisma. Many are simply reactionary by nature, as to act first is to openly reveal themselves, a dangerous gambit for a group of people actively distrusted by literally everyone, even other shadow users.

Abilities: Charisma is by far the most important of abilities for the eclipser, as it determines the strength of her mysteries. An eclipser with high Intelligence and Dexterity is also rewarded, for those two abilities combined with Charisma form the bulk of their skill requirements; as well, an eclipser is often lightly armored or even unarmored, meaning Dexterity is that much more important. Strength and Wisdom fall to the wayside with many eclipsers.

Races: Much like sorcerers, an eclipser can show up amongst any race. Human and half-elf eclipsers tend to be the most common, as they are least likely to shy away from their innate gifts. Interestingly enough, elven eclipsers tend to be more accepted within elven communities than elven shadowcasters; since their abilities manifest naturally rather than through the practice of weird and alien formulae. Halflings and gnome eclipsers are relatively accepted but also unlikely to go adventuring as a result; few progress very far into the class. Half-orcs are rarely eclipsers due to the Charisma penalty they suffer.

Alignment: Eclipsers defy tradition, defy the Parliament of Shadows, and perhaps even defy reality itself; as such, few are lawful and many are chaotic. There are actually a good balance of good, neutral, and evil eclipsers, however, though even the most goodly among them tend to seem aloof and uncaring to those unknowing of their reasons.

Starting Gold: 3d4 x 10 (75 gp)
Starting Age: As Sorcerer


Class Features
Your class features represent a growing understanding of the dark power manifesting within you.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: You are proficient with all simple weapons, but not with armor nor shields. Armor of any kind can get in the way of mysteries that eclipsers cast as arcane spells, though as they grow more powerful this drawback is gradually mitigated.

Fundamentals of Shadow (Su): At 1st level, you are able to call upon basic powers granted by your connection to the Plane of Shadow. You begin play knowing three Fundamentals, which are supernatural abilities usable three times per day. At 4th level and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th), you learn an additional Fundamental. In addition, at 14th level, you are able to use your Fundamentals any number of times per day.

The DC to resist any Fundamental you cast is 10 + your Charisma modifier. In order to cast a Fundamental, you must have a Charisma score of at least 10.

Mysteries: Eclipsers cast mysteries. Mysteries are not precisely spells, though at their most basic they may resemble arcane spells. While shadowcasters practice arcane formulae and learn mysteries in specific steps, you are a more organic user of shadow magic, if such a thing is possible. Each time you learn a mystery of a given level, you may learn any mystery of that level, ignoring the Path requirements that shadowcasters face. For example, at 3rd level, you could learn the 2nd-level mystery Black Fire, even if you don’t know the 1st-level mystery Carpet of Shadow.

When you cast a mystery as an arcane spell, your shadow moves slightly differently from your own motions. A character can make a DC 15 Spot check to notice this.

You begin play knowing a single 1st level mystery. At 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 15th, and 17th, levels, you learn a single 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th level mystery, respectively. You may not learn a mystery of a lower level.

Each time you learn a mystery, you may cast that mystery three times per day as an arcane spell. Additionally, whenever you learn a new mystery, you may cast each mystery of a lower level an additional time per day. For example, a 7th-level eclipser can cast her 4th-level mystery three times per day, her 3rd-level four per day, her 2nd-level one five times per day, and her 1st-level one six times per day. See Table 2-3: Eclipser Uses per Mystery per Day, for more information.

Unlike other spellcasters, you do not gain bonus mysteries per day based on your Charisma score; the numbers on Table 2-3 are set.

Beginning at 7th level, the eclipser becomes an Adept Eclipser. She now casts all mysteries she knows as spell-like abilities, rather than arcane spells.

At 14th level, the eclipser becomes a Grand Eclipser. Truly a force to be reckoned with, all her mysteries are now supernatural abilities, not spell-like abilities.

Finally, at 20th level, the eclipser ascends (or, some would argue, descends) to become a Dark Eclipser. A Dark Eclipser still casts her mysteries as supernatural abilities. However, whenever she is inside an antimagic field or similar area where magic cannot function, she can make a special check as a free action. She rolls 1d20 plus her eclipser level. If she beats a DC of 31, she may cast a single mystery of 6th level or lower as though she were not inside of the antimagic field (or similar area). She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 1 + her Charisma modifier.

In order to cast a mystery, an eclipser must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the mystery’s level. The DC to resist a mystery cast by an eclipser is 10 + the mystery’s level + the eclipser’s Charisma modifier.

As with the shadowcaster, the eclipser does not ‘cast spells’ in the traditional sense, but her levels in the eclipser class count towards calculating her total Caster Level.

Bonus Feat: At 2nd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th levels, the eclipser learns a bonus feat. This feat may be must be chosen from the following list; however, the eclipser must meet any other prerequisites for the feat. The feat must be a metamagic feat, a metashadow feat, or the feats Extra Mystery Use, Favored Mystery, Greater Path Focus, Nocturnal Caster, Path Focus, Path Mastery, Shaded Mysteries, Shadow Vision, or Signature Mystery.

Relearn Mysteries: At 3rd level, the Eclipser may choose any Mystery or Fundamental she knows and ‘forget’ it. In its stead, she may learn a new mystery of equal level. For example, an eclipser who chose Voice of Shadow at 1st level may, at 3rd level, decide to forget it and instead learn Life Fades.

An eclipser may repeat this process at 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, and 18th levels, swapping out any number of previously known mysteries and learning the same number of new ones. Again, any trade must be between two mysteries of equal level.

Umbral Sight (Ex): At 4th level, you gain Low-light vision, allowing you to see twice as far as a human in conditions of low light. If you already had low-light vision, then you can now see three times as far instead.

At 8th level, you gain Darkvision out to 60 feet. If you already possessed darkvision, then the range increases by 60 feet.

At 12th level, you gain Superior Darkvision out to 60 feet. Superior Darkvision is like Darkvision, except that it works even in magical darkness.

Finally, at 16th level, you gain Blindsense out to 60 feet.

Final Mystery (Su): At 19th level, the eclipser chooses a single 9th level mystery. She may cast this mystery three times per day as a supernatural ability. In addition, a number of times per week equal to her Charisma modifier, she may cast the selected mystery as an extraordinary ability.

Playing an Eclipser
A shadowcaster knows more mysteries than you do but cannot cast them as often; conversely, you know less mysteries than a shadowcaster at any one given time, but can cast them far more often. You probably lack the philosophical and religious focus of a cultist, and the arcane and almost scientific outlook of a shadowcaster. To you, shadows are simply what you’re good at; you might even see it as simply a tool no different from any weapons or gear you carry, though most eclipsers afford the Shadow somewhat more respect.

Eclipsers may adventure for much of the same reasons as anyone else. They are wanderers by nature - common folk shun them out of fear, and shadowcasters shun you out of ignorance. Yours is a long and lonely road with few true rewards. As a result, you probably take great joy in the simplest things in life (a warm place to sleep at night and a decent meal beforehand, for example), since even these seem like rare occurrences to you, or at least something that you can lose at a moment’s notice.

Most eclipsers continue to worship whatever divinity they did before their powers manifest, though those who used to worship deities of light, such as Pelor, may see themselves as fallen from grace or otherwise punished by their god. Conversely, those that worshiped deities of the night to begin with may think themselves rewarded. Oft-worshipped deities amongst eclipsers are Boccob, Wee Jas, and Vecna.

Other Classes
You get along best with sorcerers, who may simply view you as specialized versions of themselves, much as how some sorcerers specialize in fire magic. Bards are also sometimes companions, though they tend to be too social by nature for your tastes. For combat purposes, you appreciate a decent meat shield as much as the next arcane caster, and your skill with shadow magic makes you an exceptional companion to any rogue, ranger, or monk. Because of your nature as a being of darkness, if not it’s outright servant, paladins and clerics of good deities tend to view you with suspicion. Shadowcasters often see you as a dangerous wild talent that must be taught control, regardless of your own wishes - shadowcasters and eclipsers are rarely found in the same party for this reason.

Sorcerers are often at their best when they have selected a number of spells that allow them to deal damage to large numbers of enemies. You are more adept at controlling the field of battle, however, affecting your position and that of your allies, the lighting, and even the terrain features. Unlike many other casters, you are not ‘stuck’ with a mystery once you have chosen it, since you can actually change your entire spell list at regular intervals - meaning you can learn through trial and error what works and what does not.

Directly analogous to a sorcerer, you can probably think of yourself as one as you level up - but really, you should think of yourself as a sorcerer who can wear armor starting at 7th level with no drawback. Unlike a shadowcaster, all your mysteries eventually become spell-like, then supernatural abilities, meaning that you can theoretically dress yourself in full plate and not have to worry, though then again because Strength was likely your dump stat, that may not be a grand idea. Obviously, increasing Charisma as much as possible is to your benefit.

Bare in mind that you know less spells not only than the shadowcaster, but any other spellcasting class. With only ten spells in your repertoire at your height, you must make each casting of these spells count - though on the other hand, with the ability to cast seventy-five mysteries per day by 20th level, you also outclass even the sorcerer in spells per day - and your mysteries are far harder to stop.

Without a doubt, the most useful ability you possess is the ability to change your known mysteries every now and again, allowing you to adjust yourself to the changing challenges of the campaign as you level up.

Eclipsers in the World
“I am wary of eclipsers. They have gained our power without our dedication or focus - they are children who have learned how to make fire without learning how to control it or the consequences for using it.”
- Irrin Coradran, Lady of the Second House, Parliament of Shadows.

The Plane of Shadow has reached out and touched you personally. That makes common folk afraid of you, or at best make them pity you and the dark path that you must inevitably walk. At best, you can expect to be shunned except in times of dire need, a bleak last resort. At worst, you are viewed as a menace and force of evil as great as any Binder. Meanwhile, shadowcasters are jealous, or they seem to be. They have often devoted a large portion of their lives and possibly even their souls towards learning shadow magic, a talent that has come to you as easily as breathing and blinking. They view you as a dangerous and uncontrolled element in a field that they want to be the masters of.

Daily Life
While not adventuring, you are probably wandering. You are not generally welcome in locales anymore than a shadowcaster who’s true nature is revealed, so moving from place to place keeps others from learning the truth. You may seek out others of your kind, desperate for the same kind of camaraderie that seems to come so easily to others, even to shadow users, yet true friendships seem forever beyond your grasp. You also spend much time in meditation as you come to fully understand the darkness within you.

Eclipsers are not quite as secretive a lot as cultists, shadow adepts, or shadowcasters, though this is not so much because they do not try to be, as much as because they often had a difficult time concealing themselves when young. Wild talents with no organization amongst themselves, a fledgling eclipser is often marked as such as others very early on, and so may gain notoriety. The most recent example of this is Amaya Morimaya, an eclipser whose manifested powers saved her village from destruction by a bandit raid - and also had her run out of it afterwards.

NPC Reactions
Most NPCs can’t tell the difference between a wizard and a shadowcaster, and in a similar manner few can tell the difference between a sorcerer and eclipser at first glance. This can change swiftly and even violently if the eclipser does anything overtly shadow-oriented. For the most part, non-shadow users treat eclipsers as they do shadowcasters once discovered, which may irk shadow-using NPCs, especially shadowcasters, who believe the differences between themselves and eclipsers are as vast as night and day.

Eclipser Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (local) can research eclipsers to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 15: Eclipsers are individuals naturally skilled with shadow magic.
DC 20: Eclipsers are a wild talent - their skill with shadow magic comes to them naturally, as mundane magic does to a sorcerer.
DC 25: Eclipsers become tremendously powerful over time. They are not as versatile as shadowcasters, but they can use their mysteries more often, and they are harder to counter than the mysteries of a shadowcaster.
A DC 30 Gather Information or Knowledge (local) check in a high-magic community, or one in which a god of darkness or night is worshipped, will reveal the existence of eclipsers.

A bardic knowledge check will reveal the same information as these sill checks, but in each case the DC is 5 higher than the given value.

Eclipsers in the Game
In an ongoing game, eclipsers can serve multiple roles. Many fantasy stories have a single over-arcing evil, with a secondary, lone evil force that is not as powerful but is perhaps more challenging because of their ability to appear and disappear from the scene so quickly. Eclipsers could fill this second role nicely, a recurring menace with unclear goals and a dark heart. Conversely, an eclipser may also fill the role of the lone wolf hero, who aids the PCs if she must and has the best intentions of the world at heart, but is not a team player and will not remain for long in any situation.

If you have a party with an eclipser in it, allow that player to show off her raw potential. She is a potent field controller and, at higher levels, a decent enough blaster as well. Her magic is difficult to counter or react to, even by other shadowcasters, and so shines best if she can get into duels with other mages.

The Plane of Shadow is not the only source of darkness in the cosmos. A variation on the eclipser could have her draw her power from the night, or be a servant of an evil deity or demon lord. In the latter case, she becomes much like a warlock, so it may be necessary to distinguish between these classes if you allow both in your campaign.

Encounters with eclipsers should emphasize their instinctive control of shadow and night, coupled with their loner nature and, if shadowcasters are present in the campaign, their enmity with that class. Eclipsers are loners by choice as much as by nature, meaning they should ideally be the ones to choose the time and place of the battlefield in order to avoid simply being swept aside by a fighter or barbarian.

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-26, 11:34 AM
Oh, and two alternate class features.

Darkest Eclipser
Eclipsers are in many ways defined by the number of mysteries they can cast at the expense of their versatility. Some, however, find more use in versatility than sheer numbers.
Class: Eclipser
Level: 1st
Replaces: An eclipser who selects this alternate class feature casts each mystery than they learn two less times per day. For example, a 5th level eclipser can cast their 3rd-level mystery once per day, their 2nd-level mystery twice per day, and their 1st level mystery three times per day. Your Final Mystery may be cast only once per day.
Benefit: You learn more mysteries than normal. Each time you would learn a mystery of a given level, you learn one mystery of the previous level as well. For example, at 7th level, you learn one 4th-level mystery and one third-level mystery. This includes your Final Mystery at 19th level (a 9th-level Mystery, giving you an additional 8th-level Mystery).

Your mysteries per day count towards all mysteries of a given level that you know. For example, at 8th level, you can cast four 1st-level mysteries per day (two less than normal due to the replacement feature, above) and know two 1st-level mysteries (one learned at 1st level, and one learned at 3rd level in addition to your 2nd-level mystery). You may cast one 1st-level mystery four times, one mystery three times and one mystery once, or both mysteries twice.

Descent Into Shade
The Plane of Shadow has reached out and touched eclipsers personally. Some eclipsers decide to reach back.
Class: Eclipser
Level: 1st
Replaces: An eclipser who takes this alternate feature cannot relearn mysteries.
Benefit: Over time, you become a creature of shadow.

At 1st level, you need only one hour of sleep each night. You must still rest 8 hours in order to gain back your mysteries.

At 5th level, you need only eat one meal per week in order to remain healthy.

At 10th level, you become immune to non-magical poisons and diseases. Additionally, for one minute per two class levels day you can become incorporeal. These minutes do not have to be consecutive - you can spread them out over the course of the day. However, each use of this ability in a day for less than a minute, no matter for how short a time, counts as a full minute.

At 15th level, you no longer need to breathe, eat, or sleep.

At 20th level, you have become a full being of shadow. You gain the Dark template.

2011-06-26, 11:43 AM
Hmm very nice class here. :smallbiggrin:

However, a few considerations. while the original shadow caster had a great deal of useful powers, relatively few of their mysteries could match upp with spells of an equal level, forcing shadow casters to take a support role in any potential party.

However, they had few buffs, no healing, and generally were forced to act as just that: a sub optimal caster. While a clever player could indeed avoid this, the class was essentially a death trap unless people really planned it out. This class (admittedly i have yet to test it) seems to fall into a similar trap.

Still, my congratulations for delving into this interesting power source. The problems i mentioned are largely inconsequential, so feel free to disregard them.

However I would consider looking at some simple options. Give the class x/day buffs, similar to the Shadow Adept's Shield of Shadow (+4 AC 20-40% concealment, x rounds/day where x = levels in this class). Maybe give it a fixed duration, a scaling AC boost, and something like 1/4th or 1/5th class level uses per day.

Alternatively, give it some capability to counter normal magic effectively, similar to the abilities of the Chaos Mage (Encyclopedia Arcana Chaos Magic), since that seems to fit as well

In general though, great class.

2011-06-26, 03:41 PM
Hmm very nice class here. :smallbiggrin:

However, a few considerations. while the original shadow caster had a great deal of useful powers, relatively few of their mysteries could match upp with spells of an equal level, forcing shadow casters to take a support role in any potential party.

Shadowcasters are Debuffers and boss killers. Not really support.

Haven't looked over the class fully, will give comments if I remember to finish reading it after my game.

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-26, 04:58 PM
Shadowcasters are Debuffers and boss killers. Not really support.

This probably especially holds true since every single Eclipser mystery becomes a supernatural ability, and their Final Mystery can be used as an extraordinary ability several times a week.

Suck it, dispel magic and spell resistance.

Realms of Chaos
2011-06-26, 10:17 PM
You may want to update that link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74519). :smallwink:

Nice class. Fewer mysteries but MANY more usages per day.

Rogue Shadows
2011-06-26, 11:15 PM
You may want to update that link (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=74519). :smallwink:

Nice class. Fewer mysteries but MANY more usages per day.

Link has been updated. Thanks! I've made heavy usage of the Tome of Shadow ever since I came across it, and have come up with a few of my own ideas to add on to it (the Eclipser being one of them).

Guess I have you to thank for that for the inspiration! And for all those times that I used Treacherous Horde... (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4063665&postcount=24)

Oh, I almost forgot: Epic level Eclipser progression.

Epic Eclipser
To the Epic Eclipser, Shadow is her only comfort. Wanderers and loners by nature, they can now spend long periods of time in the Plane of Shadow and may have even carved out their own private realm within it, far from persecution by others. On the other hand, they may be trying to do the same thing on the Prime Material Plane, striking back at those who once hunted them. A single Epic Eclipser can spell doom for an entire covenant of Shadowcasters that are caught unprepared.

Charisma should continue to be boosted, as well as Dexterity and Intelligence. At this point, you may no longer hide your identity, and may attempt to actively gain followers.

Hit Die: d6

Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 2 + Int modifier

Mysteries: The Epic Eclipser does not learn additional Mysteries past 20th level, unless she takes the Bonus Mystery feat. However, her mystery uses per day continue to increase. An Epic Eclipser can use each mystery she knows (including her Final Mystery) an additional time per day at 21st level, and gains an additional use per day for each mystery at each odd-numbered level thereafter.

Relearn Mysteries: The Epic Eclipser continues to be able to trade out mysteries every three levels beginning at 21st level, as described in the class entry. This includes her Final Mystery.

Bonus Feats: An Epic Eclipser gains a bonus feat at 23rd level and every three levels thereafter. The bonus feats must be chosen from the Epic Eclipser feat list or from the normal Eclipser bonus feat list.

Epic Eclipser Feats: Bonus Mystery, Counterspell Mastery, Dampening Aura, Destructive Mystery, Efficient Item Creation, Efficient Metamagic, Energy Resistance, Epic Shadowcasting, Extended Lifespan, Extraordinary Mystery, Fast Healing, Greater Line of Shadow, Impeding Aura, Improved Nocturnal Caster, Guarded by Shadows, Improved Quicken Mystery, Opportunistic Mystery, Piercing Mystery, Polyglot, Superior Nocturnal Caster.