View Full Version : By the honor of a mage, we will be victorious(PrC)

2011-12-17, 09:43 AM
The Cortessian Mage

Image by Arvalis (http://arvalis.deviantart.com/)

"You call yourself a warrior, hiding behind your steel? Let me show you what it means to have honor."

Becoming a Cortessian Mage

Cortessian mages are very common in the south-eastern regions of Koren, as the academies of Cortess attract hopefuls from all over the continent, each hoping to gain entry into the prestigious arcane college. Those accepted are often surprised at the amount of martial training involved in the lessons and the great number of cortessian knights who take part in the arcane teachings of the college. In time, many are impressed by the blend of power wielded by these warrior-mages and some even take the same restricting vows to begin training as a cortessian mage.

Entry Requirements:
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Skills: Knowledge(nobility and royalty) 4 ranks
Spellcasting: Must be able to cast 2nd level arcane spells
Class features: Shield Block

Hit die: d10

Skill points per level: 2 + Int modifier
Class skills: Climb, Concentration, Craft, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge(all skills, taken separately), Spellcraft


1st|+0|+0|+0|+2|Gesture Casting, Armor Adaption|

2nd|+1|+0|+0|+3|Double Shield|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

3rd|+2|+1|+1|+3|Arcane Resilience|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

4th|+3|+1|+1|+4|Mettle|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

5th|+3|+1|+1|+4|Arcane Swipe|

6th|+4|+2|+2|+5|Arcane Challenge|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

7th|+5|+2|+2|+5|Personal Foe|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

8th|+6/+1|+2|+2|+6|Arcane Flow|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

9th|+6/+1|+3|+3|+6|Focused Strength|+1 level of existing spellcasting class

10th|+7/+2|+3|+3|+7|Arcane Skin|+1 level of existing spellcasting class


Class Features:

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A cortessian mage gains no new proficiency with weapons or armor.

Spellcasting: At all levels apart from 1st and 5th, a cortessian mage gains new spells known, spells per day and an increased caster level as if they had also taken a level of their previous arcane spell casting class. The cortessian mage gains no other benefits, such as bonus feats, that a member of the class would have gained at that level. A cortessian mage with multiple arcane spell casting classes must choose one to advance. This decision cannot be changed.

Knight's Challenge: Your cortessian mage levels stack with your knight levels for the purposes of determining which challenges you have access to, the number of times you can use your challenges and the effects of your challenges.

Gesture Casting: At level 1 a cortessian mage no longer needs to have hands free to cast spells with somatic components, as long as they have a sword in one hand. To replace the somatic components the cortessian mage must make sweeping gestures with their weapon. While using gesture casting, a cortessian mage ignores spell failure chance from any shields they are wielding.

Armor Adaption: At level 1 a cortessian mage adapts to wearing armor. They can now cast their spells in light armor without chance of their spells failing. For heavier armor, the spell failure chance is reduced by 10%.

At level 5 they can wear medium armor without a chance of spell failure, and the spell failure chance of heavier armor is decreased by 20%. If the cortessian mage can already ignore spell failure chance from medium armor, they can now cast without spell failure in heavy armor.

Double Shield: Starting at second level, a cortessian mage learns how to enhance the protection they gain from a physical shield with that given by their magic. The shield bonus to Armor Class given from any shield a cortessian mage wields stacks with that given by spells which give similar bonuses.

Arcane Resilience (Ex): At 3rd level cortessian mages learns how to better protect themselves from spells. A cortessian mage gains a +1 bonus to saves against spells or spell-like abilities (including psionics, truenaming, shadowcasting etc.) per 3 class levels they have. This bonus increases by 2 against arcane spells.

Mettle (Ex): A cortessian mage is capable of resisting spells and other effects quite well. At level 4, whenever a cortessian mage makes a successful Fortitude or Will save against an effect but would take damage or suffer a negative effect anyways, they ignore it.

Arcane Swipe (Su): At level 5 a cortessian mage learns how to imbue magic into their sword with great speed and ease. As a swift action, a cortessian mage can imbue their weapon with a spell of 2nd level or lower. The next time they make a successful attack with that weapon, within 1 round per level of the spell (minimum 1), the target of the attack is affected by the spell. Spells such as Burning Hands or other spells that affect an area only affect the target, although they take a -4 penalty on their save against the spell.

At each level after 5th you may use a spell of one level higher with this ability (3rd at 6th level , 4th at 7th, etc.).

Arcane Challenge (Su): A cortessian mage knows that, by infusing their taunts and cries with arcane energy, they can greatly increase their effectiveness. At level 6 a cortesian mage can choose to expend one prepared spell or spell slot to add that spell's level to their knight level for the purposes of their knight's challenge. This increase lasts for one enounter. Multiple uses of this ability overlap, not stack.

If a spell of level 2 or higher is used with this ability, half of the spell's level is added to the cortessian mage's Charisma modifier for the purpose of calculating the DC, duration, etc. of Knight's Challenge.

Personal Foe (Ex): A cortessian mage can, starting at 7th level, declare one enemy within 50 feet as their Personal Foe as a free action. Against a Personal Foe the DCs of the cortessian mage's spells and Knight's Challenge abilities increase by 2, and their AC increases by 3 against the Foe's attacks.

A cortessian mage can only declare one Personal Foe per encounter. Declaring a Personal Foe costs one use of the Knight's Challenge ability.

Arcane Flow (Su): A cortessian mage's body is so infused with magic that it feeds off of it. At 8th level, whenever a cortessian mage makes their save against a spell or similar effect (this includes psionics, truenaming, etc.) they heal 1 hit point per level of the effect (minimum 1), if applicable. If the effect is not categorized into a level, they instead heal 1 hit point per class level.

Focused Strength (Ex): The complex methods required to use arcane magic unlock many secrets of the cortessian mage's own body. At 9th level the cortessian mage learns how to focus their strength in a single point. From now own, any weapon held by the cortessian mage in one hand is considered to be held in both and their strength is considered 2 points higher for the purposes of carrying capacity.

Arcane Skin (Su): At 10th level the cortessian mage's skin is affected by their magic as well, causing it to resonate with inherently magical items nearby. Any set of armor or shield wielded by a cortessian mage that is enhanced gives an additional +1 bonus to AC. Additionally, any magical items wielded by the cortessian mage have their caster level increased by 1.

Playing a Cortessian Mage

If you have fully accepted the views of the Cortessians, then you believe that honorable combat is arcane combat. Rather than being protected by steel and crudely hacking away at one another, each participant is on the edge of death at all times, a single slip of concentration from instant destruction. However, you also know that others do not share your views, and that they think that the willingness to stand before an enemy with a sword in hand is greater proof of a warrior's courage.

As you grow more powerful, expect to be more well-recognized as an honorable one - if you make it obvious. Those who don't know you might just think you're a warrior, which normally prompts immediate correction. In and close to Cortess you can expect an apology for such an unintentional insult, but in other lands the people may not be aware of what they are saying.


At first you are frail for a front liner, and it's best if you don't stay in melee for too long or against very strong opponents. As you gain power, however, you can inflict great damage on enemies in a single attack, or take a particularly dangerous opponent out of the fight entirely. You can focus on the most dangerous enemy, enjoying improved defenses against them, or wipe away annoying weaklings with area magic before moving in.

At 10th level you can clean the field of weak foes with an Arcane Test of Mettle before closing with a remaining enemy. Between Fighting Challenge, buffing spells and your increased defenses you make a powerful melee fighter, especially against single enemies. Your increased protection against arcane spells and your own casting ability makes you a potent foe for beasts with inherent arcane power.


Normally, once you finish the class, you have quite a few options open to you. If you want to focus on your martial talent, take levels in knight, or if you plan on making yourself an arcane warrior, continue in your former arcane casting class. If you wish to combine the two, you have many options, although few of them advance Knight's Challenge, so you may need to continue taking levels in knight if you wish to use it to its full potential. Don't lose sight of the possibilities your arcane casting gives you, though, as it gives you far more options than most warriors have.


In Cortess you are recognized as someone who fights honorably, and can expect admiration from most law-abiding citizens (and even grudging respect from those who aren't). Your reputation as a trustworthy combatant can aid you in finding good deals for equipment, whether it's armor, weapons or material components. As an honorable mage-warrior, your word has weight, especially in matters regarding trust (such as making loans).

Outside of Cortess your reputation may open some doors for you, but as you travel further north and west fewer will recognize you, so you can't expect special treatment from them.


This is intended mainly for those who are (quickly) reviewing this for use in their games, but it could be useful to anyone, I guess.

Bascially, a cortessian mage is a gish who can cast in armor, gets bonuses to saves vs magic (+3 at level 10, another +1 vs arcane spells), can channel spells into their weapons and get healed by hostile spells if they make their save. Their AC is boosted by being able to use Shield and normal shields, and at level 10 they'll probably get a boos of at least +2 due to the shield/armor bonus increase.

A cortessian mage can burn their arcane spells to make their Knight's Challenge abilities more difficult to resist, as well as increasing their duration. They can single out a single enemy to gain a boost in defense and offense against them(bonus to DCs and AC) which can be combined with Fighting Challenge for a quick buff before a duel.