Quote Originally Posted by TheGeckoKing View Post
Could someone quickly clarify how the Sha'ir works? The way I'm reading it, they have a list of Spells Known, but can ALSO send their familiar to go get them a spell if it's not on their Spells Known.
Not quite; Sha'irs have to send their Gens to get spells whether they "know" the spells or not.

I'll see if I can summarize. 3.5 Sha'irs basically have three categories of spells:

1) Arcane and known
2) Arcane and unknown
3) Divine

- "Known" means "I chose to add this spell to my repertoire by leveling up" (identical to how a sorcerer learns spells.) However, unlike a sorcerer, knowing a spell is not enough to allow a Sha'ir to cast it - it just makes it quicker for his gen to bargain for it. Grabbing "known" spells only takes a few rounds each, letting you feasibly grab one or two even during combat (at least the lower ones.) It also means that you only need a few minutes to an hour to fill all your slots with these, a comparable amount of time to a wizard filling all his own slots.

- "Unknown" means "this spell isn't in my spells known, but I've seen it before and identified it with a Spellcraft check." (Obviously, the DM needs to step in here and decide if out-of-play information, like backstories, counts for this.) Unknown spells take a few minutes each to grab, letting you feasibly grab them between fights. Grabbing a lot of them can take an hour or two though.

- Divine spells are their own category - it doesn't matter to the bargaining time if the Sha'ir has seen them before or not. However, they take much longer (hours each) to bargain for, and can only come from particular cleric domains - namely Air, Chaos, Earth, Fire, Knowledge, Law, Luck, Sun and Water. The Sha'ir doesn't actually gain these domains, he can just pull spells from them. But they are still divine spells, opening Sha'irs up to some neat tricks (like self-qualifying for theurges etc.)

The second component to Sha'ir preparation is the bargain itself - the Sha'ir makes a Diplomacy check whenever he sends his gen off to get spells. The check is modified by things like spell level (higher spells are harder of course), metamagic (the bigger the spell level adjustment, the harder the check), whether it is known or not (known arcane are the easiest to get, unknown divines get a steep penalty), a boost from your Sha'ir level, and finally, a stacking penalty for each time you've tried and failed to get the same spell in a given day. As Sha'ir's are Cha-based and have Diplomacy as a class skill, this shouldn't be too hard even for your most complicated toys. If the check fails, your gen comes back empty-handed and needs to be resent; if it fails badly, he might be kept back from you for a few extra minutes.

The final component comes into play after a spell is successfully retrieved - it stays prepared (i.e. ready to cast) for a number of hours = your Sha'ir level. If you haven't cast it by then, the slot empties and you can put something else in it. So once you hit 8 or above, you can prepare a bunch of spells and reasonably count on having them active all day, similar to a wizard.

In practice, they work out to a hybrid of wizard and sorcerer with some divine magic thrown in. Very cool and interesting class. And as noted above, having access to the entire wizard/sorcerer list makes them pretty powerful.