Self Study [Artist]
You never stop training.
Prerequisite: Artist level 1st.
Benefit: You learn an additional painting or technique. It must be within the range of paintings that you can paint.
Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time, you learn an additional painting or technique.
Smoother Gradient [Artist]
You’re an expert shader.
Prerequisite: Artist level 1st.
Benefit: The DC to tell that your paintings aren’t real is increased by 2 for each artist feat you have.
You’ve practiced your painting skills enough that you can get things right on your first try.
Prerequisite: Artist level 3rd.
Benefit: Once per encounter, you may paint a painting as a swift action. You may use this a number of times per day equal to the number of artist feats you have.
Wide Palette [Artist]
You can fit more colors in.
Prerequisite: Artist level 5th.
Benefit: Once per encounter, you can paint a painting with more colors than your normal maximum color scheme. Your maximum color scheme for these paintings increases by 1 for each artist feat you have. You may use this a number of times per day equal to the number of artist feats you have.
Special: You must still use the appropriate number of colors.
Name Cost Weight Easel 20 gp 3 lb. Masterwork Easel 120 gp 5 lb. Sketch Canvas (Tiny) 5 gp .5 lb. Novice Canvas (Small) 10 gp 1 lb. Apprentice Canvas (Small) 20 gp 4 lb. Journeyman Canvas (Medium) 80 gp 8 lb. Masterpiece Canvas (Medium) 160 gp 12 lb. Masterwork Brush (Fine or Wide) 200 gp —
Prices and weights for these items depict the minimum. More elaborate or more beautiful supplies may cost, and weigh, more.
Easel and Masterwork Easel
An easel is standard painting equipment, allowing an artist to set up a canvas anywhere they wish to work. A photorealist may choose to set up an easel and place a canvas in it, a process taking 5 rounds. Painting with an easel and appropriately-sized canvas set up grant mental focus to the artist, giving +4 to concentration checks required to paint. A masterwork easel also grants +1 artist level to paintings painted with it. These paintings can either be painted into the air in front of the canvas, or be painted onto the canvas directly, which has additional benefits (see below).
An easel has 6 AC, hardness 2, and 10 hit points. A masterwork easel has hardness 4 and 20 hit points. Easels share the artist’s square.
It takes twice as long to paint onto a canvas as it does to paint directly into the ether - two standard actions, typically - but once the composition is finished, the canvas anchors it to our reality, and the painting’s duration is doubled. The painting remains visible on the canvas during the entirety of this duration, but at its end, the paints will burn, smear, or simply evaporate, ruining the canvas forever. If the canvas is dealt 10 or more damage, it is destroyed, erasing the painting.
Each tier of painting requires a minimum canvas size, as seen on Table: Items.
Painting with magic is as metaphysical as it is physical. While many artists use expensive brushes, there is no inherent reason why they are required. A photorealist can paint holding a stick, so long as he is capable of making the fine gestures that let him paint his magic into the air.
This is not to say that expensive brushes confer no benefit. An artist can use two types of brushes: fine, or wide. Each will serve as a focus to channel his magic, granting him benefits when painting.
A fine brush is exacting, allowing an artist to paint precisely what he means and not make mistakes. Any random error in a fine-brush painting is reduced by 25%. The saving throws for those paintings are increased by 1. The artist gets a +2 to checks made to penetrate spell resistance with those paintings.
By contrast, wide-brush paintings allow an artist to complete the broad strokes of a painting simply and surely. A broad-brush painting that uses at least 10 colors consumes 1 less color from the artist’s palette, although it is treated as using its full color scheme in all other ways. In addition, the range of the painting increases by 5 feet after all other modifiers. If it affects adjacent or touched targets, it instead can affect targets 5 feet away or 5 feet out of the artist’s reach. Replace any touch attacks with ranged touch attacks, as appropriate.
Photorealists in the World
While it’s possible for a photorealist to sit back and live a quiet life off the strength of their trade, it’s incredibly uncommon. Photorealists are not subtle. Art is change. Art is creation. A photorealist is out in the world, changing and creating.
Many photorealists adventure or otherwise travel. New experiences lend themselves to new knowledge and new art. Some are stationary, but rarely in small towns. A photorealist needs a constant influx of new experiences: Discovery is not about seeing something new, but in becoming new by seeing. Photorealists can be found in high-profile government institutions or universities, not necessarily in positions of official import, but always in places where they speak with new people and try new things every day.
A minority of photorealists can be solitary creatures, working over canvasses in isolation until every color and every shade is just so. The paradox of creation is that this group rarely grows as artists. Occasionally one will emerge having invented some new painting or style, but more often they’ve reinvented something they would’ve known already existed had they gotten out more.
A photorealist garners many of the reactions common among mages, but they have two all their own. The first is that their craft is more tactile, and to some, that makes it easier to identify and understand. Some people unnerved by a wizard waving his hands in the air and summoning a beast, or conjuring fire, or controlling another’s mind, or any other unrelated effect, might find it comforting that a photorealist instead must lay bare his intentions with an image before their magic goes into effect. However, others find it hard to get over the unreality of a photorealist’s paint-borne creations. The eerie similarity to what should be, especially when painting with smaller color schemes, is something that those who spend time with photorealists must simply accept.
Character with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) or relevant profession skills can research photorealists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
DC 10: A photorealist is a mage who works magic by painting. They have mundane grounding, as capable crafters even without magic.
DC 15: Photorealists can paint to create creatures, erase wounds, disguise themselves or even throw fire. Their art is divided into different styles, each with its own strengths.
DC 20: Photorealists have a palette of magical paints they use in their painting. The more colors they use in a painting, the more realistic it looks. But some paintings can be effective even with just a few colors.
Photorealists in the Game
Some photorealists can be encountered as other adventurers, delving through dungeons for the spark they need or for mundane reasons. However, it’s not hard to include photorealists in other ways. Photorealists in towns tend to be outgoing and interact with many people when they’re not developing their art. This makes them perfect for roles as shopkeeps, hosts for organizations, or even organizational leaders.
Photorealist characters generally show interest in art as they adventure. Let them explore their passions, adding treasure to the loot and working it into quests when possible. Less directly but no less importantly, Photorealists are both beauty-oriented and results-oriented, with the dominance of those two goals depending on the individual. Let exposure to art change others, and let the photorealist’s paintings change the world around them. In that respect, they’re like any other adventurer, if a little less concerned with material enrichment.
Some of the class text hints that photorealists can use arts other than painting. This is the simplest and most obvious change: Let one sculpt, or carve, or even cook.
The actual underlying abilities of the class, however, are not intrinsically tied to artistry. Craftsmanship, yes, but not artistry. The photorealist, with a lot of renaming and almost no mechanical tweaking, could easily be just another spellcaster (or just another psion). If a player objects to the flavor of the class, or you don’t think it would fit into your game world,
how dare youthe photorealist could easily become just another mage. The grouping of the abilities might be a little strange, with things like an intelligence-based spell school capable of healing and invisiblity, or a constitution-based school capable of debuffs, mind control, plane shifting and resurrection. But assuming those issues are solved or ignored, feel free to rename the photorealist “The Engineticist,” give it autohypnosis as a class skill, and be on your way.
Abyssal Jaguar helped me brainstorm this class.