Anyone seen my watch? Or my glasses?

Quote Originally Posted by Nix

Changeling Wizard 1 /Shadowcaster 2 Changeling Wizard 1 Shadowcaster 1/mystic theurge

Shadowcaster 5*/Mystic theurge 1

* Creeping darkness is invoked at the beginning of level 2 and level 5 to trade away wizard levels for shadowcaster levels.

Race: Changeling (eberron campaign setting)

Alignment: CN: we will be stealing a lot, so chaotic makes sense. We're gonna use necrocarnum, which is [evil] but we're only using them to steal, and if there is an in-adventure means to use non necrocarnum to get a sacred or insight bonus of +4 or higher to sleight of hand, in place of his epic feat, this character will do it. Because he isn't evil, just chaotic.

str 8, dex 16, con 13, int 16, wis 9, cha 14
At level 4, add 1 to intelligence

Backstory: Changelings have three suggested worldviews in the setting they come from. Nix was born to two "passer" channeling parents, and thus provide the psychic turbulence to drive him to become a truthseeker. Passers live a double life in a chosen identity in a culture. Hiding who you are socially is exhausting. So Nix works around that upbringing by hiding his presence altogether, through magic. Nix is a truthseeker, strongly preferring to be an undisguised changeling. He isn’t changing who he is, he’s just affecting whether or not you can even see him. After dropping out of magic tutelage, nix leaves his parents and is guided by a traveler to seek out shadow magic. This traveler is assumed by nix to have been guidance from the God of travellers, and thus has made him a true believer into following that god. Living on the lam equips nix with the art of pickpocketing which he quite likes. He justifies this by denying any belief in property rights, feeling that every situation has tools there to create harmony. This leads him to studying the absence of light as a utilitarian tool for every situation. Ownership is what he sees as the primary cause of wars, so he simply refutes the entire concept of ownership.

The build
The shadowcaster suffers from an anemic number of mysteries and fundamentals per day while being strapped to the hp and Bab of a weak chassis, along with the problem of armor interfering with casting.

To address the mysteries per day issue, at our first opportunity, we will be taking an item crafting feat to shore up the numbers of cool things that we can do per day. Scribe scroll is a default, but the crafting time is pretty horrendous and i cannot find RAW to support smaller time chunks being used to craft a scroll, meaning that you’re limited to a scroll per day, which interferes with adventuring, even if you put multiple spells on the same scroll. Brew potion negates the use of personal range spells and can’t be done in the wilderness. This leaves 3 options: craft wand (caster level 5 prereq), craft talisman (3.0 Oriental adventures) and tattoo magic (lords of darkness p.189).

We will aim to get Tattoo magic as early as possible: Its flavorful and it lists a 1 hour production time and it is cheap. So any unused mysteries will be stored for the next day as tattoos. That will help our anemic class abilities immensely, at the cost of gold.

Further, we will be using extensive opportunities to use the creeping darkness variant listed in ToM on page 115. This thing is a mess, as we’ll be taking precocious apprentice at first level to get a second level spell slot. More on that in a bit.

Let’s talk about shadowcaster’s strengths. The cityscape update lists a new apprentice path that has the golden quicker than the eye mystery which grants a +5 to sleight of hand checks (+10 at level 5). Shadowcaster doesn’t get sleight of hand as a class skill. ARRRGH. On top of that, you can use it with the umbral hand ability at range. On top of that, there is the line of shadow feat as well as the bend perspective mystery. You can pick pockets from around the corner without line of sight. This is what we will build towards optimizing. Stealing everything we can see, from the vantage point of anywhere within 25’ that we have line of effect to.

So we need to get sleight of hand as a class skill. Changeling wizard sub levels do it! Plus, if we use creeping darkness, the precocious apprentice 2nd level spell will linger and have a 60% chance of working, despite not having any wizard level to back it up. Read that crazy feat again...unless we lose our arcane caster level 1 prereq. That’s where practiced spellcaster or magical schooling comes in, but we would need to use flaws to make that viable, and they come with a -1 elegance penalty. So instead, we are going to take the trait spellgifted, which gives us +1 caster level to one school of magic, and this only costs us .5 points in elegance. We’re OPTIMIZIN’!

Back to Spellgifted, this +1 caster level keeps our prereqs for precocious apprentice satisfied so that we can continue to cast invisibility (we can prepare it everyday because the illusionist sub level states that we treat all illusion spells as if they were spell mastered) so long as we roll a 7 or higher on our caster level check. Talk about meta-thematic: We even have shadow wizard levels….spoooky!

Plus, according to creeping darkness, you don’t recalculate skill points, and changeling wizard sub levels get 4 skill ranks per level. Loophole!!!! Errgh, I mean, it’s just a shadow of the experience of being a wizard.

So if we were to stagger wizard and shadowcaster levels, we can eke out up to 6 extra skill points on a shadowcaster 6 build. But, we are going to go mystic theurge because we explicitly can and the level 6 shadowcaster ability is total trash, and we need a caster level of 3 by third level to take the tattoo magic feat.

So here it is.

This build is best use in campaigns where your main antagonists use and rely on gear. Your main weakness is ghosts and animals, so make sure to hang out with people who can handle those threats.
Spoiler: Table

Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features
1st Changeling Wizard (Races of eberron p.123), shadow shaper (UA p. 63) Illusion Master (UA p.63) +0 +0 +0 +2 Sleight of hand 4, hide 4, k. Arcana 4, k. Religion 4, bluff 4, craft (painting) 1, concentration 4, decipher script 2, spellcraft 2 Precocious Apprentice (Complete Arcane p.181), Spellgifted (trait) (UA p.90) Dual specialization, 4 skill points, shadow shaper, summon familiar, Illusion mastery
2nd Shadowcaster x2 +1 +3 +0 +3 Hide 5 (+1), K arcana 5 (+1), Spot 1 (+1), Move silently 2 (+2) Silent Mystery (ToM p.138) Fundamentals of shadow, Apprentice Mysteries, Bonus Feats
3rd Shadowcaster +1 +3 +1 +3 k. arcana 6 (+1), spot 3 (+2), hide 6 (+1), m. silently 3 (+1) Tattoo Magic (Lords of Darkness p.189) Umbral Sight
4th Changeling Wizard Illusion Mastery +1 +3 +1 +5 k. religion 6 (+2), sleight 7 (+3), bluff 5 (+1), hide 6.5 (+1cc) Scribe scroll (b) Dual specialization, 4 skill points, shadow shaper, summon familiar, Illusion mastery
5th Shadowcaster (x2) +2 +4 +1 +4 sleight 8 (+1cc), hide 7.5 (+1), spot 4 (+1)
move silently 4 (+1)
extend Mystery (b)(ToM p.136) Bonus Fundamental, sustaining Shadow
6th Mystic Theurge +2 +4 +1 +6 sleight 9 (+1cc), conc 5 (+1), decipher 3 (+1) hide 8 (+1cc) Master pickpocket (City of Stormreach p.95) dual spellcasting

[spoiler=epic feats]

epic F​eat Level Feat Prereq Text blurb Source Page
1st Line of Shadow Any two Metashadow feats 1/day, apply this feat to a mystery which enables it to affect a target even if you do not currently have line of sight or line of effect. The target must still be within the spell’s maximum range, and you must have had line of sight and line of effect within a number of rounds equal to your Int modifier. The target gains a bonus on his save, if any, equal to the number of rounds since you had line of sight or effect. You cannot apply this feat to any mystery that requires a touch or ranged touch. Casting a mystery with Line of Shadow is a full-round action. Tome of Magic 136
2nd Shadow Familiar 3rd level shadowcaster Obtain a familiar in the same manner as a sorcerer or wizard, but it possesses the dark template... takes 24 hours and uses up magic materials worth 100 gp. For the purpose of determining familiar abilities that depend on your arcane caster level, your levels in all classes that allow you to cast mysteries or arcane spells stack. Tome of Magic 138
3rd Uncanny Forethought Spell mastery, Int 17 When preparing your daily allotment of spells, you can reserve a number of spell slots equal to your Intelligence modifier. As a standard action, you can use one of these slots to cast a spell that you selected for the Spell Mastery feat. The level of the slot used must be equal to or greater than the level of the spell you intend to cast. Alternatively, as a full-round action, you can use a reserved slot to cast any spell that you know. The spell is resolved as normal, but for the purpose of the spell, your caster level is reduced by two. The level of the slot used must be equal to or greater than the level of the spell you intend to cast. exemplars of evil 26
4th Shape Soulmeld Con 13 When this feat is selected, choose a soulmeld from any class's soulmeld list. You can shape that soulmeld using the normal meldshaping rules (see page 49). Once chosen, the soulmeld granted by this feat can never be changed. Your meldshaper level for this soulmeld is equal to one-half your character level. Magic of Incarnum 40
5th Craft wand Caster level 5 SRD SRD SRD
6th Arcane Mastery Ability to cast spells or use SLAs You can take 10 on caster level checks (as if the caster level check was a skill check). You can use this feat even while under stress Complete Arcane 73
7th Darkstalker - When you hide, creatures with blindsense, blindsight, scent, or tremorsense must make a Listen check or a Spot check (whichever DC is higher) to notice you, just as sighted creatures would make Spot checks to detect you. You cannot hide in plain sight unless you have that ability as a class feature. In addition, you can flank creatures that have the all-around vision special quality. Lords of Madness 179
8th Trickery Devotion - Once per day as a standard action, you can create an exact duplicate of yourself up to 30 feet away. You can control this simulacrum's movements as a free action. The image becomes more "real" as you advance in level. This ability is usable up to a maximum of 1 minute per level each day. The simulacrum combines the characteristics of the silent image (PH 279) and unseen servant (PH 297) spells. Its hit points are equal to 6 + your character level. It ignores terrain effects and moves like an unseen servant, making no noise in the process, though it makes normal motions while traveling. If you have a fly speed, the image appears to fly when not in contact with the ground; otherwise, it walks on open air. You can do anything with this image that you could do with the unseen servant spell and are under the same limitations. When you attain 5th level, you gain more control over the simulacrum. At this point, it behaves more like a major image spell (PH 252), though it still performs actions like an unseen servant. As long as the simulacrum remains within 5 feet of your position (and you can direct it to do so as a free action), you can perform a Bluff check in combat as a swift action. You gain a +4 bonus on this check, which is opposed by your opponents' Sense Motive checks. If you are successful, your foes believe the image is you (and vice versa) for 1 round. Complete Champion 63
9th Iron Will - SRD SRD SRD
10th Hardened Criminal Iron Will You cannot be intimidated. (Attempts to use the Intimidate skill against you always fail.) In addition, you can take 10 on any checks with one skill chosen at the time you take this feat, even under conditions when taking 10 would normally be impossible. City of Stormreach 95

Level 1:
Changeling wizard (Races of eberron p.123) Ban necromancy, enchantment, & evocation
Illusionist variants
Shadowshaper (gain hide as a class skill) - lose scribe scroll
Illusion mastery (illusion spells are treated as having the spell mastery feat applied) lose bonus specialist spells

Familiar: Huitzel from dragon magic p.116 (+3 to sleight of hand checks). Now, the wizard class ability is called summon familiar, not retain familiar, so you might be able to keep this familiar when you succumb to creeping darkness, however, the familiar is based on “master class level”. Ask your DM. This might free up the shadow familiar epic feat that you will be taking later, thereby making your cool abilities come online faster. We are assuming, for the purposes of this build, that your familiar winks out while you don’t have wizard levels.

Precocious apprentice: invisibility (mastered thanks to the illusion mastery class ability).

Note: You may also prepare an additional 2nd level spell according to the changeling sub level. “A changeling wizard can prepare one additional spell per spell level each day, chosen from either of his specialty schools.” Illusion mastery likely cuts this out, however, “An illusionist using this variant automatically adds two illusion spells to his spellbook every time he gains a level that grants access to a new spell level.“ You could choose two 2nd level spells, but you’ll need to add a feat that allows you to swap them into your precocious apprentice spell slot. Uncanny forethought is one option, and it’s awesome, so that’s what we’re gonna do...eventually So for extra spell masteried 2nd level spells, think about blur, mirror image, minor image, fools gold (power of faerun), or blinding color surge (phb2) and choose 2.

This build chooses Minor image and blinding color surge.

You get all 0 level spells that you haven’t banned, so Silent portal, unnerving gaze, and ghost sound are mastered.
You get six 1st level spells: 3 + int mod (3)
Illusion spells mastered: Instant diversion, colorspray, silent image, ventriloquism, secret weapon, net of shadows

Silent portal will be helpful when you can reach DC 50 umbral handed night’s long fingered epic sleight of hand skill use, as you can cast it on a sheathed weapon to make it silent when you steal it from around a corner. Secret weapon will allow you to stash that epically stolen weapon on yourself, should you need to. Colorspray will help you survive to level 2.

Use a crossbow when you’re out of shenanigans.

Skills: We are focusing on Sleight of hand, so at level 1, you have: 3 dex + 4 ranks +3 huitzel +2 huitzel aiding another= +12

Skills 4 + 3 x 4=28
Sleight of hand 4,
hide 4,
k. Arcana 4,
k. Religion 4,
bluff 4,
craft (painting) 1,
concentration 4
decipher script 2
spellcraft 2

Level 2
Shadowcaster 2
We are using creeping darkness to replace the wizard level with a shadowcaster level. This means that we are a shadowcaster 2 with a second level spell slot devoted to invisibility that we can use with a caster level check of 8, which we cast with a caster level of 1 thanks to the spellgifted trait.

Fundamentals: Sight obscured, umbral hands x2

Mysteries: Quicker than the eye, bend perspective

Bonus Feat: still mystery

Because we have two mysteries, we have access to a bonus feat. We choose still mystery so that we can continue with the sneaky sneaky.

Note: I was researching if we could tattoo fundamentals, which are supernatural abilities that count as mysteries. See page 139, where fundamentals are referred to as mysteries twice. Lets reread that bonus feat section in the shadowcaster class ability section to see if we can eke out some more bonus feats. It appears that no, fundamentals although considered mysteries, do not count as being on a path, which is the basis of the gaining bonus feats.

Ranks: 2 class +3 (int mod)

Hide 5 (+1)
K arcana 5 (+1)
Spot 1 (+1)
Move silently 2 (+2)

Sleight of hand = 3 dex +4 ranks + 5 sight obscured + 5 quicker than the eye = +17

Level 3
Shadowcaster 3
We survived to 3rd level! Time to take our third level feat. Tattoo magic (Lords of Darkness p.189) which we qualify for because our mysteries are at caster level 3. Now we can scribe our leftover daily mysteries into tattoos on ourselves, our familiar, and our allies. We can also scribe our invisibility spell if we’re feeling cheeky. This will greatly help our starvation of cool things to do in a day. Further, if you have leftover metashadow feats, you should be able to scribe metashadowed mysteries at no additional cost because metashadow feats are balanced, seeing as you can make wands, scrolls, and potions of metamagicked spells.

We get darkvision, YAY!

At this level, we are taking the steel shadows mystery, because our AC is 13 without it. At about this level you should be able to afford some shadowsilk (ToM p.155) leather armor and/or maybe a mithril buckler.

Skills: 5 ranks
k. arcana 6 (+1)
spot 3 (+2)
hide 6 (+1)
m. silently 3 (+1)

Level 4
Changeling Wizard 1
Illusion mastery variant

We’re back to taking a wizard level. With all of the benefits that come with it. We can cast any of our first level spells again, they're still mastered, at least by my reading of RAW. We get 2 more skill points than we otherwise would, which we'll get to keep when we creeping darkness again. We get our huitzel familiar back, with its +3 to sleight of hand and the ability to share our mysteries and spells with. And it can use expert assistance from rules compendium to aid another our sleight of hand checks. Bluff now lends a synergy bonus to sleight of hand.

We can master a handful of new illusion spells, including 2nd level ones. And we can scribe them as tattoos in our off time.

Add 1 to intelligence so that we can get uncanny forethought later.

Spells: Ban enchantment, necromancy, and evocation
All zero levels from unbanned classes
Six 1st level spells: Remember all those mastered illusion spells from level 1? You should still have access to those, I think. Anyway, this time around let’s branch out a bit.
Mage armor, lesser spiderform (drow of the underdark), blockade (complete scoundrel), protection from winged flyers (shining south), expeditious retreat. Keep this spellbook around, you’ll need it when you get to level 6 and beyond.
2nd level spells. Illusion mastery says to automatically learn 2 illusion spells every time you gain a level with access to a new spell level. Guess what? You just got access to 1st level spells. So we’re gonna choose some 2nd level illusion spells to add. Anything you didn’t choose back in level 1, you should take now.

Spellgifted means that you can’t cast any non illusion spells..

That is, unless you buy some caster level booster. Like Terran Brandy from BOVD p.45. Drinking some of that will allow you to cast 1st level spells, as it grants a +2 bonus to caster level.

Skills: 7 ranks: 4 + 3 int mod
k. religion 6 (+2)
sleight 7 (+3)
bluff 5 (+1)
hide 6.5 (+1cc)

Sleight of hand: 7 ranks + 3 dex + 5 sight obscured +5 quicker than the eye +3 huitzel +3 aid another +2 synergy (bluff) = +28

Level 5
Shadowcaster 5
Let's creeping dark that wizard level. Quicker than the eye is now a +10 bonus to sleight checks. We get a second level mystery, another 1st level and another bonus feat. We choose extend mystery so that we can get multiple uses of our abilities per casting while adventuring.

We will get sight eclipsed for the hide bonus as well as carpet of shadow for the battlefield modification.

As for your extra fundamental, if you need 3x more uses of umbral hand, get that. Otherwise, Caul of shadow will give a +2 deflection bonus to AC at level 6, and you can store it or an extended version of it in a tattoo for 12.5*6 = 75 gp a pop

Skills: 5 ranks

sleight 8
hide 7.5
spot 4
move silently 4

Sleight of hand: 8 ranks +3 Dec +5 sight obscured, +10 nights long fingers, +2 synergy (bluff)= 26

Level 6:
Mystic theurge
Read that text! The Shadowcaster it can be either the Divine or Arcane Caster in a Mystic theurge build. With precocious Apprentice supplying our 2nd level Arcane spell slots, and the retention of skill points from the Wizard levels, we fulfill all of the requirements to enter into the Mystic theurge Prestige class. And, unlike the noctumancer, we only need to select a class that we have previously had, not one we have levels in, to progress casting in. We will select wizard and regain the casting that we had at level 4 and level 1. Now we have no banned schools, and bucketloads of spell masteried illusion spells. You can make money scribing them into spell books and selling them for money make your Mysteries into tattoos. It is my advice not to sell that fool's gold spell however as you may destroy economies that you will rely on.

For our feat, we are taking Master pickpocket from city of stormreach p. 95. We can use free action sleight of hand checks at only a -10 penalty. Here is the text, in case the source is too tough.

“City of stormreach p.91: MASTER PICKPOCKET In Stormreach, there are thieves and there are masters of the craft. You fall into the latter category. You can steal anything from anyone at any time. Prerequisites: Dex 15, Sleight of Hand 8 ranks. Benefit: Your mastery of Sleight of Hand allows you to steal an object from an adjacent opponent in combat as a standard action without provoking attacks of opportunity. You can take anything the character has on his or her person provided it is not held in hand. If you are in a grapple, you gain a +4 bonus on the attempt. In addition, when you make a Sleight of Hand check as a free action, you take a –10 penalty rather than a –20 penalty on the attempt.”
We take the trail of haze mystery which will allow us to track anyone. Too bad we don’t have track.

Skills: 5 ranks 2 + int mod 3
sleight 9
conc 5
decipher 3
Hide 8

Sleight of hand: 9 ranks +3 dex + 10 quicker than the eye +5 sight obscured +2 synergy (bluff)= 29 With the master pickpocket feat, you can now succeed on a free action sleight of hand check (even through umbral hand!) on any roll that isn’t a 1. Remember when you took ranks in spot on a skill starved build? Start spotting stuff all over your opponents, and steal all of them.

Epic feat 1 and 2:

Line of shadow: Now you can use bend perspective to see from anywhere that you have line of effect to and then use line of shadow umbral hand empowered by quicker than the eye and sight obscured to steal stuff from out of sight. Shadow familiar grants you a dark huitzel with whom you can share spells, who therefor gets +15 to his +4 racial bonus to sleight of hand, his +2 dex modifier, and your 9 skill ranks, which gives him a +30 to sleight of hand checks. If he uses the aid another (expert assistance) during his turn to help you perform sleight of hand, you get a minimum of +5 before he rolls his aid another skill check, with the bonus becoming +6 if he rolls a 10 and +7 if he rolls a 20.

On top of that, If you need to steal more per round, he can use his own actions for sleight of hand instead of helping you, and he can fly, and you are able to share the invisibility spell. So, he can attempt a free action sleight of hand check (DC 40) with 50% success (1d20+30). Plus, and your huitzel can work together to do this stuff from afar, and your huitzel and you can communicate in language with each other, if youre sharing bend perspective, you can cover more ground.

Your slight of hand check is: 9 ranks + 3 dex + 10 quicker than the eye +5 sight obscured +2 synergy (bluff) +3 huitzel +5-7 expert assistance aid another = +37

That means that you can now make sleight of hand checks as a free action after 2 rounds of casting, plus if you check out page 133 of races of stone, you get unlimited uses of the conceal spellcasting skill trick, because it adds to the capability of the skill altogether. And now it’s time to check out epic sleight of hand.

DC 50 “Lift a sheathed weapon from another creature and hide it on the character’s person, if the weapon is no more than one size category larger than the character’s own size.”

Question, if you cast secret weapon, do you get +20 to this roll? You won’t know the answer until you try. If you can’t, however, it doesn’t matter much, so long as you roll above a 12, you’ll be able to pull this off. And thats before factoring in how you bought a dexterity boosting item by now. That is before you ctrl F’ed all of the likely books for sleight of hand goodies and found the filcher's friend in complete adventurer page 130 for another typeless +5 to sleight of hand checks.

Epic feat 3 & 4
Uncanny forethought (exemplars of evil p.126) as a full round action, you can cast a mystery out of your arcane spell slots. It says any spell you know. Your mysteries function as arcane spells. Do it. You can leave that cursed precocious apprentice slot open and put in any spell masteried illusion spell you know into there, without the caster level check issue, so far as I can tell.

Shape soulmeld (necrocarnum touch) is a feat that gives you a +4 profane bonus to sleight of hand checks. I think it does something else, and that something else is probably evil, so tread lightly. Did you get filcher’s friend yet?

Sleight of hand: 9 ranks + 3 dex + 10 quicker than the eye +5 sight obscured +2 synergy (bluff) +3 huitzel +5-7 expert assistance aid another +4 profane (necrotouch) = +41

Epic feat 5 & 6
Darkstalker and shadowcast.

You got a pretty good hide skill, why not use it. By now, you’ve probably been confounded by anti-sneak critters, and darkstalker makes you better at hiding from them. If they can’t see you, they can’t hit you as well.

Shadowcast is helpful, i think…
actually it isn’t really, cuz we got that sleight of hand freebie from races of stone. So let’s take arcane mastery, from complete arcane page 73. Now caster level checks are skill checks that you can take 10 on. No more spell failure chance from precocious apprentice.

Epic feat 7 & 8
Iron will and hardened criminal.


Actually, let’s do Craft wand and Trickery Devotion.
Really? All that setup and im settling for a take 10 on any one skill (sleight of hand) at the cost of 2 entire epic feats. Ugh. Only do this if the DM is still sending enemies with gear at you. Otherwise, we need to diversify a bit to keep our survivability up.

Off the top of my head, I would say that trickery devotion is the way to go here. And maybe elder giant magic? What are the prereqs on that? Nevermind. Craft wand. That’s what we need. Some wands. I have to sort of edit that in earlier.

So around level 6 - epic feat 1 and 2, you should tell your DM about the variant of hewbert’s hall where you can go on an adventure to get access to a free item crafting feat. That’ll really help you survive this long. 40$ in real life pizza should about cover the bribe expectation of that actually working.

Epic Feat 9 & 10

Iron will and hardened criminal it is. Now we can take 10 on sleight of hand checks. Which means that we have an automatic 51 on sleight of hand tricks, so you can look at those epic sleight of hand skill uses and just steal stuff of a person. If you can buy a trip to the otyough hole for iron will as a free feat, consider grabbing quicken mystery instead.

Play tips: stay out of combat and direct social situations. At level 1 and 4 you have more spell utility, but you may need to be drunk on terran brandy to cast non-illusion spells. Colorspray is your big trick. After that, just spend a lot of time scouting, and use your familiar as much as you can. Mostly, focus on preemptively deny advantage to potential opponents by robbing them blind. Use your spells and skills to get places you shouldn't be and use them to gear yourself up and them down. Boosting Dex will help with saves, and filcher's friend from complete adventurer gives a +5 to sleight of hand checks. Wisdom and spot boosting gear are important. Get armor at your first opportunity that has zero armor check and arcane failure chance and just where it non-proficiently; same with a buckler.

Quote Originally Posted by srd
“A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he or she is not proficient takes the armor’s (and/or shield’s) armor check penalty on attack rolls and on all Strength-based and Dexterity-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for nonproficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for nonproficiency with shields.”
Store all extra mysteries per day as tattoos as often as possible, even fundamentals. Do this until you get craft wand. Even if your caster level is just 1 on your wands, you’ll be a crapstorm of misplaced belongings. Free action sleight of hand checks are crazy, so you’ll have to work with the DM as how often per round you can be stripping your opponents naked of any belonging that they aren’t holding in their hands. Remember, you can pick pockets without using the umbral hand too. So if the bad guys get close, rob them blind before withdrawing.