This goes beyond shadowcaster. I think what we have here is a shadecaster.
Originally Posted by Umbra P. DarkfontUmbra Penn DarkFont
Neutral Human Shadorficer
artificer 1/shadowcaster 5
Add 1 to dex at level 4.
Level Class Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Skills Feats Class Features 1st Artificer +0 +0 +0 +2 (4+3+1)x4+2=34: Concentration 4, Craft (scroll) 4, Decipher Script 1 (cc), Disable Device 4, Knowledge (Dungeoneering) 4, Knowledge (arcana) 4, Search 4, Spellcraft 4, Use Magic Device 4 Ocular Spell, Apprentice (spellcaster), Scribe Scroll Artificer knowledge, artisan bonus, disable trap, item creation, Scribe Scroll, craft reserve 20, infusions 2nd Shadowcaster +0 +2 +0 +4 2+3+1=6: Concentration 5, Craft (scrolls) 5, K. (Arcana) 5, Spellcraft 5, spot 1, Use magic device 5 fundamentals of shadow, apprentice mysteries 3rd Shadowcaster +1 +3 +0 +5 6:Concentration 6, K. (arcana) 6, Profession (waiter), spellcraft 6, spot 2, Use magic Device 6 Path Focus (Dark Terrain), Sculpt Spell bonus feat 4th Shadowcaster +1 +3 +1 +5 6:Concentration 7, Hide 1, K. (arcana) 7, Spellcraft 7, Spot 3, Use Magic Device 7 umbral sight 5th Shadowcaster +2 +4 +1 +6 6: Concentration 8, K. (Arcana) 8, Spellcraft 8, Sleight of Hand 1 (cc), Use Magic Device 8 bonus fundamental 6th Shadowcaster +2 +4 +1 +6 6: Concentration 9, K. (arcana) 9, Spellcraft 9, Use Magic Device 9, Search 5(cc) elder Giant Magic sustaining shadow
1. Spell Focus (Necromancy)
2. Black Lore of Moil
3. Greater Path focus (Dark Terrain)
4. Etch schema
5. Explosive spell
6. Split ray
7. Reach Mystey
8. Weapon Focus (ray)
9. Point Blank Shot
10. Dead eye
Mysteries (and level obtained)
Life fades (2)
Carpet of Shadows (3)
arrow of dusk
Artificer (page 27 eberron Campaign Setting)
Weapon Focus (see also page 73 complete arcane),
Point blank Shot,
Sculpt Spell (page 83)
Black Lore of Moil (page 75)
Split ray (page 83)
Explosive spell (page 79)
Tome of Magic
Path Focus (Dark Terrain)
Greater Path focus (Dark Terrain)
Lords of Madness
Secrets of xendric
Elder Giant Magic
Magic of eberron
Winch crossbow (masters of the wild page 26)
Quill of scribing (Page 133 of complete mage)
infinite scrollcase (magic item compendium page 162)
spellsight spectacles (magic item compendium page 138)
Caster's Shield (SRD)
A Canticle of Shadow
There I was, a young technician going to the big city for the first time to make my lot in life. I had this slip of paper from an uncle’s friend telling me to go to this place, "Dungeon Master’s Guide 2" to get a mentor. So, apparently this firm is so successful they franchised to a second location, or something. Well, all of the mentors up for grabs were ill-fitting for an artificer of scrolls. I remember them grilling me about infusions, and me explaining that they're magic, but not arcane or divine magic, but operate as conduits of magical energy. They acted like a lightspell went off an fetched me this black robed guy who insisted his name was Mentazz Shadowfury. They said he was a shadowcaster and that he uses neither divine or arcane magic and that this would be good fit. It wasn't a good choice to acquiesce. I was a kid dammit.
Mentazz was weird mentor. He made me stay in a cave for a few months to “get accustomed to shadow power” which got boring. So I studied slimes and muck, and deal with these onslaughts of little beholderlings. Ugh, it was terrible. He didn’t teach me a thing for months, and all I left with was how to deal with terrible underdark critters, including dissecting, prepping for food, and using the bits of them to store spell powers that I read off of scrolls. It’s weird, i have this metamagic scroll infusion, and apparently if you drink enough beholderkin bile, you can start storing scroll spells in your eyes. It's delicious. It's like if you milked a pistachio. Anyways, I could store scroll spells in my eyes for like 8 hours. Crazy. Mentazz didn’t teach me a thing other than I had to cling to what I already knew, plus learn extraneous weird stuff to make this work.
Mentazz had this thing about him where he would act like he was the most amazing magic user in the world, talking about walking on the edge of light and darkness like some sort of sorry sack bard. Ugh. And he was explaining to me that in the entire world of e6, he might be the pinnacle of shadowcaster power. He told me that once I understood the fundamentals, that the power of shadow would be at my beckon and call. And this was my assigned mentor, my uncle was funding this apprenticeship, and I didn't want to disappoint him, so I played along, I’ll learn to be a shadowcaster, it’s basically the same thing as I was doing with the whole not arcane divine magic thing being used to affect the universe minus the ease of doing it like a normal person.
Mentazz, that spazz, called his spells, “mysteries”. What a loser. Did he run out of adequately edgey nouns? Apparently he learned it from his “Tome of Magic”. So I began an adventuring side-hustle, you know, in hopes of making a backup plan.
Level 2: Creeping Dorkness
Mentazz, the lurking sneak would slurk into my life to surprise me with “shadow quizzes” to teach me shadowcasting. It all clicked when we worked together to make a scroll with a “mystery” on it because, you’re gonna think this is funny, “he didn’t have enough things that he could do in a day.” Poor bastard. Once I prepped one, I understood how it worked and I was excited to see what possible new synergies between shadow and crafting could be pioneered for the first time! If you're a gnome, shut up and quit snickering, I was basically a kid at this point.
Listen, I'm not old, or wise, but this is wisdom: Just because it’s exciting to learn about, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily worthy of your study.
So I followed the guy and I wracked up these shadow “fundamentals” real fast. I learned to make non-lethal arrows as a supernatural shadow power, and use shadow to make a strong wizard cantrip, and something else. And the mystery, the one mystery, that’s all a shadowcaster gets. I know wizards get a spellbook with like six different abilities, and I have access to all of the basic spellcasting mechanics in the world as an artificer, but Mentazz was like, “NO, the tome of Magic says that you may only have one!
So I went right to my adventurers campaign setting guidebook to find ways to weasel out of this or infuse it with some practical ability. And I discovered a potential argument that you can make at the dungeon master guide headquarters. Not the franchise location. In the artificer guidelines, They said to me, verbatim, “An artificer receives a pool of points he can spend instead of experience points when crafting a magic item. Each time the artificer gains a new level, he receives a new craft reserve; leftover points from the previous level do not carry over. If the points are not spent, they are lost. An artificer can also use his craft reserve to supplement the XP cost of the item he is making, taking a portion of the cost from his craft reserve and a portion from his own XP.”
I took notes. Shadowcasting is a hard and dark and lonely road, alright. Ugh, I sound like him. It says specifically this, each time the artificer, which i am, gains a new level, which i did because the fundamentals demonstrate it, I receive a new craft reserve. Which, when I started, was 20. Now you can petition the dungeon master to follow the rules, as written, because promises are important, and give me a new craft reserve because I have gained a level. Just not as a purebreed artificer. I’m not arguing that I get more because I gained a level, just what i was given as a 1st level artificer of excellent standing. Those 20 points should be filled up. Apparently, it depends on who you get to hear your petition, and there is no standard.
Any ways, remember the scroll scribing I do, and how i spent that time knuckle deep in aberration research, apparently they are compatible with mysteries and fundamentals. I cracked the code, by accident, while mentaz was amazed that I could write things down to use them later. I could store a mystery in my eye so long as I made it into a scroll first. And the tome of magic section on scrolls says that I can use my scribe scroll to scribe scrolls of mysteries. And if i can scribe scrolls of mysteries, I can metamagic that scroll with my infusion. There for I can have ocular mysteries streaming out my eyeballs if i want. Pretty wicked for a shadowcaster. Maybe I should change my name to “eyeshadow.” Pffffft. Bwa haha. Yeah right.
I got a mystery called “life fades” Oh my DOG! What is it with the secret commitment to non-violence with these shadowdweebs? Kill the threat already. Listen evil Orc, I have four non lethal attacks that i can use every day. Don’t shake in your boots so violently.
So I can put nonviolent shadows into my eyeballs and fire them at people who frustrate me enough to attack, but not kill. Highlight of my apprenticeship.
I can’t believe I followed him. I could be brewing potions right now. I have to adventure to pay for scrolls so that I can successfully adventure as a shadowcaster. I took a job as a waiter just to cover some shadow-scroll-casting hijinx. I realized a week later that Mentazz worked at the same place. It’s his “profession.”
Level 3: Sculpting the dark
Mentazz silently hovered over to me one day and said that I was ready to learn the next mystery, from the dark terrain discipline, and that the act of learning it will imbue me with a magic feat. It was a mystery called carpet of shadows. It’s 5 foot by 10 foot rectangle of difficult to walk over shadow stuff. That’s all it does. I had to tinker with it, and if i put it into a scroll first, i can really get some cool shapes by sculpting it with metamagic scroll infusion. I can make a 120’ by 5’ line of shadow rubble, or a 20’ radius spread emanation. I really focused on the dark terrain path. I had to. I had so little else to work with.
Level 4: The darkness sees you
Eventually, I was able to see in the dark as well as an elf. I know the questions you have and the answer is Nope: it's not the first requirement to walk the line between light and darkness. Doesn’t come free while studying shadows when you start. You have to master three mysteries before you can see on a moonless night. When they call themselves shadowcasters.
Mentazz returned me to the “touch of twilight path” to learn a mystery called “flesh fails.” By bahamut’s beard, I swear these names are all purple prose.
It’s a cool mystery, I basically choose to make someone’s body fail. I have no idea what that has to do with shadow. But don't worry! it's all kosher, shadows are involved. The cool thing is that I can store it in my eye, if I cast it from a scroll or, and this is gonna get wild...I bought an ancient winch crossbow, and I had to find a place called “Masters of the wild” to purchase it. Any way this thing really hampers you if you get hit; It removes like a third of the efficiency of an average human’s movements. But it’s a really exotic weapon. Then I remembered my weapon augmentation infusion notes! I read about the Ancient warrior’s tome of battle and the “aptitude” blades, and i just put the aptitude augmentation on the winch crossbow, which takes all of my knife training and proficiency turns it into crossbow skill. Exotic weapon proficiency hurdle bedamned!
Then I can use the weapon augmentation infusion to infuse an arrow or a bunch of arrows, I’m not sure of the rules and the artificer codex is silent on weapon augmentation of ammunition, although it does say that the weapon must be wielded, thrown, or fired. Spell storing is a +1 enchantment that you can put onto an arrow. And if you put a flesh fails spell on a bunch of winch crossbow bolts, because you successfully argued at the dungeon master's guide house that a block of 20 bolts was a standard for weapon enchantment.
Between that winch crossbow and flesh failing, you can be knocking low agility humans out of the game in a single hit.. A sturdy human athlete would be as clumsy as fat dragon by one hit, and then you can finish them off with an eye ray. It’s still non-lethal, but it’s devastatingly effective in a single daily combat.
I mostly used these tricks and still make scrolls of first level spells of every other class to solve basically all of my non-shadowcaster based problems, because, like mentaz, I spent egregious amounts of time trying to use shadowcasting more. The darkness...just doesn’t give enough.
Level 5: Fundamentally sculpting blackfire
I learned a new fundamental. I also learned “black fire” which I sculpt from scrolls because the shape of the mystery is weird and insufficient to keep yourself alive in a dangerous world. A 40’ cone of cold fire is far more effective than the 4 small campfires of cold.
Level 6: elder scrolls online!
Scribing the same scrolls all of the time was killing me. I needed to find a way to accumulate the power to create schema’s. I read about them in the “Magic of eberron” artificer monthly. Only the most amazing of primitive snowcasting casters were capable of making them on the world of e6. And giants had big magic cajones, so I delved and delved finding a way to accumulate magic power enough to have resetting scrolls. And I found it. It’s an ancient secret of xendric, the elder giant magic. It takes a lot of concentration, but I think I am almost there.
Mentazz says that I can't go any further and that I need to accumulate more feats to augment my shadowcasting further and that I too, can now be a mentor and that we are peers now and we have a special connection. I'm resentful that I don't have a homunculus or a workshop making steampunk utopia an option.
I'm shadowcasting instead.
So, focusing on the utility of flesh fails, I do something I never thought I would, I studied necromancy, in depth. And it pays off when I discover the completely arcane metamagic of the black lore of moil. It costs some money to make these weird little bone talismans, but they massively increase the potency of flesh fails. It’s like, it was designed to empower necromancy to pull away from a generalized life force of the target inclusive of luck and such, but when applied to the flesh fails mystery, it appears to rip the ability of the body to move entirely away, almost as if it is draining a different resource, a resource pool of dexterity if you will.
I returned to studying dark terrain, and, paired with the secrets of the elder giants I accumulated enough power to etch schemas. They're 16 times more expensive than a scroll, but the refresh everyday, so I can make more uses of infusions I know as well as mysteries. I did it, made massively powered technology capable of making shadow casters obsolete.
I could make a schema of each of my mysteries! Then I could create a schema of each of my mysteries with my metamagic knowhow applied by casting the schemas with metamagic infusion. And then I can make schemas of those metamagicked schemas with even more metagic applied.
The metamagic infusion ability allows me to make choices. So I went about increasing the number of choices that I could make. Did you know that you can make a scroll with a metamagic enhancer attached? A tradition arcane or divine spell, I’ll have you know, requires a greater investment of energy to create. If I were to create an arbitrary system, say by ranking spells by level of difficulty ranging from zero to nine, adding a metamagic to a first level spell can make it as difficult to create as making a basic scroll of fireball, which I reckon would be a third level spell in this arbitrary hypothetical system.
But “mysteries” aren’t arcane or divine spells. Mysteries have what we’ll call “metashadow” enhancements that can be learned at great effort to be added on top of them to augment how the mystery manifests. And when you make a scroll of a mystery with a metashadow effect “baked in”, as it were, there is no commensurate increase in difficulty. So I worked really hard to develop the ability to turn my life fades and flesh fails mysteries into streaming rays of pain. I call this metashadow feat “Reach mystery.” So I can scribe them into scrolls as ray attacks, and then, intead of using the secrets of the beholders to store them in my eyes as rays, I could use my metamagic scroll infusion to split those rays in twain, thereby doubling my power output in a given six second block of intense combat situation.
I did some digging around and found a treatise entitled papyrus and ink, in which is described a number of fantastic helpers for my particular schtick in the world of shadorficing. The caster’s shield is something that I played with. So if you make a scroll of metashadowed life fades, and you use metamagic scroll infusion to store that spell as a split ray reach life fades in your shield, which is a nice back up plan. You can then go on to add black lore of moil by casting that spell from your shield into another scroll. If I had to judge the effectiveness of that, if an average human has, say a dexterity score of 12 on a 20 point scale where zero is a coma and a 20 is an elven spell dancer, each ray would drain 4-10 of these arbitrary dexterity points, reducing an opponent or possibly two, to a puddle or two of nothing. And if they still continue to stand, the encumberance of the the winch crossbow might be able to bind up to another 4 of these dexterity points.
Using the same metamagic stacking technique it becomes possible to make my clinging darkness or black fire mystery get sculpted into a huge area as we cast it into another scroll/schema. From there we can metamagic it again as we cast it into another scroll/schema with the explosive spell technique that I learned from the tome entitled Complete arcane. It’s crazy with clinging darkness, you make this blanketing 40’ cone of immobility that shoves people out, where they remain immobile outside of the range of effect of the cone. The same technique with black fire is just as effective.
From here, I returned to studying how to hit people with rays and winchbolts. I focused on the weapon of rays, seeing as how I now have multiple per day. I could always aptitude my winch crossbow to gain proficiency and move my weapon focus over. Then I focused my studies on hitting things close to me at point blank range, when I’m in the most danger. Then, I learned from a tome called the “dragon compendium,” a technique called “dead eye” with allows me to add my natural agility and dexterity to the damaging effects of my attacks. In the case of flesh fails, this means that I’m adding 75% efficiency to the anti-agility effects. So a twinned flesh fails can limit an athletic opponent to coma status. And if i use spellstoring molian fleshfails bolts in my winch crossbow, I surmise that the effects on my opponent would be represented by the following formula: 4 (base) +3 (dead eye) +1d6 (moil) +4 (winch) dexterity penalty, where 1d6 is a randomly generated power fluctuation caused by using the secrets of moil that can between 1 and 6 additive. A more expensive moilian bone component could, theoretically, lift the damage another 1d6.
Papyrus and ink:
I had a Quill of scribing on my wish list for centuries, i swear. This thing makes life so much simpler. Page 133 of complete mage
An infinite scrollcase from the magic item compendium page 162 is very helpful. So are the spellsight spectacles page 138.
I may be able to use my artificer skill to craft scrolls of mysteries I don't know personally, just like every other artificer. If so, it might have been more worthwhile to take transdimensional metamagic instead of explosive spell, because if i can use the night's long finger's mystery, I could use a scroll of umbral hands (metamagic infusioned to be transdimensional) to steal from people's extra dimensional storage.