”More often than not, smoke and explosions are signs of ineptitude, not expertise.”
-Silias Gerer, Shadow Fundamentalist
The Shadow Fundamentalist knows, all too well, that the larger, more ostentatious of mysteries are worth very little if the basics of shadow magic remain unlearned. By mastering the fundamentals of shadow magic, they can gain a bottomless reservoir of power.
BECOMING A SHADOW FUNDAMENTALIST
Shadowcasters make up almost the entire population of shadow fundamentalists. The art is so focused that multiclassed characters simply have little incentive to pursue it. A few high-level cultists have attempted this path, but the number to have completed it can be counted on one human’s fingers.
Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 6 ranks
Shadowcasting: ability to cast 5 or more fundamentals
THE SHADOW FUNDAMENTALIST HIT DIE: D6
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level): Concentration, Craft, Hide, Intimidate, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), Move Silently, Profession, Spellcraft, Spot
Level Base Fort Ref Will Special Mysteries
Attack Save Save Save
1 +0 +2 +0 +2 Fine Manipulation +1 level of existing mystery-using class
2 +1 +3 +0 +3 Unlimited Fundamentals +1 level of existing mystery-using class
3 +1 +3 +1 +3 Library of Basics +1 level of existing mystery-using class
as a shadow fundamentalist, you focus on the manipulation of fundamentals.
Mysteries: At each level, you gain mysteries known and an increase in caster level as if you had also gained a level in a casting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefits a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one mystery-using class before becoming a Shadow Fundamentalist, you must decide which class to add each level for the purpose of determining caster level and mysteries known.
Fine Manipulation (Su): whenever you cast a fundamental and modify it with one or more metashadow feats, no daily use of those metashadow feats are expended. In order to apply a metashadow feat to a fundamental, however, it must still have a remaining daily use.
Unlimited Fundamentals: At 2nd level, you may cast your fundamentals at will. If you already possess this ability, you cast your fundamentals at +2 caster level.
Library of Basics: At 3rd level, you gain access to all fundamentals.
PLAYING A SHADOW FUNDAMENTALIST
Most NPC shadow fundamentalists are indistinguishable from normal shadowcasters. They are, however, noticeably more drawn towards experimentation and novelty.
You know that your shadow magic is no weaker than those of others. In addition, you have a reliable, if weaker, source of secondary power to return to should your mysteries fail.
Thanks to your consistent skill at higher-level shadow magic, you are welcomed into most shadow magic organizations. Your unnatural fascination with the weakest of all forms of shadow magic, however, makes others somewhat weary of you. Though you may be accepted into organizations, don’t expect it to be with open arms.
Aside from slight discrepancies in your personality, your differences are most visible in combat. For you, it is not uncommon to unleash a quickened, empowered, maximized arrow of dusk each round, even in the midst of your more powerful shadowcasting. You protect yourself with seemingly insignificant wards and boons, which come together to make you a more formidable opponent.
The journey of a shadow fundamentalist has been written in script by several masters of the art and the same basic discoveries are almost always made in the same manner and in the same order. Nonetheless, none of these scripts are used those trying to discover the path, for discovery of the path is invariably an accident. Therefore, while the same cornerstone discoveries are going to be made in a set order, the actual process is one of self-discovery and experimentation.
As you advance, there is no reason to choose your mysteries or feats more carefully than any other shadowcaster, although it goes without saying that you should avoid learning additional fundamentals if it can be avoided.
You rarely obtain tangible benefit from other shadow fundamentalists, but they, sharing some of your views, are more willing to here out even your most outrageous ideas, give you an interesting tidbit of information, or even keep you overnight. Organizations to which you belong rarely give you much of value, either. As an extension of you shadowcasting philosophy, you are a bit of a packrat, knowing that hundreds of small items may provide the difference between life and death.
SHADOW FUNDAMENTALISTS IN THE WORLD
“They may be unorthodox, but at least they are creative”
-Eddas Coradran, Lord of the First House, Parliament of Shadows
The shadow fundamentalist is a choice for those willing to explore the reaches of what other mystery-users take for granted. They are the inventive, the creative, the shrewd. Any shadow-casting class can take it but it is most common among neutral and chaotic shadowcasters, who find the most enjoyment in such novelty.
A shadow fundamentalists time is largely devoted to research, both into new, more powerful mysteries, and into how their fundamentals fit into such mysteries. Otherwise, they spend their time advancing their various other agendas, or adventuring to obtain new scraps of knowledge or interesting items.
Shadow fundamentalists are few and far between, but when one’s presence becomes known, few tend to forget them. An excellent example is Grombo “no-nose” Kilten, a gnomish shadow fundamentalist who managed to create five new fundamentals before losing his nose in the creation process of a sixth. Another is Malkin Tumwater, the only shadow fundamentalist to ever make it to the Parliament of Shadows.
The Nightshade Covenant allows in shadow fundamentalists but tends to ignore them in the midst of the struggles between their factions. After all, a pitiful fundamental seems unlikely to blot out the sun. The Tenebrous Cabal accepts them the most openly, respecting their tireless research into matters of shadow. The Votaries of Vecna regard their fundamentals as unnecessary tinkering, preferring to judge them by their total power in shadow magic.
Most people react to shadow fundamentalists exactly as they would to a shadowcaster. Very few can actually tell a difference. In general, shadowcasters are indifferent towards shadowcasters. Many arcane casters refer jokingly to their choice of specialty, at least…until they face one in combat.
SHADOW FUNDAMENTALIST LORE
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcane) or Knowledge (the planes) can research Shadow Fundamentalists to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including the information from lower DCs.
DC 10: Some shadowcasters called shadow fundamentalists willingly focus on the weakest of their abilities.
DC 15: Despite all odds, shadow fundamentalists gain surprising proficiency with their fundamentals.
DC 20: Although shadow fundamentalists focus first and foremost on their fundamentals, their shadowcasting in general does not suffer.
A bardic knowledge check or a Gather Information check can reveal the same information as these Knowledge checks, but in each case the DC is 5 higher than the given value.
IN THE GAME
Shadow Fundamentalists have been well dispersed though many organizations, countries, and worlds. When introducing them, it is perhaps better to make them out to be an eccentric shadowcaster. Actually introducing their abilities might be better done through a tome or scroll depicting such varied possibilities with fundamentals, allowing shadowcaster PCs to pursue the class at their own pace.
This prestige class adds a noticeably lighter side to shadow magic, although not enough of one to effect views of it as a whole. As long as the player has an opportunity to cast fundamentals, they can be happy with their choice. Whenever one of their fundamentals truly helps them, they can feel a sense of accomplishment.
Shadow Fundamentalists, as their tricks are relatively simple, can easily be adapted to use more mundane sources of power, perhaps using smoke, darkness, or feeble illusions to accomplish their ends. Another, more obvious option is to simply convert it to affect cantrips and orisons instead of fundamentals.
Encounters with shadow fundamentalists should show off their intricacies of their art. It is not unusual for one to shoot out an empowered, maximized, quickened arrow of dusk every round, possibly followed by another mystery, the drinking of a small potion, or another empowered, maximized arrow of dusk. They are a flurry of fundamentals in combat, and a first impression should show that.
EL 5: Simon Tellware has recently mastered the art of casting fundamentals. Recently noticed and hired by the Tenebrous Cabal, he has been gathering scraps of esoteric lore for the past couple of months, stopping every now and again to collect obscure baubles and such.
Simon Tellware CR 5
Male Human Shadowcaster 2/Shadow Fundamentalist 3
TN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Listen +5, Spot +5
Languages Common, Elven, Dwarven
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 17
hp 25 (5 HD)
Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +6
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Quarterstaff +2 (1d6/1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +2 (1d8/19-20)
Base Atk +2 ; Grp +2
Special ActionsExtend Mystery, Empower Mystery, Maximize Mystery, Quicken Mystery
Combat Gear 1 orb of shadow (apprentice 1st)[I], 1 dark lantern, 6 potions of cure light wounds
Mysteries Known (CL 5th)
2nd—Frigid Smoke (spell, 1/day)
1st—Cursed Flame (spell, 1/day, DC 13), Steel Shadows (spell, 1/day)
0—Umbral Hand (supernatural, at will), Mystic Reflections (supernatural, at will), Caul of Shadow (supernatural, at will), Arrow of Dusk (supernatural, at will, +2 ranged touch), Black Candle (supernatural, at will), Liquid Night (supernatural, at will), Shadow Hood (supernatural, at will, DC 12), Trick of the Light (supernatural, at will, DC 12), Darkened Eyes (supernatural, at will), Tools of the Trade (supernatural, at will), Shadow Vigor (supernatural, at will), Midnight Veil (supernatural, at will), Shadowstep (supernatural, at will), Shadowy Touch (supernatural, at will), Ghostly Blade (Supernatural, at will, +2 melee attack roll)
Abilities Str 10, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 14
SQ Fine Manipulation
Feats Extend Mystery, Empower Mystery, Maximize Mystery, Quicken Mystery
Skills Concentration +6, Hide +5, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Knowledge (the planes) +7, Move Silently +5 Spellcraft +7, Spot +5
Possessions combat gear plus Quarterstaff, Light Crossbow with 20 bolts, Cloak of resistance +1, 25 gp.