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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TheLogman's Avatar

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    Default ...Shadowcaster?

    So, Tome of Magic. If it was a family, the Binder would be the successful, popular older child. Everybody knows him, though few people devote all their time to him, everybody wants to hang around him for a while. He's interesting, fun, and easy to play with.

    The Truespeaker is the unsucessful younger child. He has a lot of trouble with things, he can't get much done by himself at all. If given every chance in the world, he might amount to something very small. Maybe. But everyone at least feels bad for him.

    The Shadowcaster is neither popular nor pitied. He's just there. He's the neglected, often ignored middle child. Few people pay much attention to him, and even fewer people hang around him.

    But, I am seriously considering playing a Shadowcaster. I once built one for a BBEG that fought with mostly battlefield control spells, but other than that, I've never done anything with him. The system is a little confusing, but looks interesting. Any suggestions? What makes him good? What makes him work? What are the best spells to take? The best items to buy?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Raiki's Avatar

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    I built an NPC Shadowcaster into Shadowdancer once, so the only advice I can really give is "Don't build a Shadowcaster into Shadowdancer". I do recall that some of the shadowcaster spells/sla's/sups were pretty cool. And I really liked the "Specialize For Higher Level Paths" or "Spread Out And Roll In Bonus Feats" choice.

    Anyway, I know that wasn't much help, but good luck.

    ~R~

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Look at the Noctumancer prestige class and Favored Mystery feat.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TheLogman's Avatar

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Wow, I just checked for a Shadowcaster optimization guide.

    It suggested the following:

    1. Use some homebrew fixes that the guy who made up the class suggested.

    2. Take...feats?

    EDIT: Noctumancer seems like a pretty good class, though not very exciting. Quite a bit of focus on countering other spellcasters. In fact, every single one of his specials deals with countering other spellcasters. It could make a good BBEG, but I don't know about a PC.

    Favored Mystery doesn't seem like much special. What's the big difference between Spell-Like and Supernatural, if the number of times per day aren't affected? Is it just for surpassing AoO and SR problems?
    Last edited by TheLogman; 2010-01-24 at 07:30 PM.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Favored Mystery lets you get extra mysteries. Note also the differences between Su and SLA, and how other feats interact.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Supernatural abilities may not be dispelled, nor may they be Counterspelled, nor does Spell Resistance apply to them. They do not provoke AoO, so they do not need to be done on the defensive. They are all kinds of fun, if you can get them.

    Shadowcaster gets them a lot. In fact, more than any other class I can think of.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    A Shadowcaster isn't that bad if you're high enough level to avoid the "well, there was my fun for the day. Where's my crossbow?" problem. They do have fun and useful things that they can do. They just don't have nearly as many as other magic-types do, since they can't customize their slots for the challenges of the day. Oh, and very few utility spells. Don't play one if you want to be a sorcerer or a psion.

    That said, what they CAN do tends to be pretty awesome. You just need to find a way to do something else in the meantime, when you don't want to use your big guns. (One PrC, I think it's called Master of Shadow or something, gives you a pet shadow elemental, which is pretty cool. You lose one level of casting, but then you have a pet to play beastmaster with in between mystery uses.)

    But basically, the key to playing a fun shadowcaster is to find something to fill the gaps. If you use a mystery every turn, you'll be out of juice in no time at all... so what do you do in the meantime? Once you've answered that question, you can be a pretty useful character. Oh, and try to be really, really creative with your mysteries, so you can find a place to use them outside of just the most obvious situations. Of course, that goes for every class in ToM, but that's how it goes.

    (If I were a GM, I'd allow Shadowcasters to qualify for reserve feats... RAW, they do not, but it makes a lot of sense to at least allow them to qualify for the darkness-based ones. Reserve feats would help out shadowcasters immensely, since they are, after all, designed specifically to allow casters to have something to do that doesn't involve blowing spell slots. Ask your GM about it.)

    Also, you can get wands and/or staves of mysteries. Do so.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Also, there is like a metric TON of brew out there for Shadowcasters, seeing as they have no support beyond ToM. Some of that brew is pretty good (I'm neck deep it in right now, as two people have sent me documents to peruse, one about 60 total pages, the other 96 pages ).

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Here's some notions by the designer of the class to touch it up;

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/general...useferatu.html

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Set View Post
    Here's some notions by the designer of the class to touch it up;

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/general...useferatu.html
    I second this recommendation. These fixes change the average unoptimized shadowcaster build from almost unplayable at levels 1-5 to a decent, respectable class. It's not going to challenge the wizard/druid, or heck even sorcerer/favored soul for dominance any time soon, but it certainly wins on flavor.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edge of Dreams View Post
    I second this recommendation. These fixes change the average unoptimized shadowcaster build from almost unplayable at levels 1-5 to a decent, respectable class. It's not going to challenge the wizard/druid, or heck even sorcerer/favored soul for dominance any time soon, but it certainly wins on flavor.
    Uh... an unopped shadowcaster can still hammer out the non-lethal damage at low levels. Arrow of Dusk + Life Fades = unconscious people pretty fast. Just sayin'.

    That said, yeah, those fixes are all sorts of gotta have.

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    You could try using some of the Shadowcaster homebrew mentioned here: Descent of Shadows: Project Shadow Returns

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    I haven't looked very close at the class, but the ability to ignore line of sight and line of effect with one metamagic feat seems pretty powerful. There are metamagic rods for this feat, so a high-level shadowcaster probably would deck himself with these.

    In MIC, there's a relic that let's you become ethereal and still affect your foes with your spells. I think that's very in flavor, so your shadowcaster might want to acquire it.

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    Optimystik's Avatar

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Child of Night is a powerful PrC for Warlocks, and very appropriate thematically.

    I don't have much to contribute; Shadow magic has largely escaped my notice as well, for precisely the reasons in the OP.

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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aharon View Post
    I haven't looked very close at the class, but the ability to ignore line of sight and line of effect with one metamagic feat seems pretty powerful. There are metamagic rods for this feat, so a high-level shadowcaster probably would deck himself with these.
    Pretty much. I've seen this happen several times and with a cool, strategy based game this thing can pull its weight.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by arguskos View Post
    Uh... an unopped shadowcaster can still hammer out the non-lethal damage at low levels. Arrow of Dusk + Life Fades = unconscious people pretty fast. Just sayin'.

    That said, yeah, those fixes are all sorts of gotta have.
    The problem has never been what Shadowcasters can do. It's how long they can keep it up. Mysteries tend to be pretty awesome, or at least respectable. It's just that you get so very few of them per day, and you can't double up on them (a wizard who suspects that he'll be wanting a specific spell more than once can prepare accordingly. A Shadowcaster does not have that luxury.) if you find one that you really need. This is the big Achilles's Heel of the Shadowcaster. This is why I suggest that they be houseruled to qualify for reserve feats.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    The problem has never been what Shadowcasters can do. It's how long they can keep it up. Mysteries tend to be pretty awesome, or at least respectable. It's just that you get so very few of them per day, and you can't double up on them (a wizard who suspects that he'll be wanting a specific spell more than once can prepare accordingly. A Shadowcaster does not have that luxury.) if you find one that you really need. This is the big Achilles's Heel of the Shadowcaster. This is why I suggest that they be houseruled to qualify for reserve feats.
    That's pretty true. The best fix I saw for that gives them extra mysteries per day as per bonus spells per day. It requires you to track the level of your mysteries, but it sorta works, since it basically gives you a "floating" mystery or two each day to help compliment your activities. It was in some post over on EnWorld, don't recall exactly where.

    That said, Shadowcasters are good supplemental bad guys to throw at parties, since their ability to "nova" like no other is pretty handy for baddies (who aren't gonna survive the fight anyways).

    All that I say applies only to myself. You author your own actions and choices. I cannot and will not be responsible for you, nor are you for me, regardless of situation or circumstance.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    The problem with the Shadowcaster is not just their weakness compared to many other classes. The mechanic also doesn't interact with the fluff in any useful fashion. The Binder's mechanics and fluff interact well. Even the Truenamer's mechanic and fluff work well together.

    But why should someone who manipulates shadow get a specific number of uses of each thing they know how to do? And have to learn abilities in specific orders? As a mechanic, this is nice. It is easy to keep track of. But it makes zero sense in having anything to do with shadows at all. At some level I'd rather play a standard truenamer. I might be pretty weak then, especially at higher levels, but at least my crunch makes some minimal sense(ok should have Decipher Script, Listen, and Speak Language as class skills also but that's not an incredibly large issue). The reason incidentally why I like binders so freak'n much is how the fluff and crunch fit together so amazingly well.

    Edit: Parenthetical note about truenamer added.
    Last edited by JoshuaZ; 2010-01-26 at 09:38 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshuaZ View Post
    The problem with the Shadowcaster is not just their weakness compared to many other classes. The mechanic also doesn't interact with the fluff in any useful fashion. The Binder's mechanics and fluff interact well. Even the Truenamer's mechanic and fluff work well together.

    But why should someone who manipulates shadow get a specific number of uses of each thing they know how to do? And have to learn abilities in specific orders? As a mechanic, this is nice. It is easy to keep track of. But it makes zero sense in having anything to do with shadows at all. At some level I'd rather play a standard truenamer. I might be pretty weak then, especially at higher levels, but at least my crunch makes some minimal sense. (The reason incidentally why I like binders so freak'n much is how the fluff and crunch fit together so amazingly well).
    ...I'm just going to assume that you're joking about the part that I bolded. (Certain parts of the crunch fit, sure, but many parts absolutely do not. Why can I not Haste two of my allies at once, again? No reason? Right.)

    I always fluffed Shadowcasters as saying that they didn't really choose their mysteries, so much as just open themselves up in certain ways. Once you open up certain magical channels, the shadows flow in naturally in the paths that they choose.

    I do, however, freely admit that this is my fluff just as much as it is ToM's fluff. I suppose you could do something similar with the Truenamer's fluff, but I'm still going to take a while to be convinced why the Law of Sequence exists.
    In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word Was Suck: A Guide to Truenamers

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Gentlefolk, learn from Zaq's example, and his suffering. Remember, seven out of eleven players who use truenamer lose their ability to taste ice cream.
    Come join the Iron Chef Optimization Challenge in the Playground E6 Appetizer Edition! We're currently cooking for round 27. Everyone is welcome!

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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaq View Post
    I do, however, freely admit that this is my fluff just as much as it is ToM's fluff. I suppose you could do something similar with the Truenamer's fluff, but I'm still going to take a while to be convinced why the Law of Sequence exists.
    Yeah, I agree that there's a lot of truenamer mechanic that was clearly just thrown on for some sort of attempt at balance (most of which simply weakens the Truenamer further). I did have the word minimal in that sentence for a reason. (And apparently while you were replying I edited my post to add a note about one of the bad mechanics for the Truenamer so)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: ...Shadowcaster?

    I've always imagined the classes as a big family too!! Some examples are this:
    -Father: Wizard: Wizard is really rich and powerful. He is a famous and successful class and is highly intellectual and owns several corporations.
    -Mother: Cleric: Cleric is a sweet doting, and very effective mother. She is really good at taking care of the rest of the family, and is quite successful in her own pursuits too.
    -Twin boys: Fighter and Warblade: Fighter and Warblade are rambunctious teens, both jocks, they take physical sports like rugby and wrestling and are rather dim. Fighter is more angry and jealous though, as his brother Warblade is better then him. Warblade is more cocky and full of himself, as he is better than Fighter at everything.
    -Middle Child: Rogue: Poor Rogue is the middle child nobody really pays attention to, so he always gets into trouble so others notice him. Rogue is mischievious and likes to do everything from small and funny pranks to humiliating and cruel jokes.
    -Youngest Child: Druid: Druid is already a very high achiever in elementary school and is showing lots of potential. Druid loves wildlife and almost everybody likes her, though she is shy and kind.
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