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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    The Revised Chaos Mage handbook: Magic with a cost



    ďOur real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.Ē

    Magic: the primeval power from stories to make the impossible happen. The arcane and eldritch abilities that allow one to exert his will upon reality. Magic that comes in 9 different circle, 8 school, two denomination and countless individual spells that...hang on.
    Why is magic so regimented anyway? I mean, sure, wizards and incantation and pseudo alchemy and bat guano. Okay, I can buy that.

    But what if I want the power to be less studious? Oh, sorcerer you say, magic from within. Yes ! Yes ! I feel the arcane energies coursing through me allowing me to unleash blast of fire thatÖ still require the same chanting and the same bat guanoÖ Iím just the savant version of the wizard who can do really long math in my head arenít I?

    But what if I want magic that, you know, isnít just a reskinned wizard? Whatís that you say, psionics. Yes, yes power from the mind! A reserve of energy that I can employ exactly as I wish without worries of slots and specific effects! -needle scratch sound-

    Iím still using very specific effects arenít I? I just got rid of slots and sort of kinda mixed specific metamagic for specific spells as a built-in option I can activate at a premium.

    What if I want magic thatís less specific effect based. You got something for that? Oh you do? So the big thing on the block is called sphere of powers. Okay, Iíll have a look. -peruse the book in question- Yeah, no, thatís very nice and well made and all. But hm...why do I have to buy every component of my spells separately? Balance? Yes I suppose that make sense, still, bit annoying that if I want to have a firewall or a fireball I have to buy like three different talents. I only have so much. What if I wanted something a little more freeform?

    Whatís this? True sorcery? Isnít that a thing for true20? What? Itís for d20 in general? Sure Iíll take a look. Hmm, seems promising, still sort of like sphere of power but needing to buy less component, just general themes. Yes, that would be fun...hang onÖ Skill based checks? Are you nuts? Have you seen the people around here? With their custom skill boosting items and item familiars and stuff theyíre going to push this system to ridiculous heights, I mean these people can make a truenamer functional with enough WBL investment and you want me to use another skill based system that doesnít actually sucks? Thatís madness.

    So whatís that book then? Yes the one in the back you keep away from prying eyes. Chaos Magic, from a third party publisher that doesnít have the best track record, uses juvenile humor and as a seriously bad reputation. Well, letís take a look anyway.

    Wait a minute, thatís not so bad, sure itís rough around the edges, need some serious patching in a couple section but overall itís a pretty solid freeform magic system. Letís get to it.

    This handbook use the following rating

    Red: No just no
    Purple: Maybe, if you got nothing better
    Black: Average
    Blue: Pretty good
    Gold: Top of the line

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Foreword to the Chaos Mage Handbook: How I learned to stop worrying and love the insanity.

    This class, found in the quintessential chaos mage, has quite the bad reputation for being far too powerful and broken. Some of those worries are founded, others are not. So here is the reality.

    The good:
    The quintessential chaos mage offer the best purely freeform, all options on the table from the start system I have ever come across for D&D. Mostly because it is the only such system I ever came across.
    The system is relatively difficult to cheese and push to ridiculous level, doesnít have the same game breaking aspect that plague the tier 1 classes with spell and combination of spells that lead to wizard and company utterly replacing entire other classes while pulling truly insane **** that allow them to murder gods ten different way a month before they actually think of it safely from their private impenetrable demi planes while astral shifting with hordes of summoned creature that do the fighter job better than the fighter and with nuke sized orbs of pure magic that are somehow non magical enough to work in an amf.

    The bad:
    The class is third party and has a terrible reputation, getting a DM to agree to let you play it will be challenging at best, outright impossible at worst.

    The ugly:
    The initial book (encyclopedia arcane: chaos magic) is poorly edited, with vital informations being found all over the place and should always be used alongside it's errata (which is sadly difficult to find).
    The balance of things is not always the best (but not the worst either).
    The successor to that book, the quintessential chaos mage, is far better edited but a few things remain unclear, and by unclear I mean there are giant gaping holes that need filling. Itís these holes that can, potentially, lead to brokenness. Lucky for you I did my best in this guide to point said holes and offer my own reading and patching. To get the best picture of things it is necessary to consult all three documents, with the quintessential chaos mage priming over the other two.

    Now that all of this is out of the way, let's get down to business.

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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Class features

    The chassis
    Chaotic only Alignment: A chaos mage must, aptly, be chaotic. Really not that big a deal.

    d4 hit dice: Smallest possible hit dice. No the d2 doesnít count, itís not a die, itís a coin toss. And the d3 cheats by having more than 3 sides and repeat numbers. Anyway, you got the smallest hit die possible. What can I say, mage type are supposed to be frail. Unlike your other mage friends who can use some of their spells to make their hp total irrelevant (bloody hide life) yours is actually limiting in some ways.

    Poor BAB: Look, youíre a mage, youíre about as competent when it comes to hitting things as a blind drunken man thatís pointed the wrong way around. But thatís okay you can make do without worrying about which end of the pointy sword has to go in the enemy.

    Good will save: Standard for the caster types. Actually, youíre better of in that regard than all other arcane types since you actually have a good wisdom score, hurray for resisting temptations and depression.

    Poor fort and reflex: Okay so you will die from the flu you caught from being unable to take the small step to the left required to avoid that sneeze from the urchin that ran into you yesterday. Youíre frail and slow. Apparently the universe decided that if reality is your etch a sketch then you should be an asthmatic snail.

    2 Skill points per level: So you donít get many skills, well thatís sort of a shame, itís not like you can really afford to use magic to replace all those skill checks. or like youíre smart enough to go on by raw talents. And if you want to make use of your own brand of discount magic item youíll need a lot of skills. And you get some new options for skills as well. Such a shame you canít really afford them.

    Proficiency: Youíre proficient with simple weapons, hurray for backup crossbow. Youíll need the backup crossbow. No reserve feats for you mister.

    The actual class features
    Chaos magic: This is what itís all about; freeform spellcasting. There are however limits on what can be achieved; limits that ultimately make chaos magic far less powerful than standard arcane magic. On the other hand youíll never ever be without an appropriate spell to cast.

    Chaos Familiar: Chaos familiars can be better than normal familiars, but present much more of a risk for the character. The chapter on them also raises more questions than it answers.

    Multiple effects: Your spells will grow more complex and more interesting as you progress.

    Countermagic: This, this makes the chaos mage the absolute best thing ever when it comes to counterspelling. You can counterspell everything and anything. On the flip side, it can cause backlash. Use with moderation. Still, the ability to just nope another caster is priceless.

    Purge chaos: If you survived long enough to get this class feature your odds of survival just grew exponentially. You're not entirely safe, but you're safer.

    The skills you have
    Bluff: You're not going to be the party face, not with the path of chaos, but this might help you avoid awkward inquiries. Some investment might be worthwhile since the book offer a new option for this skill. A check opposed by a knowledge (arcane) can make your target believe youíre just pretending to cast a spell, allowing you to catch them by surprise, giving them a -2 penalty to their first save against chaos magic. Given how few classes need to actually invest in knowledge (arcane), this might as well be a free -2 on the first spell you cast on someone.

    Concentration: Vitally important for a chaos mage, although far less useful than it is for a traditional caster because the DCs you'll be facing will be astronomically higher. Again, new options for this skill in regard to chaos magic may make investing in it worthwhile.

    Craft alchemy: If you plan to create chaos magic infused object this will be absolutely vital. If not you might want to invest enough in it to at least reliably produce grog of giddy wonder and salve of corruptionís ease.

    Knowledge Arcana: This is what you tolerate the bard for (that and eye candy, possibly). There is little reason to bother with it. New option could grant you a +1 insight bonus to armor class and hit roll as well as +2 to initiative. However the investment is far too great for the minor fringe benefit.

    Profession: Using an option in the book allow you to use certain profession to reduce the cost of creating magic item. This is invaluable if you plan to create chaos magic item, otherwise itís not that useful. The book also offer a new profession, mad prophet, thatís actually twice as profitable as other professions. But even with that who cares about making a few gold pieces a week when standard adventuring pays so well?

    Spellcraft: Quite useless for a chaos mage, you never need to identify a spell to dispel it. On the other hand a new option let you get +1 insight bonus to your save against spells from a particular spellcaster if you can pass a DC of 20 + spell level on any of the spell the enemy cast on you. Fringe benefit at best, especially when you can just stop his spellcasting dead in the water anyway.

    The skills you donít have, but have new options for chaos mages anyway
    Appraise: New use, figuring out the age of an item. This comes in handy because items that can be infused with chaos magic to turn them into magic item need to either be masterwork or at least 500 years old. Needless to say itís just easier to get a masterwork item.

    Craft (any): DC 20 can get you a +2 to materialisation or transformation based spell about an object you studied.

    Intimidate: Chaos Mage can intimidate anything, anything! Non intelligent, immune to fear, larger than they are. None of it is a problem.

    Races

    Human: humans make for good chaos mage, like they do everything else.

    Dwarf: The increase in constitution can come in handy. More HP means more spells.

    Elves: A malus to constitution is really not acceptable given the mechanic of chaos magic, pass.

    Gnomes: Bonus to Con and small size makes a chaos mage happy. A bonus to craft alchemy is also quite excellent if you plan to make chaos magic items.

    Half elf: Half elves are meh, now and always.

    Half orc: Worse than meh but not as bad as elves.

    Halfling: Halfling are okay chaos mage, no specific bonus to push them into blue territory, unless they are strongheart.

    Non core race of choice:
    Anthropomorphic bat: +6 to wisdom is absolutely delicious.

    Ability scores


    Str: Dump it unless you go for many chaos magic items.
    Dex: Useful but not necessary
    Con: Even more important to you than to other spellcasters
    Int: Somewhat okay.
    Wis: This is your primary stat. Max it.
    Cha: Not really useful to you. The path of chaos makes you not want to dump it though.

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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Chaos magic an overview

    ďIt's a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful.Ē

    The many form of chaos magic make it impossible to discuss in detail every possible combination of elements possible. I shall not attempt to do so. Instead I will discuss important informations that are found hodge podge through the books and give a general overview.

    First itís important to note that chaos magic is not wild magic, itís freeform but not random, the only character at risk when using chaos magic is the chaos mage. Allies are safe from any backlash, except when chaos magic item explosively decay or if the chaos mage is a jerk and drop a fireball on them.

    Chaos spells
    Chaos spells are, for all intent and purpose, arcane spells; they have spell failure, they have somatic and verbal components, they provoke attacks of opportunity and they do not function in an AMF.

    The casting check
    To cast a chaos magic spell a chaos mage must pass a check rolled with 1d20 + chaos mage class level + wisdom modifier. There are ways to raise this check a little beyond that but not many.

    The spell DC
    Confusingly, chaos mage spells have two DC; the first is the DC to actually cast the spell, the second is the classic DC for the target to resist the spell. These arenít the same thing.
    Here I shall discuss the DC for casting the spell, not resist it. The spell DC is the sum of the DC of all the elements comprising the spell. Each element has a DC assigned to it, for example a Raw damage effect as a DC of 10, close range has a DC of 1. Therefore a close range damage effect has a total DC of 11. This DC influence several things.

    First how easy or hard it is to cast. You must beat the spell DC with a casting check to successfully cast it.

    Second it influence concentration checks to cast defensively or under duress. Normally such a concentration check calls for a spell level but chaos magic doesn't have such levels. It therefore uses the spell DC instead. This mean concentration checks quickly becomes incredibly high.

    Third: for every 5 full points of DC (DC 5, 10, 15 and so on) you take a point of damage; lethal in case you fail your casting check, non lethal if you succeed. If you are ever staggered or unconscious due to spellcasting (and only spellcasting) you cannot cast any more spells until you have rested 8 hours. Your HP therefore defines the limit of your spellcasting very sharply.

    Backlash
    If you ever roll a 1 on your casting check you suffer backlash. The first time it happens you start on your path of chaos. From then on when you roll of 1 on your casting check you get to roll a d20, if the result of that roll is equal or lower than your number of steps in the path of chaos, you take one more step. The tenth step is always lethal and it is impossible to come back from it. Resurrection of any kind never purge you from those steps.
    Concretely what it means is that the very first step is incredibly easy to take. Subsequent steps are less likely. Do also note that backlash happens regardless of success or failure when casting the spell. You can very well succeed in casting your spell even on a roll of 1 on your casting check and still suffer backlash.

    Advice for succesful chaos mage

    • Never use chaos magic if an alternative exist.
    • Cast your powerful spells from safety. If you have to cast under duress keep it as simple as possible.
    • Never cast a spell that would stagger you unless you are absolutely certain to get 8 hours of rest immediately afterward.
    • Cast your spell slowly if you can, you can lower the DC by ten by taking a full minute to cast.
    • Use triggers if you can, triggers are essentially contingency and you get to have 1 per 2 level in chaos mage. They also make the spell easier to cast.

    The limits of chaos magic.
    Aside from being limited by DC and health, chaos magic has several limitations.
    Divination, healing and summoning are impossible for a chaos mage; these limitation extend even to the wish level reality altering power of a chaotic reconstruction effect.
    Instantaneous materialisation effects do NOT work like conjuration (creation) effect. They need a duration or whatever you may have materialised vanish as soon as it appears. No non magical orbs working in AMF for you.

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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    On the nature of casting elements and why some of them are horribly unbalanced (In that they are too weak)


    Direct damage
    A few things to note on damage effect. By default this damage is force damage. On the very rare occasion where something might be immune to force damage you can change the damage type to fire, cold, acid, electricity or sonic by increasing the DC by 1. This is also useful if you know a monster in weak to a particular element.

    Persistent and degrading damage effect need not be associated with a duration element. It comes prebuilt in the effect.

    Trick: At first level don't use raw damage, use persistent damage. You're going to be inflicting only 1d8 in one round anyway but the DC is 5 instead of 10.

    Domination
    Domination effects are, by default, mind affecting and therefore suffer the weakness of being largely useless once immunities to mind affecting comes into play.
    The book does mention that it is possible to create domination spells that aren't mind affecting if the DM agrees. But I imagine the odds of that to be rather low.

    Materialisation
    Materialisation effect need a duration element or they disappear immediately, nothing created by such effect persist.
    Materialisation covers illusions, which are considered mind affecting.
    While a chaos mage cannot summon he can create chaos construct with a materialisation effect. But generally those construct aren't really good.

    Movement
    Movement effects are confusing and contain a bewildering array of potential effects.
    The most basic effect of the movement effect is the ability to teleport. The book is however silent on a few things concerning this teleportation. Namely does it require line of sight and what happens should you teleport into a wall or other solid object.
    While the books do not give a clear answer to this, it appears that the intent was to allow a chaos mage to teleport anywhere he pleases without needing line of sight. Likewise a chaos mage would be shunted to the nearest open space if necessary.

    The problem of duration: The book is not very clear on how to apply duration. Here is therefore two exemple to help you grasp it.

    A level 10 chaos mage casting a moderate movement effect with a by round duration.

    Using the first option where the movement occur slowly our chaos mage could travel a total distance of 200 ft over the course of 10 rounds. He therefore travel at a speed of 20ft per round. This method does not allow flight but does not require any action either. Once you start moving you'll keep moving until youíve travelled the full distance. Moving around obstacles as needed. The great benefit is of course being able to move without using an action to do so.

    Second option, rapid movement, allows for flight. For ten round our chaos mage can move a total of 200 ft, he can spread this movement however he might decide, but once he travel 200 ft the spell ends, even if the duration is not completely gone. Should the chaos mage decide to move 200 ft in one round the spell end after this one round. He could also levitate 199 ft up and stay in the air for the full duration and then float back down safely.

    Movement effect also allow for the equivalent of the following spells: sanctuary, haste, slow, spider climb, the ability to prevent someone to enter or leave an area, mage hand, apporting, hold portal, haste, save against environmental conditions and so on and so forth. This make movement effect the most versatile category.

    Adding to this versatility is the ability of the movement element to duplicate the use of animate object spell. Offering a second solution to the lack of summoning.

    Transformation
    Transformation effect, much like materialisation, need a duration element.
    Luckily transformation effect have a very strict limitation of one transformation effect in effect at a time on a creature. So while a chaos mage can render himself immune to one school of magic, he can't make himself immune to all of them, or do so and benefit from increased AC. This limitation on buffing, or debuffing, is one of the reasons that chaos magic is ultimately less powerful (and more importantly: spotlight stealing) than standard magic.

    Augmenting ability score, granting special vision mode, alter self, polymorph, increase and decrease in size are all transformation effects.

    The wish problem: A chaotic reconstruction effect allow a chaos mage to replicate the use of wish. A very powerful ability that a clever, lucky and optimised chaos mage could use fairly early in his career. There are however a few things to keep in mind. First the effect will always be limited in time, once the duration elapse things will return to their natural state..
    To keep it from abuse a DM could rightly rule that even chaining wishes will have their effect end when the initial one stops.
    For example, you could use a chaotic reconstruction to make a ring of three wishes appear and then use that ring to grant yourself wishes. A DM would be well within its right to say that the effect of the wishes from the ring stops when reality reassert itself and the chaotic reconstruction end.
    In the end chaotic reconstruction is the one effect where a gentleman agreement absolutely must come into play.

    Stacking elements
    An important note, at higher level a chaos mage can combine multiple elements into one spell. This has limits.
    First of, not all elements can be of the same type.
    If you can combine 3 elements you cannot have all 3 be damage effect. You could have 2 damage and 1 movement.
    Also you are not allowed to use the exact same effect.
    Of our two damage effect mentioned above for example, you cannot have them both be raw damage effect. You could have a raw damage and a persistent damage.

    Area element
    Chaos mage have a variety of shape they can give to their spells but more interesting is their ability to easily exclude friends from being affected by their spells. This make the chaos mage eminently useful in a party.

    Range element
    One of the primary advantage of chaos magic over normal magic is to be found here. Chaos mage can give their spell a range that is calculated in miles! This makes chaos mage very useful in large scale combat, such as with armies.

    Saving throw
    Unlike Arcane spells, chaos magic always allow the target a saving throw. Not only that there is no such thing as a save and suck anyway effect. This of course mean that chaos magic is slightly weaker than normal magic. On the other hand the saving throw for chaos magic is calculated differently than the one for normal magic.
    Chaos magic does not have level like normal magic. this mean the saving is calculated using half the chaos mage level rather than spell level. This has two effect, firstly a chaos mage spell are essentially heightened for free. Normal mage often avoid using lower spell effects later in their career simply because the save become too low to be useful. Not so for a chaos mage.
    Secondly, the save for chaos magic end up being slightly stronger than normal magic in the end. A 20 th level chaos mage spells have a save that is equivalent to a 10th level spell.
    Then chaos mage can effectively raise the saving throw on their spells even further (although at a rather steep increase in spell DC)

    Overcoming spell resistance
    Every spell a chaos mage uses against a target will end up facing spell resistance. Unlike normal magic Chaos mage have no spell that ignore spell resistance. With the exception of materialization effects but those donít affect a target directly.
    On top of the normal caster check to beat spell resistance that any caster gets the chaos mage has another option. ignore spell resistance entirely. To do so a chaos mage can subtract the target's spell resistance from their casting roll. This mean a chaos mage can completely ignore spell resistance but at the increased risk of failing to cast his spell.
    In effect a roll of 1d20 + chaos mage level + wisdom - SR against the spell DC.

    Triggers
    Triggers are an excellent way for a chaos mage to lower the DC of his spell. Triggers work like contingencies do for wizard, the more specific and unlikely they are the more the DC will be lowered. A chaos mage can only ever have 1 trigger per 2 class level. To a maximum of 10.

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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Chaos Familiar


    Before any discussion of the chaos familiar can take place it is important to note the several shortcoming of the book when it comes to familiars.

    The type: The book never explicitly tell you the type of creature the familiar is. The closest the book ever come to mentioning it is when they call the familiar a sentient construct.

    The book is also ambiguous when it comes to the HD of the familiar, whether or not those are real HD and therefore allow the familiar to gain skills/feats. Ambiguous however, is not absent. There are hints that chaos familiar do not gain feats or skills.

    It is important for you to work with your DM to solve these questions.
    What I can offer is how I would rule it.

    Type: Familliars should be considered construct for the purpose of effect that depend on type. They do not, however, gain any other benefit or drawback from their type.
    HD: Their HD are not real, they merely count as having the listed HD for the purpose of effects based on HD. They therefore gain no feats or skills.

    The real interest of the chaos familiar lay in his special abilities.

    Special abilities

    Bolster save: Not a bad choice
    Bolster will: the reason why you got the familiar in the first place.
    Brainburn poison: avoid it
    Breath weapon: maybe if you got nothing better
    Damage division; Since you want bolster will you want to avoid this one.
    Damage reduction: could be useful.
    Extra movement type: Probably not necessary
    Increased attack bonus: You really don't want your familiar into battle.
    Invisibility: Useful, but less so at later level.
    Resistance: Not that useful.
    Spell conduit: Can be a good way to save on DC based on range.

    The incredibly high penalty for having your familiar die, the loss of a permanent point of constitution, means you really don't want them to be sent into battle if you can at all help it.
    In fact unless you really want bolster will it's probably a good idea to not have a familiar at all.

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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Chaos items


    Chaos mage, like normal casters, can create magical items to help them, and others, in their lives. However chaos items function differently from normal magic items.
    Below I shall list the pros and cons of chaos items when compared to magic items.

    Pros

    No feat investment: A chaos mage only need have ranks in craft alchemy and gold to make a chaos item, saving on precious feat slots that others would have to spend on crafting feats. With one possible exception I shall detail in the cons.

    No XP investment: Chaos magic items requires no XP cost to create,a good news given that a chaos mage will want to spend his XP toward purging himself of chaotic paths.

    Very cheap: As a rule of thumb a chaos magic item will end up costing 10 times less than a magic item filling the same function. With sufficient investment in profession (Miner, tanner or herbalist) the price can be further cut in half, making chaos item potentially 20 times cheaper than magic items.

    Faster to create: Given their reduced price chaos magic items tend to be completed in less time than comparable magic item, generally taking only a fifth of the time.

    Slotless: Unlike normal magic items, chaos item can be made slotless at no cost. While the intent may have been to limit some properties to certain items in practice the book make no mention of such and therefore any properties can be put on any item without a need for a slot to be used.

    Cons

    Limited properties: While classic items can present a huge variety of special properties and powers, chaos items are exceedingly limited in what they can accomplish. I will give details on these properties later.

    The need for attunement: Before a chaotic item can offer it's benefits to a potential wielder it needs to be attuned. This process present a more serious drawback since attuning means that a chaos mage who created the item will lose a point of ability in one of his physical score that cannot be healed by any means as long as the item remains attuned. Further, this loss is not determined by the number of items but by number of infusions (IE special properties).
    Worse still, people other than the creator of the chaotic item attempting to attune with the item will need to succeed on a will save and will lose not one but two points per infusion.
    This penalty can be reduced to a single point per infusion and no will save if the chaos mage who created the item took the attune other chaos feat.

    Chaotic decay: Chaotic items will degrade over time unless the person attuned to them can make a will save to prevent it. This decay manifest itself as a loss of hardness. Once that hardness reaches zero the item will explode. The good news is that the will save is relatively low.
    Chaotic items with multiple infusion will also cause much more damage when they explode.
    It is possible to make an item permanent by permanently losing a point of ability score rather than temporarily doing so with attunement.

    Properties

    Augmentation
    Augmentation provide an enhancement bonus to attack rolls, damage rolls, armor class or ability score. This bonus is limited to +1 per 4 chaos mage level for a maximum of +5. This makes a chaos item used to enhance ability scores strictly less efficient than normal magic items. The separation of attack rolls and damage rolls as two separate properties also proves less desirable than traditional items. In short, donít bother with augmentations.

    Insight
    Insight provide an insight bonus to a skill with a maximum bonus of +10. Again, probably not worth bothering with.

    Resistance
    Resistance grants an enhancement bonus to a saving throw with a bonus of maximum +5. Not any better than what normal magic items can do, more drawbacks, avoid.

    Storage
    Perhaps the most useful property, the storage infusion allows a chaos mage to create a reserve of points that he can call on at any time to grant himself an enhancement bonus to his casting check on a 1 to 1 basis. Making the casting of truly powerful chaos spell possible with relative ease. It does not however help with backlash.
    These points can be refilled and I would advise doing so before draining the last point to avoid weakening the hardness of the object.
    There is no maximum to the amount of points an item can contain but a chaos mage can only use 3 points per level at a time.

    Luck
    The luck infusion allows a chaos mage to place a reserve of points that will grant a circumstance bonus to any roll. There is no limit to the number of points that can be placed in an item but only three can be used on any one roll.
    This property can be a gigantic trap if your DM is sadistic as any points used means the DM can inflict a penalty of the same value on any one roll he wishes the next day.
    You can be assured a particularly vehement DM will do so to ensure you suffer from backlash much more readily.

    Unconventional use for chaotic items
    The multiplicative nature of the damage inflicted by an exploding chaotic item makes them a useful, if costly, bomb.
    When a chaotic item explode the wielder suffer 1d12 damage multiplied by the strength of the infusion and everything in a 10 ft radius suffers 3d6 damage.
    While the book says that the radius damage is fixed in both size and power it is still multiplied in power by multiple infusion.
    The example given in the book also seems to imply that the size should be multiplied as well and could also be multiplied by the strength of the infusion and not just multiple ones.
    As with many things in that book, ask your DM. BUt he should he rule that strength of the infusion becomes a factor in the radius damage you now have the effective means to create a rather impressive nuke.

    Other items of interest

    Weirdstone: make a weapon that debuff enemies against chaos magic. Could be nice if you can convince one of the more martially inclined allies you have to use it.

    Thickened cloth: In theory, it can stop the need for a concentration check if you get hurt. In practice the threshold for it is so low it might as well not exist.

    Grog of Giddy wonder: +4 to chaos magic casting check. Thatís awesome, the drawback is a weakness to mind affecting and 2 points of constitution damage. There are ways to work around that so it can be a great thing to have.

    Salve of corruption ease: A bit costly for what it offers but it can make a difference when your steps along the paths of chaos start to rise.

    Stone of remembrance: 85k a pop to avoid backlash. Thatís insanely pricey. Avoid.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Feats

    Adjusted existing feats
    Augment summoning: The good news is that the conjuration focus prereq is not there for the chaos mage version. The bad news is of course that chaos construct aren't that good.

    Combat casting: As a chaos mage you'll want all the concentration you can get this make this feat far more useful for a chaos mage than it ever was for a normal caster.

    Skill focus: concentration: You might also consider this, but the bonus is less interesting than combat casting. You're probably better off with a custom concentration magic item.

    Spell mastery: Lower the DC of a specific spell by 3. Not an effect, a spell. Honestly if you find yourself casting the same spell over and over again, you should play something other than a chaos mage.

    Spell Focus: Since chaos magic doesn't really have spell without saves this could be useful. A whole element getting a +2 to save is nice, equivalent to an increase of 5 to the casting DC. The limit of it not applying to mixed element could be an issue unless you take the feat for every elements.

    Spell penetration: On the one hand, chaos mage do not have spells that ignore SR, on the other they have two ways to beat SR and it's easier to raise caster level/wisdom than the cost opportunity of spending a feat.

    New feats
    Attune others: The only viable way to make chaos item useful to others. But it's still chaos items and therefore less useful to other people's anyway.

    Blood of chaos: a whooping one less point of damage suffered when successfully casting a chaos spell with a minimum of one point anyway? And you need the endurance feat. How about no?

    Body of chaos: Same as above without a minimum damage and work on casting even if you fail. Better. Still a piddling amount of point.

    Casting focus: +1 to caster level, horrible prereq and easier to suffer backlash? I'd rather cut off my own arm with a rusty spoon.

    Chaos Corona: Interestingly this end up making a better damage reducer than blood and body of chaos if you cast several spell in quick succession.

    Chaos healing: Horrendous prereq for the ability to heal an average of 0.5 points more per level. When after the first level you generally end up using magic to heal anyway. No, just no.

    Enhanced familiar: Just not worth it. Sure you could boost your familiarís score but familiars remain too much of a risk.

    Immutable will: Now, that right here is awesome in a bottle. Half XP price to get rid of chaos ? Yes please. Take it no matter what.

    Locked in chaos: Every step of chaos is locked but you progress along those steps slower. Good. Cannot take immutable will with it ? Bad, very very bad. You are better off taking split path to slow down your progress than this. If your concept is wildling donít ever look at this, youíve signed your death warrant if you take it.

    Luck of the damned: +2 floating bonus to skill or save, nice. Last until you fail, less nice. -1 to said skill or save once you do fail. Makes it strictly meh.

    Specialised focus: Oh look, it's casting focus with more drawbacks and less benefits.

    Split path: You effectively double your survivability to backlash with this. Excellent.

    Subtle chaos magic: You can still only remove somatic or verbal components. But now it's easier to do so. Nice but not great.

    Symbiotic familiar: Gain slightly less XP but your familiar gain skill points. Sound like a deal to me.

    Touch of chaos: This is attune others in reverse. If you are a chaos mage it's only useful when you find a permanent chaos item.

    Twisted insight: Half your wisdom bonus instead of int bonus to int skill. Not really worth it.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Concepts, Multiclassing and prestige classes

    Concepts
    Mongoose introduced something they call character concepts. These concepts are essentially backgrounds or template you can apply to your character. Each concept comes with an advantage and a drawback.

    I will not detail every concept since most of them use the same mechanic. Therefore I will split the concept in two categories, the specialists and the wildling.

    Specialist
    Benefit: +2 to casting check for one element, take non lethal from failure when using that element unless a 1 was rolled.
    Drawback: -2 to casting check with another element and always take lethal damage from failure with that element.

    Here are the elemental pairing the enhanced one first and the diminished one second.
    Breaker: Damage, Materialisation
    Maker: Materialisation, Damage
    Master: Domination, Movement
    Sculptor: Transformation, Damage
    Traveller: Movement, Domination

    Wildling
    Benefit: 1 damage for every full 6 DC instead of every 5 and only half the damage is lethal on a failure unless they roll a 1.
    Drawback: Start with 1 step of chaos that canít be purged. Canít purge locked step of chaos (step 4 and 8)

    Multiclass and prestige class.
    The chaos mage is a class that is at least 12 level long. If you do not get the ability to purge chaos you are going to get in trouble sooner or later.
    Therefore your ability to multiclass or PRC out are sadly limited.
    First thing to note is that you cannot take level in any class that grant any sort of arcane casting. You're limited to divine caster or non casters. (Psionic is okay though).
    I can't give advice on every possible class combo. So I will limit myself to those presented in the quintessential chaos mage. I won't lie, they're bad.

    Bloodcarver: Circumstance bonus to caster level in exchange for hp, that cannot be healed by magic. A losing proposition.

    Chaotic fist: this is actually worse than taking monk levels. Quite a feat.

    Chaotic specialist: Become really good at using one element (damage, materialisation, ...) but only half casting progression. In the end you're better off staying a generalist.

    Doom ringer: Offer a way to avoid suffering the damage from spellcasting. You will however need a lot of corpses. There are better options to avoid damage.

    Fractured jester: Slightly better armor, damage, initiative, and skills in exchange for being unable to ever use domination effects. Granted dominations effects are easily thwarted but still. that's harsh for not much.

    Lord of change: Again, loss of domination but this time with real benefits, spells of materialisation and transformation effect last much longer.

    Twisted King: Lose damage AND movement for longer domination and slightly better social skills ? Hell no, even if chaotic creatures are considered friendly.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    The paths of chaos
    The paths of chaos are varied offering bonuses and maluses, mixed blessings and outright curses. There isn't in my sense any path that is clearly superior to the others. There is however one path you should never take. The path of agonized ecstasy will lower your constitution and HP, making you less able to cast spells. This is very very bad.
    There is little else to say other than a chaos mage would be well advised to purge himself at the earliest opportunity. Simple calculation show that a chaos mage has an average of 1151 spells to cast before succumbing to final inexorable death. Purging oneself is therefore of vital importance.

    Chaos mage duels

    Chaos mages should be loath to enter into spell and counterspell games of rocket tags with each other. For one the ability to dispel each other at will makes it pointless except for the ever increasing chances of backlash.

    Chaos mage duels should be favored as much as possible, the rolls are easier to keep track off than the possibility of calculating spellcasting DC, less or no chance of backlash and such duels evoke quite well the flavorful contest of will seen in fiction when two mages chose not to engage in real battle.

    Afterword: Chaos based it may be, but better rules it needs


    There you have it ladies, gentlemen and indefinite creatures from the 7th dimension, the chaos mage.
    The class can be fun but require heavy house ruling (dear god that familiar section) and gentleman agreement to function.
    The thing is though, as bad as it can be, it's no worse than what a tier 1 class is capable, sometimes far far less. With a chaos mage you won't have to worry about time shifted demiplanes astral projecting spellcaster outclassing everyone else at everything. In fact, if I had to give the chaos mage a tier, shockingly I'd say it was tier 3. It's very versatile and can do powerful stuff but with the patches I mentionned it's not in game breaking territory.

    The price of chaos magic, especially concentration check, conspires neatly to keep the chaos mage in the place that was envisioned for mages by new players everywhere. The realm of mobile artillery piece and/or mysterious workers of wonders at a price no decent folk would pay.

    You probably came here dreading the horrible stink of cheese and I hope you left with less worries over it.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    You might want to proofread this again. I'm noticing some areas that really need commas.

    I noticed an error in the Chaos Items section. Right now, it states that Chaos Items give you a +4 bonus per Chaos Mage level, up to a maximum of +5.

    Why didn't you use the standard color rating system?

    Other than those issues, I liked the handbook and its humor. Good job.
    Last edited by ATHATH; 2016-02-28 at 07:28 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Also, it's "afterword," not "afterwords".

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The revised and consolidated chaos handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by ATHATH View Post
    You might want to proofread this again. I'm noticing some areas that really need commas.
    Commas have long been a nemesis of mine.

    I noticed an error in the Chaos Items section. Right now, it states that Chaos Items give you a +4 bonus per Chaos Mage level, up to a maximum of +5.
    Yes, quite an embarrassing mistake, fixed now.
    Why didn't you use the standard color rating system?
    I wasn't aware there was a standard color rating. But it seems appropriate for chaos to do it's own thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by ATHATH View Post
    Also, it's "afterword," not "afterwords".
    Fixed that as well.

    Other than those issues, I liked the handbook and its humor. Good job.
    Thank you.

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