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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Any love for the shadowcaster?

    It's a long time since I last saw someone discuss the shadowcaster. I like the class myself and plays one at the moment in a very, well, shadow-y campaign.

    So, what's wrong with it, apart from the emo-ish concept*?

    *Seriously, you don't have to use shadow in every damn sentence! Also, all of the PrCs except for the nocturmancer (sp?) is called something with shadow...

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Do you mean Shadowdancer or Shadowcraft Mage? Because I saw someone mention the ScM in a thread earlier today.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    I think he's refering to the Tome of Magic class. They sound interresting, but I'm not honestly sure how they are supposed to work.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    The base class from ToM?

    A bit weak is all. I have a player playing one (gestalt though) in a game I'm running. I like the flavour, and there was a suggestion on how to improve it IIRC.

    Add bonus uses of the mysteries based on attribute (much like wis/Int for clerics/wizards).
    Remove the progression through the types of mystery - you can take them in whatever order you want (always obeying level restrictions, of course) - so if you want to pick up the 3rd level mystery and you don't have the 1st and 2nd, no big deal. They then suggest giving a bonus feat (from a list) when you do pick up all three levels of a given mystery.

    That's what I seem to recall.

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    The shadow caster, from Tome of Magic. Generally.. It's agreed that it needs a fix, or more material. For being a caster, it's fairly weak at what it does.

    Project Shadow
    is something I love, done here at the playground.

    Mythweavers has a suggestion on how to fix them.

    And the class's creator has prescribed fixes out there, too.

    The most awesome tweak I've seen was proposed by Fax, is giving them a spell recovery method, akin to Sword sages, where they can take a full round action to recover all mysteries of one tier.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    The Shadowcaster is from Tome of Magic. Its main problem is that it's extremely binary, even more so than the wizard. Either you absolutely demolish an encounter or you hardly contribute at all; because you get so few mysteries, but the good ones are better than equivalent level spells, especially if you have a lot of metashadow feats. It kind of turns the party into a shadowcaster delivery system: they kill everything stopping you from getting to the BBEG and then you jump up and down on him.
    It does have the advantages of a good skill list (hide, move silently, spot, etc) and being less squishy than most full casters (d6 hit die, can wear armour with the Still Mystery feat), but it doesn't get enough mysteries to be really worthwhile.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    How do they work? My understanding is that they have a really limited number of spells, and, at least initially, they only get to use 1/day.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    I like the shadowcaster in concept. No, not the emo-y bit; I like the idea of themed magic, rather than generic can-do-anything magical energy. Manipulating shadows and reflections gives a nice feel to magic; it's something the common people can be superstitious about.

    The problems with the class is that it's weak, especially at low levels. I have never dared play a shadowcaster at level one, because I don't really think playing a character with the equivalent of 1 1st-level spell per day is going to be much fun. Once that spell is gone, I guess I've got... my equivalent of cantrips, only one of which is any use in combat, so there's three more combat actions per day. Once that's gone, you're down to using your crossbow. You might make a decent scout, too, because Spot, Hide, and Move Silently are class skills, but the class only gets 2+Int modifier skill points per level...

    And their abilities rise slowly in endurance, too; they're much more in danger of running out of spells than any spellcaster. They also have fewer "spells" to pick from, don't know as many as a wizard, and have less flexibility in using them than either a wizard or a sorcerer.

    The redeeming feature is that the mysteries you do get are often pretty cool. There's a popular shadowcaster fix floating around on the Wizards boards, but I've always preferred to make their powers per encounter, rather than per day.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest Fennac View Post
    How do they work? My understanding is that they have a really limited number of spells, and, at least initially, they only get to use 1/day.
    Right - the author of the shadowcaster made some unofficial errata for it though, which addresses some of that by giving additional uses based on attribute, like the other caster classes.

    Shadowcaster fixes

    1) Charisma determines the DC to save against your mysteries. Intelligence determines the highest level mystery you can cast.

    2) Grant bonus mysteries per day based on Charisma. These would work just like bonus spells. For instance, if your Cha is 14, you can cast one extra mystery of 1st-level equivalent and one of 2nd-level equivalent per day. (Note that each mystery does give an equivalent level, even though you don't learn them by level.)

    3) Eliminate the rule that says you have to take mysteries in a given Path in order. If you want to jump around, so as to broaden your versatility, you can.

    4) Within a category—Apprentice, Initiate, Master—you must have at least two mysteries of any given level before you can take any mysteries of the next higher level. For instance, you must have two 1st-level mysteries before you can take any 2nds, and at least two 2nds before you can take any 3rds.

    5) Eliminate the rule that says you get a bonus feat equal to half the number of paths you have access to. Instead, you get a bonus feat equal to the total number of Paths you complete. Thus, while you are no longer required to take the entirety of a given Path, there's still encouragement to do so.

    6) You may “swap out” mysteries, just as a sorcerer does spells known. If you “un-complete” a Path in this way, however, you lose access to the bonus feat you gained from completing that Path. (You can regain access by re-completing the Path, completing a different Path and choosing that feat as your new bonus, or selecting that feat as a normal feat at your next opportunity.)

    7) Once your Apprentice Mysteries become supernatural abilities, change the save DC from 10 + equivalent spell level + Cha to 10 + 1/2 caster level + Cha. This makes them useful even against high-HD opponents, and follows the pattern for other supernatural abilities.
    Edited to paste in fix.
    Last edited by Epinephrine; 2008-12-16 at 03:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Thanks for posting that (I don't like the need for more then 1 casting stat, but that looks a lot better).
    Last edited by Tempest Fennac; 2008-12-16 at 03:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    OH.

    I totally forgot more awesome. Descent of Shadows, the second coming of 'Project Shadow'. Really awesome stuff here.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest Fennac View Post
    Thanks for posting that (I don't like the need for more then 1 casting stat, but that looks a lot better).
    Yeah, I'm not crazy about the double attribute either, but at least Int is useful for skill points. I changed it to Wisdom and Charisma in my game, as I figured shadow sounds more like something one would use through intuition and force of personality (Wis+Cha) rather than intellect and force of personality (Int+Cha?), but I'm not even sure if it's needed for balance.

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    I'd just ue 1 stat for everything (I can't see any mechanical reasons why some spellcasting classes should need more then 1 mental stat).
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Or why any of them would use just one. Make them both need 2, then you de-break them by a little bit.

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    My problem with that is that it would potentially hinder people who get poor dice rolls if they prefer rolling (also, my view is that it's only really a case of a few spells being broken rather then the full casters themselves).
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest Fennac View Post
    My problem with that is that it would potentially hinder people who get poor dice rolls if they prefer rolling (also, my view is that it's only really a case of a few spells being broken rather then the full casters themselves).
    Which is why I do the two ability approach for all spellcasters. After all, why should they need only one ability to be good, and everybody else needs at least 2-3 to do their job right?

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    It depends on how you see it: I tend to see Con and Dex to be really important for Wizards and Sorcerers for boosting their 2 poor saves and adding to their rubbish HPs and ranged touch attacks. As far as Clerics go, I never use Divine Metamagic, so I'd want them to have good Str and Con and high Wis, with their other stats beng at least average. Core Druids are an exception due to only really needing average Int with high Con and Wis, but I don't allow those in my games (I only allow Shapeshifter and Focussed Animal Druids, but I guess FA Druids are pretty SAD as well due to how they don't really need to enter combat thanks to their companion). Just out of curiosity, which stats do you use for casters in your games, Lert?
    Last edited by Tempest Fennac; 2008-12-17 at 03:34 AM.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Snark View Post
    I like the shadowcaster in concept. No, not the emo-y bit; I like the idea of themed magic, rather than generic can-do-anything magical energy. Manipulating shadows and reflections gives a nice feel to magic; it's something the common people can be superstitious about.

    The problems with the class is that it's weak, especially at low levels. I have never dared play a shadowcaster at level one, because I don't really think playing a character with the equivalent of 1 1st-level spell per day is going to be much fun. Once that spell is gone, I guess I've got... my equivalent of cantrips, only one of which is any use in combat, so there's three more combat actions per day. Once that's gone, you're down to using your crossbow. You might make a decent scout, too, because Spot, Hide, and Move Silently are class skills, but the class only gets 2+Int modifier skill points per level...

    And their abilities rise slowly in endurance, too; they're much more in danger of running out of spells than any spellcaster. They also have fewer "spells" to pick from, don't know as many as a wizard, and have less flexibility in using them than either a wizard or a sorcerer.

    The redeeming feature is that the mysteries you do get are often pretty cool. There's a popular shadowcaster fix floating around on the Wizards boards, but I've always preferred to make their powers per encounter, rather than per day.
    I belive thats how wizards where in 1st editon at first level ... d4 hit points and 1 spell per day.
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    I belive thats how wizards where in 1st editon at first level ... d4 hit points and 1 spell per day.
    Crossbow FTW.

    Anyway, consider that shadowcaster is sorta a "beta" of 4th edition wizard, like ToB is an experiment of encounter mechanics (and meleers with attacks "named"). I think shadowcaster is INTENDED to be weaker.

    A friend of mine is playing it, and enjoying it, but:

    1) gestalt campaign, the other class is a more traditional caster

    2) is true: sometimes cannot use his powers (they are finished), sometimes the output is a little bit high.

    Anyway, batlefield control powers are nasty, at least at level we are playing now (9th).

    I'd suggest to utilize the shadow aspect of his magic (like the weave/shadoweave in faerun). Maybe the not complete overlapping of the two magics could lead to interesting RPG and/or encounters. Just a rough idea.

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    Last edited by Kaiyanwang; 2008-12-17 at 09:38 AM.

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tempest Fennac View Post
    Just out of curiosity, which stats do you use for casters in your games, Lert?
    Primary casting stats remain the same. For DCs an such secondary stats are:

    Prepared arcane: Wisdom - magic is note all by rote. Subtlety is needed, and a wise mage will be able to alter a spell as he casts by the feel of what is needed to succeed.

    Spontaneous arcane: Constitution - he must channel the arcane energies through himself to cast. The stronger the body, the more power he can add to his spells.

    Prepared divine: Charisma - seeking intervention from a higher source requires that the caster have a force of personality to convince the aspect that provides his magic that it is a worthy cause. He is also able to use this strong will to place his zeal behind the spell, adding some little energy of his own.

    Spontaneous divine: Intelligence - the caster must use his knowledge of his deity and of magic itself in order that the spells that he has carefully chosen may be used at the right time and place.


    Something like that, although I added a few feats to help casters out if they are willing to spend the feats to do so (swapping secondary stat or even becoming SAD if you use two feats).

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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    Thanks. I honestly don't think it makes any sense at all to do that, though (I actually ruled in agame I'm running that all casters need to use 1 stat for all spellcasting).
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    Default Re: Any love for the shadowcaster?

    It's not about what makes sense, it's about what's fair. It's not fair that a wizard can dump every stat ever except Int and totally rock out every encounter. It's not fair that a druid can do anything ever with just their wisdom stat and natural spell. If they had this stipulation, it'd be more fair for the rest of folks. And beside that, it totally does make sense, as the Favored Soul, Spirit Shaman, and Shugenja have shown us.

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