Arcanist Wanted For Dungeoneering

January 11, 2017

The recently graduated student of the largest arcane university on the continent heading out to make their mark in their old school robes, staff and sling clutched tight in anticipation. The child who accidentally destroyed their house with a sudden burst of flame from their hands, outcast and seeking redemption. A price paid, an oath sworn, blood spilled, and vengeance sought; she left that home for the last time with his head above the door and her Master smiling from beyond. He never learned how, exactly, it made sense to him but just on the edge of the vision he could see the shapes and structures of sorcery…hopefully, on the road, he can learn more. She didn’t care for the books her father studied, nor for the raw power that her brother seemed to delve in, she instead loved her potions, her scrolls, her wands, her devices. They had never been very good at being clear on anything, and the fact that every time they tried to form a spell in their mind caused some part of them to change as well didn’t help matters at all.

These are all Arcanists. At this point they’re all young, they’re all unpracticed, and they’re all learning the ropes in most of the same ways. While they are diverse, and will diverge soon into their adventuring career, early on all Arcane specialists follow the same path – learning their first Engrams and forming their Arcane identity.

The Arcanist is our first magical class in our rewrite, and is the Intelligence base class. They’re the root of all Arcane casters. While they have minor variations in their Talents and Origins, they are all starting on the path in near the same place. They can even, occasionally, learn something from each other. The powerful Arcane universities and organizations on most planes have many types of Arcane masters on their ruling committees as everyone has a different specialty…and weakness.

Arcanists are defined largely by where they come from, as it informs how their power will be channeled. However, unlike many of the other classes, they have much greater flexibility in their options at all times. When creating an Arcanist, you chose your Origin and your Talent. You may gain more Talents over time, but  your Origin will never change. It’s where your Arcane ability comes from. The Origins in the first edition will be;

Schooling; You learned how to cast spells and form Engrams at an arcane university, from a schooled family member, or other educational setting. Due to your rigorous training, you know how the language of the Arcane and the mudras of the Arcane work together, and may swap Somatic and Verbal components when casting.

Natural; You are a sorcerer, the common term for someone who is born into power. Whether your grandmother was a dragon, your father was a demon, or you were born under a “bad sign”, your power has always flowed naturally since you were a child. It manifested at some point in spectacular fashion (traditionally around puberty, especially if you’re in a Japanese plane of some kind) and sent you permanently down the path of the Arcane. Since your power is in-born, you learn fewer Engrams than others, but all of your known Engrams are considered “prepared” and you have no need for a spellbook.

Pact; There was a need for power, and someone was offering. Whether you sold your soul, your first born, your wordly possessions, or your mind, you made a deal with something Beyond. This isn’t like the Acolytes that traffic in Divine power from inspiration and faith, you made a straight deal with them. They filled you with the powers of the dark planes, the stars, the void, or possibly a myriad of other, stranger, things. Based on your Patron, choose a “theme”. This could be an element, a style, or even a directive like “be vindictive”. Work with your DM on which Engrams you may take that fulfill this theme – any that don’t are forever barred from your access.

Wild; You’re…kind of a natural. Well, no one trained you. You didn’t ask for this. And you’re not entirely sure how to control it. Magic flows through you like a wellspring. No one is exactly sure why; some theorize you were born under a “bad sign”, some others think it was all those ley lines that intersect at your house, and yet another told you it was because of all those apples you ate when all the planets were aligned. What it comes down to, though, is you have a wild talent for magic. When you form a spell, you occasionally get an extra effect. When you crit, you get to decide this effect and chose where it goes. When you roll a natural 1, you don’t.

Other than Origin, Arcanists also benefit from a Talent. Here’s a few samples, there will be many more once the writing is more fleshed out.

Devices; spells are cool and all but you love the gadgets. It costs you 10% less in physical material to make your own devices and, on a critical roll (or a natural 20 on non-targeted) when using a device (a wand, rod, ring, staff, scroll, potion, salve, etc, infused with magic) you do not expend the charge.

Battle; just because you wear a robe doesn’t mean you can’t get in and fight. You are proficient with one bonus Martial weapon of your choice, you may make Somatic movements with that weapon, and you may use small shields as well as bucklers.

Specialist; there’s one school of magic you really, really like. You’re so good at it, in fact, that its usages come easier to you than any others. For one school, spells made using any of the Engrams of that school cost 1 less Spell Point to cast.

Antimagic; you’re a magician, a wizard, a spell caster. But your real goal is to shut down more dangerous Arcanists so that they can be dealt with by your party. On a critical roll, you regain your level in SP when counterspelling.

Elementalist; you like fire. A lot. Or maybe it’s water. Or maybe you really like dirt. Whatever element it is (subject to DM approval) comes easy to you. Usage of the element to flavor your spells is not only free, it is automatic. And cannot be changed.

Controller; your particular specialty is large groups of enemies. A singular enemy is easy to deal with, but dropping huge walls of fire or spraying balls of shattering icicles takes finesse. All Area of Effect Engrams do not incur extra costs for target exclusion.

Quick Study; your mind is malleable and adapted to information. You may swap 1 Engram per character level on a Short Rest rather than only being able to change them on a Long Rest.

Compassion; your real strength is in helping others. Any healing or buff spell is discounted by 1 SP per character level.

Hopefully this sounds exciting! Next time, we’re gonna dig into Divine magic, why it’s different from Arcane magic, and the flaws in D&D’s approach to Divine magic in comparison to Arcane historically.

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Let me know what you think!

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