Help with Shadowcraft mage

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Alright so I am about to play a new campaign (we start at level 4), and I want to play a shadowcraft mage. First of all I seek help with my race. Every party member starts out with a family item (around 10.000 GP worth) and my DM has agreed that I can have the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis (as an amulet). 

My idea is to play the stealthy gnome and get my hide as high as possible. With the amulet activated I already get a lot of hide for a level 4, but obviously I would like more if possible. Do you guys know any sub-gnome race/or any other race (not homebrew) which can enter the Shadowcraft mage PrC, that offers me more hide than the usual +4 for a small gnome? 

I was thinking about Whisper Gnome, but I can’t decide whether the +1 DC for my illusion spells is too high a price for the racial traits the Whisper gnome offers. 

Basically the Gnome offers me: 



  • +2 to all saves against illusion spells

  • +1 DC to all my illusion spells

  • +2 craft (lol)


The Whisper Gnome offers me:



  • +2 DEX (for the cost of CHA which is something I wouldn’t mind at all!)

  • 10 extra basespeed

  • Dark vision (without having to activate the amulet)

  • +4 hide 

  • +4 move silently that goes well with the hide.
     


Any advice on what I should pick, in case there aren't any other race which offers hide AND +DC to my illusion spells?


And finally I have a question about the Quasireality of the illusion spells. At higher level it is possible to raise the strength of the Quasireal-spells to more than a 100% of the mimicked spell. But how does this work if the subject actually fails its will save to determinate whether the spell is real or not? Can you cast your mimicked spells without offering the target a save, and "force him to succeed" the denied save, and thereby making him suffer a stronger effect than the original? 


 
EDIT: One more question. My GM has just told me that I won't be able to cast 9th level spells with the earth spell feat, because the rules compendium says that spell level is a number between 0 and 9: "Spell level is a number between 0 and 9 that defi nes the spell’s relative power" (page 129, Rules Compendium). Do you guys know any material that says otherwise?



Best regards


Jalle. 

Vanilla Gnome's better for you than Whisper, your Cha doesn't matter, but neither does your Dex. You want that +1 to illusion DC's and general other gnomish awesome. The movement speed wouldn't be bad but not as good as +1 DC.


As much as I love Beguiler, it's not really ideal for shadowcraft mage when you can just do Focused Illusionist and get the same spells/day an earlier spell progression (IE get 2nd's at 3, 9ths at 17) and bonus feats.

If you're single class, Beguiler's hot ****, if you're multiclassing then Wizard's the way to go. Take 5 Wizard, and get Spontanious Divination (From Complete Champion), this will help offset some of your extreme specialization by letting you drop Illusions for Divinations, leaving you free to fill your non-illusion slots with other potential take out options.

For your other 4 levels prior to taking Shadowcraft Mage consider Master Specialist. That's +2 to the save DC's of almost all of your illusion spells.

There's another illusion focused PRC that adds reality to your spells but I really can't remember what it's called or where it's from right now and that's bugging the hell out of me.

Regarding the greater than 100% reality however, I generally rule that a cap of 100% and as far as I know there's no way to force a pass. Also there's Evasion and Mettle which can still result in no effect even if the effect would be greater than normal on a passed save.
There is an easy way to force an illusion, also I believe the class andarious was refering to is called shadowcrafter (I was acutally reading the shadowcraft mage handbook earlier) you can get up to 140% damage on illusions. When using your illusion spells if you make it very unbelievable (such as yelling attack my shadowy minions) you give the enemy a large (up to +5 I think) against saves for your illusions (it could be more I'm afb) this also gives you edge since your dcs become so high that if you need them for defense you can still do that.
EDIT: One more question. My GM has just told me that I won't be able to cast 9th level spells with the earth spell feat, because the rules compendium says that spell level is a number between 0 and 9: "Spell level is a number between 0 and 9 that defi nes the spell’s relative power" (page 129, Rules Compendium). Do you guys know any material that says otherwise?

You mean "Other than common sense"?  There are 0-level spells (Is he going to disallow spells like Light and Read Magic?) and there are 9th-level spells (Y'know, like True Resurrection, Wish, and Miracle).  Your DM is either a dumba<em></em>ss, or purposely misunderstanding what is written - in which case he's an asshat.  There are no other options.
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
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Point out that even in the dmg there is a table for epic showing that there is simply a table refering to spell slots 10+ and it clearly defines those slots. The fact that they exist would mean you have access to them, it isn't resricted to epic characters unless you are preparing "epic" spells
You mean "Other than common sense"?  There are 0-level spells (Is he going to disallow spells like Light and Read Magic?) and there are 9th-level spells (Y'know, like True Resurrection, Wish, and Miracle).  Your DM is either a dumba<em></em>ss, or purposely misunderstanding what is written - in which case he's an asshat.  There are no other options.



Sorry that was poorly described on my part. Both 0-level and 9th level spells are included of course. What I meant was, that he says that spell levels cant be higher than 9th, because the rules compendium says that spell levels are a number in the interval [0;9].

So I am not able to let the Earth spell feat make heigtened spells of 10th level (which is needed if I want to mimick 9th level spells).
He is correct on that ruling, until you go epic anyway.
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