Shadowcraft Mage Handbook

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Last Update: August 18, 2013

 

Shadowcraft Mage Handbook
A summary of concepts and tricks used to create the Killer Gnome, originally brought to light by Snow Savant. Further credit goes to Michael Tree, Garjon, and Zweanslord for their discoveries of the Heighten Spell, Earth Spell, and Arcane Disciple techniques. The original build can be found here. The Killer Gnome has come a long way since Snow first posted her build, and that thread is essentially a log of the character’s evolution from merely solid to freakin' awesome.


Introduction

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All spellcasters are faced with the same set of problems. They have access to a limited selection of spells throughout the course of any given day, necessitating a great deal of planning in order to maintain utility over several encounters. Further, a spellcaster can only increase the save DC of one school of spells at a time through feats like Spell Focus. The Killer Gnome build template is a way to mitigate these difficulties by allowing one school, and indeed one spell, to do the work of three schools. It will allow the character to cast many spells with a high save DC and will do so while maintaining versatility.

 

 

The heart of the character is the third level ability of the Shadowcraft Mage prestige class from Races of Stone, so if you don’t have access to that book, then this character is not for you, although some of the tricks used may still be of interest. The class’s third level ability is called Shadow Illusion, and from it we will construct one of the most versatile spellcasters around.

 

 

Shadow Illusion (Su): Beginning at 3rd level, a shadowcraft mage is able to infuse some of his figments (see the list below) with material from the Plane of Shadow, making them partially real. The subschool of these spells changes from figment to shadow. A shadowcraft mage can use the altered spell to mimic any sorcerer or wizard conjuration (summoning), conjuration (creation), or evocation spell at least one level lower than the illusion spell. The altered spell functions identically to the shadow conjuration or shadow evocation spell, except that the spell's strength equals 10% per level of the figment spell used.  …  A shadowcraft mage can apply shadow illusion to any of the following figment spells: silent image, minor image, major image, persistent image, and programmed image.



On the Proper Application of Shadow Illusion

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It is immediately obvious that Shadow Illusion is a powerful ability, as it allows a Wizard who has prepared an image spell to achieve either the spell’s original, completely illusory effect or alter it to create quasi-real mimicries of any Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), or conjuration (summoning) spell.

 

 

Some subtle points to remember about these Shadow Illusions:

 

 


  • Mimicked spells use only the components for the shadow evocation/conjuration spell.

  • Mimicked spells use the casting time of the shadow evocation/conjuration spell.

  • Mimicked spells all allow SR, regardless of whether the actual spell would.

  •  


Even without optimization, the versatility gained from this ability is astounding, allowing an illusionist to prepare as many image spells as he cares to, thereby also preparing every spell of the appropriate levels from the mimicked schools. We can do better, though.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow Illusion specifically depends not upon the image spell used, but instead upon the level of that spell. Therefore, if one of the image spells were to be level nine, we would be able to use it to mimic spells of level eight or lower. While at first glance, none of the spells listed is ninth level, perhaps we could change the level of one of those spells. The PHB itself gives us the tool that we need: Heighten Spell.

 

 

[size=3]Heighten Spell [Metamagic][/size] Benefit
A heightened spell has a higher spell level than normal (up to a maximum of 9th level). Unlike other metamagic feats, Heighten Spell actually increases the effective level of the spell that it modifies. All effects dependent on spell level (such as saving throw DCs and ability to penetrate a lesser globe of invulnerability) are calculated according to the heightened level. The heightened spell is as difficult to prepare and cast as a spell of its effective level.

 

 

Note that Heighten Spell specifically states that “all effects dependent on spell level … are calculated according to the heightened level.” So we treat a silent image spell heightened to ninth level as a ninth level spell for Shadow Illusion, as capabilities of a Shadow Illusion are dependent upon spell level. We can now, using any image spell Heightened to ninth level, mimic any Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), and conjuration (summoning) spell of eighth level or lower. And at 90% quasireality to boot, 10% higher than shades.

 

 

Heighten Spell is the second linchpin of the character. It should be included in every Killer Gnome build. With it a character need know only silent image in order to cast every Sorcerer/Wizard evocation, conjuration (creation), and conjuration (summoning) spell ever published. All spellcasters will derive great benefit from this: Sorcerers effectively break their spells known limits into tiny pieces, while Wizards can prepare as many images and come close to Sorcerer in terms of spontaneity.

 

 

It rankles that we can’t mimic ninth level spells, though, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able mimic meteor swarm, summon elemental monolith, or detonate? You’d think that there would have to be a way.

 

 

There is, and its name is Earth Spell.

 

 

Earth Spell [General]
Benefit: …, you can use Heighten Spell to added effect. If you cast a spell using a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level, the spell is treated as a spell of two levels higher and your effective caster level is increased by one. If you use a spell slot two levels higher, the spell is treated as three levels higher and your effective caster level is increased by two, and so on. …

 

 

So if, for example, we were to heighten silent image to ninth level, Earth Spell would further increase that to tenth level, letting us mimic ninth level and lower spells at 100% quasireality.

 

 

Earth Spell is the final piece of the puzzle that turns the Shadowcraft Mage into the Killer Gnome.



On the Selection of Feats
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There are quite a few feats that are provide special benefit to the Killer Gnome. These feats provide more benefit to him than to most other spellcasters. You should remember, however, that a Shadowcraft Mage is even more feat strapped than other characters, as four of his feats are set in stone from the beginning (Spell Focus [illusion], Earth Sense, Heighten Spell, and Earth Spell.) That leaves a Sorcerer-based character but three remaining feats.

 

 

Choose wisely.

 

 

Arcane Mastery: The ability to take 10 on caster level checks (even under stress - check the errata) is great for anyone who uses a large number of spells that allow SR. As all shadow illusions allow SR, this is obviously a good thing. With nothing else to boost caster level, a 20th level Shadowcraft Mage can automatically beat SR 30 with his spells; and Earth Spell makes even higher levels of SR meaningless.

 

 

Signature Spell: Signature Spell can be a boon to prepared casters like Wizards, as it allows them to load up with nothing but utility spells. By choosing silent image for the feat, the Wizard can then spontaneously convert any prepared spell into a heightened silent image and alter that spell with Shadow Illusion.

 

 

Greater Spell Focus (illusion): You get more bang for your buck from illusions than anyone else. Your save DCs should be as high as possible, and every +1 helps. This feat is pretty much just gravy, though, and is only required for entrance into the Shadowcrafter PrC (see below).

 

 

Spell Penetration: Spell resistance is your bane. Everything that you can do to beat SR should be done. If you have room in your build, toss in this feat and its greater version.

 

 

Steady Concentration: Every spellcaster needs a good Concentration check, and illusionists more than most, as so many spells have durations of concentration. A solid choice, especially when used in conjunction with Extraordinary Concentration.

 

 

Extend Spell: The quintessential buffing metamagic. There isn’t a better +1 SLA metamagic feat in the books. The fourth level Shadowcraft Mage specifically stacks with this feat, to boot, giving you durations that make your enemies cry. You're still likely better off just using metamagic rods, but the option is valid. Additionally, you can further stack this with the 5th level gnome Illusionist substitution level to get those durations to a total of TIMES EIGHT.

 

 

Enhanced Shadow Reality: Adds 20% extra quasireality for all damage on your shadow illusions. The only difficulty is that the feat is from Dragon (#325), so getting access to it may be a trial. Remember, this is only for damage, so if you plan to do more shadow summoning than shadow blasting, this isn't the feat for you.

 

 

Shadow Weave Magic: As I mentioned before, spells’ save DCs are extraordinarily important for most Shadowcraft Mages, and another +1 can’t hurt. The feat also opens access to several other feats that can be gained on their own or through one level in Shadow Adept, and all of them synergize quite well with the class features of Shadowcraft Mage.

 

 

Arcane Thesis: Arcane Thesis has the potential to add significant power to the Shadowcraft Mage. The feat is normally somewhat restrictive, needing to be applied to a single spell. This is no drawback to the Shadowcraft Mage, whose bread and butter is one spell, silent image, that does the work of an uncounted number of spells. A +2 bonus to caster level is always helpful for the increased duration, resistance to dispelling, and ability to punch through SR. The reduced metamagic cost, while specifically not applicable to Heighten Spell, applies to everything else. So load up on low cost (+1 or +0) metamagic feats via whatever method you want (I suggest Incantatrix) and blast away with silent, stilled, enlarged, widened, and doubly extended Shadow Illusion at no level adjustment.

 

 

Metamagic School Focus: This feat allows one to apply any metamagic feat to a spell of the appropriate school at reduced cost thrice per day. So three times per day you can mimic a spell a level higher than normal, even past what Earth Spell alone would allow. Not a bad option, should you have the feats available.

 

 

Rapid Metamagic: For Sorcerer, Beguiler, and Bard ScMs this eliminates the casting time penalty of applying metamagic. A very good feat that has been too long in coming.

 

 

Melodic Casting: Every Bard-based ScM will want this feat. Don't even bother arguing with me. It's like Natural Spell for Bards, making it so they never have to choose between singing or casting.


[i]Feats Deserving of Special Mention[/i]

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Below are three feats that have a profound effect upon a build. Each requires a certain degree of explanation.

 

 

Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell): Practical Metamagic reduces the spell level adjustment of the selected metamagic feat by one, to a minimum of +1. So this means that a magic missile heightened to third level occupies a second level slot.* Heightened to ninth, it occupies an eighth level slot. So we can mimic a spell of level X in a slot of level X, as long as X is less than nine. The limitation exists because Heighten Spell can only increase a spell’s level to a maximum of ninth.

 

 

By way of this feat and Earth Spell, a Sorcerer can mimic spells of one level higher than the slot used (except for ninth level slots, which, as mentioned above, are unaffected by the Practical Metamagic adjustment). So he can cast a 100% real meteor swarm from an eighth level slot, and it will be treated as a tenth level spell for all purposes, including save DC.

 

 

Dragon #325 has a feat similar to Practical Metamagic called Easy Metamagic. That feat can be acquired by any spellcaster. By using all three feats, it is possible to mimic ninth level spells in seventh level slots.

 

 

*Note that it is debatable whether the use of Heighten Spell constitutes a spell slot adjustment, so a DM is perfectly justified in not allowing Practical Metamagic or Easy Metamagic to work with Heighten Spell. You have been warned. ;)

 

 

Arcane Disciple (luck): All right. You’ve managed to get your character to mimic ninth level spells, but you’re still chafing at something. You can only mimic all the spells from one and a half schools. How unfair is that? Miracle is an evocation spell. If only it were on the Sorcerer or Wizard spell lists, then we could mimic it and thereby mimic any spell of seventh level or lower. Well, it’s time to shatter the game and stomp on its remains, cackling in a little, gnomish soprano.

 

(i) A spell is a wizard spell if-and-only-if it is on the Wizard spell list.

(ii) Arcane Disciple adds the spells on the selected domain list to "your class spell list."

(iii) For a Wizard character, "your class spell list" refers to the Wizard spell list.

(iv) By (ii) and (iii), Arcane Disciple (luck) adds miracle to the Wizard list for you.

(v) By (i) and (iv) miracle becomes a wizard spell for you.

 

The game is rife with effects that interact with lists in this fashion. For instance, some races treat certain weapons as martial rather than exotic. A weapon is martial if-and-only-if it appears on the list of martial weapons, but when a gnome Fighter gets "proficiency with all martial weapons", he/she gets proficiency with gnome hooked hammers.

 

Simple enough. Now let's analyze what that means to the Shadowcraft Mage.

 

When using a shadow conjuration or shadow evocation spell (or Shadow Illusion) to mimic a given spell, the mimicked spell is not actually cast. For example, a mimicked summon monster spell does not actually summon a monster; rather, you create a quasi-real illusion of the effect using material from the plane of shadow. Likewise, a mimicked forcecage does not actually cast the spell and neither does it evoke any real energy, instead forming an illusory cage of shadow stuff.

 

Extending this to a mimicked miracle, we note that we are not actually calling for deific intercession - or, indeed, any divine intercession - we are simply creating a quasi-real illusion of the spell's effect from shadow stuff. So here's the thing: there is nothing preventing us from creating an illusion of miracle's greater effects through Shadow Illusion. The spell is capable of greater things than mimicking spells of lower than 9th level, and since what we are casting is not actually the spell, just an illusion of it, we are not limited by deity or alignment review.

 

Spontaneously casting miracle is not in itself game breaking. After all, a Favored Soul can do it be default. However, not being subject to deific review is kind of a big deal. Only choose this feat if you’re on very good terms with your DM, and he knows what’s in store.

 

 

Residual Magic: One of the problems a spellcaster faces is his limited number of high-level spell slots. You have all sorts of fun blasting away with your eigth- and ninth-level slots, only to be left with piddling, low-level slots for the rest of the day. Residual Metamagic could be the answer to your prayers.

 

 

How does it work? By casting a spell modified by a metamagic feat in one round, one can apply metamagic feat to a spell in the next round, but with one benefit: the metamagic causes no adjustment to the level of the spell slot required to cast the spell.

 

 

So in the case of the Killer Gnome, he casts a silent image heightened to tenth level in a ninth level slot. The next round he does the same thing, but this time that tenth level silent image occupies only a first (or cantrip, for certain illusionists) level slot! He could even load up on other metamagics the second round. These would, of course, adjust the level of the required spell slot as normal, but with eight levels of metamagic to play with, a lot of things are possible. How does a Twinned, Repeated crushing fist of spite sound to you, maybe further maximized via a metamagic rod? I thought so.

 

But what if you don't have any cantrip slots left? Well, you can use the Enduring Potency effect to get a heightened silent image out of a wand. Since it's treated as if being cast from your daily allotment for all purposes, it can be modified by lingering metamagic, or, if you are a spontaneous caster, metamagic in general.

 


Feats To Avoid

 

 

Some feats just aren't worth the miniscule cost of the ink they're printed with. Worse yet for the beginner or the trusting, there are sections of supplements devoted to praising and recommending these feats. Don't fall into these traps.

 

 

Reserve Feats: Yes, all reserve feats are bad. A spellcaster has better things to do with his time. The reserve feats don't have the power to be significant against strong enemies, and you might as well let the Fighter feel useful every now and then by letting him take on the mooks singlehandedly. Seriously, stay clear.

 

 

Heritage Feats: Seriously, who thought these things up? Two feats to get access to a couple first level SLAs per day? Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame.



On the Acquisition of Prestige
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There are a few PrCs that synergize well with the abilities of the Shadowcraft Mage. For every base class except the Beguiler, use of at least one of these PrCs is suggested.

 

 

Incantatrix
Feat Prereqs: Iron Will, any one metamagic feat.
Benefits: Aside from the always awesome Metamagic Effect, bonus feats, and slew of other class features, the tenth level Incantatrix ability lessens the spell level adjustments of metamagic feats. See Practical Metamagic in the feats section, above, for an explanation of the effect this can have.

 

 

Shadowcrafter
Feat Prereqs: Spell Focus (illusion), Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
Benefits: +4 to overcome SR with shadow spells, +20% quasireality on shadow conjurations/evocations, and more. There isn’t much point in taking this class past level eight, however, so you should plan an exit strategy. Using this class it is possible to get 140% quasireal shadow illusions (160% with Enhanced Shadow Reality). The catch on this one is that high save DCs tend to counteract high quasireality percentages, as those percentages only apply to disbelieved spells.

 

 

Mage of the Arcane Order
Feat Prereqs: Cooperative Metamagic, one other metamagic feat
Benefits: Two bonus metamagic feats, spellpool access. The spellpool access continues the versatility thing you’ve got going, adding access to any Sorcerer/Wizard spell in the PHB.

 

 

Shadow Adept
Feat Prereqs: Shadow Weave Magic, any one metamagic feat
Benefits: As a one level dip, the class gives you three feats that add a good deal to your potence as an illusionist: Insidious Magic, Pernicious Magic, and Tenacious Magic. Since you were going to get a metamagic feat anyway (Heighten), and you're probably looking for as many DC boosters as possible anyway, this is almost certainly a great dip.

 

 

Dweomerkeeper
Feat Prereqs: Any item creation feat, any metamagic feat
Special: Must be able to cast divine spells and have the Magic domain.
Benefit: The important thing that we gain from DK is the mantle of spells. For those not playing in FR, this can serve as an able replacement for Signature Spell. Supernatural spell can either help us punch through SR with shadow illusions, or it can ignore material/XP components on spells like limited wish and wish. Which is just stupidly awesome.

 

 

Stoneblessed:
Benefit: This is for all of the non-gnomes that want to enter the Shadowcraft Mage Prc. The thrid level of Stoneblessed allows the character to count as a gnome for all purposes, including meeting racial prerequisites. So with three levels of Stoneblessed, a human could enter Shadowcraft Mage, provided that he can meet the ScM prereqs, of course. The problem with Stoneblessed is that it offers no spellcasting advancement, so it would be preferable to use the ScM spellcasting advancement to further a fast spellcasting PrC, such as Sublime Chord. The simplest and least optimized example of such would be Bard 7/Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5.

 

 

Master Specialist:
Benefit: The Master Specialist class is a nice four level dip for Illusionists seeking to enter Incantatrix, as the prerequisites fit well with both that class and Incantatrix. The fourth level ability grants a +2 bonus to the save DC of any illusion spell you cast that has an entry of "Will (disbelief)", which is totally awesome, but the rest of the class is less than exciting. Try Illusionist 3/Master Specialist 4/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Incantatrix 8 for barrels of win.

 

 

Nightmare Spinner:
Benefit: The Nightmare Spinner provides a nice way to cap off a Shadowcraft Mage build. It doesn't provide any spellcasting advancement at level one, so it should be taken only after ninth level spells have been acquired. However, for that one lost caster level, you get an extra (illusion) spell slot of every level you can cast.



On the Base of the Killer Gnome's Power
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There are three base classes that make good, standard entrances to Shadowcraft Mage. These are the Beguiler, Sorcerer, and the Wizard. Each has its pros and cons, yet each is a solid choice for the character.

 

 

Beguiler

 

 

Pros: Spontaneous casting from a large and varied spell list of some of the most useful non-blasty spells out there. Automatic knowledge of all spells on the class spell list. A huge skill list and the skill points to make use of it, due to six base skill points per level and Int-based casting. You also get a bunch of useful and flavorful class features. Ignore ASF in light armor.

 

 

Cons: No transmutation spells, so no polymorph. As the class uses its own spell list, the Arcane Disciple cheese does not work. New spell levels on even class levels, as Sorcerer.

 

 

Overall: A Beguiler based Shadowcraft Mage will have the versatility that a normal Beguiler lacks, having the ability to directly damage his enemies, summon allies, and create many other effects that otherwise would be unavailable. Heightened legion of sentinels lets a Beguiler qualify without need of Advanced Learning.

 

 

Sorcerer

 

 

Pros: Spontaneous casting from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. Can use Arcane Disciple (luck) to mimic miracle.

 

 

Cons: New spells on even levels. No class features to speak of. Few skill points.

 

 

Overall: A Sorcerer based Shadowcraft Mage sidesteps his small number of spells known, choosing to learn mostly spells that he cannot emulate via Shadow Illusion. Unlike other Sorcerers, he has the freedom to choose any spells he wants, even very situational, utility style spells as his spells known, since he knows that everything else he can do via silent image.

 

 

Wizard

 

 

Pros: Int-based casting. Can use Arcane Disciple (luck) to mimic miracle. Can use the racial substitution levels from Races of Stone or the variant Illusionist features from Unearthed Arcana.

 

 

Cons: Prepped casting requires Signature Spell or Dweomerkeeper to make optimal use of Shadow Illusion.

 

 

Overall: Potentially the most powerful of all the Shadowcraft Mage bases, the Wizard’s array of options for customization allow for the combination of the many feats and class features. With Shadow Illusion, he enjoys situational flexibility comparable to that of the Sorcerer.

 

 

Other classes take a little more wrangling to become potent Shadowcraft Mages. These include such things as the Bard and the Cleric.

 

 

Bard

 

 

Pros: Light armor casting. Great skills. Bardic music. d6 HD.

 

 

Cons: Maxes out at 6th level spells. Arcane Disciple cheese does not work. Late entry into Shadowcraft Mage (no illusion (shadow) spells until 10th level). Just grab either dead end or dark way from the Spell Compendium, and you can use one of the dirty tricks for early qualification.

 

 

Overall: A straight Bard/Shadowcraft Mage build provides the Bard character with a lot more versatility. To make the most of a Bard entry requires Sublime Chord. A Bard 7/Incantatrix 3/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Incantatrix 4-7 would work quite nicely.

 

 

Cleric

 

 

Pros: You can make use of all the standard Cleric tricks like Divine Metamagic. D8 HD, armored casting, healing spells, ... Is there anything bad about being a Cleric with full access to the Wizard's best blasting spells?

 

 

Cons: Requires the use of a domain that grants silent image; e.g., Gnome or Illusion. Pretty much requires the use of Domain Spontaneity from PHB2 or Dweomerkeeper.

 

 

Overall: It's like being a Mystic Theurge, but with one pool of spell slots and without having any delayed progression. Walk around all day with persistent greater consumptive field and watch the caster level for your shadow illusions soar. Maybe go Dweomerkeeper and use limited wish and a reach metamagic rod to persist owl's insight via limited wish for a minimum +10 insight bonus to Wisdom. Go nuts.



On the Substitution of Levels and the Variation of Class Features
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Here are a few substitution levels and variants that are of potential benefit to a Shadowcraft Mage. I have only included the worthwhile options, as no one needs to see the poorer ones.

 

 

Substitution Levels

 

 

Wizards:


  • Gnome Illusionist 1: You learn illusion spells earlier and get a bigger caster level boost from Earth Spell. What could be better?

  • Gnome Illusionist 5: Your illusions' durations are doubled. This explicitly stacks with Extend Spell, so it stacks with the ScM ability. Combining both and a rod of extend spell nets us x8 duration. That's nuts. N-V-T-S nuts.

  • Gnome Illusionist 10: True seeing and the like don't automatically penetrate your illusions, instead requiring the user to make an opposed caster level check. Versus our Earth Spell enhanced craziness? Bwa ha ha ha! This might actually be a reason to take 10 levels of Wizard.

 

 

Variant/Alternate Class Features

 

 

Sorcerers:

  • Metamagic Specialist: Sorcerers looking to make the most of the Shadowcraft Mage PrC would be well served to make use of the Metamagic Specialist variant from Player’s Handbook II. Your familiar would only be a liability without continued advancement, so you’re losing nothing, really, especially since you can get a familiar from a feat.

 

 

 

Wizards:

  • Chains of Disbelief: [replaces familiar] Anything that makes it harder for your enemies to detect your illusions is a good thing. Definitely a good trade off for a familiar.

  • Illusion Mastery: [replaces bonus spells from specialization] The Illusion Mastery variant dramatically increases the character’s spells known and reduces his dependence on his spell book. Furthermore, it provides us with the necessary requirements for Signature Spell. This is probably a good trade off.

  • Focused Specialist: This feature is just full of fun and joy ... and joyness... You give up an extra school of magic and one generalist spell slot per spell level to get two extra illusion slots. For the WIN.

  • School Mastery: [replaces familiar] This alternate class feature from Dragon 357 may suck for everyone else, but it's the bee's knees for illusion. +1 caster level for illusion spells and an extra 10% quasireality for all your illusion (shadow) spells. This for the low, low price of your familiar? Sold.

 



On the Aggregate of What Has Come Before
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Now let’s take a look at a few sample builds, each making use of all five levels of Shadowcraft Mage and the Earth Spell feat. Please feel free to suggest more, as all of these are simply templates to be personalized.

 

 

The Iconic Shadowcraft Illusionist: Illusionist 5/Shadow Adept 1/Shadowcrafter 9/Shadowcraft Mage 5.


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Level Class Level Feat(s)

  1 Gnome Illusionist 1 Spell Focus (illusion), (chains of disbelief, illusion mastery)

  2 Illusionist 2 

  3 Illusionist 3 Shadow Weave Magic

  4 Illusionist 4 

  5 Illusionist 5 Heighten Spell

  6 Shadow Adept 1 Greater Spell Focus (illusion)

  7 Shadowcrafter 1

  8 Shadowcraft Mage 1

  9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Signature Spell (silent image)

  10 Shadowcraft Mage 3 

  11 Shadowcraft Mage 4 

  12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Sense

  13 Shadowcrafter 2 

  14 Shadowcrafter 3 

  15 Shadowcrafter 4 Earth Spell

  16 Shadowcrafter 5 

  17 Shadowcrafter 6 

  18 Shadowcrafter 7 Arcane Disciple (luck)

  19 Shadowcrafter 8 

  20 Shadowcrafter 9

 

 

This character gets a total of +40% to the quasireality of his illusions, +4 shadow spell penetration, +4 illusion spell DC, and all sorts of other goodies. He also gets three bonus feats from Shadow Adept 1, all of which make his spells incredibly hard to defeat. His Illusion Mastery ability means that he is still mostly fine even when without his spellbook, as every illusion spell he knows is automatically considered mastered.


 

 

The Hidden Gnome: Beguiler 14/Mindbender 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5


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Level Class Level Feat(s)

  1 Beguiler 1 Spell Focus (illusion)

  2 Beguiler 2 

  3 Beguiler 3 Heighten Spell

  4 Beguiler 4 

  5 Beguiler 5 (Silent Spell)

  6 Mindbender 1 Mindsight

  7 Beguiler 6 

  8 Beguiler 7 

  9 Shadowcraft Mage 1 Earth Sense

  10 Shadowcraft Mage 2 

  11 Shadowcraft Mage 3 

  12 Shadowcraft Mage 4 Earth Spell

  13 Shadowcraft Mage 5 

  14 Beguiler 8 

  15 Beguiler 9 Darkstalker

  16 Beguiler 10 (Still Spell)

  17 Beguiler 11 

  18 Beguiler 12 Arcane Thesis (silent image)

  19 Beguiler 13 

  20 Beguiler 14

 

 

He also purchases one specific item. (Thanks to prototype00 for this one.)


 

For all those sneaky characters out there the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis from Tome of Magic is definitely a must. For 10,800 gp you can gain the Dark creature template for 10 min a day.    In addition to such goodies as +8 Hide, +6 Move Silently, +10 ft move speed (all unnamed), cold resistance 10, superior low light vision, and Darkvision 60ft, you even get the ex. ability to Hide In Plain Sight which is the real winner.    If you need more than 10min/day, you can have a continuous collar for 22,000gp.


This character uses the first level Shadowcraft Mage ability combined with the HiPS of the collar to allow him to hide in anything short of full daylight. Because of the Darkstalker feat, he can remain hidden even from creatures with extraordinary senses. He can cast his Shadow Illusions in silence and stillness automatically.


 

J-A-R-N-O’s Archivist Entry: Archivist 3/Church Inquisitor 2/Shadowcrafter 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5


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Level Class Level Feat(s)

  1 Archivist 1 Spell Focus (illusion)

  2 Archivist 2 

  3 Archivist 3 Greater Speell Focus (illusion)

  4 Church Inquisitor 1 

  5 Church Inquisitor 2 

  6 Shadowcrafter 1 Heighten Spell

  7 Shadowcrafter 2 

  8 Shadowcraft Mage 1 

  9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Earth Sense

  10 Shadowcraft Mage 3 

  11 Shadowcraft Mage 4 

  12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Spell

  13 Shadowcrafter 3 

  14 Shadowcrafter 4 

  15 Shadowcrafter 5 Quicken Spell

  16 Shadowcrafter 6 

  17 Shadowcrafter 7 

  18 Shadowcrafter 8 (Free)

  19 Shadowcrafter 9 

  20 Shadowcrafter 10

 

 

Due to the Shadow domain, the Archivist has the potential to learn the requisite shadow spell.

This character is not as powerful an Illusionist as his specialist Wizard brother, because he lacks for example those great substitution levels and the UA variant, and is very tight on skills at the early levels, but he has the amazing Archivist casting to make that up. The potential to learn nearly all divine spells coupled with his amazing shadow spells make him one versatile son SOB

 

 

You could try to fit a level or two of Shadow adept or something else like that in there, I just thought this as the simplest and most iconic-like Archivist/Shadowcrafter build.


 

 

ed209's Sublime Shadowcraft Illusionist: Bard 5/Gnome Paragon 3/Shadowcraft Mage 2/Sublime Chord 2/SCM +3/Shadowcrafter 5.

 

 

Linky, linky.

 

 

PhaedrusXY’s Cloistered Cleric Entry: Cloistered Cleric 5/Shadowcrafter 2/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Divine Prankster 8


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Level Class Level Feat(s)

  1 Cloistered Cleric 1 Spell Focus (illusion) [Special: Gnome and Shadow domains]

  2 Cloistered Cleric 2 

  3 Cloistered Cleric 3 Greater Spell Focus (illusion)

  4 Cloistered Cleric 4 

  5 Cloistered Cleric 5 

  6 Shadowcrafter 1 Heighten Spell

  7 Shadowcrafter 2 

  8 Shadowcraft Mage 1 

  9 Shadowcraft Mage 2 Divine Metamagic (Heighten Spell)

  10 Shadowcraft Mage 3 

  11 Shadowcraft Mage 4 

  12 Shadowcraft Mage 5 Earth Sense

  13 Divine Prankster 1 

  14 Divine Prankster 2 

  15 Divine Prankster 3 Earth Spell

  16 Divine Prankster 4 

  17 Divine Prankster 5 

  18 Divine Prankster 6 (Free)

  19 Divine Prankster 7 

  20 Divine Prankster 8

 

 

Note that this build is using the Domain Spontaneity variant from PHB2 to use the Gnome domain spontaneously.


 

Can spend 1+X Turn Undead attempts to Heighten spells by X effective spell levels. Divine Metamagic is not capped by the normal max spell level you can cast. Can spend 1 Turn Undead attempt to add +10 to Figment save DCs. Can spend 1 Turn Undead attempt to spontaneously change any spell into a Silent Image, and then turn that into a Shadow Evoc/Conj spell which gets bonuses to its quasireality percentage.

 

So, all together, this means that this character can, at level 12, cast any Conjuration/Evocation spell of up to 8th level spontaneously, using any level spellslot he feels like (even 1st). The only components any of these spells need are Somatic, and they all have a casting time of 1 round. At 18th level, this increases to include 9th level spells, thanks to Earth Spell. Using Divine Meta: Heighten like this will burn through turn attempts like mad, though.

 

 

You could leave out Shadowcrafter entirely if you want. However, it overlaps with Shadowcraft Mage for feat prereqs, and lets you meet the skill prereqs for Divine Prankster more easily. It's not like GSF: Illusion is a bad feat for this build, either.

 

 

With another feat (from a Flaw, or leaving out Shadowcrafter entirely), you could spend his Comedic Performances to apply Heighten Spell by using Metamagic Song. This is limited by the normal spell level he can cast, and he only has 8 uses of this ability at level 20. It is still worth a feat I think.




Endarire's Clerical/Psionic Dweomerkeeper: Cloistered Cleric 3/Church Inquisitor 1 (Complete Divine 26)/Shadowcraft Mage 3/Dweomerkeeper 1/Shadowcraft Mage +2/Dweomerkeeper +3/Contemplative 1/Dweomerkeeper +6

   Linky, linky.


Shadowcraft Shepherd - When having just ONE of the most powerful classes isn't enough ...
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Level Class Level Feat(s)
1 Druid 1 Education [ECS]
2 Druid 2
3 Druid 3 Greensinger Initiate
4 Druid 4
5 Druid 5
6 Planar Shepherd 1 Natural Spell
7 Planar Shepherd 2
8 Planar Shepherd 3
9 Planar Shepherd 4 Heighten Spell
10 Planar Shepherd 5
11 Planar Shepherd 6
12 Planar Shepherd 7 Earth Sense
13 Planar Shepherd 8
14 Planar Shepherd 9
15 Contemplative 1 Spell Focus (illusion) [Illusion domain]
16 Shadowcraft Mage 1
17 Shadowcraft Mage 2
18 Shadowcraft Mage 3 Earth Spell
19 Shadowcraft Mage 4
20 Shadowcraft Mage 5

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to choose a plane that will be useful with only 14th level wild shaping.  Syrania, for example, will let you be a planetar all day at level 14.  Illusion domain gives us the illusion (shadow) spell we need, and suddenly the Planar Shepherd is also a Shadowcraft Mage.

 

 

 

 

 



On the Quasireality of Illusions
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The quasireality level of your Shadow Illusions depends on the build you’re using. Let's assume you go Wizard 5/Shadowcrafter 2/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Shadowcrafter 3-10.

 

 

Feat selection would be something like:

 

 

1) Spell Focus (illusion)
3) Greater Spell Focus (illusion)
5) Heighten Spell
6) Earth Sense
9) Earth Spell
12) Easy Metamagic (Heighten Spell)
15) Enhanced Shadow Reality
18) Signature Spell (silent image)

 

 

Okay, so at level 10 (the level we get Shadow Illusion) we can make use of Earth Spell. That nets us a total of +20%/+10% quasireality to the slot used for conjurations/evocations. This works out as 5th level slot (6th level spell due to Earth Spell) which is a base quasireality of 60%, to which we add the 10% of Shadowcrafter when using mimicking conjurations. So ...

 

 

At levels 10-11:

 

 

Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation

    1st -- 30%/20%

    2nd -- 40%/30%

    3rd -- 50%/40%

    4th -- 60%/50%

    5th -- 70%/60%

  


This stays the same until level 12, when we add another +20% due to Powerful Shadow Magic, bringing us to +40%/+30% to the slot used. But now we also have Easy Metamagic to consider, which effectively gets us another 10% to each side, due to casting a level X spell in a level X-2 slot. So we're at +50%/+40%

 

 

 

 

 

At level 12:

 

 

Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation

    1st -- 60%/50%

    2nd -- 70%/60%

    3rd -- 80%/70%

    4th -- 90%/80%

    5th -- 100%/90%

    6th -- 110%/100%

  


At level 13, Shadowcrafter adds another 10% to evocation illusions, evening things out with conjurations. (+50%)

 

 

 

 

 

At level 13:

 

 

Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation

    1st -- 60%/60%

    2nd -- 70%/70%

    3rd -- 80%/80%

    4th -- 90%/90%

    5th -- 100%/100%

    6th -- 110%/110%

    7th -- 120%/120%

  


At level 15, we add another +20% to damage done by any of our mimicked spells. (Enhanced Shadow Reality) So that's +50% (+70% for damage.)

 

 

 

 

 

At level 15:

 

 

Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation (damage)

    1st -- 60%/60% (80%)

    2nd -- 70%/70% (90%)

    3rd -- 80%/80% (100%)

    4th -- 90%/90% (110%)

    5th -- 100%/100% (120%)

    6th -- 110%/110% (130%)

    7th -- 120%/120% (140%)

    8th -- 130%/130% (150%)

  


By level 17 we gain another +10% to both evocation and conjuration effects. So we're up to +60% (+80% for damage.)

 

 

 

 

 

At level 17:

 

 

Slot Level -- Reality Conjuration/Evocation (damage)

    1st -- 70%/70% (90%)

    2nd -- 80%/80% (100%)

    3rd -- 90%/90% (110%)

    4th -- 100%/100% (120%)

    5th -- 110%/110% (130%)

    6th -- 120%/120% (140%)

    7th -- 130%/130% (150%)

    8th -- 140%/140% (160%)

    9th -- 140%/140% (160%)

  


You'll notice that the quasireality level of 8th and 9th level slots is the same. This is because Heighten Spell caps out at 9th level, so we lose the benefit of Easy Metamagic until epic levels (Improved Heighten Spell).

 

 

 



On the Use of Dirty Tricks
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Early Qualification!
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Through the use of Practical Metamagic or Earth Spell, casters can enter classes that require the ability to cast X level spells earlier than otherwise possible. For example, a Sorcerer normally only qualifies for Shadowcraft Mage at level 8, due to the requirement for 4th level spells. However, by using Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell), he can heighten a spell to 4th level using a 3rd level slot. So, as soon as he has the feat and a 3rd level slot, he can cast 4th level spells, qualifying him for Shadowcraft Mage.

 

 

Example feat progressions:

 

 

Sorcerer or Beguiler (Dragonborn Gnome): 1) Spell Focus (illusion) 3) Heighten Spell 6) Practical Metamagic (Heighten Spell)

 

 

Wizard 1) Spell Focus (illusion) 3) Earth Sense 5) Heighten Spell 6) Earth Spell

 

 

Each of the above is ready to enter Shadowcraft Mage.



Extra Reality and Free Maximization
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[quote]

For all those sneaky characters out there the Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis from Tome of Magic is definitely a must. For 10,800 gp you can gain the Dark creature template for 10 min a day.    In addition to such goodies as +8 Hide, +6 Move Silently, +10 ft move speed (all unnamed), cold resistance 10, superior low light vision, and Darkvision 60ft, you even get the ex. ability to Hide In Plain Sight which is the real winner.    If you need more than 10min/day, you can have a continuous collar for 22,000gp.

 

 

To build upon this, there's a little trick from the original thread that was brought up that becomes easier with this item. Planar Bubble from the Planar Handbook creates a 10-ft. emanation that emulates a creature's native plane. A Dark creature is a native of the Plane of Shadow. The effects of the Shadow Plane are as follows:

 

 

Enhanced magic. Spells with the shadow descriptor are enhanced on the Plane of Shadow. Such spells are cast as though they were prepared with the Maximize Spell feat, though they don't require the higher spell slots.    Furthermore, specific spells become more powerful on the Plane of Shadow. Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Evocation spells are 30% as powerful as the conjurations and evocations they mimic (as opposed to 20%). Greater Shadow Conjuration and Greater Shadow Evocation are 70% as powerful (not 60%), and a Shades spell conjures at 90% of the power of the original (not 80%).    Impeded magic. Spells that use or generate light or fire may fizzle when cast on the Plane of Shadow. A spellcaster attempting a spell with the light or fire descriptor must succeed on a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). Spells that produce light are less effective in general, because all light sources have their ranges halved on the Plane of Shadow.

The trick is then to cast Planar Bubble (level 7 Sor/Wiz/Cleric spell) while using your Collar of Umbral Metamorphosis (continuous or otherwise) to create a 10-ft emanation of the Plane of Shadow around yourself, Maximizing your shadow spells, and even making Greater Shadow Conjuration/Evocation useful with all the reality enhancers you have.


Entering Shadowcraft Mage as a Non-gnome
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  • Racial Emulation: This changeling feat allows a changeling to count as a member of the race he's mimicking for all purposes. So a changeling can qualify for Shadowcraft Mage as long as he stays in gnome form.




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  • The Stoneblessed PrC from Races of Stone is a three level class that eventually allows a character to be considered a gnome for the purposes of effects and prerequisites. By taking all three levels of the class you can push a member of any race into the Shadowcraft Mage class, albeit at a somewhat higher level than can be accomplished by a gnome. As Stoneblessed does not advance spellcasting, the use of a fast-progression PrC is a necessity. The basic structure would be Bard 7/Gnome Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5. You end up with full Sublime Chord casting, so you're epic ready and can be mimicking 9th level spells by 17th level. Keep in mind that this is just a skeleton build; it is far from twinked.

 


 

On Spells Deserving Mimicry

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So there's a nice list of replicable spells over on minmaxboards.

 

I've picked a few that I feel are worth calling out, even just to look at and be aware you have access to them.

 

Legend:

*evocation
^conjuration (calling) - requires shades

otherwise, conjuration (summoning)


Level 1
  SpC
    *blood wind
    lesser orb of energy
  RotD
    *wings of swift flying
  DrM
    rot of ages - no sneak attacks 4 u lol

Level 2
  SpC
    create magic tattoo
  FB
    *numbing sphere - dex damage pet
  BVD
    *darkbolt - damage + stun

Level 3
    sleet storm
    stinking cloud
    phantom steed
  SpC
    greater mage armor
    *sonorous hum
  DrM
    *vision of the omniscient eye
 

Level 4
    solid fog
    evard's black tentacles
    minor creation
    *shout
  PH2
    *slashing dispel
  BED
    radiant fog
    *dancing web
  FB
    ice ship
    ice web
    *wall of coldfire
  RotD
    *wings of flurry
  DrM
    *firestride exhalation - get out of jail free card + damage
  CM
    caustic mire

Level 5
    cloudkill
    mordenkainen's faithful hound
    major creation - create black lotus extract poison for weapons
    wall of stone
    *wall of force
    *sending
  FB
    *boreal wind - "stay away!" + damage
  BED
    ^call faithful servants
    *emerald burst
  BVD
    ^call nightmare

Level 6
    *contingency!
    acid fog
    ^planar binding
    wall of iron
    *chain lightning
  SpC
    freezing fog
  FB
    *entomb
    *ice rift
  PH2
    *sonic shield
  CM
    Mordenkainen's trusted bloodhound
    *lingering flames
    *storm of fire and ice

Level 7
    mordenkainen's magnificent mansion -- safe place to rest whenever
    phase door
    ^greater teleport
    *forcecage
    *prismatic spray
  FB
    ice castle - live in style!
  BED
    *amber sarcophagus - you're frozen for a day/level lol
  BVD
    wall of eyes - paralyzes those that come in contact and is INSTANTANEOUS, and you can remote view through it
    *whirlwind of teeth - mobile untyped aoe damage
  RotD
    summon aspect of bahamut -- could be an entertaining mount, I suppose

Level 8
    ^maze
    trap the soul -- seriously no save, just SR
    ^greater planar binding - cast early on first day of adventure; planetar or tulani? Decisions, decisions ...
    *telekinetic sphere
  SpC
    fierce pride of the beastlands
    *lightning ring
    *field of icy razors

Level 9
  SpC
    sphere of ultimate destruction
    *reality maelstrom -- normally nerfed down to only one round, all ScMs bring up to two, but we can theoretically get two more extends on that bad boy for a total of eight rounds.
    abyssal army
    heavenly host
    hellish horde
    summon elemental monolith (to combine with sonorous hum)
    *instant refuge
  BVD
    *crushing fist of spite -- THE FIST OF AN ANGRY GOD
  FB
    *iceberg -- drop an iceberg on someone's head
  PH2
    summon golem -- happy spell-immune pets
    *detonate
  BED
    blinding glory - autoblind vs. evil creatures?  WHAAAAT?
  CM
    genius loci -- great way to improve the fortifications of a place
  DrM
    *burst of glacial wrath


Spells from Miracle
8th Level Cleric Spells to Mimic
    discern location
    create greater undead
    spell immunity, greater
SpC
    death pact    - free contingent true resurrection? yes, plz

7th level spells
    Cleric
        SpC
            greater consumptive field
            renewal pact
            mass restoration
            mass spell resistance
    Wu Jen
        CArc
            giant size
    Wizard
        SpC
            planar bubble

6th level spells           
    Bard
        SpC
            hindsight
    Cleric
        SpC
            hide the path
            *revive outsider
            energy immunity - for the extra duration
    Sor/Wiz
        SpC
            anticipate teleportation, greater
            resistance, superior  - for the extra duration
            interplanar telepathic bond
            fleshshiver
            incorporeal nova
            revive undead
            make manifest
            subvert planar essence
           
5th level spells           
    Cleric
        SpC
            divine agility -- +10 Dex
            dragon breath -- breath weapons are cool
            revivify -- true res, essentially
            sanctuary, mass
            zone of respite
            zone of revelation
    Druid
        SpC
            owl's insight -- become your favorite divine caster's favorite person
    Sor/Wiz
        SpC
            refusal
           

I suppose a FAQ might go here ...

[b]On the Non-Racist Shadowcraft Prerequisites[/b]

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The adaptation section of the Shadowcraft Mage suggests that the class might be used without the gnome racial requirement. Here are a few sample builds using that variant. McJarvis's Circle Magicians:
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Howabout the hands-down coolest version?(because it was made by me) From Rashemen! I'm a big fan of circle magic, so the Hathran prestige class from the Player's Guide to Faerun is the natural choice. Note that I'm going to assume you understand Circle Magic. It can be easily found in the DMG, even though the Hathran isn't found there...they are mechanically the same. Below are sample cleric and wizard Hathran builds, as well as a Red Wizard build...all using shadow magic. Human. Use Illusion Mastery par-unearthed arcana The easy ones: Wizard based. Specialty schools of illusion all the way Hathran(good aligned)(very potent) Wizard 1-Ethran, Spell Focus Wizard 2 Wizard 3-Earth Sense Wizard 4 Wizard 5- Heighten Spell Wizard 6- Leadership Wizard 7 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 1 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 2-Earth Magic Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 1 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 2-Signiture Spell Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 3 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 4 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 5-Extra Followers Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 6 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 7 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 8-Arcane Disciple(Good) Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 9 Wizard 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 10 evil-aligned(less potent) Wizard 1-Tattoo Focus, Heighten Spell Wizard 2 Wizard 3- Extend Spell Wizard 4 Wizard 5- Quicken Spell Wizard 5/Red Wizard 1- Spell Focus Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 1 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 2-Earth Sense Wizard 5/Red Wizard 2/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 3/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 4/ShadowCraft 3-Leadership Wizard 5/Red Wizard 5/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 6/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 7/ShadowCraft 3-Earth Magic Wizard 5/Red Wizard 8/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 9/ShadowCraft 3 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 3-Signiture Spell Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 4 Wizard 5/Red Wizard 10/ShadowCraft 5 Cleric version(very potent!)(good aligned) Cleric 1-Ethran, Spell Focus Cleric 2 Cleric 3-Heighten Spell Cleric 4 Cleric 5 Cleric 6-Leadership Cleric 7 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 1 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 2-Earth Sense Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 1 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 2-Earth Magic Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 3 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 4 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 5-Spell Mastery Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 6 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 7 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 8-Signiture Spell Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 9 Cleric 7/Shadowcraft 3/Hathran 10 At level 20: Using leadership, create a circle magic ring every morning. Assuming a leadership score of 25 or higher(reasonable- there are a couple special powers involved in this build as well as cha boosting items..) 17th level cohort casts a 9th level spell- 9 4 6th level followers cast 3rd level spells- 4x3=12 4 5th level followers cast- 4x3=12 Total of spell levels=33 This is only 29 if the "extra followers" feat is not taken. 33 extra heighten spells, or maximize, or empower. Worried about SR? You don't have to anymore since all of those could go towards bonus caster levels. Rashemen spirit magic also lets you convert any spell you currently have prepared into any spell you know, so long as you are on Rashemen soil. Even if you aren't on rashamen soil you can use this ability 3x per day. Of course you get all the normal bonuses of being a shadowcraft mage as well...granted you don't get extra %'s on being real, but there is so much *more* adaptation power you can achieve with those variable 33 spell/caster levels. :-) The real power behind the Hathran builds on either side is that Holy Word is in the good domain, and is an evocation spell. They can use circle-casting to boost their caster level to ridiculous levels, then use imaginary castings of holy word to kill with. SR won't be a problem, and they can pretty much cast holy word all-freaking day long. Spontaniously. Caster level will be up in the 40's, so anything short of another character massively higher than you in level will die instantly. The real advantage on the shadow-crafter wizard side is that she can get off multiple holy-word's a day this way, by casting illusionary style instead of "for real". Wow. That's alot more powerful then I thought when I started this. Plus if the Cleric-Hathran is on his home turf she can cast any cleric spell she wants spontaniously instead of what she has prepared. :-O ----- In closing: This might be the most powerful build for the shadowcrafter pre-epic. Being able to holy-word at will(silenced holy word at that) and, because of super-high caster level, being able to ignore any spell resistance you come up against...is just super cool. PS- It should be noted that to get the cleric-version off you need material from both ebberon and forgotten realms. The wizard version, however, is all forgotten realms. Thumbs up to the Wizard-Hathran. Also, the Wizard-Hathran technically has two slots open for more prestige classes, but I didn't feel like bothering with requirements and whatnot.((she goes up to level 7 wizard))


Iry's Wu Jen Entry:
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Not even remotely optimized, but certainly worthwhile for people into the flavor... Human Wu Jen1/Paragon3/Shadowcrafter3/Shadowcraft Mage5 1st: Spell Focus(Illusion) 1st: Greater Spell Focus(Illusion) 1st: Heighten Spell 3rd: Earth Sense 3rd: Earth Spell 6th: Arcane Thesis (Silent Image) 9th: Fell Frighten 12th: Easy Metamagic(Fell Frighten) Human Wu Jen1/Paragon3/Shadowcrafter3/Shadowcraft Mage5 is no faster than a Sorcerer but is almost completely feat legal so long as your DM approves Humanizing the Shadowcraft Mage. It also nets you a +2 Ability Bonus, and one skill for the entirety of your life. The fact that Wu Jen do not get the Shadow Conjuration/Evocation spell line is eliminated by Shadow Illusion. Shadow Illusion is amazing for Wu Jen, since it opens up a very large list of Sorcerer/Wizard spells otherwise completely closed to them. It would have been nice to get Wu Jen 3, Spell Secret, but then the Wu Jen would need to take a flaw instead of Human Paragon. Another major perk to this build is accomplishing violent capability in just 12 levels, but still holding promise for increased power. Here's a combo: Fell Frighten has ambiguous wording "You can alter a spell that deals damage...". While we can agree that Silent Image does not deal damage, the Shadow Illusion class ability makes this spell "...function identically to the shadow conjuration and shadow evocation spells...". Those spells have specific text regarding Damage that seems to fulfill the requirements of Fell Frighten. (Naturally, a spell that doesn't deal any damage recieves no benefit from Fell Frighten in the first place) Freezing Fog is one such impressive spell. It not only makes them Shaken, with NO save but the Will Save, but it inflicts a total of -4 to the enemies attack. Enemies that become more afraid spend turns running away at 5' per round. Since the spell is Silent, you can make sure the enemy is always within 'Hearing' distance just by yelling at them. All manner of other spells can be used to inflict the Shaken state. It's a bit of a stretch, but casting Fell Frightening Shadow Conjurations to summon creatures with an AOE attack will result in a lot of Panicked enemies very quickly.




[b]On Complete Characters, Ready to Play[/b]
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Here I will provide pregenerated characters of various levels that you can drop into any game. Think of it as something like the sample NPCs in the supplements, except these won't be sucktastic and will actually follow the rules. Each will include the character's current stats at whatever level he's created, as well as build and equipment.
Unfinished
Phoenix's Shadow
Title: The Phoenix's Shadow [b]Category:[/b] Gish (Caster Focused) Race: Gnome (rock gnome) Class Composition: Warblade 1/Bard 4/Fighter 1/Jade Phoenix Mage 9/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 4 Build Stub: Warblade 1/Bard 4/Fighter 1/Jade Phoenix Mage 4/Sublime Chord 1/Shadowcraft Mage 4/Jade Phoenix Mage +5 Note: If your DM uses CustServ's interpretation (which also happens to be mine) of the Crusader recovery mechanic, then you'd be better off using Crusader rather than Warblade. Build Progression:
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Level Class Feat(s) 1 Warblade 1 Martial Study (Shadow Hand: Clinging Shadow Strike) 2 Bard 1 3 Bard 2 Spell Focus (illusion) 4 Bard 3 5 Bard 4 6 Fighter 1 Shadow Blade, (Martial Stance: Island of Blades) 7 JPM 1 8 JPM 2 9 JPM 3 Earth Sense 10 JPM 4 11 Sublime Chord 1 12 ScM 1 Heighten Spell 13 ScM 2 14 ScM 3 15 ScM 4 Earth Spell 16 JPM 5 17 JPM 6 18 JPM 7 Shadow Trickster 19 JPM 8 20 JPM 9
Feats:
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ECL) Feat(s) 1) Martial Study (Shadow Hand: Clinging Shadow Strike) 3) Spell Focus (illusion) 6) Shadow Blade, (Martial Stance: Island of Blades) 9) Earth Sense 12) Heighten Spell 15) Earth Spell 18) Shadow Trickster
Notable Class Abilities & Build Features:
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  • Epic ready with both +16 BAB and 9th level Sublime Chord spells (caster level 16).
  • Initiator level 15, granting access to an 8th level maneuver of the Desert Wind or Devoted Spirit schools.
  • All illusions are automatically Extended.
  • Constant 35% miss chance (concealment) when not in sunlight - this effect does allow for Hide checks.
  • Shadow Illusion - see the Shadowcraft Mage Handbook for more information on the importance of this ability.
  • Dex to damage with Shadow Hand weapons (Shadow Blade)
  • Shadow Trickster gives +2 to the save DCs of your illusions.
  • Not a single Warblade or Jade Phoenix Mage maneuver or stance is specifically needed by the build, so you are free to develop your own fighting style.
  • Once per encounter you can Quicken a spell for free.
  • Once per encounter you can Empower a spell for free.
  • You essentially gain two new stances:
    • Mystic Phoenix Stance: increased caster level, +2 AC, and DR X/evil.
    • Firebird Stance: fire resistance, increased caster level for fire spells, and an aura of fire.
  • You can make all Knowledge checks as if trained and get a +2 on all Knowledge checks.
  • Arcane Wrath - basically Arcane Strike.
You end up a sneaky blaster/mind-controller/summoner who can hardly ever be hit and can heal himself during battle (Devoted Spirit maneuvers and stances).

 
Wohoo, a Shadowcraft mage handbook!

One thing, that Cloistered cleric build can now be done better, thanks to the Spontaneous domain casting alternative class ability in PHBII, no need for Domain spontaneity feat.

Cheers :D
-Jay-
Hmm, yes it seems that practical metamagic is perfect for this character.

However, you need to become a dragonblooded character... Dragonborn of bahamut probably?

You lose the gnome's +1 bonus to illusion save DCs, but you can use lower level slots to prepare higher level spells. (One level lower, to be exact. Example: 9th level spell in 8th level slots) but the DCs remain the same as a regular shadowcraft gnome's DC for equivalent spells.

Hmm, well, thats a decent tradeoff I suppose.

prototype00
The catch on this one is that high save DCs tend to counteract high reality percentages, as those percentages only apply to disbelieved spells.

So for percentages over 100%, only those who make their will saves will suffer the extra damage? That does seem like a rather roundabout method of dealing extra damage here.

I suppose you could provide proof that you're casting an illusion before you actually cast it, so that enemies would always make their saves, and you'll always do extra damage to them. Something verbal that you can shout perhaps?

Personally, I'd just say if the percentage goes over 100%, the extra damage applies whether they believe it or not, after all, its not their disbelief that is making the illusion stronger, but the raw stuff of shadow that you're infusing it with.

But of course, that is just my personal opinion.

prototype00
Could I make a request for a list of good spells to emulate via the shadow evocation and shadow conjuration abilities of the gnome shadowcraft mage?

prototype00
I don't understand the 'con' for the Beguiler. As you stated, Arcane Disciple adds the spells on the selected domain list to "your class spell list." The Beguiler has a class spell list, it is just not the same as the sorcerer or wizard. Therefore, if you take Arcane Disciple (luck), then Miracle is added to your Beguiler class spell list, which as it so happens is also the Beguiler's list of spell's known.
I don't understand the 'con' for the Beguiler. As you stated, Arcane Disciple adds the spells on the selected domain list to "your class spell list." The Beguiler has a class spell list, it is just not the same as the sorcerer or wizard. Therefore, if you take Arcane Disciple (luck), then Miracle is added to your Beguiler class spell list, which as it so happens is also the Beguiler's list of spell's known.

Shadow Illusions can only mimic Sor/Wiz spells. Making Miracle a Beguiler spell does not make it mimickable by Shadow Illusions - you would somehow have to add it to your Sor/Wiz list.
One thing, that Cloistered cleric build can now be done better, thanks to the Spontaneous domain casting alternative class ability in PHBII, no need for Domain spontaneity feat.

I think you need the spontaneous domain casting to get it to work at all, since you can't use two divine feats (like Divine Metamagic (Heighten) and Domain Spontaneity) in the same round. All praise the PHB II ;)

Assay Spell Resistance (Complete Arcane, Spell Compendium) can help with the problem of SR.
Could I make a request for a list of good spells to emulate via the shadow evocation and shadow conjuration abilities of the gnome shadowcraft mage

Best Spells to Imitate, IMO:

1st
Grease
Mage Armor
Magic Missile
Orb of Acid, Lesser

2nd
Scorching Ray
Web
Shatter
Battering Ram

3rd
Fireball / Lightening Bolt
Stinking Cloud
Sepia Snake Sigil (for no material component)
Mage Armor, Greater

4th
Minor Creation
Black Tentacles
Orb of Acid
Secret Chest (again, for no material component)

5th
Firebrand
Ball Lightening
Major Creation
Cone of Cold
Vitriolic Sphere

6th
Chain Lightening
Contingency
Wall of Iron

7th
Phase Door
Mage’s Sword
Forcecage
Prismatic Spray
Instant Summons (for no material component)

8th
Polar Ray
Maze

9th
Meteor Swarm
Black Blade of Disaster
Eye of Power

Obviously, Summon Monster spells could be useful too; I just prefer a different flavor of spells to imitate.

A quick question: can you cast spells that normally have XP requirements with no XP cost? There aren’t too many, but the following spell is a good example.
Elminster’s Evasion is like 2 Contingencies in one, and costs 5000 xp to pull off.

Sources:
http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Spells-SorcererWizard.pdf
http://www.d20srd.org/filters/spell.php

edit: removed some ineligible spells (only conjuration[summoning, creation] and evocation can be imitated)
There is a formatting typo in the top half of the second spoiler block.

You should really discuss Arcane Thesis, it could do wonders for the build.

Great guide so far, you've got me interested!
Thanks for the list Jameswilliamogle, one thing though.

Shadow conjuration only imitates conjuration (summoning) and conjuration (creation) spells. It doesn't do the same for conjuration (calling) and conjuration (teleportation) type spells. So there are a couple of spells on your list that can't be duplicated, like say, teleport.

prototype00
Shadow conjuration only imitates conjuration (summoning) and conjuration (creation) spells. It doesn't do the same for conjuration (calling) and conjuration (teleportation) type spells. So there are a couple of spells on your list that can't be duplicated, like say, teleport.

whoops! fix'd.
Holy crap! That's a lot more activity than I was expecting. When I finish waking up, I'll reply to and incorporate everyone's input.
jameswilliamogle's list is pretty good. Here are some more spells I consider noteworthy. These are mostly from SpC.
XP components are also bypassed by Shadow Illusions - hence part of the brokenness of Miracle. Elminster's Evasion, though, was turned into Instant Refuge in SpC and significantly nerfed.

1
Create Trap
Blood Wind
Persistent Blade

2
Create Magic Tattoo

3
Nauseating Breath
Chain Missile
Prismatic Mist
Sonorous Hum

4
Dweomer of Transference
Slashing Dispel

5
Phantasmal Thief
Toxic Weapon
Sonic Shield
Storm Touch

6
Contingency
Gemjump
Fires of Purity
Howling Chain
Overwhelming Revelations

7
Scalding Touch

8
Field of Icy Razors
Lightning Ring

9
Sphere of Ultimate Destruction
Summon Elemental Monolith
Instant Refuge
Detonate
Thanks for the lists guys,

Some questions about my favorite spells from the list,

Does the +1 caster level increase from the magical tattoos created by the create magic tattoo spell stack with itself? i.e. could I have 3 tattoos all granting +1 caster level (for the purpose of overcoming spell resistance really.)

Is it possible to have two black blade's of disaster up with extraordinary concentration? *just thinking about the 96d6 possible damage.* (hmm, 3 if you cast sonorous hum beforehand...)

For the blacklight spell, is it possible to target yourself as the source of the blacklight? (I've always thought that this would make a good substitute for cloak of shadows when you're out and about in daylight)

Thanks for the answers!

prototype00
Does the +1 caster level increase from the magical tattoos created by the create magic tattoo spell stack with itself? i.e. could I have 3 tattoos all granting +1 caster level (for the purpose of overcoming spell resistance really.)

No. Unless otherwise stated, a bonus does not stack with itself.

Is it possible to have two black blade's of disaster up with extraordinary concentration? *just thinking about the 96d6 possible damage.* (hmm, 3 if you cast sonorous hum beforehand...)

Yes.

For the blacklight spell, is it possible to target yourself as the source of the blacklight? (I've always thought that this would make a good substitute for cload of shadows when you're out and about in daylight)

Yes.

If you use the non-gnome adaptation of the ScM, I could see a build like this performing well:
Human Wiz 5/Incantatrix 2/ScM 3/Inx +5/Halruaan Elder 1/Inx +3/Shadow Adept 1
Wiz 1 (Spell Focus[illus], Earth Sense)
Wiz 2
Wiz 3 (Iron Will)
Wiz 4
Wiz 5 (Heighten Spell)
Inx 1 (Arcane Thesis[silent image], Extend Spell)
ScM 1
ScM 2 (Earth Spell)
Inx 3
Inx 4 (Halruaan Adept, Quicken Spell)
Inx 5
Inx 6
Inx 7 (Spell Thematics, Persistant Spell)
HE 1 [Adroit Casting:Heighten]
Inx 8
Inx 9 (Shadow Weave Magic)
Inx 10
Shadow Adept 1 (Insidious magic, Tenacious Magic, Pernicious Magic)
In response to prototype00:
Show
Hmm, yes it seems that practical metamagic is perfect for this character.

However, you need to become a dragonblooded character... Dragonborn of bahamut probably?

That would be the most efficient way to do it.

You lose the gnome's +1 bonus to illusion save DCs, but you can use lower level slots to prepare higher level spells. (One level lower, to be exact. Example: 9th level spell in 8th level slots) but the DCs remain the same as a regular shadowcraft gnome's DC for equivalent spells.

Hmm, well, thats a decent tradeoff I suppose.

The only DC that suffers is that of spells heightened to 10th level (via Earth Spell). Everything else has a higher DC and can be used with higher level spells and with slightly higher quasireality.

So for percentages over 100%, only those who make their will saves will suffer the extra damage? That does seem like a rather roundabout method of dealing extra damage here.

Yeah, it's one of those really weird applications of the rules. Your spells actually do more damage when their targets make their initial Will saves. *shrug*

Is it possible to have two black blade's of disaster up with extraordinary concentration? *just thinking about the 96d6 possible damage.* (hmm, 3 if you cast sonorous hum beforehand...)

Yes, indeed it is possible, provided that you can make the Concentration checks.


In response to Harlequinn:
Show

I don't understand the 'con' for the Beguiler. As you stated, Arcane Disciple adds the spells on the selected domain list to "your class spell list." The Beguiler has a class spell list, it is just not the same as the sorcerer or wizard. Therefore, if you take Arcane Disciple (luck), then Miracle is added to your Beguiler class spell list, which as it so happens is also the Beguiler's list of spell's known.

As psly4mne said, shadow conjurations/evocations only mimic Sorcerer/Wizard spells. The way around this is to pick up one level of Wizard. Then you apply Arcane Disciple's benefits to your Wizard casting. That way miracle is treated as a Sorcerer/Wizard spell for you, so you can mimic it freely.

This trick will be incorporated into the handbook.


To pyro_cat:
Show

There is a formatting typo in the top half of the second spoiler block.

Yeah. That's getting fixed as of *click* now.

You should really discuss Arcane Thesis, it could do wonders for the build.

Well, yeah. I suppose, since the character really uses only one spell. :D It pretty much requires the use of Incantatrix, however, as the Killer Gnome is pretty feat strapped to begin with. I'll add it in tonight.

Great guide so far, you've got me interested!

Thanks. :D
If you can adapt SCM to non-gnomes, Dragonborn Illumians can get pretty sick. Practical metamagic and Improved sigil (Krau) can be used to lower the spell slot by two more. Now if Illumian actually do qualify qualify for Halruaan elder with their human subtype, you can use that great build psly4mne just posted, that's really frickin' many spell slot decreaeses!
Technically any race can enter the PrC, via the Stoneblessed PrC(also found in RoS), however, the loss of three caster levels would rarely be worth it.

Also, a Warmage can technically enter the PrC with the variant class feature in PHB2, which would give them summoning(they already have blasting spells). Could be a possibility.
EDIT:I've been ninja-ed!

The other route is to use Stoneblessed to count as a gnome for class requirements. The basic structure would be Bard 7/Gnome Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5. You end up with full Sublime Chord casting, so you're epic ready and can be mimicking 9th level spells by 17th level.
EDIT:I've been ninja-ed!
Bard 7/Gnome Stoneblessed 3/Sublime Chord 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5.

or:
Bard 4/ Mindbender 1/ Gnome Paragon 3/ Shadow adept 1/ Shadowcrafter 1/ Sublime Chord 1/ Shadowcraft mage 5/ Shadowcrafter 1

I also like arcane thesis very much for a shdowcraft mage, since your most importent spell is silent image, esspecially when used in combination with incantatrix.

Beestje
Is there a reason why you went with a gnome? It seems to me that the +1 to illusion spells can be offset by a grey elves +2 int, and it adds the +1 dc to all spells. Is it because Gnomes are small?
Actually, it's because being a Gnome is a prerequisite for the Shadowcraft Mage. That's about it really.

And I second the usefulness of Arcane Thesis, especially on a Beguiler base. Free Silent and Still Metamagic on Silent Image can work wonders. Of course, this is assuming that there is space
or:
Bard 4/ Mindbender 1/ Gnome Paragon 3/ Shadow adept 1/ Shadowcrafter 1/ Sublime Chord 1/ Shadowcraft mage 5/ Shadowcrafter 1

Well, I did say it was the basic structure for other races.
And I second the usefulness of Arcane Thesis, especially on a Beguiler base. Free Silent and Still Metamagic on Silent Image can work wonders. Of course, this is assuming that there is space

Aren't all illusion spells cast by a shadowcraft mage already silenced for free? So its basically only still spell for free if you get arcane thesis. That and +2 caster level, which is nice.

prototype00
The only DC that suffers is that of spells heightened to 10th level (via Earth Spell). Everything else has a higher DC and can be used with higher level spells and with slightly higher quasireality.

So for example, shadowcraft gnome G wants to create an 8th level evocation effect, say, polar ray.

With practical metamagic and earth spell, he can heighten a silent image up to 9th level in a 7th level slot and basically produce the 9th level silent image required to produce the effect.

DC= 19 (9th level spell) + SF + GSF + int mod and misc.

Not being a gnome (he's actually a dragonborn), he doesn't have the +1 to illusion spell save DCs

However with earth spell only, D the gnome can cast the same spell in an 8th level slot (one higher than gnome G) and get

DC = 19 (9th level spell) +SF + GSF + 1 (gnome) + int mod +misc

So for the same spell effect, wouldn't the regular gnome get a slightly higher spell save DC (thanks to the bonus) but the dragonborn or bahamut would be able to prepare it in a lower spell slot?

Or am I missing something here?

prototype00
Here's another way of getting spells onto your spell list:

Changling Wizard 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Recaster 5.

Feats: PrC Prereqs, Racial Emulation.

As I read it, Racial Emulation allows you to qualify as a Gnome for Shadowcraft Mage. The Recaster levels MUST be taken last to gain the full effect. This method allows you to add one level 8 and one level 7 spell to your Sorc/Wiz spell list, and thus allow them to be Shadow Illusioned if they are of the correct School. These spells can be taken from ANY list.

Note: Wiz 11/SCM 5/Recaster 4 allows two level 8 spells, at the cost of Metamorphic Spell(space). Alternatively, if Improved Spell Capacity is taken, then Recaster is taken in Epic levels, one can add level 9 spells to their list.

EDIT:

Whisper Gnome Beguiler 7/Rogue 1/Nightsong Enforcer 1/Arcane Trickster 6/Shadowcraft Mage 5 in the following order:

Beguiler 1-6/Rogue 1/Nightsong Enforcer 1/Arcane Trickster 1-3/Beguiler 7/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Arcane Trickster 4-6

This is a rather stealthy rogue-mage build. You need to take the Spell Hand feat from CArc to qualify for Arcane Trickster. Improved Feint is also a good choice, as you can do a Swift Action feint via the Beguiler ability should you take it. Improved Initiative and Spell Focus(Illusion) are also needed for Prereqs. Gets atleast 4+Int Skill Points per level, and has BAB+9, which is only one behind a wizard of the same level. It also has 5d6 SA and has 18th level Beguiler casting.
Doesn't Dragonborn of Bahamut say specifically that you lose all the abilities of any Prestige Class that you previously had that you no longer qualify for, except HD, HP, Saves, and BAB? Doesn't seem very efficient for Practical Metamagic qualification.

Can we have a few suggested feat progressions for:
Wiz 5 (1-5)/ ScM 5 (8-12)/ Inc 10 (6-7, 13-20) and the other ones?
would it look like:
1 Iron Will
3 Sp Foci: Illusion
5 Heighten Spell
6 Arcane Thesis, Earth Sense
9 Gr Sp Foci: Illusion
12 Earth Spell
15 & 18 either the penetration feats, or the concentration feats
+ 2 free metamagics from incanatrix (extend & maximize or quicken?)
Doesn't Dragonborn of Bahamut say specifically that you lose all the abilities of any Prestige Class that you previously had that you no longer qualify for, except HD, HP, Saves, and BAB? Doesn't seem very efficient for Practical Metamagic qualification.

You remain a gnome for all purposes requiring you to be a gnome. So you don't disqualify yourself from the shadowcraft mage PrC. You just lose the +1 to illusion spell save DCs and all your racial abilities.

prototype00
In response to prototype00:
Show
So for example, shadowcraft gnome G wants to create an 8th level evocation effect, say, polar ray.

With practical metamagic and earth spell, he can heighten a silent image up to 9th level in a 7th level slot and basically produce the 9th level silent image required to produce the effect.

DC= 19 (9th level spell) + SF + GSF + int mod and misc.

Not being a gnome (he's actually a dragonborn), he doesn't have the +1 to illusion spell save DCs

However with earth spell only, D the gnome can cast the same spell in an 8th level slot (one higher than gnome G) and get

DC = 19 (9th level spell) +SF + GSF + 1 (gnome) + int mod +misc

So for the same spell effect, wouldn't the regular gnome get a slightly higher spell save DC (thanks to the bonus) but the dragonborn or bahamut would be able to prepare it in a lower spell slot?

Or am I missing something here?

prototype00

What you're missing is that the regular gnome is using a higher level spell slot than the dragonborn - the dragonborn is just as capable of using that spell slot to achieve the effect as his counterpart. The DCs for each using the same slot are equivalent (except for 9th level slots). The difference is that the dragonborn gnome can accomplish more with any given slot than the regular gnome.

Let's say that they're both level 11. That means they have 6th level spell slot available to them. The dragonborn gnome's DC for those slots is the same as the DC for those of the regular gnome., because while the regular gnome gets a +1 bonus to illusion DCs, the dragonborn gnome gets an extra effective spell level, which gives a +1 to the DC among other things.

The dragonborn gnome can achieve whatever effect with less effort (mimicking a 9th level spell using a 7th level slot) than the regular gnome (9th in an 8th), but when the dragonborn applies himself and expends the same effort as his counterpart, he has the same DC and more options.

Also, he can mimic spells of the same level as the slot used even when Earth Spell does not apply.


In response to jameswilliamogle:
Show
Doesn't Dragonborn of Bahamut say specifically that you lose all the abilities of any Prestige Class that you previously had that you no longer qualify for, except HD, HP, Saves, and BAB? Doesn't seem very efficient for Practical Metamagic qualification.

You lose anything that you no longer qualify for. You still count as a member of your original race for effects and prereqs, though, so you don't lose anything, really.

Can we have a few suggested feat progressions for:
Wiz 5 (1-5)/ ScM 5 (8-12)/ Inc 10 (6-7, 13-20) and the other ones?
would it look like:
1 Iron Will
3 Sp Foci: Illusion
5 Heighten Spell
6 Arcane Thesis, Earth Sense
9 Gr Sp Foci: Illusion
12 Earth Spell
15 & 18 either the penetration feats, or the concentration feats
+ 2 free metamagics from incanatrix (extend & maximize or quicken?)

I dunno. I thought I'd just provide insight into the use of certain feats & classes. That way people can use the sample builds as either inspiration or as templates. I'll add a few more sample builds, though, if they show something interesting, and I'll flesh out the descriptions of each to show why a feat or class was chosen at any given level.
What book is the shadowcrafter found in? I found the shadowcraft mage, but have not been able to find the shadowcrafter.

Also, what book are is the Practical MetaMagic and Easy Metamagic feats found in?

Also, wouldn't the best combination for a Beguiler be Beguiler5, MindBender1, and shadowcraft mage 5 4?Incantrix 8, X PRC 1 (maybe Fatespinner)

Simply because we can use mentamagic feats at lower level castings?

Put in some more Metamagic feats that only take a 1 higher spell level. Combined with Arcane thesis (silent Image) Silent spell shadowcraft mage ability and we might be able to cast a 2 silenced, stilled, quickened spells in a round.

Put in earth spell and easy metamagic and/or Practical Metamagic and we have a killer illusionist.

One thing i have a question on. Is it better to go Mage or Beguiler?
Beguiler must use Advanced Learning to get a fourth level shadow spell.

Practical Metamagic is in Races of the Dragon.
In response to TheVatican:
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What book is the shadowcrafter found in? I found the shadowcraft mage, but have not been able to find the shadowcrafter.

Check out the prestige class index in the consolidated lists archive.

Also, what book are is the Practical MetaMagic and Easy Metamagic feats found in?

Practical Metamagic is in Races of the Dragon. Easy Metamagic is in Dragon #325.

One thing i have a question on. Is it better to go Mage or Beguiler?

For sheer power, the Wizard can't be beaten. The Beguiler version is no slouch, however.


In response to ChrisAsmadi:
Show
Beguiler must use Advanced Learning to get a fourth level shadow spell.

Well, this is true to some extent, but the spell doesn't have to be originally 4th level. For example, I could use my 3rd level Advanced Learning to acquire net of shadows from the Spell Compendium. It may only be first level, but I can heighten it to fourth upon hitting eighth level. Voila, we have our prereq.
Still, the Feint as Move/Swift action is highly useful, so I'd advise taking Beguiler to 6th. +1 to all saves, +1 BAB and that ability makes the 6th level highly worth it.
What you're missing is that the regular gnome is using a higher level spell slot than the dragonborn - the dragonborn is just as capable of using that spell slot to achieve the effect as his counterpart. The DCs for each using the same slot are equivalent (except for 9th level slots). The difference is that the dragonborn gnome can accomplish more with any given slot than the regular gnome.

Let's say that they're both level 11. That means they have 6th level spell slot available to them. The dragonborn gnome's DC for those slots is the same as the DC for those of the regular gnome., because while the regular gnome gets a +1 bonus to illusion DCs, the dragonborn gnome gets an extra effective spell level, which gives a +1 to the DC among other things.

The dragonborn gnome can achieve whatever effect with less effort (mimicking a 9th level spell using a 7th level slot) than the regular gnome (9th in an 8th), but when the dragonborn applies himself and expends the same effort as his counterpart, he has the same DC and more options.

Also, he can mimic spells of the same level as the slot used even when Earth Spell does not apply.

So basically when a dragonborn of Bahamut creates the same effect in the same slot as a shadowcraft gnome, then the DC is the same. I got that. And other benefits as well. Copacetic. Truly, dragonborn of bahamut is the way to go in a killer gnome build. If you can get your DM to spring for it, of course.

prototype00

P.s. Not that its a tremendous deal here, but would it be possible to mention the light-armor wearing capabilities of the beguiler in the pros section for them? It is another way to add ac and other protective qualities (soulfire anyone?) to your character without the fear of them being magicked away.
Yeah, I'm going to update the OP this afternoon. I'll throw in that as well as an analysis of Arcane Thesis. Some other clarifications, too.
There really is no need for Beguiler 7 in the Beguiler version of the Shadowcraft Mage.
Dragonborn Gnome
Beguiler 1 (Spell Focus[illus])
Beg 2
Beg 3 [Advanced Learning:Net of Shadows] (Heighten Spell)
Beg 4
Beg 5
Mindbender 1 (Practical Metamagic[heighten])

With Practical Metamagic, you can heighten Net of Shadows to 4th level and cast it in a 3rd level spell slot. Thus, you can enter Shadowcraft Mage.
Access to Practical Metamagic is, IMO, the main advantage of the Beguiler. And what an advantage it is!
Don't forget that a Sorcerer can use the same trick.
psly4mne: If you're talking about my Shadowcraft Trickster build, there are two reasons for taking the 7th beguiler level. First, because you already need Decipher Script, Disable Device, Escape Artist, K(Arcana), Hide, Move Silently, Bluff and Spellcraft ranks, and trying to fit the Mindbender prereqs in as well means you will barely scrape them.

The second is because I was going for atleast 4+Int skill points per level, and Mindbender is only 2+Int. I intended the build to work as a scout and/or skill monkey as well as a caster.
psly4mne: If you're talking about my Shadowcraft Trickster build, there are two reasons for taking the 7th beguiler level. First, because you already need Decipher Script, Disable Device, Escape Artist, K(Arcana), Hide, Move Silently, Bluff and Spellcraft ranks, and trying to fit the Mindbender prereqs in as well means you will barely scrape them.

The second is because I was going for atleast 4+Int skill points per level, and Mindbender is only 2+Int. I intended the build to work as a scout and/or skill monkey as well as a caster.

I just put Mindbender in there for no particular reason. You are right that a level of Beguiler could be better, depending on your priorities for the build. Anyway, you missed the point of the post - the entry I listed is 6 levels instead of 7. Instead of Beguiler 6/X 1/Beguiler +1/ScM or Beguiler 7/ScM, you can just go Beguiler 6/ScM.