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Phaxi

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Archivist Handbook
« on: February 09, 2009, 05:18:59 PM »

Archivist Handbook
or was it prayerbook?

Archivist web preview (Heroes of Horror excerpt)


"You can either sell me the cursed stele, or you can wait for its original owner to come for it. The choice is yours."

-- Anselmo Durod, proctor abbot of the Hallowed Doctrine



An archivist is a wielder of divine magic, similar to a cleric only in the type and nature of the magic at his command. Indeed, the archivist has more in common with the wizard than he does with the standard servant of the divine, due to the scholarly way in which he collects and maintains his spell selection. Archivists seek out esoteric sources of divine lore, wherever those sources might be, securing those secrets for themselves and their fellow scholars.


Why Archivist?

Why not just play a cleric? Or a wizard? You will not be getting all cleric spells for free, nor any turning undead or domain special abilites, and you won't be able to get all arcane spells. But: You can get all cleric spells, and you can get many arcane spells. Aswell as druid spells, adept spells, Nentyar hunter spells, you name it. You won't be getting spells from two domains, you will be getting spells from all of them. This is incredibly powerful. The possibilities are endless.

"Archivists can be very flexible. You get healing from cleric lists, utility from domains, and blasting mainly from the Druid list. Druids have a number of very useful evocation spells that have nice side-effects." (pfooti)

ProsCons

Before you decide to play an Archivist, there are some questions you will want answered about the campaign. Here are some of them you will want to ask:

Q: [/spoiler]

Q: How does buying items work in this campaign?
In some campaigns, buying an obscure scroll is as easy as a trip to the supermarket. In other campaigns, there might not be a lot of some of the more obscure classes running around or making scrolls. It might be worth it to invest ranks in gather information just because of this scenario.

Q: Should you be worried about terrible things happening to your prayer book?
This is more a question you should ask yourself (no reason to give your DM any ideas). Maybe investing in some sort of failsafe system would be a good idea (More ideas welcome).



Basic Stats

Worst Base Attack Bonus
d6 Hit Die
Good Fortitude and Will saves
4+int skill points

Everything being better or equal compared to a wizard, and you're more skillfull than a cleric.



Ability Scores

Archivists tend to be slightly MAD since they have two ability scores affecting your spellcasting.

Intelligence: The most important one, your spellcasting (with the exception of bonus spells per day) is based off of this stat. Your skill points and knowledge checks are based off this stat too. Try to keep it as high as possible.
Constitution: Close second with wisdom in importance, but HP and concentration checks are probably more important in the long run than 1 extra spell/day.
Wisdom: Still important as Wisdom controls your will saves and your bonus spells per day. The latter can be replaced with dex if you play an Uurkrau Illumian.
Dexterity: It's nice for reflex save (your only bad save) and ranged touch attacks, don't dump it unless you're using a really low pointbuy. Special notice to certain Illumians have the ability to use dex as the stat on which bonus spells are based.
Charisma: Your points are most likely spent better elsewhere. The only real use for it is if you gain turn undead as a sacred exorcist or something.
Strength: You're probably gonna have to dump this, even if it affects your touch attacks.



Class Abilities

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Archivists are proficient with all simple weapons and with light and medium armor, but not with shields.
Spells: This is what makes archivist one of the big five. Thou shalt not give up caster levels.
Dark Knowledge:Scribe Scroll: as wizards, archivists get this for free. It is important to note that if a person of another class approaches you, can scribe a scroll off their spell list if they describe it to you.
Bonus Feats: also similar to wizards, although only half as often.
Still Mind: Better than nothing. Even though your will save is probably good as it is.
Lore Mastery: Bonus to knowledge checks is always good.



Races

You're gonna look for races with intelligence bonus (but without a constitution or wisdom loss) or the almighty bonus feat races.

Humans: Bonus feat and bonus skills. Probably your best bet. This has been said too many times.
Strongheart Halflings: -2 Str, +2 Dex. Small size and also comes with a bonus feat. Campaign specific though.
Lesser Tiefling: +2 Int, +2 Dex, -2 Cha. With Charisma being a dump stat, this is very good.
Lesser Fire Genasi: +2 Int, -2 Cha. Also a decent choice.
Illumian: Deserve a special notice, for the ability to swap wisdom for dexterity for bonus spells and by taking Sigil Focus (krau), you can gain early access to some prestiege classes.
Fire Elf: +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -2 Cha. The -Con hurts, but this is not that bad of a choice.
Silvanesti: +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Con, -2 Cha. Same as above.
Sun Elf: +2 Int, -2 Con. There are better choices, but if you love elves..
Gray Elf: -2 Str, +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Int. Same as above.
Deep Imaskari: +2 Int, -2 Dex. I'm not too familiar with these guys tbh, looks good on paper.
Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold: -4 Str +2 Dex -2 Con +3 Int +3 Wis +3 Cha. Small. Yes please. (Takanaki)
Whisper Gnome: +2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Str, -2 Cha. Small and a ton of other goodies. Also allows access to the gnome feat, Trivial Knowledge (See below).
Vanara: -2 Str, +2 Int, +2 Wis. Climb 20 ft, (Note: in a 3.5 oriental adventures update found in Dragon magazine, vanara were updated to no longer have any ability score adjustments.)

Dwarves, elves and gnomes of all kind have an additional allure: they have a racial feat each that is immensely helpful to any Archivist. Dwarves get Ancestral Knowledge, which is a bit of a back and forther -- WIS to Knowledge skills means you might have to take som points out of INT or lose your mod, but the ability to use all Knowledge skills untrained is great if you're taking feats that broaden Dark Knowledge. The elven feat Elf Dilettante gets you the untrained allowance AND a +1 bonus to boot. The gnome feat, Trivial Knowledge, is more powerul for the more focused Archivist: it allows rolling 2d20 drop lowest for all Knowledge checks. This is great at low levels for Dark Knowledge, and can serve you at higher levels for things like the Knowledge Domain feat. Each feat can be found in its respective race's Races of book.



Combat

Even though you're being a bit less squishy than a wizard, you should stay in the back. Remember that you're playing a buffing class, much like the bard, so help your party members.

Levels 1-3: Light crossbow, dark knowledge (tactics) and healing is probably what you're gonna be doing in the beginning. You won't be doing much damage, but can make sure your friends are. Spells like Creeping Cold, Alter Self, Heroism and Scorching Ray becomes available.

Levels 4-5: You'll hopefully by now aquired a couple of nice spells from different non-clerical sources, and starting to become the spellcasting powerhouse you really are. Dark knowledge (puissance) becomes availiable, and might be useful in a few situations. Classic spells like Fly and Dispel Magic becomes available aswell as alternative spells like Shivering Touch, Lightning Bolt and Freedom of Movement.

Levels 6-10: More and more spells. Thats pretty much it. This is where you're starting to outshine the non-casters in the party, but dont stop buffing them because of that. You can cast spells and do that at the same time, no problem. Game-changers like Divine Power, Polymorph, Teleport and Heal should be added to your repertoire.

Levels 11+: You can now stun targets with no save or SR as a move action. If you're gonna PrC out of the class, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, just continue advancing, archivist 20 is good as it is.



Feats

Knowledge Devotion: Since you're going to have a bunch of maxed knowledge skills, you might aswell use them. Check with your DM if the damage applies to spells.
Spontaneous Healing: Without any other healer in the party this might be worth it to use the spell slots for more useful things. Wether you actually need to have the said cure spells in your prayerbook or not to use them is unclear.
Touch of Healing: Unliiimited heaaling! More seriously, this is good if you're the only divine caster in the party.
Improved Initiative: Winning initiative is important for the archivist, both to get the dark knowledge off before your party gets to act, and for area spells that otherwise might hurt your party members.
Heighten Spell: Always good to cast at +1CL. (DarkSyn)
Collegiate Wizard: A slight adaptation is required, check with your DM before putting this in your build. (DarkSyn)
Spontaneous Summoner: As a prepared caster, the ability to spontaneously cast sets of spells is a godsend. (Viletta Vadim)
Domain Spontaneity: Same as above. (Viletta Vadim)
Elder Giant Magic: Good especially for all day/long lasting buffs.
Augment Healing: Might be worth it if you're the only one that can heal.
Mastery of Day and Night: Good even though it requires Maximize Spell, which may not be the best feat around.
Domain substitution: Switch your domain to another domain for days/level as a level two spell. Useful if you don't want to buy a Forcecage scroll for 27k, change to the force domain and write one yourself for 2.2k and a kobold's worth of XP. (Takanaki)
Leadership: Good for most PCs, get a cleric, druid or some other divine spellcaster to share spells with.
Ancestral Knowledge: Dwarf only. See the Races section.
Elf Dilettante: Elf only (duh!). See the Races section.
Trivial Knowledge: Gnome only. See the Races section.
Breadth of Knowledge: A free point in every knowledge for one feat, most likely better then the +2/+2 feats.
Jack of all Trades: Every skill is usable as if it had 1/2 rank in each skill. Useful for skill mongers.
Insightful Reflexes: Your reflex saves are your worst saves, Dex is a dump stat and Intelligence is your best modifier. Simple logic, yes?
Draconic Archivist: Very campaign specific if its worth it or not.
Archivist of Nature: Same as above.
Shape Soulmeld: for the Elder Spirit soulmeld.



Skills

Knowledge skills: This is a vital part of the archivist, max as many as you can afford.
Concentration: Max this as every good caster should.
Spellcraft: Should also be maxed out.
The rest of the skills are mostly party specific and optional, if you for example going to be the face of the party, or the healer.
Skill tricks
Collector of Stories: A very good skill trick to for an Archivist. Any DM with at least some common sense would rule this to work with Dark knowledge.

Note on DM's power once again: Gather Information might be usefull if your DM is going to make it tough for you to find scrolls.



Equipment

Scrolls of Uncertain Provenance [MIC]: +5 to all knowledge checks (8,000gp)
Tome of Worldly Memory [MIC]: +5 to 3/day knowledge checks (1,500gp)



Credits:
Everyone that helped writing the archived handbook over at WoTC that now is archived, which is incorporated into this guide.
Everyone contributing in this thread!

Footnote:
Any suggestions or tips much appreciated, this is my first handbook I've ever made, and I consider myself no expert at character optimization.


« Last Edit: May 25, 2010, 09:01:32 AM by Phaxi »
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Phaxi

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2009, 05:19:16 PM »

Spells

Some classes access divine spells earlier than indicated on the cleric spell list. A classic example is that the adept (the NPC class) nets Heal as a 5th level spell, one spell level earlier than the cleric. Buy a scroll of heal written by an adept instead of a cleric. Adepts is an excellent source of alternative divine spells, with spells like polymorph, sleep, invisibility, etc. And don't forget about druid being a divine spellcaster!

Suggested Archivist Spell List (originally by Pfooti, now posted by Oehler Quantum Tycoon)

Takanaki's picked out spells from level 1-7 (the post below.) (Takanaki)

The lowest level versions of spells:
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 11:13:08 AM by Phaxi »
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Takanaki

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 06:03:35 PM »
Suggesting PrC Contemplative for a Domain at level 1 and Divine body too for immunity to all types of disease.

Further with BoED or Complete Champion (I forgot which) you get Domain substitution. Switch your domain to another domain for days/level as a level two spell. Useful if you don't want to buy a Forcecage scroll for 27k, change to the force domain and write one yourself for 2.2k and a kobold's worth of XP.

Races: Kobold Dragonwrought... yes please.

If you're interested i've picked out spells from level 1-7 i'll be using for now. It isn't a complete list but it has some good ones in it, sorry it's a mess but maybe you can find something useful with it.... notes are kind of messy right now.

Spells: 1
Bless Weapon[1m/lvl overcome evil DR], Bloodwind[Swift, 1rd natural attacks at short range], Camoflague[10m/lvl +10hide], Climbing Tree[1m/lvl 50ft tree DC5 Climb], Cure Light Wounds, Inflict Light Wounds, Immediate Assistance[Immediate, reroll skillcheck one person within 25ft], Lay of the Land[3rd cast, 50mile mental map], Lesser Restoration [PHB], Obscuring Mist[1m/lvl 20% concealment @5ft, 50%further 20ft radius], Rhino's Rush[Swiftx2dmg on charge],

Spells: 2
Barkskin [+5 Nat Armour 10m/lvl], Black Sand [20ft radius 1m/lvl black sand, 1d4 neg energy no save, kill something it becomes sand], Blinding Spittle [25ft+5ft/2lvl ranged touch @ -4 penalty, no save opponent blinded until it can wash its eyes with water/rinsing fluid standard action], Dark Way [Bridge, see SC for details], Ghost Touch Armour [1m/lvl armour works vs ethereal], Halo of Sand [10m/lvl +4def], Lore of the Gods [10m/lvl +10 on Knowledge checks], Shroud of Undeath [10m/lvl undead disguise], Substitute Domain [1day/lvl change domain for other domain]

Spells: 3
Chain of Eyes [1hr/lvl see through others eyes, can switch by touch/free action SC], Dispel Magic [PHB], Fly [1m/lvl 60ft fly], Magic Circle [Use for later Planar Binding @ lv8], Magic Vestment [1hr/lvl+4Enhance on items+5@CL20], Mass Conviction [10m/lvl +4 Morale to saves,+5@CL18], Mass Resist Energy [10m/lvl DR10vsElement], Sheltered Vitality [1m/lvl Immune fatigue, exhaustion, ability dmg/drain]

Spells: 4
Break Enchantment [PHB], Death Ward [1m/lvl immune to death effects], Delay Death [1hr/lvl no death by hp loss], Divine Power [Persistant in PHB], Polymorph [1m/lvl Str/Dex/Con Ex-attacks up to 15HD], Explosive Runes [6d6 no save to someone close enough to read a book/object with writing on, reflex@10ft for half force dmg] Otto's Sphere [PHB 1m/lvl], Restoration [PHB], Wall of Water [1ft thick 10ft long per level, 1rd/lvl - DC14+Int to swim through or be trapped - 20pt cold will freeze section for 10mins@Sandstorm], Undead Bane [1hr/lvl +2 and +2d6 vs Undead]

Spells: 5
Heal, Righteous Wraith of the Faithful [Bonus atk at full BAB for allies, +3 on atk/dmg 1rd/lvl], Surge of Fortune [1rd/lvl +2luck on atk/dmg/svs/ac/spell penetration, discharge for a nat 20], Swift Etherealness [Swift,1rd as ethereal], Triadspell

Spells: 6
Bite of the Werebear [1rd/lvl Enhance+16str,+2dex+8con+7nat armour & 2claws 2d6+STR full BAB with -2atk d6+1/2STR bite. Gain Blindfight and Power Attack for duration], Energy Immunity [24hr element of choice], G.Dispel Magic [PHB], Greater Anyspell [15mins cast, gain any 1-5arcane spell in 6th lvl domain slot], Otto's Irresistable Dance [PHB for penalties, 1d4+1 rounds no save], Stone BOdy [SC for Immune/Resists 1m/lvl], Superior Resistance [1hr/lvl +6 Res bonus on saves]

Spells: 7
Avasculate [Ranged touch attack, success = 1/2 monsters HP rounded down, Fort save or stun for one round also, no save vs dmg, from SC], Bestow Curse Greater [Permanent, will save, one ability reduced to 1 check for details in SC], Blood to Water [Up to 5 living creatures within 30ft of each other, 2d6 con damage. fort save for half con damage. from SC], Forcecage [1.5k ruby cost = 2hr/lvl doom prison see PHB] [G.Teleport [PHB, teleport places], Rain of Roses [1rd/lvl 80ft radius 80ft high cylinder: evil creatures take 1d4 temp wis dmg per round no save. fort or be sickened too until leaving area], Starmantle [1m/lvl immune to nonmagical attacks and those weps reduced to sparkly light, DC15 reflex to 1/2 dmg from magical attacks (not spells) from BoED]
 

pfooti

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 10:25:17 PM »
Archivists can be very flexible indeed. I was putting one together for a recent campaign (I ended up going with a Totemist instead, though), and decided that they make very excellent blasters if that's your taste. You get healing from cleric lists, utility from domains, and blasting mainly from the Druid list. Druids have a number of very useful evocation spells that have nice side-effects.

Hmm, maybe later, when I've got more time to devote, I'll write up a more thorough post about my thoughts on optimizing an archivist, but +1 for an exciting handbook. I'm glad somebody is writing it!

Phaxi

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 10:34:00 PM »
lots of stuff
Nice, might be adding some kind of best spells list later and this will come in handy.

Hmm, maybe later, when I've got more time to devote, I'll write up a more thorough post about my thoughts on optimizing an archivist, but +1 for an exciting handbook. I'm glad somebody is writing it!

Thanks!
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SixthDeclension

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2009, 01:11:30 AM »
Glad to see this! Will contribute in a bit.
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That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

Takanaki

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 03:42:00 AM »
Just played for the first time with my new character in our regular campaign.

The GMs face was something like : O and >: O I used Dark Knowledge Foe to get consistant +3d6 for everyone on all their hits every fight. Then after using my move action on that I followed with a standard action to cast Righteous Wrath of the Faithful from spell compendium to give them all an extra attack at full BAB and a further +3 to hit and damage rolls.

In a nutshell, we ploughed through our opponents like they were butter.

Optimator

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 05:15:45 AM »
I've been looking forward to a high-quality Archivist Handbook here at BG.  Good luck on what is quite the undertaking!

DarkSyn

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2009, 12:37:55 AM »
How about adding to the feats section
 heighten spell, always good to cast at +1CL.
 Collegiat wizard, have to ask DM but i dont see why not.

That is it form my opt point of view.

Takanaki

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2009, 01:17:50 AM »
Taken my Archivist from 13 to 18 so far, fun times. If you're still working on the guide and need anything send me a message.

SixthDeclension

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2009, 01:22:45 AM »
Phaxi hasn't been on since mid-February, so I don't see that happening.
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Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,
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Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

Alastar

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2009, 09:55:37 PM »
Hey, question for all the archivist fans out here.

How does a bonus domain interact with the archivist spell list?  Do the spells get added to the spell list?  Does the archivist gain bonus domain spells per day?

Any thoughts?

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2009, 10:02:29 PM »
Hey, question for all the archivist fans out here.

How does a bonus domain interact with the archivist spell list?  Do the spells get added to the spell list?  Does the archivist gain bonus domain spells per day?

Any thoughts?
He'd gain bonus domain spells.... that's what happens when you add a domain to a divine caster via Contemplative, at least. I don't remember if that is a generic mechanism or not, so it might not work the same for something like Sovereign Speaker, for example.
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Suzerain

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2009, 10:11:22 PM »
In the general case, this applies:

Page 20 of Complete Divine:
Quote
If a noncleric enters a prestige class that allows access to a domain, the character still gains access to the domain. She can use the granted power bestowed by the domain normally.
[...]
If she is a spellcaster who keeps a spellbook as a wizard does, then she must find or purchase a scroll of that spell and pay the usual price to scribe the spell into her spellbook.
[...]
The wizard then may memorize one domain spell of each level each day.

Phaedrus, I think you may be mistaken about Contemplative:
Quote
Bonus Domain: Upon adopting the contemplative class, and again at 6th level, a character gains access to a bonus domain of her choice. The character can choose any domain made available by her deity or alignment. The character gains the granted power associated with the domain she chooses, and can select the spells in that domain as her daily domain spells.

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2009, 10:15:01 PM »
In the general case, this applies:

Page 20 of Complete Divine:
Quote
If a noncleric enters a prestige class that allows access to a domain, the character still gains access to the domain. She can use the granted power bestowed by the domain normally.
[...]
If she is a spellcaster who keeps a spellbook as a wizard does, then she must find or purchase a scroll of that spell and pay the usual price to scribe the spell into her spellbook.
[...]
The wizard then may memorize one domain spell of each level each day.

Phaedrus, I think you may be mistaken about Contemplative:
Quote
Bonus Domain: Upon adopting the contemplative class, and again at 6th level, a character gains access to a bonus domain of her choice. The character can choose any domain made available by her deity or alignment. The character gains the granted power associated with the domain she chooses, and can select the spells in that domain as her daily domain spells.
I don't see anything in there that contradicts what I said...

He gets one extra slot per level to cast a domain spell in. I guess it isn't explicitly stated that a non-wizard would get that, but it seems like that's what they meant to say... (Yeah, I know... RAI vs. RAW...)
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Alastar

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2009, 10:19:55 PM »
Holy crap... nice...

Popo, church inquisitor, sacred exorcist, contemplative dragonwrought kobold archivist of bahamut coming right up ! :P

:D

PLanning on going Archivist 4/Church inquisitor 1/Archivist +1/Sacred exorcist 1/archivist +2/Contemplative 1/Archivist +4/conteplative +5

Or something like that :)

Suzerain

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2009, 10:23:57 PM »
Shot myself in the foot right there. Next time, I'll simply post a block of text and emphasize.

Quote
nstead of one of her usual spells, but never more than one domain spell of each level. If she is a spellcaster who keeps a spellbook as a wizard does, then she must find or purchase a scroll of that spell and pay the usual price to scribe the spell into her spellbook. In cases where the spell is only divine the wizard may scribe a divine scroll into his book. The wizard then may memorize one domain spell of each level each day.

I'm thinking the two are linked, but it's possible that you're right, as it's not explicitly called out. Me, I'd use the Tome&Blood rules for bonus domains...

PhaedrusXY

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 10:48:44 PM »
I think you are right, after you posted that bit (I didn't see that in the original post...). They don't get an extra slot, and they can only prepare one per day. Heck... now that I think about it, I went through this same analysis when making my Ur-Priest for Tshern's PbP on here....
[spoiler]
A couple of water benders, a dike, a flaming arrow, and a few barrels of blasting jelly?

Sounds like the makings of a gay porn film.
...thanks
[/spoiler]

Suzerain

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 10:56:53 PM »
Yeah, sorry, I left that out, because it didn't seem related. In matters of D&D, everything seems to be related, though. I promise next time I'll do better :P

Viletta Vadim

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Re: Archivist Handbook
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2009, 11:08:00 PM »
For gaining domains, you wouldn't add anything to your spell list since you automatically have full access to all domains anyways, so the real benefits are the domain granted power and access to Domain Spontaneity, which can be very powerful when you have a list as vast as an Archivist's.

One thing to note is that, normally, Archivists cannot use Anyspell or Greater Anyspell because they specifically state that the resulting spells are prepared to your domain slots, and even if you have a domain, Archivists don't get domain slots.  However, the Holt Warden from Complete Champion is worded strangely such that you might gain domain slots from taking it, which would allow you to use Anyspell and Greater Anyspell, thus allowing you to, quite literally, cast every spell in the game up through level 5.

For the feats section, I suggest also adding Spontaneous Summons, for its sheer flexibility, and Domain Spontaneity for the same reasons; as a prepared caster, the ability to spontaneously cast sets of spells is a godsend.