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NineInchNall

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You know you love 'em: Shadowcraft Mages ftw!!!1!shift!
« on: May 18, 2008, 02:34:36 PM »
Last Update: March 18, 2007


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


Introduction
[spoiler]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 StoneShadow Illusion, and from it we will construct one of the most versatile spellcasters around.


[/spoiler]

On the Proper Application of Shadow Illusion[/b]
[spoiler]It is immediately obvious that Shadow Illusion is a powerful ability, as it allows a Wizard who has prepared an image
  • Mimicked spells use only the components for the image spell altered.
  • Mimicked spells use the casting time of the image spell altered.
  • 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 imagesilent 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 shadesmeteor swarm, summon elemental monolith, or detonateEarth Spell.



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.
[/spoiler]

On the Selection of Feats
[spoiler]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.

Extraordinary ConcentrationExtend SpellEnhanced 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 MagicArcane 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.

Dazzling Illusion:  Dazzling Illusion allows you to dazzle enemies within 30' whenever you cast an illusion spell.  While dazzling not a great effect, the fact that the feat does not allow a save keeps the feat from being worthless.  It's still just a flavor feat, though.  Take it only if you're already content with your power level.

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.



Feats Deserving of Special Mention[/i]
[spoiler=AWESOME Feats]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 missilehigher 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)Miraclefor you, miracle to the Sorcerer/Wizard list (for a Wizard or Sorcerer).
(v) By (i) and (iv) miracle becomes a sorcerer or wizard spell, for you.

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'sResidual 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.
[/spoiler]

[spoiler=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 decoted 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.[/spoiler]

[/spoiler]


NineInchNall

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Re: You know you love 'em: Shadowcraft Mages ftw!!!1!shift!
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2008, 02:34:50 PM »

On the Acquisition of Prestige[/i][/b]
[spoiler]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/evocationsMage of the Arcane OrderShadow 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.

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.

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, so it should be taken only after ninth level spells have been acquired.  However, for that one lost caster level, you get an extra spell slot of every level you can cast.

[/spoiler]


On the Base of the Killer Gnome's Power[/b]
[spoiler]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.
OverallBard
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 an Eberron domain (Shadow) - likely not going to happen except in an Eberron game.  Pretty much requires the use of Domain Spontaneity from PHB2 for the Illusion domain.
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.

[/spoiler]


On the Substitution of Levels and the Variation of Class Features[/b]
[spoiler]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?
Variant Class Features
Sorcerers:
Wizards:
  • Chains of Disbelief: 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: 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 for the bonus spells per day from specialization.
  • 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.
[/spoiler]


On the Aggregate of What Has Come BeforeThe Iconic Shadowcraft Illusionist: Illusionist 5/Shadow Adept 1/Shadowcrafter 9/Shadowcraft Mage 5.[spoiler]

Code: [Select]
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.[/spoiler]


The Hidden Gnome: Beguiler 14/Mindbender 1/Shadowcraft Mage 5
[spoiler]
Code: [Select]
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.)



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.[/spoiler]


: Archivist 3/Church Inquisitor 2/Shadowcrafter 10/Shadowcraft Mage 5
[spoiler]
Code: [Select]
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.  [/spoiler]


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



: Cloistered Cleric 5/Shadowcrafter 2/Shadowcraft Mage 5/Divine Prankster 8
[spoiler]
Code: [Select]
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.

[/spoiler]

[/spoiler]


On the Quasireality of Illusionssilent 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:
Code: [Select]
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:
Code: [Select]
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:
Code: [Select]
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:
Code: [Select]
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:
Code: [Select]
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).[/spoiler]


On the Use of Dirty Tricks
[spoiler]Early Qualification!
[spoiler]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[/list]

Each of the above is ready to enter Shadowcraft Mage.[/spoiler]

Extra Reality and Free Maximization
[spoiler][/spoiler]

Entering Shadowcraft Mage as a Non-gnome
[spoiler]
  • 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.

  • 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.
[/spoiler]

[/spoiler]


NineInchNall

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Re: You know you love 'em: Shadowcraft Mages ftw!!!1!shift!
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2008, 02:35:05 PM »
reserved ftw

NineInchNall

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Re: You know you love 'em: Shadowcraft Mages ftw!!!1!shift!
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2008, 02:35:17 PM »
reserved ftw