Illusionary Weapons Master (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|Rating:||20 out of 20|
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|Status:||A featured article.|
|Editing:||Constructive edits welcome|
 Illusionary Weapons Master
|“|| Re est Illusio
Reality is an illusion.
|—Master Ill'sa, Aasimar illusionary weapons master, Personal motto.|
An illusionary weapons master can create illusions so realistic that they border on reality. The fearsome illusion weapons that they create enable them to vanquish a large array of foes. Being master manipulators, illusionary weapons masters know the best ways to use illusions to dishearten, distract, and defeat their foes.
 Becoming an Illusionary Weapons Master
Illusionary weapons masters tend to be loners, living in remote areas, so that they can practice their art more easily without interruptions or distractions. Most illusionary weapons masters tend to train their abilities as much as possible before adventuring, and their style of play is likely planned and reserved. Even though they may be slightly egotistical, they are usually likable characters. Often, illusionary weapons masters are skilled in martial combat but are physically weak, forced to use their skill in magic to compensate their physical limitations.
|Base Attack Bonus:||+3.|
|Skills:||Spellcraft 4 ranks, Concentration 4 ranks.|
|Feats:||Spell Focus (Illusion).|
|Special:||Ability to spontaneously cast 2 1st-level spells from the illusion school.|
|Saving Throws||Special||Spells per Day|
|1st||+1||+0||+0||+2||Illusion Weapon||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|2nd||+2||+0||+0||+3||Bright Blade, Refine Illusion +1||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|3rd||+3||+1||+1||+3||Hardened Casting, Sharper Image, Swirling Colors 2/day||—|
|4th||+4||+1||+1||+4||Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +3, Refine Illusion +2||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|5th||+5||+1||+1||+4||Dazzling Blade 3/day, Displacement||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|6th||+6||+2||+2||+5||Refine Illusion +3, Refine Illusion II, Swirling Colors 3/day||—|
|7th||+7||+2||+2||+5||Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +4, Quick Summon||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|8th||+8||+2||+2||+6||Improved Sharper Image, Refine Illusion +4||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
|9th||+9||+3||+3||+6||Greater Sharper Image, Swirling Colors 4/day||—|
|10th||+10||+3||+3||+7||Blinding Blade 1/day, Flicker 3/day, Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +5, Refine Illusion +5||+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
|12th||Swirling Colors 5/day|
|13th||Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +6, Refine Illusion +6|
|15th||Blinding Blade 2/day, Swirling Colors 6/day|
|16th||Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +7, Refine Illusion +7|
|18th||Flicker 5/day, Swirling Colors 7/day|
|19th||Illusion Weapon Bonus Damage +8, Refine Illusion +8|
|20th||Blinding Blade 3/day|
 Class Features
All of the following are class features of the illusionary weapons master.
Spells per Day: At every level indicated on Table: The Illusionary Weapons Master, an illusionary weapons master gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in whatever spellcasting class he belonged to before he added the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that he adds half the levels of illusionary weapons master to the level of whatever other spellcasting class the character has, then determine spells per day and caster level accordingly. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before he became an illusionary weapons master, he must decide to which class he adds each level of illusionary weapons master for the purpose of determining spells per day.
Illusion Weapon (Su): A 1st-level illusionary weapons master is an expert at dangerous illusions. He has trained his ability to summon illusions such that he can create semi-real illusion weapons of his choice as a move action that last for as long as he may choose. The weapons can be any weapon for the purposes of deities and are treated as "Armed" Unarmed Attacks, much like a touch attack spell. Usually an illusionary weapons master's "armed" unarmed strikes deal lethal damage, but he can choose to deal nonlethal damage instead with no penalty on his attack roll. He has the same choice to deal lethal or nonlethal damage while grappling.
A Medium illusionary weapons master can create a set of two light weapons that deal 1d6 force damage, one simple one-handed weapon that deals 1d8 force damage, or one martial two-handed weapon that deals 1d10 force damage that he may switch between reach and non-reach as a move action, with threat ranges of 20/×2. If he takes the Shorthaft feat, his two-handed illusion weapon may be used to attack adjacent foes as well as those that are 10 feet away. Use Table: Weapon Damage by Size for illusionary weapon damages at different size categories.
All of the weapons have a bonus damage of +2 force. He uses Charisma instead of Strength for attack bonuses and bonus damage, and he is automatically proficient with his illusion weapons. For every three levels he advances past 4th level as an illusionary weapons master, the bonus damage increases by 1 (+3 at 4th level, +4 at 7th level, +5 at 10th level).
At 13th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the epic illusionary weapons master's illusion weapon's bonus damage increases by 1 (to +6 at 13th, +7 at 16th, +8 at 19th, and so on).
Bright Blade (Sp): At 2nd level, illusionary weapons masters gains the ability to replicate basic illusions with their illusion weapons, using it as a conduit. His illusion weapons emits light as though light had been cast on it. He may activate or suppress this as a swift action.
Refine Illusion (Su): As of 2nd level, an illusionary weapons master begins refining his skill at making illusion weapons. His illusion weapons gain a +1 enhancement bonus. For every two additional levels he advances past 2nd level as an illusionary weapons master, the bonus is increased by 1 (+1 at 2nd level, +2 at 4th level, +3 at 6th level, etc.).
At 13th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the epic illusionary weapons master's illusion weapons enhancement bonus increases by +1 (to +6 at 13th, +7 at 16th, +8 at 19th, and so on).
Hardened Casting (Ex): At 3rd level, an illusionary weapons master is better suited for combat. He adds his illusionary weapons master class level to concentration checks to cast defensively and to avoid having his spells disrupted when he takes damage while casting a spell.
Sharper Image (Su): A 3rd-level illusionary weapons master's summoned blades are even sharper. His illusion weapons gain a 19–20/×2 critical hit modifier. However, the weapon's bonus damage isn't multiplied by critical hits.
Swirling Colors (Sp): At 3rd level, an illusionary weapons master has improved his skill at focusing illusions through his illusion weapons. 2 times per day as a standard action, he may create a rainbow pattern effect centered on his illusion weapon that lasts for one minute for each illusionary weapons master class level he has. The effect is determinate to his illusion weapon, and for every 3 illusionary weapons master levels he has he gains one additional use of swirling colors a day (2 times/day at 3th level, 3 times/day at 6th level, and 4 times/day at 9th level).
At 12th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, the epic illusionary weapons master gains one additional use of swirling colors a day (to 5 times/day at 12th, 6 times/day at 15th, 7 times/day at 18th, and so on).
Dazzling Blade (Sp): As of 5th level, an illusionary weapons master can increase the danger and intensity of his illusionary weapon's light. Three times per day as a standard action, he may force opponents within the radius of his illusion weapon's light effect from his bright blade class feature to make a Will save or be dazzled for 2 rounds. A successful Will saving throw negates this effect.
Displacement (Su): At 5th level, illusionary weapons masters learn that it’s a lot easier to defeat a foe when they think you are somewhere else as their use of illusions rub off on their souls and beings, making them less real. It becomes harder for opponents to discern an illusionary weapons master's actual location, and he benefits from a permanent 15% chance that a foe that attacks him will instead hit an illusion of him as if he had total concealment. True seeing negates his illusionary self.
Refine Illusion II (Ex): A 6th-level illusionary weapons master has refined his ability to craft illusions further. His illusion spell's DC is increased by a +5 inherent bonus, and saving throws against his illusion spells have a DC of 10 + the level of the spell + 5 inherent bonus + his bonus for the relevant ability (Intelligence for a wizard, Charisma for a sorcerer or bard, or Wisdom for a cleric, druid, paladin, or ranger).
Quick Summon (Su): At 7th level, illusionary weapons masters are able to materialize their illusion weapons with just a flurry of magic. He can create semi-real illusion weapons of his choice as a free action in lieu of the opportunity to cast a quickened spell, instead of as a move action, that last for as long as he may choose.
Improved Sharper Image (Su): As of 8th level, an illusionary weapons master hits critically with his illusion weapon's force damage too. When he scores a critical hit with his illusion weapons he adds his bonus force damage to his critical hit multiplication.
Greater Sharper Image (Su): A 9th-level illusionary weapons master gains very precise and detailed control over his illusion weapon's blade lines, divots, and notches that make up his blades. He may choose to either gain a 18–20/×2 critical hit modifier with his illusionary weapons, or gain a 19–20/×3 critical hit modifier with his illusionary weapons.
Flicker (Sp): At 10th level, an illusionary weapons master learns to amplify their displacement with illusion magic in combat. 3 times per day as a full-round action, he is able to make his body seem to flit around in his battle grid squares and go in and out of existence suddenly and rapidly. For 1 minute he benefits from a 50% chance that a foe that attacks him will instead hit an illusion of him as if he had total concealment. True seeing negates his illusionary movements.
At 14th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the epic illusionary weapons master gains an additional use of flicker a day (to 4 times/day at 14th, 5 times/day at 18th, and so on). In addition, he gains an increased permanent miss chance by 5% with his illusionary movements (to 55% and 20% with displacement at 14th, 60% and 25% with displacement at 18th, and so on) to a maximum miss chance of 75% and 40% with displacement.
Blinding Blade (Sp): As of 10th level, an illusionary weapons master can increase the amount of light his illusion weapon blades give off excessively. Once per day as a standard action, he may force opponents within the radius of his illusion weapon's light effect from his bright blade class feature to make a Will save or be blinded for 2 rounds. If they succeed on the Will saving throw, they are instead dazzled.
At 15th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, the epic illusionary weapons master gains one additional use of blinding blade a day (to 2 times/day at 15th, 3 times/day at 20th, and so on).
Bonus Feats: The epic illusionary weapons master gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of epic illusionary weapons master feats) every 7 levels after 10th.
Epic Illusionary Weapons Master Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Epic Spell Focus, Epic Toughness, Epic Weapon Focus, Improved Combat Casting, Improved Spell Capacity, Permanent Emanation, Spell Knowledge, Spell Opportunity, Spell Stowaway, Tenacious Magic.
 Ex-Illusionary Weapons Masters
An illusionary weapons master who ceases to be chaotic loses all illusionary weapons master class features. He may not progress any farther in levels as an illusionary weapons master. He regains his class features and advancement potential when he again becomes chaotic.
 Campaign Information
 Playing an Illusionary Weapons Master
Combat: Illusionary weapons masters tend to be light melee fighters. They have little in the way of defense, so they rely on protective spells or fascinating and distracting their opponents with illusions. Rainbow pattern and mislead are among their favorite spells. Most of the time they will have a fighter or other "tank"-type to be at the fore of the encounter. Illusionary weapons masters also work well with characters that deal damage quickly, like rogues, as the illusionary weapons master's abilities make him adept at disabling and hampering opponents but not necessarily at killing them efficiently. They can also support the party if need be, buffing their allies and disabling their opponents. A well played illusionary weapons master can take the role of both a sorcerer and a warrior at almost the same time, confusing their opponents with illusionary magic, and then killing them in hand-to-hand combat with their dangerous illusionary weapons.
Advancement: Most illusionary weapons masters are spontaneous arcane casters, heralding from the line of sorcerers, with some combat specialties coming from fighter or other backgrounds. Due to their unique combination of melee and spellcasting, bards also make good illusionary weapons masters even though their usefulness is limited since they don't progress their bardic music as illusionary weapons masters. Notably, bards are able to wear light armor and cast their spells with no arcane spell failure chance.
The requirements to become an illusionary weapons master are easy to meet, and many classes meet the requirements with ease. The most common progression order is to take 5 levels of any class that will qualify you for the illusionary weapons master, then all 10 levels of illusionary weapons master. Afterwards, you can either take 5 levels of eldritch knight or continue with the class that you took your first 5 levels in. Bards typically choose to advance for another 5 levels of bard, while a sorcerer/fighter will continue as a eldritch knight. A few rare cases exist where a character will specialize themselves into more of a pure spellcaster by taking another 5 levels of straight sorcerer. Feats like Armored Caster are great for illusionary weapons masters to take whenever they can afford to, and purchasing mithral armors are well worth their price.
Resources: Because of the illusionary nature of their magic, illusionary weapons masters tend to be protective of their skills and when encountered about them they may choose to use deceit, false explanations, and other illusionary tricks to explain how they remain effective individuals. However, illusionary weapons masters provide assistance and welcome adventuring parties so that their abilities are that much more effective in their questing. Many illusionary weapons masters first seek out Master Ill'sa, a highly skilled illusionary weapons master who still teaches and experiments in illusions' powers and possibilities. Master Ill'sa maintains contact with all of his trainees, as well as retains the canonical knowledge that he gains from other illusionary weapons masters.
 Illusionary Weapons Masters in the World
|“||Look out! That's not a floor, it's an illusion!||”|
|—Dale Beltre, human illusionary weapons master|
Illusionary weapons masters typically adventure for entertainment, while recognizing the challenges it offers. A rare few may adventure for the greater good, serving their party and goals ambitiously, but the most famous role that illusionary weapons masters serve is as the evil mastermind with the complicated puzzles and traps in his castle. Although this is by no means their most common role, the castles' and the fights' complicated illusionary natures tend to make perfect tavern stories. Thus, more people talk about illusionary weapons master's fulfilling this role, as well as how their goals would be benefited with illusions to thwart and hinder their oppressors in much the same way. Often, a party facing such illusionary obstacles will take another illusionary weapons master who knows the situation best.
NPC Reactions: Many times, illusionary weapons masters come off as bards. Although their lack of an instrument is noticeable, their role in party's are reminiscent of bard's roles and their combat aptitude is often on par with bards. Illusionary weapons master's tend to reinforce this belief by performing minor, non-spell illusions for money. NPC's treat them as they would a bard.
 Illusionary Weapons Master Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research illusionary weapons masters to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Illusionary weapons masters mostly cast illusion spells.|
|15||The illusions that illusionary weapons masters cast are superior spells, and they are able to summon illusion weapons.|
|20||Illusionary weapons masters are loners, however they are desirable allies because of their party support and illusionary magic. Many of them have been mentored and started on the path to the illusionary weapons master by Master Ill'sa, a powerful NPC who is a reservoir of illusionary knowledge in a way. They tend to be sorcerer/fighters, and sometimes bards.|
|25||Illusionary weapons masters are great at deceit, false explanations, and other illusionary tricks and their powerful magical abilities are just as dangerous in combat. In addition, they are a dangerous opponent in hand-to-hand combat.|
 Illusionary Weapons Masters in the Game
Since one of the more common NPC roles of illusionary weapons masters is that of the evil mastermind with the complicated puzzles and traps in his castle, expect their encounters to feature these obstacles. If the illusionary weapons master is the bad guy he will play mind games whenever he has the opportunity to do so, and use illusions to distract and hinder the PCs. Expect things like will-o'-wisps, labyrinths, and seemingly impossible puzzles on top of illusionary encounters. Most NPC illusionary weapons masters are content to "toy" with the PCs, and will only ever try to outright kill them if it comes across that they are seeing straight through his illusions.
Adaptation: Illusionary weapons masters are a relatively easy class to incorporate into any campaign. The class can be made psionic by changing their spellcasting requirements to "Ability to manifest 1st-level powers from the metacreativity discipline.", changing their spellcasting progression to a psionic power progression, and changing their flavor more towards creation instead of deception.
Sample Encounter: Dale Beltre is a powerful illusionary weapons master. He hires the PC's to assist him to foil a plot to kill Master Ill'sa. The mission doesn't really have to be obviously related to a plot; it could be as simple as "These goblins are going to attack Master Ill'sa. Lets go kill all of them."
Another twist is to have the PCs be trying to kill Master Ill'sa, and they have to take out Dale Beltre to get to him. If this is the case, the party can be evil or good, as long as they are also mostly lawful. If the PCs manage to fight Master Ill'sa, he will be grossly overpowered for them. Have him defeat, but not kill, the PCs. Then have them level up to level 26ish to fight him again. This time, have the Master Ill'sa turn out to be an illusion. If the PCs win, have them search for the real Master Ill'sa, and eventually find him and fight him. Treat him as though he knows everything about the characters, even how much hit points they have left. Make the battle as hard as you possibly can.
EL 15 Dale Beltre is one of Master Ill'sa's star students. He is in charge of preemptive strikes, keeping attacks on Master Ill'sa from even starting. He is a very sarcastic fun-loving person, and enjoys practical jokes. However, when the situation is serious, that person will disappear completely. In his place is a hardened, no-nonsense warrior. The transition can be jarring for his companions.
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