Master Arcanist (3.5e Prestige Class)
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After intensive research into the principles of arcane magic, characters with two or more classes capable of casting arcane spells can begin to consolidate their powers into a single spell table and spellbook, by studying as a Master Arcanist. When this has been achieved, the Master Arcanist can add new spells to his spellbook as a Wizard does (if they appear on the spell lists for any of his arcane spellcasting classes) and can also learn to cast some of those without advance preparation, as a Sorcerer can.
Skills: Knowledge(Arcane) 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks.
Feat: Skill Focus, Knowledge(Arcane).
Spellcasting: Ability to cast 2nd level arcane spells from two classes.
|Special||Spells per Day|
|1.||+0||+0||+0||+2||Arcane Consolidation (0th & 1st level spells)||+1 spellcaster (all arcane)|
|2.||+1||+0||+0||+3||Arcane Consolidation (up to 3rd level spells)||+1 spellcaster (all arcane)|
|3.||+1||+1||+1||+3||Arcane Consolidation (up to 5th level spells)||+1 spellcaster (all arcane)|
|4.||+2||+1||+1||+4||Arcane Consolidation (up to 7th level spells)||+1 spellcaster (all arcane)|
|5.||+2||+1||+1||+4||Arcane Consolidation (all spell levels), Spell Mastery||+1 spellcaster (all arcane)|
Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the Master Arcanist:
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: Master Arcanists gain no proficiency with weapons or armour.
Spellcasting: When a new Master Arcanist level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in each arcane spellcasting class he/she has. The Master Arcanist does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (bonus metamagic or item creation feats, bard or assassin abilities, and so on). This essentially means that he/she adds the level of Master Arcanist to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting classes the character has, then determines spells per day and caster level accordingly. If the character subsequently gains a new arcane spellcasting class, the character immediately gains the benefit of his/her Master Arcanist levels on the spellcasting ability of that class.
Arcane Consolidation: Beginning with 0th and 1st level spells, and progressing to higher level spells as the Master Arcanist rises in level, the character begins to consolidate spell capability into a single spell list. This has the following effects:
Spells per Day: For all spell levels currently subject to Arcane Consolidation, the base number of spells per day is determined by the character's most favourable arcane spellcasting class (including the bonus spellcasting levels gained as a Master Arcanist), plus one additional spell per day for each additional arcane spellcasting class capable of casting spells of that level (again including the bonus spellcasting levels gained as a Master Arcanist). For instance, if a Master Arcanist has the spell capabilities of a 5th level Sorcerer (6 first spells per day) and a 4th level Wizard (3 first level spells per day), and Arcane Consolidation of first level spells, he/she gets 7 first level spells (the larger amount, plus one from the other class). If one of the classes is a specialist wizard, the character also keeps the bonus spell slot reserved for spells in his/her specialist school. Intelligence is the prime spellcasting attribute for all spell levels that have undergone Arcane Consolidation.
Spells Known: For all spell levels currently subject to Arcane Consolidation, spells known to any of the character's arcane spellcasting classes are cast using the Consolidated spell slots. There are two levels of knowledge: each spell can be merely "known", or it can be "mastered". Master Arcanists have the ability to spontaneously cast "mastered" spells without advance preparation using the Consolidated spell slots, sacrificing a prepared spell if necessary. Spells inherited from Wizard levels (or any similar class that prepares arcane spells in advance, using a spellbook) are "known": spells inherited from Bard or Sorcerer levels (or any similar class capable of casting spells spontaneously) are copied into the character's spellbook and are considered to be "mastered". Master Arcanists have access to the Spell Mastery feat, and can use this to master known spells: they also gain one free use of this feat at 5th level. They can also prepare mastered spells in advance if they wish, allowing the incorporation of metamagic feats without increasing casting time. Whenever a character gains a level of Master Arcanist, he/she gains knowledge of new spells in the manner appropriate for each arcane spellcasting class. For instance, gaining a Wizard caster level confers knowledge of two more spells, whereas gaining a Sorcerer or Bard caster level may confer mastery of additional spells based on the Sorcerer's or Bard's "spells known" table.
Learning new spells: For all spell levels currently subject to Arcane Consolidation, new arcane spells can be learned from scrolls and spellbooks using the Spellcraft skill exactly as a Wizard does, if the spell appears on the spell list for any of the Master Arcanist's arcane classes, and the Master Arcanist is capable of casting spells of that level. It doesn't matter if the Master Arcanist isn't of sufficiently high level in the appropriate class, provided he/she is of sufficiently high level in at least one other arcane spellcasting class (including the bonus spellcasting levels gained as a Master Arcanist). For instance, a Master Arcanist with a single level of Bard and the casting ability of a 7th level Wizard can learn 4th level Bard spells (if the Arcane Consolidation ability includes 4th level spells).
Caster level: For all spell levels currently subject to Arcane Consolidation, the caster level is the sum of the caster levels for all the character's arcane spellcasting classes, plus the levels of Master Arcanist. Note that the effective spellcasting levels in other classes gained while advancing as a Master Arcanist do NOT count when determining caster level: this is to prevent double-counting, as the character is effectively advancing in two or more classes simultaneously. Also, this is the caster level to be used when determining eligibility for item-creation feats. Similarly, any other levels in classes which allow advancement in 2 or more arcane spellcasting progressions simultaneously (such as the Ultimate Magus prestige class), or any other levels which allow such advancement (such as gestalt levels) are only counted once. Another means of reaching this result is to use the character's Effective Character Level and subtract those levels which don't enhance arcane casting ability.
Forbidden Schools: If a Master Arcanist is a specialist Wizard, he/she cannot gain spells from forbidden schools as a Wizard. Thus, the two spells learned when gaining a level cannot be from forbidden schools. However, for spell levels that have undergone Arcane Consolidation, spells can be copied from scrolls and spellbooks if the Master Arcanist has another arcane spellcasting class that can use those spells (typically Sorcerer), even if that class doesn't normally permit the learning of spells in this fashion.
Class-specific Feats: For all spell levels currently subject to Arcane Consolidation, a Master Arcanist is treated as a Wizard with regard to class-specific spell-boosting feats such as Practised Spellcaster or Spellcasting Prodigy (even if he/she has no actual Wizard levels).
Hamish the gnome Has 16 Intelligence and 14 Charisma, and is a 1st level Bard, a 3rd level Wizard (Illusionist), and a 4th level Sorcerer. As an 8th level character who is unable to cast spells above 2nd level, and with very few non-spell capabilities, Hamish is seen as rather weak by his adventuring companions. But Hamish is a gnome with a plan. He has already taken the Skill Focus: Knowledge(Arcane) feat, and has the necessary ranks in Knowledge(Arcane) and Spellcraft. On reaching 9th level, he becomes a Master Arcanist.
Hamish now casts as a 2nd level Bard, a 4th level Illusionist and a 5th level Sorcerer, except that his 0th and 1st level spells have undergone Arcane Consolidation. He can cast eight 0th level spells per day (six from his Sorcerer levels, plus one from Illusionist and one from Bard). From being an Illusionist, he knows all of them that Wizards can cast: furthermore, he has mastered and knows how to spontaneously cast ten different ones without preparation (he was careful not to overlap his Bard and Sorcerer 0th level spells known). These spells are cast as a 9th level caster.
He can also cast ten 1st level spells per day. One of these must be an illusion (it's his specialist spell slot): the others consist of six spells from his Sorcerer levels, one from Wizard, one from Bard, and one from his Intelligence bonus. His spellbook contains all the spells he knew as an Illusionist (plus the two he's just learned from gaining a level), plus his 1st level Bard and Sorcerer spells. He has mastered and can spontaneously cast six different 1st level spells: four from his Sorcerer levels and the two he's just gained as a Bard. He can learn more spells (of up to 1st level) from either the Sorcerer/Wizard or the Bard lists by using his Spellcraft skill, and casts as a 9th level caster.
His 2nd level Illusionist and Sorcerer spells are not yet subject to Arcane Consolidation, and he casts these exactly as a normal 4th level Illusionist or 5th level Sorcerer. However, his 1st level spell capability is now quite formidable: Hamish can spontaneously cast up to nine Magic Missile spells per day (with five missiles per casting), or nine Cure Light Wounds delivering d8+5 healing each. The rest of his party develop a new appreciation of his abilities.
Later, Hamish decides to take another level of Master Arcanist. He is now tenth level, but casts as a 3rd level Bard, 5th level Illusionist and 6th level Sorcerer: however, all of the spell levels he can cast have now undergone Arcane Consolidation.
Hamish can now cast eight 0th level spells, ten 1st level spells (one of which must be an illusion), eight 2nd level spells (one illusion, five from his effective Sorcerer level, one from Wizard, and his Intelligence bonus), and six 3rd level spells (one illusion, three from his effective Sorcerer level, one from Wizard, and his Intelligence bonus). His Bard levels don't contribute to his 2nd or 3rd level spells per day, because a 3rd level Bard can't cast spells above 1st level. However, his caster level for all his spells is now 10th, and he can add Sorcerer/Wizard or Bard spells of up to 3rd level into his spellbook (and cast them with preparation). He can later develop the ability to cast his favorite known spells spontaneously, either by taking them as Bard or Sorcerer spells, or by the Spell Mastery feat.
Hamish continues to take levels as a Master Arcanist. On reaching 13th level, he is a 1st level Bard, 3rd level Illusionist, 4th level Sorcerer, and 5th level Master Arcanist. He can cast spells of up to 4th level (including 4th level Bard spells), with a caster level of 13th. He can spontaneously cast various Sorcerer/Wizard spells of up to 4th level and Bard spells of up to 2nd level (combining the "spells known" tables of a 9th level Sorcerer and a 6th level Bard), plus the spells he mastered with the Spell Mastery feat.
From now on, probably his best option is to join another prestige class which offers continued advancement as a Sorcerer (such as Loremaster). He will be lagging four levels behind a single-classed Sorcerer with regard to access to higher spell levels. However, his spells will be backed by the power of all his arcane caster levels, and he can expand his spell repertoire much more easily than a Sorcerer, eventually learning all Sorcerer/Wizard and Bard spells: by repeated use of the Spell Mastery feat, he will also be able to spontaneously cast a wider selection of spells than a normal Sorcerer. Furthermore, Intelligence is now his casting attribute, not Charisma: by putting points on Intelligence, he will become more skilled than a Sorcerer. And if he finds another arcane spellcasting class with a different selection of spells, he can gain access to them all if he's willing to take one level in the class (and if he can then find the appropriate scrolls, spellbooks etc).