Arcane Librarian (3.5e Class)

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Arcane Librarian[edit]

Arcane librarians are experts at using magical script. Through their years of exposure to magical writings and their personal studies of the underlying workings of scrolls, they gradually glean the knowledge necessary to use such writings to effectively cast spells without knowing them.

Making an Arcane Librarian[edit]

Arcane Librarians gradually gain access to a wide array of low-level spells taken from all spell lists which they can use often (but with a cost), without needing to prepare them. Most Arcane Librarians tend to specialize in low-level utility spells, with the possibility of acting as secondary healer, rather than using flashy offensive spells.

Abilities: Intelligence is important for an Arcane Librarian since it allows her to use higher level spells and determines the DC of her spells. Constitution is perhaps even more important, since her unique way of using spells is fueled by her own vital energy.

Races: Humans and Gnomes tend to make up the bulk of Arcane Librarians. Elves tend to instead become wizards, while other races rarely share the Arcane Librarian's fascination with the written word.

Alignment: Arcane Librarians are rarely chaotic, but can be of any alignment.

Starting Gold: 3d4×10 gp (75 gp).

Starting Age: Complex

Table: The Arcane Librarian

Hit Die: d8

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Ungifted Activator; Living Parchment; read magic, mending and amanuensis at will (spell-like)
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Efficient Caster 1
5th +2 +1 +1 +4
6th +3 +2 +2 +5
7th +3 +2 +2 +5
8th +4 +2 +2 +6
9th +4 +3 +3 +6
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Efficient Caster 2
11th +5 +3 +3 +7
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Efficient Caster 3
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12

Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All knowledge skills (taken individually) (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Arcane Librarian.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The Arcane Librarian is proficient with light armor and all simple weapons, but not with shields. However, since all her spellcasting abilities are actually spell-like and have no somatic components, she would not suffer any arcane spell failure from using armor or shields.

Spells: To obtain or cast a spell with her Living Parchment ability or to use a scroll, the Arcane Librarian needs an Intelligence score of 10 + spell level. The save DC of her spells is 10 + spell level + her Intelligence modifier. Arcane Librarians use the same spell level progression as Bards.

Ungifted Activator: Arcane Librarians can use any scroll of a spell level to which they have access without being able to cast the relevant spell. This always uses her Intelligence score.

Living Parchment: An Arcane Librarian develops a special technique which allows her to “absorb” the magical script of any scroll, the words of which then start floating freely around her skin. She can then channel her own vital energy into the words to activate them, effectively producing the same effect as a normal casting of the spell. She can only absorb the script from scrolls that she would otherwise be able to use normally.

An Arcane Librarian can thus absorb the script for a total number of spell levels equal to 3 X her class level. For example, a 4th level Arcane Librarian could know six level 2 spells or four level 2 spell and four level 1 spells. 0th level spells count as ½ spell level for this purpose.

“Casting” a spell using this ability causes the Arcane Librarian to receive special nonlethal damage of a value equal to the level of the spell used. This "damage" (which is not really damage but rather a loss of stamina) can be recovered by resting, at the same rate as normal nonlethal damage, but is otherwise permanent and cannot be restored by any other means. For example, a character who uses a 3rd level spell would receive 3 points of nonlethal damage. Level 0 spells can be used for free 3 times per day. After this, each additional use causes 1 point of nonlethal damage.

Absorbing and using spells in this way requires an Intelligence score of 10 + the spell level. The DC for spells cast in this manner is 10 + spell level + Int modifier. The caster level is the class level of the Arcane Librarian (regardless of the original scroll’s caster level).

Verbal and somatic components are ignored since she must merely focus her will to activate the magical writing on her skin. Focus and/or material and XP costs, however, are still in effect.

Absorbing the script for a new spell takes 1 minute. As long as this process is uninterrupted, success is guaranteed. Whether it succeeds or fails, the scroll is destroyed.

If the Arcane Librarian ever loses an arm or a leg, her connection to the spells on the lost limb is lost. Each spell she knows has a 20% chance of being permanently lost (unless it is reattached within 24h). However, while the script appears to merely exist on her skin, the connection is actually much deeper. If she is ever reincarnated or resurrected, all the magical script she had on her old body appears on her new one.

The Arcane Librarian starts at first level knowing any spells of her choice (up to her limit), but does not gain any more spells simply by gaining levels.

Efficient Caster: As she progresses in levels, the Arcane Librarian learns to use her Living Parchment ability more efficiently, using less of her own energy in order to activate the magical script. The nonlethal damage received from using spells is reduced by 1 at level 4, by 2 at level 10 and by 3 at level 16. If the damage caused by a spell is reduced to 0, it behaves like a 0th level spell.

Epic Arcane Librarian[edit]

Table: The Epic Arcane Librarian

Hit Die: d8

Level Special
22nd Efficient Caster 4
28th Efficient Caster 5

4 + Int modifier skill points per level.

Efficient Caster: Same as above.

<-another existing class feature->: <-how this class feature increases or accumulates at epic levels->

<-Lather, rinse...->

<-... repeat.->

Bonus Feats: The Epic Arcane Librarian gains a bonus feat (selected from the list of Epic Arcane Librarian bonus feats) every 4 levels after 20th.

Epic Arcane Librarian Bonus Feat List: Armor Skin, Augmented Alchemy, Blinding Speed, Damage Reduction, Craft Epic Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Epic Rod, Craft Epic Wondrous Item, Efficient Item Creation, Energy Resistance, Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes, Epic Speed, Epic Skill Focus, Epic Prowess, Fast Healing, Great Constitution, Great Intelligence, Great Wisdom, Penetrate Damage Reduction,

Human Arcane Librarian Starting Package[edit]

Weapons: Short sword (1d4, crit 19–20/×2, 1 lb., light, piercing)

Light crossbow (1d8, crit 19–20/×2, range inc. 80 ft., 4 lb., piercing)

Skill Selection: Pick a number of skills equal to 4 + Int modifier. All knowledge skills (taken individually) (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int)

Skill Ranks Ability Armor
Decipher Script 4 Int 0
Craft 4 Int 0
Knowledge (Arcana) 4 Int 0
Knowledge (Local) 4 Int 0
Knowledge (The Planes) 4 Int 0
Knowledge (Religion) 4 Int 0
Spellcraft 4 Int 0

Feat: Endurance

Gear: Adventurer’s Kit.

Gold: 3d6

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Arcane Librarian[edit]

Religion: Arcane Librarians tend to be attracted to religions that hold knowledge and scripture in high esteem. Looking into a churches archives would be like going to an amusement park for one.

Other Classes: Arcane Librarians views other classes

Combat: Arcane Librarians can take the role of healer, as well as providing damaging spells.

Advancement: <-Typical advancement options for characters with this class. Include desirable multiclass options->.

Arcane Librarians in the World[edit]

Oh, silly me, Mind Flayer’s wouldn’t be filed under ‘M’, they’d be filed under ‘I’ for Illithids.
—Emanuel, Human Arcane Librarian

Arcane Librarians often populate the deepest libraries in the most far off Arch Towers or Arcane Universities. They venture into the world to use their book smarts against the elements of the real world.

Daily Life: The rest of the party ran off to the bar after a long adventure, but an Arcane Librarian would instead head straight to the nearest source of magical reading. When they come back drunken and smelly, the Arcane Librarian will instead have new spells and abilities to show off.

Notables: Emanuel the Almost Wise.

Organizations: Characters of this class assemble in the highest orders of mage circles and politics. Arcane Librarians have the higher up connections, but if they go anywhere outside of a city gate, they’re left to their devices.

NPC Reactions: Other NPC’s will either be intimidated by their knowledge, or unimpressed. Spending a big majority of their life cooped up in a room full of books doesn’t exactly give off the sense that the Arcane Librarian has seen much of any action outside of a novel.

Arcane Librarian Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research arcane librarians to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (arcana)
DC Result
5 Arcane Librarians are very well-read.
10 The parchment lives on them waiting to be casted.
15 With this, the check provides the location of some libraries that they find useful.
20 With this, specific arcane librarians can be located, as well as their names.

Arcane Librarians in the Game[edit]

Characters of this class can largely be used for plot hooks and devices.

Adaptation: Instead of spells, the class could depend on curses and hexes.

Sample Encounter: A political power has quested the PCs with discovering an impossibly small minute detail about a matter that extends far beyond the PCs scope. They go to a nearby knowledge center and stumble upon a librarian whose knowledge seems like it's vast and acute enough to be just what they're looking for.

EL : <-Encounter scenario and character info on sample NPC including stat block. The CR of the NPC is typically the same as the EL for the encounter.->.

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