Arcane Philosopher (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Arcane Philosopher[edit]

Ultimate arcane power! Yes, I quite enjoyed Lord Halaven's essay on it.
—Veneer Dona, Elf Arcane philosopher

For adventuring spellcasters, seeking out the mysteries of the arcane is a goal or a consequence of their occupation. It is a fact of life that using magic increases one's understanding of it, a fact that sometimes eludes the more academic wizarding circles. However, these adventurers are often without the resources of the great magical academies, and wont to neglect taking notes. Arcane philosophers are where the two approaches intermix; full time academic wizards given field expeditions, or curious, outsourced sorcerers reporting their live experiments to more patient minds. The name can be descriptive or honorary, Arcane philosophers can come from all walks of life, brought together by the common goal of greater understanding of the arcane; for their own benefit or for others.

Becoming a Arcane Philosopher[edit]

Taking a level in Arcane Philosopher reflects how a character is devoting themselves to learning more about magic, at the cost of learning how to use that magic. One normally becomes an Arcane Philosopher to augment a narrow spell library, or to further branch out from an already substantial understanding.

Entry Requirements
Alignment: Any non-chaotic
Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 8
Feats: Spell Focus (any)
Spellcasting: Able to cast 1st level Arcane spells

Table: The Arcane Philosopher

Hit Die: d4

Level Base
Attack Bonus
Saving Throws Special Spellcasting
Fort Ref Will
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Arcane Understanding I, Bonus Feat
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Arcane Understanding II, Bonus Feat
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Arcane Understanding III, Bonus Feat
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Arcane Understanding IV, Bonus Feat
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Arcane Understanding V, Bonus Feat +3 levels in existing arcane spellcasting class

Class Skills (6 + Int modifier per level)
Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int).

Class Features[edit]

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

Spellcasting: At 5th level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained three levels in an arcane spellcasting class to which you belonged before adding the prestige class level. You do not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. If you had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming an Arcane philosopher, you must decide to which class to add these levels for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.

Arcane Understanding: At each level, an Arcane philosopher learns two new spells of any spell levels that he or she can cast (according to his or her level in an existing arcane spellcasting class), plus an additional spell for each level of Arcane philosopher he or she has. A first level Arcane philosopher learns 3 new spells, a second level Arcane philosopher learns 4, and so on. This does not impart the Arcane philosopher with more spells per day, merely spells known.

Bonus Feats: An Arcane philosopher may take any spell focus feat as a bonus feat each level, as long as she meets the prerequisites for the feat.


Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Arcane Philosopher[edit]

Combat: Whatever role the Arcane philosopher had before becoming one is typically maintained, but the greater range of spells that become available to the Arcane philosopher may push that character to become more utility focused. Sorcerers that become Arcane philosopher's especially become quite capable of adapting to any situation, and can fit many roles.

Advancement: It is typical that Arcane philosophers do not take subsequent levels, instead waiting to take the philosopher level when they have access to a spell level they want to know more spells in. When an Arcane philosopher has learnt all they can from this class path, they return to their old class. Sometimes, the opportunities opened to the character by the Arcane philosopher may lead to them becoming a Archmage.

Resources: Arcane philosophers enjoy sharing resources with magical academies, who are happy to hear about the philosopher's experiences and learn from their arcane understanding. Arcane philosopher's in return are often happy to stay and listen to the discussions of the magical academia, and to sample the great magical tomes of learned universities.

Arcane Philosophers in the World[edit]

I'm sorry, but Master Xander is out at the moment. He'll be back in four months; or next week if he already knows what they do.

Arcane Philosophers range from sorcerers making ends meet by doing field research for great universities, or wizards in the same great universities who have decided to devote themselves to theoretical studies. In less civilised worlds, Arcane philosophers are just that; philosophers speaking rhetoric in the streets of town, or taking apprentices to become wizards of their own one day. If a wizard had a master, chances are that master was at some point an Arcane philosopher.

NPC Reactions: Arcane Philosophers represent the theoretical study aspect of wizardry, and thus are less likely to seem suspicious to common folk. Eccentric, yes, but more tolerable than actual spell slinging magic users. Magical advisors are often Arcane philosophers, as are teachers of magic.

Arcane Philosopher Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can research Arcane philosophers 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
11 Arcane philosophers spend their time researching magic instead of practising it, and thus while they may know a lot of spells, they are not necessarily powerful spellcasters.
16 Arcane philosophers are experts at many different fields of magic, and are often called on by magical universities or organisations to work as experts.
21 Enough research of the arcane imparts an understanding of how to use it. Arcane philosophers that have moved on from research are no less powerful for not learning their spells first hand.
26 Most magical advisors for kingdoms are Arcane philosophers, and it is rumoured that the greater magical academic world has influence over these kingdoms.

Arcane philosophers in the Game[edit]

NPC Arcane philosophers are often teachers or masters of younger wizards, or leaders of great magical learning organisations. Any wizard that has hidden themselves away from the world to study the theory of magic is an Arcane philosopher. PC Arcane Philosophers are either academic wizards turned field researchers, or curious sorcerers seeking greater understanding of their abilities, whose time spent studying their magic has left them less adept at using it then their non-studious kin.

Adaptation: Philosopher is the key in the name. If a setting is not particularly learned, an Arcane philosopher is a social pariah, or perhaps a failed archmage. Another idea would be to instead have a Divine Philosopher, for those spellcasters that wish to devote themselves to an understanding of their faith. Instead of learning spells from an arcane spell list, they might pick up spells from an equivalent level divine spell list; so that a 3rd-level Wizard/1st-level Divine Philosopher learns 3 divine spells that a 3rd-level Cleric could learn.

Sample Encounter: Out of combat, an Arcane philosopher could be a local wizard seeking aid for a field experiment. In combat, arcane philosophers that are also sorcerers can be daunting, adaptive opponents that have an answer to everything the players can throw at them.


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