Arcanist (3.5e Prestige Class)

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Magic is magic. If you can get over that mental block, you’d find that it’s not at all as restrictive as others say it is. Off the top of my head I can think of 100 different types, schools, brands, and techniques of magic. As of today, book or blood, it’s all the same to me. In a century, who knows? I’d like to think that by then I’ll only be able to think of one.
—Gil-Léon de LaVaal, human arcanist

The arcanist is a spellcaster, usually a Wizard or Sorcerer, who tires of the limitations of his own magic, and seeks to unlock the secrets of the other. Whereas others specialize in a school of magic, or try to tap their unusual heritage for greater power, the arcanist opens up the subtle world of versatility. Because of this, their particular talents usually blend into the background, until someone knowledgeable spots an arcanist doing something that they shouldn’t be able to do.

Becoming an Arcanist[edit]

To qualify to become an arcanist, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

  • Skills: Concentration 8, Knowledge (arcana) 8, Spellcraft 8
  • Feats: Arcane PreparationCAr (if spontaneous caster), Signature SpellPGtF (if a preparation caster),
  • Special: Ability to cast 1st level Arcane Spells

Table: The Arcanist
Hit Die: d4
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Special Spells per Day/Spells Known
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Spontaneous mastery 0, focused studies +1 level of existing arcane class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Spell Manipulator +1 level of existing arcane class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Spontaneous Mastery 1st +1 level of existing arcane class
4th +2 +1 +1 +4 +1 level of existing arcane class
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Spontaneous Mastery 2nd +1 level of existing arcane class
6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Scroll Preparation +1 level of existing arcane class
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Spontaneous Mastery 3rd +1 level of existing arcane class
8th +4 +2 +2 +6 +1 level of existing arcane class
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Spontaneous Mastery 4th +1 level of existing arcane class
10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Spontaneous Metamagic +1 level of existing arcane class

Class Skills (2 + Int modifier per level)
Concentration, Craft, Knowledge (all skills, taken individually), Profession, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device.

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are Class Features of the arcanist prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Arcanists gain no new proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day: When a new arcanist level is gained the arcanist gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an Arcanist, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Focused Studies (Ex): At 1st level, the arcanist gives up three schools of magic so as to focus more on the remaining schools. He must choose three schools of magic other than divination as prohibited schools. These prohibited schools are in addition to any others already chosen due to school specialization. Thus a specialized wizard taking this prestige class has five prohibited schools instead of two (or in the case of diviners, four instead of one).

Spontaneous Mastery: At every other level (1,3,5, etc), the Arcanist gains the ability to spontaneously cast spells, or cast unknown spells using already available spell slots. Every time he gains this ability he must choose 3 spells of the chosen level (Level 0 spells for this ability at 1st level, Level 1 spells for this ability at 3rd level, etc), the arcanist can never change these spells once chosen. If he used a spellbook the arcanist must already have these spells in his spellbook, if he spontaneously casted his spells the chosen spells can be completely new. If the arcanist uses a spellbook he may now cast these 3 chosen spells without preparing them, using a spell slot of the appropriate level when he casts the spells. If he does not use a spellbook the arcanist is able to cast these 3 spells anytime, using a spell slot of the appropriate level when he casts the spells. However, the arcanist may only change out his prepared spells for one of these spells 3 times a day, and may only spontaneously cast a unknown spell 3 times a day as well.

Spell Manipulator: At 2nd level, the Arcanist learns the tricks necessary to manipulate spells. She may break down arcane spell slots to create a specified number of lower-level spell slots as a full-round action. (A 0-level spell counts as ½ level for this purpose.) The sum of the levels of all the new spell slots must equal the level of the original. There is no limit to the number of times she can do this per day, but her spell slots remain that way until she recovers her spells the next day or she breaks them down even further.

Scroll Preparation: At 6th level, the Arcanist gains the ability to prepare spells from scrolls of arcane spells. The scroll is destroyed in the process, but remains in the Arcanist’s memory until it is cast or lost via Spontaneous Mastery. Spells prepared from scrolls may have metamagic applied to them as normal.

Spontaneous Metamagic: At 10th level, the Arcanist gains the ability to apply Metamagic to his spontaneously cast spells with no increase in casting time. The Arcanist must pay the cost for Metamagic normally, however, and thus must free up a spell slot of the appropriate level to cast.

Campaign Information[edit]

Playing an Arcanist[edit]

Combat: Arcanists cannot fight on the front lines, and they do best attacking from a distance using their spells and Metamagic to wear down foes.



Arcanists in the World[edit]

NPC Reactions: NPCs tend to treat arcanists in the same way they would treat wizards. Most powerful spellcasters know though that the way that arcanists can manipulate their spells is not normal and one should be wary of them.

Arcanist Lore[edit]

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (Arcana) can research arcanists 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 They are an arcane spellcaster who do odd things with spells.
16 .
21 Arcanists are those who specialize in schools of magic in order to bend spellcasting rules.
26 Arcanists are able to manipulate the weave and bend it to their will.

Arcanists in the Game[edit]


Sample Encounter:

EL whatever:

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