Arcanist (D20 Modern Advanced Class)

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In a campaign I created, I wanted it to be low magic, but the Occultist class didn't fit the flavor. The Arcanist is similar in power to an occultist, and must research to find new spells. Unlike the Occultist, however, once the Arcanist learns how to cast a spell, he can always cast that spell.

The fastest path into this advanced class is from the Smart hero basic class, though other paths are possible.


To qualify to become an Arcanist, a character must fulfill the following criteria.

Skills: Decipher Script 6 ranks, Knowledge (Arcane Lore) 6 ranks, Research 6 ranks.

Feats: Educated, Studious.

Class Table[edit]

Table: The Arcanist
Hit Die: d6
Level Base
Attack Bonus
Rep Def Special Spells per Day
0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1st +0 +0 +0 +1 +0 +0 Arcane Student 3 1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +2 +0 +1 4 2
3rd +1 +1 +1 +2 +1 +1 Bonus Feat 4 2 1
4th +2 +1 +1 +2 +1 +1 4 3 2
5th +2 +1 +1 +3 +1 +2 Spell Resistance 4 3 2 1
6th +3 +2 +2 +3 +2 +2 Bonus Feat 4 3 3 2
7th +3 +2 +2 +4 +2 +2 4 4 3 2 1
8th +4 +2 +2 +4 +2 +3 4 4 3 3 2
9th +4 +3 +3 +4 +3 +3 Bonus Feat 4 4 4 3 2 1
10th +5 +3 +3 +5 +3 +3 4 4 4 3 3 2

Class Skills (5 + Int modifier per level)
Class Skills: Craft (visual arts, writing) (Int), ConcentrationDecipher Script (Int), Drive (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Forgery (Int), Investigate (Int), Knowledge (Arcane Lore, History, Theology and Philosophy) (Int), Profession (Wis), Read/Write Language (none), Research (Int), Slight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (none), Use Magic Device (Cha).

Class Features[edit]

All of the following are class features of the Arcanist:

Arcane Student[edit]

An Arcanist is skilled in the art of researching long lost texts, and harnessing the ancient power found within. Arcane Student is broken down into three parts: Arcane Skills, Arcane Discovery, and Arcane Mastery.

Arcane Skills
This feature works exactly like the Arcane Skills class feature of the Occultist.
Arcane Discovery
As an Arcanist gains levels, he gains access to more and more powerful spells. These spells might be in the form of an ancient tome, a greater being's true name, or knowledge of a long-lost ritual. At each level, the Arcanist gains a number of spells per level, according to the table below. The arcanist must make a research check for every spell they discover. Success means that they get to choose which spell they have found; failure means that the spell is randomly selected by the GM.
Level 0 1 2 3 4 5 Research DC
1st 5 3 18
2nd 1 1 20
3rd 3 23
4th 1 1 25
5th 3 28
6th 1 1 30
7th 1 3 33
8th 1 1 35
9th 1 3 38
10th 1 1 40
At the GM's discretion, you may choose a spell found in another Arcanist's library without making the required research check.
Arcane Mastery
The Arcanist's key characteristic is the ability to cast arcane spells. He is limited to a certain number of spells of each spell level per day, according to his Arcanist class level. Determine the Arcanist’s total number of spells per day by consulting the table above.
The Arcanist must prepare spells ahead of time by resting for 8 hours and spending 1 hour studying his library. (While most of his spells will be contained in physical books, any spell can be digitized for viewing on a computer, so the Arcanist does not need to be in his house to prepare his spells.) While studying, the Arcanist decides which spells to prepare. To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the Arcanist must have an Intelligence score of at least 10 + the spell’s level.
An Arcanist can prepare a lower-level spell in place of a higher-level one if he desires.
The Difficulty Class for saving throws to resist the effects of an Arcanist’s spells is 10 + the spell’s level + the Arcanist’s Intelligence modifier.
Arcane Spells and Armor

This feature works exactly as the Arcane Spells and Armor limitation of the Mage Advanced Class.

Bonus Feats[edit]

At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level, the Occultist gets a bonus feat. The bonus feat must be selected from the following list, and the Occultist must meet all the prerequisites of the feat to select it.

Alertness, Attentive, Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Combat Casting[1], Combat Expertise, Frightful Presence, Focused, Low Profile, Nimble.

  1. Combat Casting: gain a +4 bonus on Concentration checks used to cast while on the defensive. Minimum Arcanist level 6th.

Spell Resistance[edit]

At 5th level, the Arcanist gains spell resistance equal to 5 + his Arcanist level. It never interferes with his own spells, and he can voluntarily lower his spell resistance at any time.

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