Spontaneous Gnome Shadow Illusionist (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Gnome Illusionist 5/Shadowcraft Mage 5(Races of Stone)/Shadowcrafter 10 (Forgotten Realms: Underdark)

At low levels you have access to most illusion spells two levels early. Then in later levels you get the ability to spontaneously cast different shadow spells at increased effect.


  1. Gnome Illusionist 1: Gnome Illusion Spells (Transmutation), Chains of Disbelief (Ex), Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (Illusion), Illusion Mastery (Ex), Specialist Wizard (Conjuration and Evocation).
  2. Illusionist 2:
  3. Illusionist 3: Greater Spell Focus (Illusion).
  4. Illusionist 4: +1 Int.
  5. Gnome Illusionist 5: Extended Illusions (Su).
  6. Shadowcrafter 1: ANY FEAT, Shadow Mien (Su)
  7. Shadowcrafter 2: Shadow Conjuration +10%
  8. Shadowcraft mage 1: Cloak of Shadow (Su), +1 Int.
  9. Shadowcraft mage 2: Signature Spell (Shadow Evocation or Conjuration) Feat, Silent Illusion (Ex)
  10. Shadowcraft mage 3: Shadow Illusion (Su)
  11. Shadowcraft mage 4: Extended Illusion (Ex)
  12. Shadowcraft mage 5: Signature Spell (Shadow Evocation or Conjuration) Feat, Shadow spells +20%, +1 Con.
  13. Shadowcrafter 3: Shadow Evocations +10%
  14. Shadowcrafter 4: Shadow Spell Penetration +1
  15. Shadowcrafter 5: Signature Spell (Greater Shadow Conjuration or Greater Shadow Evocation ) Feat, +2 saving throws against Illusions.
  16. Shadowcrafter 6: +1 Int, Shadow Conjuration +20%
  17. Shadowcrafter 7: Shadow Evocation +20%
  18. Shadowcrafter 8: Signature Spell (Greater Shadow Conjuration, Greater Shadow Evocation, or Shades) Feat, Shadow Spell Penetration +2
  19. Shadowcrafter 9: No Delusions (ex)
  20. Shadowcrafter 10: +1 Int, Shadow Self (ex)

Variants Used
Swaps Level 1 and 5 of Illusionist for Gnome Illusionist levels from Races of Stone.
Swaps extra spells for being specialist with gaining a two extra illusion spells each level and mastering all illusions from Unearthed Arcana.
Swaps familiar for Chains of Disbelief from Unearthed Arcana.

For extra cash keep two sets of spellbooks, one for illusions and one for non-illusions. As all your illusions are mastered you have no need for them once they are in the book. Simply sell the spell book containing your illusions. With each spell having a value of 100gp x spell level these books can net a tidy sum.

The Signature Spell feat is located in the Player's Guide to Faerun, as is the Shadow Adept class and Shadow Magic Feats which offer interesting expansions on the illusionists capabilities.

Alternative start to the build and a bit more powerful overall

  1. Gnome Illusionist ( Gnome racial - +1 Illusion DC, Feat: Shadow weave +1 DC to illusion )
  2. Illusionist
  3. Master Specialist
  4. Master Specialist ( spell focus Illusion +1DC )
  5. Master Specialist ( Greater spell focus Illusion +1 DC )
  6. Shadow Adept
  7. Master specialist ( +2 DC on illusions ) - By this time your level 7 and your illusion spells begin at DC 16 + your INT this makes them VERY hard to save against.
  8. Shadowcraft mage

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