Arcane Warrior (3.5e Prestige Class)
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|“||A mere magician, you say? Allow me to show you just how very wrong you are.||”|
|—Asriel Aurum, Human Male Arcane Warrior|
Long ago, an ancient empire, so ancient that not even a trace of it now remains, developed a means by which a mage could channel his power inward, thereby granting them power beyond that of an ordinary man in terms of physical combat. For centuries, they were employed as the defenders, teachers, and sages of that realm. However, they were eventually destroyed by a cataclysmic event, one so terrible that no one is quite sure if it was a war, a planetary shift, a natural disaster, or something akin to an act of fate. Regardless, within a matter of days the empire, along with the majority of the mages that sought to protect it, had been all but completely annihilated. Seeking to preserve what little of their legacy remained, these few brave souls, known in the common tongue as the Arcane Warriors, left for distant lands, in the hopes that they might start anew. Over the millennia that have passed since those times, the skills and knowledge possessed by these individuals has been all but forgotten, though their arts and training techniques are recorded within a series of tomes, known collectively as the Arcanús Bellum, or the Manual of Arcane Warfare; in the secret depths of untapped dungeons and ruins, these tomes lie still, revealing their secrets to those that brave the peril of the dark in search of hidden lore and forgotten knowledge.
Becoming an Arcane Warrior
Some characters, primarily spellcasters, pursue this class for the power to go toe-to-toe with martial combatants, seeking to throw off the stigma of "sniveling, weak, and cowardly" that is sometimes attributed to them. Most commonly, characters with multiclass levels in both Fighter and Wizard are prime candidates for this PrC. Your primary spellcasting score is all important, as it will eventually contribute to the physical damage you deal. Constitution is also important, as you need all the hit points you can get, not to mention the necessity of concentration checks to avoid attacks of opportunity, should you choose to cast in melee. Lastly, Intelligence is also crucial, as it will let you take advantage of your skills and other such abilities.
|Feats:||Combat Casting, Eschew Materials, and Power Attack|
|Skills:||Knowledge Arcana 8 Ranks, Spellcraft 8 Ranks|
|Spellcasting:||Must be able to cast 3rd-Level Arcane Spells.|
|Special:||Must have found and deciphered a copy of the Arcanús Bellum or have been trained by another Arcane Warrior.|
|2nd||+2||+3||+0||+3||Bonus Feat, Aura of Potency||+1 Level of existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|3rd||+3||+3||+1||+3||Mystical Prowess||+1 Level of existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|4th||+4||+4||+1||+4||Bonus Feat, Luminous Shield||+1 Level of existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
|5th||+5||+4||+1||+4||Critical Channeling, Mastery of Self||+1 Level of existing Arcane Spellcasting Class|
Class Skills (2 + Intelligence modifier per level)
All of the following are class features of the Arcane Warrior.
Armor and Weapon Proficiency: Arcane Warriors are proficient with all martial weapons, and with light armor. Arcane Warriors are capable of utilizing light armor without fear of incurring the normal chance of arcane spell failure, in much the same way as a Bard does; this benefit applies to any and all spells the Arcane Warrior is capable of casting. They do not, however, gain any shield proficiencies.
Spellcasting: At each level, you gain new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known, if applicable) as if you had also gained a level 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 Warrior, you must decide to which class to add each level for the purpose of determining spells per day, caster level, and spells known.
Arcane Might (Su): The battle-minded mage has learned, through studious practice, to channel their arcane power inward; their body transforming into the exemplar of physical perfection, their muscles becoming hard and lean as their internal fat stores are burned away in a matter of moments, and all physical hindrances or deformities vanish. Even afterward, the aesthetic changes to the individual remain indefinitely, though the power granted by the process is merely temporary.
This ability requires a swift action to activate, and has a duration of 1 round per level. While active, the caster gains a +6 enhancement bonus to Strength and a base attack bonus equal to their character level, as well as 1 bonus hit point per level. However, the process also incurs an Arcane Spell Failure chance of 50% while this power is used, as the massive surge of physical power causes the caster to become jittery and slightly unfocused. This power can be used a total of 3 times, plus the caster's primary spellcasting modifier (Charisma if the caster is a Sorcerer, Intelligence if they are a Wizard, etc), per day.
Bonus Feat: The Arcane Warrior gains an additional Armor Proficiency, General, Metamagic, or Weapon Proficiency feat.
Aura of Potency (Su): At 2nd level, the surge of energy caused by the inward channeling of the Arcane Warrior's magical power radiates outward as a tangible aura of debilitating force; foes find themselves in awe at the unexpected shift from spellcaster to potent physical combatant.
Any enemy that is within 20 feet of the character while Arcane Might is active must make a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 the character's total level + the character's spellcasting modifier) or take a –4 penalty on attacks, AC, and saves until they leave the area of the effect. If a foe exits the aura and then reenters it, they are entitled to a new saving throw to negate the effect. If successful, they cannot be affected by the same Arcane Warrior's aura for 24 hours.
Mystical Prowess (Su): At 3rd level, the Arcane Warrior has learned to steady themselves and increase the efficiency of Arcane Might, thereby gaining an additional +4 to Dexterity while under the effects of Arcane Might. Also, the chance of Arcane Spell Failure is significantly reduced, dropping it to 30%. Aside from these effects, Arcane Might still functions exactly as it did before.
Bonus Feat: The Arcane Warrior gains an additional Armor Proficiency, General, Metamagic, or Weapon Proficiency feat.
Luminous Shield (Su): At 4th level, the Arcane Warrior learns to how to simultaneously channel their power both inwardly and outwardly, bolstering their defenses and punishing those that seek to harm them.
While Luminous Shield is active, a shimmering, translucent shroud of pure energy envelops the Arcane Warrior, granting them Spell Resistance equal to 14 + character level (if the character already has Spell Resistance, use the better of the two values) and a +5 Miscellaneous Bonus to AC that stacks with any and all others they possess. If an enemy succeeds in striking them, they are blasted with luminous, untyped energy, dealing 2d6 points of damage for each level attained in this PrC (maximum 10d6). This damage is also inflicted on any foe that makes a successful touch attack or grapples the Arcane Warrior, and continues to deal damage each round until the attacker or the target dies, the grapple is broken or the Arcane Warrior is voluntarily released.
This ability requires a swift action to activate and may be used a total of 5 times per day, each use lasting for 1 round per character level.
Critical Channeling (Su): By learning to time their strikes and summon their magic reflexively, the Arcane Warrior learns how to increase the lethality of their attacks.
At 5th level, if an Arcane Warrior successfully confirms a critical hit on an opponent, they may channel any spell they can cast through their weapon as a swift action. This ability does not provoke an attack of opportunity. The spell must have a casting time of one standard action or less, and the Arcane Warrior must still roll for arcane spell failure, if applicable; however, a spell delivered in this manner affects only the creature struck, and any Spell Resistance possessed by the affected creature is ignored, although elemental resistances or immunities based on creature type or sub-type still apply. The Arcane Warrior may only use this ability once per turn; they may not channel multiple spells in a single round of attacks, even if multiple critical hits are scored.
Mastery of Self (Su): Through strenuous practice and hard-won experience, the Arcane Warrior has mastered the art of efficiently channeling his power inward, becoming both a potent physical combatant and a competent practitioner of the arcane arts.
At 5th level, while Arcane Might is active, the Arcane Spell Failure chance is reduced to 10%; additionally, your main spellcasting modifier now contributes to your melee damage, though it is not affected by factors such as strength-and-a-half for two-handed weapons.
Playing an Arcane Warrior
Combat: The Arcane Warrior is the non-divine answer to the Cleric - tougher and more physically capable than an ordinary Sorcerer or Wizard and with more offensive spellcasting capability than a Bard, the character that chooses this PrC can fill almost any niche the party might require; be it resolution with either three-feet of razor-sharp steel or by ensorcelling your enemies with magical flame and frost - your versatility is your strength.
DM Counters: Just because they can bolster their combat prowess like a Cleric doesn't mean that they are one - they lack the ability to heal themselves or others, so prolonged conflict is not their friend. Also, utilize creatures and enemies that specialize in eradicating magical effects or that are immune to magic altogether, as the abilities of an Arcane Warrior stem entirely from their spellcasting abilities - just like a Cleric that is struck with Greater Dispel Magic, so too is the state of an Arcane Warrior that stumbles into an Antimagic Field or the like: powerless.
However, be careful how often you play this trump card; if you take all the fun out of being a mage with the ability to go toe-to-toe with the opposition, the desire to continue will simply disappear amidst cursing and cries of foul play.
Advancement: Typically, an Arcane Warrior is already a potent arcane spellcaster, and as such they come primarily from the ranks of Sorcerers and Wizards, or those that are already multiclass characters such as Wizard/Fighter or those with levels in the Eldritch Knight or the Abjurant Champion prestige class. Occasionally, Bards or Spellthieves take levels in this class, as they enjoy the empowerment it offers. The Battle Sorcerer, however, blends exceedingly well with this prestige class. In some cases, Duskblades find the defensive and ability score enhancing features to be of use to them and when combined with their other unique abilities, they can prove to be some of the most lethal combatants on the field of battle.
Arcane Warriors in the World
|“||So, here's what happened. This strange woman, dressed in elven chainmail, came into the camp. She asked me where our platoon sergeant was, and I pointed him out. Of course, she was waylaid by Dalren... the insufferable pig made a pass at her... no respect for others, that one. At first she seemed to shrug it off and ignore him. Then he got angry... tried to grab her, said she should eat dirt... then there was this flash of light, and suddenly HE was the one eating dirt... ironic, really. I'm not messing with her any time soon.||”|
|—Alyssa Amhearst, Human Female Fighter|
Arcane Warriors are usually rare and reclusive, concealing their true powers from public knowledge to better utilize the element of surprise when they do choose to engage in combat. However, if they do band together, it is usually in small groups or "cells"; these can last for a considerable amount of time, even years, sometimes creating full-fledged organizations or guilds dedicated to the pursuit of a specific ideal or cause, with long-term goals and agendas.
NPC Reactions: Arcane spellcasters often esteem you and yours as masters of ancient lore, preserving a tradition of magic that would otherwise fall into the void of the forgotten. Non-spellcasters, or those with divine magic, may perceive you with indifference or with suspicion, disdain, or outright fear, seeing you as a potential disaster-in-waiting, once they discover the extent of your abilities.
Arcane Warrior Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge Arcana or Knowledge History or the Bardic Knowledge ability can research Arcane Warriors to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|15||This might be an Arcane Warrior.|
|20||This is an Arcane Warrior, known for mixing combat with spellcasting.|
|25||Arcane Warriors are known for channeling their magic inward to increase their physical prowess, while still retaining the ability to cast spells in a limited capacity.|
|30||Details and facts pertaining to a particular Arcane Warrior, or even obscure facts about their history, training and specifics on how their abilities function.|