Shadow Magic is on the Way!

Neverwinter Nights 2 has wizards, sorcerers and warlocks as arcane spellcasters out of the box. That should be enough variety, but it is not for me. Years ago I made the Mage Tome prestige class and spell mod for NWN2 because I always like having more and more options.

In the Tome of Magic DND book the Shadowcaster class tweaked my interest. It was an interesting take on an alternative arcane caster. The flavour text was interesting, powerful and intriguing at the same time. Then when I went to look at the class my interest level dropped. It was so much weaker than a base wizard that almost nobody would want to play one. If you search online for the shadowcaster class you can find lots of commentary about how WotC did not properly playtest the character and rushed out the book without making sure the class was balanced.

You can find a detailed writeup of how to build a shadowcaster including how to deal with its flaws here.

After reading some online attempts at fixes for the class, including a list of suggestions by Ari Marmell, the creator of the class, I decided I could take the base class, modify it to fit the NWN2 engine and include a number of tweaks to make it more playable.

Introducing the Shadowcaster Base Class for NWN2

I dusted off my old Mage Tome mod and started adding in the Shadowcaster base class and two interesting PRCs for it: Master of Shadows and Noctumancer.

Master of Shadows has a Shadow Elemental pet similar to a druid’s animal companion that gets more powerful as you level up. You also continue to gain mysteries as you level up.

Noctumancer lets you mix shadow and arcane magic similar to how mystic theurge lets you mix arcane and divine. Since I could never get the mystic theurge class to properly work in NWN2 I decided to implement the shadow magic mysteries (spells) as feats, allowing the Noctumancer to level up the base arcane spells normally.

Here’s some information about the base class:

  • HD: d6 (same as rogue and warlock, better than wizard)
  • Like wizards you get 2+INT BONUS skill points per level up
  • Class skills include: Concentration, Craft Alchemy, Hide, Lore, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, Spellcraft, Use Magic Device
  • Can use all simple weapons
  • Gains no armor proficiencies but mysteries cast through feats so wearing armor should not hamper them (Equivilent to free Still Mystery feat)
  • Start with 4 fundamental mysteries and gain more as you level up. These are slightly more powerful than wizard cantrips and can be cast as supernatural abilities an unlimited number of times per day (in the book you’d have to get to level 14 to get unlimited fundamentals)
  • At level 1 you gain one mystery and you gain an additional mystery every time you level.
  • Mysteries are split into 3 groups: apprentice (equiv to spell levels 1-3), initiate (equiv to spell levels 4-6) and master (equiv to spell levels 7-9)
  • You can cast each mystery you get as a supernatural ability 3 times per day
  • At level one you gain low light vision
  • At level three you gain darkvision
  • At level 7 you can see in magical darkness
  • As level 20 you gain immunity to poison and disease
  • Metashadow feats – Once you gain one it functions for every mystery you cast. Extend, Enlarge, Empower and Maximize are available

The big changes are: metashadow feats always affecting mysteries, fundamentals starting as unlimited use and other feats starting as three uses per day. The combination of those class changes and changes to some of the mysteries will hopefully make the class more playable and to work within the NWN2 engine.

The Mystery of Mysteries

Except for the 8-10 fundamental mysteries the main ones will be setup into paths of three mysteries each. This means you must take the lower level mysteries if you want to gain the more powerful higher level ones.

Fundamental Mysteries

Arrow of Dusk: A ray attack that deals 1d6 cold damage.

Black Candle: Darkness Cast darkness.

Black Candle: Light Cast light.

Caul of Shadow: Gain a scaling deflection bonus to AC up to +4.

Mystic Reflections: Gain a +4 bonus to your spellcraft, lore and use magic devices skills.

Shadow Hood: Target must save or take a small penalty to attack rolls. Not very useful.

Sight Obscured: Gain a +5 bonus on Hide and Sleight of Hand skills.

Umbral Hand: Gain a +2 bonus to craft skills, disable device, lockpick and use magic device.

Widened Eyes: Darkvision plus very short see invisible.

Apprentice Mysteries

Apprentice mysteries are meant to be in the power range of level 1-3 wizard spells.

Cloak of Shadows

  1. Steel Shadows – +3 armor and +3 shield bonus
  2. Sight Eclipsed – Become invisible
  3. Sharp Shadows – Enemies that hit you take magic damage

With the addition of invisibility this becomes a good set of low level defensive abilities.

Dark Terrain

  1. Carpet of Shadow – Like a weak grease
  2. Black Fire – A wall of fire that does cold damage, still doing fire damage in my version, trying to get NWN2 engine to change damage types…
  3. Clinging Darkness – A combination of darkness with entangle effects

Now we’re talking! This is my favourite apprentice path and one that provides relatively decent battlefield control abilities.

Ebon Whispers

  1. Voice of Shadow – Constructs/undead will save or dazed. Everyone else gets command on failed will save.
  2. Congress of Shadows – A weak charm spell
  3. Flicker – Dodge AC bonus and very short dimension door

PNP fans of the shadowcaster will be sad to see Flicker nerfed but I made it at least similar to the text… engine limitations.

Eye of Darkness

  1. Bend Perspective – like clairvoyance
  2. Piercing Sight – longer lasting see invisibility and darkvision
  3. Killing Shadows – cone of cold but with magic damage instead

Two weaker divination style abilities to get a powerful close range attacking spell.

Shutters and Clouds

  1. Dusk and Dawn – Spell resistance bonus
  2. Shadow Skin – Damage resistance bonus
  3. Dancing Shadows – area concealment bonus

Another good set of low level defensive abilities with Dusk and Dawn now providing SR.

Touch of Twilight

  1. Life Fades – low magic damage touch and save or fatigue
  2. Flesh Fails – deal STR,DEX,CON damage on touch
  3. Umbral Touch – magic damage touch attack plus slow

A series of low level touch attacks for the few casters that like to get close.

Umbral Mind

  1. Mesmerizing Shade – daze enemy
  2. Thoughts of Shadow – improve your INT/WIS/CHA
  3. Afraid of Dark – damage enemy Wisdom

A good mix of enchancement and disabiling abilities.

Initiate Mysteries

Black Magic

  1. Warp Spell – Counterspell fast
  2. Echo Spell – Copy last spell
  3. Flood of Shadow – Disrupt enemy spellcasting

Definitely some interesting effects here, they also merge well with Noctumancer abilities.

Body and Soul

  1. Bolster – 5 temp HP for each HD for target
  2. Languor – Slow or hold monster effects
  3. Shadow Investiture – Cold resistance, evasion and darkvision for targets

One debilitating attack and two buffs.

Dark Reflections

  1. Shadow Evocation – 20% damage lvl 1-4 evocations
  2. Feign Life – animate 1-2 inanimate objects as summoned
  3. Shadow Evocation, Greater – 40% damage lvl 1-6 evocations

Dark Reflections is one of my favourite paths, summoning and lots of flexibility with the evocations.

Darkened Allies

  1. Fearful Gloom – Darkness + fear
  2. Sickening Shadow – Darkness + nausea
  3. Deadly Shade – Darkness + energy drain

Darkness + other effects for battlefield control.

Ebon Roads

  1. Step into Shadow – Long range dimension door
  2. Pass into Shadow – Not available
  3. Voyage into Shadow – Not available

Step into Shadow is the only available mystery here.

Elemental Shadows

  1. Aura of Shade – Cold protection + damage for party.
  2. Dark Air – Wind blows enemies away
  3. Shadow Storm – Chain lightning but half damage is cold

A party protection spell plus battlefield control plus direct damage.

Unbinding Shade

  1. Shadows Fade – dispel magic
  2. Unravel Dweomer – smash enemy protections
  3. Shadows Fade, Greater – Greater dispel magic

Get rid of enemy protections, works well with Noctumancer class.

Veil of Shadows

  1. Shadow Vision – Special sight
  2. Curtain of Shadows – Darkness + cold damage
  3. Unveil – Remove negative status effects

A mixed bag of random effects.

Master Mysteries

Breath of Twilight

  1. Life Fades, Greater – More damage
  2. Flesh Fails, Greater – STR/DEX/CON damage, larger area
  3. Ephemeral Storm – Wail of the Banshee, take 5D6 magic damage if save

Ability damage, damage and kill/damage. High powered attack spells, a rarity in shadow magic.

Dark Metamorphosis

  1. Ephemeral Image – Project image of yourself
  2. Umbral Body – Become incorporeal
  3. Shadow Time – A longer duration Time Stop for shadowcasters

Awesome. An extended Shadow Time can lead to you causing mayhem far and wide.

Ebon Walls

  1. Prison of Night – Entrap and cold damage if they fail save
  2. Tomb of Night – Prison of Night on steroids
  3. Consume Essence – Will save or die. Raise shadow if they die. Similar to Extract Water Elemental

Entraping, damaging and killing. Fighting for Breath of Twilight for attack honors.

Eyes of the Night Sky

  1. Truth Revealed – True seeing
  2. Far Sight – Scrying
  3. Reflections of Things to Come – Foresight on steroids

Reflections is very good.

Heart and Soul

  1. Dark Soul – Enemies attack each other
  2. Soul Puppet – Long time touch dominate monster
  3. Soul Puppet – One round mass dominate monster

A lot of mind control.

Shadow Calling

  1. Summon Umbral Servant – Summon huge shadow elemental
  2. Shadow Plague – Incendiary Cloud but cold
  3. Army of Shadow – Summon Elder Shadow Elemental

Shadowscape

  1. Grasping Shadows – Evard’s Black Tentacles but with blind effect as well
  2. Menagerie of Darkness – Summon swarm
  3. Black Labyrinth – Cover everything with darkness

Compared to some of the others not that great. Grasping Shadows the only real gem here.

Final Thoughts

So when is the Shadowcaster class going to be available?

When version 2.0 of Mage Tome is released.

Keep checking this blog for more news and information about the upcoming mod release.

Broken Staff Studios

Broken Staff Studios is a small independent gaming studio based out of Ontario, Canada. We specialize in computer roleplaying games and are working on the open source Broken Staff CRPG system which we hope to finish by the end of 2016.