Improved Shadowcaster

( ⇪ Classes )

Ari Marmell’s fix for the shadowcaster class (listed below) is excellent, but some of it becomes confusing in this setting and without further improvements the class regardless would be even more underpowered than in the traditional setting.

  1. Charisma determines the DC to save against your mysteries. Intelligence determines the highest level mystery you can cast.
  2. Grant bonus mysteries per day based on Charisma. These would work just like bonus spells. For instance, if your Cha is 14, you can cast one extra mystery of 1st-level equivalent and one of 2nd-level equivalent per day. (Note that each mystery does give an equivalent level, even though you don’t learn them by level.)
  3. Eliminate the rule that says you have to take mysteries in a given Path in order. If you want to jump around, so as to broaden your versatility, you can.
  4. Within a category — Apprentice, Initiate, Master — you must have at least two mysteries of any given level before you can take any mysteries of the next higher level. For instance, you must have two 1st-level mysteries before you can take any 2nds, and at least two 2nds before you can take any 3rds.
  5. Eliminate the rule that says you get a bonus feat equal to half the number of paths you have access to. Instead, you get a bonus feat equal to the total number of Paths you complete. Thus, while you are no longer required to take the entirety of a given Path, there’s still encouragement to do so.
  6. You may “swap out” mysteries, just as a sorcerer does spells known. If you “un-complete” a Path in this way, however, you lose access to the bonus feat you gained from completing that Path. (You can regain access by re-completing the Path, completing a different Path and choosing that feat as your new bonus, or selecting that feat as a normal feat at your next opportunity.)
  7. Once your Apprentice Mysteries become supernatural abilities, change the save DC from “10 + equivalent spell level + Cha” to “10 + 1/2 caster level + Cha”. This makes them useful even against high-HD opponents, and follows the pattern for other supernatural abilities.

In this setting, also make the following changes:

Each of your fundamentals recover to their full complement of that “pool” in 30 minutes regardless of rest, and split that time per use just like any daily-use ability (a wait time of 10 minutes per casting).

Mysteries you cast as spells do not use Spell Points like other spellcasters. Shadowcasters treat their spells like they were a daily-use ability. However, unlike most daily-use abilities, mysteries recover their full complement for their “pool” of daily-uses in one hour regardless of rest. Having more uses per day of a mystery from it becoming a spell-like or supernatural ability splits the hour just like other daily-use abilities (shortening that wait to 30 minutes and then to 20 minutes, respectively).

Think of each level of the “bonus mysteries” you gain as “floating pools” of shadow energy, each of a size determined by the SRD’s Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells table. You can expend some of the floating pool of that level to cast an appropriate mystery you know of that level. Bonus mystery pools recover to full just like any mystery’s pool.

For example, imagine a 9th-level shadowcaster with a Charisma of 18. Each of their apprentice mysteries (1st-3rd level, which are now spell-like abilities) recover one of their pool of 2/day uses after 30 minutes regardless of rest. Their initiate mysteries (4th & 5th level, which are still spells) recover their 1/day use after 1 hour regardless of rest. Each of the bonus mystery pools for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level likewise recover their pools of 1/day in full after an hour regardless of rest.

Improved Shadowcaster

Hyperion Voyages Ternal Ternal