Arcane Reservist (based class, 3.x)
An ancient tradition of the earth gnomes of Pellenia and burrow gnomes of the Wild Coast led to a small corps of highly specialized generalists (oxymoron not withstanding, it is an accurate description) of the Wizardly arts. Functioning as something between battle sorcerers and warmages, they use their internal arcane battery to fuel spellcasting and to establish a matrix conduit for magical effects they can unleash with a thought and a gesture. Combined with a bit of combat training, this power makes them a very desirable and welcome addition to any military campaign. Other spellcasters find them a rather curious lot, as they are aware of spells usually beyond the ken of others of their same degree of training and experience, tend to choose their few known spells from strange and esoteric sources, and are apparently loathe to use their most powerful spells in favor of their tried and true quick arcane spell-like channeling effects. Some of these effects are battle oriented and others are campaign utility powers. In recent years, news and rumor indicate these gnomish methods have been shared or traded to several nations and even some private groups.
Abilities: Since spellcasting, reserve power, concentration, Fortitude and hit points are all critical to this character and based on Constitution, that is the biggest concern for an Arcane Reservist. Dexterity is also important, as it relates to Reflex, defense, ranged combat, ranged spells, various skills and, potentially, melee combat via finesse. Intelligence is beneficial for more skills and various skills, including the ever-important Spellcraft. Charisma helps with the much needed Use Magic Device and with interpersonal skills. Strength and wisdom are helpful, especially Wisdom for Will, but the least of concerns for most reservists, who depend somewhat on sentries, scouts and front-liners, anyway.
Alignment: A reserve specialist does not necessarily have a specific alignment, though the nature of their training and practice methods require discipline typical of lawful people. Even so, such training can take hold in even the most unruly, selfish, selfless or creative sorts.
Basics: HD: d8; Starting Age: Moderate; Starting Wealth: as per Sorcerer.
Level | BAB | FORT | REFL | WILL | SP | 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Special
1 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Combat, Spells, Reserve
2 | 1 | 3 | 0 | 3 | 5 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
3 | 2 | 3 | 1 | 3 | 8 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Focus (1)
4 | 3 | 4 | 1 | 4 | 12 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
5 | 3 | 4 | 1 | 4 | 17 | 3 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Focus (2/1)
6 | 4 | 5 | 2 | 5 | 23 | 4 | 3 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
7 | 5 | 5 | 2 | 5 | 30 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Two-Fisted
8 | 6/1 | 6 | 2 | 6 | 38 | 5 | 4 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
9 | 6/1 | 6 | 3 | 6 | 47 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Focus (3/2/1)
10 | 7/2 | 7 | 3 | 7 | 57 | 6 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
11 | 8/3 | 7 | 3 | 7 | 68 | 6 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Two-Fisted
12 | 9/4 | 8 | 4 | 8 | 80 | 7 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | Reserve
13 | 9/4 | 8 | 4 | 8 | 93 | 7 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | 0 | Focus (4/3/2/1)
14 | 10/5 | 9 | 4 | 9 | 107 | 8 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 0 | Reserve
15 | 11/6/1 | 9 | 5 | 9 | 122 | 8 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 0 | Two-Fisted
16 | 12/7/2 | 10 | 5 | 10 | 138 | 9 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 2 | Reserve
17 | 12/7/2 | 10 | 5 | 10 | 155 | 9 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 2 | 1 | Focus (5/4/3/2/1)
18 | 13/8/3 | 11 | 6 | 11 | 173 | 10 | 6 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | Reserve
19 | 14/9/4 | 11 | 6 | 11 | 192 | 10 | 6 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 3 | 2 | 1 | Blending (1)
20 | 15/10/5 | 12 | 6 | 12 | 212 | 11 | 6 | 5 | 5 | 5 | 4 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 2 | Reserve, Blending (All), Pinnacle of Focus
Skill Points: 2 + Int modifier (×4 at 1st level). Class Skills: Balance (Dex), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (any)(Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (Arcana, Geography, Nobility & Royalty, Tactics)(Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Performance (any)(Cha), Profession (any)(Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha), and Use Rope (Dex).
Weapon & Armor Proficiency: Proficient with the Basic Weapons Group and 1 other group, which may be any of the standard groups, any DM-approved class group from cross-training, or any DM-approved weapons group from formal training belonging to a specific race, region or organization. Proficient with light armor of all kinds and ignores spell failure for light armor worn. Proficient with shields, but only of the variety that is worn, rather than wielded, such as back-mounted, bracers, dastana, bucklers, and panzerhand (shield gauntlets).
Aura: As long as the Reservist holds spells in reserve, which should be most always, he will emit a slight magical aura of the types associated with all spells hld in reserve, as well as a slight aura of abjuration. The aura of the highest ranking spell reserve focus (see below) may, at the will of the reservist, be emanated in sufficient strength to mask all other weaker auras from class or reserved spells, supplanting them with one or more from the spell reserved for that focus. Note that, although the aura exists, the reservist is not considered a creature of the type of the aura unless considered so, regardless of the aura.
Spells and Spellcasting: Arcane Reservists cast spells, usually of arcane nature, drawn mostly from the Wizard/ Sorcerer list of spells. The principal exception to this rule lies in the focus (see below) of the Reservist, in that, once a Reservist reaches a level where he may emulate spells of his focus type, the emulations may be arcane versions, with possible divine effects, of spells from ANY spell list, so long as they meet the emulation criteria. Spell use may also be restricted by by alignment and racial type (but not by class, in emulations). The use of magic by a Reservist is a viscerally physical and deeply spiritual thing, based in the constitution of the caster as much as its life essence. They do not learn or prepare spells as many casters do, nor are they limited to a certain number of spells per day, internalizing and calling forth spells in a sort of primal and intuitive way, sorting and channeling power through their body and soul. To learn a spell, a Reservist need only witness it, observe its various parts, cast it from a scroll or magic item, be the receiver of its effects, read it in a spell book, or research it successfully. Any time he gains a level, he may exchange any and all spells known for others he has encountered, though he will make certain to have at least one spell of the type of each of his reserve powers to be held in reserve for their use. To know or cast a spell, the Reservist must have a Constitution score of at least 10 + the spell level. The DC for his spells and emulations is 10 + the effective spell level + his Con modifier. A Reservist may cast spells at will, but must spend points from his spell point (SP) reservoir to do so. This reservoir is determined by level from the class table, with bonus points determined by Constitution score and highest spell level. If this reservoir falls below half, the Reservist is considered fatigued, unless he is immune, until his reservoir rises above half. If the reservoir falls below one quarter, he is, instead, exhausted, unless immune. By resting for 1 hour, the reservoir can be recovered by 10% of maximum capacity; for 2 hours, 25%; for a full rest (minimum 4 hours, based on race or magic effects), 100%. Spells that reduce or remove fatigue are equivalent to 1 hour of rest and those that reduce exhaustion, to 2 hours. No amount of spellcasting may fully restore the SP reservoir without a full rest. Upon completion of rest, he may meditate (which may include weapon forms practice) to determine how many SP must be held in reserve. He may do this after any amount of actual rest and this amount remains fixed until the next rest. The SP will be usable, but the Reservist will be aware he has reached his hard ceiling. If, somehow, the SP reservoir reaches 0, the reservist will fall into a deep sleep. He may choose to wake at 1 or 2 hours worth appropriate recovery, or return to sleep to complete a full rest. The number of spells known are shown on the class table.
Reserve: At first level and every even-numbered level, the reservist may select a reserve spell feat to use, for which he qualifies. If he ever fails to qualify for the feat, he loses access to its power until he once again qualifies. An astute Reservist will, hence, ensure that one of his highest level spells meets the criteria for at least one of his reserve spell feats. He may, of course, gain other reserve spell feats from other sources, like racially- or level-based feat openings, as usual, but they are never treated as class reserve or focus feats. Once selected, these reserve feats may not change.
Focus: A Reservist may select some of his class reserve feats per the class table, as a point of further focus, giving each of these progressively greater power as he gains experience levels. A new focus reserve may be selected from existing class provided reserve feats at levels 3, 5, 9, 13 and 17. Once a focus is selected, it may not be changed and will continue to improve. Each time a focus is acquired after the first, all previously selected focus reserve feats will improve by one focus level at the time of selection. At first level of focus, the effect cap for the reserve feat is doubled and, as long as ANY spell of the same type as the reserve focused is known and sufficient spell points are held in reserve to cast a spell of the highest level accessible to the reservist, he is considered as having a spell of the same type of the highest level he can access held in reserve for purpose of the focus and reserve in question. Thus, for example, a fifth level reservist could, having level 3 spell access, select a force spell reserve feat previously chosen and make it his new focus feat, select the force bolt cantrip or magic missile spell as his force spell in reserve, and reserve 5 spell points for the powering of reserve feats and thus qualify to be effectively considered as having a third level force spell in reserve for purposes of his force type reserve feat and focus. Meanwhile, his first focus rises to second focus level. At the second level of focus, the chosen feat may be enacted as a swift action, even if it would normally take longer, as long as the feat is in focus. At the third level of focus, the feat is considered an extraordinary ability instead of a spell-like ability and also becomes “breaching”, meaning that it ignores associated immunities (but not interference caused by natural or magical effects or conditions) of its targets, which instead get a saving throw to resist the effects, as normal, at a +5 bonus. At the fourth level of focus, the reservist gains a remarkable depth of insight into the type of spell upon which his focus reserve spell feat is based, and is considered as having full access of knowledge to any spell of that type (and only that type, unless he has this ability from another focus) which he has encountered by observation, being targeted, or reading the details. Further, instead of the normal use of the focus reserve power in a given round, he may choose to emulate any spell of the focus type known to him, of a level no higher than his highest known level -2. If the chosen emulation would normally take longer to cast than a swift action, it takes that long, instead. At the fifth level of focus, emulated spells may be of any level the reservist can cast, though the casting time for a spell of these higher levels is always a full round action. At 19th reservist level, he learns to blend the effects of his foci, allowing him to add the descriptor type of any one of his foci, and a single characteristic of that element, to any use of his reserves, even if they would not normally behave in that way. For example, if he had a fire focus and a water focus, he could choose to have his reserve effects ignite anything touched, soak into permeable objects, flow downhill, consume breathable air, or expand into a haze, as long as only one effect is borrowed per use of arcane reserve power. At 20th level, one effect from each focus may be applied to any use of his reserve powers.
Two-Fisted: Like the finely tuned masters of paired blades, a Reservist of 7th level or higher may enact any two focus powers (even the same one, twice) that take the same amount of time to enact in that same amount of time. Thus, if you have, for example, invisible melee and fiery burst as your foci, they could be enacted simultaneously as a single swift action. At eleventh level, this ability extends to all reserve powers and, at 15th level, to all spells emulated by foci.
Pinnacle of Focus: At 20th level, all the lessons learned in pursuing your foci now become applied to all your foci, giving them all 5th level of focus. Also, all other reserve feats taken from those made available by gaining levels as a reservist are considered to be of 1st level of focus.
Epic Levels: Progress as usual. At every other level, staring at 22nd, a new reserve feat is learned.At every other level, starting at 23rd, the focus level of all known reserve feats rises by one level. At every other level, staring at 21st, the Epic Reservist may select a feat (including Epic Feats) of any tule for which he meets prerequisites.
In The Game: At lower levels, most reservists tend to function best as casters for the long haul, firing the same powers into a combat or situation repeatedly, until higher level foci expand their capacity dramatically. Smart reserve feat selections at lower levels can mean more power or utility, and other feats chosen can greatly alter the direction of the reservist. At least a few combat spells and a few utility spells should be considered. Don’t underestimate your cantrips! Remember, overall, they are both warriors and arcanists, always seeking a balance between the two and always looking to increase the power of the reserve. Magic items are always very helpful.
Suggestions For Play: To maximize your utility, consider taking spells with broad descriptors or multiple types early on, with reserve feats to match. Consider abjuration to protect the party and combat spellcasting opponents or, through feats, accessing healing and functioning as a replacement for the typical healer role of the cleric. Instead of abjuration or healing, gain access to destruction to maximize combat and siege capacity. Consider divination or protection. For a blend hard to defeat, try force for attack, defense, mobility and utility.
Feats: important feats to consider are Combat Casting (duh!), Weapon Finesse and Weapon Focus, spell channeling feats (like Channel Touch Spell, Imbuement, Imbue Seeking, Imbue Power, etc.), casting option feats (like Eschew Materials, Still Spell, Silent Spell, Subtle Spell, Hasty Spell, Slow Spell, etc.), spell effectiveness feats (like Heighten Spell, Command Spell, Energy Substitution, Energy Admixture, Prodigious Spellcaster, etc.), feats that make spells more difficult to decipher (Parlour Tricks, Magician, etc.), and increased access to spells (like Double Cantrips, All The Small Things, Sorcerous Prodigy, etc.).
Spells: With the obvious exception of spells needed for your reserves and foci, though similarly, consider hunting for those spells for your highest levels available that contain type descriptors associated with as many of your reserve feats as possible because these will be cast at effectively higher spellcaster levels and can qualify as reserves for multiple reserve powers. This can be difficult, so it is a good idea for your reservist to visit libraries, wizard schools, sorcerous enclaves, sages, scribes, magic displays and tourneys and the hidden vaults of ancient spellcasters (whose secrets may have been lost and would be loved and honored by the reservist who simply must have a Fires of Healing Surgery or Summon Undead Sappers to Anywhere scroll). A good reservist will also take some time to research such spells as a matter of course, especially ad he increases in levels and begins seeking low level spells that can meet his focus needs and, thus, free up his spells for other uses.
Weapons: whatever group the reservist takes should have a decent blend of small melee, medium melee, ranged and, if feasible, polearms. Druid and monk weapons are balanced and meet these requirements, but a group garnered while training with a militia, citizen’s watch or military reserves unit might be worth a backstory quest or assignment at a border outpost or town in rebellion.