Nerd of the arcane

The mage is a human whose intense scholarly focus on the arcane allows him to use magic to gain information. Welcome additions to any adventuring party, magi are employed for their skills at magic detection, language translation, and powers of divination.

The prime requisite of a mage is Intelligence. A mage with an Intelligence score of 13 or greater will gain a bonus on earned experience points.

RESTRICTIONS: The mage saves and attacks as a “normal” magic-user; likewise, he uses four-sided dice (d4) to determine hit points. They may not wear armour, and their weapon choices limited to dagger, staff, club, and sling.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Magi can cast magic spells via the same spell acquisition and casting rules as a “normal” magic-user, though they specialise in spells that improve knowledge (see DIVINATION, below). They have a 2/6 chance of detecting any active magical aura within 60′ (reduce to 1/6 if the magic was “deactivated” within 1 turn per level). Magi can read magic (as the 1st-level spell) at will. When reading magic spells directly from scrolls, their expert knowledge of the arcane provides a chance that the spell will NOT fade once read (see CASTING SPELLS FROM A SCROLL below). Finally, magi can read languages as a thief of 4th-level or higher (i.e., 80% chance of success).

DIVINATION: Magi excel at using arcane magic to learn, reveal, and discover. To reflect this, magi gain a number of free spell levels equal to their experience level in “divination” magic each day. Based on the B/X Magic-user spell list (X14), such spells include: 1st: Detect Magic, Light, Read Languages; 2nd: Detect Evil, Detect Invisible, ESP, Locate Object; 3rd: Clairvoyance, Infravision; 4th: Confusion, Wizard Eye; 5th: Contact Higher Plane, Feeblemind; 6th: Invisible Stalker. For example, a 4th-level mage could cast four levels worth of divination spells in addition to those he’s memorised. The mage must add the spell to his spellbook before he can use it this way. Because of this focus, however, magi are deficient with offensive spells, and may use only one spell slot at each level for such magic.

CASTING SPELLS FROM A SCROLL: As noted on page B49, once a spell is read aloud from a scroll, the spell fades from the parchment. However, a mage’s intense study of the arcane gives them a chance to keep the script intact after reading. Subtract the spell’s level from the mage’s level; this is the chance on a d10 that the spell will remain after it is read (e.g., a 6th-level mage reading a 4th-level spell provides a 2/6 chance the spell will remain after use). There is a 100% chance the spell will fade after a second reading (or an attempt to copy).

Experience and Level Advancement

                      Experience     Hit         Spells
Level    Title        Points         Dice        1  2  3  4  5  6
-----    -----        -----------    ----        ----------------
  1      Medium               0      1d4         1  -  -  -  -  -
  2      Seer             2,500      2d4         2  -  -  -  -  -
  3      Astrologer       5,000      3d4         2  1  -  -  -  -
  4      Soothsayer      10,000      4d4         2  2  -  -  -  -
  5      Clairvoyant     20,000      5d4         2  2  1  -  -  -
  6      Occultist       40,000      6d4         2  2  2  -  -  -
  7      Diviner         80,000      7d4         3  2  2  1  -  -
  8      Magus          150,000      8d4         3  3  2  2  -  -
  9      Mage           300,000      9d4         3  3  3  2  1  -
 10      Arch-mage      450,000      9d4+1*      3  3  3  3  2  -
 11      Arch-mage      600,000      9d4+2*      4  3  3  3  2  1
 12      Arch-mage      750,000      9d4+3*      4  4  3  3  3  2
 13      Arch-mage      900,000      9d4+4*      4  4  4  3  3  3
 14      Arch-mage    1,050,000**    9d4+5*      4  4  4  4  3  3
*  Constitution adjustments no longer apply.
** 150,000 XP per level above 14th.


The mage class was built with the revised Excel tool from Building A More Perfect Class. For those checking the math, here’s how characteristics worked out:
HD: 4; Saving Throw: Magic-user; Attack: Magic-user; Armour: None; Weapons: Restricted; Spells: Magic-user; Special: x3 (detection, inherent spell-casting, read spell scrolls); Skills: x1 (read normal languages); WM: Non-fighter; Lvl Limit: Unlimited; Base XP: 2,500

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Erin Smale

Erin Smale is the author of the Chimera RPG and, a sporadic, rambling blog that provides tips and tools for the time-challenged game master. He lives in secret along the New Jersey coast with his ass-kicking wife Kim and astoundingly cute dog Bella.

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