arcane archetypes

D&D 5E NPC - Leonardo Cadaval - Arcane Trickster

Art by: Kent Davis

Name: Leonardo Cadaval
Race: High Elf
Gender: Male
Height: 5ft 11′ / 1.80m
Age: 173
Class: Rogue (Arcane Trickster) 

STAT BLOCK:

Level: 8

AC 17 (Studded leather), Hp 55 (8d8 Hit Die), Proficiency +3, Speed 30ft,

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

languages: Common, Elvish, Thieves’ cant,

Ability Scores:
Str 12 (+1) Dex 20 (+5) Con 16 (+3) Int 18 (+4) Wis 13 (+1) Cha 14 (+1)

Attacks: Dagger of Venom (+9 to hit, 1d4+6 Piercing damage) and Off-hand Dagger of Venom (+9 to hit, 1d4+6 Piercing damage)

Spellcasting: 8th level Arcane Trickster, spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 15, to hit with spell attacks +7)  

Spells:

Cantrips (at will): Mage Hand, Mending, Message, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation,

1st level (4 slots): Alarm, Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Jump,

2nd level (2 slots): Invisibility, Spider Climb,

Skills: Acrobatics, Arcane, Deception, Perception, Sleight of Hand, Stealth,

Equipment: Two Daggers of Venom, Studded leather, Burglar’s Pack, Thieves’ Tools, 43gp,

Racial Traits: Darkvision (60ft / 18m / 12sqr), Trance (meditate for 4 hours instead of sleep), Fey Ancestry,

Class Features: Expertise (Arcane, Deception, Sleight of Hand, Stealth), Sneak Attack (4d6), Cunning Action, Roguish Archetype ( Arcane Trickster), Uncanny Dodge, Evasion,

PERSONALITY:

Leonardo Cadaval is a inquisitive but easily bored Rogue who’s taken up magic to enhance his skills.

Ideal: There’s nothing wrong with stealing spells, No one should selfishly hoard knowledge.

Bond: One day I’ll prove to those arrogant students at the arcane institute the meaning of humility.

Flaw: I have a bad habit of stealing from well prepared individuals.

Class Feature Friday: Necromancy School (Wizard Arcane School)

Here we go, the big bad of arcane magic, the classic villain school, necromancy. Where do all the undead come from in a dungeon that isn’t the site of some tragic event or negative energy nexus? Now you know.

However, there’s a lot more to necromancy that just animating the dead as servitors, and necromancers are not necessarily evil, even those that do create undead creatures.

Boiled down to its basic essence, necromancy is a school all about manipulating the forces of both life and death. While this does indeed include making corpses move and spirits linger, as well as controlling their behavior, it also includes channeling large amounts of negative energy to debilitate others (some would argue this should include positive energy manipulation too), undermining biological processes to weaken foes, minor alterations to unliving and dead bodies, and even inducing primal fear in others. Necromancy is also the home of most death effects, channeling powerful amounts of negative energy to slay foes in an instant if they fail to resist.

So from an outsider’s view, it’s easy to see why most assume that it is a wholly evil school of magic. However, one must remember that destructive, killing spells can be found in every school, not just necromancy. Furthermore, the evil nature of creating undead varies by culture and setting. Most see it as desecration of the dead, or taking away the will of a sapient being by enslaving them with magic (either by binding the will of sapient undead, or by binding the soul of a person back into their body). There’s also the matter of the souls of the dead having a final reward to go to, that being undead keeps them from.

How your non-evil necromancer reconciles this is their decision. They may never create the undead on principle, only control them to stave off their attack and turn them against any dark master they have. There are indeed white necromancers who devote themselves to destroying the undead and protecting the living from the wicked.

Of course, others choose to embrace the evil, raising up a personal retinue of servitors both mindless and sapient.

In societies that can accept them, necromancers can find work as experts in undead affairs, both hostile and even sometimes friendly. If the local area is accepting of undead, they may very well be taskmasters of an untiring work force, or they might use their power to weaken the living to work in prisons, sapping the strength of rebellious prisoners, (or slaves) without killing them. Regardless, necromancers likely spend much of their time in research, pursuing the mysteries of death and how to utilize them in their magic.

In the Golarion setting, Necromancy is associated with the virtue of temperance, mirroring how the undead have no actual needs, and how one could theoretically sustain themselves purely by manipulating life magics. However, in its corrupted form, it is associated with the sin of gluttony, as the undead are consumed with hungers and desires that do them no good, consuming without benefit.

The first thing necromancers learn is that getting control of the undead is the first step to not dying in their presence and so they learn to channel a pulse of negatively aligned energy, not unlike that of an evil cleric, for the express purpose of either binding the undead to your will, or causing them to flee from your presence. Both versions are good, but have very different utility.

As an additional layer of self-defense, they also learn how to induce fear with a touch, conducting a fearful chill into them that elevates their fear, even increasing it from another stage.

Positive and negative energy are both the purview of necromancers, and they learn to sense it, able to sense the living and the dead with pinpoint accuracy within a short range, very useful when fighting invisible foes, as well as telling who is alive and who isn’t.

Necromancers can fulfill the role of debuffer and damage-dealer pretty easily, with a few random utility spells and control spells thrown in for good measure. If you choose to build with undead creation in mind, you also share the conjurer’s role of being able to provide meat shields at a moment’s notice. However, unless they are very lucky, their minions are likely to be nowhere near as versatile as summoned creatures. Templates for skeletons and zombies will be your best friend for early levels.

Regardless of how good or evil they are, necromancers are not likely to be trusted in most societies, who see them as practitioners of dark magic. Overcoming, or pressing on in spite of, that distrust will be one of the biggest challenges for these mages, be they wizard or arcanist.

 

Ostensibly, Oparo Mage Academy only teaches white necromancy. However, rumors persist of dark dealings at the school. Some claim that the conjuration students make dark pacts for power, but others believe that secret lessons on the reanimation of the dead occur, either with or without the blessing of the faculty.

With reports of a horrible, undead bat thing terrorizing the city, and the temple district at a loss to find or even explain its nature, the magister has called upon a necromancer to look into it. However, many wonder if this mage the solution to their problem, or the cause of it. Only time will tell, unless a party of investigators hired privately by one of the churches finds out first.

Wearing a ring that, if rumors are to be believed, is bound with lost souls, Earl Nahandir rules over his land with an firm hand. The only visitors he sees are those on business, and he hires no servants, creating his own from the bodies of the condemned. As far as his people can tell, he has never done much harm with his dark magic, but still, it unnerves them seeing corpses arrive to repair the levee, or swarm over bandits and attacking monsters.

her erotic sobriquet

i have
mapped
the threads of silk
of the butterfly girl

for
she is the
weaver of illusion
crafting spells of love

she rides
her loneliness
into the immediacy
of Japanese erotic haikus
falling into the lore of gramarye
& riding an unsettling sobriquet - an atavistic poet

i have
mapped
the cosmetic moon
of her waddle-daub
lapidary
flesh …

she is
arcane …
esoteric …
archetypal ….
cultured in
the body politic
of carnal imagery

with
fragile
romanticism and
quixotic magnificence
she is the warrior geisha …

in her hands
the text
is
the libido …

Card Caster (Magus Archetype)

*hums the X-Men cartoon theme* Oh, hey there! Today’s archetype reminds me of a pretty famous character from a certain mutant-based comic book, and for good reason. The Character Gambit’s mutant ability was the ability to unlock and infuse objects with their own kinetic energy, turning thrown items into deadly projectiles, typically playing cards, but any thrown weapon would do.
In the same way, a magus of this archetype infuses arcane power into a deck of cards, typically a harrow deck, and unleashes them at range upon foes. As a weapon, a card deck actually makes a lot of sense, since a single deck contains many cards, they are lightweight, and mass isn’t an issue as far as their power goes, gaining all of their damaging might purely through the arcane power invested in them.
These spell warriors take it a step further though, drawing upon the mystic association of a harrow deck’s symbology even further, gaining greater power. Of course, they can use any other sort of thrown weapon, including other types of card decks, but harrow seems to work best.

Charging cards with latent magic is the first thing these specialists learn. As long as they have even a little dredge of their weapon-enhancing power, they can do so with negligible investment. Such cards fly true and pierce deep as if they were actually designed for combat.
Rather than enhance their melee weapons, card casters instead focus their arcane powers on empowering their ranged methods of attacks, including entire harrow decks, even providing them with various enhancements associated with true magical ranged weapons.
Similarly, they can even channel touch spells through their thrown cards, making them into a powerful ranged delivery method.
Furthermore, when using a harrow deck as a weapon, the individual cards they draw to attack resonate with them. The closer the card is to matching their own moral compass, the more deadly it can be, especially if they strike a foe’s vitals.
Want a fun ranged magus character and an excuse to pull out that harrow deck you bought? This could be the answer you’re looking for. Keeping track of what cards you’ve used is super important, as it being honest in your shuffling methods. I recommend a build focusing on touch and accuracy spells, rounded out with a few area effect options and maybe a buff or two in case you get stuck in melee.

As easy as it is to just call this archetype a method of recreating Gambit or perhaps a gambler final fantasy character in pathfinder, let’s take a moment to think about why this archetype works. Cards, at their most fundamental, are a collection of symbols, each individual card being a repository for its specific symbol. In playing card games, and especially trading card games, this symbology defines the rules associated with each card, as well as its value within the game. Harrow cards and their real-world equivalent, Tarot cards and other mysticism-associated decks instead carry the symbolism of particular fates and possibilities, allowing them to be used for such arts. It is that almost scroll-like symbolism that allows them to be used by card casters and the like as a reservoir to fill with power and use.
Whether you use the harrow deck or adapt a different card set to work with this archetype (such as giving it a draconic feel by using Three Dragon Ante), the fact that these mage-warriors use what is considered a sacred symbol of certain cultures carries mixed associations with it. Some may see them as sacred guardians of the tradition, while others view the destruction of individual cards, and the ruining of entire decks by using even one card in this way, as blasphemous and dangerous.

The Red Deck of the Reaching King, more commonly called The Red, is most common in the City of Portents: Ebershar. However, not all who use the deck do so to predict the future, but to ensure it. Magical assassin guilds have perfected the technique of turning each card into a deadly weapon, like a thrown dagger charged with deadly magic. Still devoted to the aspect of fate and karma, they view the symbology of each card they use as a symbol of whether or not they were right to accept the contract.

Myrox the Gambler doesn’t like to be found, no fetchling does, but the party needs him to help get into the underground city of Kyduss. Careful diplomacy is needed to keep him calm and set up for bargaining, for if frightened or angered, he will not hold back, turning the gambling pieces on the table into deadly weapons, especially the cards.

In most circles of mysticism, it is considered disrespectful to use a Harrow deck for games, even those with no money at stake. So when a gambling hall begins setting up tables for games of Towers, the uproar among the locals and the mage class is strong. But little do they realize that the casino has gone beyond simple blasphemy, and has begun teaching the magical martial art of the cards to their dealers, turning them into deadly enforcers against those who would take matters into their own hands.