Arcanist (Old Version) Playtest

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So rolled up a 10th-level Spriggan Arcanist (CR 13ish) in preparation for my Kingmaker session last night, and did some pre-game testing with her to have a feel for what I was up against. Note that this is pre-revision.

Her blood foci were in Conjuration and Protean Bloodline, with Spell Focus and GSF in both Conjuration and Evocation, Eschew Materials (bonus feat), and another feat I can't remember at the moment (sorry!). I actually was kind of lazy about the setup and didn't actually put together a whole spellbook for her, just what she had prepared at the time, but I can definitely see the appeal of having the ability to reshape your entire spell list when you find your setup doesn't quite work against your opponent - great for PCs for obvious reasons, as well as for recurring enemies or enemies who have the opportunity to study up on the PCs in advance.

In play, it really felt very little different from running a Sorcerer. Spells on-hand were about the same, spell slots available were about the same. She made very sparse use of Blood Focus, and the few times she threw it out, it was always to use her Protean Reality Wrinkle ability. (Saved her spell slots that would have been spent otherwise casting blur, likely, since she got it as a bloodline freebie.) It won't be missed. Combat-wise she tossed out some pit spells, ice storm, and black tentacles, flew away from melee threats, and plinked away at foes with Evocations when they couldn't reach her. Standard Conjurer tactics given she didn't have a BSF to go kill things for her.

Players should run into this NPC in next Friday's session so I'll be back then with live play results, hopefully using the revised Arcanist if it's re-released then.

I'll post her statblock when I get home, though that will be late tonight - it's going to be a long day here.

I would have thought taking some metamagic would have made for a significant boost in effectiveness.

Possibly, though I'm not prone to using Metamagic myself, never been too fond of them. I have a Crossblooded Sorc with Rime Spell, and... that's really it. The bump in spell level has always been a major turn-off for me.

Which ones would you recommend?

The classic ones are Persistent, Dazing and Quicken. All are usable at level 10 although Quicken less so than the others. Combined with Magical Lineage to reduce the cost it can be very effective.

A Persistent Glitterdust is likely to be quite a bit more effective than, say, a basic Confusion. It's DC is 2 lower but forcing two rolls take the lowest skews the save odds significantly more than the 2 point difference.

What might be interesting is if the revised Arcanist has the ability to spend points of her arcane pool to use meta-magic feats without extending the casting time of spells. If that's the case, then the loss of the bloodline traits won't be as bad... and she could become a bigger threat.

Statblock as promised. I make pretty frequent use of third-party spells so I've linked those to save questions being asked.

Glynis CR 13
XP 25600

Female spriggan arcanist 10

CE Small Fey (gnome)
Init +6; Senses low-light vision; Perception +20

28, touch 20, flat-footed 22 (+4 mage armor, +6 Dex, +1 size, +4 natural, +3 deflection)
hp 5d6+10d6+60
Fort +9, Ref +16, Will +15

20 ft.
Melee +1 halberd +8/+3 (1d8–1/x3) or MW short sword +15/+10 (1d4–2/19–20)
Ranged +1 heavy crossbow +15 (1d8+1/19–20)
Special Attacks sneak attack +2d6
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th):
At will—flare (DC 9), scare (DC 11), shatter (DC 16)

Spells Prepared (CL 10th, Concentration +16):
Cantrips (At will)—acid splash, bleed, conjurer's toolbelt, dancing lights, drench, ghost sound (DC 16), mage hand, open/close, prestidigitation
1st (5+1/day)—brimstone (DC 19), entropic shield, mage armor, pearl of brilliance (DC 19), snapdragon fireworks (DC 19), wind tunnel (DC 19)
2nd (5+1/day)—blur, chaotic bolt, create pit (DC 20), glitterdust (DC 20), water jet (DC 20)
3rd (5+1/day)—ash storm, black ray of fleshparting, gaseous form, sunglobe (DC 21)
4th (4+1/day)—black tentacles, comet swarm, confusion (DC 20)
5th (2/day)—cloudkill (DC 23)

6, Dex 22, Con 18, Int 22, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +7; [b]CMB +5; CMD 19
Feats Arcane Blast, Combat Reflexes*, Eschew Materials, Greater Spell Focus (Conjuration, Evocation), Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (Conjuration, Evocation), Weapon Finesse*, Weapon Focus (halberd)*
[*=base Spriggan racial HD feats. Was too lazy to change them.]
Skills Climb +6, Disable Device +9, Knowledge (Arcana) +17, Knowledge (Nature) +17, Knowledge (Planes) +17, Perception +20, Spellcraft +22, Sleight of Hand +12, Stealth +21, Survival +5; Racial Modifiers +2 Climb, Disable Device, Perception, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth
Gear +1 halberd, MW short sword, +1 heavy crossbow, quiver of 20 crossbow bolts
Other bonuses** +3 saves, +4 natural AC, +3 deflection AC, +4 INT, +4 DEX, +4 CON, +2 WIS
[**=Intended for use as a boss enemy so she has equivalent to PC wealth - for a CR 13 opponent that's 140,000 GP. These bonuses' costs removed leaves 33,500 GP remaining for the rest of her gear (which doesn't even come close) plus unlisted treasure.]
Languages Abyssal, Aklo, Common, Gnome, Protean, Sylvan
SQ blood focus 8/day (Conjuration, Protean), size alteration

Blood Focus (Su)
At 1st level, the arcanist learns to harness the power of the magic in her blood to push the boundaries of her magic. The arcanist must select one school of magic (Conjuration) and one sorcerer bloodline (Protean). Once selected, these choices cannot be changed. Whenever the arcanist casts a spell of her chosen school, using one of her arcanist spell slots, she can expend one use of her blood focus as a free action to bolster the spell. This adds 1 to the spell’s caster level and DC. The arcanist cannot expend more than one use of blood focus on a given casting of a spell.
In addition, as a standard action an arcanist can expend one use of blood focus to use a bloodline power from her bloodline. She can use any one bloodline power that she would have access to, treating her arcanist levels as sorcerer levels. (The only except is that she cannot use the bloodline power granted at 20th level.) If the bloodline power is limited in its uses per day, she cannot use blood focus to use that bloodline power more times per day than she could if she were a sorcerer of the same level. If the bloodline power grants a permanent bonus (such as fire resistance or the ability to f ly), the arcanist gains this ability for a number of rounds equal to her arcanist level. The arcanist substitutes her Intelligence modifier for her Charisma modifier when determining any variables in these bloodline powers.
Available bloodline powers are:
Protoplasm (Sp): At 1st level, you can create a ball of entropic protoplasm and hurl it at targets within 30 feet. This protoplasm acts as a tanglefoot bag that also inflicts 1 point of acid damage per round to a creature entangled by it. The protoplasm dissolves within 1d3 rounds. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
Protean Resistances (Ex): At 3rd level, you gain resist acid 5 and a +2 bonus on saving throws against polymorph, petrification, and transmutation spells or effects. At 9th level, you gain resist acid 10 and your save bonus increases to +4.
Reality Wrinkle (Sp): At 9th level, you can surround yourself with a mobile, 10-foot-radius emanation of mutable reality. This rippling distortion is similar to solid fog but does not provide concealment or block line of sight. Your movement is not slowed by this aura. Attacks from outside the aura suffer a 20% miss chance against targets inside the aura. You may use this ability a number of rounds per day equal to your sorcerer level, though this duration need not be continuous.

Size Alteration (Su)
At will, a spriggan can grow from Small to Large size or back again. Weapons, armor, and other inanimate objects on its person grow proportionately with it when it changes size. This is similar to the enlarge person spell. An enlarged spriggan gains +12 Strength, –2 Dexterity, +6 Constitution, and a –2 to AC. While enlarged, a spriggan cannot use its spell-like abilities or its innate sneak attack ability (though any other sneak attack it may have, such as from rogue class levels, is unaffected when it changes size).

In the revision will probably be dropping some of her unused feats (Arcane Blast was just a filler because I couldn't think of something else to take) for a metamagic or two, and perhaps swapping out some spells. Open for suggestions before taking her for another spin next week against my players.

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