Is Shadowcaster really the best way to cast shadow spells?


Advice


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If I wanted to make a character who relied on the versatility of the shadow spells (shadow conjuration/shadow evocation/the new shadow enchantment, etc), what do you think would be the best way to do it?

Obviously, Shadowcaster comes to mind for it's 10th level ability, but I was wondering if that's the best route to go? I'm not usually crazy about prepared spellcasters as I always prepare something stupid, and I never have enough time to take advantage of leaving a slot empty (obviously shadow spells help mitigate that). I definitely 100% want a full 9-level caster for this potential character. Here's my ideas so far:

Classes:

Arcanist - I like the arcanist, but I can't seem to find a way to make him as good as a wizard at this particular game. Considering he has less spells, I would probably go with a wizard in this instance, but, if you can think of a work around...

Cleric with Darkness domain - Probably not. Good twist, but lacks both shadow evocation and enchantment.

Oracle with Deafness curse - would love the "always silent spells" but sadly, I can't find a mystery that adds those spells to this list.

Sorcerer with the Shadow bloodline - Great bloodline powers, but no significant bonuses to the shadow type spells themselves. Umbral doesn't seem quite as useful, but maybe I'm wrong?

Witch with the Shadow patron - Hexes are wonderfully limitless, but this doesn't have access to Shadow Enchantment.

Wizard (shadowcaster) - that 10th level ability - love it. 5th? Not so much. I mean, yeah, if I don't have darkvision already, I guess, but otherwise, meh. 1st level is nice, but no nicer than arcane bond.

Races:

Human - So boring. So good at everything.

Gnome - whole lot of illusions going on, so they kind of make sense.

Fetchling - sadly, not allowed. GM says 15 or less RP races.

Samsaran - seems to be a way around not having certain spells on your list, but I hate their theme, and if I chose it, it would be purely mechanical...which I think would lead to problems in the long run as I try to enjoy the character.

Tiefling - my favorite race in the game! I also think kytons would fit, thematically, with this type of character, sine they're usually chilling in the shadow plane.

Wayang - seems to fit the bill perfectly, but I can't find their RP number, to see if they're allowed.

Anyway I'm 100% sure I've missed some stuff. Suggestions? Arguments for one path in particular? Help? General tips? Please?

Grand Lodge

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So I'm not very familiar with Shadow spells but I can help with your question regarding Wayangs. Well sort of...

After consulting my copy of the ARG and some Google-Fu it seems that Wayangs do not actually have a RP amount listed anywhere

So being as compulsive as I happen to be, I went through the race building guide and found all of their abilities, which came out to a grand total of, *drum-roll please*, 10RP. So you should be good to play a Wayang for whichever build you end up going with.

If you'd like me to show how I got my total for RP so your GM can double check it let me know.


Try the veiled illusionist PrC to add these spells to the base class of your choice. Probably not a witch though, the PrC won't advance hexes.


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One option you missed is the Psychic with Shadow discipline. They get Shadow Enchantment as a Psychic spell, Shadow Evocation as a discipline spell, and 1/day per level access to the Darkness domain (so those shadow spells). Similar advantages/disadvantages as the Sorcerer, though.


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I was going to suggest Psychic with Abomination or Dream discipline. Did not know about shadow discipline. But yeah, psychics get all the good spells.

But yeah Dream is a hella cool discipline. :-)


I'm not terribly familiar with the psychic classes yet. I guess I'll read up a bit on psychics...


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They're a lot of fun. Tammy's a psychic, her discipline is pain though. :-)


I actually really like the sorcerer Umbral Bloodline for shadowcasting.


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Gnomes are a solid choice since their racial works on Ilusion(shadow) spells. You can swap out Gnome Magic for Shadowplay if you want to cover darkness & shadow spells.

If you go Wayang, Shadow Stencils are a must for a cheap +1 for shadow spell DCs.

The Shadow Mystery from Blood of Shadows has a revelation that lets you add cha mod (1/2 oracle lvl max) Illusion(shadow)/Darkness spells from the sorc/wiz list to your spells known and turns them Divine. You can trade out spells too as you level. The Shadow Mastery revelation adds 1% reality/oracle lvl that stacks w/ Solid Shadows. The Army of Darkness revelation is flavorful as hell for summons.


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This will probably help.

What's missing is apparently Shadow Psychic and I think the Oracle stuff. Psychic seemed bloody brilliant when I got a glimpse at it. It doesn't directly add more solid spells, but I feel like that is overrated. What it does do is give a lot of spells known, a wis secondary stat, and a killer high level ability. You could ignore that high level thing and go veiled sorcerer though.

Samsarans combo incredibly well with it.

Sovereign Court

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For oracle: Spirit Guide Archetype, choose Lore wandering spirit, choose arcane enlightenment hex and pick up all 3(6) Shadow spells.

You will be a bit MAD, you will need Intelligence of 10 +(highest shadow spell level you want to cast), and a Wisdom modifier = # of shadow spells you want to gain from the spirit, and Charisma to actually cast them.

You will probably want the +6 to all mental stats headband, if so you "only" need a 16 starting Wisdom to learn Shadow Enchantment/Conjuration/Evocation + all 3 Greaters, and a 12 starting Intelligence.

Dumping Str and being a Gnome, you are looking at something like:

Spoiler:
05 Strength: (-4 PB, -2 racial)
14 Constitution: (2 PB, +2 racial)
10 Dexterity: (0 PB)
12 Intelligence: (2 PB)
16 Wisdom: (10 PB)
18 Charisma: (10 PB, +2 racial)
Disliking the 10 Dex, but don't really want to dump Constitution. However, your mystery is still available so you can take one of the ones that gives Charisma to AC/Reflex instead of Dexterity.
For PFS you can drop the Wisdom to 13(14 w/level 8 bump) because you won't get to the greater versions, and increase Charisma to 19 (20 w/level 4 bump). Also increase Int to 13 and grab 2 Ioun Stones of +2 int and +2 wis for 8k each. 3 points left so maybe a 13 dex.


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At higher levels (11+), an arcane bloodline gnome is pretty good at using shadow spells. Just get Greater Spell Focus and a robe of arcane heritage for a +5 DC on all illusion spells. The arcana adds another +1 if you use meta magic like persistent spell. Makes your shadow spells so hard to resist that it doesn't matter that they aren't real. Focusing on illusion in general instead of shadow spells specifically also opens up nice utility (image line of spells) and some effective control spells (like wandering star motes and phantasmal web).


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I really like the sound of the Shadow Mystery, but I can't find it in d20pfsrd or Archives of Nethys. Is the Blood of Shadows book relatively new? Because it seems like d20pfsrd has some of it's stuff, but not all. I think a deaf oracle would be great with this, but as I said in races, I really dislike the flavor text of the Samsaran, and I don't like the idea of being MAD and having to take Lore Oracle (also it's kind of rather a useless mystery for the concept, otherwise, and probably one of my least favorite oracle mysteries).

Having read over psychic, I'm failing to see how the psychic isn't just a variant of sorcerer...


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thegreenteagamer wrote:

I really like the sound of the Shadow Mystery, but I can't find it in d20pfsrd or Archives of Nethys. Is the Blood of Shadows book relatively new? Because it seems like d20pfsrd has some of it's stuff, but not all. I think a deaf oracle would be great with this, but as I said in races, I really dislike the flavor text of the Samsaran, and I don't like the idea of being MAD and having to take Lore Oracle (also it's kind of rather a useless mystery for the concept, otherwise, and probably one of my least favorite oracle mysteries).

Having read over psychic, I'm failing to see how the psychic isn't just a variant of sorcerer...

Blood of Shadows is somewhat new, but not new enough to be missing from those sites.

Here is a pretty hard to read paste-bin of the info I found online. Not sure why it is missing from d20pfsrd.


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Yeah, pretty sure my GM isn't gonna let that fly, bootleg as it is...I appreciate the attempt, though. Also, it doesn't seem to get all 3 shadow spells and their greater versions. Looks like I'm stuck with either sorcerer/wizard/arcanist if I want access to all 3.


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Archives of Nethys hasn't added Blood of Shadows content yet.


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Blood of Shadows is pretty new. It seems d20pfsrd isn't finished adding it to the site.

As far as Spirit Guide oracle w/ Arcane Enlightenment goes ...

Arcane Enlightenment wrote:
The shaman can add a number of spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1) to the list of shaman spells she can prepare.

Since Oracles are spontaneous casters with nothing to prepare they can't actually use the spells they add.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Yeah, pretty sure my GM isn't gonna let that fly, bootleg as it is...I appreciate the attempt, though. Also, it doesn't seem to get all 3 shadow spells and their greater versions. Looks like I'm stuck with either sorcerer/wizard/arcanist if I want access to all 3.

I'm not sure how frowned upon it would be, but I could send you a screenshot of the two pages with the Shadow Mystery if need be. But yeah, no Shadow Enchantment. The only feat that comes to mind for access is the Dreamed Secrets feat. But the Will Save makes it... difficult.

Sovereign Court

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Zabraxis wrote:

As far as Spirit Guide oracle w/ Arcane Enlightenment goes ...

Arcane Enlightenment wrote:
The shaman can add a number of spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1) to the list of shaman spells she can prepare.
Since Oracles are spontaneous casters with nothing to prepare they can't actually use the spells they add.

Well, that seems like it needs a FAQ/Clarification. Wasn't there something about adding spells known meaning you can also cast them last year or so?


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Firebug wrote:
Well, that seems like it needs a FAQ/Clarification. Wasn't there something about adding spells known meaning you can also cast them last year or so?

Sadly, the FAQ for New Spells Known only addresses adding spells known to your spell list. There's nothing about adding to spells prepared. Arcane Enlightenment would need to be FAQ'd directly due to the language it uses.

I agree it could use some clarification but I wouldn't hold my breath for a FAQ on it anytime soon. For an open-ended archetype like this some aspects just don't work and Paizo isn't likely to address every nuance (Id Rager not working w/ a large portion of the Emotional Foci is another example.)


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Also, it doesn't seem to get all 3 shadow spells and their greater versions. Looks like I'm stuck with either sorcerer/wizard/arcanist if I want access to all 3.

Not true. The veiled illusionist prestige class I mentioned above works for clerics and oracles (and witches if you don't mind losing progression on hexes), and for that matter there's the ancient loremaster archetype for oracles, though for that archetype your access is delayed one spell level IIRC.

Spirit guide oracle may not be able to use the arcane enlightenment hex but the hex does work as designed for the shaman class it came from.

Liberty's Edge

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One of the most important options for a shadow magic based caster is the ability to boost the 'percent real' value of spells. Various options for that;

Fetchling Arcanist FCB: +2% per level
Shadow Oracle Mystery, Shadow Mastery: +1% per level
Shadowcaster Wizard: +20% at 10th level
Shadow Sorcerer Bloodline: +20% at 20th level
Solid Shadows feat: +20%
Crook of Cidhureen: +10% per charge, up to +50%

Between the feat and the Crook you can really make ANY of the caster classes a solid shadow magic user, but otherwise (with Fetchlings excluded) your best bet is the Shadowcaster Wizard.

For other classes, there is a Wayang Witch FCB which allows shadow spells to be added and a Wayang Oracle FCB which allows illusion spells to be added.

Another good idea is boosting the DC of Shadow spells with Ominous Mien, Tenebrous Spell, Rod of the Wayang, Shadow Magic Wayang/Fetchling racial ability, Umbral Court Agent, et cetera.

Scarab Sages

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

I really like the sound of the Shadow Mystery, but I can't find it in d20pfsrd or Archives of Nethys. Is the Blood of Shadows book relatively new? Because it seems like d20pfsrd has some of it's stuff, but not all. I think a deaf oracle would be great with this, but as I said in races, I really dislike the flavor text of the Samsaran, and I don't like the idea of being MAD and having to take Lore Oracle (also it's kind of rather a useless mystery for the concept, otherwise, and probably one of my least favorite oracle mysteries).

Having read over psychic, I'm failing to see how the psychic isn't just a variant of sorcerer...

You could try a deaf elf oracle with ancient lorekeeper archetype. That'll let you add various shadow spells from the sorc/wiz list to your spells known in lieu of mystery spells, so take whichever mystery has the revelations you prefer. The shadow spells will be one level higher than normal if you choose this solution.


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CBDunkerson wrote:


For other classes, there is a Wayang Witch FCB which allows shadow spells to be added and a Wayang Oracle FCB which allows illusion spells to be added.

Ah that would be a good way of pimping an Oracle with good Shadow spells! Too bad Wayangs don't get a Charisma bonus.

Another great option is Shadow Sorcery for Drow from Blood of Shadows. Drow sorc with the Shadow bloodline count your Charisma as 2 higher for all Sorcerer class abilities (wooh!) and for spells with the shadow descriptor. I assume class abilities is not meant to include spellcasting and you don't double dip on shadow spells.


In Blood of Shadows were also introduced Shadow Transmutation and Shadow Transmutation Greater, a pity there are nerfed, they come with a spell list instead of just a level of spells to choose


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Really, the question I see with the Shadowcaster archetype is whether you think the target will fail their save. If you think the answer to that is no, then the Shadowcaster is a good choice. If you intend to pull shenanigans on the DCs, then it's meh.

I have seen a straight gnome illusionist wizard throw out persistent DC 27s in PFS. Almost nothing manages to succeed against him. With a wayang using shadow stencils and the Exploiter archetype, that bumps slightly higher (woo int bonus and Potent Magic!). The real key to success is the good ol' Staff of the Master, though. Being able to throw persistent out there with no level adjustment is huge.

Heighten is an important metamagic feat for the build, as well as Preferred Spell. Note that Preferred Spell allows you to spontaneously cast with metamagic and can be taken earlier than Greater Spell Specialization.


avr wrote:
Try the veiled illusionist PrC to add these spells to the base class of your choice. Probably not a witch though, the PrC won't advance hexes.

Fun combo with a Heavens mystery oracle! Add in gnome if you want the entire trifecta.


A big point in favor of playing a wizard shadow specialist is that they have access to the Resilient Illusions arcane discovery. This allows you to roll a caster level check for each creature that tries to disbelieve your illusions if the check is higher than the DC of the spell then you can use that instead. If you play a character that has been boosting his caster level (which a shadow specialist ought to do to beat SR), you can get some crazy DCs with this ability.

Another benefit to playing a wizard is you can always prepare your shadow spells with Tenebrous Spell cast them as a standard action unlike spontaneous casters who have to spend a full round for metamagic.

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