The Master of the Dark Arts

March 17th, 2014

Alex Riggs

Best in Class Archive

                As you may be aware, The Book of Forbidden Magic was released today. This tome contains over 50 new, and exceptionally powerful spells, which, for a variety of reasons, are too dark, evil, or just plain dangerous to see mainstream use. But to those who are willing to brave the dangers, they are a sure road to power. And make no mistake that there are dangers—the more that one uses forbidden magic, the more that one risks a terrible calamity.

                In fact, the book has very extensive rules governing the effects of using forbidden magic—measured in profane points—and the horrible side-effects that can occur if it is used too often. Today’s Best in Class features a new wizard archetype designed to make the most of these new rules (and forbidden magic in general): the master of the dark arts.



New Wizard Archetype
Master of the Dark Arts

                Rather than specializing in one of the traditional eight schools of magic, a master of the dark arts specializes in dark and forbidden magic, regardless of what school it might belong to. Though they are commonly accused of being amoral at best—and downright wicked at worst—not all of these dark wizards are evil, and many simply see forbidden magic as a resource that, while dangerous, can be used for good or ill, as long as it is handled with care.

                Arcane School: A master of the dark arts cannot choose an arcane school.

                Control the Darkness (Ex): A master of the dark arts is an expert on how to use forbidden magic in a safe way, and so is better able to prevent the kinds of calamities that are often caused by such spells. Whenever the master of the dark arts rolls a d% to determine if a calamity will occur, or to determine what type of calamity will occur if one does occur, he may roll twice and take the better result. At 20th level, whenever he casts a spell that would cause him to gain one or more profane points, he gains 1 less profane point than he otherwise would (to a minimum of 0 profane points).

                Blacken Spell (Su): Whenever a master of the dark arts casts a spell with a single target that does not have the forbidden descriptor, he can choose to have it gain the forbidden descriptor, and gain 1 profane point. If he does, he may choose one of the following effects to apply to the spell:

  • Increase the spell’s saving throw DC by +2.
  • Treat his caster level as 4 higher than it actually is for the purposes of the spell.
  • The spell deals an additional amount of damage equal to his caster level (if the spell already deals damage, the damage is of the same type. Otherwise, it is untyped).


                Casting a spell in this way has the potential to cause a calamity, just as casting any other spell with the forbidden descriptor does. The master of the dark arts can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier.

                Trigger Calamity (Su): Beginning at 8th level, as a full-round action, a master of the dark arts can instill dark energies in another creature, potentially causing that creature to suffer a calamity. The target must be within 30 feet of the master of the dark arts, and the master of the dark arts must succeed on a ranged touch attack in order to hit the target. If the attack hits, the target immediately gains a number of profane points equal to the master of the dark arts’ wizard level, and must roll to see if a calamity occurs, exactly as though the target had cast a spell with the forbidden descriptor. Using this ability causes the master of the dark arts to gain 3 profane points, even if the ranged attack misses and the target is unaffected. The master of the dark arts can use this ability 3 times per day.