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Almost Level 20 Mystic Theurge (3.5e Optimized Character Build)

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Created By
ezzetabi (talk)
Date Created: 2010.05.04
Status: Completed
Editing: Please feel free to edit constructively!


Introduction Edit

To anyone who want to play a Arcane/Divine caster the Mystic Theurge class allows easily to build a character who at level 20 casts as a 17th level in one kind of magic and 13th in the other.

With a simple trick it is possible enter the Mystic Theurge at level 5, but once you gained the 10 levels you still need to go up with the single classes as you cannot gain Epic levels before level 21.

But there is another Prestige Class that allows to increase Divine and Arcane casting: the Arcane Hierophant. The idea of this build is using them both. I used Wizard and Archivist because I wanted to misuse the Arcane Hierophant class that is obviously meant for Druids. Of course you can use any pair you like with little-to-nothing adjustment: just be careful that spontaneous caster will need a level more to obtain their second level spell.

Actually there is also a third Prestige Class that increase both casting: the Fochlucan Lyrist, but its Requirements are too heavy to be effective for making a complete caster (overall Speak Language: Druidic, Perform 13 and Evasion). It is really fine only for the Druid/Bard pair, if you like this pair check out the Complete Adventurer.

References Edit

A part of the three core books:

  • Dragon Magazine #325 p61 (Alternative Source Spell)
  • Races of the Wild (Wildrunner e Arcane Hierophant)
  • Complete Arcane (Mindbender, Sublime Chord, Ur-Priest)
  • Dragon Magazine #326 p80 (Flexible Mind)
  • Dragon Magazine #348 p88 (Arcane Reabsorbtion)
  • Eberron Campaign Setting (Education)
  • Heroes of the Horror (Archivist)
  • Oriental Adventures (Bamboo Spirit Folk)
  • Player Handbook II (Metamagic Specialist)

The list is long, but only the first two are necessary:

  • You can play another Divine caster class instead of the Archivist;
  • The Gray Elf and Bamboo Spirit Folk races are well suited, but a Moon Elf or an Half-Elf is fine too;
  • The Education and Flexible Mind Feat help, but are not necessary;
  • You can just ignore the Familiar-less variants of the Arcane caster; it is somewhat a waste because you will lose it when entering the Arcane Hierophant.

Game Rule Components Edit

Lets recall the requirements of the Prestige Classes we mentioned:

Mystic Theurge

  • Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, Knowledge (religion) 6 ranks.
  • Spells: Able to cast 2nd-level divine spells and 2nd-level arcane spells.

Arcane Hierophant

  • Alignment: Any nonlawful.
  • Base Attack Bonus: +4.
  • Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 8 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks.
  • Spells: Ability to cast 2nd-level arcane spells and 2nd-level divine spells.
  • Special: Trackless step class feature.

Wildrunner

  • Race: Elf or half-elf.
  • Alignment: Any good or chaotic.
  • Skills: Hide 5 ranks, Knowledge (nature) 5 ranks, Move Silently 5 ranks, Survival 8 ranks.
  • Feats: Endurance.

The idea Edit

Minimize the number of levels where you do not increase both the casting.

The problems Edit

The main problem is the requirement Trackless step; there really few useful ways to satisfy it:

  • three levels as Druid;
  • one level as Wildrunner;
  • being a Bamboo Spirit Folk.

Another problem is the requirement Knowledge (nature) 8 ranks.

Now we will talk about how to join the Mystic Theurge at level 5.

Take one level as one type of magic and three (or four if spontaneous) in the other one. At level three you have to select the Alternative Source Spell feat. So the class with three levels will give you both the Arcane and the Divine requirement for the Mystic Theurge. See the description of this Feat in the Munchkin-Size Me section of this article.

Here is an example: Alice is Archivist 1/Wizard 3. Alice took the Alternative Source Spell feat at level 3. She wants to level up as Mystic Theurge: Bob, a teacher of the Mystic Theurge University, verifies her abilities and asks her:

  • the previous test shown you got at least 6 in Knowledge Arcana and Religion. Well done. But can you cast a 2nd level Arcane spell?
  • sure thing, Bob. - Alice answers, and he casts Alter Self.
  • good, can you cast a 2nd level Divine spell?
  • sure thing, Bob. - and the he cast Divine Alter Self.
  • but this is not a Cleric, Druid, Ranger or even Paladin spell!
  • so? it is Divine! The Requirement says: `Divine,' not Cleric or something.

Bob verifies that the spell is indeed Divine.

  • ... fine. Welcome Mystic Theurge Alice.

We get the Mystic Theurge at level 5, but the Mystic Theuge does not have knowledge (Nature) as class skill - so in the first four levels you can at most gain 7 ranks. After you need to wait level 13 before you can finally increase the rank to 8. One solution is getting Education feat: a level one only feat that puts all the knowledge always in-class.

About the trackless step: we can sacrifice a level to get the ability from the Wildrunner class: we are forced to select an Elf or an Half-Elf as race with NG, CG, CN or CE as alignment; most probably the Gray Elves are the best choice due their bonus to Int.

The Wildrunner class have 8 points of Survival as requirement, it is pretty heavy: if your DM allows Anarchic Feats you can use take Flexible Mind and put Knowledge (Nature) and Survival as always in-class. See the Elf alternate build.

Another way is playing as a Bamboo Spirit Folk: a race with trackless step as racial bonus ability. We do not need to sacrifice a level and we can select from NG, N, NE, CG, CN and CE as alignment.

Finally if you plan to make the Arcane/Druid pair you do not have this problem at all.

Progression (Elf) Edit

Here is the first idea, using the Elf. We need some at least Int 16 because we often buy cross-class Skills. This is the bare minimum: a sort of check-list the player should keep and check on level up. If is not marked here you can do as you want.

No XP loss as the Elf has Wizard as favorite class.

Level Class Feats Knowledge Arcana Knowledge Religion Knowledge Nature Hide Move Silently Survival
1st Wizard 4 4 4 2
2st Archivist 5 5 5 1
3rd Archivist Alternative Source Spell 6 6 6 3
4th Archivist 7 1
5th Mystic Theurge 2 4
6th Mystic Theurge 2
7th Mystic Theurge 3 5
8th Mystic Theurge 3
9th Mystic Theurge 4 6
10th Mystic Theurge 4
11th Mystic Theurge 5 7
12th Mystic Theurge Endurance 7 5
13th Mystic Theurge 8 8 8
14th Wildrunner
15th Arcane Hierophant

Continuing until level 20 we have a character that casts as an Archivist of level 18 and a Wizard of level 16. If you prefer you can swap the Wizard and Archivist levels and obtain a character that casts as an Archivist of level 16 and a Wizard of level 18.


Progression (Elf, alternate) Edit

Here we use the Flexible Mind Feat to make the two troublesome Skill always in-class. You can switch the 8th and the 9th level if you prefer.

Note that you'll character will have an Aura of Chaos around. Moreover Anarchic feat have Chaotic alignment as requirement, so your character will need to be CG, CN or CE.

Level Class Feats Knowledge Arcana Knowledge Religion Knowledge Nature Hide Move Silently Survival
1st Wizard Flexible Mind (Knowledge Nature and Survival) 3 3 4 2 2
2st Archivist 4 4 5 2
3rd Archivist Alternative Source Spell 5 5 6 3 4
4th Archivist 6 6 7 3 5
5th Mystic Theurge 7 4 6
6th Mystic Theurge Endurance 8 4 8
7th Mystic Theurge 8 5 5
8th Wildrunner
9th Mystic Theurge
10th Arcane Hierophant
11th Arcane Hierophant
12th Arcane Hierophant
... Arcane Hierophant
18th Arcane Hierophant
19th Arcane Hierophant
20th Mystic Theurge

Again we have a character that casts as an Archivist of level 18 and a Wizard of level 16.

Progression (Bamboo Spirit Folk) Edit

Here we are a Bamboo Spirit Folk, so we already meet the Trackless step requirement as race.

Here we use the Education feat to put all the Knowledges always in-class. If you do not want to use your first level Feat in Education it just changes a little, you will join Arcane Hierophant at level 14.

No XP loss as the Bamboo Spirit Folk has Any (In this case Wizard from level 3) as favorite class.

Race (Templates): Bamboo Spirit Folk

Level Class Feats Knowledge Arcana Knowledge Religion Knowledge Nature
1st Archivist Education 3 3 1
2rd Wizard 4 4 2
3th Wizard Alternative Source Spell 5 5 3
4th Wizard 6 6 4
5th Mystic Theurge 5
6th Mystic Theurge 6
7th Mystic Theurge 7 7
8th Mystic Theurge 8 8
9th Arcane Hierophant
10th Arcane Hierophant
... Arcane Hierophant
15th Arcane Hierophant
16th Arcane Hierophant
17th Arcane Hierophant
18th Arcane Hierophant
19th Mystic Theurge
20th Mystic Theurge

We have a character that casts as an Archivist of level 17 and a Wizard of level 19. Or vice versa.

Progression (Druid) Edit

This is the natural progression, no need of strange gimmick to get the requirements: we still use Education and Alternative Source Spell to speed up the entrance to the Arcane Hierophant.

Race (Templates): Any race with Wizard, Druid or Any as favorite class. If you want to play another race you will need to get a second level as Wizard.

Level Class Feats Knowledge Arcana Knowledge Religion Knowledge Nature
1st Wizard Education 3 3 1
2rd Druid 4 4 2
3th Druid Alternative Source Spell 5 5 3
4th Druid 6 6 4
5th Mystic Theurge 5
6th Mystic Theurge 6
7th Mystic Theurge 7 7
8th Mystic Theurge 8 8
9th Arcane Hierophant
10th Arcane Hierophant
11th Arcane Hierophant
12th Arcane Hierophant
... Arcane Hierophant
18th Arcane Hierophant
19th Mystic Theurge
20th Mystic Theurge

We have a character that casts as a Druid of level 19 and a Wizard of level 17. The vice versa is possible only to the Bamboo Spirit Folk as the Druid class gives the Trackless Step. In this case you can keep the Wizard familiar: the Arcane Hierophant will `merge' its powers to the Animal Campanion of the Druid.

Progression (Munchkin) Edit

As the name suggest this progress abuses the rules and your DM might dislike it. The abuse is about the Feat `Precocious Apprentice` from Complete Arcane. This feat allows to cast a single 2nd level arcane spell from level 1, but the character will trade this ability for another when he is able to actually cast 2nd level spells: no matter if Arcane or Divine. Now, our 3rd level character have `Precocious Apprentice` (level 1) and `Alternative Source Spell` (level 3): can he cast the 2nd level spell as Divine? If you think that the adjective `only` in the Precocious Apprentice Feat description means the character cannot apply Alternative Source Spell then `No.' But if you (and your DM) think that a spell and its Divine counterpart obtained via Alternative Source Spell are actually the same spell then `Yes.' In this second case you can obtain a progression like this one:

Race (Templates): Elf or Half-Elf.

Level Class Feats Knowledge Arcana Knowledge Religion Knowledge Nature Hide Move Silently Survival
1st Sorcerer Precocious Apprentice 4 4 4 2
2nd Shugenja 5 5 5 1
3rd Sorcerer Alternative Source Spell 6 6 3
4th Mystic Theurge 1
5th Mystic Theurge 1 4
6th Mystic Theurge 2
7th Mystic Theurge 2 5
8th Mystic Theurge 3
9th Mystic Theurge 6
10th Mystic Theurge 7 4
11th Mystic Theurge 4 7
12th Mystic Theurge 8 5
13th Mystic Theurge 5 8
14th Wildrunner 8
15th Arcane Hierophant
16th Arcane Hierophant
17th Arcane Hierophant
18th Arcane Hierophant
19th Arcane Hierophant
20th Arcane Hierophant

We have a character that casts as a Sorcerer of level 18 and a Shugenja of level 17.

Finally using the Bamboo Spirit Folk race you can reach 19th as Arcane and 18th as Divine: this is probably the maximum obtainable.

Note: Rules seem actually allow this progression; the main reason is that there are spells that are normally castable both as Divine or as Arcane (like cure light wounds casted by a Bard or by a Cleric) and they are only one spell. Besides some dragons casts some divine spells as arcane. So it would seem the Alternative Source Spell feat gives an ability that is quite similar to the one of the dragons.

Peculiar pairs Edit

Wizard/Ur-Priest Edit

This pair gives the caster level of 19 in both Arcane and Divine spellcasting. And it does not abuse anything; but since you are forced to use the pair Wizard/Ur-Priest you will need an high Intelligenge and Wisdom.

Level Class Feats Bluff Knowledge Arcana Knowledge The Planes Religion Spellcraft
1st Wizard 2 1 1 4 4
2nd Wizard 2 5 5
3rd Wizard 3 2
4th Wizard 3 3 6
5th Wizard 4 6
6th Wizard Spell Focus [Evil] 4 7 7
7th Wizard 5 4
8th Wizard 5 5 8
9th Wizard Iron Will 6 8
10th Ur-Priest
11th Wizard Alternative Source Spell
12th Mystic Theurge
13th Mystic Theurge
14th Mystic Theurge
15th Mystic Theurge
16th Mystic Theurge
17th Mystic Theurge
18th Mystic Theurge
19th Mystic Theurge
20th Mystic Theurge

The base caster level for Arcane spells is 19 (10 from Wizard levels, 9 from Mystic Theurge levels); the Ur-Priest base caster level is 19 too (1 from the Ur-Priest level, 9 from Mystic Theurge levels and 9 as half of the caster level of the Wizard).

The Feat Education is not necessary, but since the Mystic Theurge do not have all knowledges as class skills is a good choice.

Using the Bamboo Spirit Folk you can take levels as Arcane Hierophant instead of Mystic Theurge; just increase a little more Knowledge Arcana and study Knowledge Nature instead of Knowledge Religion. The Arcane Hierophant has the usual advantages: more Hit Points and Skill points and few secondary powers, but you will lose your Familiar.

You can also use the Sorcerer as Arcane spellcaster: since you will not have the Bonus feat at level 10, but you will have Bluff as class skill you will need to get the Ur-Priest level before and taking the Alternative Source Spell Feat at level 9 or even 6.

Bard/Ur-Priest Edit

The Bard spellcasting ability is limited to the spells until level 6, but the Bard class can easily integrated with the Sublime Chord that gives a Bard-like progression up to level 9th. A Sublime Chord can get spells known both from the Bard list and from the Wizard list.

Combine this improved Bard spellcaster with the Ur-Priest and you can get another interesting spellcaster.

The Sublime Chord requirement forces to take its levels from level 10, at the same way you will need +3 as Will saving throw to join the Ur-Priest: once again level 10 if you got only Bard levels. Ideally we would get levels as (in order) Bard 8, Ur-Priest 2, Sublime Chord 2, Mystic Theurge 8, but we cannot. In order to solve the problem you can get a level in the Mindbender class; it gives Telepathy, it increases your spellcaster level as Bard and gives the needed boost to the Fortitude Saving Throw.

The Bard/Ur-Priest progression become (in order): Bard 7, Mindbender 1, Ur-Priest 2, Sublime Chord 2, Mystic Theurge 8.

The reader might wonder why we are taking two levels as Ur-Priest and as Sublime Chord: the reason is that both classes have an interesting power at level 2. The Sublime Chord gives the Song of Arcane Power; the Ur-Priest gives the ability to rebuke undead. If you are not interested you can gain another level as Bard to have a little more spells of level 3.

The Bard/Ur-Priest progression would become (in order): Bard 8, Mindbender 1, Ur-Priest 1, Sublime Chord 1, Mystic Theurge 9.

Once again using the Bamboo Spirit Folk race you can join the Arcane Hierophant instead of the Mystic Theurge.

Munchkin-Size Me Edit

Arcane Reabsorbtion Edit

You lose the Familiar when joining the Arcane Hierophant; so you should use the Familiar-less variant that gives you the Arcane Reabsorbtion power.

Arcane Reabsorbtion: If a spell you cast had no effect whatsoever because it has been Countered or it failed to overcome the target's Spell Resistance, you may "reabsorb" the spell as an Immediate Action by making a Spellcraft check vs. DC 20 + [3 * spell level]. If successful, you retain the Spell Slot, but take (spell level) nonlethal damage (which bypasses your Damage Reduction / resistances).

And, if you wish, you can have your Familiar after taking your first level as Arcane Hierophant using the relative feat from Complete Arcana.

Metamagic Specialist Edit

The Arcane Reabsorbtion variant is also available to Sorcerers, but if you want to make a similar build using the Sorcerer you might prefer the Metamagic Specialist variant:

Metamagic Specialist: You may apply Metamagics to your Impromptu Spells without increasing the casting time to a Full Round. This also allows you to benefit from Feat: Quicken Spell.

Alternative Source Spell Edit

Alternative Source Spell prerequisite: Able to cast both Arcane and Divine spells

Effect: You can prepare any of your Arcane spell as Divine spells and any of your Divine spell as Arcane spells. An alternative-sourced spell uses up a spell slot from the class that normally grants it, but such spell is casted as if your caster level were 1 level lower. For example, a 1st-level Cleric/6th-level Wizard can prepare in his Wizard slots and later cast a Divine Fireball as a 5th level Wizard.

Feats, other classes... Edit

In general as I said before this is bare minimum: you have lots of space to customize via Feats and Classes. I think a Wild Elf Metamagic Specialist that casts as a Sorcerer of level 18 and as a Shugenja of level 15 can be a nice character.

Fractional Base Bonus Edit

The multi-class characters suffer unfair penalties: tell your DM that Andy Collin, one of the game designers and author of Complete Warrior, uses an alternate system. It is described in the Unearthed Arcana manual, page 73: it allows a seamless passage from one class to the other without unfairly losing Saving Throws and Base Attack Bonus. And it changes nothing to single classed characters.

Show him the example of a Fighter 2/Paladin 2 character (just to underline that you speak for truth, not for your caster): it will still have two base Saving Throws to 0, even if it is a 4th level character!

If your DM sees your point you'll get the +4 BAB necessary to join the Arcane Hierophant quicker and your character will get Armored Casting and some more Hit Points sooner. The small adjustment to the saving throws is nice too.

Side Notes Edit

I just wanted to put as many caster levels as possible in the normal 20 level list.

Limitations Edit

A part of having lots of spell it does not have many powers.

DM Counters Edit

As a caster he suffers surprises, sneak attacks, poisons... He have lots of spells, but you can cast only one or two per round.

Conclusion Edit

The most playable, I really cannot imagine a reason why a DM should dislike it, is probably the Druid: it is fairly powerful and it does not abuse (much) anything; there is a slight MAD: you will need 19 of Int and 19 of Wis at level 20th.

The Bamboo Spirit Folk progression instead will give you the freedom of choice about the caster classes; but your DM might dislike this use of the Trackless Step race ability.

Instead the Elf based progressions will give you a small boost to the weak saving throws and fast movement with the Wildrunner level; but you will lose one kind of level 9 spells.


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