Alternate Arcane Power Sources


#1

I’ve always liked the alternative power sources, both from a players perspective and a DM. As a DM I’ve alway hated dipping into a PRC however which the current alternate power PRCs actually encourage. I know more than a few on these boards dislike the alternative power sources with the most common argument is that if they exist, and don’t cause environmental damage, then why wouldn’t they be used by all?

I’ve been digging through my old archives as I start up another DS campaign and found the alterations I did to those PRCs. They may help to answer that argument.

Ceruleans

Ceruleans enter and advance into the prestige class as stated in the Dark Sun Prestige Class Appendix as normal except for the following changes at level 1. Cerulean Casting, Blue Lens Focus, Cerulean Call, Stormbringer

Cerulean Casting: Ceruleans have discovered how to draw energy from the Cerulean storm to fuel their spells. They can choose whether to utilize plant energy or cerulean energy via their Blue Lens when casting spells. A Cerulean without a Blue Lens can not cast spells with cerulean energy. Cerulean energy has no impact on the environment. A Cerulean can only channel spells using cerulean energy with a spell level equal to his class level. A 10th level Cerulean can channel epic level spells and those with a spell level higher than 9th due to feats. If a spell fails for any reason a Cerulean takes backlash damage equal to the spell level. Additionally all spells cast with cerulean energy crackle with blue lighting and thunder which can not be hidden. Finally at the start of each encounter a cerulean who casts spells using cerulean power must roll on the following table to determine the strength of the connection to the Cerulean Storm.

Roll Connection Spell DC & Caster Level Check Modifier
1 None* -
2-4 Weak -1
5-7 Normal 0
8-9 Strong +1
10 Overpowering** +2
  • Spells can not be cast using cerulean energy
    ** There is a 5% chance per spell level cast of calling a Tyr Storm to the area as per the Ragestorm spell centered on the Cerulean’s target.

Blue Lens Focus: The cerulean can channel the energy of the Cerulean Storm through a Blue Lens to substitute material components for arcane spells. However, drawing upon the power of the Cerulean Storm is not without its perils. Depending upon the value of the material component to be substituted, the cerulean suffers an amount of damage that cannot be redirected, absorbed or otherwise avoided. This damage is applied immediately after a spell is cast.

Component Cost Damage
1 Cp or less 0
1-50 Cp 5
51-300 Cp 11
301-750 Cp 17
750+ Cp 23

Crafting a blue lens requires raw materials worth 50 ceramics. The Craft (optics) DC is 20. The lens has 5 hit points and hardness 1. It uses the cerulean’s save values.

Cerulean Call: Ceruleans that listen closely hear the distant voice of the Storm Lord. Once per month a Cerulean must make a Will save (DC 20) or be influenced by Tithian. Each failed save changes a Cerulean’s alignment one step closer to evil. Once a Cerulean has become evil Tithian is able to affect the Cerulean per the Suggestion spell. These suggestions are always focused on a task that will serve Tithian’s ambitions of freedom, revenge, and gaining power. They will not overtly threaten the character’s life and the character may not even be aware they are fulfilling Tithian’s desires.

Stormbringer: There is a 5% chance per class level that spells cast within a 10 mile radius using cerulean energy will call a Tyr Storm to the area as per the Summon Tyr-Storm spell centered on the Cerulean.

NOTES: With these changes it becomes impossible to hide the casting of spells, gives a good chance of accidentally calling down a Tyr storm which can’t easily be controlled until the Cerulean reaches a high level. Between inciting panic among the population, hatred of wizards, dangerous to both the wizard and bystanders, and how new the Cerulean Storm is, the PRC is not one that is very common.

Necromants

Necromants enter and advance into the prestige class as stated in the Dark Sun Prestige Class Appendix as normal except for the following changes at level 1. Grey Casting, Unnatural Aura, Death Stalker

Gray Casting: Necromants have discovered how to draw energy from the Gray to fuel their spells. They can choose whether to utilize plant energy or energy from the Gray when casting spells. Gray energy has no impact on the environment. A Necromant can only channel spells using Grey energy with a spell level equal to his class level. A 10th level Necromant can channel epic level spells and those with a spell level higher than 9th due to feats. If a spell fails for any reason a Necromant takes backlash damage equal to the spell level. Finally at the start of each encounter a Necromant who casts spells using Grey power must roll on the following table to determine the strength of the connection to the Grey.

Roll Connection Spell DC & Caster Level Check Modifier
1 None* -
2-4 Weak -1
5-7 Normal 0
8-9 Strong +1
10 Overpowering** +2
  • Spells can not be cast using Grey energy
    ** There is a 5% chance per spell level cast of opening a rift to the Grey as per the Grey Beckoning spell. The maximum number of Grey Zombies will be summoned. If there are not enough enemies to satisfy the zombies they begin with the caster.

Unnatural Aura: Both wild and domesticated animals can sense the unnatural presence to a distance of class level x 5 feet. They will not willingly approach within that range and panic if within class level x 1 feet.

Death Stalker: When a Necromant gains a new Necromant class level (including 1st) a Tormented (Terrors of the Dead Lands) takes notice and begins to hunt the Necromant. It will coalesce within 1d10 miles of the character and relentlessly pursue them until it is destroyed or banished to the Grey. The Tormented will have the same number of HD as the Necromant (minimum 8)

NOTES: Working with Grey energy and the undead is always dangerous. Between the Grey Zombies and the Tormented many a young Necromant is killed long before they can gain any real power. Combined with a general distaste most people have for death and a Necromant must ensure he either remains hidden or has a powerful patron. The unnatural aura is usually nothing more then an annoyance, but a careless Necromant can quickly find his anonymity compromised by those same animals.

Shadow Wizards and Shadow Templars

Shadow Wizards and Templars enter and advance into the prestige classs as stated in the Dark Sun Prestige Class Appendix as normal except for the following changes at level 1. Shadow Casting, Unnatural Aura, Shadow Twin

Shadow Casting: Shadow Wizards and Templars have discovered how to draw energy from the Black to fuel their spells. They can choose whether to utilize plant energy or energy from the Black when casting spells. Black energy has no impact on the environment. A Shadow Wizard or Templars can only channel spells using Black energy with a spell level equal to his class level. A 10th level Shadow Wizard or Templar can channel epic level spells and those with a spell level higher than 9th due to feats. If a spell fails for any reason a Shadow Wizard or Templar takes backlash damage equal to the spell level. Finally at the start of each encounter a Shadow Wizard or Templar who casts spells using Black power must roll on the following table to determine the strength of the connection to the Black.

Roll Connection Spell DC & Caster Level Check Modifier
1 None* -
2-4 Weak -1
5-7 Normal 0
8-9 Strong +1
10 Overpowering** +2
  • Spells can not be cast using Black energy
    ** There is a 5% chance per spell level cast of attracting the attention of a Psi-Shadow (Terrors of Athas). The Psi-Shadow will have the same number of HD as the caster and has a 50% chance of having 1d6 undead shadow servants. The Psi-Shadow is convinced the caster and any other living creatures nearby threaten it’s shadowy home and will not back down. It will attempt to fight the caster itself while sending it’s servants after any other living creatures in the area.

Unnatural Aura: Both wild and domesticated animals can sense the unnatural presence to a distance of class level x 5 feet. They will not willingly approach within that range and panic if within class level x 1 feet.

Shadow Twin: When a Shadow Wizard or Templar gains a new class level (including 1st) a black touched (Terrors of Athas) version of the character consolidates from his shadow. The shadowy twin is a potential version of the character and attacks, ignoring all others, in the hopes of taking over the character’s life. If the character wins, the reflection melts away and his shadow is returned. If the twin wins the character is consumed by his shadow and becomes a Psi-Shadow before retreating to the Black. The twin has the ability scores, base AC, hit points, saves, and attack bonuses as its creator, including all equipment and current spells at the time the twin is created. Any spells cast by the twin use Black energy according to the table from Shadow Casting.

NOTES: The twin explains how new Psi-Shadows are created and gives a slight edge to the twin in a 1 on 1 fight. Much like the Necromant the unnatural aura is typically an annoyance but can alert others to something being amiss. Plant energy is the safest energy to use no matter how to you look at it.


#2

Good work, even though I really dislike the alternative power sources introduced in the revised box set.


#3

Realy liked your approach to the problem posed by the alternative power sources. How would these changes affect a class like the shadow shifter? Would he has to fight a shadow twin every time he gains a level?


#4

The advanced classes I left alone in that regard. Once you became a Shadow Shifter you stopped drawing on the power as much as you became part of it. I do require epic casting and manifesting to become an advanced being though. I had some notes on an advanced Gray being and one for the Cerulean but I don’t remember finishing them since they didn’t get used.

The Grey had you advance into an outsider and conduit able to open rifts, taking on undead immunities without becoming undead, healing from positive and negative energy, controlling more undead and making them more powerful, that sort of thing.

The Cerulean involved becoming an outsider with elemental rain powers, becoming a Tyr storm for transport, being able to call down the storms, neutralize them, lots of electrical powers. It was influenced by Raiden from the Mortal Kombat series quite a bit and was a basis for my Tithian remake as the Storm Lord.


#5

I also require epic spellcasting and epic manifesting to become an advanced being. I understand WHY athas.org did what they did in not requiring epic manifesting (to make the earliest entry an epic entry at level 21), but I see it differently.

Normal -> Epic -> Above Epic (advanced beings).

In my revamp of metamophosis I have created a new tier of feats - [Advanced Being] feats. I am near to completion.


#6

For 5e I am in the camp where sorcerers could fit this niche rather well.

If you want to be a straight up defiler or preserver, you take the wizard class and use the school specializations, or create a couple new arcane traditions for master defilers or preservers.

If you want to be bound to a sorcerer-king (archfey or great old one, or customized), or even a primordial (fiend) or pull magic from the grey (undying), then the various types of warlock work well for that.

If you want to be a shadow wizard (shadow origin), turn into a dragon (draconic origin), or avangion (celestial origin), or pull energy from the cerulean storm (storm origin), then sorcerers already have great archetypes for all of those.