Some spellcasters seek the secrets of magic, pursuing the power to make the impossible possible. Others are born with magic in their blood, commanding unbelievable forces as effortlessly as they breathe. Yet still others seek to meld the science of arcane scholars with the natural might of innate casters. These arcanists seek to discover the mysterious laws of magic and through will and expertise bend those forces to their whims. Arcanists are the shapers and tinkers of the arcane world, and no magic can resist their control.
Role: Arcanists are scholars of all things magical. They constantly seek out new forms of magic to discover how they work, and in many cases, to collect the energy of such magic for their own uses. Many arcanists are seen as reckless, more concerned with the potency of magic than the ramifications of unleashing such power.
Hit Die: d6.
Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (average 70 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.
Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.
The following are the class features of the arcanist.
Arcanists are proficient with all simple weapons. They are not proficient with any type of armor or shield. Armor interferes with an arcanist’s gestures, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail (see Arcane Spells and Armor).
An arcanist casts arcane spells drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. An arcanist must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, her spells are not expended when they’re cast. Instead, she can cast any spell that she has prepared consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level, assuming she hasn’t yet used up her spell slots per day for that level.
To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the arcanist must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against an arcanist’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the arcanist’s Intelligence modifier.
An arcanist can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Arcanist under “Spells per Day.” In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Intelligence score.
An arcanist may know any number of spells, but the number she can prepare each day is limited. At 1st level, she can prepare four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells each day. At each new arcanist level, the number of spells she can prepare each day increases, adding new spell levels as indicated on Table: Arcanist Spells Prepared. Unlike the number of spells she can cast per day, the number of spells an arcanist can prepare each day is not affected by her Intelligence score. Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an arcanist can prepare.
An arcanist must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying her spellbook. While studying, the arcanist decides what spells to prepare and refreshes her available spell slots for the day.
Like a sorcerer, an arcanist can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats). However, she may also prepare a spell with any metamagic feats she knows and cast it without increasing casting time like a wizard. She cannot combine these options—a spell prepared with metamagic feats cannot be further modified with another metamagic feat at the time of casting (unless she has the metamixing arcanist exploit, detailed below).
An arcanist must study her spellbook each day to prepare her spells. She can’t prepare any spell not recorded in her spellbook, except for read magic (which all arcanists can prepare from memory).
An arcanist begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level wizard/sorcerer spells plus three 1st-level spells of her choice. The arcanist also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to her Intelligence modifier to add to the spellbook. At each new arcanist level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or levels that she can cast (based on her new arcanist level) for her spellbook. At any time, an arcanist can also add spells found in wizards‘ or other arcanists’ spellbooks to her own.
Arcanists can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day as noted on Table: Arcanist Spells Prepared. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume spell slots. As with her other spells, these spells are not expended when cast.
An arcanist has an innate pool of magical energy that she can draw upon to fuel her arcanist exploits and enhance her spells. The arcanist’s arcane reservoir can hold a maximum amount of magical energy equal to 3 + the arcanist’s level. Each day, when preparing spells, the arcanist’s arcane reservoir fills with raw magical energy, gaining a number of points equal to 3 + 1/2 her arcanist level. Any points she had from the previous day are lost. She can also regain these points through the consume spells class feature and some arcanist exploits. The arcane reservoir can never hold more points than the maximum amount noted above; points gained in excess of this total are lost.
Points from the arcanist reservoir are used to fuel many of the arcanist’s powers. In addition, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir as a free action whenever she casts an arcanist spell. If she does, she can choose to increase the caster level by 1 or increase the spell’s DC by 1. She can expend no more than 1 point from her reservoir on a given spell in this way.
By bending and sometimes even breaking the rules of magic, the arcanist learns to exploit gaps and exceptions in the laws of magic. Some of these exploits allow her to break down various forms of magic, adding their essence to her arcane reservoir. At 1st level and every 2 levels thereafter, the arcanist learns a new arcane exploit selected from the following list. An arcanist exploit cannot be selected more than once. Once an arcanist exploit has been selected, it cannot be changed. Most arcanist exploits require the arcanist to expend points from her arcane reservoir to function. Unless otherwise noted, the saving throw DC for an arcanist exploit is equal to 10 + 1/2 the arcanist’s level + the arcanist’s Charisma modifier.
For a complete list of Arcane Exploits, see here
At 1st level, an arcanist can expend an available arcanist spell slot as a move action, making it unavailable for the rest of the day, just as if she had used it to cast a spell. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Doing this adds a number of points to her arcane reservoir equal to the level of the spell slot consumed. She cannot consume cantrips (0 level spells) in this way. Points gained in excess of the reservoir’s maximum are lost.
At 11th level and every 2 levels thereafter, an arcanist can choose one of the following greater exploits in place of an arcanist exploit.
Alter Enhancements (Su): An arcanist with this exploit can modify the enhancements placed on a weapon, suit of armor, or shield. The arcanist can use this exploit to change one weapon or armor special ability to another with an equal cost. This ability can only be used to change the item’s special abilities, not its enhancement bonus. Using this ability requires the arcanist to touch the item as a full-round action and expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir, and doing so provokes an attack of opportunity. This ability cannot be used on an item in the possession of an unwilling creature. This change lasts for a number of minutes equal to the arcanist’s Charisma modifier (minimum 1). The arcanist must have the arcane weapon exploit to select this exploit.
Burning Flame (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the flame arc exploit, she can expend 2 points from her arcane reservoir instead of one. If she does, each target catches on fire if it fails its saving throw. Until the fire is extinguished, the target takes 3d6 points of fire damage at the start of each of its turns. The target can attempt a Reflex saving throw as a full-round action to extinguish the flames. Applying at least 1 gallon of water to the target automatically extinguishes the flames. The arcanist must have the flame arc exploit to select this exploit.
Counter Drain (Su): Whenever the arcanist successfully uses the counterspell exploit, she regains a number of points to her arcane reservoir, which is determined by the level of the spell countered. Spells of 2nd level or lower do not restore any points to her arcane reservoir. Spells of 3rd and higher restore 1 point to her arcane reservoir for every three spell levels (rounded down), to a maximum of 3 points at 9th level. The arcanist must have the counterspell exploit to select this exploit.
Dancing Electricity (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the lightning lance exploit, she can expend 2 points from her arcane reservoir instead of one. If she does, all creatures adjacent to the target take an amount of damage equal to half the amount of electricity damage rolled. Adjacent creatures can attempt a Reflex saving throw to halve this damage. Whether or not the target makes its saving throw has no effect on adjacent targets. The arcanist must have the lightning lance exploit to select this exploit.
Devotion (Su): The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir as a swift action to temporarily prepare a domain spell for a number of rounds equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). While prepared, the spell is considered to be on the arcanist’s spell list. The spell must come from the domain chosen with the theurge exploit. The arcanist must possess the theurge exploit before selecting this greater exploit. (Book of Magic: 10 Arcanist Exploits)
Dimensional Seal (Su): The arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to emanate a field centered on herself which blocks dimensional travel—including summoning and teleportation effects, as well as the dimensional slide exploit—in a radius of 5 feet per arcanist level for a number of minutes equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). She may dismiss this effect at will. The arcanist must have the dimensional slide exploit to select this greater exploit. (Book of Magic: 10 Arcanist Exploits)
Energy Absorption (Su): Whenever the arcanist is using the energy shield exploit, and the shield prevents 10 or more points of damage, she can absorb a portion of that energy and use it to fuel her exploits. After absorbing the damage, she can use any exploit that deals the same type of energy damage as the type her shield absorbed, reducing the cost to her arcane reservoir by 1 point. She must use this energy within 1 minute or it is lost. The arcanist does not gain more than one such use of energy per round, and she cannot store more than one use of this energy at a time. The arcanist must have the energy shield exploit to select this exploit.
Greater Consume Magic Items (Su): The arcanist can consume the power of magic armor, weapons, rings, rods, and wondrous items (this exploit may not be used on artifacts). Using this ability is a move action, and this ability cannot be used on an object in the possession of an unwilling creature. When using this exploit, the arcanist adds a number of points to her arcane reservoir equal to 1⁄2 the caster level of the object, and the object gains the broken condition (or is destroyed if it already had the broken condition). Points gained in excess of the arcanist’s reservoir’s maximum are lost. Objects damaged through the use of this exploit may not be repaired by mundane means, or by any magic except miracle or wish. The arcanist must possess the consume magic items exploit before selecting this greater exploit. (Book of Magic: 10 Arcanist Exploits)
Greater Counterspell (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the counterspell exploit, she can expend any arcanist spell slot of the same level or greater than the spell to be countered (instead of the spell level +1). The arcanist must have the counterspell exploit to select this exploit.
Greater Metamagic Knowledge: The arcanist can select a metamagic feat as a bonus feat. She must meet the prerequisites of this feat. Each morning, when she prepares her spells, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to exchange this bonus feat for another metamagic feat, as long as she meets the prerequisites of the new feat. The arcanist must have the metamagic knowledge exploit to select this exploit.
Greater Spell Resistance (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the spell resistance exploit, the spell resistance is equal to 11 + the arcanist’s level. The arcanist must have the spell resistance exploit to select this exploit.
Greater Spell Disruption (Su): The arcanist can disrupt a spell effect or magic item by expending 1 point from her arcane reservoir. This acts like a targeted dispel magic with a range of touch. The arcanist can add her Charisma modifier to the dispel check. The arcanist must have the spell disruption exploit to select this exploit.
Greater Theurge (Su): The arcanist gains the higher level ability of the domain or subdomain selected for the theurge exploit. The arcanist gains that domain’s higher level power as though she were the minimum level needed to gain it. As a swift action, the arcanist can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to bolster her divine connection, allowing her to treat her arcanist level as her cleric level for the purpose of using the abilities granted by this exploit and the theurge exploit, which lasts for a number of rounds equal to her Charisma modifier (minimum 1). (Book of Magic: 10 Arcanist Exploits)
She does not gain any other abilities when using this exploit in this way, such as class skills, domain spells, or domain slots. If this ability is used to gain an arcane bond and a bonded item is selected, the arcanist can only use that item to cast spells of a level equal to the level of the spell that could be cast by her equivalent cleric level. If the arcanist already has a domain (or gains one later), taking this exploit instead allows her arcanist levels to stack with the levels of the class that granted her access to the domain when determining the powers and abilities of her domain.
Icy Tomb (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the ice missile exploit, she can expend 2 points from her arcane reservoir instead of one. If she does, the target is coated in rime if it fails its saving throw. As long as the ice remains (typically 1 minute per level in a warm area), the target is entangled (although not anchored) and takes 1 point of Dexterity damage at the start of each of its turns. The target can break free from the ice as a standard action by making a Strength check with a DC equal to 10 + the arcanist’s Charisma modifier. If the target takes more than 10 points of fire damage from a single attack, the ice melts and the effect ends. The arcanist must have the ice missile arcanist exploit to select this exploit.
Lingering Acid (Su): Whenever the arcanist uses the acid jet exploit, she can expend 2 points from her arcane reservoir instead of one. If she does, the target takes additional damage on the following rounds if it fails its saving throw. The target takes 1d6 points of acid damage on the following round for every 2d6 points of acid damage dealt by the initial attack. On subsequent rounds, the target continues to take 1d6 points of acid damage for every 2d6 points of acid damage dealt on the previous round. The damage continues until the amount of acid damage dealt on the previous round by this effect is 1d6. For example, a 9th level arcanist would deal 5d6 points of acid damage + the arcanist’s Charisma modifier, 2d6 points of acid damage on the following round, and 1d6 points of acid damage on the third and final round. The arcanist must have the acid jet exploit to select this exploit.
Redirect Spell (Su): The arcanist can gain control of a spell cast by another spellcaster. As a standard action by expending 1 point from her arcane reservoir, the arcanist can make a caster level check opposed by the creature controlling the spell. If the arcanist is successful, she can direct the spell as a free action for 1 round, making any decisions allowed by the spell. This only functions on spells that can be directed or changed once they have been cast, such as flaming sphere or spiritual weapon. The spell returns to its owner’s control at the start of the arcanist’s next turn, unless the arcanist expends another point from her arcane reservoir at the start of her turn to extend the duration of control by another round. She can continue to control the spell for as long as the spell lasts, provided she keeps spending points from her arcane reservoir.
Resistance Drain (Su): Whenever the arcanist is using the spell resistance exploit, she can end the effect as an immediate action whenever her spell resistance successfully protects her from a spell cast by a foe. If she does so, she adds a number of points to her arcane reservoir equal to 1/2 the level of the spell. These points are temporary and are lost after 1 minute unless used. Points gained in excess of her arcane reservoir’s maximum are lost. The arcanist must have the greater spell resistance exploit to select this exploit.
Siphon Spell (Su): When the arcanist uses the greater spell disruption exploit, she can siphon some of the power of the targeted spell to restore her arcane reservoir. If the caster level of the spell is equal to or higher than that of the arcanist, and she exceeds the DC of the dispel check by 5 or more, she adds 1 point to her arcane reservoir. If she exceeds this check by 10 or more, she instead adds 2 points to her arcane reservoir. This has no effect on magic items. The arcanist must have the greater spell disruption exploit to select this exploit.
Spell Leech (Su): When the arcanist successfully uses the counterspell exploit, she can spend an additional point from her arcane reservoir to prepare that spell. The next time she prepares spells, any spells prepared through this greater exploit are lost. Spells not on the sorcerer/wizard list are prepared at their original level, and the arcanist must spend 1 point from her arcane reservoir each time she casts such a spell. The arcanist may copy a spell prepared through this greater exploit into her spellbook if it is an arcanist spell. The arcanist must have the counterspell exploit to select this greater exploit. (Book of Magic: 10 Arcanist Exploits)
Spell Thief (Su): The arcanist can steal a spell affecting one creature by expending 1 point from her arcane reservoir. If the creature is unwilling, she must succeed at a melee touch attack to steal the spell; the target can attempt a Will saving throw to negate the effect. The arcanist can specify a spell affecting the target to steal, but if she’s incorrect or doesn’t know what spells are affecting the target, the spell stolen is determined randomly from all those affecting the target. If successful, the spell effect transfers to the arcanist, affecting her for the remaining duration. Unless the effect normally allows for a new saving throw during its duration (such as at the end of each round), this ability doesn’t grant the arcanist a saving throw against it. The arcanist cannot use this ability to steal a spell with a range of personal or a duration of permanent. The arcanist must have the spell tinkerer exploit to select this exploit.
Suffering Knowledge (Su): The arcanist can learn to cast a spell by suffering from its effects. When the arcanist fails a saving throw against a spell cast by an enemy, as an immediate action she can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to temporarily acquire the spell. She can cast the spell using her spell slots as if it was a spell she had prepared that day. The spell must be on the sorcerer/wizard spell list and must be of a level that she can cast. The ability to cast this spell remains for a number of rounds equal to the arcanist’s Charisma modifier (minimum 1).
At 20th level, the arcanist learns how to convert her arcane reservoir into spells and back again. She can cast any spell she has prepared by expending a number of points from her arcane reservoir equal to 1 + the level of the spell to be cast instead of expending a spell slot. When she casts a spell in this fashion, she treats her caster level as 2 higher than normal, and the DCs of any saving throws associated with the spell increase by 2. She cannot further expend points from her arcane reservoir to enhance a spell cast in this way.
Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have arcanists as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.
|Dwarf||Add +¼ to the arcanist’s effective caster level when determining the effects of the arcane barrier and arcane weapon arcanist exploits.||PRG:ACG|
|Elf||Increase total number of points in the arcanist’s arcane reservoir by 1.||PRG:ACG|
|Gnome||Add +? to the number of points the arcanist gains in her arcane reservoir each day.||PRG:ACG|
|Half-Elf||When casting arcanist enchantment spells, add +? to the effective caster level, but only for the purpose of determining duration.||PRG:ACG|
|Half-Orc||Gain a +1 bonus on concentration checks made due to taking damage while casting arcanist spells.||PRG:ACG|
|Halfling||Gain +? of a new arcanist exploit.||PRG:ACG|
|Human||Add one spell from the arcanist spell list to the arcanist’s spellbook. The spell must be at least 1 spell level below the highest level the arcanist can cast.||PRG:ACG|
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|Android||Add one spell from the arcanist spell list to the arcanist’s spellbook. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the arcanist can cast.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Catfolk||Add +2.5 feet to the distance the arcanist can move when using the dimensional slide exploit, up to a maximum of 1.5 times the usual distance she could move at her given level. This option has no effect unless the arcanist has selected it twice (or possesses increments evenly divisible by 5); a distance of 12.5 feet is effectively the same as a distance of 10 feet, for example.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Changeling||When casting arcanist transmutation spells targeting only the arcanist, add +1/3 to the caster level.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Elan||When casting arcanist evocation spells, add +1/3 to the effective caster level, but only for the purpose of determining duration.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Gillmen||Add one spell from the arcanist spell list to the arcanist’s spellbook. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Lizardfolk||Add +1/3 to the DC to one of the arcanist’s exploits.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Merfolk||Add 1 spell from the arcanist spell list to the arcanist spell book. This spell must be at least 1 spell level below the highest level the arcanist can cast.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Samsaran||Gain 1/6 of a new arcanist exploit.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Skinwalker||When casting arcanist spells from the polymorph subschool, add +1/3 to the effective caster level of the spell, but only to determine the spell’s duration.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Tengu||Add +1/4 to the arcanist’s effective class level when determining the effects of the energy shield (electricity only) and lightning lance arcanist exploits.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Wyrwood||Reduce arcane spell failure chance for casting arcanist spells when wearing light armor by +1%. Once the total reaches 10%, the arcanist no longer suffers arcane spell failure while wearing light armor and also receives Light Armor Proficiency, if she does not already possess it.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
|Wyvaran||Add one spell from the arcanist spell list to the arcanist’s spellbook. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level she can cast.||JBE:BoHR:AFCO|
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these practitioners of flexible arcane magic and esoteric secrets come in many varieties. Some arcanists use their exploits to mimic the forms of other arcane spellcasters, while others manifest their powers in truly exotic ways.
The following are archetypes of the arcanist class.
|Archetype / Alternate Class Feature||Class Features Changed or Replaced|
|Class Skills||Weapon & Armor||Spells||Cantrips||Spellbooks||Arcane Reservoir||Consume Spells||Arcanist Exploit||Greater Exploits||Magical Supremacy|
Armor restricts the complicated gestures required while casting any spell that has a somatic component. The armor and shield descriptions list the arcane spell failure chance for different armors and shields.
If a spell doesn’t have a somatic component, an arcane spellcaster can cast it with no arcane spell failure chance while wearing armor. Such spells can also be cast even if the caster’s hands are bound or he is grappling (although concentration checks still apply normally). The metamagic feat Still Spell allows a spellcaster to prepare or cast a spell without the somatic component at one spell level higher than normal. This also provides a way to cast a spell while wearing armor without risking arcane spell failure.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide © 2014, Paizo Inc.; Authors: Dennis Baker, Ross Byers, Jesse Benner, Savannah Broadway, Jason Bulmahn, Jim Groves, Tim Hitchcock, Tracy Hurley, Jonathan H. Keith, Will McCardell, Dale C. McCoy, Jr., Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Sean K Reynolds, Tork Shaw, Owen K.C. Stephens, and Russ Taylor.