Home >Classes >Hybrid Classes >

Arcanist

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.

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d6.

Parent Classes: Sorcerer and wizard.

Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (average 70 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

The arcanist’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Arcanist
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Arcane reservoir, arcanist exploit, cantrips, consume spells 2
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3   3
3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Arcanist exploit 4
4th +2 +1 +1 +4   4 2
5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Arcanist exploit 4 3
6th +3 +2 +2 +5   4 4 2
7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Arcanist exploit 4 4 3
8th +4 +2 +2 +6   4 4 4 2
9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Arcanist exploit 4 4 4 3
10th +5 +3 +3 +7   4 4 4 4 2
11th +5 +3 +3 +7 Arcanist exploit, greater exploits 4 4 4 4 3
12th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8   4 4 4 4 4 2
13th +6/+1 +4 +4 +8 Arcanist exploit 4 4 4 4 4 3
14th +7/+2 +4 +4 +9   4 4 4 4 4 4 2
15th +7/+2 +5 +5 +9 Arcanist exploit 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
16th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10   4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
17th +8/+3 +5 +5 +10 Arcanist exploit 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
18th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11   4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 2
19th +9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Arcanist exploit 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3
20th +10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Magical supremacy 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

Class Features

The following are the class features of the arcanist.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies

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).

Table: Arcanist Spells Prepared
Level Spells Prepared
0th 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th
1st 4 2
2nd 5 2
3rd 5 3
4th 6 3 1
5th 6 4 2
6th 7 4 2 1
7th 7 5 3 2
8th 8 5 3 2 1
9th 8 5 4 3 2
10th 9 5 4 3 2 1
11th 9 5 5 4 3 2
12th 9 5 5 4 3 2 1
13th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2
14th 9 5 5 4 4 3 2 1
15th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2
16th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 1
17th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2
18th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 1
19th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 2
20th 9 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 3 3

Spell Casting

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).

Spellbooks

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 wizardsor other arcanists’ spellbooks to her own.

Cantrips

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.

Arcane Reservoir (Su)

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.

Arcanist Exploits

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 Arcanist Exploits, see here

Consume Spells (Su)

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.

Greater Exploits

At 11th level and every 2 levels thereafter, an arcanist can choose one of the following greater exploits in place of an arcanist exploit.

For a complete list of Greater Exploits, see here

Magical Supremacy (Su)

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.

Alternative Capstone Ability

Source PPC:CoL

When a character reaches the 20th level of a class, she gains a powerful class feature or ability, sometimes referred to as a capstone. When a character reaches 20th level in this class, the following new ability can be selected instead of the standard 20th level class ability which would normally be gained. In some cases, a capstone specifies what ability it replaces. A character can’t select an alternative capstone if she has previously traded away her class capstone via an archetype. Clerics and wizards can receive a capstone at 20th level, despite not having one to begin with.

Deep Reservoir (Su)

At 20th level, the arcanist has enough power to blast things all day long. Her arcane reservoir increases by 10, and she gains 5 additional points each day when preparing her spells.

Arcane Spells and Armor

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.

Favored Class Bonuses

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.

Race Bonus Source
Paizo
Core Races
Dwarf Add +¼ to the arcanist’s effective caster level when determining the effects of the arcane barrier and arcane weapon arcanist exploits. PZO1129
Elf Increase total number of points in the arcanist’s arcane reservoir by 1. PZO1129
Gnome Add +1/6 to the number of points the arcanist gains in her arcane reservoir each day. PZO1129
Half-Elf When casting arcanist enchantment spells, add +1/3 to the effective caster level, but only for the purpose of determining duration. PZO1129
Half-Orc Gain a +1 bonus on concentration checks made due to taking damage while casting arcanist spells. PZO1129
Halfling Gain +1/6 of a new arcanist exploit. PZO1129
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. PZO1129
3rd Party Publishers
Jon Brazer Enterprises
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
Gillman 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

Archetypes & Alternate Class Features

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.

Table: Archetypes / Alternate Class Features
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
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19
Paizo
Arcane Tinkerer               X X     X            
Aeromancer               X X     X            
Blade Adept               X X     X              
Blood Arcanist               X X     X     X       X
Brown-Fur Transmuter                 X     X             X
Collegiate Initiate               X   X   X       X      
Eldritch Font     C C         X   X     X         X
Elemental Master               X X     X X   X        
Occultist     C         X     X               X
School Savant               X X   X                
Spell Specialist               X     X     X     X    
Tarot Student             X X       X              
Twilight Sage             X X         X           X
Unlettered Arcanist     C   X                            
White Mage               X       X           C  
Flaming Crab Games
Covert Mage C C     C       X   X   X          
Section 15: Copyright Notice

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.