Hemotheurges—more commonly and derogatorily referred to as bloatmages—are arcanists who believe there’s literal truth to the old aphorism that “magic runs in the blood.” By magically overriding their bodies’ fail-safes and producing more blood than they need, bloatmages are able to greatly increase their magical abilities, but at the cost of becoming grotesque, bloated masses of engorged flesh. Even more significant than any cosmetic changes, the stresses on a bloatmage’s body can prove dangerous to both them and those around them, for if the cephalic pressure on a bloatmage’s brain becomes too great, she flies into a murderous rage before falling unconscious and quickly bleeding out. Such obvious drawbacks keep most from walking the path of the bloated ascetics, but the bloatmages dismiss those detractors who lack the courage to follow in their footsteps, noting that in the pursuit of power and self-perfection, all other concerns are secondary.

Bloatmages are consummate spellcasters, often operating as heavy artillery in battle, but their potential to run amok when strained can make them nearly as dangerous to their friends as to their enemies.

Alignment: Bloatmages have no particular alignment, but their single-minded focus on the goal of attaining greater magical ability (and the general public’s prurient abhorrence of their ritualistic self-mutilation) tends to make them at least partially neutral.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a bloatmage, a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Feats: Bloatmage Initiate, Spell Focus (any school).

Spells: Able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.

Class Skills

The bloatmage’s class skills (and the key abilities for each skill) are Fly (Dex), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Table: Bloatmage
Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spells per Day
1st +0 +0 +0 +1 Blood pool, bloodsurge (1/day, 1d4), hemophilia +1 level of existing arcane class
2nd +1 +0 +0 +1 +1 level of existing arcane class
3rd +1 +1 +1 +2 Corpulence +1 level of existing arcane class
4th +2 +1 +1 +2 Bloodsurge (2/day, 1d8) +1 level of existing arcane class
5th +2 +1 +1 +3 +1 level of existing arcane class
6th +3 +2 +2 +3 +1 level of existing arcane class
7th +3 +2 +2 +4 Corpulence +1 level of existing arcane class
8th +4 +2 +2 +4 Bloodsurge (3/day, 1d12) +1 level of existing arcane class
9th +4 +3 +3 +5 +1 level of existing arcane class
10th +5 +3 +3 +5 Absorb bloodline +1 level of existing arcane class

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the bloatmage prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Bloatmages gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day/Spells Known

When a new bloatmage level is gained, the character gains new spells as if she had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before adding the prestige class. She does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells known (if she is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a bloatmage, she must decide which class she adds the new level to for the purpose of determining spells per day.

Editor’s Note

Does a wizard (or other character that uses a spellbook), receive bonus spells to add to his spellbook when he gains a level in a prestige class that grants an increase to spellcasting?

No. The increase to his spellcasting level does not grant any other benefits, except for spells per day, spells known (for spontaneous casters), and an increase to his overall caster level. He must spend time and gold to add new spells to his spellbook.


Blood Pool

At 1st level, a bloatmage gains a pool of blood points, representing an overload of her system with excess blood to extend her arcane abilities beyond their normal level. A bloatmage’s normal pool of blood points is equal to her bloatmage level. Blood points can be spent at the time of casting to cast a spell without using that spell’s spell slot. The spell slot remains unused (for spontaneous casters), or the spell is recalled as if it had not been cast (for spellcasters who prepare spells). Retaining a spell or spell slot in this manner costs a number of blood points equal to the spell’s level, and these points must be spent at the time of casting. Blood points do not give spellcasters access to spells they don’t already know or have prepared.

In addition, the bloatmage may push herself via her bloodsurge ability in order to gain a number of extra blood points, but such exertion is a dangerous gamble. If the bloatmage’s current number of blood points is greater than her class level but less than or equal to twice her class level, she gains the sickened condition. If her exertions push her beyond twice her normal blood point level, she immediately flies into a homicidal rage, striking out randomly with her most damaging attacks and abilities at friends and foes alike for 1d6 rounds or until her blood pool is reduced to 0 (whichever comes first). At the end of the rage, her blood points drop to 0, her hit points drop to –1, and she begins dying.

Each day, when the bloatmage rests to regain spells, she regains blood points up to her class level but not beyond (so if her bloatmage level is 5 but she currently has 8 points, she remains at 8 until she spends the extra points).

Some bloatmages conduct constant rituals involving leeches or exsanguination in an attempt to regulate their systems. These rituals, which must be undertaken daily during spell preparation, give the bloatmage the option of subtracting 1 point from any surging rolls (see below) after the results are known, but at the price of a non-cumulative –2 penalty to Constitution. This penalty cannot be removed, save by the bloatmage abandoning the rituals for a day (also during spell preparation), which removes it immediately.


A bloatmage can exert herself as a free action to instantly gain extra blood points, but doing so puts her at risk of a dangerous collapse. At 1st level, the bloatmage can bloodsurge once per day to gain 1d4 points. At 4th, she can surge twice per day, and the die roll becomes 1d8. At 8th, she can surge three times per day, and the roll becomes 1d12.

Editor’s Note

On the Bloodsurge class ability chart it goes from 1d4 to 2d4 to 3d4 but the text progresses from 1d4 to 1d8 to 1d12. Normally “Text trumps table” but is it true in this case?.

After discussing this with James, we like the 1d4/1d8/1d12 option in the text better, as it makes it a little more risky for the reckless character–which makes the class more appealing if you’re a player who likes to take risks.

Note that if you play the class carefully, you’ll probably never rage if you use this ability. But sometimes an adventure requires you to push yourself a little harder than you’d planned….



Bloatmages are particularly susceptible to bleed effects, and the DC of any Heal check made to stop a bleed effect is 5 higher than normal. In addition, anytime a bleeding wound is inflicted on a bloatmage, she loses 1 blood point. This loss of blood points is cumulative for multiple bleed attacks, but not each time she takes damage from the same attack.


At 3rd level, a bloatmage becomes so massive that her rolls of fatty, blood-laden flesh grant her a +1 natural armor bonus. At 7th level, this bonus increases to +2 but reduces her speed by 10 feet. This penalty stacks with the penalty from the Bloatmage Initiate feat. This reduction in speed can never reduce the bloatmage’s speed below 5 feet, nor does it affect magical flying effects.

Absorb Bloodline

At 10th level, a bloatmage can temporarily access all of the bloodline powers of a given sorcerer bloodline as if she were a sorcerer of a level equaling her total arcane spellcaster level (including bloatmage levels) by consuming blood tied to that bloodline. By drinking 1 pint of fresh blood (which inflicts 1 point of Constitution damage) from a sorcerer with the given bloodline or from a creature affiliated with that bloodline, the bloatmage gains the ability to use the bloodline powers (but not bonus spells, proficiencies, and so on) as appropriate to her level for 1 hour. This ability is usable once per day and drinking the blood normally requires a full minute, but bloatmages with the Brew Potion feat can distill the blood into a potion-sized draught that can be stored and consumed as a standard action.

Any bloodlines absorbed are in addition to the original bloodline of a bloatmage with sorcerer levels. Though the bloatmage gains no physical nourishment from drinking blood, this practice is likely responsible for many of the stories linking bloatmages and vampires.

In addition to sorcerers of the given bloodline, the following list presents a few examples of creatures whose blood is considered affiliated to a bloodline. There may be others who work equally well, at the GM’s discretion.

  • Aberrant: any aberration.
  • Abyssal: any chaotic evil outsider.
  • Arcane: any arcane caster, or any creature with an arcane spell or spell-like ability of at least 3rd-level.
  • Celestial: any good outsider.
  • Destined: any creature able to cast divination spells.
  • Draconic: any dragon or creature with the dragon type.
  • Elemental: any creature with an elemental or energy subtype (air, cold, earth, fire, water), provided it has flesh and blood (such as a salamander, but not a fire elemental).
  • Fey: any fey or gnome.
  • Infernal: any lawful evil outsider.
  • Undead: any undead creature with flesh and blood (such as vampires or ghouls, but not skeletons).
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers. Copyright 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: James L. Sutter.

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