Magician Class for Shadowdark RPG

sean f. smith / he, him
3 min readSep 17, 2023

Pick a talent, any talent.

painted woodcut showing a man with a big hat stood behind a table with various arcane symbols upon it

Magician Class

You have read the ancient tomes, but these are the works of jugglers and theatricians. Through your observation, calculation, and a soupçon of sincerity, you are able to replicate powers primal and arcane.

  • Weapons: Dagger, dart, oil, staff
  • Armour: Any armour, no shields
  • Hit Points: 1d4 per level

Conjurer of Cheap Tricks. You know a number of “spells” from the priest and wizard spell lists, though you replicate their effects with mundane methods. At least one of these spells should be randomly determined and no two spells can share initials (eg. you cannot have Mage Armour and Magic Missile).

The number of spells known equals your level plus your Charisma modifier, if positive, and the spells cannot be of a higher tier than your Charisma modifier. For casting magician spells, see Trick Spellcasting below.

The Large Action Covers the Small. By choosing not to move on your turn, you can cause visual distraction that gives advantage to an appropriate Dexterity, Wisdom, or Charisma check. (Yes to picking pockets, no to picking locks.)

Never Repeat a Trick. When repeating an action in quick succession, you have advantage each time you use a different method.

Magician Talents

  • 2. In places where you live, it costs half as much gp to pay off your materials deficit.
  • 3–5. Gain +1 to melee attacks or AC.
  • 6–8. Gain +1 to trick spellcasting checks.
  • 9–11. Gain +2 to Charisma or Wisdom.
  • 12. Choose any talent or +2 points to distribute among your stats.

Trick spellcasting

When most cast spells, they invoke magic to affect things. You appear to do the same, but use subterfuge, preparations, and misconceptions.

Genuine spellcasters use the raw power of creation to power their spells. You instead use a collection of commonplace yet obscure materials, which you must restock after casting. These materials can be sought from any civilised location bigger than a single-room inn. Keep a tally of your running deficit, since this increases the range of a critical failure.

To trick cast a spell you know, check a spellcasting by rolling 1d20 + your Charisma modifier. The DC is 10 + the spell tier. Spellcasting this way uses your action.

Results

If you succeed on your spellcasting check, the spell takes effect. Roll Xd6, where X is the tier of the spell, and increase your materials deficit by that amount of gp.

If you fail your spellcasting check, the spell does not take effect unless you increase your materials deficit by the value on the dice.

Critical success

If you roll a natural 20 on the spellcasting check, you are able to “cast” the spell without consuming materials.

Critical failure

If you roll a natural 1 on your spellcasting check, your “spell” fails and it becomes clear to all present that you are using underhand methods. You’ve disadvantage on spellcasting rolls until you have a meal and a rest.

As you accumulate material deficit, the range for critical failure increases to that value on the natural d20 roll. For example, with five gp’s material deficit, you’ll critically fail on a natural roll of 1–5.

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Magician Class is an independent product published under the Shadowdark RPG Third-Party License and is not affiliated with The Arcane Library, LLC. Shadowdark RPG © 2023 The Arcane Library, LLC.

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