Prestige Archetypes: Mystic Theurge
This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
First question – what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class – so no, these classes don’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a universal archetype (wouldn’t have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don’t have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don’t want to play. So that’s definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the “prestige”-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I’m not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.
The 20-level base-class Mystic Theurge receives d6, 2+Int skills, 1/2 BAB-progression, good will-saves and proficiency with simple weapon and the deity’s favored weapon, if eligible. Now here’s the cincher – unlike Kobold Press’ take on the Mystic Theurge, this one has ONE spell-list of prepared spells to choose from – however, arcane spells are governed by int, divine spells by wis. Bonus spells are governed by the respective attributes, which means that e.g. a theurge with a high wis-score, but not so high int could only prepare divine spells as bonus spells – these are NOT cumulative. A specific explanation that they’re not would have helped here – sans close reading and watching spell-list/bonus spell interaction, that would have been impossible to determine – so this one component is somewhat opaque. If spells show up on both lists, the theurge may select in which manner to cast them. As a prepared caster, the mystic theurge requires a spellbook.
At first level, the class chooses whether to get an arcane bonded object (which can be a holy symbol!) or a familiar (auto-update to improved familiar at 7th level), spontaneous conversion of divine spells into cure/inflict spells, the cleric’s domains-ability or a wizard’s arcane school. The spells and powers granted by the domains feel a bit too much when compared to the other options, though.
1/day at 5th level, +1/day every 5 levels thereafter, a mystic theurge can cast two spells with the same casting time at once, as long as one is divine and one arcane, increasing CL to overcome SR and imposing a penalty on the target of the dual spells.
As always, we receive FCOs for the core-races and sample NPC-builds for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly significant glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
I am not a fan of theurge-spellcasting in general, but for what it’s worth, this class is pretty solid – The decreased amount of daily spells (max 4 per level sans bonus spells, spell-casting progression totaling out 3 levels behind full blown cleric and wizard, the mystic theurge pay for versatility with depth and oomph – there is simply less total spellcasting, but what’s here is extremely flexible. Unlike Kobold Press’ Theurge, this class does not fall into the trap of attempting to balance too many spell-lists and maintains a tad bit more “blasts” before it’s empty. Now the mystic theurge may not be my cup of coffee, but if you’ve been looking for a truly high-flexibility caster, then this is the go-to guy. Apart from the balance concern regarding domains (that should AT LEAST be just one domain…), no issues – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded grudgingly up to 5 for the purpose of this platform – congratulations to author Carl Cramér.