Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Role Aids' Archmage: A Conversion for OD&D

by Scott Moore

Several years ago, Mayfair Games released a box set called Archmagic under their Role Aids imprint. Role Aids were products intended for use as generic expansions for use with any fantasy RPG system, although they were generally written from the perspective of AD&D rules. Archmagic included rules for introducing with high-level magic into a campaign, including spells of levels 10 through 15. Also presented in the box set was the Archmage subclass - an option for high-level spell casters looking to further refine their art. The details of the character class were written in terms of the AD&D rules set and cannot directly be used for a Mystara-based OD&D campaign without significant modification. For campaigns looking to explore the possibilities of even more potent magic in their world, the following conversion of the Archmage class is presented for use under the original D&D rules.

Class Details

Prime Requisite: As per Magic Users. Archmage is considered a sub-class of Magic User.

Minimum Scores: Strength 11, Intelligence 17, Wisdom 17, Dexterity 14, Constitution 14. 36th level Magic Users with an 18 Wisdom may use the Wish spell to increase their abilities to these minimums if need be.

Hit Dice: Archmages gain 1 hit point per level. Constitution modifiers no longer apply.

Armour: As per Magic Users.

Weapons: As per Magic Users.

Maximum Level: 18; These levels are in addition to any previous levels earned in the Magic User class.

Other Requirements: At least 17 levels in the Magic User class. A Magic User who takes a level in the Archmage subclass permanently changes their character class to Archmage and can no longer gain additional levels in the Magic User character class. For this reason, some characters prefer to wait until they have reached 36th level before switching to the Archmage class, forcing themselves to master the traditional disciplines of magic first. Those who seek the quick road to glory and power, however, can always switch to the Archmage class after reaching 17th level as a Magic User (effectively making 18th level their first level in Archmage).

Special Abilities

Spellcraft: Not applicable in D&D.

Magic Resistance: An Archmage is resistant to the spells of lower-level Magic Users. The chance that a spell cast against the Archmage will fail is equal to the Archmage's level plus 17 as a percentage. This ability is checked against spells cast by any Magic User of level 16 plus the Archmage's level or lower. For example, a 7th level Archmage has a 24% resistance to spells cast by a 23rd level or lower Magic User.

Detect Magic: 100-foot radius, as described in the Archmagic Gamemaster Sourcebook, page 7. The GM may decide to reduce this ability to a range of 60-foot radius to have it function identically to the spell of the same name.

Divination Alert: As described in the Archmagic Gamemaster Sourcebook, page 7.

Spontaneous Spellcasting: At 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, and 16th levels, the Archmage may select one first level spell he can cast at will, ignoring the need for any verbal, material, or somatic components. The specific spell is chosen when the appropriate level is reached and must be a spell the Archmage normally has access to.

Magical Radiation: As described in the Archmagic Gamemaster Sourcebook, page 7.

Level Progression

Class Progression: Archmages add their levels in Archmage and Magic User together (up to a maximum of 36) for determining saving throws, combat tables, spell progressions, and caster level.

XP Cost: Each level in Archmage costs 375,000 XP above the required amount of XP for the previous level. For instance, A 17th level Magic User switching to the Archmage subclass would gain his first level in Archmage at 1,875,000 XP, his second at 2,250,000 XP, etc.

Overall Level Limits: Note that a character that switches to the Archmage class at his very first opportunity can only reach a maximum of 35th level (17 Magic User levels plus 18 Archmage levels). This in no way should restrict a character's eligibility for pursuing immortality, should they decide to do so. Characters who switch to the Archmage subclass after reaching 36th level in the Magic User class can reach a maximum of 54 character levels. At this point, the character may be considered to have completed the Sphere of Energy's path to Immortality, that of the Paragon.

For campaigns with Magic Users that have already gained experience beyond 36th level, such characters can be "grandfathered" in with levels of Archmage added based on their XP total. This represents the additional focus such characters have applied to their magical studies.

Introducing Archmagic On Mystara

Most Archmages will be found either in Alphatia or in Glantri City, as these are the two locations in the Known World likely to have available the volume of magical resources one would study in pursuit of such a path. In a post-"Wrath of the Immortals" campaign, Alphatian Archmages in the Hollow World may be working on restoring their continent to the outside world.

Blackmoor artifacts, such as an item from the Comeback Inn in the Broken Lands, the Radiance in Glantri City, or any relic from the Beagle, may be required components for higher-level archmagics, making the search for spell components a quest in itself.

Bargle the Infamous was last reported to be 28th level. As power hungry as he is known to be, it is quite possible that Bargle is actually a 17th level Magic User and an 11th level Archmage, which would make him capable of casting up to 13th level spells. He may very well be hiding somewhere, biding his time, plotting a most horrible revenge against those who sided against him during the fall of Black Eagle Barony.

After missing for decades and presumed dead, a mysterious individual claiming to be Zelligar the Unknown could return to Quasqueton with stories of having witnessed dark and horrible rituals that may place the world itself in jeopardy. Alternately, his partner Rogahn the Fearless may return instead, with journals and artifacts documenting Zelligar's annihilation at the hands of backfiring archmagics.

Archmage Level Magic Resistance Max Caster Level (for Magic Resistance) Special
1 18% 17 Detect Magic, Divination Alert, Magical Radiation
2 19% 18  
3 20% 19  
4 21% 20 Spontaneous Spellcasting (1 1st level spell), Can cast 10th level spells
5 22% 21  
6 23% 22 Can cast 11th level spells
7 24% 23 Spontaneous Spellcasting (2 1st level spells)
8 25% 24 Can cast 12th level spells
9 26% 25  
10 27% 26 Spontaneous Spellcasting (3 1st level spells), Can cast 13th level spells
11 28% 27  
12 29% 28 Can cast 14th level spells
13 30% 29 Spontaneous Spellcasting (4 1st level spells)
14 31% 30 Can cast 15th level spells
15 32% 31  
16 33% 32 Spontaneous Spellcasting (5 1st level spells)
17 34% 33  
18 35% 34