Pale Master

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  • Pale Master information on NWNWiki

Pale Masters are the true lords of necromancy and the undead. They possess excellent instant kill abilities.


HG Customization

  • Legendary BAB: +9
  • Languages: Pale masters can speak Magic and Necromantic. To speak it, use the command /l magic [message] to speak a single line in Magic, or /l necromantic [message] to speak a single line in Necromantic. Use !speak magic or !speak necromantic to speak Magic or Necromantic until you !speak another language or opt to !speak common.
  • Spells:
    • DC: Characters with 15 levels of pale master get a +1 bonus to necromancy and illusion DCs. This bonus increases by another +1 at 30 levels of pale master, and again at level 45, for a total maximum of +3 to DC. Legendary levels count as pale master levels for the purpose of gaining these dc increases, if the character's control class is pale master.
    • CL: Pale masters calculate caster levels differently than they used to. They add a BASE caster level to their PM caster level for that spell school. The BASE caster level is their highest character level of wizard, sorcerer, or bard, regardless of whether that class could cast the spell normally. The PM caster level is their PM level multiplied by either 1/3 (for non-necromancy or illusion spells) or 7/6 (for necromancy and illusion spells). THIS DOES NOT CHANGE SPELL PROGRESSIONS, ONLY THE CASTERLEVEL CALCULATION. Sorcerer and PM levels still do not stack for the purposes of acquiring spells, for instance.
    • Example: An 8 Bard / 22 PM casts a necromancy spell. His BASE caster level is 8, and his PM caster level is 7/6 * 22, or 25. His total caster level is 33 (8 BASE + 25 PM). If he was casting a non-necromantic, non-illusory spell, the BASE would still be 8, but the PM caster level would be 1/3*22, or 7, for a total caster level of 8 BASE + 7 PM = 15. The game engine always rounds down, so the 'bonus' PM caster levels are acquired every 6 levels of PM. Likewise, for non-necromantic, non-illusory spells, caster levels are acquired every three levels.
    • So, what do these caster levels affect? They ALWAYS affect spell penetration, and USUALLY effect duration, damage, and other effects. The only reason they wouldn't effect these other variables is that some spells have their effects capped at a lower level. Horrid Wilting, for instance, maxes out at 30 caster levels with respect to damage. Vampiric Touch, on the other hand, does not.
    • Pale masters specifically do not gain their caster level benefit for the Ethereal Visage spell.
    • At level 20, Pale masters get a boosted Death Armor, doing up to 45 +1d6 dmg at maximum caster level (does 1/caster level + 1d6), and lasting ten times as long.
    • Bestow Curse and Power word, kill are now treated as necromancy spells, for the purposes of calculating caster level and effects for pale masters, however see below.
    • NOTE:Barring the Transmutation school WILL block use of the Bestow Curse spell so it is worth bearing this in mind if you choose to specialise.
  • Lich Transformation: - At Pale Master 20, characters can find a set of items which will allow them to transform into a Lich, changing appearance and gaining a new ability, Lichsong. Note: This appearance change resets you to medium size allowing a previously small character (Gnome, Halfling, etc) to use a staff and a shield.
    • The Lichsong ability has the Summon Creature II-IX spells on it. Wizard Pale Masters must have the identical spells memorized to use Lichsong (Sorcerer Pale Masters use only spell slots).
    • The Summon Creature IX ability casts Curse Song at the caster's Pale Master level, including legendary levels. Summon Creature VIII subtracts 5 levels from this; VII 10 levels, and so on down to Summon Creature II at 35 levels below the caster's Pale Master level.
    • See the Bard journal entries for details on Curse Song.
    • Characters that have undergone the transformation gain the Waterbreathing Survival Abilities ability and see 'Undocumented' below for other effects.
  • Lifeblight: If a character gains 30 levels of Pale master, not counting legendary levels, and has completed the lich transformation, he can gain this nefarious power. It is the equivalent of casting a vampiric touch on every enemy in the area of effect, and scales with legendary levels, as a necromantic spell, meaning that a 10 wizard 50 pale master casts it at 68th level.
  • Bone Skin: Pale Masters receive +2 base AC at level 1. For every 4 levels thereafter, they receive 2 more AC, as normal. If, however, they have at least 25 base Strength or Dexterity, AC above the base +2 is halved to 1 point of AC per 4 levels.
  • Deathless Master Touch: At Pale Master 11, the DC on the Touch becomes 15 + (Pale Master level including LL - 10), reaching 55 at Pale Master 50. At Pale Master 30 (not including LL), the Touch can be used an unlimited number of times per day.
  • Deathless Mastery: Instead of receiving full critical hit immunity at level 10, Pale Masters gain sneak attack immunity. At Pale Master 11 they gain 10% critical immunity which converts criticals into non-criticals 10% of the time. For each Pale Master level above 11 this increases another 10%, becoming full critical hit immunity at Pale Master 20.
  • Pale Masters use a different version of Dragon Knight when casting from the feat which summons a Dracolich of varying power.
  • Undocumented: Pale Masters are immune to the instant death effects of Living Sands in the Desert of Vashyk, therefore Levitation is not required by Pale Masters to survive in this zone.

Learning Spells

Wizard-based Pale Masters cannot learn new spells when taking PM levels, but only when taking Wizard levels. Even without a splash class, this means that only 20 spells can be learned at level-up (for each non-Wizard level taken reduce the amount by two), while others need to be learned from scrolls. HG Enhanced spells and certain NWN standard spells cannot be (easily) scribed to scrolls, and should be learned at level-up. Some spells that are useful to Pale Masters that should be learned when taking Wizard levels:

Level 2

Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

The HG enhanced level 9 Pale Master spell "Soul Bind" is granted for free by the Spell Pedestal in Docks of Ascension if the character has the level 9 spell Energy Drain, which can be scribed.

Buffs and Protection Spells

Pale masters have reduced caster levels for all spells outside of Necromancy and Illusion. This effects several of the spells commonly used for buffing and protection by Wizards.

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

Level 7

Level 8

  • Greater Sanctuary Still useful although casts at a lower level so duration is reduced, effect can also be duplicated by various items and potions making it less required than it historically was.
  • Premonition - Cast at low caster levels and is much less useful.

Level 9

Building a Pale Master

A Wizard based Pale Master should specialize in Necromancy or Illusion for more DC on their spells. Necromancy is most common because it has many more applicable spells. Two schools must be barred to choose a specialization. Several spells are issues for Pale Masters and should be considered when choosing barred schools:

  • Abjuration - Contains multiple useful debuff spells and the Epic Mass Spell Destruction and Paragon Drawmij's Preclusion are worth fitting in to a PM build if possible.
  • Conjuration - Black Blade of Disaster is a Conjuration spell, can be replaced with the Evocation spell Shelgarn's Persistent Blade although this is not as durable, Evard's Black Tentacles (ignores SR) and the Conjuration Epic Bigby Swarm is also useful.
  • Divination - Power word, kill is a divination spell, but is treated as a Necromancy spell for Pale Masters. Barring divination will not prevent Pale Masters from using this spell but will potentially limit its affect on creatures that require having Greater Spell Focus (or higher) to pierce their resistance to Death Magic.
  • Enchantment - However Vocalize is an enchantment spell
  • Evocation - Several useful spells exist in this school including Ice Storm (no save to reduce damage therefore not affected by lower DC)
  • Transmutation - Bestow Curse and Greater Sanctuary are Transmutation spells.

Note however the effect for Greater Sanctuary can be replicated through a property on several items or a Potion of Etherealness and the Black Blade of Disaster can be summoned through rods purchased in the Stygia hell shop which may affect your decisions as to what schools you want to bar.

The reduced caster level of Pale Master spells outside of Necromancy and Illusion limits options for elemental damage spells. However, the spells Shades, Greater Shadow Conjuration and Shadow Conjuration provide access to several elemental damage spells at full caster level.

Artifact Usage

Pale Masters can benefit from either The Eye of Vecna +2 Intelligence and permanent Confusion immunity or The Sigil of Mystra +1 Spell Penetration artifacts your choice as to which you decide to use depending on what you value more.

Pale Master Types

Wizard based Pale Masters are generally built by taking 30 levels of Pale Master. For a "Pure" Pale Master, the remaining 10 levels are all Wizard Levels. Many Pale Masters choose to take a reduced number of Wizard Levels (usually 9) and add in a splash class. The main sources of differences between builds is whether or not they use robes or heavy armour, see below for more details.

With a Rogue level Pale Masters can fulfil all Rogue functions including Search, Disable Trap and Open Lock. This requires careful planning to ensure that the Open Lock skill can be raised to 127 and may require skill focus feats, the Int based skills Search & Disable Traps will easily hit the 127 value even with average gear.

One disadvantage of this build is that unlike a Sorcerer your spell slots and books are associated with gear and changing armor/amulet/gloves, etc. to maximise these skills can mean that you have to re-memorise spells when you re-equip caster gear. Probably not an issue for searching though as this is an Intelligence based skill you will only have to make minimal gear changes to hit maximum points.

You will also need to find an item with Shield Proficiency (as this is not a Rogue Feat) and unless you have actually taken the Feat you will find any shield you were using will be unequipped when logging in as this is validated before any item added feats are checked.

Adding in a Cleric (or some other heavy armor wearing class) facilitates using a Shield and Heavy Armour. This also requires the still spell feat line (or finding gear with % Spell Failure reduction matching that of the gear you are wearing) if you do not want to suffer from the arcane spell failure check. This will give significantly higher physical immunities and access to a couple of PM specific heavy armour items including the Plate of Anubis which changes the Finger of Death spell to an AoE type spell.

Taking a level of Ranger gives you a bonus feat (can be used for Greater Spell Focus) and access to Discipline, Search, several other potentially useful skills and Shield proficiency.

Taking two levels of Blackguard in addition to giving you Heavy Armour and Shield proficiency can increase your saves significantly however to do this you will need to take five ranks in the Hide skill (not too difficult as you will likely have plenty of skill points to spare) and the Cleave feat (potentially also the Power Attack feat as this is a prerequisite for Cleave in most cases).

Taking a level of Paladin in addition to giving you Heavy Armour and Shield proficiency can increase your saves significantly however in this case you will not be able to use the The Eye of Vecna as this will irrevocably change your alignment to Evil.

Note: Any builds where you intend to maximise skills from a splash should be Elf base race as this will give you the Able Learner ability allowing any cross-class skills to be maximised to 63 in Legendary Levels (assuming you have enough skill points to spare). For this reason it is better to get maximum Intelligence as soon as possible over taking spell feats so that you optimise your skill points pool (particularly relevant if you are reincarnating a character). This tends to mean that Genie is the preferred subrace for Pale Masters as Negatai is restricted to Human and Genie allows the use of any base race..

  • Sorcerer PM:

Sorcerer Pale Masters are not very popular, although the Staff of Forsaken Sorcery from Aboleths is designed to make these builds viable

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