The Arcane Battlehand
[D&D Prestige Class]

The Arcane Battlehand
Arcane battlehands blend arcana with combat, focusing on using touch spells to devastating effect in melee combat.

Most arcane battlehands are bards, sorcerers, or witches, or wizards, often multiclassed with a martial class.

To qualify to become an arcane battlehand (ArBh), a character must fulfill all the following criteria.

Base Attack Bonus: +3.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (Light), Combat Casting, Touch Focus, Touch Spell.
Spells: The character must be able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells.

Game Rule Information
Arcane battlehands have the following game statistics.

Base Attack Bonus: Average (as a dragon disciple).
Hit Die: d6.
Saves: Good Will / Poor Fortitude and Reflex.
Class Skills: The arcane battlehand's class skills are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Knowledge (Arcane) (Int), Sleight of Hand (Dex), and Spellcraft (Int). Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Intelligence modifier.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the arcane battlehand prestige class.

Weapons and Armor Proficiency: Arcane battlehands gain no additional weapon or armor proficiencies.

  1. Arcane Gauntlet, Mage of the Hand [+1], Spellcasting [+1 Spellcasting]
  2. Metasomatics [-1] [+1 Spellcasting]
  3. Penetrating Touch [-2] [+1 Spellcasting]
  4. Mage of the Hand [+2/-0/-0/-1]
  5. Fingermagic [+1 Spellcasting]
  6. Metasomatics [-2], Penetrating Touch [+3] [+1 Spellcasting]
  7. Mage of the Hand [+3/-0/-1/-2] [+1 Spellcasting]
  8. Touch Weapon
  9. Penetrating Touch [+4] [+1 Spellcasting]
  10. Mage of the Hand [+4/-1/-2/-3], Metasomatics [-3] [+1 Spellcasting]

Arcane Gauntlet
The arcane battlehand revels in the battle of the frontlines, delivering touch spells alongside her more martial companions. She can ignore arcane spell failure when casting spells with a range of touch or personal while wearing Light armor. If she can already cast arcane spells in Light armor without incurring spell failure, she can now cast touch and personal spells in Medium armor without incurring spell failure. Normal arcane spell failure applies when wearing any other armor or when casting any spells with any other range.

Mage of the Hand [1st/4th/7th/10th level]
Her touch spells become increasingly devastating while her ranged spells grow incrementally weaker. At 1st level, the arcane battlehand adds a +1 bonus to the DC of all her spells with the range of touch. At 4th level, this bonus increases to +2, but she incurs a –1 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a Long range. At 7th level, this bonus increases to +3, but she incurs a –1 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a Medium range and a –2 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a Long range. At 10th level, the bonus to the DC of her touch spells increases to +4, but she incurs a –1 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a Close range, a –2 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a Medium range, and a –3 penalty to the DC of all her spells with a range of Long. Mage of the Hand stacks with all feats.

Spellcasting [1st/2nd/3rd/5th/6th/7th/9th/10th level]
At the indicated levels, the arcane battlehand gains spellcasting ability as if she had gained a level in the class that met the Spells requirement of this prestige class. If she has more than one class that meets that requirement, she must choose the one to benefit from this progression.

Metasomatics [2nd/6th/10th level]
The arcane battlehand alters and finesses her touch spells with dizzying ease. When applying any Metamagic feat (except Still Spell) to a spell with a range of touch, she reduces by +1 the higher spell level required by the feat (to a minimum of +0), and casting the spell without preparation does not incur the normal metamagic penalty to casting time. She reduces by +2 the spell level cost at 6th level and by +3 at 10th level (to a minimum of +0). When casting any other spells, normal metamagic rules apply.

Penetrating Touch [3rd/6th/9th level]
The arcane battlehand's touch bypasses magical defenses. Her hands are considered magical weapons for the purposes of overcoming a creature's damage reduction and, when casting spells with the range of touch, she gets a +2 bonus on caster level checks made to overcome a creature's spell resistance. This caster level bonus increases by +1 at 6th level (to +3) and every three levels thereafter. Penetrating Touch stacks with all Spell Penetration feats.

Fingermagic [5th level]
She can channel her touch spells through individual fingers. A number of times per day equal to 1 + half her arcane battlehand level, she can simultaneously cast two spells with a range of touch and deliver them both with a single touch attack. The spells can be of a combined spell level no higher than her arcane battlehand level (cantrips are considered to have half a spell level), and the time to cast both spells is equal to the longest casting time of the spells selected.

Expending additional daily uses of Fingermagic allows her to cast additional touch spells simultaneously; for each additional daily use of Fingermagic expended, she can cast another spell at the same time (to a maximum of 5 spells) and the maximum combined spell level increases by 2. For example, a 6th level arcane battlehand can expend three of her four daily uses of Fingermagic to deliver four touch spells simultaneously (2+1+1) with a combined spell level equal to 10 (6+2+2), such as contagion, shocking grasp, touch of idiocy, and vampiric touch.

Touch Weapon [8th level]
The arcane battlehand's touch extends to her weapon. Three times per day, she can channel any touch spell attack through any melee weapon in which she is proficient. Touch Weapon cannot be combined with Fingermagic.

Epic Arcane Battlehand: The epic-level arcane battlehand continues her Hit Die, skill point, Fingermagic, and Penetrating Touch progressions. In addition, she receives bonus epic feats at 13th level and every three levels thereafter (13th, 16th, 19th, 22nd, etc.).

History: Originally posted on the Wizards of the Coast message boards in December, 2003.

Board Link: To feedback on this class posted on the Wizards of the Coast message boards.


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