Latest NewsKefka Icon

Home > Classes > Core Classes >

Black Mage

Beyond the veil of the mundane hide the secrets of absolute power. The works of beings beyond mortals, the legends of realms where gods and spirits tread, the lore of creations both wondrous and terrible—such mysteries call to those with the ambition and the intellect to rise above the common folk to grasp true might. Such is the path of the black mage. These shrewd magic-users seek, collect, and covet esoteric knowledge, drawing on cultic arts to work wonders beyond the abilities of mere mortals. While some might choose a particular field of magical study and become masters of such powers, others embrace versatility, reveling in the unbounded wonders of all magic. In either case, black mages prove a cunning and potent lot, capable of smiting their foes, empowering their allies, and shaping the world to their every desire.
Role: The black mage is often in a position to determine whatever role they choose. As a master of spellcasting, a black mage may fulfill many roles for the party in attack, defense or utility. Black mages usually have a high opinion of themselves, and tend to look down on other classes, though this is not always the case.
Alignment: Any
Hit Die: d6
Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gil (average 70 gil.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gil or less.
Class Skills
The black mage’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Knowledge (all) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
Skill Points Per Level: 2 + Int modifier

Table: Black Mage

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecialMPSpell Level
Type1/2BadBadGood
1st+0+0+0+2Black Magery, Spell Proficiency, Cantrips, Limit Breaks11st
2nd+1+0+0+3Elemental Shield 2, Mage Talent21st
3rd+1+1+1+3Dark Affliction, Focused Caster42nd
4th+2+1+1+4Elemental Shield 4, Elemental Seal (1/day), Mage Talent72nd
5th+2+1+1+4Black Magery, Metamagic Enhancement103rd
6th+3+2+2+5Elemental Shield 6, Innate Spell, Mage Talent153rd
7th+3+2+2+5Arcane Knowledge204th
8th+4+2+2+6Elemental Shield 8, Elemental Seal (2/day), Mage Talent274th
9th+4+3+3+6Black Magery, Innate spell345th
10th+5+3+3+7Clear Mind, Elemental Shield 10, Doublecast (1/day), Mage Talent435th
11th+5+3+3+7Loremaster, Metamagic Enhancement526th
12th+6/+1+4+4+8Elemental Shield 12, Elemental Seal (3/day), Innate spell, Advanced Mage Talent636th
13th+6/+1+4+4+8Black Magery, Selective Targets747th
14th+7/+2+4+4+9Elemental Shield 14, Advanced Mage Talent877th
15th+7/+2+5+5+9Innate Spell, Sudden Metamagic, Doublecast (2/day)1008th
16th+8/+3+5+5+10Elemental Shield 16, Elemental Seal (4/day), Advanced Mage Talent1158th
17th+8/+3+5+5+10Black Magery, Bypass Spell Resistance, Metamagic Enhancement1309th
18th+9/+4+6+6+11Elemental Shield 18, 1 MP Spell (3/day), Innate Spell, Advanced Mage Talent1479th
19th+9/+4+6+6+11Shaped Area1639th
20th+10/+5+6+6+12Elemental Shield 20, Black Wizard, Doublecast (3/day), Elemental Seal (5/day), Advanced Mage Talent1809th

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the black mage.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Black Mages are proficient with the dagger, sling, power rod, power staff, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield. Heavier armor interferes with a black mage’s movements, which can cause his spells with somatic components to fail.

Limit Breaks (Su)

At 1st level, the black mage receives the Limit Breaks (Mana Wall and Ultima Beam).

Mana Wall (Su): This Limit Break shields the black mage from damage by using his MP pool at a rate of 5 damage per magic point. This Limit Break lasts for a duration of 1 round + 1 round per four black mage levels after 1st and the black mage has no control over it. If the black mage is out of MP, the Limit Break ends prematurely and the black mage takes damage as normal. This limit break requires only a swift action.

Ultima Beam (Su): This Limit Break allows the black mage to shoot a blast of energy in a line up to 60 feet which then explodes in a 20-ft.-radius burst. It deals 1d6 points of non-elemental damage per black mage level, a Reflex save (DC 10 + half of the black mage’s level + his Intelligence modifier) for half damage.

Spells

A black mage casts black magic spells which are drawn the black mage spell list. A black mage begins play with 3 1st level black mage spells of his choice. The black mage also selects a number of additional 1st-level spells equal to his Intelligence modifier to add to his list of spells. Each time a character attains a new black mage level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his list of spells. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast. Like most mages, a black mage can find or purchase scrolls with spells to add to his repertoire.

To learn or cast a spell, the black mage must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level (Int 11 for 1st-level spells, Int 12 for 2nd-level spells, and so forth). The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a black mage’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the black mage’s Intelligence modifier. In addition, a black mage gains additional MP for having a high attribute (Intelligence—see Table: Bonus MP per Day (by Spell Level) on the MP System page).

Black Magery (Ex)

At 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level, a black mage increases his power with his spells. At each such opportunity, he can choose from the list of the following (with a maximum of 2 per):

  • Elemental Mastery: This increases the black mage’s caster level by 1 for all spells with an elemental descriptor.
  • Increased Damage: This increases any damage spell the black mage casts by 1 extra die of the appropriate type. This allows you to overcome any damage cap a spell might restrict you to.
  • Spell Mastery: This increases the DC for all of the black mage’s spells by 1.
  • Spell Penetration: This increases the black mage’s caster level checks by 1 made to overcome a creature’s spell resistance. This stacks with the Spell Penetration feat.

Spell Proficiency (Ex)

Black mages are considered to have the Precise Shot feat while casting spells or using any magical items that require ranged touch.

Cantrips

Black mages learn a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they do not consume MP and may be used again. Black mages begin with 4 0-level spells and gain an additional 0-level spell every three levels after 1st level.

Elemental Shield (Su)

At 2nd level, a black mage can use his knowledge of the elements and shield allies for a brief duration. As an immediate action, a black mage can shield himself and allies within 30 feet from elemental damage, gaining Elemental Resistance equal to the elemental shield number to all elements for the round. A black mage may use elemental shield a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Intelligence modifier (minimum of 1).

Mage Talents

As a black mage gains experience, he learns a number of talents that assist him in manipulating spells and other forms of magic. At 2nd level and every two levels thereafter, a black mage gains one mage talent. A black mage cannot select an individual talent more than once. Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a black mage’s spellcasting ability. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual spell and the decision must be made before the spell is cast.

  • A complete list of mage talents can be found here: Mage Talents

Dark Affliction (Su)

At 3rd level, any black magic enfeebling spells that the black mage casts provide a penalty to saving throws against that status effect equal to the spell level of the spell for 1 round.

Focused Caster (Ex)

Beginning at 3rd level, a black mage may roll twice on any concentration check and take the higher result.

Elemental Seal (Ex)

Beginning at 4th level, a black mage can increase the potency of his next elemental spell as a swift action, so long as the casting time of the spell is 1 standard action or less. The next elemental spell the black mage casts deals half again as much damage as normal and any elemental resistance the target(s) of this spell has is lessen by half as well. He can use this ability once per day and every four levels thereafter, he gains an additional use.

Metamagic Enhancement (Su)

A black mage is a master at manipulating magical forces. At 5th level, as a free action, he reduces the cost of any metamagic feat known by one MP less than standard. For example, a 5th level black mage casts a spell with the Empower feat for 1 extra MP cost higher than the original spell. The metamagic enhancement can only be applied to one enhancement per spell. This ability does not affect the Heighten Spell feat. At 11th level and 17th level, the adjusted MP cost is reduced one additional MP. The adjusted enhancement can never reduce the base spell below its original level. A black mage may use this ability a number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier.

Arcane Knowledge (Ex)

Beginning at 7th level, a black mage adds half his class level (minimum 1) to all Knowledge skill checks.

Innate Spells (Sp)

As the black mage’s mastery of magic grows deeper, he learns to cast a small number of spells without spending magic points. Beginning at 6th level, a black mage may select one 1st-level black magic spell he knows and is able to cast. He may now cast this spell once per day as a spell-like ability without needing to spend MP. The caster level for this spell is equal to the black mage’s caster level. At 9th level and every three levels thereafter (12th, 15th, and 18th level), the black mage may select an additional spell which he can cast once per day as a spell-like ability. The maximum spell level which can be chosen at each of these intervals is indicated on the table below.

Table: Innate Spells

LevelMaximum Spell Level
6th1st
9th2nd or lower
12th3rd or lower
15th4th or lower
18th5th or lower

Clear Mind (Ex)

At 10th level, a black mage can regain his MP quicker. The black mage must be relaxed and must be free from overt distractions, such as combat raging nearby or other loud noises. The black mage regains MP equaling his Intelligence modifier per hour.

Doublecast (Su)

At 10th level, a black mage can cast two spells using one standard action. Both of the spells must have the same casting time. The black mage can make any decisions concerning the spells independently of each other. Any target affected by both of the spells takes a –4 penalty on saves made against each spell. A black mage receives a +4 bonus on caster level checks made to overcome spell resistance with these two spells. The black mage may use this ability once per day at 10th level and one additional time per day at 15th and 20th level.

Loremaster (Ex)

At 11th level, the black mage becomes a master of lore and can take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that he has ranks in. A black mage can choose not to take 10 and can instead roll normally. In addition, once per day, the black mage can take 20 on any Knowledge skill check as a standard action.

Advanced Mage Talents

At 12th, and every two levels thereafter, a black mage learns further talents to assist him in manipulating spells and other forms of magic. He may choose one of the following advanced mage talents in place of a mage talent. Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a black mage’s spellcasting ability. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual spell and the decision must be made before the spell is cast.

Selective Targets (Su)

At 13th level, the black mage may select up to one target per point of Intelligence bonus to exclude from any area-of-effect spell cast, or double the number of targets affected by a spell. In the first application, the targets are engulfed in the effect, but do not suffer any of the effects. This is a target-based exclusion; other opponents sharing the excluded target’s space are still affected by the spell. In the second case, when a spell description specifies an effect of “one creature per level,” the black mage may instead affect up to two creatures per level.

Sudden Metamagic (Su)

At 15th level, the black mage may apply any single metamagic feat that he knows to a 6th-level spell or lower that he is about to cast. This does not alter the level of the spell or the MP cost. The black mage can apply a metamagic feat in this way a number of times per day equal to his Intelligence modifier.

Bypass Spell Resistance (Ex)

At 17th level, the black mage’s command of magic is such that he may unravel a creature’s natural resistance to magic. A black mage may reduce a target’s spell resistance by his black mage level, once per day per target. In addition, a black mage ignores energy resistance equal to half his caster level.

1 MP Spell (Su)

At 18th level, three times per day, as a free action, a black mage can reduce the cost of his next spell to 1 MP. The use of this ability cannot be used with metamagic feats.

Shaped Area (Su)

At 19th level, a black mage can alter areas of effect for spells that use one of the following shapes: burst, cone, cylinder, emanation, or spread. The alteration consists of creating spaces within the spell’s area or effect that are not subject to the spell. The minimum dimension for these spaces is a 5 ft. cube. Furthermore, any shapeable spells have a minimum dimension of 5 ft. instead of 10 ft. He can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + his Intelligence modifier.

Black Wizard (Su)

At 20th level, a black mage becomes the pinnacle of black magic. The black mage gains the following abilities:

  • Any enfeebling spells cast removes one beneficial spell of the highest level with a successful caster level check against the caster of the spell.
  • Any elemental spells cast gains a bonus to damage rolls equal to the black mage’s Intelligence modifier.
  • Any attacks (including magical ranged touch spells) now deal an additional 1d6 points of shadow damage and grants a +5 bonus to attack rolls against any creature that the black mage misses on his next attack roll.

Favored Class Options

Instead of receiving an additional skill rank or hit point whenever they gain a level in a favored class, some races have the option of choosing from a number of other bonuses, depending upon their favored classes. The following options are available to the listed race who have black mage as their favored class, and unless otherwise stated, the bonus applies each time you select the listed favored class reward.

  • Antica: Add +1/2 point of earth damage to spells that deal earth damage cast by the black mage.
  • Dwarf: Select one item creation feat known by the black mage. Whenever he crafts an item using that feat, the amount of progress he makes in an 8-hour period increases by 200 gil (50 gil if crafting while adventuring). This does not reduce the cost of the item; it just increases the rate at which the item is crafted.
  • Elvaan:  Add +1/2 point of earth damage to spells that deal earth damage cast by the black mage.
  • Galka: Select one item creation feat known by the black mage. Whenever he crafts an item using that feat, the amount of progress he makes in an 8-hour period increases by 200 gil (50 gil if crafting while adventuring). This does not reduce the cost of the item; it just increases the rate at which the item is crafted.
  • GoblinAdd +1/2 point of fire damage to spells that deal fire damage cast by the black mage.
  • Guado: The black mage gains +1/6th of a mage talent.
  • Hume: Add one spell known from the black mage spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the black mage can cast.
  • Hypello: Add one spell known with the poison or water descriptor from the geomancer’s spell list. This spell must be at least 1 level below the highest spell level the black mage can cast. The spell is treated as 1 spell level higher, unless it is also on the black mage spell list.
  • Mithra: Add a +1 bonus on Concentration checks made due to taking damage while casting black mage spells.
  • Moogle: Select one item creation feat known by the black mage. Whenever he crafts an item using that feat, the amount of progress he makes in an 8-hour period increases by 200 gil (50 gil if crafting while adventuring). This does not reduce the cost of the item; it just increases the rate at which the item is crafted.
  • Nu Mou: Add one spell known from the black mage spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the black mage can cast.
  • OrcAdd +1/2 point of fire damage to spells that deal fire damage cast by the black mage.
  • Qu: Add a +1 bonus on Concentration checks made due to taking damage while casting black mage spells.
  • QuadavSelect one item creation feat known by the black mage. Whenever he crafts an item using that feat, the amount of progress he makes in an 8-hour period increases by 200 gil (50 gil if crafting while adventuring). This does not reduce the cost of the item; it just increases the rate at which the item is crafted.
  • Sahagin: Add +1/2 point of water damage to spells that deal water damage cast by the black mage.
  • Sylph: Add one spell known from the black mage spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the black mage can cast.
  • Tarutaru: Add +1/2 bonus on checks made to craft magic items.
  • Yagudo: Add one spell known from the black mage spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the black mage can cast.

Archetypes