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Muscle Mage

While most magi use a one-handed weapon as their melee implement of choice, one group of magi uses the quarterstaff instead. These muscle-bound magi use staves for both defense and inflicting their staves upon enemies. Skilled in manipulating these weapons with one hand or two, they eventually learn how to use arcane staves as well, and are just as formidable in combat as their sword-swinging brethren.

The muscle mage is an archetype of the black mage class.

Limited Spellcasting

A muscle mage loses access to 7th through 9th level spells and has a lower Base MP as noted below.

Table: 3/4th MP Progression

LevelBase MPSpell Level

Martial Prowess

A muscle mage’s base attack bonus increases by one step (from 1/2 BAB to 3/4 BAB). Also increases muscle mage’s hit dice from d6 to d8.

Quarterstaff Master (Ex)

At 1st level, the muscle mage gains the Quarterstaff Master feat as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the normal prerequisites. He only gains the benefit of this feat when wearing no armor or shields.

This ability replaces spell proficiency.

Resistance (Su)

At 1st level, a muscle mage can use magical energy to increase his resistance to various forms of attack. As an immediate action, a muscle mage can spend 1 MP to gain a +4 insight bonus on saving throws until the beginning of his next turn.

This ability replaces cantrips.

Resilience (Su)

At 1st level, when a muscle mage takes damage, he can spend MP to reduce its severity. As an immediate action, he can reduce the damage he is about to take by 2 hit points for every 1 MP he spends (to a maximum of his black mage level).

This ability replaces spells, but not his MP pool.

Quarterstaff Training (Ex)

At 1st level, when wielding a quarterstaff, a muscle mage gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls. The bonus improves by +1 for every four black mage levels beyond 1st. In addition, If the muscle mage has at least 1 MP in his MP pool, he gains his Intelligence modifier to his AC and CMD. He loses these bonuses when he is immobilized or helpless, when he wears any armor, when he carries a shield, or when he carries a medium or heavy load.

This ability replaces black magery.

Fighter Training (Ex)

The muscle mage learns that might makes right and learns fighter talents to help with that. Starting at 2nd level and every two black mage levels thereafter, he gains a fighter talent from the fighter list, using his black mage level for his fighter level and his quarterstaff training for the chosen weapon prerequisite for fighter talents. At 12th level and higher, the muscle mage may choose advanced fighter talents.

These abilities replace mage talents and advanced mage talents.

Path of the Quarterstaff (Ex)

At 3rd level, a muscle mage gains Weapon Focus as a bonus feat with his quarterstaff. At 6th level, the muscle mage gains Weapon Specialization with the same weapon as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the prerequisites.

This ability replaces dark affliction and innate spells.

Muscle-Bound Arcane Energy (Su)

Also, at 3rd level, if the muscle mage has at least 1 MP in his MP pool, his base attack bonus is equal to his black mage level while wielding a quarterstaff and he gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC plus an additional +1 per four black mage levels after 3rd.

This ability replaces focused caster.

Imbue Staff (Su)

Starting at 4th level, a muscle mage can imbue his quarterstaff with arcane energy, enhancing it.

At 4th level, a muscle mage can expend 1 MP as a swift action to grant his quarterstaff a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 4th, the quarterstaff gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.

At 8th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: abyssal, abyssal burst, dancing, earthen, earthen burst, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, jetstream, jetstream burst, keen, roaring, roaring burst, shock, shocking burst, or speed.

Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property’s base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the MP is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the muscle mage uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the muscle mage.

A muscle mage can only enhance one weapon in this way at one time. If he uses this ability again, the first use immediately ends.

This ability replaces elemental seal.

Quarterstaff Defense (Ex)

At 5th level, while wielding a quarterstaff, the muscle mage gains a shield bonus to his Armor Class equal to the enhancement bonus of the quarterstaff, including any enhancement bonus on that staff from his imbue staff class feature.

This ability replaces metamagic enhancement.

Staff Weapon (Su)

At 10th level, a muscle mage treats any magical staff he is wielding as a magical quarterstaff with an enhancement bonus to attack and damage equal to the staff’s caster level divided by 4 (minimum +1). The staff must have at least 1 charge for the muscle mage to use this ability. A muscle mage can restore 1 charge to a staff by expending a number of MP equal to the level of the highest-level spell in the staff. The muscle mage cannot restore charges to more than one staff per day.

This ability replaces doublecast.

Quarterstaff Mastery (Ex)

At 13th level, a muscle mage gains the Improved Critical feat with his quarterstaff as a bonus feat. At 19th level, he gains the Greater Weapon Focus feat with his quarterstaff as a bonus feat. He does not need to meet the prerequisites of either feat.

This ability replaces selective targets and shaped area.

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick (Ex)

At 15th level, when wielding a quarterstaff, a muscle mage deals damage as if it was 1 size larger. In addition, if the muscle mage has at least 1 MP in his MP pool and wielding a quarterstaff, any time he makes a full attack, he gains one additional attack. This attack is at the muscle mage’s highest base attack bonus, but each attack in the round (including the extra one) takes a –2 penalty.

This ability replaces sudden metamagic.

Improved Quarterstaff Mastery (Ex)

At 17th level, a muscle mage’s mastery over his quarterstaff improves. When wielding a quarterstaff, the critical hit range and multiplier increases by 1, this is applied after feats and class features that improve such things.

This ability replaces bypass spell resistance.

Resilient Body (Su)

At 18th level, a muscle mage’s mastery of himself lets him apply his techniques to his defense. A muscle mage that uses Resilience during a round also converts any precision damage he takes to nonlethal damage.

This ability replaces 1 mp spell.

Muscle Wizard (Su)

At 20th level, a muscle mage becomes the pinnacle of muscle-bound wizardry. He gains the following powers:

  • Damage Reduction (Su): As a swift action, at a cost of 5 MP, the muscle mage gains damage reduction of 10/- for 1 minute.
  • Elemental Resistance (Su): As a swift action, at a cost of 5 MP, the muscle mage gains elemental resistance of 10 to all elements that stacks with elemental shield for 1 minute.
  • Spell Resistance (Su): As a swift action, at a cost of 5 MP, the muscle mage gains spell resistance of 30 for 1 minute.

This ability replaces black wizard.

Muscle Mage