Casting Call – Foster Nikodemus – High Tech 14th Level Magus

In the coming weeks, I will be running a few short adventures for a friend in a reworked version of Monte Cook’s classic Dark Space setting, using the following PC.

These adventures are intended to test the draft rules I have worked up for the Magus and my conversions of Pathfinder’s high technology items.  I will be posting the sessions on the Dungeon Musings YouTube channel, but figured that regular readers may enjoy seeing how all these rules come together in one character.

Dark Space Redux
For those who may be curious about the setting of these adventures, the following is the pitch I sent to my buddy.

Here’s what I’m proposing as the “10 Things” breakdown for our take on Dark Space 2.0:

1) Dark Space 2.0 = Macabre Planetary Romance.
This take on the setting is swords & sorcery & sci-fi & horror, in equal parts. The galaxy is still recovering from the apocalyptic impact of the Pirathon Purging and, though civilization has returned to the Twenty Worlds (for the most part), nobody knows what has happened to the billion other inhabited planets and advanced civilizations that populated the rest of the Galaxy, before the Purging.

Rayguns and spaceships are common to the setting, but for a variety of reasons (price, reliability, etc…) a good sword still has a favored place. And, while there are organizations, like the Loremasters, that fund missions to reconnect with the Lost of the Galaxy, some urge caution, noting that the rediscovery of Dresden, the Necroworld, serves as a lesson that some things are better left undiscovered.

2) I keep my Spellbook next to my Engineering Textbook.
Magic has been around for as long as sentient species have been around (and, indeed, it most certainly predates mankind), and it developed alongside the development of science. Rather than being mutually exclusive areas of inquiry, magic and technology can and do interact freely (indeed, it is said that wizards were some of the first scientists).

However, since magic is, essentially, an individual using their skills and training to break the natural laws, and since not everyone can do that, scientists came to be more influential over time, since their discoveries often did more to benefit society, as a whole, than the discoveries of magic.

3) The Pirathon Purging.
Several thousand years ago, an extremist sect of a scientist/priests known as the Pirathon unleased a virulent pair of viruses on an unsuspecting galaxy. The two divinely augmented viruses released came to be known as the Dark and the Death…the first of which was a computer virus driven by a maliciously crafty divine spark and the second was a lethal biological agent that killed across species.

No inhabitant of the Twenty Worlds knows what happened in other parts of the Galaxy, but most inhabitants of the Twenty Worlds (well, 19 of the Worlds…Dresden was pretty much immune to the Death…) were spared extermination by the Death thanks to the divine magic of the priesthood of Immotos (a human god of discovery and exploration). This quick action left the priest of Immotos as a powerfully influential cultural force in the Post-Purging society (helped, in no small part, by the death of some rival gods when their entire body of worshippers were snuffed out by the Death and/or the effects of the Dark…).

Unfortunately, the computers were not so fortunate, and nearly all recorded knowledge was wiped out by the aggressive spread of the Dark. While some of the survivors of the Purging were able to recreate some of that lost knowledge, most complex information that required computers for calculation, such as the navigation charts used by starships, was totally lost.

In the time since, some of that information has been rediscovered by the Lorekeepers and other intrepid archaeologists, in computers that were somehow spared the effect of the Dark (indeed it was the rediscovery of a damaged, but uninfected, computer in a flooded aqua arcology on Geideri that allowed the Twenty Worlds to find each other again), and the rediscovery of this valuable knowledge is one of the key motivations behind the exploration of the “lost” areas of the Twenty Worlds and the ruins found in the Dark Space beyond.

4) Softech
The continuing threat of the Dark meant that rebuilding a society based on traditional computers would be an invitation to future disaster and, sadly, traditional biotech was susceptible to the Death, so it was not a viable alternative.

Fortunately, a somewhat unstable alternative to biotech, which came to be known as Softech, presented an alternative. Softech fused magic and biotechnology to create organisms with near-infinitely malleable, yet stable, DNA that proved remarkably resistant to the Death (the magically shifting DNA proved too slippery for the Death to get hold of), which was easily adapted for a variety of uses.

At the time of the Purging, Softech was a niche industry, used to create bizarre products for sale to the wealthy (floating pets that emitted pleasant odors and sounds, etc..), but it has since proved to be the basis for rebuilding of civilization in the Twenty Worlds.

However, nobody thought to ask whether Softtech was developed by the arcane genesplicer who first introduced it to the Twenty Worlds, or whether he/she had it given to him/her by some other creature…

5) Twenty Known Worlds
These represent the worlds that have been rediscovered, to date. Independent explorers and expeditions founded by the Loremasters try to push the boundaries of the Known Worlds into the Dark Space beyond, but without widely distributed starmaps (which some rival organizations jealously guard) or any way of knowing how the Death and the Dark may have affected the rediscovered worlds, this can be a dangerous matter of trial and error (where “error” most often means death by any one of a variety of nasty means…).

One of the things that has been utterly lost to the Dark is the means by which the Lost Galaxy used to communicate with each other. Loremasters know that there was some form of hyperspace-driven internet-type network that would relay communications from world-to-world, but nobody knows how it actually worked.

Some spacers say that they receive weird messages while travelling in hyperspace, which they attribute to the Ghost of the Hypernet, but most say that’s just superstition.

6) Hardtech is Ancient and Omnipresent
All the trappings of a rough-and-tumble sci-fi setting, like Star Wars or Firefly, are present here, though seen through a Post-Apocalyptic Softech lens.

You may have a handheld scanner, but it was likely crafted thousands of years before your birth and it features a core of Softech wiring that requires frequent nutrient baths.

You may have a “burner pistol” (slang for a plasma pistol), but it’ll be old and unreliable (since it’s cheaper to buy cartridges for an older, existing gun than to buy a brand-new one).

Also, since it wasn’t a big priority for Post-Purging society to figure out how to build hi-tech guns, manufacturers have had to try and figure out how to rebuild them, thousands of years after that knowledge passed from the minds of men, so there are still some kinks to work out in them.

Finally, you could have a ship that can get around the planet, but without either a Softech hyperspace engine (which is too large for a small ship) or a mage or psychic to power a smaller hyperspace device…you are stuck on that planet.

7) A Present based on a Fictional Past.
Post-Purging society in the Twenty Worlds tried to rebuild a civilization as close to the one they lost in the course of the Purging. Unfortunately, given the loss in life, knowledge, and technology in the course of the Purging, this has sometimes ended with results that are more poor imitations of life in the Lost Galaxy, rather than a carbon copy.

For instance, the Twenty Worlds has an Interworld Sentate, based loosely on the Intergalactic Senate of the Lost Galaxy, and an Interworld Defence Force at their disposal, but it is really just a loose alliance, like the United Nations. The IDF does have a standing army, but highly skilled members of the IDF, like your magus, are more often deployed like Old West Texas Marshals (one warrior mage, one riot) than like traditional military units.

While this is hardly ideal, the IDF has become a much sought after source of peacekeeping for much of the Twenty Worlds, so they find their resources stretched thin, a lot of the time.

8) The Pirathon.
One of the great mysteries in the Twenty Worlds is who the Pirathon were and why they unleashed the Dark and the Death. Fragments of information, found in surviving Hardtech computers have suggested that the Pirathon was an anti-technology cult, but it is not clear what  god they may have prayed to (in the D&D sense of clerics/paladins), if they even had divine backing

Whatever the case may be, every living inhabitant of the Twenty Worlds knows the name of the Pirathon and their role in bringing about the end of the civilization of the Lost Galaxy.

9) Lost Worlds.
It is estimated that only 1 in a 10,000 people survived the Purging in the Twenty Worlds, leaving vast swaths of each of the Twenty Worlds completely devoid of sentient beings (or, at least, of people).

In the thousands of years since the Purging, most efforts of the Post-Purging society has been to reconnect with the wider Lost Galaxy and rebuild their interstellar civilization, rather than to recivilize each planet. This has left many parts of the Twenty Worlds untouched and unexplored for thousands of years (some of which have been remade into savagely inhospitable climates, due to weather control satellite systems driven mad by the Dark).

The Loremasters have funded expeditions into those forgotten areas, but the survivors who return report dangerous creatures, degenerate humanoid tribes, and lethal Hardtech devices that remain potent, thousands of years after the Purging.

However, in spite of the danger, the Loremasters remain convinced that the value of the secrets that these lost areas may hold is great enough to justify the risk of plumbing the depths of these techno-ruins.

10) A New Dawn or the End of Days?
Some inhabitants of the Twenty Worlds feel that the rediscovery of the Twenty Worlds, and their alliance in forming the Interworld Senate, represents a new dawn for civilization, and the first step towards reclaiming the half-remembered splendor of the Lost Galaxy. To these folks, the Loremasters and their ilk represent the best hope for civilization.

Others, however, feel that they are the last light shining in a devastated galaxy, and that it is simply a matter of time before the Pirathon’s dark patron notices that a handful of worlds, out of the billions annihilated in the Purging, escaped the wrath of the Dark and the Death…and returns to finish what it started.

To these folks, the Loremasters represent the most significant threat to civilization, and fear that, by blindly stumbling about in the Lost Galaxy, they may bring the final doom of civilization back with them…

Foster Nikodemus is a former member of the Interworld Defence Force who has retired to work as an explorer/archaeologist for the Lorekeeper organization.

If you are curious about Foster’s name, I thought it would give the setting more “regional flavor” to set naming conventions for each world and Geideri Prime has surnames drawn from classical Greece (so last names like Achilles, Nike, Lysander) and British-sounding first names.

So something like Saint-John Thales, Elizabeth Archaeleos, or Jefferson Zoticus would be right at home on Geideri Prime.


Foster Nikodemus – Dark Space Redux
Male Human Lorekeeper Magus 14
XP 140,000
Neutral Good

Strength 11 (+0)
Dexterity 16 (+3)
Constitution 13 (+1)
Intelligence 18 (+4)
Wisdom 14 (+2)
Charisma 9 (-1)
Size: Medium
Height: 5′ 10″
Weight: 185 lbs
Skin: Light
Eyes: Grey
Hair: Black Straight

Maximum Hit Points: 87
Hit Dice: 14d8
Speed: 30 feet
Armor Class: 15 (Smart Armor – Compact Form + Dex) or 17 (Smart Armor – Expanded Form + Dex)

Proficiency bonus: +5
Initiative modifier: + 8
Attack (handheld / thrown): + 5
Attack (missile / finesse): + 8
Strength save: +0
Dexterity save: + 3
Constitution save: + 6
Intelligence save: + 9
Wisdom save: + 2
Charisma save: -1
Insight (passive): 12 (17 with advantage)
Perception (passive): 17 (22 with advantage)
Languages: Geideri Prime
Proficiency: Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, Laser Pistol, Laser Rifle, Sonic Rifle, Stun Gun, Light Armor, Medium Armor, Heavy Armor, Engineer’s Tools, Technologist, Land Mounts, Shuttlecraft

Experienced Engineer: Foster’s time with the Lorekeepers has taught him to work carefully around timeworn high technology. When you are rolling to determine how technology works (as described on page 268 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide), you can always ignore a result that would use a charge or waste an item. You still suffer any other effects of a failed roll. Further, when you attempt to learn or recall a piece of lore relating to timeworn high technology, if you do not know that information you often know where and from whom you can obtain it (though doing so may be an adventure unto itself).

Cold Bringer (Rapier +1) [+9 to hit; 1d8+4 piercing, finesse]
Fire Bolt [+8 to hit; 3d10 fire damage (range 120 feet)
Laser Pistol [+8 to hit; 1d12+3 fire damage, Ammunition (range 50/200), Semi-Automatic, Reload (Capacity: 10, 1 charge per use)
Shocking Grasp [+8 to hit; advantage on roll vs. target in metal armor, 3d8 lightning damage and target can’t take reactions until the start of its next turn]
Sonic Rifle [+8 to hit; 2d10 thunder damage, Ammunition (range 150/600), Automatic, Reload (Capacity: 20, 1 charge per use)
Unarmed strike [+3 to hit; 1 bludgeoning]

Skill Name Key Ability Skill Modifier Ability Modifier Trained? Misc. Modifier
Acrobatics Dex 3 = +3
Animal Handling Wis 2 = +2
Arcana Int 9 = +4 +5
Athletics Str 5 = +0 +5
Deception Cha -1 = -1
History Int 9 = +4 +5
Insight Wis 2 = +2
Intimidation Cha -1 = -1
Investigation Int 4 = +4
Medicine Wis 2 = +2
Nature Int 4 = +4
Perception Wis 7 = +2 +5
Performance Cha -1 = -1
Persuasion Cha -1 = -1
Religion Int 4 = +4
Sleight of Hand Dex 3 = +3
Stealth Dex 3 = +3
Survival Wis 2 = +2


  • Foster gains a +5 bonus to initiative.
  • Foster can’t be surprised while he is conscious.
  • Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against Foster as a result of being hidden from him.


  • Foster can spend 1 hour to recondition up to three pieces of timeworn technology, after which the item no longer has a chance of glitching until he completes a long rest. He can perform this reconditioning while he completes a short or a long rest.
  • Foster gains the ability to power technological items with his spell power and vice versa, as a bonus action, as set out on the table below. Once he uses this ability he must complete a short rest or a long rest before using it again. For example, as a bonus action he could expend 5 charges from a battery to gain a 3rd level spell slot.
Spell Slot Level Charges
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 5
4th 6
5th 7
  • Foster’s spells that have charm effects can affect robots, ignoring their immunity to the charmed condition. Further, his conjure spells can now be used to conjure robots.

Weapon Master:

  • Proficient with Laser Pistol, Laser Rifle, Sonic Rifle, and Stun Gun.

Foster typically uses Technologist to summon four Arachnid Robots with a conjure minor elementals spell.

Arachnid Robot

Small robot, unaligned
Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (5d6 + 5)
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
STR 8 (-1) DEX 13 (+1) CON 12 (+1) INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 1 (-5)
Skills: Athletics +2, Perception +4, Stealth +4
Damage Vulnerabilities: lightning
Damage Immunities: poison, psychic
Condition Immunities: charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 14
Languages: Common, Hallit
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)
Explode. When the arachnid robot dies, it explodes in a burst of plasma. Each creature within 5 feet of it must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) fire and lightning damage on a successful one.
Fragile. When the arachnid robot is reduced to less than 11 hit points, it suffers disadvantage on all ability checks and attack rolls.
Vulnerable to Critical Hits. When the arachnid robot is hit with a critical hit, it must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be stunned for 1 round.
The arachnid robot makes two claw attacks.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) bludgeoning damage.
Plasma Spray. The arachnid robot exhales a 15-foot cone of plasma. Each creature in that area must make a DC 11 Dexterity saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) fire and lightning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Plasma Torch.
Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 15/45, one target. Hit: 8 (2d6 + 1) fire and lightning damage.

Magus spells:

First-level castings: 4/day
Second-level castings: 3/day
Third-level castings: 3/day
Fourth-level castings: 1/day

Foster’s Cantrips are Fire Bolt, Light, Mage Hand, Shocking Grasp.
Foster can prepare 11 magus spells daily.
Foster’s Spellbook (his Wizard spells are in bold).

  • First Level spells are Detect Magic, Detect Radiation, Fog Cloud, Silent Image, Technomancy.
  • Second Level spells are Invisibility, Levitate, Scorching Ray, Web.
  • Third Level spells are Fireball, Fly, Haste, Leomund’s Tiny Hut, Lightning Bolt, Magic Circle, Recharge, Water Breathing.
  • Fourth Level spells are Arcane Eye, Conjure Minor Elementals, Fabricate, Polymorph, Remove Radioactivity.


  • The DC to resist your spells is DC 17 (8 + proficiency bonus + your intelligence modifier).
  • Spellstrike: Whenever Foster casts a magus spell or cantrip that requires a melee attack roll, he can deliver the spell through his bonded weapon instead. To do so, he takes the Attack action with a melee weapon and simultaneously casts any magus spell he has prepared or magus cantrip he knows as a bonus action. If he hits, the melee weapon attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If he rolls a critical hit, the spell damage is doubled. Spellstrike can be used once per round.
  • Spell Combat: Once per round, when he takes the Attack action, Foster can cast any non-cantrip magus spell that he has prepared as a bonus action, either before or after the Attack. If the spell is a ranged attack that would suffer Disadvantage on the attack, he can make a DC 10 Constitution check as part of the bonus action to make the ranged attack normally.
  • Arcane Pool: Foster has 14 points in his Arcane Pool. He regains all Arcane Pool points when he completes a long rest. He can expend points from his Arcane Pool as a bonus action to grant any nonmagical weapon he are holding, or his bonded weapon, a bonus to hit and damage rolls and transform the weapon into a magic weapon for a duration of Concentration, up to 1 minute. The bonus to hit and damage depends on the amount of Arcane Pool points spent, as follows.
Bonus to Hit and Damage Arcane Pool Point Cost
+1 1
+2 3
+3 6
  • Sword Magus: Foster can use his Arcane Pool abilities with magic weapons. When he does so, his Arcane Pool ability supersedes the weapon’s bonuses and abilities for the duration of the Arcane Pool ability.
  • Spell Recall: Foster may transform unspent Arcane Pool points into one spell slot as a bonus action on his turn. The table below shows the costs of creating a spell slot of a given level.
Spell Slot Level Arcane Pool Point Cost
1 1
2 3
3 5
4 6
  • Extra Attack: Foster can attack twice when he takes the Attack action.
  • Elemental Weapon: Foster can infuse his bonded weapon with primal elemental power. Foster can expend 5 points from his Arcane Pool as a bonus action to transform any nonmagical bonded weapon into a magical weapon. Choose one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. For a duration of Concentration, up to 1 hour, the weapon has a +1 bonus to attack rolls and deals an extra 1d4 damage of the chosen type when it hits
  • Knowledge Pool: As an action, Foster can transform unexpended Arcane Pool points to cast one spell from the magus spell list as if he had prepared that spell, whether he has that spell prepared or not. The table below shows the costs of casting a spell of a given level.
Spell Level Arcane Pool Point Cost
1 3
2 4
3 6
4 7

For the sake of easy reference, the Magus spell list is reproduced here:

1ST LEVEL Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb, Color Spray, Detect Magic, Earth Tremor, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Fog Cloud, Grease, Ice Knife, Jump, Longstrider, Magic Missile, Ray of Sickness, Shield, Silent Image, Tenser’s Floating Disk, Thunderwave, Unseen Servant, Witchbolt

2ND LEVEL Aganazzar’s Scorcher, Cloud of Daggers, Darkness, Enhance Ability, Enlarge/Reduce, Flaming Sphere, Gust of Wind, Invisibility, Levitate, Magic Weapon, Mirror Image, Melf’s Acid Arrow, Misty Step, Ray of Enfeeblement, Scorching Ray, Shatter, Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm, Spider Climb, Web

3RD LEVEL Blink, Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Flame Arrows, Fireball, Fly, Gaseous Form, Haste, Lightning Bolt, Major Image, Melf’s Minute Meteors, Phantom Steed, Sleet Storm, Slow, Stinking Cloud, Tidal Wave, Vampiric Touch, Water Breathing, Wind Wall

4TH LEVEL Arcane Eye, Dimension Door, Elemental Bane, Evard’s Black Tentacles, Fire Shield, Greater Invisibility, Ice Storm, Phantasmal Killer, Polymorph, Stoneskin, Storm Sphere, Vitriolic Sphere, Wall of Fire

Magus Arcana:

  • Familiar: Foster knows the find familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual.
  • Mystic Arcanum: Foster can cast the delayed blast fireball spell without expending a spell slot. He must finish a long rest before he does so again.
  • Quickened Magic: When Foster casts a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, he can expend 2 points from his Arcane Pool to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.
  • Pool Strike: Foster may expend 2 or more points from his Arcane Pool as a bonus action to charge one of his hands with mystic energy. Choose one of the following damage types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder. He may then make a melee spell attack with his charged hand to deal 2d10 damage of that type to the target you hit. He may expend further Arcane Pool points to increase the damage done, as set out in the following table:
Pool Strike Damage Arcane Pool Point Cost
2d10 2
3d10 3
5d10 5
6d10 6

Foster Nikodemus’ Gear
Batteries (10 spares), Chemalyzer, Flash Grenade, Grade 3 Hemochem (2 doses), Green E-Pick, Helmet that incorporates Black Veemods and Periapt of Proof Against Poison, Ion Tape, Jet Pack, Laser Pistol, Medlance, Smart Armor, Sonic Rifle, Zipstick

Cold Bringer: A +1 rapier that was originally crafted for an elite commander of a Dresden armed forces. It grants the wielder resistance to Cold and allows the wielder to understand and read the Dresden language.


High Technology Properties 

A weapon that has the Autofire property can be used to fire a hail of shots at your enemies in two different ways, each of which takes your Action.

The first is to cover a 10ft radius area with a hail of lead. Make an attack roll and all targets in the area must make a Dexterity save against the result of your attack or take weapon damage (without adding your ability modifier) on a failed save, or half damage on a successful save. This attack uses 10 shots.

The second is to focus fire on a single target. Make an attack roll and, if you hit, add two extra damage dice to your damage roll. For example, if you hit a target with this attack using a Laser Rifle, you roll 4d10 fire damage. This attack uses 5 shots.

A weapon with the laser property passes through force fields and force effects, such as the wall of force spell. Objects like glass or other transparent barriers do not provide cover from lasers, but unlike force barriers, a transparent physical barrier still takes damage from a laser passing through it. Invisible creatures are immune to damage caused by a laser weapon. Fog, smoke, and other clouds provide cover in addition to concealment from laser attacks.

A weapon that has the semi-automatic property can attack twice when the attacker takes the Attack action. This does not stack with the Multiattack or Extra Attack abilities.

High Technology Items
Jet Pack
Technological Gear, Very Rare
Weight 10 lbs., Capacity: 100, 1 charge per use
A jetpack consists of a pair of cylindrical tanks worn on a shoulder harness with a pair of motion-sensitive rings worn on the thumbs that are used as wireless thrust and attitude controls. The jetpack can be activated with a Use Object Action or your free “interact with object” action (as described on page 190 of the Player’s Handbook). The jetpack grants a fly speed of 60 feet. The exhaust isn’t hot or concentrated enough to be used as a weapon.

A jetpack can be operated in overdrive, giving the wearer a fly speed of 90 feet and consuming twice as many charges per round.

Laser Pistol
Weapon (firearm), Rare
Damage: 1d12 radiant, Weight: 2 lbs., Properties: Ammunition (range 50/200), Laser, Semi-Automatic, Reload (Capacity: 10, 1 charge per use).

Laser Rifle
Weapon (firearm), Very Rare
Damage: 2d10 radiant, Weight: 6 lbs., Properties: Ammunition (range 150/600), Automatic, Laser, Reload (Capacity: 20, 1 charge per use).

Smart Armor
Medium Armor or Heavy Armor, Rare
Armor Class (AC): 13 + Dex modifier (max 2) (Compact Form) or 15 + Dex modifier (max 2) (Expanded Form), Weight: 20 lbs, Properties: Reload (Capacity 60, 1 charge per 10 minutes)

While inactive, smart armor resembles a breastplate of adamantine scales, which doesn’t seem out of place among most metal armor, except for its alien aesthetics. When activated as a Reaction, smart armor expands to cover the wearer’s legs and limbs, and a built-in magnetic generator hardens the armor into a rigid, plate-like form. When in this form, it uses the statistics of smart armor (expanded form). It can be collapsed back to breastplate form with a bonus action, and automatically retracts when it loses power. In either form, smart armor reduces bludgeoning, piercing, slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine by 2.

Sonic Rifle
Weapon (firearm), Very Rare
Damage: 2d10 thunder, Weight: 6 lbs., Properties: Ammunition (range 150/600), Automatic, Reload (Capacity: 20, 1 charge per use).

A sonic rifle emits a blast of devastating sonic waves that shatter and blast flesh, bone, and anything else they happen to strike. A target critically hit by a sonic rifle must succeed at a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be deafened. The deafened condition does not heal naturally and must be cured by a lesser restoration or a similar ability.

Technological Gear, Common
Weight 1 lb.
Most technological items are powered by electricity. While one can use the electricity provided by a generator, these are rare, expensive, and rarely portable. It’s more common and practical to charge such items with batteries. A battery looks like a small silver disk that’s etched with strange lines—some people have taken to calling batteries “silverdisks” and sometimes use them as coins. A battery contains 10 charges when full; to charge an item with a battery, one simply slips the disk-shaped device into the proper slot on the item. The battery’s charge instantly fully depletes, and the item’s internal capacitors fill with 10 charges as it does so. If the item had fewer than 10 open slots in its capacity, the excess charges the battery once held are lost. A battery can be kept within an object indefinitely, or it can be ejected from the object for the purposes of recharging it or storing it elsewhere without affecting the item’s charge. Inserting or ejecting a battery is a move action.

Techological Gear, Rare
Weight 8 lbs, Capacity 10, 1 charge per use
A chemalyzer is a handheld unit with an extendable wand tipped with a sampling nozzle. It grants advantage on all checks made to identify an unknown pharmaceutical, poison, chemical, or substance. It cannot aid in the identification of magical effects or items like potions.

Flash Grenade
Technological Gear, Rare
Weight: 1 lb.
A grenade is a small, cylindrical device that is designed to be thrown as a ranged finesse weapon at a point up to 60 feet away or fired from a grenade launcher. Before being thrown by hand, the grenade must be primed with a quick twist of a dial at one end and then armed with a click of a button at the center of that dial. Priming and arming a grenade is done as part of the Attack action; a grenade launcher primes and arms all grenades it fires. The grenade detonates at the beginning of the wielder’s next turn, hopefully in the area targeted. When a grenade detonates, it damages all targets within a 20 feet of the grenade. Deals no damage but blinds creatures for 1d4 rounds if they fail a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw.

Grade Three Hemochem
Pharmaceutical, Rare
Hemochem stops bleeding and promotes healing. A single dose of hemochem allows the patient to regain a number of hit points per round for 1 minute, up to their maximum hit points. Multiple doses injected do not stack, but they do reset the duration of the effect back to 1 minute. Grade three Hemochem heals 3 hit points per round.

Green E-Pick
Technological Gear, Rare
Weight 1 lb., Capacity 10, 1 charge per use
An e-pick (short for “electronic lock pick”) is a small device that can be used to unlock and disable electronic locks and devices, much in the same way that a set of thieves’ tools can be used to dismantle mechanical locks and devices. The bonus is determined by the rating of the e-pick. A Green E-Pick grants +4 to all checks. Using the device does not grant proficiency with thieves tools, but allows the user to make rolls against electronic devices without disadvantage. If you are proficient with Engineer’s Tools, you may also add your proficiency bonus to checks when using an e-pick.

Helmet with Black Veemod
Technological Gear, Rare
Weight 2 lbs., Capacity 10, 1 charge/day
A black veemod enhances vision, and by blinking twice rapidly, the wearer can magnify what she’s seeing. Blinking twice again restores normal vision. This grants advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.

Ion Tape
Technological Gear, Common
Weight: 1 lb.
Ion tape is a ribbon of material tightly wound around a spindle. A roll of ion tape fits in the palm of a hand and comes in a wide range of colors. A single roll contains 50 feet of tape. A single strip of tape is easy to cut through or tear. When wrapped around an object, it has a weak adhesive that keeps it in place. When ion tape is exposed to an electrical charge of any power (including a jolt from a zip stick), the tape bonds together into a single mass of plastic-like material, gaining AC 15 and 30 hit points. When used to bind a creature, a few strips of activated ion tape require a successful DC 20 Strength check to break. A second jolt from an electrical source causes the tape to revert to its weaker ribbon condition, at which point it can be torn free easily. A strip of ion tape can hold about 5 pounds of weight normally, but when activated via a jolt, a single hardened strip can support up to 300 pounds of weight. The uses for ion tape are many—it can be used to construct basic objects (such as a ladder), patch holes, bind prisoners, and so on.

Technological Gear, Uncommon
Weight -, Capacity 10
This wand-like device contains a reservoir at one end and a small pad at the other. A medlance can be filled with a single dose of liquid, such as a pharmaceutical, a potion, or a poison. It can then be used to administer the liquid to a creature—if the target does not wish to be injected with the medlance’s contents, the wielder must succeed at a melee attack to dispense it as an Attack action. Otherwise, administering liquid via a medlance is a Use an Object action. A medlance doesn’t use charges, but after being used to administer 10 injections, its internal sterilization mechanisms are depleted and the device becomes useless.

Technological Gear, Common
Weight 1 lb., Capacity 10, 1 charge per use
A zipstick is a small pen-like device used to administer a small jolt of electricity. This jolt is enough to cause 1 point of lightning damage with a successful melee attack. A zipstick is used most often to activate or deactivate items that function on ion-bonding technology, such as ion tape.

Casting Call – Foster Nikodemus – High Tech 14th Level Magus

Religious Smithing, Ray Gunslingers, and Robot Magic – Technological Class Options for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons


Since high technology and super-science plays such a significant role in the Iron Gods, I felt it was important to convert some of the unique technology-related class options that are found in the Pathfinder RPG for use in my 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons conversion.

As with the Gunslinger class, and firearms in general, these options may not be appropriate for all campaigns (particularly those without a technological presence). However, they should provide some tech-heavy options for PCs in the Iron Gods campaign that’ll let them bask in the high technology vibe that suffuses that adventure path.

But enough talk, let’s get to the tech options!


This domain functions the same as the divine domains listed on pages 59 to 63 of the Player’s Handbook.

Cleric Level Spells
1 shield, unseen servant
3 heat metal, magic weapon
5 elemental weapon, meld into stone
7 fabricate, stone shape
9 animate objects, creation

At 1st level, you gain the mending cantrip, which doesn’t count towards your total number of cantrips known.

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain proficiency with heavy armor.

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to project an aura that shields you and your allies from harm. When you activate this ability with a bonus action, you and all allies within 30 feet of you gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from nonmagical weapons until the start of your next turn.

At 6th level, you can use your Channel Divinity to cast the spiritual weapon spell.

At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse your weapon strikes with destructive power. Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can cause the attack to deal an extra 1d8 thunder to the target. When you reach 14th level, the extra damage increases to 2d8.

Starting at 17th level, you can cast the wall of stone spell at will as an action.

This Gunslinger archetype functions the same as the archetypes found in the description of the Gunslinger class found here.

Note that many of this archetype’s abilities refer to rules for high technology items that can be found here.

Beginning when you choose this gunslinger archetype at 3rd level, you gain the ability to maximize the power of the shots you take with high technology firearms. Once per turn, when you take the Attack action and attack with a high technology firearm, you can spend 1 grit point and an extra charge to deal double damage to one creature hit by your attack. This damage increases to triple damage at 6th level, quadruple damage at 10th level, and quintuple damage at 14th level. This damage is doubled on a critical hit.

For example, a 12th level techslinger could spend 1 grit point and an extra charge when shooting with an inferno pistol to do 3d10 fire damage on a hit or 6d10 fire damage on a critical hit.

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to spend 1 grit point to use 1 charge fewer than normal when firing a high technology firearm.

Starting at 3rd level, you no longer need make any ability checks to understand high technology firearms. You automatically understand how to use any high technology firearms you find. This ability only applies to high technology firearms.

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to spend 1 grit point as a reaction to prevent a timeworn firearm from glitching.

Starting at 6th level, you can ignore detrimental glitches that are rolled when a timeworn firearm glitches. Instead, they are treated as if you had rolled no glitch.

At 14th level, you gain the ability to squeeze an extra shot out of a depleted high technology firearm. Once per turn, as a bonus action, you can spend 1 grit point to grant 2 temporary charges to a high technology firearm, even if that firearm normally cannot be recharged. This charge fades when you create a short rest or a long rest.

At 14th level, you gain the ability to use your Gunslinger abilities with high technology firearms with the Cannon, Support, and Artillery properties.

Prerequisites: Proficiency with Technologist and the ability to cast at least one spell.

Note that the abilities of this feat refer to rules for high technology items that are found here.

You mastered the art of blending magic and super-science and unlocked the secrets of technology from a lost age. You gain the following benefits:

  • You can spend 1 hour to recondition a piece of timeworn technology, after which the item no longer has a chance of glitching until you complete a long rest. You can perform this reconditioning while you complete a short or a long rest. At 5th level you can recondition two timeworn items in the same amount of time, at 11th level you can recondition three timeworn items, and at 17th level you can recondition four timeworn items.
  • You gain the ability to power technological items with your spell power and vice versa, as a bonus action, as set out on the table below. Once you use this ability you must complete a short rest or a long rest before using it again. For example, as a bonus action you could expend 5 charges from a battery to gain a 3rd level spell slot.
Spell Slot Level Charges
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 5
4th 6
5th 7
  • Your spells that have charm effects can affect robots, ignoring their immunity to the charmed condition. Further, your conjure spells can now be used to conjure robots. For example, you could cast the dominate person spell on a gearsman robot or you could use the conjure elemental spell to summon a collector robot.

5th Edition D&D seems to have moved away from abilities and spells that have limited or specialized applicability (for example, spells that only work in certain environments or only target certain kinds of creatures), so I feel like these rules may represent a departure from some of the design aesthetics of D&D 5E.

That said, given that these rules are designed to be used in a campaign loaded with hi-tech items and foes, the limited nature of some of these abilities/options may not be as limited, in practice, as they seem at first glance.

With that bit of pre-emptive defence work out of the way, let’s talk about each of the options, in turn.

Of all the options presented above, the Artificer domain is the one most easily adapted for campaigns with a more traditional fantasy flavor. I patterned the domain abilities off the Artificer domain in the Pathfinder RPG and some of the divine options out of the Pathfinder supplement, Inner Sea Gods.

For the Techslinger, I tried to keep most of the abilities from the Pathfinder version of the Techslinger archetype introduced in the Pathfinder Technology Guide, but ended up adding several totally new abilities to balance it with the other Gunslinger archetypes. The 5E version of the Techslinger is too dependent on high technology to be appropriate for most fantasy campaigns (none of the abilities work without high technology guns), unless your DM is willing to keep you in particle guns and laser guns from 3rd level onward.

Finally, for the Technologist, I decided to go with an idea that I have been playing with for the past few months, which is to adapt Pathfinder Prestige Classes into one or more feats.  Feats in 5E are more substantive than those in previous editions of D&D, most often representing a bundle of related abilities, so they seem like an idea mechanism for replicating the kind of “niche” abilities that Prestige Classes represent.

The Technologist Feat’s abilities are mostly 5E versions of the key abilities from the Prestige Class, though I jettisoned the abilities that related to Pathfinder-specific crafting rules.

Moreso than any of the other 5E conversions I have done, or am likely to do, of the Iron Gods adventure path, these conversions are pretty difficult to reskin into other non-high technology versions, but if someone else has ideas as to how to do so, I’d be all ears.

While these options may not be appropriate for every 5th Edition D&D campaign, I think they would be great thematic additions to the Iron Gods adventure path, for both PCs and NPCs (how terrified would your players be when the Technic Leaguer they are fighting summons more robots for them to fight with her Technologist feat?).

To supplement these rules, I will be posting conversions of some of the spells from the Technology Guide in the coming weeks, but for now, I hope you enjoy the new abilities these options offer.

Until next time, I remain;

Religious Smithing, Ray Gunslingers, and Robot Magic – Technological Class Options for 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons