By ASH LAW
The chaos mage is my second favorite class, right behind the wizard. It is certainly, in my opinion, the most fun class to play. The fun for me with this class is not in being effective in combat, but from being weird in combat and discovering what happens—because that is what the chaos mage is about: unleashing the weirdness. The good news is that as you unleash the weirdness, you are effective in combat as a side-effect of that.
Play this class if you want to bring strangeness into your game. Avoid this class if you like a character who can be relied upon—some games you’ll find that the chaos mage rocks, sometimes it rocks less (though if you can think on your feet you can turn that around), but it is always interesting. If you like the idea of accidentally switching gender mid-combat, or twisting space about as a side-effect of your magic, or getting to fight in spirit alongside yourself then this is the class for you. I wrote the ‘high weirdness’ table for this class, and though Rob trimmed out the stranger entries it makes each battle that involves a chaos mage unexpectedly odd. High weirdnesses are beneficial 50% of the time, bad (but not too bad) for you or your allies 10% of the time, and the rest of the time is either purely cosmetic or is strange in a way that is exploitable by clever players.
As a chaos mage you can’t quite control what magic you’ll get each turn. At that start of each of your turns you draw a bead or tile from a bag and that determines what sort of spell you’ll be casting. You don’t learn or memorize spells like other caster classes—you can potentially cast anything that a chaos mage of your level can cast. For you, life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you are going to get, and often it will be a nutty surprise. A tentacle of force, silver arrows, a bone-shattering sound, burning claws—you can only guess at what sort of magic you will unleash from one moment to the next. You know how many daily and per-battle spells you can cast, but outside of that you rely on luck to determine what you get to cast each turn.
Because your spells are random, you don’t select new spells when leveling up. Really the only choices you make after character creation are what feats to take, and what attributes to increase. In some ways this is the simplest class to create, and one of the most challenging (and stimulating) to play.
Highly Weird Chaos mage
Download Highly Weird Chaos Mage character sheets here.
This chaos mage build maximizes your chances each turn of rolling on the warp tables and high weirdness tables. With this build any spell you cast will introduce a new high weirdness thanks to the adventurer tier high weirdness feat and the talent selection.
My advice with this character is to embrace the strange! This build is never dull, with an ever-changing strangeness triggering at the start of each of your turns. Hang back in a fight (but not too far back) and try to use ranged spells whenever possible. Stick in the middle—let your allies protect you but give cover to those that need to fight at a range.
Whenever you pull a bead/tile that means you can roll an attack spell, you get to roll on the attacking warp random element warp table—and roll a new high weirdness.
As per attacking warp, but for defensive spells.
As per attacking warp, but for iconic spells.
The human’s extra feat is worthwhile, and the ability to roll twice for initiative and take the better roll is nothing to be sniffed at either.
Charisma helps you hit with your spells, and Dexterity, Wisdom, and Intelligence help your warps: Str 8 (-1) Con 10 (0) Dex 14 (+2) Int 14 (+2) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 18 (+4).
Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 10 (0) Dex 14 (+2) Int 14 (+2) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 18 (+4).
Racial Power: quick to fight
Talents: attacking warp, defensive warp, iconic warp
Spells: 1st level (Daily: 2, Once-Per-Battle: 1)
Feats: high weirdness, toughness
Spells 1st level (Daily: 3, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (attacking warp).
Spells 3rd level (Daily: 3, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (defensive warp).
+1 to three attributes (Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma), spells 3rd level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (iconic warp).
Spells 5th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (high weirdness).
Spells 5th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (attacking warp).
+1 to three attributes (Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma), spells 7th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (iconic warp).
Spells 7th level (Daily: 5, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (high weirdness).
Spells 9th level (Daily: 5, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (defensive warp).
+1 to three attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma), spells 9th level (Daily: 6, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (iconic warp).