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.
Space Oddity Chaos Mage
Download Space Oddity Chaos Mage character sheets here.
This Chaos Mage build is designed to give you the maximum chance of teleporting—and thanks to the separate existence talent and feats you needn’t worry as much about damage from opportunity attacks against you nor taking damage when a monster misses you.
The separate existence talent is our first choice, leaving us with two talents to pick. There are seven remaining talents, of which four give us spells from other non-chaotic caster classes. Yes, we could choose one of these non-warp talents, but where’s the fun in that? So attacking warp and defensive warp it is then: the former gives us a chance to fly and teleport, and the latter warp gives us chances to heal. We’re missing out on iconic warp, but it is worth it for the separate existence talent.
With this character getting stuck into melee combat is a good idea, or in any case not an entirely terrible one—letting you roll with the chaotic nature of your magic instead of having to keep your distance. You are not a front-line fighter, but when space warps at least you will be comfortable ending up beside one.
This build doesn’t trigger high weirdness as often as the ‘highly weird’ chaos mage build, but makes up for that with a slightly higher chance to hit in combat and an improved force tentacle spell.
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.
Make ranged attacks while engaged without provoking, and most of the time you take no damage from missed attacks against you.
High elves with their highblood teleport pair well with the champion feat for separate existence to give guaranteed once-per-battle self-healing.
Charisma helps you hit, and Dexterity, Wisdom, are useful for our warps. Constitution is useful to keep you up and running when the going gets tough: Str 8 (-1) Con 12 (+1) Dex 12 (+1) Int 10 (0) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 20 (+5).
Attributes: Str 8 (-1) Con 12 (+1) Dex 12 (+1) Int 10 (0) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 20 (+5).
Racial Power: highblood teleport
Talents: attacking warp, defensive warp, separate existence
Spells: 1st level (Daily: 2, Once-Per-Battle: 1)
Feats: separate existence
Spells 1st level (Daily: 3, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (high weirdness).
Spells 3rd level (Daily: 3, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (attack warp).
+1 to three attributes (Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma), spells 3rd level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (force tentacle).
Spells 5th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 1), new feat (separate existence).
Spells 5th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (highblood teleport).
+1 to three attributes (Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma), spells 7th level (Daily: 4, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (attack warp).
Spells 7th level (Daily: 5, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (attack warp).
Spells 9th level (Daily: 5, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (force tentacle).
+1 to three attributes (Constitution, Wisdom, Charisma), spells 9th level (Daily: 6, Once-Per-Battle: 2), new feat (force tentacle).