Philosopher (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

A mystical scholar or naturalist along the lines of Plato, Aristotle, or Leonardo da Vinci, the philosopher is by no means limited to western models. Confucius was a philosopher first of all, and the scholars of China and India are justly famous. Modern religions are usually of a more philosophical bent than the polytheism that usually dominates fantasy worlds; Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Jainism can all incorporate this class. It fits in the civilized, enlightened parts of advanced fantasy worlds.

Table: The Philosopher

Base Attack
Special Spells per Day
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Martial Training, restore balance (touch), universal understanding 2 1
2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Universal advice +2 3 2
3rd +2 +1 +1 +3 Inner peace (immune to confusion) 4 3
4th +3 +1 +1 +4 Restore balance (dispel magic) 4 3 1
5th +3 +1 +1 +4 Debate 5 4 2
6th +4 +2 +2 +5 Inner peace (immune to fear) 5 4 3
7th +5 +2 +2 +5 Universal advice +3 5 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +2 +6 Restore balance (greater dispel magic) 5 5 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +3 +6 Inner peace (immune to morale penalties) 5 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +3 +7 Restore balance (swift action) 5 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +3 +7 Construct affinity 5 5 4 3 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Inner peace (immune to compulsions), universal advice +4 5 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +4 +8 Restore balance (immediate action) 5 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +4 +9 Dragon Affinity 5 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +5 +9 Inner peace (immune to phantasms) 5 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Restore balance (suppress supernatural) 5 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +5 +10 Universal advice +5 5 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +6 +11 Inner peace (immune to charm) 5 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +6 +11 Restore balance (multiple counterspells) 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +6 +12 Universal Affinity 5 5 5 5 5 5 5


The philosopher is a learned man in a world of ignorance. Next to his acute understanding, even the most scholarly wizard seems a blundering fool. This learning applies not only to scholarship or the magical and natural world; the philosopher is above all wise and learned in the ways of society and how intelligent creatures interact.

Adventures: Philosophers adventure to learn more about the world, to spread their ideas, and to put their theories to the test. Some adventure because they have been cast out of a society unwilling to accept their wild ideas. An adventuring philosopher contributes many and diverse abilities to his party. His insight and knowledge of the classics gives him an insight and understanding that manifests in unique abilities and divine spells. Unlike the nature-oriented divine spells of the druid or the miracles of a cleric, the divine spells of the philosopher stem from his understanding of the underlying principles of the world. To the unlearned, this might seem similar to arcane magic, but where the wizard directs supernatural forces beyond human ken, the philosopher merely uses and adapts the natural currents of the world; using his knowledge and insight not to control nature but to adjust to nature. A philosopher achieves his goals with a minimum of friction.

Characteristics: A philosopher must develop all aspects of himself. Often referred to as reborn, perfect, or ultimate, philosophers devote themselves to both physical fitness, learning, and mystic understanding. This pursuit of perfection means the philosopher rarely has time for mundane tasks; ordinary crafts and professions are usually beneath their notice. They might revolutionize the life of the farmer, but few of them could run a farm.

Philosopher spells have an air of rationality about them; their magic is a result of understanding and insight. Most enhance or accentuate a natural feature, or restore the world to a more natural and pristine condition. Their specialty is abjurations that negate magic used to change the world in ways the philosopher perceive as irrational or amoral. Transformation spells that restore or improve the normal abilities of the philosopher and his friends, as well as the equipment they use, are quite powerful. Next to these there are divination and enchantment spells that improve the philosopher’s understanding of the world and help him convince others of his world-view. There are also spells that let the philosopher castigate those whose ideals he disagrees with. Finally, the philosopher has a few select spells that use his understanding of the world to create direct physical effects. These always use some natural phenomenon as a base; it is easier for a philosopher to start an earthquake than to toss a fireball out of nowhere.

Alignment: Philosophers can be of any alignment. Because they are so centered around espousing and presenting their ideas, their alignment tends to be pretty obvious to those who listen with a critical ear, even if most philosophers try to present their ideas in the best possible light. The philosophers who become famous are generally lawful or good, but there are chaotic and evil philosophers around. These are often cast out as lunatics and pitied, at least until they return at the head of an avenging horde.

Religion: Philosophers rarely have a patron deity. They have a belief system that goes beyond mere religion, incorporating morals, religion, and understanding of nature into a greater whole. While they rarely challenge civilized religion, they subscribe to their own image of the divine. In worlds where the gods take direct hand in events, philosophers often distance themselves and claim to serve a purpose beyond that of the "everyday" gods. A philosopher without a patron generally uses a glyph or geometric design as a divine focus. This is often a carved, engraved, or enameled amulet, but drawing it in sand or chalk suffices.

In the World of Greyhawk, philosophers usually idolize such distant gods as Xan Yae, Rao, or Istus, but most philosophers have no patron and espouse syncretism or draw their miraculous powers from their understanding of the world. In the Forgotten Realms, the gods are too involved and have too much control over for philosophers to function, tough a specific god could choose to sponsor philosophers.

Background: Philosophers tend to come from civilized, urban, upper-class backgrounds. Many are the children of clergy or affluent merchants. Most rebel against this background to one degree or another, seeking to shape the world to their wishes. The philosopher is an educated class and uses the oldest age bracket.

Races: Most philosophers are human; elves are too much in harmony with themselves to make good philosophers, and dwarfs are too hidebound. Gnomes and Halflings sometimes pick up this class, but rarely gain influence outside their own communities. Monsters and humanoids almost never have the education or inclination to be philosophers.

Other Classes: Philosophers usually work very well with monks, sharing the same ideals of perfection. While they have differences of opinion and method with other civilized spellcasters, there is mutual respect based on understanding and insight. It is with the worldly and uncivilized that philosophers have problems; druids, rangers, barbarians, and rogues rarely appreciate their learned arts. However, once rapport and respect have been established, a philosopher can sometimes find their most enthusiastic adherents among such common folk, who might make him their teacher or prophet. Philosophers also have an intuitive understanding of constructs, which are usually motivated by simple logical processes easy for the philosopher to understand. Finally, advanced philosophers have a special rapport with dragons, who share their aloft sense of superiority.

Abilities: A philosopher needs to be a very well-rounded character. Intelligence is needed to learn and cast spells and to develop lore and skills. A philosopher also needs a good Charisma if he is to impress his ideas upon the world and good physical attributes if he wants to take advantage of his buffing spells and defend his ideals.

Class Information

Alignment: Any.

Hit Die: d10.

Starting Wealth: 5d6 x 10 gp (average 175gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less.

Class Skills

Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Any) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Philosophers gain 4 + Int bonus skill points per level.

While they have only moderate skill points and class skills, their universal understanding ability makes them knowledgeable beyond what their skills indicate.

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the philosopher class.

Armor and Weapon Proficiency

Philosophers are proficient with the short sword, with all simple weapons, with light and medium armor and with shields (excluding tower shields).


A philosopher casts divine spells. He can cast a limited number of spells per day, as given in table: The Philosopher. Intelligence determines what level of spells a philosopher can cast, how hard his spells are to save against, and his bonus spells per day.

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the philosopher must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a philosophers's spell is 10 + the spell level + the philosopher's Intelligence modifier.

A philosopher can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. His base daily spell allotment is given on Table: Philosopher. In addition, he receives bonus spells per day if he has a high Intelligence score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).


Philosophers can prepare a number of minora, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Philosopher under "Spells per Day". These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.


A philosopher has a spellbook and must study his spellbook each day to prepare his spells. He cannot prepare any spell not recorded in his spellbook. He can learn the Spell Mastery feat and use it just like wizards do. A philosopher begins with knowledge of all level zero philosopher spells (minora) as well as three level 1 spells, plus a number of level 1 spells equal to his Intelligence bonus. At each level after the first, a philosopher learns two spells of any level he can cast; these represent the research and study the philosopher has performed as a part of his career, and does not cost any time or money. A philosopher can also add a spell to his book whenever he encounters one on a magic scroll or in another spellbook, but only spells in his spell list. No matter what the spell’s source, the philosopher must first decipher the magical writing (see Arcane Magical Writings). Next, he must spend 1 hour studying the spell. At the end of the hour, he must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell’s level). Wizards and philosophers can copy each other’s spellbooks where the spell lists overlap and a philosopher can copy spells from divine and arcane scrolls. Philosopher spellbooks take the form of treaties and essays on a variety of subjects, and often make entertaining and educational reading even for non-philosophers.

Alignment and Spells

Like a cleric, a philosopher can never use a spell of an alignment opposed to his own (or that of his patron, if he has a patron).

Martial Training (Ex)

The philosopher is trained in the martial styles of his homeland. Select one of the following sets of proficiencies, as appropriate to the philosopher's origin.

  • Long sword and lance proficiency.
  • Rapier and sword cane proficiency.
  • Scimitar, composite shortbow, and shortbow proficiency.
  • Tower shield proficiency.

Restore Balance (sp)

A philosopher can restore the balance of nature where it has been bent by magic. The philosopher can use restore balance one per day per class level.

  • The philosopher can use dispel magic, but only by touch.
  • At level 4 he can use dispel magic at range.
  • At level 8 he can use greater dispel magic.
  • At 10th level, he can use restore balance as a swift action.
  • At 13th level, he can use restore balance' as an immediate action. This greatly facilitates counterspelling, which no longer needs a readied action.
  • At level 16, he can use this ability to suppress supernatural abilities for 1 round/level. Such abilities reactivate by themselves once the suppression has elapsed. Only one effect or supernatural ability can be targeted and this requires an opposed Intelligence vs. Charisma check.
  • At 19th level, if he uses an immediate action to counterspell, he can continue to counterspell each spell cast in range as a free action until his next action comes up, and this counts only once against his daily uses of restore balance. Restore balance now has a Long range (400 ft. + 40 ft./level).

Universal Understanding (ex)

The philosopher is learned in all subjects, having mastered the very art of learning. Add a bonus equal to the philosopher's level to all knowledge skill checks and a philosopher may make all Knowledge skill checks untrained. This stacks with other similar abilities of other classes.

Universal Advice (ex)

Applying his universal understanding to practical matters, the philosopher can find solutions to most mundane problems. This works much like the Aid Other action; the philosopher must spend as much time on the task as whoever he is trying to help does; this gives an automatic +2 bonus on any skill roll, attack roll, or to armor class made at the same time. Unlike the Aid Other action, this bonus apples as long as the situation remains unchanged, and even if the philosopher performs other actions.

In combat, Jen-Ti stands beside his companion Lau Chen, who is fighting enemies who are trying to scale the wall they are defending. Jen-Ti takes a standard action to find a universal solution. “Friend Lau Chen, do you notice how there is a gap between the neck of the enemy and their armor as they bend over to scale the wall? Strike this spot, and each blow will surely strike true.” As long as Lau Chen are fighting enemies who are trying to scale this wall, he receives a +2 bonus on his attack rolls. But as soon as the enemy has scaled the wall, the situation has changed and the advice no longer applies.

Later, Jen-Ti is observing a potter at work. After an hour the potter has finished making an amphora and Jen Ti observes “Clay is like man; malleable in youth, it hardens in the fire of experience. Yet the stick of the schoolmaster can speed learning”. The potter realizes he can use a piece of wood to better shape the clay, and receives a +2 bonus on Craft (Pottery) rolls to make amphorae. This technique remains useful as long as he is in the same workshop and uses the same techniques to make amphorae and might become a secret of his family for generations.

A philosopher can advise up to one creature/level, as long as no two of them are more than 30 ft. apart and they are performing the same basic action. At seventh level, the bonus increases to +3. At twelfth level, the bonus increases to +4, at level seventeenth to +5. A philosopher cannot use this ability to help himself.

Inner Peace

As he advances in level, a philosopher comes to realize the vanity of the world and the foolishness of mortal temptations. This gives him the ability to completely ignore various mental conditions as he advances in level.

  • At level 3, he becomes immune to confusion.
  • By level 6, he is immune to fear, including use of the Intimidation skill.
  • At level 9 he gains immunity to penalties to die rolls from mind-affecting effects. He cannot be compelled to attack someone against his will.
  • By level 12, he is immune to all compulsion effects. He can choose to be affected by compulsion effects if he wants to, making an informed choice about the result as a free action.
  • Level 15 brings the insight to discern false hopes and dreams; he is immune to phantasm spells and effects.
  • Finally, at level 18 he becomes immune to all charm effects.

The philosopher never outgrows his lust for debate, and thus never becomes immune to the effects of the Bluff and Diplomacy skills.


Not all philosophers are charismatic, but at 5th level their reasoning can still have a strong appeal. When trying to convince someone of their theories, they can use an appropriate Knowledge skill instead of Diplomacy to sway and negotiate with others. To do this, the philosopher must put his case in scholarly terms, making it a matter of reason, not argument.

Example: The party is trying to convince the baron to send his soldiers against invading orcs. The philosopher puts this in historical terms, reminding the baron of how the barony was first carved out of the orc-dominated wilderness, and pointing out how it could easily become a wilderness again. Similar results could probably have been achieved with Knowledge (local), while Knowledge (nature) would have had less persuasive power against the urban baron.

Construct Affinity

At 11th level, philosophers gain an affinity for constructs of all kinds. He gains Craft Construct as a bonus feat and can use Knowledge (arcana) in place of Spellcraft checks to craft constructs. As a standard action when watching a construct moving about, or with 10 minutes of observation of an immobile construct, the philosopher can attempt a Knowledge (arcana) roll (DC 20 + construct's CR) to understand the construct's orders, instructions, and any inherent restrictions on what the construct can do.

Dragon Affinity

At level 14, a philosopher gains an affinity for creatures of the dragon type, gaining a bonus of +½ class levels to all Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks against dragons.

Universal Affinity

At level 20, a philosopher gains an affinity for all creatures, gaining a bonus of +½ class levels to all Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks. This supersedes (does not stack with) Dragon affinity.

Philosopher Spell List

Level 0 spells (minora)

Arcane mark, Confusion (lesser), Cure minor wounds, Daze, Detect magic, Detect poison, Enhanced diplomacy, Guidance, Know direction, Message, Mutual attraction, Petulengro’s validation, Prestidigitation, Purify food and drink, Pushing ray , Read magic, Resistance, Virtue.

Level 1 Spells

Animate rope, Battlemind Link, Bless, Calm emotions, Cause fear, Charm person, Command, Comprehend languages, Deflect blow, Detect animals or plants, Detect chaos, Detect evil, Detect good, Detect law, Detect secret doors, Divine favor, Endure elements, Enthrall, Erase, Fairness, Fallback strategy, Feather fall, Find traps, Forced quiet, Fumble, Gravity bow, Grease, Hypnotism, Identify, Lead blades, Liberating command, Litany of weakness, Litany of sloth, Longstrider, Magic siege engine, Magic weapon, Planned assault, Protection from chaos, Protection from evil, Protection from good, Protection from law, Remove fear, Riddle resolver (Red's), Sanctuary, Share language, Shield of faith, Stalwart resolve, Stupefy, Tactical acumen, Taunt, True strike.

Level 2 Spells

Aid, Align weapon, Bear’s endurance, Bomber's Eye, Bull’s strength, Bullet shield, Codespeak, Charm animal, Cure light wounds, Delay poison, Dispel magic, Eagle’s splendor, Effortless armor, False life, Forget, Fox’s cunning, Gallant inspiration, Glitterdust, Heroism, Keen edge, Litany of defense, Litany of eloquence, Litany of warding, Martyr's bargain, Nap stack, Obscure object, Owl’s wisdom, Phantom trap, Qualm, Remove paralysis, Reproduction (Red's) Resist energy, Restoration (lesser), Reveal true shape, Righteous vigor, Scare, See invisibility, Severed fate, Share language (communal), Shatter, Soothe construct, Soothing word, Spell immunity, Staggering fall, Stupefy, Suggestion, Tactical formation, Tongues, Touch of idiocy, Undetectable alignment, Zone of truth.

Level 3 Spells

Aid, Arcane sight, Augury, Bite the hand, Call lightning, Charm monster, Conviction, Cure moderate wounds, Discern lies, Launch bullet, Good hope, Litany of sight, Magic circle against chaos, Magic circle against evil, Magic circle against good, Magic circle against law, Magic siege engine (greater), Magic vestment, Magic weapon (greater), Misdirection, Plant growth, Rage, Remove blindness/deafness, Remove disease, Rusting grasp, Soothe Construct, Spell immunity, Water walk.

Level 4 Spells

Air walk, Atonement, Break enchantment, Command (greater), Contagion, Cure serious wounds, Detect scrying, Dimensional anchor, Dispel chaos, Dispel evil, Dispel good, Dispel law, Dispel magic (greater), Divination, Divine power, Feather step (mass), Freedom of movement, Forced repentance, Geas (lesser), Giant vermin, Glibness, Imbue with spell ability, Invisibility purge, Litany of madness, Lover's vengeance, Mighty strength, Nondetection, Poison, Rapid Repair, Restoration, Sanctuary, Serenity, Shield of faith, Unbreakable construct.

Level 5 Spells

Animate objects, Arcane sight (greater), Call lightning storm, Cloak of chaos, Commune with nature, Cure critical wounds, Death ward, Dismissal, Disrupting weapon,Envious urge, False vision, Forbiddance, Heroes’ feast, Heroism (greater), Insect plague, Joyful rapture, Legend lore, Limited wish, Moment of prescience, Music of the spheres, Permanency, Slay living, Sympathetic vibration, Transformation, True seeing.

Level 6 Spells

Analyze dweomer, Astral projection, Banishment, Bite the hand (mass), Blasphemy, Control water, Control weather, Dictum, Earthquake, Find the path, Fire storm, Geas/quest, Holy word, Mage's disjunction, Mind blank, Move earth, Plane shift, Restoration (greater), Shadow walk, Spell turning, Sunburst, Wish, Unconscious agenda,.

External Links

Dungeons and Discourse.

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