Artiste (Apath)

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Unofficial rules compendium

An artiste is a the creator of great art. While his person might be unassuming, his art can change the world—at high levels literally so.

Class Information

This is a bard archetype that creates artworks instead of performances.

Hit Die: d8.

Class Abilities

The artiste has all the class abilities of the bard, except as noted below.


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

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

An artiste prepares spells from a spellbook, much like a wizard does. He does not use the Spells Known table for bards, and may know any number of spells. He must choose and prepare his spells ahead of time by getting 8 hours of sleep and spending 1 hour studying his spellbook. While studying, the artiste decides which spells to prepare.

A first-level artiste knows four level zero spells and three level 1 spells. In addition, he has learned a number of additional level zero and level one spells each equal to his Intelligence bonus (if positive). For each level gained, the artiste adds two spells of any level she can cast to her spellbook for free; this represents personal research on the part of the artiste. Further spells are acquired the same way wizards do, by scribing.

The spellbook of an artiste is more of a collection of notes and sketches than the arcane notations in a wizard's spellbook, but as far as they share spell lists, wizards can copy an artiste's spellbook and artistes can copy any spellbook a wizard can. An artiste can also copy a spell from an arcane scroll or be tutored by another spellcaster, most commonly a normal bard.

An artiste can learn and use the Spell Mastery feat, just like a wizard can. Like a wizard, an artiste can prepare read magic from memory alone.


Artistes can prepare a number of cantrips, or 0-level spells, each day, as noted on Table: Artiste. These spells are cast like any other spell, but they are not expended when cast and may be used again.

Spell List Additions

Add the following spells to the artiste's spell list:

  1. crafter's fortuneAPG, floating disc, snow shapeHG, whispering loreRG
  2. Crafter's fortuneAPG, stone shape, wood shape
  3. Animate objects, minor creation, lesser simulacrumUM
  4. Fabricate, major creation
  5. Limited wish, permanency
  6. Create demiplaneUM, simulacrum, screen

Inspiring art

An artiste is trained to use the Craft skill to create magical effects on those around him, including himself if desired. He can use this ability a number of times per day equal to his class level.

Using inspiring art has two stages. First, the piece of art must be created, then it must be displayed.

Creating Art

Creating a piece of art uses a Craft skill and usually takes at least one day of work (8 hours), but can take more depending on the Craft skill the artist works with. Make a Craft check at the end of this period; The DC of this check is 15 + the artiste's class level. On a failure, the object just doesn't meet the artiste's rising standards and is not good enough to use with the inspiring art ability. Materials are not destroyed, so the project can be attempted again.

Each art object created is linked to one specific inspiring art effect (see below), and displaying that particular work of art always uses the same effect. As the artiste learns new inspiring art effects, he needs to craft new artworks to use them. There is no limit to the number of artistic works an artiste can create, so it is certainly possible to carry around multiple artworks for different effects or in case they are lost.

Artworks that is not on display is generally packed in protective containers that provide a hardness of 5 and add 5 hit points. Such containers are included in the cost and weight of artworks. They are made to allow rapid unveiling of the art, but stowing it again takes a little more time, see displaying art below.

The following craft skills are typically used to make art, and each lists what a typical artwork made by that skill is, how long it takes to craft, and it's physical characteristics. A day is 8 hours of work, a week is 5 works days (40 hours of work). Time spent need not be continuous, but must be accumulated in whole hours.

Fabricate and major creation can be used to create artwork, cutting down the time significantly. Neither of these can be used with any art technique.

Craft Table

Craft Examples Time Weight (lbs.) Hardness Hit points
Blacksmithing Ironwork Week 10 10 20
Bone Scrimshaw Day 1 3 3
Calligraphy Illumination 1 hour 0 0 1
Carpentry Paneling Day 20 5 20
Founding Metal sculpture Week 50 8 50
Glasswork Glassworks 1 hour 5 3 1
Jewelry Jewelry Day 0 5 1
Leatherworking Patternwork Day 5 5 10
Painting Pantings, murals Day 5 3 10
Pottery Vases, urns, Day 10 3 3
Sculpting Sculpture Week 50 5 150
Tailor Banners, Clothes Day 5 3 10
Weaving Tapestries Day 20 3 40
Whitesmithing Metalwork Week 2 8 5

Times are arbitrarily kept short to keep artistes playable.

Cost and Value of Art

The gold piece cost to create a piece of art is the artiste's level, squared, for each day (8 hours) of successful work. Failed Craft checks represent angst and creative frustration rather than mechanical failure and do not cost any gold. The base price of a piece of art made by an unrecognized artist is twice this, meaning the artist normally makes no profit selling his art at the usual half price. See also the Commercial Art technique.

Displaying art

Displaying inspiring art is a standard action and lasts a number of rounds equal to the artiste's level + Intelligence modifier. Halting the inspirational effect of an artistic work once it has been started is a full-round action, and includes wrapping up and packing the artwork. An artiste cannot have more than one inspiring art in effect at one time. An artiste need not put any effort into maintaining the effect once it has begun—it runs its course regardless of what happens to the artiste. If the art object on display is destroyed, the effect ends.

At 7th level, an artiste can display inspiring art as a move action instead of a standard action. At 13th level, an artiste can display inspiring art as a swift action.

All inspiring art effects are mind-affecting effects with visual components. Targets must have line of sight to the art when the art is displayed for the art to have any effect. Blind creatures are immune to inspiring art.

Any effect that modifies a visual bardic performance also modifies inspiring art.

Inspiring Art Effects

A piece of art can have one of the following inspiring art effects. As he advances in ability, the artiste learns to use his art to inspire in more powerful ways. When an effect targets only a limited number of creatures, the artiste gets to select who is affected.

Distraction (Su): At 1st level, an artiste can use his art to counter magic effects that depend on sight. Each round of the distraction, he makes the appropriate Craft skill check for the art on display. Any creature within 30 feet of the art (including the artiste himself) that is affected by an illusion (figment), illusion (pattern) or illusion (phantasm) attack may use the artiste’s Craft check result in place of its saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Craft check result proves to be higher. If a creature within range of the Distraction is already under the effect of a non-instantaneous non-harmless illusion (figment), illusion (pattern) or illusion (phantasm) effect, it gains another saving throw against the effect each round it sees the distraction, but it must use the artiste’s Craft check result for the save. Distraction does not work on effects that don’t allow saves.

Inspire Courage (Su): A 1st level artiste can use his art to inspire courage in his allies (including himself), bolstering them against fear and improving their combat abilities. An affected ally receives a +1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. At 5th level, and every six artiste levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +1, to a maximum of +4 at 17th level.

Fascinate (Su): At 3rd level, an artiste can use his art to fascinate all onlookers within 30 ft. with his work of art. Those who have seen this particular piece of art before are not affected. The Distraction of a nearby combat or other dangers prevents the ability from working.

Each creature within range receives a Will save (DC 10 + ½ the artiste’s level + the artiste’s Intelligence modifier) to negate the effect. If a creature’s saving throw succeeds, the artiste cannot attempt to fascinate that creature again for 24 hours. If its saving throw fails, the creature quietly observes the art while the art inspiration lasts. While fascinated, a target takes a –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Perception checks. Any potential threat to the target allows the target to make a new saving throw against the effect. Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a weapon at the target, automatically breaks the effect.

Fascinate is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

Vista of Doom (Su): An artiste of 4th level or higher can use his art to foster a sense of growing dread in his enemies, causing them to take become shaken. To be affected, an enemy must be within 30 feet and able to see the artwork. The effect persists for as long as the enemy is within 30 feet. The art cannot cause a creature to become frightened or panicked, even if the targets are already shaken from another effect. Vista of doom is a mind-affecting fear effect. A Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ artiste’s level + artiste’s Int modifier) negates the effect.

Inspire Madness (Su): An artiste of 9th level or higher can use his art to inspire madness in onlookers within 30 ft. This has the effect of the confusion spell, but with the save DC is 10 + ½ the artiste’s level + the artiste’s Intelligence modifier). This replaces inspire greatness.

Soothing Art (Su): An artiste of 11th level or higher can use his art to create an effect equivalent to cure serious wounds and calm emotions in all viewers, using the artiste's level as the caster level. A Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ artiste’s level + artiste’s Int modifier) negates the effect.

Frightening Art (Sp): An artiste of 13th level or higher can use his art to cause fear in his enemies. To be affected, an enemy must be able to see the art and be within 30 feet. Each enemy within range receives a Will save (DC 10 + ½ the artiste’s level + the artiste’s Int modifier) to negate the effect. If the save succeeds, the creature is immune to this ability for 24 hours. If the save fails, the target becomes frightened and flees for as long as the target see the art.

Mass Suggestion (Sp): An artiste of 16th level or higher can use his art to make a suggestion to each creature that has already become fascinated (see above). Using this ability does not disrupt the fascinate effect and does not require a separate action. The suggestion takes place after one minute of fascinated observation of the artwork.

A Will saving throw (DC 10 + ½ artiste’s level + artiste’s Int modifier) negates the effect. This ability affects only a single creature (but see mass suggestion, below). Suggestion is an enchantment (compulsion), mind-affecting ability.

Unlike other forms of inspiring art, an art object can both fascinate and suggest an action. The action suggested must be selected when the artwork is made.

Alter Reality (Su): An artiste of 20th level can display a work that alters reality, depicting the world in such a way that art becomes reality. This is similar to a wish spell. The effect of the wish must be expressed trough art, and takes effect when the art is displayed. The market price of a piece of art with this ability must be at least 25,000 gp (not affected by the commercial art technique), and it can only be used once.

This replaces bardic performance.

Versatile Art

Through studying crafts, the artiste gains an insight into many areas. At 2nd level, an artiste can choose one type of Create skill. He can use his bonus in that skill in place of his bonus in associated skills. When substituting in this way, the bard uses his total Craft skill bonus, including class skill bonus, in place of its associated skill's bonus, whether or not he has ranks in that skill or if it is a class skill. At 6th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, the artiste can select an additional type of Perform to substitute.

The types of Craft that qualify for this ability and and their associated skills are: Blacksmithing (Intimidate, Sense motive), Calligraphy (Bluff, Linguistics), Carpentry (Disable device, Survival), Carving (Handle animal, Survival), Founding (Acrobatics, Heal), Glasswork (Heal, Perception), Jewelry (Appraise, Bluff), Leatherworking (Handle Animal, Ride), Painting (Diplomacy, Disguise), Pottery (Perception, Swim), Sculpting (Climb, Escape artist), Tailor (Diplomacy, Stealth), Weaving (Climb, Fly), and Whitesmithing (Appraise, Disable device).

This replaces versatile performance.

This is the reverse of the above list; it shows what skills are connected to what types of Craft. Acrobatics (Founding), Appraise (Jewelry, Whitesmithing), Bluff (Calligraphy, Jewelry), Climb (Sculpting, Weaving), Diplomacy (Painting, Tailor), Disable device (Carpentry, Whitesmithing), Disguise (Painting), Escape artist (Sculpting), Fly (Weaving), Handle animal (Carving, Leatherworking), Heal (Glasswork, Founding), Intimidate (Blacksmithing), Linguistics (Calligraphy), Perception (Pottery, Glasswork), Ride (Leatherworking), Sense motive (Blacksmithing), Stealth (Tailor), Survival (Carpentry, Carving), and Swim (Pottery).

Art Techniques

At level 2 and every 5 levels thereafter, the artiste can select one art technique, methods that lets him alter how his inspiring art works. Except as noted, a particular piece of art can only be created with one art technique.

Commercial Art (Ex): The artiste has had a commercial breakthrough. He can expect to be feted when he makes public appearances and the sale value of his art is the creation cost multiplied by his class level. This technique can only be taken with the DMs permission and should not be permitted to disrupt the wealth balance of the campaign.

Dual Art (Su): The artist can combine two subjects in one piece of art, and displaying the piece of art has both effects. Displaying such an artwork uses up three of the artiste's daily uses of inspiring art.

Gift Art (Su): The artiste can give away, lend, or sell a work of art that anyone can display, with effects just as if the artiste himself had displayed it, but only once. It is always a standard action to display someone else's work of art. By giving away a work of art like this, the artiste ties up one of his daily uses of inspiring art in it; until this gift artwork is used, the artiste has one less daily use of inspiring art. If the artiste recovers the work, he recovers the use of inspiring art and can continue to use the artwork normally or make gift art of it again.

Personal Art (Su): Personal art is keyed to specific individuals or to a specific group of viewers, and only affects members of this group. Combined with dual art, a particular work of art can even have two different effects depending on the viewer. The artiste can specify the group by race, class, alignment, cultural group, religion, family or even by clique; a circle of friends with common tastes. The artiste and his adventuring companions is a clique for this effect. Unlike other art techniques, this one can be combined with gift art and public art.

Public Art (Su): The artiste can create an artwork for public display, that affects anyone when they first see that piece of art. This can be used to create an inspirational piece to attract people to certain location, or even as a kind of magical trap. Public Art has it's effect based on the artiste's current level, not the level at which the artwork was made. Public art is made to be displayed in a certain location; it generally cannot be displayed elsewhere without ruining the effect. Public art is made on an impressive scale; creating a piece of public art takes five times as long as creating a normal artwork, it weighs 10 times as much and has double the normal hit points. Public art that allows saving throws has a save DC of 10 + ½ the artiste’s level (no Intelligence modifier).

Sketch Art (Su): An artist can create a temporary artwork on the fly as a full-round action, displaying it as a part of the act of creating it. The artiste still needs tools and something to create the art out of and to pass the usual Craft skill check. An artiste that knows the prestidigitation spell can use that spell to create sketch art in thin air. Sketch art has a hardness of 0 and 5 hit points.

This ability replaces well-versed.

Lore Master (Ex)

At 8th level, the artiste becomes a master of lore and can take 10 on any Knowledge skill check that he has ranks in. A bard can choose not to take 10 and can instead roll normally. In addition, once per day, the bard can take 20 on any Knowledge skill check as a standard action. He can use this ability one additional time per day at level 15 and 19.

Table: Artiste

Special Spells per Day
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Bardic knowledge, cantrips, fascinate, inspire courage +1, inspiring art 3 1
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Art technique, versatile art 4 2
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Distraction 4 3
4th +3 +1 +4 +4 Vista of doom 4 3 1
5th +3 +1 +4 +4 Inspire courage +2 4 4 2
6th +4 +2 +5 +5 Versatile art 5 4 3
7th +5 +2 +5 +5 Art technique 5 4 3 1
8th +6/+1 +2 +6 +6 Lore master (1/day) 5 4 4 2
9th +6/+1 +3 +6 +6 Inspire madness 5 5 4 3
10th +7/+2 +3 +7 +7 Jack-of-all-trades, versatile art 5 5 4 3 1
11th +8/+3 +3 +7 +7 Inspire courage +3, soothing art 5 5 4 4 2
12th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Art technique 5 5 5 4 3
13th +9/+4 +4 +8 +8 Frightening art 5 5 5 4 3 1
14th +10/+5 +4 +9 +9 Versatile art 5 5 5 4 4 2
15th +11/+6/+1 +5 +9 +9 Lore master (2/day) 5 5 5 5 4 3
16th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Mass suggestion 5 5 5 5 4 3 1
17th +12/+7/+2 +5 +10 +10 Art technique, inspire courage +4 5 5 5 5 4 4 2
18th +13/+8/+3 +6 +11 +11 Versatile art 5 5 5 5 5 4 3
19th +14/+9/+4 +6 +11 +11 Lore master (3/day) 5 5 5 5 5 5 4
20th +15/+10/+5 +6 +12 +12 Alter reality 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

Summary of Changed Class Abilities

These abilities of the original class are lost or modified in this archetype:

  • Spells
  • Bardic performance (All)
  • Well-Versed
  • Versatile Performance
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