Philosopher (D&D Class)

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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.

Table: The Philosopher

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


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 wisdom 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 wisdom 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 wisdom. Most enhance or accentuate a natural feature, or restore the world to a more natural and pristine condition. Abjuration spells that negate the magic others have used to change the world in (to the philosopher) irrational or immoral ways are their specialty. 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 and spectacular 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. 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 patron deities. 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.

In the World of Greyhawk, philosophers usually idolize such distant gods as Xan Yae, Rao, or Istus, but most philosophers have no patron and draw their miraculous powers more from their understanding of the world than from any one god. 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.

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 wisdom. 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. Finally, 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. Wisdom is needed to cast spells and Intelligence to learn new 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 Abilities

All of the following are class abilities of the Philosopher class.

Hit Dice


Armor and Weapon Proficiency

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

Class Skills

Philosophers earn 4x (2+ Int bonus) skill points at first level and (2 + Int bonus) skill points for each level after the first.

Their class skills are: Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Any) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language, and Swim (Str).

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

Universal Understanding (ex)

The philosopher is learned in all subjects, having mastered the very art of learning. Whenever a philosopher makes a skill roll to see if he knows or understands something, he may add his class level to the roll. He can make such a roll even if he is unskilled in the skill in question.

Jen-Ti is confronted with a fishing problem; he must give his learned opinion on where to find the Blush Dragonfish. This rare knowledge requires a roll of either Profession (fishing) or Knowledge (Nature). Jen-Ti knows a little Profession (fishing) but lacks Knowledge (Nature). For Profession (fishing) he adds his skill modifier to his class level for universal understanding. For Knowledge (Nature) he can make the roll despite being unskilled, using his Intelligence bonus (for an unskilled Knowledge skill) and class level. If he actually tried to catch a Blush Dragonfish, he would still only be allowed to use his normal Profession (fishing) skill with no special bonus.

The following skills usually get a benefit from universal understanding, some of them only in a certain aspect: Appraise, Decipher Script, Forgery (detect forgeries), Gather Information, Knowledge, Search, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival (tracking). But universal understanding is not limited to these skills, as the example above shows.

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 stand 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 the same 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.

At seventh level, 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 twelfth level, the bonus increases to +3, at level seventeenth to +4. 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 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 also Immune to Fear, including use of the Intimidation skill.
  • At level 9 he gains Immunity to morale penalties. He cannot be compelled to attack someone against his will.
  • By level 12, he is Immune to all Compulsion effects.
  • Level 15 brings the wisdom to discern false hopes and dream; he is immune to Immune to phantasm spells and effects.
  • Finally, at level 18 he becomes Immune to Charm effects.

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

Restore Balance (sp)

A philosopher can restore the balance of nature where it has been bent by spellcasting. Once per day per level, he can use dispelling touch (Player’s Handbook II page 110). At fifth level, he can use greater dispel magic instead. At 10th level, he can use greater dispel magic as a swift action. At 15th level, he can use greater dispel magic as an immediate action. At 20th level, if he uses an immediate action to counterspell, he can continue to counterspell all spells cast in range until his next action comes up, and this counts only once against his daily uses of restore balance.


A philosopher casts divine spells. He can cast a limited number of spells per day, as given in table: The Philosopher. Wisdom determines what level of spells a philosopher can cast, how hard his spells are to save against, and his bonus spells per day. A philosopher has a spellbook and prepares spells just like a wizard does and 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). 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. In addition to this, a philosopher can learn new spells just like a wizard does, but from his own spell list. 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. Wizards and philosophers can copy each other’s spellbooks where the spell lists overlap; and a philosopher can copy spells divine scrolls, but not from arcane scrolls. The cost of scribing philosopher spells are not for inks, but for supplemental reading and experiments the philosopher needs to perform in order to understand the new spell.

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.

Level 0 spells (minora)

Analyze Fertility (BEF), Arcane Mark, Benign Dispel (New), Caltrops (SpC), Cheat (SpC), Confusion, Lesser, Cure Minor Wounds, Daze, Deflect, Lesser (PH2), Depilatory (BEF), Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Detect Pregnancy (BEF), Guidance, Inhibit (SpC), Ironguts (SpC), Know Direction, Launch Bolt (SpC), Launch Item (SpC), Message, Prestidigitation, Purify Food and Drink, Read Magic, Repair Minor Damage (SpC), Resistance, Seed Shield (New), Silent Portal (SpC), Stand (PH2), Stick (SpC), Virtue.

Level 1 Spells

Abortion (New), Accelerated Movement (SpC), Aiming at the Target (SpC), Animate Rope, Armor Lock (CSc), Arrow Mind (SpC), Benign Dispel, Greater (New), Benign Dispel, Swift (New), Blades of Fire (SpC), Bless, Calm Emotions, Cause Fear, Charm Person, Clear Mind (SpC), Command, Comprehend Languages, Conviction (SpC), Cutting Hand (SpC), Deflect (PH2), Detect Animals or Plants, Detect Chaos, Detect Disease (BEF), Detect Evil, Detect Good, Detect Law, Detect Secret Doors, Dispelling Touch (PH2), Divine Favor, Drug Resistance (BV), Endure Elements, Energize Potion (BE), Enthrall, Erase, Feather Fall, Find Traps, Golem Strike (SpC), Grave Strike (SpC), Grease, Guided Shot (SpC), Healer’s Vision (Csc), Healthful Rest (SpC), Heroics (SpC), Hypnotism, Identify, Insightful Feint (SpC), Inspirational Boost (SpC), Know Greatest Enemy (SpC), Longstrider, Mage Burr (Csc), Magic Weapon, Moment of Clarity (SpC), Nerveskitter (SpC), Omen of Peril (SpC), Portal Beacon (SpC), Protection From Chaos, Protection From Evil, Protection From Good, Protection From Law, Rebuke (SpC), Remove Fear, Remove Scent (SpC), Repair Light Damage (SpC), Resurgence (SpC), Rouse (PH2), Sanctuary, Serene Visage (SpC), Share Talents (PH2), Shield Of Faith, Shock And Awe (SpC), Sign (SpC), Sniper’s Shot (SpC), Snowshoes (SpC), Spontaneous Search (SpC), Suspicion (BEF), True Strike, Vine Strike (SpC).

Level 2 Spells

Addiction (BV), Aid, Align Weapon, Bear’s Endurance, Blade Brothers (PH2), Bladeweave (SpC), Bull’s Strength, Burning Sword (SpC), Catapult (Csc), Charm Animal, Cloak of Bravery (SpC), Cure Light Wounds, Delay Poison, Discern Shapechanger (SpC), Dispel Magic, Divine Insight (SpC), Divine Protection (SpC), Dolorous Blow (SpC), Eagle’s Splendor, Ease Pain (BE), Enlarge Weapon (Csc), False Gravity (SpC), False Life, Fell the Greatest Foe (SpC), Fox’s Cunning, Gembomb (SpC), Ghost Touch Armor (SpC), Ghost Touch Weapon (SpC), Glitterdust, Healing Lorecall (SpC), Heroism, Increase Virulence (PH2), Infernal Wound (SpC), Keen Edge, Linked Perception (PH2), Lively Step (SpC), Low-Light Vision (SpC), Loyal Vassal (SpC), Magic Probe (BEF), Mantle of Chaos (SpC), Mantle of Evil (SpC), Mantle of Good (SpC), Mantle of Law (SpC), Master’s Touch (PH2), Mechanus Mind (SpC), Mindless Rage (SpC), Obscure Object, Orb of Acid, Lesser (SpC), Orb of Cold, Lesser (SpC), Orb of Electricity, Lesser (SpC), Orb of Fire, Lesser (SpC), Orb of Sound, Lesser (SpC), Owl’s Wisdom, Phantom Trap, Leomund’s, Pleasant Dreams (BEF), Protection from Negative Energy (SpC), Protection from Positive Energy (SpC), Quick Potion (SpC), Remove addicition (BE), Remove Paralysis, Repair Moderate Damage (SpC), Resist Energy, Resist Temptation (BEF), Restoration, Lesser, See Invisibility, Shatter, Spawn Screen (SpC), Spell Immunity, Lesser (SpC), Stay the Hand (PH2), Stretch Weapon (PH2), Suggestion, Sure Strike (PH2), Surefooted Stride (SpC), Tactical Precision (SpC), Tern’s Persistence (Sto), Tongues, Touch Of Idiocy, Undetectable Alignment, Weapon Of Impact (SpC), Yoke of Mercy (BE), Zeal (SpC), Zone Of Truth.

Level 3 Spells

Aid, Mass (SpC), Align Weapon, Mass (SpC), Alter Fortune (PH2), Analyze Ancestry (BEF), Analyze Portal (SpC), Anticipate Teleportation (SpC), Arcane Sight, Assay Spell Resistance (SpC), Augury, Avoid Planar Effects (SpC), Blindsight (SpC), Call Lightning, Channeled Divine Health (PH2), Charm Monster, Conviction, Mass (SpC), Crumble (SpC), Cure Moderate Wounds, Diamondsteel (SpC), Discern Lies, Disobedience (Csc), Divine Interdiction (SpC), Elation (BE), Energized Shield (SpC), Energy Aegis (PH2), Energy Surge (PH2), Find The Gap (SpC), Ghost Touch (BEF), Infestation Of Maggots (SpC), Know Opponent (SpC), Magic Circle Against Chaos, Magic Circle Against Evil, Magic Circle Against Good, Magic Circle Against Law, Magic Vestment, Magic Weapon, (Greater), Misdirection, Mystic Aegis (PH2), Pillow Talk (BEF), Plant Growth, Rage, Recitation (SpC), Remove Blindness/Deafness, Remove Disease, Remove Nausea (BE), Resurgence, Mass (SpC), Rusting Grasp, Shield of Warding (SpC), Snowshoes, Mass (SpC), Sonorous Hum (SpC), Spell Immunity, Suppress Glyph (SpC), Treasure Scent (SpC), Water Walk, Weapon Of Energy (SpC).

Level 4 Spells

Air Walk, Astral Hospice (SpC), Atonement, Attune Form (SpC), Blindsight, (Greater) (SpC), Break Enchantment, Castigate (SpC), Command, (Greater), Contagion, Cure Serious Wounds, Deeper Darkvision (SpC), Delay Death (SpC), Desperation (BEF), Detect Scrying, Dimensional Anchor, Dispel Chaos, Dispel Evil, Dispel Good, Dispel Law, Dispel Magic, (Greater), Dispelling Screen (SpC), Divination, Divine Power, Dragon Ally, Lesser (SpC), Fantastic Machine (SpC), Freedom Of Movement, Geas, Lesser, Giant Vermin, Glibness, Imbue With Spell Ability, Invisibility Purge, Irrational Attraction (BEF), Know Vulnerabilities (SpC), Longstrider, Mass (PH2), Morality Undone (BV), Nondetection, Orb Of Acid (SpC), Orb Of Cold (SpC), Orb Of Electricity (SpC), Orb Of Fire (SpC), Orb Of Force (SpC), Orb Of Sound (SpC), Poison, Raise From The Deep (SpC), Remove Fatigue (BE), Repair Critical Damage (SpC), Resist Energy, Mass (SpC), Resistance, (Greater) (SpC), Restoration, Righteous Wrath Of The Faithful (SpC), Sanctuary, Mass (SpC), Sheltered Vitality (SpC), Shield of Faith, Mass (SpC), Spell Vulnerability (SpC), Stifle Spell (PH2), Sustain (BE), Undead Bane Weapon (SpC), Wall Of Chaos (SpC), Wall Of Dispel Magic (SpC), Wall Of Evil (SpC), Wall Of Good (SpC), Wall Of Law (SpC), Zone Of Respite (SpC).

Level 5 Spells

Airy Water (Sto), Animate Objects, Arcane Sight, (Greater), Call Lightning Storm, Chasing Perfection (PH2), Cloak Of Chaos, Commune With Nature, Condemnation (PH2), Contingent Energy Resistance (SpC), Cure Critical Wounds, Death Ward, Dismissal, Disrupting Weapon, Dragon Ally (SpC), False Vision, Forbiddance, Hardening (SpC), Heroes’ Feast, Heroism, (Greater), Impotency (BEF), Incite Riot (PH2), Insect Plague, Legend Lore, Magic Convalesence (PH2), Magic Status (BEF), Make Manifest (SpC), Panacea (SpC), Permanency, Planar Tolerance (SpC), Refusal (SpC), Renewed Vigor (PH2), Revivify (SpC), Seduction (BEF), Slay Living, Solipsism (SpC), Stalwart Pact (SpC), Succor (BEF), Sympathetic Vibration, Telepathy Block (BE), Toxic Weapon (PH2), Transformation, Tenser’s, True Seeing, Vanishing Weapon (BE), Vulnerability (SpC), Zealot Pact (SpC).

Level 6 Spells

Analyze Dweomer, Anticipate Teleportation, (Greater) (SpC), Astral Projection, Awaken Construct (SpC), Ball Lightning (SpC), Banishment, Blasphemy, Cloak Of The Sea (SpC), Control Water, Control Weather, Dictum, Dragon Ally, (Greater) (SpC), Earthquake, Fantastic Machine, (Greater) (SpC), Find The Path, Fire Storm, Freezing Fog (SpC), Geas/Quest, Gemjump (SpC), Ghost Trap (SpC), Hide The Path (SpC), Holy Word, Impotent Possessor (BV), Incorporeal Nova (SpC), Limited Wish, Mind Blank, Move Earth, Pestilence (BV), Plane Shift, Restoration, (Greater), Shadow Walk, Slime Wave (SpC), Spell Resistance, Mass (SpC), Spell Turning, Sunburst, Tidal Surge (SpC), Wall Of Greater Dispel Magic (SpC), Word Of Balance (SpC).



Perfect Being (General)

You can combine philosopher and monk abilities.

Benefit: Add your monk and philosopher levels together when using the restore balance, universal understanding and universal advice philosopher class abilities and when calculating the damage of monk unarmed attacks and monk armor class bonus.