Monster Prestige Class : Beholder Mage

A normal beholder can become a wizard or sorcerer. The more ancient beholders are powerful arcanists (see Elder Orbs) that have used magic to extend their lifespans. Nevertheless, two practical limitations keep beholders from becoming spellcasters. First, their lack of hands makes it hard for them to use large numbers of spell components. Second, their central eye's antimagic cone makes the study and use of arcane magic difficult.

However, an increasing number of beholders are embracing a practice once held to be vile and unthinkable to their kind.

Through ritual destruction of its central eye, a beholder can learn to channel and use magic much more quickly and efficiently than can almost any other race. These are the members of the beholder mage prestige class, and the power they wield is truly impressive.


To qualify to become a Beholder Mage, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:

Class Skills

The beholder mage's class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Craft (alchemy), Decipher Script, Knowledge (any), Speak Language, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device.

Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Class Skills

All the following are class features of the beholder mage prestige class.

Spells: A beholder mage gains the ability to cast arcane spells. These spells are drawn from the sorcerer/wizard spell list. At 1st level, a beholder mage masters all the cantrips detailed in the Player's Handbook and also knows two 1st-level spells. Each time it gains a level, it automatically learns two more spells of any level it can cast.

To learn or cast a spell, a beholder mage must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a beholder mage's spell is 10 + the spell level + the beholder mage's Intelligence modifier. A beholder mage's spells function at a caster level equal to twice its beholder mage level.

A beholder mage can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Its base daily spell allotment is given in below. In addition, it receives bonus spells per day if it has a high Intelligence score.

A beholder mage combines the best of two worlds; it can learn new spells as a wizard can, and there is no upper limit to the number of spells it can learn and know. However, it casts its spells on the fly like a sorcerer. A beholder mage of high level typically knows a huge number of spells and can call upon any one of them at anytime, providing it has a spell slot open of the appropriate spell level.

Starting at 1st level, whenever a beholder mage gains the ability to cast a new level of spells, it must sacrifice the use of its eye rays from one of its ten small eyestalks. From then on, that eyestalk casts spells of that level and is referred to as a spell-stalk. At 10th level, all of its eyestalks are spell-stalks.

As with its eye rays, casting a spell from a spell-stalk is a free action (although a single spell-stalk can cast only one spell per round). The spell is technically considered a cast spell (as opposed to the use of a spell-like ability), and thus the act of casting provokes attacks of opportunity normally. A spell cast from a spell-stalk otherwise resolves normally; unlike an eye ray, it does not need to make a ranged touch attack to successfully strike a target (unless the spell itself requires a touch attack). The standard beholder limitation against turning more than three eyestalks in any particular direction (that is, forward, backward, left, right, tip, or down) still applies.

Beholder mages do not require material components to cast their spells. The ruined central eye acts as an arcane focus for all the creature's spells. If a spell normally requires a material component that carries with it a gold-piece cost, the beholder mage instead spends a number of experience points equal to one-fifth of the normal gold-piece cost (minimum of 1 experience point). The somatic components of a beholder mage's spells are supplied by the weaving and waving of its spell-stalks. The verbal component of a beholder mage's spells is the creature's special spellcasting song. The song takes effort; a beholder mage that is casting spells cannot speak or use its mouth to do anything else that round, including making bite attacks.

Arcane Hands (Su): A beholder mage develops the ability to manipulate objects as if with a mage hand spell. This ability is constantly active and can not only manipulate objects but also use magic items like wands, staffs, rods, and some wondrous items (like a bag of tricks). The hand cannot activate items that must be worn to utilize an effect (such as a helm of brilliance).

A beholder mage's arcane hand has an effective Strength score equal to the creature's beholder mage class level. An arcane hand can be used to perform any attack or defensive action for which a regular hand can be used. Using an arcane hand to make an unarmed strike provokes attacks of opportunity unless the beholder mage has the Improved Unarmed Strike feat. Theoretically, a beholder mage with monk levels could use its arcane hand for its unarmed attacks.

Ocular Transformation (Su): At 10th level, a beholder mage's ruined central eye undergoes a supernatural transformation and can absorb magic energy directed at the beholder. This grants the beholder spell resistance equal to its Hit Dice +5 (maximum spell resistance of 30).

If the creature's spell resistance succeeds in preventing the effect of a spell, its central eye begins to glow with red light equivalent to that of a torch. While it glows, the eye no longer grants spell resistance. In order to regain spell resistance, the beholder must spend a full-round action to absorb the energy stored in the eye. At the end of the full-round action, the eye stops glowing, and the beholder's spell resistance is again effective.

Absorbing the energy stored in the eye does not provoke attacks of opportunity, and it heals the beholder of 5 points of damage per spell level absorbed. Hit points gained in excess of the beholder's normal maximum are lost.

Beholder MageHit Die: d4
1st+0+0+0+2Arcane hands63--------
10th+5+3+3+7Ocular transformation6666666665

Source: Lords of Madness

Monster Prestige Classes