Why stay in the library when there are ancient secrets to discover? You venture out, searching for long-lost artefacts among the ruins of past ages. You gain 5 points in a background that covers knowledge of ancient civilizations, locating treasure sites, and identifying what you find.
You also gain a variant of the Rogue's Trap Sense class feature that covers magical traps, as well as any dangerous effects on artefacts and magic items.
Adventurer feat: You are familiar enough with ancient writing systems that you can decipher most writings you find on maps, dungeon walls and item inscriptions.
Champion feat: You can wield one additional magic item before their quirks start to control you.
The long lives of elves allow them to dedicate years into perfecting their craft even the seemingly mundane, and they treat spellcasting with the same dedication. Through perfected grace and finger movement, they are able to cast spells with a fine precision unmatched by the lesser races. There are non-elves who have perfected this art, but they are seen with suspicion and even contempt.
Whenever you cast an at-will spell, deal extra damage equal to your Dexterity modifier. Double this bonus at champion tier, triple it at epic.
Adventurer feat: Your non-at-will spells also gain the damage bonus.
Champion feat: Increase the critical threat range of your at-will spells by 2.
Back Alley Wizard
You've learned magic from the hucksters in the bad part of the city, who have put their own twist on spells that is focused on a quick hit and a getaway rather than perfect execution of a beautiful formula. Instead of the "pure" version of a spell, you can prepare a modified formula that modifies a spell or adds an effect. You gain access to three twists, but you can augment each spell with only one of them.
These rigged spells are not without risks, however. If an attack roll with the spell is a natural 1, you suffer the listed backlash. If the spell does not include an attack roll, roll a d20 to check for backlash.
Spellfeint: Change target defense to MD.
Backlash: Until the end of your next turn, all attacks automatically target your lowest defense score.
Cast & Run: The spell does not provoke opportunity attacks. Make a disengage check as part of the casting action.
Backlash: Lose the spell until the next full healup. In case of a daily spell, lose an additional prepared spell.
Ballblaster: On an even hit, the target is also dazed until the end of its next turn.
Backlash: You daze yourself.
Covert spell: Onlookers must succeed at a hard save (16+) to notice that a spell has been cast. For spells with obviously magical visual effects, like a Fireball, the result is still visible, but it will be hard to notice who cast the spell in a crowd of people.
Backlash: Magical eruptions around you make the origin of the spell completely obvious.
Explosive spell: Reroll all damage dice that come up as the maximum, and add the second result.
Backlash: You take damage equal to the spell's level.
Adventurer feat: Learn the remaining twists.
Champion feat: Enemies who are confused, dazed, stunned or weakened are also vulnerable to your spells.
Epic feat: Once per day, ignore a natural 1 backlash and reroll the die.
Unlike your more scholarly brethren, you have been trained to use your spells to support an army on the battlefield. You do not suffer an attack penalty when using a d6 melee weapon, and your base AC in light armor increases to 11.
Adventurer feat: You gain a +1 bonus to weapon and spell attacks against mooks.
Champion feat: Increase your recovery dice to d8.
Epic feat: You gain a +1 bonus to PD.
When you prepare a spell, you can choose the spell to be a corrupted spell. If the spell deals damage, change its energy type to negative energy. If the spell is a daily spell, it deals extra damage equal to your level, and you regain hit points equal to your level for each enemy you hit.
In addition, you can choose one of your spells from the necromancer list instead.
Adventurer feat: When you hit an enemy with a corrupted spell, you gain a +1 bonus to attacks against it until the end of your next turn.
Champion feat: You can learn additional spells from the necromancer list, in place of a Wizard spell two levels higher.
When you memorize your spells after a full heal-up, you can prepare one of your spells as a chain spell. When you attack with a chain spell and get a natural even roll, you can roll another attack against a different enemy within range. Keep on rolling attacks as long as you get even rolls and don't run out of new targets. Each enemy can be targeted only once.
If the chosen spell is an at-will spell, you can cast the chain version once per battle.
Adventurer feat: If the escalation die is 3+, and your first attack with the chain spell was an odd miss, you don't expend the spell.
Champion feat: You can prepare an additional spell as a chain spell, but at a -2 level penalty.
Epic feat: If the escalation die is 5+, cast all of your at-will spells as chain spells.
When you memorize your spells after a full heal-up, you can prepare one of your spells as an empowered spell. Increase all damage dice of the spell by one step (such as d4 to d6). D12 cannot be empowered further. In addition, reroll all of its damage dice that come up as 1.
If the chosen spell is an at-will spell, you can cast the empowered version once per battle.
Adventurer feat: If the escalation die is 2+, increase your critical threat range with the empowered spell by 2.
Champion feat: You can prepare an additional spell as an empowered spell.
Rpic feat: If the escalation die is 4+, increase your critical threat range with the empowered spell by 4.
(Note: This is a better balanced alternative to the very broken Evocation talent in the core book)
When you memorize your spells after a full heal-up, you can prepare one of your spells as a heightened spell. Roll twice for the spell's attack roll and take the better result.
If the chosen spell is an at-will spell, you can cast the heightened version once per battle.
Adventurer feat: If the spell has a (save ends) effect, the target must roll twice on the save and take the lower roll.
Champion feat: You can prepare an additional spell as a heightened spell, but that reduces the level of its effect by 2 (so you could prepare a 3rd-level spell in a 5th level slot).
You specialize in the creation of imaginary figments. Even when the spell you cast is not an illusion, you like to add a little extra to enhance the effect.
Once per battle, when a spell attack roll is an even miss, you can reroll the attack. The second roll targets the enemy's MD, even if the original attack roll was against AC or PD.
Fire! Fire! Fire! Is there another form of magic? Not for you! Whenever you cast a spell that does fire damage, increase its damage die by one step. In fact, you love fire so much, whenever you learn a Wizard spell, you also learn a second version that does its damage as fire damage and gets the bonus! Decide which one you prepare when choosing spells for the day. Now go and burn something.
Adventurer feat: Fire Resistance? Immunity? Pah! You just ignore it.
Champion feat: You can learn the druid's Summon Fire Elemental (13TW47) as a Wizard spell.
Epic feat: Whenever you cast a spell that deals fire damage, gain temporary hit points equal to your level.
When you memorize your spells after a full heal-up, you can prepare one of your spells as a quickened spell. The spell must be a standard action to cast, as most spells are by default. You can cast this spell as a move action instead.
If the chosen spell is an at-will spell, you can cast the quickened version once per battle.
Adventurer feat: If the escalation die is 2+, you can cast the quickened version as a quick action.
Champion feat: You can prepare an additional spell as a quickened spell, but that reduces the level of its effect by 2 (so you could prepare a 3rd-level spell in a 5th level slot).
Epic feat: If the escalation die is 4+, you can cast the quickened spell as a reaction.
Consider it a gift or just lack of control over the true extent of your power, whenever you conjure your magic reserves to cast a daily spell, magical energies buzz around you and create an aura that resonates with the surrounding creatures. Roll a d6 and add the escalation die.
1+: Dancing Lights surround you
3+: A shining halo absorbes three times your level in damage from the next attack.
5+: Sparks deal lightning damage equal to your level to nearby enemies.
7+: You can hover until the start of your next turn.
9+: Deal one extra damage die per tier with all spells that deal fire, lightning, thunder or cold damage until the end of the battle.
11+: Until the end of combat, increase your critical hit range with wizard spells by two.
13+: You can heal using a recovery.
Adventurer feat: Once per day, you can activate this ability on one non-daily spell.
Champion feat: Roll a d8 instead.
Epic feat: Roll a d10 instead.
Scion of Horizon
You were born into of one of the great Wizard families of Horizon, many of which were founded by a past Archmage or produced at least one in their many generations. Above the clouds, you are considered true nobility. You gain 5 points towards a background that represents your heritage.
Down on the surface, you may not be awarded the same level of respect, but your connection to Horizon allows you to tap its resources even from a distance. For one battle per day, you grant yourself Overworld Advantage.
However, generations of interbreeding have caused your blood to thin, and you start with one less recovery, down from eight to seven.
Adventurer feat: You gain an additional icon relationship point with the Archmage.
Champion feat: Once per battle, when you have Overworld Advantage, cast one spell as if you were two levels higher.
Epic feat: You gain an additional spell slot, which grants a second utility spell.
You have been trained in a secluded college or wizard tower, where you had the solitude required to fully focus on your studies. Choose three very narrowly defined scholarly backgrounds. Stellar examples include the revised taxonomy of butterflies in the Eldeen Reaches, seasonal migration patterns of Kooru Behemoths, tribal animism among Iron Sea merfolk or spatial variation in the metaphysics of hell holes. You gain one point towards that background for each word in its name, up to a maximum of 5.
The price, however, is a constant struggle with the real world. Choose one of the following areas: the great outdoors, merryment and revelry, physical exertion, or the other sex. Whenever you have to make a skill check regarding that area, roll twice and take the lower result. Of course, your wise DM would never think of using this as a license for cheap comedy at your expense.
Adventurer feat: Increase the maximum for a background gained with this talent to +8.
Champion feat: Once per day, you can reroll a skill check when performing an arcane ritual.
Epic feat: Once per day, you can perform an arcane ritual without expending a daily spell.
You sail the high seas and cast your spells from the power of the wind and the waves. Your true home are the planks of a ship. You gain four points towards a background in seamanship and navigation. In addition, you gain the bonus from your Overworld Advantage class talent whenever you are at sea.
Adventurer feat: You can learn the air and water spells of the Elemental Caster druid talent as if they were Wizard spells.
Champion feat: Whenever you are at sea, you gain a +2 bonus to the critical threat range with your spells.
Epic feat: Whenever you are at sea, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with your spells.
You have been trained in an arcane tradition that has sworn to practice a cleansed, pure form of magic to resist the temptations that the darker forms of the art bring, as practiced by the followers of the Lich King and the Diabolist. Most white mages are aligned with the Priestess, and even though they practise the arcane arts, their teachings often have religious undertones.
When you prepare a spell, you can choose the spell to be a white spell. If the spell deals damage, change its energy type to holy. If the spell is a daily spell, you heal hit points equal to twice its spell level when casting it.
In addition, you can choose one of your spells from the Cleric list.
Adventurer feat: Demons, devils and undead are vulnerable to your white spells.
Champion feat: You can use the cleric's Heal class feature once per day.
Epic feat: You can now use the cleric's Heal class feature once per battle instead.
When you memorize your spells after a full heal-up, you can prepare one of your spells as a widened spell. Increase the number of targets of the spell by one.
If the chosen spell is an at-will spell, you can cast the widened version once per battle.
Adventurer feat: If the escalation die is 3+, increase the number of targets by 1d3 instead.
Champion feat: You can prepare an additional spell as a widened spell, but that reduces the level of its effect by 2 (so you could prepare a 3rd-level spell in a 5th level slot).
Epic feat: If the escalation die is 4+, increase the number of targets by 1d4.
It's not unusual for practitioners of the arcane arts to be in a little skittish and easily startled, for there is a lot to worry about when you dabble in arts that mortals are not meant to wield. Local nobles might try to coerce favors, sentient artifacts want their secrets to remain hidden, and ancient evils just wait for the chance to slip through a crack between the planes caused by a botched spell.
In your defense you have learned to set up your spells to trigger in your defense when needed. When you prepare a spell, you can set a contingency condition under which that spell is immediately triggered. For example, you could set a water breathing spell to trigger immediately when you run out of air. The condition has to affect you, and the spell always targets yourself. Therefore, this talent is best used with utility and defensive spells. However, vengeful and mischievous mages have used this spell to become a living bomb with their body exploding in a Fireball upon death.
Adventurer feat: You can set up three different conditions to trigger different utility spells with your utility spell slot.
Champion feat: You can set up some simple targeting, such as "Tordek" or "the nearest undead". However, the spell can't read minds or intentions, so "ally" or "enemy" don't work.
Epic feat: You can set up up to 5 conditions for your utility spell slot.
Version 0.3; 2 January 2017
Art credit: Carolina Eade - Deepwood Librarian