Guide to Bloatmages in Pathfinder

Mages are, from the beginning, gifted with incredible powers. Who could deny that the ability to use magic is anything but wondrous? Those who can’t similarly do so are typically filled with awe and jealousy at the sight of a Wizard or Sorcerer casting a spell, as magic makes the impossible possible.

Yet mages, who are already so gifted, sometimes go above and beyond the norm for their kind in order to receive more power. Greater power. Power, indeed, at a terrible cost…

Such is the realm of the Bloatmage, the result of a magic user who has decided to delve into the powers they can receive by tapping into the magical potential of not only their own blood, but that of other creatures. Though undeniably powerful, Bloatmages are repulsive creatures who can, under the wrong influence, become incredibly evil.

A prestige class that’s entered into by somebody with the Bloatmage Initiate feat, a Spell Focus and third level spells under their belt, the Bloatmage is the equivalent of magical heavy artillery. Bloatmages are among the most devastating magical attackers, using the increased bulk from all the blood they hold in their bodies to, in essence, re-use spells. At first level Bloatmages gain a substantial Blood Pool, equivalent to their class level in Blood Points, that allows them to use a prepared (or not) spell without actually using up that spell slot.

The result? The Bloatmage can use the same spell twice. Or more. Indeed, a Bloatmage using low level spells – like, say, Magic Missile – can use them over and over, as the Blood Points needed to use a spell equal the spell’s level. A Bloatmage with a high Blood Pool is a fearsome enemy indeed, capable of rehashing potent spells like Fireball, Summon Monster and Scorching Ray over and over. They can even summon up more Blood Points on a whim, if they wish, and restore their stock – and if Bloatmages drink the blood of other creatures, they gain Sorcerer powers associated with the creature type. Pretty nifty, if a bit gross.

What’s the cost? Well, as with any good thing, there’s one devil a cost:

  • First, Bloatmages are swelled to an enormous size as a result of all the blood they harbor. Though the Bloatmage gains extra AC as a result, he also loses speed. They’re also particularly susceptible to bleed attacks, and lose Blood Points as a result.

  • And, second, Bloatmages that attempt to go above and beyond their usual stock of Blood Points may suffer from physical and mental problems during combat, particularly if they delve too deep – a Bloatmage that’s too far gone will begin using his most potent spells on anything around him, including friends, in a crazed frenzy. Imagine turning around and suddenly getting a maximized Fireball in your face from an ally.

Consequently, Bloatmages should never be handled callously. The ability to reuse spells is amazing, but the costs of messing up in a pinch can leave the party worse off than when they started. Entire parties could die because their Bloatmage went berserk and joined the enemies in PC killing. They also present some traveling problems, as Bloatmages are quite slow and may need assistance if they lack magical means of transport, and their dubious nature may introduce Bloatmages that are evil.

If you decide to go with a Bloatmage, your stats should vary depending on the base magical class. Wizard is ideal as it makes the most of the Bloatmage’s levels in a shorter time, though Sorcerer Bloatmages may have an easier time with AC and handling spells. Whether you’re going with Intelligence or Wisdom, boost the Bloatmage’s Constitution as much as you can – they don’t get much HP – and pump a bit into Dexterity as well, though no higher than 16 since Bloatmage Initiate prevents going higher. Since the Bloatmage is a tank of a magic user, other stats should be of secondary importance, especially Strength. Bloatmages should typically not be on the front lines where they could be exposed to bleed.

Tempting and weird though the Bloatmage class may be, it may eventually prove too risky for some characters. There’s a lot riding on the Bloatmage not going crazy, and with only ten levels to play with the Bloatmage’s Blood Pool is a bit small for dedicated use. Still, if you want to build a unique, strange character, Bloatmage is a good path for somebody who’s feeling lucky.