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In Dragon Magazine #315, a prestige class called

Anarchomancer

was introduced.. It comes with a class feature called "Ritual of the Dark Infiltrator", which is described thusly:

Ritual of the Dark Infiltrator (Su)

By undertaking a daylong ritual known only to the anarchomancers of the Revolutionary League, the anarchomancer can transform herself into a completely different character - one with a different race, class, and even abilities the anarchomancer does not possess herself. Using the Ritual of the Dark Infiltrator costs 1,000 gp and drains the anarchomancer of 1,000 XP. The ritual takes 24 hours, during which time the anarchomancer must be undisturbed.

When the ritual is finished, the anarchomancer chooses a new form, essentially creating a second character that she'll play instead of the anarchomancer. Calculate the anarchomancers base leadership score according to the rules for the Leadership feat; the second character is constructed as if it were a cohort appropriate for a character with that leadership score. Don't apply any of the reputation or leader modifiers (great renown, has a familiar, and so on). The second character retains the memories, motivations, and goals of the anarchomancer's previous life, but she can't cast spells or use racial abilities she doesn't possess anymore. Nothing short of a wish or miracle reveals the new character's former life as an anarchomancer. The anarchomancer gains new levels according to its character level as an anarchomancer, even if the second character is lower level.

As a full-round action, the anarchomancer can return to her original character, shedding the original body in a burst of eldritch power.

The part in bold is what got me thinking.

Cohort Level

The character can attract a cohort of up to this level. Regardless of a character’s Leadership score, he can only recruit a cohort who is two or more levels lower than himself. The cohort should be equipped with gear appropriate for its level. A character can try to attract a cohort of a particular race, class, and alignment. The cohort’s alignment may not be opposed to the leader’s alignment on either the law-vs-chaos or good-vs-evil axis, and the leader takes a Leadership penalty if he recruits a cohort of an alignment different from his own.

"A cohort appropriate for a character with that leadership score" doesn't mention anything about the level of that character - which makes sense, since no character with Leadership is involved. So Leadership score is the only relevant stat, and that can be optimized for.

It is possible that the RAI is something like "a cohort as appropriate for a character of the Anarchomancer's character level and that leadership score", but that is not what the actual RAW says.

So, assume a build qualifying for Anarchomancer:

  • Base Charisma of 18 (point-buy)
  • Venerable Dragonwrought Kobold, for +3 Cha
  • 10 levels of Sorcerer, for 5th level spells while being able to focus on Charisma
  • 1 level of Anarchomancer, for the Ritual
  • By Clvl 11, we have 2 ability score increases, spending both on Charisma gives us another +2 Cha

At this point, we're at Charisma 23/+6, let's assume another +1 from items pushing us to 24/+7, though this is very amenable to further optimization.

That gives us a Leadership score of 11 + 7, or 18, which according to the Leadership table would result in a Cohort at level 12.

So, assuming our Sorcerer 10/Anarchomancer 1 performs the Ritual of the Dark Infiltrator, what level would they create their new alter ego/"second character" as? 12, as their Leadership score indicates? 9, as the maximum level of a cohort they themselves could attract (if they had the Leadership feat)? Something else?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please don't link to sites that reproduce material without permission. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2023 at 12:20
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Relevant Meta question. So you know. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2023 at 12:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @From Realmshelps reproduces content without permission; the anarchomancer itself is copyright infringement, as they don’t have permission to distribute that. The SRD is allowed, because it reproduces content with permission (the OGL). Discussion forums are allowed, because they don’t (generally) reproduce content at all (aside from snippets and quotes that are probably Fair Use). That said, considering that the entirety of every issue of Dragon magazine is on archive.org, I’m not sure the copyright holders actually care. For that matter, realmshelps itself has been around for decades… \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Mar 6, 2023 at 14:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Honestly, I just don't want such a valuable community resource to get hit with a C&D so I'd rather it stay as under the radar as possible.) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 6, 2023 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Thanks, removed the link. \$\endgroup\$
    – From
    Mar 6, 2023 at 14:43

1 Answer 1

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The prestige class anarchomancer at level 1 gains the supernatural ability ritual of the dark infiltrator that, in part, says, that the player should determine the maximum ECL of the creature into which the anarchomancer can change by "[c]alculat[ing] the anarchomancers [sic] base leadership score according to the rules for the Leadership feat in chapter 4 of the Dungeon Master's Guide [106–7]; the second character is constructed as if it were a cohort appropriate for a character with that leadership score" (Dragon #316 48–9 and link mine).

I think that many readers and many DMs would take the view that the ability's strong connection to the Leadership feat and its use of the cohort mechanic demonstrates that the ability assumes that the anarchomancer ends up in a form that's equivalent to a cohort for her original form—therefore usually with a maximum ECL of her own ECL −2. (Ask the DM about the effect of the general feat Close Cohort (Dragon #346 54) and the leader feat Improved Cohort (Heroes of Battle 98) on this.)

The best kind of correct

Technically, though, the question is correct: The ability's text says that "the second character [i.e. the anarchomancer's post-ritual form] is constructed as if it were a cohort appropriate for a character with that leadership score" [emphasis mine]—rather than, say, the anarchomancer herself. Hence, insofar as the ritual ability is concerned, the leadership score that's computed for this purpose is just a number, unbeholden to the anarchomancer's ECL. This means that there's no practical limit to the ECL of that second character. (The feat Epic Leadership (Power of Faerûn 155, 156) details cohort advancement for leadship scores of 25 and higher.) To be clear, an anarchomancer optimized to take advantage of this language could employ the ritual ability to assume a new form with a significantly higher ECL than his original.

Example

Sjoihndny Vrioctitoeusn is a human sorcerer 10/anarchomancer 1 who normally possesses Cha 24 who at level 1 took the feats Spell Focus (illusion) (Player's Handbook 100) and Great Diplomat (Oriental Adventures 63), at level 3 the feat Ecclesiarch (Eberron Campaign Setting 52), at level 6 the Leadership feat, and at level 9 the feat Improved Leadership (Dragon #317 82). When computing his leadership score for the ritual of the dark infiltrator ability, Vrioctitoeusn's effective leadership score is 11 (ECL) +7 (Cha modifier) and +6 (feats) = 24. (Reminder: The ability says, "Don't apply any of the reputation or leader modifiers (great renown, has a familiar, and so on).")

Using the typical reading, Vrioctitoeusn could employ the ritual ability to assume the form of an ECL 9 creature; using the technical reading, he could assume the form of an ECL 17 creature.

However, I suspect that no one's ever been allowed to employ that technical reading in an actual campaign. A campaign would have to involve incredibly optimized PCs (or only one PC) for a DM to allow a level 11 PC to become suddenly a different PC that's level 17, even if it did cost the PC 1,000 gp and 1,000 XP. Seriously, the only thing better than a class feature that allows the character to change his character levels is a class feature that gains the character character levels, and the ritual of the dark infiltrator feature, read technically, does both. Everyone in a setting wherein the ritual's read technically should take or be angling to take the first level of anarchomancer.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ On the other hand, in a setting where the technical/RAW reading is used, Pun-Pun has already transcended. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – From
    Mar 7, 2023 at 17:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @From That setting is, by necessity, Toril. Why do you think Elminster needs the PCs to stop the little bads? He's out hunting Pun-puns. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2023 at 17:26

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