Hexcrafting allows your character to use per-session effects.
Why do I start of like this? To make you see the first obvious distinction between this and most other paths or abilities: Resting doesn’t do anything for you.
Hexcrafting has you start of with cards, which you draw at the beginning of the session from your deck. These cards are random unless you have fixed a slot, in which case you have this card in your hand and refresh it every session instead of drawing normally.
By now, you are probably wondering why I’m telling you this. After all, it’s in the book, right?
Well, yes, but there is one part I just have to read out:
An extra card may be spent to bypass spell resistance […]
Let that sink in for a bit and think about all the amazing spells you know that allow no save (or at least no “real” save), but are thwarted by spell resistance.
We have Shivering Touch for up to 18 Dexterity damage.
We have Disintegrate to utterly nullify Improved Stoic.
We have Holy Word which instantly kills anything below a certain amount of HD relative to your CL.
We have Amber Sarcophagus which is a no save Stasis for 1 DAY per level.
And… well, Iceberg probably speaks for itself.
Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be too much to talk about that isn’t already mentioned in the book. So instead, I’ll talk about what you can do with it. And so I come to the prime example of Hexcrafting: The Number Lords.
It’s really hard to utilize Hexcrafting better than it has been demonstrated here:
You specialize and corrupt caster level and cards in addition to using a narrow deck. That can’t be done better, right?
Well… you are right. On their own, the Number Lords have the most amazing Hexcraft-Focus imaginable.
So how do we add that to an already existing character?
I’d say we do so by using the fact that casters and hexcrafter rely on the same resource:
Hexcraft, like a casting progression, relies heavily on caster level to be effective. Normally, we buy caster level specialized for a single progression. What if we buy it corrupted for two though? That would change the cost from… 3 to 4?
Yeah, it actually is that efficient. Let’s assume you are a fullcaster and take a restriction. Maybe you are lke a druid and don’t want to buy armor, for example. You can now use that single point to upgrade you caster levels to apply to Hexcrafting too!
Let’s further assume you’ve added Witchcraft to your arsenal. Honestly, I don’t even think that’s dabbeling into some random stuff, given that Witchcraft is just so handy to have.
Taking the Vampirism-pact, you would qualify the same way the Number Lords would and by having had your fair share of Unique Training (assuming you have at least 8 INT), you obtained one of these Corrupted Caster Levels, Double Enthusiast (Specialized and Corrupted: For Relics only, resulting relic displays unnaturally alien magic when used) and Create Relic (Specialized and Corrupted: Only for Hexcrafting, only with points from Enthusiast).
We now have 108 CP we can spent on Hexcraft, and using the same modifiers we have on the Number Lords abilities, we can put 45 Cards and 18 Free Invocations in (16 Free Invocations if we have to fix the first card).
Now sadly, this clashes with the adventurer template’s maximum of so-and-so many special abilities per level. This is why most of my characters are build with Dominion (there is a reason I will tackle that path last): When it comes down to it, the limit of (level+1)x6 IS a restriction imposed by character level (so is the Magic Level restriction, depending on interpretation).
In any case, the fact that spellcasters profit from Hexcraftin like that also allows us to make a different observation. Remember how I said that Hexcraft is per-session? Where a regular caster requires downtime, a Hexcrafter is the strongest in long dungeon-crawls spanning multiple sessions. As such, the Primary Hexcrafter/Secondary Caster is now a survivor of any situation. Much downtime? Save the slots and fall back on casting. No downtime? First use your Cards before casting spells.
The best part about this is that Hexcrafting will scale at the same speed our spellcasting does, allowing us to gain the second highest Hexcrafting level (which is basically the highest stage that matters).
If you are interested in what the Number-Hexcrafting entails… I think the Occult Skill they provide will give you enough inspiration.
That’s it for Hexcrafting. Any questions should probably go to Thoth over on ruscumag, with him being one of the writers behind Eclipse: The Codex Persona, but you can leave them here as well and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my abilities.