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Eldariel
2009-02-06, 05:05 PM
Being Batman: the Logic Ninja's Guide to Wizards
"Making the Most of What You Have (When What You Have Is Already Ridiculously Good)"


Editor's Note: This is a near-precise repost of the Logic Ninja's classic guide. As the thread purge ate the old guide, but it's still as relevant as ever and I've gotten the man's permission, I'm reposting it for all the relevant links, and for all the people who have yet to read it. So enjoy some classic optimization wisdom that once opened the eyes of thousands for how to make the most out of Wizards!


The Very Basics of Wizardry

So, you're a wizard. Or rather, you're a geek, pretending to be a wizard, while the guy to your right pretends to be charismatic and good with people plus a master at assassinating people, the guy to your left pretends to be a slutty lesbian elf princess, and the guy across the table and behind the screen is indulging his power fantasies and would probably be getting off on it if not for his erectile difficulties--but hey, it's not like he's ever touched a girl, so the only person he's disappointing is himself.
Anyway--you're a wizard. What does this mean?
Traditionally, it means that at level 1 a house cat is a serious threat to you, while at level 20 you're "weak" to the same extent that OJ is "looking for the real killers".

As a wizard, you don't have lots of HP, you can't swing swords well, and you try to stay as far away from things that want to kill you as you can while still drinking the tasty, tasty XP from their corpses.
What you do have is spellcasting, and a familiar (which is more of a danger than an asset--until you hit level 11; more on that later).

If you're playing a wizard, you already know you can cast spells and are really squishy, so let's get to the details.



The Wizard and his Adventuring Buddies, AKA "Those Chumps Who Hit Things For You, Stop Things From Hitting You, And Heal You When You Need It, While You Do All The Important Stuff"

The traditional adventuring party has four people, filling the roles of Meat-Shield, Skill-Monkey, Heal-Bitch, and Batman.
You're--as Frank Miller put--the goddamn Batman.

Your job is to do whatever it is that needs doing, unless it falls into the category of "hitting things", "healing things", or "using skills that aren't Knowledge or Spellcraft". Since this is D&D, "whatever it is that needs doing" will mostly be killing things (and, of course, not getting killed yourself). To this end, you will cast spells that help you and your poor, ignorant, inferior companions (read: party), and hamper your enemies.


Your Utility Belt

You cast spells (well, either that, or hoard them all, not wanting to waste them, and therefore wind up sucking). Spells can do lots of different things. There are several general categories of spells:
-Defensive Buffs: spells that make it more difficult to kill you and/or your allies.
-Offensive Buffs: spells that make it easier for you and/or your allies to kill others.
-Utility: mostly useful outside of combat, these spells help you accomplish general tasks. For example, Rope Trick helps you rest without being eaten at night, Detect Secret Doors helps you find where people hid stuff, et cetera.
-Offensive Spells: this category includes anything that does something someone doesn't like to them. There are a number of different kinds of these.
--Save-or-Die: These make people do what it says. This is good because that's what you're trying to get people to do, a lot of the time. Example: Finger of Death
--Save-or-Lose: These don't kill people, but they might as well. If they succeed, the fight is effectively won; all that remains is clean-up. Example: Fear.
--Save-or-Suck: These don't make them lose by default, but they certainly make it a lot more likely. "Debuff" spells that hamper foes like Glitterdust, Slow, et cetera all fall in this category. The line between these and Save-or-Lose spells is pretty blurry.
--Direct Damage: These spells, by and large, suck. Occasionally, they're useful, but when a good mage wants something damaged, he tells the fighter to go hit it. If it's hard to hurt, he buffs the fighter first.
--Battlefield Control: These spells shape the battlefield in your favor. They make enemies stay away from you or otherwise do what you want, they buy you time, and so on. Examples: Solid Fog, Grease.
--No Save: These spells do bad things to people, and people can't do a damn thing about it. Not too many of these, because they're so damn good.
-Useless Crap: some spells just plain suck, period. This category covers things like Tenser's Floating Disc, Hold Portal, Detect Undead, and Shout.

What kind of spells do you want? Well, you want some of each--except, most of the time, direct damage. Those are occasionally useful, and will be mentioned later, but in general, avoid them. Why? Because everyone else can do damage, and often, much better than you, while you can also do all the things no one else can. Leave damage to the guys with pointy sticks; you have better things to do.


Think Your Cunning Plans All the Way Through

Spells.
Don't pick them haphazardly--either to learn or to memorize. Which spells should you pick? That depends on what you're doing and what you specialize in. Here's a general selection of good spells:

Bread and Butter: PHB spells
Level 1:
-Alarm: utility, and kind of a defensive buff--it keeps you from getting eaten by a moose while asleep.
-Protection from X: defensive buff--the +2 AC/saves vs. X is nice, but the real kicker is the fact that it supresses all charms and compulsions. Very useful for low-will-save types.
-Shield: defensive buff. Gives you +4 AC. The goodness is obvious.
-Grease: battlefield control that can even be save-or-lose. Note that it forces balance checks, and creatures who don't have 5 ranks in balance are flat-footed while making balance checks... which means the party rogue can sneak attack away.
-Mage Armor: defensive buff, so you're not TOTALLY squishy. Hours duration, as much AS as a chain shirt. What mage doesn't take it?
-Mount: utility. Situational--sometimes, you need a horse to get somewhere quickly. The real use of Mount, though, is to combine it with Disguise Self and Magic Aura, get rid of the mount's magic aura, disguise yourself as someone else... and sell the horse to someone.
-Identify: utility, needed to identify magic lewts.
-True Strike: Offensive buff for when your touch-attack spells are having trouble hitting.
-Charm Person: Utility/Offensive: it makes people your friends. That's all sorts of useful.
-Sleep: Save-or-Lose. Sleep is the low-level "win spell"; even a cleric with 18 WIS only has a +6 will save at level 1, and with 18 INT you can have a DC 15 Sleep, 16 with focuses. That's a pretty solid chance of a failed save. With a 10-WIS fighter or rogue, it's a great chance.
-Color Spray: Save-or-Lose. Similar to sleep, but it keeps being good for a lot longer. At levels 1-3ish Sleep is better because Color Spray is short-range and thus more likely to get you poked with a pointy stick.
-Silent Image: Utility. It's an illusion. Use your creativity.
-Ray of Enfeeblement: No save. Heavy strength drain can make a fighter useless--he suddenly can't move in his heavy armor! It's always good for dropping people's AB and damage, too. No save, like most ray spells; hitting with the ranged touch can occasionally be an issue.
-Enlarge Person: a great low-level buff. Give your fighter reach and a strength bonus.

Level 2:
-Glitterdust: With a Will save vs. Blindness, this is a save-or-suck that affects an area. It can pretty much win battles for you, as the fighters have to contend with suddenly significantly less dangerous enemies.
-Web: Battlefield control, this keeps people stuck and makes them move through it slowly if they aren't stuck.
-Detect Thoughts: Utility. This is useful in all kinds of social situation. Haven't you ever wanted to know what someone's thinking?
-See Invisibility: Utility and, in many ways, a defensive buff. Invisible people who want to hurt you are bad, because it means they're likely to actually do so.
-Shatter: one of the few good Evocation spells, at low levels, this rocks the house as an offensive spell cast against enemy armor; later on it becomes utility (who needs to pick locks?).
-Mirror Image: a great defensive buff. People have a good chance to miss you and hit your image.
-Invisibility: utility that can be used as a defensive buff--hard to hit you if you can't be seen.
-Bull's Strength: this becomes pointless once you have +STR items, but when you can first get it, it's a solid offensive buff. Put it on the fighter and he can hit things better and harder; it'll wind up doing more damage than Acid Arrow.
-Rope Trick: once you hit Caster Level 9 (or extend it at CL 5), this spell is the perfect place to rest and prepare your spells in dungeons, the wilderness, et cetera.

Level 3:
-Dispel Magic: because you're not the only spellcaster around.
-Magic Circle Against X: defensive buff; all the goodies of Protection From X, but longer-lasting (10 min/level) and covering everyone within 10' of the recipient.
-Protection from Energy: defensive buff. Useful if you know what energy to expect ahead of time. Fighting fire elementals? Protection from Fire will help.
-Phantom Steed: Utility. At first it seems meh, but then you realize that the horse can eventually fly (hours-duration Fly spell, effectively), and has a movement speed of 20 ft *per caster level*. At level 5, that's 100'. Take Ride ranks, and you can have the phantom horse move in, cast a spell, and have it move back. It caps at 240', which is pretty damn fast.
-Stinking Cloud: Save-or-Lose. Nauseated creatures can't take standard ations, and thus can't hurt you. Plus, it makes for handy battlefield control, since others will want to avoid it.
-Deep Slumber: Save-or-Lose. Like Sleep, but up to 10 HD; good for the same reason: you can just one-shot sleeping things.
-Wind Wall: defensive buff. Another of the Evocation school's few good spells. This keeps you safe from archers. All archers.
-Ray of Exhaustion: Save or suck, exhaustion is -6 STR and -6 DEX--and if you save, you get fatigued anyway, for -2 to each.
-Vampiric Touch: temporary HP. Hurt others, heal yourself.
-Fly: defensive buff. Mobility. If they can't reach you, hurting you is harder. At low levels, Fly + Wind Wall makes you pretty much untouchable by everything except spellcasters.
-Haste: offensive and defensive buff. It makes everyone move faster, which is handy for mobility--and gives them an extra attack per round.
A fireball deals 5d6 at level 5--that's 17 average damage on a *failed* save. A fighter can do 17 damage a hit at level 5, and with Haste, he'll be getting an extra attack each round. The damage from those will pile up above and beyond what the fireball most likely accomplished.
-Magic Weapon, Greater: offensive buff. Obviating the need for weapons with a better than +1 bonus since 3.0.
-Slow: a save-or-suck that's almost a save-or-lose. Multiple target, Will save (fighter and rogue weakness), and they can only take a move or a standard action. Run circles around them--they can move up to you OR hit you, not both! Just stay out of reach of a partial charge.

Level 4:
-Dimensional Anchor: stop the BBEG from teleporting out.
-Black Tentacles: battlefield control that gets less useful over time. Grapple the enemy mage so he can't get away! Grapple the enemy rogue to keep him useless!
-Dimension Door: control/utility/defensive--get out of trouble (i.e. out of grapples, or away from Silence areas if you have Silent Spell on it), or into places you shouldn't be.
-Resilient Sphere: trap enemies, or protect yourself with it.
-Solid Fog: a great, great battlefield control spell. No save, no SR, and they move at 5' a round when they're in it.
-Confusion: Save-or-Lose. This spell can turn a difficult encounter into a cakewalk. Suddenly, the enemies are all ineffectual!
-Greater Invisibility: attack and stay invisible. The party rogue will love this--sneak attacks galore. You'll love it, too, since it'll let you be safer when casting in combat.
-Enervation: 1d4 negative levels. Negative levels impose penalties to saving throws, and make spellcasters lose spells. A great spell to metamagic; it actually comes into its own as you get higher in level.
-Fear: Save-or-Lose, like Confusion.

Level 5:
-Teleport: now you can Teleport out of danger... or into it. This spell has a variety of uses, including getting to your sanctum when you're low on spells and in a dangerous place (and teleporting back later).
-Wall of Stone: Battlefield control. Putting a big, long wall of stone wherever you want lets you shape the battlefield like woah.
-Telepathic Bond: utility, get it Permanencied at higher levels. Instant communication between party members.
-Prying Eyes: utility/defensive; a scouting system that's useful in many places.
-Dominate Person: Save-or-Lose. Dominate an enemy. have him fight another enemy. You win.
-Feeblemind: save-or-lose; other spellcasters beware!
-Hold Monster: paralyzing things lets others one-shot them.
-Shadow Evocation: depends on what you do with it. Want Wind Wall access despite having banned Evocation? Here y'go!
-Baleful Polymorph: save-or-die. Not actually die, but be turned into a squirrel, which is effectively the same thing.
-Overland Flight: longterm flight for those who don't want to risk their Phantom Steed being shot out from under them.

Level 6:
-Dispel Magic, Greater: because you're not the only mid-to-high level spellcaster out there.
-Repulsion: defensive buff (will save from enemies) because if things could come close to you, they might hit you, and you don't want that.
-Acid Fog: like solid fog, but with damage while they're trapped in there. Great with any kind of thing that traps them where they are.
-True Seeing: Illusions? No. Period.
-Heroism, Greater: Offensive buff. Who needs bards?
-Contingency: defensive buff another rare good Evocation spell, this is a must for any wizard. Access it through Greater Shadow Evocation if you've banned the Evocation school. This is the spell you use to guard against the worst situtaion you can think of.
-Disintegrate: a damage spell that's actually worth it due to the amount of damage on a failed save. Good against low-HP, low-Fort save types like rogues and mages.

Level 7:
-Banishment. "Oh no, a balor!" Poof.
-Teleport, Greater: see Teleport, now safer.
-Arcane Sight, Greater: defensive buff--because knowing whether or not, say, someone has Spell Turning up? That's a good thing.
-Forcecage: save-or-lose. Expensive? Sure. No-save entrapment? Sure.
-Finger of Death: Save-or-die. That's... about all there is to it.
-Ethereal Jaunt: go ethereal to get yourself out of danger and get time to buff.
-Limited Wish: unlike Wish, the XP cost isn't so bad pretty much want to never use it.

Level 8:
-Mind Blank: Defensive buff. Immunity to all mind-affecting things? That's way too good.
-Prismatic Wall: this wall does BAD things to people.
-Maze: save-or-lose. Great for low-INT types, like Barbarian and Cleric. Get them out of here, deal with everyone else, then gang-beat them when they come back.
-Moment of Prescience: sometimes, you wish you could just make that saving throw, win that opposed check, land that touch attack. Well, now you can.
-Greater Prying Eyes: scouts with True Seeing. And unlike True Seeing, no material component. Very useful.
-Irresistible Dance: Save-or-lose... with no save. 1d4+1 rounds of "you win" if you land the touch attack.
-Power Word: Stun: after the fighter's whacked a monster around a bit, this will let him easily finish it off.
-Greater Shadow Evocation: Contingency for any specialist wizard who's smart and bans evocation.

Level 9:
-Prismatic Sphere: defensive buff, and the ultimate one at that. Unless they have a Rod of Cancellation, you're safe and sound while you do whatever you want.
-Foresight: avoiding surprise and flatfootedness is very, very useful when it comes to surviving.
-Dominate Monster: get yourself a big, tough bodyguard. The toughest thing ever to try to kill you. It has a duration of days. You can order someone to fail their saves. Just re-cast it every ten days or so, and they're your slave for life.
-Energy Drain: 2d4 negative levels. Sure, they can be permanent, but you're better off with a metamagicked-up Enervation.
-Time Stop: I don't need to actually tell you why this is good, do I?

Milk and Honey: the PHB II and Spell Compendium - includes spells from the Forgotten Realms books, from the Complete Arcane, et cetera.

Level 1:
-Blood Wind: turn the monk's fists into ranged weapons? KTHX! It's Evocation, one of the few good ones.
-Fist of Stone (Comp. Arcane): great for fighter/mages. A level one spell that gives +6 STR for attacking purposes? Woo.
-Ray of Clumsiness: like Ray of Enfeeblement, but for Dex. Lots of things have low dex. Most big monsters. Even dragons. This is great against fighters or against rogues.

Level 2:
-Baleful Transposition: switch the locations of the party fighter and the enemy mage? Delicious.
-Create Magic Tattoo (Player's Guide to Faerun): at CL 11, you can use this to give yourself +1 CL for a day. High-level mages should spend the 100gp material components to cast an extended version of this; 50 gp a day for +1 caster level? It'd take 600 days to equal the price of an Orange Ioun Stone. Of course, you can have both.
-Listening Lorecall (Comp. Adventurer): Have 5 listen ranks? Gain Blindsight 30'. Keep people from sneaking up.
-Ray of Stupidity: 1d4+1 int damage, no save. Not a penlaty like Ray of Enfeeblement: DAMAGE. This spell takes down any animal and most magical beasts with one casting. Metamagic means that it can take down fighters and rogues, and seriously inconvenience other wizards. This spell is scary good.
-Combust: a damage spell, so normally unremarkable, but good for Spell Storing weapons.
-Bonefiddle: creepy, but good. Concentration duration, 3d6 damage a round on a failed fort save? A successful save ends it, but that might be a while for a low-Fort-save type. Good at level 3-4.
-Sonorous Hum! This spell concentrates on other spells for you. Considering that a duration of "concentration" vs. "X/level" is a mitigating factor for spells that are otherwise too good for their level, in theory, that makes this spell great. Some combinations of spells with this one even qualify as cheese.
-Slide, Greater: battlefield control, an interesting variety. With a Will save, you can move someone 20'. Drop enemy off cliff? Check! Help fighter move into position? Check! Generally cool.

Level 3:
-Bands of Steel (Comp. Arcane): a reflex save-or-lose, and there aren't many of those. They don't lose all *that* hard, but there you have it.
-Anticipate Teleportation (level 4 in Comp. Arcane, 3 in Spell Compendium): this spell rocks. Delays people teleporting near you by 1 round, alerts you they're coming, and lasts hours/level. Lets you buff when someone dimension doors up next to you.
-Mage Armor, Greater: at higher levels, replace Mage Armor with this, even if it costs a little money.
-Unluck (level 4 in Comp. Arcane, 3 in Spell Compendium): incredibly good. Divination school, Will save--NOT mind affecting--and if they fail, they roll all dice twice and take the worse result of the two. Save-or-Lose, effectively.
-Spell Vulnerability: reduce a creature's spell resistance. This spell can really help if you don't have Spell penetration feats, although it does offer a save.
-Spiderskin: wizard Barkskin (from Underdark book)--+1 NA/3 levels, +5 at 15th; also gives hide/MS bonuses.
-Halt (PHB II): immediate action, so cast on someone else's turn. Will save vs. inability to move anywhere that round. Extend it with a lesser rod so it applies on their next round too!

Level 4:
-Ray Deflection: rays can be deadly. Keep'em away with RAY-B-GONE!
-Resistance, Greater: +3 to saving throws, 24 hour duration. Who needs a cloak of resistance?
-Resist Energy, Mass: no need to cast Resist Energy repeatedly.
-Orb of X (Comp. Arcane): damage spells, but worth learning, because there is no save and *no* SR. You just need to make a touch attack. CLd6, up to 15, plus the elemental orbs have secondary effects (i.e. Fire dazes for 1 round).
-Assay Resistance: +10 CL to defeat one creature's Spell Resistance. Who needs Spell Penetration?
-Battle Hymn: all your allies can reroll 1 will save/round? The rogue will love you as much as he does for the Greater Invisibility.
-Defenestrating Sphere (Comp. Arcane): BEST. SPELL. EVER!!! Unfortunately, in the worst school (evocation)
-Stone Sphere: combine battlefield control and damage. Push people around, occupy space, and damage people. Another of the rare good Evocation spells.
-Shadow Well: not half bad, a lower-level Maze.
-Burning Blood (Comp. Arcane): they make a fort save every round or take 1d8 fire, 1d8 acid... and have to only take a move action, which is the main attraction. This can largely incapacitate a rogue or caster type and keep hurting them, too.
-Greater Mirror Image. More images, regrows 1 image/round... and cast as an immediate action!

Level 5:
-Contingent Energy Resistance: resist energy vs. whatever kind of energy first hits you.
-Viscid Glob (Underdark): Reflex-save-or-lose, but only against medium creatures.
-Fire Shield, Mass: Fire Shield is better for fighter types than for you. Now your whole party can have it.
-Graymantle (some Faerun book): stop creatures from regenerating. Very useful at higher levels.
-Blink, Greater (Comp. Arcane): all the benefits of Blink, none of the issues. Great defensive buff.
-Fly, Mass: give your whole party maneouverability.

Level 6:
-Anticipate Teleportation, Greater (level 8 in Comp. Arcane, 6 in Spell Compendium): delays them for 3 rounds, lasts 24 hours, otherwise like Anticipate Teleportation. Awesome spell, cast it every day.
-Resistance, Superior: +6 on saving throws. Throw that Cloak away.
-Fire Spiders: battlefield control/damage; move them around as a move action while you cast as a standard action.
-Freezing Fog: Solid Fog + Heightened Grease + 1d6/cold a round. Great battlefield control spell.
-Bite of the Weretiger: ridiculously good for fighter/mages; huge stat boosts and a natural attack.
-Brilliant Blade: make the fighter's weapon Brilliant Energy. Have him kill stuff.
-Imbue Familiar with Spell Ability: this little gem makes your familiar useful. Give it the ability to cast (CL/3) spells of up to (CL/3) level: this is great because it acts independently, which means more spells per round. If you cast a Quickened Spell and a regular spell, and so does it, that's four spells that round. That's enough spells to end an equal-CR fight, sometimes. Certainly enough to buff up fast.

Level 7:
-Energy Immunity. Forget mere "resistance"!
-Transfix: if you can find something not mind-immune to use it on, it's great! Paralysis for the win!
-Stun Ray: stun someone for 1d4+1 rounds. Save-or-lose without the save--just a ranged touch attack.
-Stern Reproof (Player's Guide to Faerun): Fort save or die. If they live, Will save or lose/suck (be dazed for 1d4 rounds).
-Hiss of Sleep: high-level version of Sleep. Still great, for things it works on.
-Avasculate: a great spell, halves their HP and stuns them. Evil only, though.
-Bite of the Werebear: like Bite of the Weretiger, but even better.
-Brilliant Aura (Complete Divine): ALL the party's weapons are Brilliant Energy!
-Spell Matrix: store two spells, under level 3, and release both as a swift action. More spells in the beginning of a fight is great.

Level 8:
-Spell Engine: redo your spell selection... costs cash and XP, though, so use it wisely.
-Avascular Mass: a better Avasculate. Still evil-only.
-Wrathful Castigation (Magic of Faerun): Will save or die... and then another will save or effectively die (dazed for 1 round/level and -4 on all saves). Forcing two saves vs. losing is great... only problem is, it's mind-affecting, which things become less and less vulnerable to at these levels.
-Chain Dispel: like Greater Dispel Magic... but targeted. At level 15, that's 15 targets. Disable 2 people's buffs, and all of their important gear temporarily!

Level 9:
-Absorption: the ultimate in protection from other casters' direct spells.
-Effulgent Epurtation: for Elminster fanboys.
-Maw of Chaos: horrific. A 15' emanation that deals 1d6/Caster Level each round (no cap, no save!), forces a will save each round vs. Daze for 1 round, and requires a DC 25+spell level concentration check to cast in its area. Combine with battlefield control for the WIN.
-Reaving Dispel: Greater Dispel Magic... and TAKE their spells for yourself if you win!
-Sphere of Ultimate Destruction: a sphere. Move it as a move action... and it is Disintegrate, ranged touch attack, on whatever it touches each round.
-Spell Matrix, Greater: store up to 3 spells of level 3 and under to all release as 1 quickened action (Mirror Image/Shield/Spiderskin as a buff sequence, say).
-Detonate (PHB II): surround someone with cute animals. Blow them all up for massive damage. Evil, but effective.


Stinky Cheese: spells that are broken, broken, broken.

Level 2:
-Alter Self: give yourself +6 natural armor, or flight, for 10 min/level with a level 2 spell? Like all the polymorph spells, way too good for its level--not so broken you probably shouldn't use it in a game, though. Combine with the Otherworldly feat for even more cheese.
-Wraithstrike: swift action, make all attacks as touch attacks that round. Ridiculously good for fighter-mages, Power Attack for huge amounts of damage. You can Persist it quite normally in an 8th level slot, or by using various kinds of cheese, and that's when it becomes *completely* broken.

Level 3:
-Shivering Touch (Frostburn): a touch attack, no save, 3d6 dex damage. 3d6! Dex damage! Wanna one-shot a dragon? NOOO problem! Add some kind of reach (Arcane Reach from Archmage, or Reach Spell metamagic) and you can do it from safety. For the love of god, don't resport to this.

Level 4:
-Polymorph: far better than any other spell of its level, and many higher-level spells. The things you can do with this are ridiculous. It's completely broken, so much so WotC has given up on trying to fix it. Just don't use it.
-Celerity (PHB II): this breaks casters worse than they're already broken. As an immediate action casting, gain a standard action, and be dazed on the next round. This means that no matter what, the wizard goes first. Combine with Time Stop to negate the disadvantage of being dazed in combat, or just use it to Teleport out of there or Dimension Door way out of reach.

Level 8:
-Polymorph Any Object: the worst of the lot. Turn yourself into a gold dragon and gain its INT score plus everything else? Come on. Most broken spell in the game.
-Greater Celerity (PHB II): as Celerity, but grants a full-round action.

Level 9:
-Shapechange: CL up to 25 HD monsters. Gain their (Su) special qualities and attacks as well as the (Ex) ones. Completely and utterly ridiculous, as a more powerful Polymorph of course must be. Don't use this.
-Disjunction: both DMs and players avoid it. Use it as a player and you fry the bad guy's loot; use it as a DM and your players lose their magic items and are very upset.
-Gate: so many abuses. So very many. For example, Gate in creatures that can cast Wish as a (Su) ability and make them give you free wishes.


On the Care and Feeding of Feats

Feats. A wizard 20 will get 7, plus 1 if he's human, plus Scribe Scroll, plus 3 more bonus feats from the wizard class.

What do you do with them?

There are a few important kinds of feats: Metamagic feats, Item Creation feats, and enhancement feats such as Spell Focuses, or Extraordinary Spell Aim from the Complete Arcane.
Some feats are good. Some feats aren't good. Here's a breakdown:


Item Creation Feats:

SRD
-Scribe Scroll: it's good 'cause it's free. Also, it lets you prepare utility spells and infrequently used spells or spells that don't depend on caster level. This means you're more likely to have the right spell at hand.
-Craft Wondrous Item: it's good because wondrous items are the most common kind of magical item. If you're going to craft, you want this feat.
-Craft Wand: this feat *can* be useful, if there's a spell you use very regularly; for example, a Wand of Rope Trick CL 9 will free up a second-level spell slot for you for the rest of the campaign, most likely. A Wand of Mirror Image, CL, oh... 5... can be a good idea. A Wand of Shield would be good, except that at high levels you don't have much better to do with those spell slots. Spells that don't rely on Caster Level are good candidates, as they'll be cheaper when made with minimum CL.
-Craft Rod: if you're going to take any higher-level item creation feat, make it this one. Why? Because there are a lot of very useful, very expensive rods--metamagic rods are the best example. a Rod of Quicken Spell, Greater costs 170,000 gp--making it yourself will only cost you half of that, 85,000 gp (although it adds a cost of 6800! xp) and without one, you won't be quickening any of your high-level spells.

-Brew Potion, Craft Staff, Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Forge Ring: Brew Potion isn't really worth the feat slot for a wizard. Craft Staff isn't worth it because you'd only make one or two. Craft Magic Arms and Armor--take it at your own risk, for it may turn you into the party's sword-creating slave (on the other hand, if you pace yourself, you can make a healthy profit by making the things for half price and charging the party 75%). Forge Ring, like Craft Staff, isn't that useful: you only have two ring slots, after all.

-Craft Trap: this feat doesn't exist. The rules for creating one-shot and repeating spell-traps are in the DMG, and don't require a feat. If you're wondering what a good thing to trap is, try YOUR SPELLBOOK. That, or everything someone you don't like owns.

Complete Series
-Craft Contingent Spell: Brokenly good. The limiting factor on Contingency is that wizards can only have one. With this spell, a wizard will have one for any situation that could conceivably harm him. Don't take it as a player and don't allow it as a DM.

Metamagic Feats:

SRD
-Extend Spell: a good low-level feat. Extend is particularly useful for hours/level and 10 minute/level spells, but at low levels rounds/level spells, or offensive spells that do something for a very short duration, can definitely benefit. Cost: +1
-Empower Spell: okay for some spells (i.e. the Orb spells), but best for spells that there aren't slightly higher-level versions of. Why Empower a fireball? Cast Cone of Cold. Enervation, on the other hand, does great with a little Empowering.
-Still/Silent Spell: better for sorcerers than for wizards. Paranoid wizards should take these, others should skip them.
-Quicken Spell: At level 12, a wizard should either already have this or be taking it. There's no excuse not to. Quickened spells increase the wizard's efficiency--it's like trading spell slots for actions! Quickened spells let you buff quicker and get off spell combos in one round that might otherwise be avoided (i.e. Quickened True Strike + Ray spell, Quickened Web + Solid Fog).
-Repeat Spell: +3 spell level increase, and the spell goes off again next round. This is good for spells with useful one-round effects, or spells you want to hit someone with twice, but the problem is that if the target moves or becomes invalid somehow, or people move out of the area you cast the spell in, it's wasted. Used wisely, it can be very handy.

-Widen Spell: this would be useful with some limited-area spells (Grease, Solid Fog); take it if you have a spare feat slot and nothing better to do, but it's hardly necessary. Best as a metamagic rod.

-Heighten Spell: if you're using Heighten Spell, you're relying on certain save-or-Xs too much.
-Enlarge Spell: it sucks. If you lose because you can't reach an enemy with one particular spell, you deserve to lose... not to mention, hey, what're the odds that you prepared that one spell Enlarged?
-Maximize Spell: not that it's BAD or anything--the +3 spell level increase is just too much.
A note on Maximize vs. Empower: Empower is better for smaller dice (1.5*1d4 = 3.5 on average, just 0.5 less than the maximized 4), Maximize for larger dice (1.5*1d10 = 8 on average, 2 less than the maximized 10). Note that even for larger dice, the extra spell level increase may well not be worth it.

PHB II
-Flash Frost Spell: if you have Snowcasting from Frostburn, Eschew Materials, and a bunch of area spells, this metamagic is fun. Still not that great, but a lot of fun. Otherwise, skip it.
-Smiting Spell: yeah, uh, this one's good. Really good. How's about giving an archer four Combust arrows to Manyshot during the surprise round of combat? And so on. It's so good that you should take pains not to abuse it if you take it.

Complete Series
-Chain Spell: expensive at +3, this is nevertheless one of the best metamagic feats, both for buffing (especially when combined with Reach Spell or Arcane Reach, letting you chain Touch spells) and offensively, with no-save spells (like rays).
-Sculpt Spell: for a +1 spell level increase, you can pick from a list of different kinds of areas. This is useful, as it can let you avoid allies with area spells or get more enemies than you otherwise could.
-Split Ray: like a ray-only Twin Spell. At +2, if you use rays even moderately often (and you should, they're good), this is a very good investment.
-Reach Spell: +2 adjustment, makes a touch spell have 30' reach. Use it to either deliver touch spells from safety or turn them into ranged touch spells so you can apply Chain Spell (for example, Greater Magic Weapon--Chain Reach GMW gets all your party's weapons with one casting). This spell is lessened by the fact that most Archmages' first High Arcana is Arcane Reach, which gives you its benefits all the time for free, so you may well want to just live without it.

-Sudden Still/Silent/Empower/Etc. 1/day? Meh, no thanks.
-Born of the Three Thunders: it's a blaster feat. Wizards shouldn't be blasters.
-Energy Substitution: see above.
-Lord of the Uttercold: good only for complex, specialized necromancer builds.
-Explosive Spell, Fortify Spell, Energy Admixture, Sanctify, Corrupt, etc. etc.: laaaaaaame.
-Twin Spell: not bad, but at +4, I'd rather have Quicken.

Enhancement Feats:

SRD
-Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus: if you use spells from a certain school a lot--take them. They're also prerequisites for, say, Archmage (one for each of two different schools). Take them for Save-or-X spell schools, not for schools that do things even on a failed save (like Evocation, if you aren't banning it) or schools that do things that don't involve saves (Divination, Abjuration, Transmutation depending on spell selection). Enchantment, Necromancy, and Illusion are the best schools for these feats.
-Skill Focus: Spellcraft -- take it as a prerequisite for Archmage if you're planning on taking Archmage levels. Better early than late; you can do more with your level 9 feat slot, say, than with your level 1 feat slot.
-Spell Penetration: in a core-only game (no access to Assay Spell Resistance and lots of no-SR spells), this is worth taking. Maybe even Greater Spell Penetration, if you find yourself having trouble.
-Spell Mastery: this is vital if you think things might happen to your spellbook. It's pointless otherwise.

-Combat Casting: IT'S A TRAP!! If you really want the bonus, take Skill Focus: Concentration; that way you get +3 instead of +4, but it applies *all* the time.
-Eschew Materials: only worth it if your DM is a real stickler about keeping track of spell components; otherwise just write "3 spell component pouches" on your character sheet and forget about it.
-Augment Summoning: if you're summoning regularly, you're doing something wrong. That's the druid's or cleric's job; after all, every time a wizard casts a spell that's on a divine list, for that round he's a sucker. Don't take this.
-Improved Counterspell: don't take this unless you have access to Reactive Counterspell and want to make a counterspelling-dedicated character... in which case, make a sorcerer with those feats.
-Point Blank Shot/Precise Shot: no need to waste feats on these, unless you use rays to the exclusion of almost all else.

PHB II
-Arcane Thesis: broken, right now, since it can reduce metamagic costs below 0. No DM will alow that; many won't allow reduction below 1. It's still worth taking with a spell like, say, Enervation. How's about a Split Ray (+1) Empowered (+1) Chain (+2) Enervation in an 8th level slot? 1.5*2d4 negative levels to all the enemies. Boo-yah.
-Elven Spell Lore: the bonus on Dispel attempts is nice, and it's worth taking if you cast a damage spell a lot *and* your DM rules that you can change damage types to those other than the elemental ones. Sonic is almost never resisted, and then there's stuff like Vile damage that breaks the feat.

-Combat Familiar and Spellcasting Familiar: don't, not worth it. Use Reach Spell or Spectral hand or Archmage's Arcane Reach to deliver touch spells, and use Imbue Familiar With Spell Ability to give your familiar spells.

Complete Series
-Extraordinary Concentration: great if you can make the concentration checks; take at a high level, and it's not worth it without custom items that give you a major boost to your Concentration skill. The Sonorous Hum spell (Spell Compendium) does what this feat does but better, though.
-Mobile Spellcasting: *awesome* if you can make the concentration checks. Move into range, spellcast, move out of range (of course, you can do that anyway thanks to Phantom Steed).
-Extraordinary Spell Aim: like the Archmage's "Master of Shaping" ability, but requires a tough spellcraft check. Take this if you can get a custom spellcraft item--just don't use it on Antimagic Field. That's cheesy. Very cheesy.

-Extra Slot: not worth it.
-Extra Spell: ruled by Customer Service at Wizards repeatedly to not give you spells from outside your spell list, and thus, not worth it. If your DM rules otherwise, it can be awesome.
-Arcane Mastery: combined with Elven Spell Lore, you would never fail a dispel check against someone of equal caster level--but that's a two-feat investment; you have better things to do.

Other Feats
-Improved Initiative: going first is pretty important for wizards, although they have ways of compensating for it. Take this feat if you can afford to.

-Leadership: sure, it's good. Too good. Absolutely and totally ridiculously cheesy if abused, in fact. I don't allow it in my games, and neither should you. If you want someone to be able to play two characters, let them do so; if not, forget the cohort, and have followers be an RP thing. I assign it the [Cheese] descriptor.
-Touch Spell Specialization (Complete Arcane): ew blech yuck NO.

Prerequisite Feats:
...these are feats that are prerequisites for prestige classes you want to enter. TAKE them, dummy.

Eldariel
2009-02-06, 05:07 PM
Digression--It's Mine, You Can't Have It! Or, Keeping Your Spellbook Safe
Without your spellbook, once you run out of spells for the day, you're just a commoner with a good will save and some magic items. In most games, this never comes up. In some, it does; if you know it will, take precautions, and, hell, you may want to take them anyway. There are two parts to this: the first is trapping your spellbook. The magic trap rules are, as mentioned, in the DMG; I had this idea for a recent character I made. At higher levels, you need tree traps: link them all to command words that must be spoken before the book is touched (or one command word for all three). The first is a Teleport trap, that will teleport the spellbook to your home, a friend of yours, or a temple of Mystra/Boccob/whoever you have an account with. This means that while you may not have your book, no one else does, either.
The second is some kind of punishment for the fool who dared to mess with your stuff. I like Curse of the Putrid Husk from the BoVD for this: make them think their flesh is falling off in pieces! Of course, generally, something more lethal and with less [Evil] descriptor is better. Try Insanity, Finger of Death, or better yet, Geas: Find the Wizard Whose Spellbook You Tried To Steal, Confess to Him, and Go On a Quest He Assigns You. The third is Arcane Mark, to put your mark on the bugger.
The second part is Spell Mastery (include Teleport), and/or always having one Teleport in reserve. This is so you can Teleport back to wherever your book went and pick it up.


You're Special All Right--Short Bus Special!

Wizards have the option of specialization--they can give up two schools of magic entirely for an extra spell per day of each level. While that sounds like a pretty raw deal, high-level spell slots are valuable.

If the Complete Arcane, and especially the Spell Compendium, is in, then you should be a Diviner. If not, you should be a Transmuter or Conjurer. Why? Well, because transmutation and conjuration are the biggest school, containing at least one useful spell at every level--and because diviners only have to give up one school, and get enough useful spells with the Complete Arcane to make Divinerhood worthwhile.

Here's an overview of the schools:
Abjuration: a lot of useful protections, and *dispel magic*. Can't give this one up.

Conjuration: Conjuration has, well, everything. Battlefield control, damage (with the Complete Arcane's Orb Of spells), the vital Teleport and Dimension Door, a bunch of utility...

Divination... you're not allowed to give up divination, and you'd be a fool to do so anyway.

Enchantment: enchantment has a bunch of nice save-or-lose spells, but between Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation, you have plenty of those anyway. Enchantment is a viable choice of banned school. Enchantment has a number of good spells, though, which are a pain to lose--Dominate and Charm, the Stern Reproof/Wrathful Castigation spells (save-or-loses with two saves per spell!), Freezing Glare (Frostburn), et cetera... however, it's nothing you can't make up for. Except Irresistible Dance, losing that sucks.

Evocation: Evocation is mostly direct damage, which makes it the sucky school. Important spells are Contingency and Wind Wall, which you can get through Greater Shadow Evocation and Shadow Evocation respectively. There are useful evocations, but not enough to make it anything but the best choice of banned school.

Illusion: lose it and you lose Invisibility and Greater Invisibility. Plus, the Image spells are versatile if you have a good imagination, the Shadow Evocation spells compensate if you banned Evocation, Illusory Pit from Comp. Arcane is brilliant, Mirror Image is a great defensive spell... you can certainly give up illusion, but it'll hurt a bit.

Necromancy: Ray of Enfeeblement, Spectral Hand, False Life, Ray of Exhaustion, Enervation and Fear, Finger of Death, Clone, Wail of the Banshee... metamagicked Enervation in particular is a good tactic at higher levels. You can give this up, but it really hurts.

Transmutation: too many spells to give up, period. Specialize in this, don't lose it.

So, the three main candidates for being dropped are Evocation, Enchantment, and Illusion. You can't drop both Evocation and Illusion (no way of getting Contingency then) unless you have access to Craft Contingent Spell, and dropping both Enchantment and Illusion means that you have a lack of will-save-or-lose spells. That makes Evocation and Enchantment the natural choices for dropping if you have to drop two. Being a diviner means that you only have to drop one, so make it either Evocation or Illusion--probably evocation, since the only real reasons to take it (Contingency, Wind wall) are availible via illusion spells, albeit a bit later. Your focus has an effect--evocation has a little battlefield control, so a battlefield control wizard should dump enchantment, while a save-or-suck/lose/die focused wizard should drop evocation.

Thus, one should either be a Diviner who bans evocation or enchantment, or a Transmuter or Conjurer who bans evocation and enchantment.


Wonderful Unique Snowflake or Not? Specialization, Generalization, and Alternatives

So: specialize, or generalize? With Divination as a speciality (excellent with the Complete Arcane spells--and without the Complete Arcane, losing Enchantment or Illusion hurts a lot less) you only lose one school, that you wouldn't use often, and you gain a bonus spell slot. I like to specialize, but it's not inherently superior. There is something to be said about keeping all your options open.

However, if you're not going to specialize, Races of the Wild offers racial substitution levels for elven wizards. The first level is sort of a "generality specialist"--you lose the ability to specialize (which you weren't doing anyway if you're taking the racial sub level), and gain a bonus slot of your highest spell level (that moves around when you gain new spell levels), and learn an extra spell on each level-up. That's definitely an option competitive with Divination specialization.


Mommy, Why Amn't I Like All the Other Children?

While we're on the subject of specialization, it should be noted that the PHB II gives specialist wizards the option of trading in their familiar for an Immediate Magic ability--a special ability they can use INT bonus/day.

Abjurers', Diviners', Necromancers', Transmuters' and Illusionists' immediate magic variants are all viable, especially at low levels--not necessarily better than a familiar if you use it to scout and etc. a lot, but most of the time, more useful and powerful. They don't however, scale with level. Abjurers' "urgent shield" becomes old hat once you can actually cast Shield; Transmuters' "sudden shift" becomes weak as soon as you actually acquire a method of flight; Diviners' save bonus matters less at higher levels, Illusionsts' is outdone by actual Mirror Image (and definitely the immediate-action-casting Greater Mirror Image spell from the PHB II, which you're using if you're using these variants). Necromancy's Cursed Glance is very nice, but it allows a will save, and the DC is based on your wizard level. If you're a pure wizard, it's good; if you prestige class, it'll start sucking in short order.
Enchanters' "Instant Daze" is nice enough for a couple of levels, but not only is there a will save, but it can only affect your wizard level in HD! The higher level you get, the more HD monsters have compared to you, and both the DC and the HD are based on the wizard level--useless if you're going to prestige, which you should.
Evokers' "counterfire" is utterly terrible.

Basically, if you're a specialist, and you're going to be playing at lower levels, take the Immediate Magic variant unless you're an Abjurer, Enchanter or an Evoker. At higher levels, none of them are really viable.

Except the Conjurers' "abrupt jaunt". That one's broken, and gobs and oodles better than the rest. If your DM is letting you take it, make sure he understands the exact implications--namely, you being aple to *poof* away from attacks INT bonus times/day, avoiding full attacks entirely.

If you're going to have a prestige class, then the Enchanters' and Necromancers' wizard-level-dependent abilities become more and more useless; if you're going to reach level 11 (or start there or higher), Imbue Familiar With Spell Ability is too good to pass up; keep the familiar. For the first couple of levels, however, any and all of these abilities are good. Even the evoker's.



I'm The Best There Is At What I Do, Bub

A wizard has a huge array of spells availible and ways to combine them with metamagic--and with other spells.
Some of these combinations work better than others. Some spell and metamagic combinations are better than others. I present to you, gentle reader, some humble example of magic and metamagic used to their fullest, as well as explanations of what to look for.


Insight Into the Working of Things:
-Sculpt Spell: this lets you modify the shape of your area spells. Therefore, it's best useful for spells whose power is limited by their area--for example, Color Spray. It's a cone, and its range is 15'. This means that we can turn it into four 10' cubes, none more than 15' away, rather than a 15' cone, and cover a lot more area--and pick which squares to cover (hint: the ones with enemies).
Glitterdust is a 10' burst; changing that to a 20' ball will make it catch more enemies. Look for spells with limited areas, or who are limited by their shape (i.e. cone, line).

-Empower Spell: as mentioned before, Empower is best with small dice. d4 spells good, d12 spells, Maximize or Repeat will do better.

-Quicken Spell: get two spells a round off. Use it, of course, on important lower-level spells, including for combos that would be harder to pull off if the target got to move between spells.

-Split Ray: this spell isn't as good with spells that already produce multiple rays (such as Scorching Ray), or with spells whose effects don't stack with themselves (such as Ray of Enfeeblement). For single-ray spells, though, it's like a cheaper Twin Spell; it works especially well with spells with cumulative effects--for example, Ray of Exhaustion (even if they make both saves, they're Exhausted).

-Chain Spell: this spell has a lot of mitigating factors for its benefits: namely, damage spells do half damage to chained targets *and* grant a reflex save for *another* half, plus spells with saving throws are at -4 DC to chained targets.
Therefore, you should Chain spells that don't do damage and don't have saving throws (or whose saving throws are very high, or who have effects even on successful saves). This way you avoid all the downsides of using the feat. Rays are great for this. Also, keep in mind that you can use it to buff! Ranged single-target buffs are perfect for this, and will now affect the entire party, not just one person. Good examples of spells to Chain: Fleshshiver from Player's Guide to Faerun (stun everyone, no save), Enervation.
What happens if you Chain a Magic Jar spell? Do you possess many bodies at once? Ask your DM!


Clever Tricks:
-Sculpt Spell + Color Spray or Grease: both of these benefit from having their area change, and are thus able to affect more targets.
-Sculpt spell + Sleep or Deep Slumber: affect only the targets you want (10' cubes)! that way, there are no "wasted" HD.
-Sculpt Spell + Antimagic Field: lets you turn the AMF into four ten-foot cubes. In front of you. You have an AMF wall, and you're not in the area of the cubes, so you can cast just fine.
-Sculpt Spell + Fear: round area bursts are better for affecting many enemies than cones. Make it a 20' ball.
-Sculpt Spell + Forcecage: make your forcecage a 10' barred cage or a 20' solid wall.
-Sculpt Spell + Black Tentacles: get your enemies but not your allies via the 10' cubes!

-Reach Spell or Arcane Reach + Chain Spell: suddenly, you can cast Touch: spells on your whole party at once. It's a whopping +5 total level adjustment, but only +3 for the regular chain with the Archmage's Arcane Reach ability. Combine with such common buffs as Greater Magic Weapon (everyone's weapons at once), Magic Circle Against, Heroism/Greater Heroism (who needs a bard? The archmage can give everyone their +4 AB/damage as one of his 9th level spells, and still have others), Greater Invisibility ("Greater Invisibility Sphere"... but better), Stoneskin (do everybody for the price of one).
-This also lets you turn Touch spells (usually, no-save) into ranged touches that will leap to everyone within 30', which can be used offensively. Shivering Touch becomes even scarier.
-Reach (Arcane Reach or Reach Spell) + Chain Spell + Identify! For a 4th or 6th level slot, depending on method, you can identify (Caster Level) items at once--all for the same 100 gp!

-Chain Spell + Split Ray: For +5 levels, a ray will affect everyone within 30' of a primary target... twice. Consider Enervation. Normally, 1d4 negative levels. Split Ray, 2d4. Chained split Ray--2d4 to everyone within range. 9th level, but compare to Energy Drain, which does 2d4 to a single target. You can also do this with Ray of Exhaustion: suddenly, everyone within range is Exhausted, getting -6 STR and -6 DEX. Add a Quickened (via rod or 8th level slot) Chain Ray of Enfeeblement first, and suddenly you're giving a 12-17 STR penalty/damage and 6 dex damage to everyone within 30' of the original target; that's enough to drop anything that doesn't have STR as a primary concern.

-Ray of Enfeeblement + Ray of Exhaustion: as implied above, a great combination. Ray of Enfeeblement can't drop someone's STR below 1... but Ray of Exhaustion's STR damage on top of that can.

-Chained Split Ray Enervation + Chained spell WITH a save--the saving throw penalty from the Enervation will counter the DC drop from Chain Spell.

-Grease or Web (Quickened for best effect) + Solid or Acid Fog: this'll keep them in the fog for longer and make getting out of it harder.

-Chained Dispel Magic: Target someone... and all of their items. This shuts down all their magic gear for 1d4 rounds; at high levels, that's a lot like losing. "Whoops, where'd my +4 CON and +5 saves go? ACK A FINGER OF DEATH TO MY FACE." A Lesser Rod of Chain Spell is 27,500 gp.

-Dispel Magic + (Quickened) Shatter: destroy an item. Render it nonmagical, then Shatter it. Of course, that way you don't get the loot. A rod of Quicken Spell, Lesser removes the need for a higher-level slot.
A rod of Chain Spell, Lesser, lets you do this to ALL their items. It's Disjunction, but low-level!

-Quickened True Strike: Need to land that touch spell? This makes sure you do. Add Repeating to land another (or two more, if one's Quickened) the next round, but that's expensive in terms of modified spell level (8th).

-See Invisiblity + Glitterdust: See Invisibility lets you see invisible people.
Glitterdust makes sure the rest of your party can, too.

Prestige Classes

The first rule of prestige classing out of Wizard is this: Thou Shalt Not Give Up Caster Levels. It's basic. Spellcasting--especially arcane spellcasting--is the most powerful thing in D&D. Therefore, losing any of it is bad. It can be worth it--but it very, very rarely is. Giving up a caster level delays your access to higher-level spells, delays getting more spell slots, and if you lose more than a couple of levels, you irreparably damage your high-level spellcasting.

The second rule of prestige classing out of Wizard is this: DO it. You've literally got nothing except your familiar's progression to lose. Any prestige class ability is better than that.


Core Prestige Classes:

Archmage: this is the staple prestige class of high-level wizards. Its 3.0 predecessor had Spell Power, so you could take Archmage 3, get Spell Power +1, +2, and +3, and wind up with a total of +6 to your spell DCs.
Those days are over. However, Archmage remains useful--if not, perhaps, for all five levels.
Qualifying for Archmage isn't totally easy, but it's not very difficult. Spell Focus isn't a bad feat, even if you might have to get Spell Focus in two schools rather than SF and Greater SF in one. Skill Focus: Spellcraft is a waste, but it's the price you pay for access to the class.
The Archmage gets a High Arcana ability each level. Some of these are good, some of these, well, aren't.
-Arcane Fire: Remember what I said about damage? Yeah. Skip it, unless you're an Arcane Trickster--more on that later.
-Arcane Reach: this is very good, and usually the first thing to take with Archmage. Why? Because it removes the need to place yourself in danger (or use Reach Spell, which gives a +2 spell level adjustment) to deliver touch spells, many of which are fantastic--say, Irresistible Dance. You can take this twice for 60' range, but once for 30' will be enough--unless you find yourself getting smacked around for coming within 30' a lot, too, which you probably won't.
-Mastery of Counterspelling: Counterspelling is for sorcerers with Improved Counterspell, Reactive Counterspell and Heighten Spell. Skip this.
-Mastery of Elements: elemental substitution is for blaster. If you're a high-quality wizard, you aren't a blaster. Skip this.
-Mastery of Shaping: this one's a good one. It does much the same thing as the Extraordinary Spell Aim feat, but without a Spellcraft check. Its uses range from "good" (making spaces in offensive AoE spells for your frontliners) to the "ridiculously good" (and therefore hanging offenses in some campaigns) use of casting Antimagic Field... and excluding yourself.
-Spell Power: it's a pale imitation of its 3.0 self, but it's still good. +1 caster level isn't something to sneeze at; as an item, it costs 30k (Orange Ioun Stone). A higher caster level means CL-dependent spells do more, spells last longer, and your spells are harder to dispel (you, on the other hand, have an easier time dispelling others' spells). At the low price of one fifth-level slot, that's a bargain.
-Spell-Like Ability: you can get a spell as a 2/day SLA for a 5th-level slot and an Nth level slot, where N is the level of your spell--or more often, by giving up higher level spell slots. Unlike with regular SLAs, the XP cost of the spell doesn't disappear. This can be all right if you know you'll always want to have access to a certain spell--Teleport, say. Giving up 2 5th level slots for Teleport as an SLA 2/day is just like always preparing two Teleports--except that you'll always have them, no matter what. This is more advantageous with higher-level spells (i.e. preparing Time Stop as a 2/day SLA can actually be a good idea, because you get 2 Time Stops for a 9th level slot and a 5th level slot, not 2 9th level slots).

Arcane Trickster: this one's for rogue/wizards. If you're *determined* to be a rogue/wizard... play a Beguiler (PHB II). If you're determined to actually be a rogue/wizard, with Sneak Attack, be a Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster/Archmage. Take Arcane Fire as a High Arcana and as many Archmage levels as you can fit in after Trickster. Why? Because Arcane Fire lets you turn spells into damage rays. An Archmage 4 can turn a first-level spell into a 5d6 ray. You can sneak attack with those rays and get extra damage. "Arcane Trickster" is a different kind of character than "wizard as primary arcanist", though, so enough said about this class.

Eldritch Knight: You lose a spell level and gain a bonus feat, a d6 HD, and full BAB. Sweet deal, right? Sort of. You need to spend a level on Fighter to qualify. A Fighter1/Wizard9/EK 10 has 14 BAB compared to a Wizard 20's 10, which means one more iterative attack, and a few more hit points... in exchange for a loss of two caster levels. Not worth it.
You can use the Militia feat from some Forgotten Realms book (proficiency with martial weapons) or the Otherworldly regional feat from Player's Guide to Faerun (makes you a native outsider--and all outsiders are proficient with all martial weapons) to qualify for EK without wasting a fighter level. A Wizard 10/Eldritch Knight 10 with that feat spends a feat on Otherworldly (which has the cheesy advantage of letting you Alter Self and Polymorph into outsiders) or Militia, gains a fighter bonus feat from EK, and has 5 BAB and a little more HP on a Wizard 20, at the loss of a caster level.
Which, sadly, isn't really worth it, as it won't help you much in your role as primary arcanist
Eldritch Knight IS useful for "gish", warrior/spellcaster hybrid builds, but those play a somewhat different role and, really, aren't as good--but they can be a whole lot of fun. Fighter 1/Wizard 6/Spellsword 1/Eldritch Knight 10/Archmage 2 is actually a relatively simple "gish" build; complicated ones look more like Paladin 2/Bard 7/Eldritch Knight 1/Sublime Chord 2/EK +3/Sacred Exorcist 4/EK +6. In any case, this isn't about spellswords, it's about wizards. So, moving on.

Loremaster: at first glance, Loremaster is really kind of mediocre--and compared to powerhouse prestige classes like Archmage, Incantatrix, Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil, well... it is.
Really, though, it's a full caster prestige class. You have nothing but familiar advancement to lose.
Qualifying for Loremaster looks difficult at first, but really, it requires 10 ranks in any two knowledge skills (which you should have anyway), any three metamagic or item creation feats (which you should have anyway), and Skill Focus: any one Knowledge, which, well, okay, that's a waste--but Loremaster gives you a bonus feat later which makes up for it and can even be better than just taking a feat instead of Skill Focus. You also need to be able to cast seven Divinations, one of 3rd level or higher--which you maybe should have, but may well not. Of course, scribing a few extra spells isn't much of a price for PrC entry.
Entering Loremaster gets you access to a bunch of class skills, more skill points per level, a Secret every odd level (five in all), two bonus languages, Bardic Lore, free Identifying, and free Legend Lore or Analyze Dweomer 1/day. The five best secrets are the ones that boost your saving throws, one of the bonus spells, and, of course, the Bonus Feat. The Bonus Feat means that your Skill Focus turns into any feat you wanted in its place--and, in fact, you can take some feats now you couldn't have qualified for when you took Skill Focus (such as a higher-level Craft feat), which makes this a delayed feat. Add up all those minor goodies, and they're not half bad. I'd take Wizard10/Loremaster 10 over Wizard 20 any day.

Red Wizard: in 3.0, Red Wizard was ridiculously good. +5 DC in your specialization school over 10 levels, AND Circle Magic cheese (use Leadership to get spellcasting followers, have them sacrifice spell slots to boots your spells, get RIDICULOUS caster levels and DCs)? Add Archmage 3 with Spell Power 1, 2, and 3, and you have +11 DC by level 20, which means that DC 40+ spells are commonplace for you. Here's a D&D, you win it.
Now... well, now it gets Spell Power, which means increased caster level, which means it's still really good. Of course, you have to be a specialist to be a Red Wizard, and then you lose *another* school... which means that if you're not a Diviner, you lose three schools. That's absolutely intolerable as a primary arcanist. Of course, a Diviner Red Wizard winds up losing two schools, like a normal specialist... but gets Spell Power +5. Plus, Circle Magic.
Of course, you have to be a Red Wizard of Thay. Some people consider that a bit of a downside.

Mystic Theurge:
http://www.accesswave.ca/~thomson/ackbar.jpg
Don't take it. No, really. If you get the urge to take it, go play a Cleric 3/Wizard 3/Mystic Theurge 1 for a while, in a party with a Wizard 7 and a Cleric 7.
Then cry.


Complete Series Prestige Classes

Argent Savant: sure, it's not *bad*... except that you give up a caster level. The perks really aren't worth it.

Blood Magus: stylish, but not very good.

Effigy Master: If you want a big hulking thing to defend you in combat, this is the way to go. Build yourself one. There's a caster level loss, so consider whether you want the big hulking thing, or more and higher-level spells sooner.

Elemental Savant: Blaster prestige class, loses two caster levels, yeah... pass this one up.

Enlightened Fist: if you MUST be a monk/wizard, this is the way to go. Snag the Carmendine Monk feat to use INT for your monk abilities, and remember how fragile you are.

Fatespinner: this one's good. Really good. At the low, low cost of 5 ranks in Profession(gambler), you gain your Fatespinner level in "spin points", which you can add to spell DCs one at a time or all together--later, you get to automatically stabilize, make yourself remake a save, make friends or enemies remake saves... and the first four out of five levels don't lose a caster level. The fifth one DOES, but it lets you give an enemy with HD equal to or less than yours -10 to a save once a day... which is possibly worth it, since it can mean a guaranteed kill. The first 4 out of 5 levels are a no-brainer; any wizard would do well to take them. The fifth one--think carefully, but it can be worth it. Due to the HD limitation, it usually isn't--but it can be.

Geometer: You lose no caster levels and qualify easily. Why not take this? If nothing else, the Book of Geometry saves you a little cash... or would, except that buying a Blessed Book is a great ide

Green Star Adept: Lose five caster levels. And your CON score. And pay for the priviledge.
No, thank you.

Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil: How on earth does this not lose caster levels? This is the "don't die, ever" PrC. And the only thing you lose is having to take the feats that qualify you for it.
Take it ASAP... if it's not too high-powered for your game. Which, let's face it, it probably is.

Mage of the Arcane Order: this one's not as good as the Initiate, but still very nice. You have to get Cooperative Spell to qualify, and it sucks... but you get free metamagic feats from the class, which more than make up for it, and you gain a lot of versatility thanks to the Spellpool. It's also a good source of plot hooks for your DM.

Master Transmogrifist: this relies on Polymorph. Polymorph is broken. Don't use Polymorph and, therefore, don't take this class. Besides, some exceptional cheese aside, losing four caster levels is too much.

Mindbender: half caster level progression? No thanks! The first level make a great dip for any non-evil cater who can afford the skills it takes to qualify. 100' Telepathy FTW.

Wayfarer Guide: There's no reason not to take the first level if it can fit into your character concept (which is easy--"hey, I'll join the guild, learn their techniques, and not stay if I don't like it there; why not?"). The second loses a caster level, so don't take it. Simple, huh?

Wild Mage: Uh, no.Your allies will hate Random Deflector... and control is GOOD. Wizards are all about control. Minimize randomness, don't maximize it.

Divine Oracle: The picture of this guy in the Complete Divine is hilarious. Seriously, what the hell is up with his pants? Those are so much worse than the Archmage's stylish rainbow cloak. Did he look into the future and foresee the coming of our Chaos Gnome overlords or something? Anyway--this requires investing Knowledge: Religion ranks and wasting a feat on Skill Focus, but it gives some solid nice perks over 10 levels, such as uncanny dodge and immunity to surprise. When you're a wizard, immunity to surprise keeps you alive, since people try to use surprise to kill you. Plus, you get a domain power and can cast each domain spell once/day in your regular slots... oh, and Evasion. Evasion is good. If you can afford the Skill Focus feat and Know(Religion) ranks, no reason not to take this for a divination-themed character.

Geomancer: See Mystic Theurge.

Rainbow Servant: It's stylish... and it loses four caster levels. Of course, it gives you access to all cleric spells. With four lost caster levels, you may even be better off as a Mystic Theurge.

Sacred Exorcist: whoa! This requires being affiliated with a church and knowing Dispel Evil or Dismissal (decent spells anyway)... and then grants you a d8 HD, 3/4 BAB, Turn Undead, and some other goodies, with no lost caster levels. If you have a churchy wizard, take this *now*. Unless you're taking Initiate of the Sevenfold Cheese. Take that over this.

Void Disciple: Blah blah lost caster levels blah blah don't take it. Same old.

Daggerspell Mage: if you're going that route, better off with an Arcane Trickster/Archmage.

Virtuoso: Lose a caster level, and the bardic music-like abilities it gives really aren't that good. Meh, pass it up.

Bladesinger: Wow, half caster levels. How... interesting. Pass. Even for a fighter/mage type.

Master of the Unseen Hand: Wow, NO caster levels. Pass.

Spellsword: If you're a fighter/mage type, a one level dip is great. A three level dip can be good. More and you're losing too many caster levels.


Player's Guide to Faerun Prestige Classes

Arcane Devotee: better, like almost all full-caster-level PrCs, than going straight Wizard.

Harper Agent: a mini-Bardic Knowledge and some saving throw boosts aren't worth a lost caster level.

Hathran: Full casting, but very, very specific flavor-wise. If your character is a Witch of Rashemen, go the heck for it. Circle Magic cheese included.

Incantatrix: The classic uber PrC of 3.5--Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil has defense, this has offense and general utility. Not one, not two, not three--four totally overpowered abilities: Metamagic Effect, Cooperative Metamagic, Metamagic Spell Trigger, and Practical Metamagic. And another fistful of non-broken but *good* abilities on top of that. Get an item that boosts your Spellcraft checks (make one yourself) and you're in wizard heaven.

Shadow Adept: Not half bad in practice, mechanically, but in-game, serving Shar? Bad, bad idea.

Spellguard of Silverymoon: Very nice, but flavor-specific. Unless your campaign is focused on Silverymoon, or your DM lets you apply it to whatever city it DOES focus on, this class doesn't really work.


Eberron PrC - by The_Demented_One

Alchemist Savant (MoE)
Mmm...full caster level progression. This potion-themed PrC lets you brew potions faster, create spellvials, the offensive cousins of potions, and create universal potions, which let you add a spell to them on demand without having to use up a spell slot. Nothing amazingly power, but useful abilities and full caster progression make this a good choice for those with an eye towards crafting.

Cataclysm Mage (ExH)
This odd little PrC gives you caster level advancement at every level but the first, along with a fairly bizarre mishmash of abilities, culminating in the ability to manifest dragonmarks with no regard to normal restrictions. It’s got enough caster levels to be worth taking, but has no abilities that stand out as being very powerful.

Dragon Prophet (MoE)
Like the Cataclysm Mage, this gives you 9/10 caster level progression, and a mishmash of dragon-related abilities. There are a few neat abilities, notably the immortality gained at 10th level, but nothing terribly nice. Like Cataclysm Mage, taking it won’t hurt you, but it won’t help you terribly much.
--Ninja Note: some prophecy abilities aren't bad; good constellation powers are Lendys, Garyx, Tamara, Tiamat, Bahamut, Aasterinian. Plus, you get bonus Dragon Prophecier feats--Prophecy's Artifex lets you use wands and staffs as a swift action, which is nice. Prophecy's Shaper lets you Empower spells for free. Overall, if you really know what you're doing, this class can be worth it. Plus, it's got cool factor.

Heir of Syberis (ECS)
This 3-level PrC advances your caster level at all levels but the first, gives you some extra action points, and gives you a Mark of Syberis, essentially a dragonmark on crack that lets you use a seventh level or higher spell. Depending on the mark you choose, you can get a nice, high-level spell not on the wizard list, like Mass Heal or Storm of Vengeance. Useful if you use it to get a spell you normally couldn’t, but you’d otherwise probably be best just casting it normally.
--Ninja Note: this is better for fighter types than for mages, but getting Mass Heal twice/day, if you're a halfling of House Jorasco? I might turn that down, but I'd hesitate. It's a powerful three-level PrC overall.

High Elemental Binder (PgtE)
This neat PrC costs you only one caster level, in exchange for the services of a bevy of elementals. The neatest ability, though, is that you can bind them into items to increase their power. Problem is, though, that only you can use the resulting items, and you’d be much better off casting spells. If you want to take this one, go in as an Artificer, not a Wizard.

Impure Prince (MoE)
This quirky PrC causes you to take on the traits of an aberration, to the tune of two lost caster levels. Though meant for rangers and druids, a wizard can benefit from it–but not much. You get a few spells added to your class list, the ability to gain a symbiont, and partial immunity to critical hits. Unless you want to play a wizard with a grudge against aberrations, this is going to be of no use to you.

Knight Phantom (FN)
A pretty run of the mill gish class. Caster level advancement at every level but first, d8 HD, full base attack bonus, spellcasting in light armor, and some phantom-themed abilities. However, you have to take a fighter level to qualify, which, combined with the lost caster level as 1st, will set you back a spell level. I’d take it over the fairly generic Eldritch Knight in a gish build, as detailed earlier on by The Logic Ninja, but not for anything else.
--Ninja Note: at first glance, this looks pretty much completely superior to Eldritch Knight... but you lose a bonus feat, and have to *waste* a feat on Still Spell. Two feats vs. a higher HD and spellcasting in light armor. Me, I'd go with the feats, but if you don't need them, Phantom Knight is better.

Recaster (RoE)
This one’s good for those changeling wizards out there. You give up one caster level in exchange for access to spells from other class lists, bonus Sudden Metamagic feats and the ability to alter your spells on the fly–taking away components, changing areas, and such. If you’re playing a changeling wizard, there is no reason not to take this.
--Ninja Note: This class is awesome. If you're a changeling wizard, *take* it. Get Heal as a fifth-level spell from the Adept list, for example. Plus altering your spells on the fly--basically a free Sculpt Spell feat, among other goodies. One of the few concrete counterexamples to the "don't lose caster levels" rule.

Renegade Mastermaker
This PrC turns you into a warforged, leaving two caster levels by the wayside. While it’s the closest you’ll be getting to Edward Elric in D&D, it isn’t too useful for a wizard–far too many of the abilities are useful only to characters planning on going into melee, like the battlefist and damage reduction. If you want to play a warforged wizard, just play a warforged wizard–not this.

Sharn Skymage (S:CoT)
This 5-level PrC will cost you three caster levels. In exchange, you become better at flying with magic. Useless, useless, useless.
--Ninja Note: Sucks. So. HARD.

Silver Pyromancer (FN)
This PrC advances your caster level at every level but 1st, but you have to take a level of cleric to qualify. In exchange, you get various enhancements to your fire-based spells. Remember what TLN said about damage spells? Leave this one by the wayside.

Spellcarved Soldier
Ugh. While this warforged gish PrC requires you be able to cast spells, it gives no caster level advancement. Instead, it gives you a bevy of runes, which tend to have more use for a melee combatant than a caster. This isn’t for the party’s prime arcanist, though a fighter willing to take a level of artificer or warmage might get some benefit from it–but not much.

Windwright Captain (ExH)
This 5-level PrC gives you only half caster level advancement, which will put you a spell level behind other casters. However, what it lacks up in power, it makes up in coolness. You get your very own frickin’ airship, which you can control via telepathy. Essentially, you stop being Batman, in exchange for becoming the Uberpimp, the Pimp of Pimps.
--Ninja Note: of course, Batman could be a pimp if he wanted to. This prestige class is much better for, say, Bards than for wizards.

afroakuma
2009-02-06, 05:10 PM
Thanks for reposting this, Eldariel! It'll be very helpful.

But are you sure the old one was eaten? I was using it just today...

monty
2009-02-06, 05:12 PM
Such a wonderful guide.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-02-06, 05:16 PM
Glad to see it back up!

mikej
2009-02-06, 05:23 PM
truly greatness right here.

Eldariel
2009-02-06, 05:28 PM
Thanks for reposting this, Eldariel! It'll be very helpful.

But are you sure the old one was eaten? I was using it just today...

One of the old ones was eaten at any rate. I seem to have stumbled on a link of another. That said, at least this has fixed typos and all that. Hmm, it does make much of the point of reposting moot; this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18500) is dead but this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19085) is still live. That said, it does have the messed up quotation, &s and so on, so this is probably easier to read.

Swooper
2009-02-06, 05:31 PM
But are you sure the old one was eaten? I was using it just today...
I have the old one open in a tab right now, so it definitely wasn't eaten by the purge. It's last post was in 2007 so it's safe.

This thread is nice for the fact that it doesn't have " all over it instead of "'s, though.

Edit: What an appropriate thread to get ninja'd in.

Charity
2009-02-06, 06:51 PM
Edit: What an appropriate thread to get ninja'd in.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v638/sputnikspak/spockasssz9-2.gif

Kurald Galain
2009-02-06, 07:01 PM
One of the classics.

And, inspired by the above, here's the 4E Batman Guide (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97322).

Sir Giacomo
2009-02-07, 06:22 AM
Well,...

it is truly one of the classics. And a good idea, Eldariel, to repost it -thanks!

In my view, though, while it has plenty of useful ideas and is an entertaining read, it often greatly exaggerates the power of spells, providing (funnily-stated) opinion as fact and ignoring the rules.

It also sometimes errs in its quest to provide a completely new wizard playing approach, in that the great damage or area damage spells are considered subpar (which is not the case).

Most annoyingly, though, is that with intro sentences like these:
The Wizard and his Adventuring Buddies, AKA "Those Chumps Who Hit Things For You, Stop Things From Hitting You, And Heal You When You Need It, While You Do All The Important Stuff"
it paved the ground for notions of the game that made some people think that you either play a wizard or you have just a 2nd rate character in the game.
Which is a bold statement, to say the least, and completely against the spirit of the game, to say the worst. :smallamused:

Others, though, interpreted it as meaning that a wizard should focus on buff and control, and thus became a precursor to the (single?) 4e wizard role.
For this role, the batman guide offers good inspiration!

- Giacomo

BobVosh
2009-02-07, 06:29 AM
I somehow doubt that WotC were reading this post when they made 4ed.

And other than doing a lot less stuff, wizards basically fill the same role.

Zergrusheddie
2009-02-07, 07:03 AM
Ok, this guide has gotten countless number of hits and is well regarded by the community. Why the hell did they purge it originally?...

Comet
2009-02-07, 07:49 AM
They purged a lot of other stuff too. Batman just happened to be caught in the cross-fire. Of atomic flames. If I have understood this thing correctly.

Funny story: I have never actually read this guide in it's entire glory before, altough I have run into it on several occasions.
Well now I have and it was very entertaining. Thank you for your important work of diggin this up Eldariel. And even more thank-you for the guy that came up with this guide. Logical Ninjas are my favourite kind of ninja.

bosssmiley
2009-02-07, 07:51 AM
^ ninja'ed again! Somewhere out there LN is smiling. :smallamused:


Ok, this guide has gotten countless number of hits and is well regarded by the community. Why the hell did they purge it originally?...

It seems to have been deleted in error during what we shall hereafter call The Great Purge of 2009. The Mods asked for links to threads that people wanted preserved. This was definitely one of them. Mistakes do happen though.

Thanks to Eldariel for the repost.

Tsotha-lanti
2009-02-07, 08:11 AM
it paved the ground for notions of the game that made some people think that you either play a wizard or you have just a 2nd rate character in the game.
Which is a bold statement, to say the least, and completely against the spirit of the game, to say the worst. :smallamused:

Cause and effect reversed, any? TLN's guide simply crystallized into one post a ton of tactics taken straight out of the rulebooks, which had been used for ages and discussed all over these boards - it involves no special rules gymnastics. Casters have always dominated 3rd edition D&D - inside a year from the release (so that's, what, 2001?), our first campaign was being ruled by the druid, who made the entire rest of the party obsolete simply by not being stupid. The D&D rulebooks are what made me think that playing a noncaster is playing a second-rate loser - that's the way the game's been written, unintentionally or intentionally.

afroakuma
2009-02-07, 08:15 AM
The start of a debate about wizards' power level, possibly leading into a monk thread. :smallwink:

Can we head this off right now? I think there's probably a better place for it.

Charity
2009-02-07, 10:15 AM
I somehow doubt that WotC were reading this post when they made 4ed.
I happen to know that TLN was a playtester for 4e


And other than doing a lot less stuff, wizards basically fill the same role.

None of us thought that the wizard was filling the wrong role, just that he was filling all the others as well, doing the same sort of stuff but less is exactly what they sould have been aiming for.

Morty
2009-02-07, 10:40 AM
Good to see it back up, mostly because there are few terms that are more misinterpreted and, so to speak, overblown than The Batman Wizard. From a character who uses spells to make the jobs of the rest of the party easier and doesn't use direct damage spells Batman has grown into a god who wins encounters with one spell and makes everyone else useless. Not that the attitude of the author helped, though.

Human Paragon 3
2009-02-07, 12:19 PM
I would actually recomend that this thread be locked. It's more useful as a guide than as a discussion, and, as before, frequent threads will appear to discuss it anyway. My two cents.

Tengu_temp
2009-02-07, 12:27 PM
Discussion will let keeping this thread on top. If it gets locked, it will fall into obscurity.

Deth Muncher
2009-02-07, 12:36 PM
Actually, I believe it's been reposted on Brilliant Gameologists. If I find it, I'll send the link here. I miss the Spoiler tags.

Curmudgeon
2009-02-07, 01:10 PM
For ease of seeing the overall structure of this long post, I recommend putting the spoiler tags back to add subcategories. I know it is a bit of a bother to click to expand all the sections if you want to read the whole thing, or to use your browser's search function, so I think we should have two posts, with the first being the version with the spoiler tags and the second being the full version.

MeklorIlavator
2009-02-07, 01:32 PM
I think that we also might want to ad sections relating to new stuff, like Complete mage. This obviously won't be done by The Logic Ninja, but it would be nice to have a guide on the newer stuff.

Nohwl
2009-02-07, 01:34 PM
what books werent out when this guide was made?

Starbuck_II
2009-02-07, 01:59 PM
I would actually recomend that this thread be locked. It's more useful as a guide than as a discussion, and, as before, frequent threads will appear to discuss it anyway. My two cents.

Only if it is sticked as well as locked.

I still have my Batman PDF. But not everyone does.

And Nohwl, ToB wasn't out yet (not that it makes much different except for Prcs)

MeklorIlavator
2009-02-07, 02:24 PM
what books werent out when this guide was made?

I think the second set of completes had yet to come out. Possibly more, those are the ones that I'm sure about(and would have relevant info).

Sir Giacomo
2009-02-08, 05:58 AM
Can we head this off right now? I think there's probably a better place for it.

Well put! Will refrain from further comments here (instead may start a different thread or may comment elsewhere).

Only this: I'd second that this guide gets sticky'ed. It's probably the most-often quoted guide on various boards.

- Giacomo

Kaihaku
2009-02-08, 06:13 AM
Tsk, everytime I see this guide I can't help but wish that Clericzilla had been named Super Man instead.

Tengu_temp
2009-02-08, 06:50 AM
Tsk, everytime I see this guide I can't help but wish that Clericzilla had been named Super Man instead.

Amusing how well does that fit, seeing that CoDzilla has more combat power but much less utility than Batman. And would lose with him if he had prep time.

Kurald Galain
2009-02-08, 07:09 AM
And, of course, we have the Warlock starring as Spider-man.

Not nearly as powerful as the other two, but he's pretty cool, fires stuff around all day, walks on walls, and has the beguiling charisma to out-quip any foe.

ringsnake
2009-02-14, 10:52 PM
I don't consider myself a powergamer or minmaxer as such, but I do like feeling like my characters are actually contributing. I saw right away that at fifth level the fireball was not the end all and be all, and thence wrote of wizards entirely. The article is an eye opener and no mistake.

He didn't include the Arcane Archer Prestige in his list of prestiges, though it's only a Wizard prestige in the sense that you need arcane spell casting to get into it.

It's obvious where his opinion of this class would land. No spell progressions, and building up a Wizard to level twelve and then giving up the seventh level spells for Imbue Arrow and +1 magical arrows doesn't seem like a good payoff.

Even if you can stick anti-magic field on an arrow and do some relatively fun things with the shaping feat you give up goodies like Insanity or banishment. As a player I've only ever been in one or two combats where the wizard would need something that reaches beyond Medium spell range.

Especially if you're in a party with a fourteenth level non-magical archer build that you can buff and do battlefield control for.

"Here, I've rooted them to the spot and buffed up your abilities. It's all you buddy."

Eldariel
2009-02-14, 11:07 PM
Arcane Archer is good for one thing and that's slinging Anti-Magic Fields around. Even then, the prerequisites mean that it's not enterable for a Wizard. Really, Arcane Archer belongs in an Arcane Gish Archer-build as a 2-level dip. That said, without splatbooks, I wouldn't consider even that; Bard 8/Arcane Archer 2/Sublime Chord 2/Abjurant Champion 5/Sacred Exorcist 3 is a fine build, for example (it effectively has full casting and tons of Cha-synergies along with a bunch of solid songs), but without splats you end up with very lacking caster level (no Practiced Spellcaster) which, among other things, screws up your Greater Magic Weapons (unless you have a dedicated arcanist in the party).

There're some good Arcane Archer-remakes in the Homebrew though so I suggest you take a look at them if the class tickles your fancy. Losing two caster levels just isn't worth it like ever. And then you add 3 feats (!! That's all you're getting by level 6) and racial prerequisites...

xanaphia
2009-02-14, 11:21 PM
Thanks, Eladriel.

Was this guide originally posted on GITP, by the way?

I love the subtitle: Making the Most Of What You're Got (When What You Have Is Already Ridiculously Good)

I wish someone would make a guide as good as this for Clerics.

Flickerdart
2009-02-14, 11:23 PM
And, of course, we have the Warlock starring as Spider-man.

Not nearly as powerful as the other two, but he's pretty cool, fires stuff around all day, walks on walls, and has the beguiling charisma to out-quip any foe.
And depending on the fluff of your pact, he's got the radioactive blood to show for it.

Eldariel
2009-02-14, 11:24 PM
Yes, it was originally posted on GiTP, hence the repost. While the style is different, this (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?board=22.0) is a good place to look for handbooks on a variety of things. This (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=482636) has a far more comprehensive, but less up-to-date listing.

Frosty
2009-02-15, 02:37 AM
If you want to throw Antimagic Fields, then be a Wizard 3 (specialize in Abjuration)/Master Specialist 10/Archmage 1. Master Specialist lets you use your Personal range or Emanations centered on you spells as Touch spells 3/day. One Archmage ability is to make all of your Touch spells 30 ft ranged touch spells. So, 3/day you can throw an AMF up to 30 ft as a ranged touch attack. If you have a metamagic rod of Chain, you can now put an AMF on like all the enemies within 30ft of the original target as well.

skywalker
2009-02-15, 03:49 AM
I somehow doubt that WotC were reading this post when they made 4ed.

Dude. This guide is where "Wizards are controllers" came from. Without this guide, people don't call Wizards "controllers." WotC certainly doesn't.

I feel that with 4e, WotC actually said "we don't want you to be batman anymore, so, altho we're going to call this class a batman controller, it isn't, really.

Anyway, while I agree with you that WotC didn't design the 4e wizard completely around this post, I would bet lots of money that they read this guide. Many times. And even more than that, they read the entire way in which this changed the D&D landscape. And they started 4e in 2005. I bet it came up once or twice.


Others, though, interpreted it as meaning that a wizard should focus on buff and control, and thus became a precursor to the (single?) 4e wizard role.
For this role, the batman guide offers good inspiration!

- Giacomo

If so... they did a very poor job. The 4e wizard has very little in the way of buffs, and a lot more encouragement is in there for the blaster wizard. The 4e wizard is a better blaster than 3.5, and not as good a controller. But it's called a controller, which means it must be one, right?


I would actually recomend that this thread be locked. It's more useful as a guide than as a discussion, and, as before, frequent threads will appear to discuss it anyway. My two cents.

Why? What reason do you have for locking it?

Arbitrarity
2009-02-15, 11:47 PM
Master Specialist lets you use your Personal range or Emanations centered on you spells as Touch spells 3/day.

10-ft.-radius emanation
Of course, Antimagic Ray does a similar trick, but with a save.

Frosty
2009-02-16, 02:41 AM
Of course, Antimagic Ray does a similar trick, but with a save.

Yep. My way gives no save, which is way cool.

ringsnake
2009-02-16, 09:03 PM
Just about every group I've ever played in has had a fairly strict two core class and one prestige only policy. Most of the DM's I've ever run into get fairly annoyed when their role playing game transitions into a meta gaming playing game. Justify it however you like, when you're picking and choosing from among several different classes scattered across several different books from a few different publishers the DM has every right to be annoyed.

The things I think that make this guide priceless is that he focuses on the core books for the most part, calls the cheese cheese and discourages its use, and puts more emphasis on how to be useful and effective as a wizard rather than how to trick out the super combat uber build that cannot be defeated evar!

Though he does reveal those tricks as an incidental effect of showing just how to be very effective.

I took these words as holy writ and it worked fantastically for me. Normally I play fighters or fighter/cleric gishes; I could probably write a similar guide for the fighter classes and not be half off with it. I just started in a game where the group has a policy of starting people at 1st no matter what. The rest of the characters have to keep the feeb alive long enough for him to advance, and only a level per day at that.

The upshot of it was that after one play session of being a useless 1st level character I was a 4th level wizard among 9th level adventurers, and though the cleric was kind enough to imbue me I was still expected to be a fifth wheel.

And I freaking WON two combats for that group, and was a good will save away from winning three combats for them. Web and Glitterdust FTW! Thanks to the XP boosts for being "feeble" my character's shot up to seventh level or so, and the DM seems somewhat concerned...

Optimystik
2009-02-16, 09:41 PM
...I can't believe I never read this.

Thanks very, very much for the repost. Is there one for other casters, along with reviews of their PrCs?

Eldariel
2009-02-17, 12:44 PM
Not in the same style, no. This is the only guide Logic Ninja wrote. That said, Char Ops have a handbook for just about everything and they've been somewhat moved over to BG. I linked the two sites earlier in this thread.

Brilliant Gameologists 3.5 Optimization Archive (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?topic=143.0) - Lacks much of the material that graces Gleemax with its presence, but has more up-to-date stuff and stuff still in works.
Gleemax 3.5 Optimization Archive (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=482636) - Vast archives on just about everything. Most of them aren't being updated though.

Elminster1
2009-03-05, 07:26 PM
Nice to see the thread up and running again. Previously, I have been traversing Treatmonk's Guide to Being God, since Im just now getting back into D&D.

We have a little Conan Campaign (evilly aligned) up and coming. After doing some research, I chose Wizard as my class of choice. At first, I wanted to go the Specialist Conjurer route, for a more BFC flavor casting. However, 2 things made me shy away...one, our playgroup detests BFC spells like Solid Fog, etc, and their tactics are rushing headlong into battle on the 1st iniative roll. Second, everyone whined about me being a blaster, but I declined that casting role, even though I heard complaints. I almost considered a focused Summoner build (Malconvoker), but they have good alignment restrictions, meh. Besides, me being the only Wizard in the party (we have one other caster a Dread Necromancer), I thought just remian a Generalist would be most suitable for the party (and my sake). So, for this session (allegedly to Epic), the DM allowed me to select the Domain Wizard variant from Unearthed Arcana. Im kinda undecided about which Domain to choose, although I do prefer the Transmutation Domain.

Im not too sure about any prestige class. Some have been banned from the start, like IO7FV (sad, since I like the protective abilites). The only ones Im even considering are Incantatrix and/or Archmage. If not either of those, probably no PRClass whatsoever. I know about uber cheese builds with Persist, etc. Archmage seems broad enough for Generalist to qualify, but it takes 3 feats for entry, which is scary. Especially since I really only like Arcane Reach, Mastery of Shaping and SLA. Overall though, I think the broader the spectrum of powers, the better. Anything too sepcific flavore wise, will be too narrow. Any advice would be cool, thanks in advance.

Keld Denar
2009-03-05, 08:01 PM
Definitely go the Focused Specialist Conjourer. Its a TON of fun. Not only is Abrupt Jaunt possibly the single most powerful Alt Class Feature in the game, but Conjouration is about the only school of spells with enough fun things to make it viable for focused specialist. I personally prefer banning Evocation, Enchantment, and Abjuration (I love Necromany too much to drop...Ray of Enfeeblement and a couple others are just TOO much fun).

Hold back a bit on the BC a lot though, if you think it'll piss off your friends. Stick to things like EBT (cast is so the enemy is on the edge where your allies can stand adjacent) and Glitterdust, which are quality disables, or toss out an Orb of Fire (damage + disable) or Melfs Unicorn Arrows (damage + move a foe to provoke AoOs). You can also do a lot with tactical movement. Got an ally that loves to charge? Got another ally who loves to full attack? Benign Transposition them so that full attack guy leeches charger's movement and charger guy is set up in charging position again. If you want to get a kill of your own, throw up a Quickened Ray of Clumisness + Freezing Fog and listen to the agonizing screams of your foe for the next 10 rounds or so while he lies on his back shivering in a cold sweat.


Qualifying for Archmage isn't that bad. SF Conjouration + SF Transmutation/Necromancy/Illusion are decent choices, since this is where most of the good save or die spells lie. SF also opens up Metamagic School Focus which I love to use. That just leaves you with 1 dead feat, which you can get for free with a 3 level investment in Master Specialist which also gets you close to a free Greater Spell Focus.

Elminster1
2009-03-05, 09:13 PM
Thanks for the advice. While I was "away" I read over some other PRClasses, like War Weaver, since I was akin to Buffing/Disabling magic in the school of Transmutation. I had considered a build abusing the Polymorph series, with the Otherworldy Feat, and being Focused Specialist Transmuter. I also found some Dragon Magazine Feat called "Ability Enhancer" which adds +2 to any Transmutation buff cast, pretty sweet. Animalistic Power comes to mind :smallsmile: But, I have to disccuss it with the DM.

I really, really liked Focused Conjurer too, but with no Malconvoker (because of alignment), and Abrupt Jaunt straight up banned, and the dislike of BFC spells by the group, it got abismal :smalleek:

As far as spells go, the role got narrower and narrower, like they were trying to squeeze me into "blaster". Yuck. For all that, I would have picked up Warmage, get Eclectic learning, and some fly and greater invisibility, stoneskin and polymorph, and went to town.

With Transmutation, came the idea for Otherworldy to morph into Outsider forms. Plus free Darkvision and martial weapon profficiency to boot. Ability Enhancer offers nice buffs for the BSF's. I was also considering Fatespinner as well, it helps with forcing re-rolls on opponents that make the saves against Transmutaions Save-or-Lose/Suck spells. Archmage would be nice for the Arcane Reach ability for range touch buffs to hit with a single casting as well. I was trying to work in Meta Magic School Focus (Transmutation) for meta-magic cost reducers, mostly for Extend spell, Quicken Spell and Chain Spell. I was trying to get to a point where I could do a reduced cost Reached/Chained Chasing Perfection buff (with Ability Enhancers +2) for a +6 total to all scores Chained for the party. Plus of course any other buffs as well......:smalltongue: So, my role would be buffer/debuffer, and maybe some combat forms with Otherworldly morphs on top for icing. So, this is where Im leaning now anyway. Oh, and my banned schools would be Enchantment, Evocation and Necromancy (since we have a Dread Necormancer). More advice please, thanks to all who contributed.

Xuincherguixe
2009-03-05, 09:27 PM
It's kind of too bad the way things worked out.

I like the concept of the Batman wizard. Rather than blowing stuff up as hard as possible, this is the guy who attacks situations. Someone that's basically "really good at support".

It's how an intelligent person with unbelievable power should be acting.


It's a little too good though.


And upon the realization that wizards were so great, 4th edition calls them controllers... but still forces them to be blasters? Za? They seem to be really stuck on the idea of "An individual that gets their power due to high intelligence is going to attack with little imagination".


I can't help but wonder, if there's some middle ground that supports good tactics, but not to the point of a few spells winning encounters.

And of course, letting the rest of the team be awesome. Gestalt helps, of course, but that just increases the number of "I win" buttons.

Elminster1
2009-03-05, 09:52 PM
You got it right on the nail, attacking situations. Yeah, the Batman wizard is awesome, because they can use Cosmic Power to tackle problems with imagination and forethought. Blasters are and always willl be lame spellcasters, because of the redundancy and limit of their scope and options.

But, to each their own. I love options. I also love flavor. But, the game has to be more than just rolling d6's and hitting things or just casting combat spells ober and over again. And more than uber cheese piled mid maxed character designs, for me anyways.

I mean, if this session degenerates into hit x and cast x spell to do damage, well, Ill just go back to Street Fighter, or sleep (no pun intended). Dont get me wrong, I know D&D is primarily about combat (at least to alot of folks), and thats fine, but its gotta be more than that for me.

Bottom line is I want to play a wizard in this campaign, the way I see a wizard. Only thing is my DM and whiny team mates are making it more and more tiresome, lol.

Keld Denar
2009-03-06, 02:24 PM
The other side of the wall is also redundant though. Casting Glitterdust (because GD rawks so hard) every combat every day for 3-4 levels and then retiring for tea while your party mops up the blinded bad guys is kinda the same. Granted, you don't HAVE to use GD every time, but its so effective most of the time that it ends up being the most effective spell for the job in a lot of fights. I played in a Living Greyhawk game where a guy was still using GD at level 8 due to SF and GSF and it was still working on nearly every baddie.

afroakuma
2009-03-06, 02:29 PM
I should point out that I hate you and your glitterdust. And your solid fog... stupid incapacitating of ranged stealth attackers. :smallannoyed:

Keld Denar
2009-03-06, 03:15 PM
I should point out that I hate you and your glitterdust. And your solid fog... stupid incapacitating of ranged stealth attackers. :smallannoyed:

Don't hate the playa, hate the game!

Amazing how level 2 and level 4 spells are still effective against a CR17 encounter?

/pwned

Temp.
2009-03-06, 03:37 PM
Dude. This guide is where "Wizards are controllers" came from. Without this guide, people don't call Wizards "controllers." WotC certainly doesn't.

Y'know all the folks over on the WotC boards were saying the same things as TLN does in this guide for years before he wrote this, right?

I mean, it's entertaining and all, but it's anything but revolutionary.

The Glyphstone
2009-03-06, 09:47 PM
LN was one of us though, and he also coined the Batman title. "Wizard controller" has been around for a long time, but "Batman Wizard" became a mainstream D&D lexicon term.

Oslecamo
2009-03-06, 10:10 PM
LN was one of us though, and he also coined the Batman title. "Wizard controller" has been around for a long time, but "Batman Wizard" became a mainstream D&D lexicon term.

Wich ironically nobody really knows what it really means. How much save or dies must a wizard shoot untill he's considered batman? Or how much contingencies must he have ready? How many defensive buffs? Nobody really knows. Batman wizard is a very very hollow term, and I've seen it be used to everything from broken builds no sane or insane DM would allow to simply a wizard who doesn't specialize in evocation.

afroakuma
2009-03-06, 11:30 PM
Don't hate the playa, hate the game!

Amazing how level 2 and level 4 spells are still effective against a CR17 encounter?

If I'd hidden him in the sky from the beginning, you'd have died a hideous, bleeding death never knowing what hit you.

As it is, I soaked them all out of you and then forced a concession. I don't feel too bad. :smallamused:

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 12:02 AM
Don't hate the playa, hate the game!

Amazing how level 2 and level 4 spells are still effective against a CR17 encounter?

/pwned
Listen check to pinpoint others reduces glitterdust to nothing more than a 50% miss chance. DC = move silently check (if any) + 20. Running, charging or fighting gives a -20 penalty to the move silently check. Feats can reduce the miss chance further. Likewise there are simple ways to keep other tactics from ending the encounter, if you know the cryptic rules for it buried somewhere. IMO this guide has some good tips but it exaggerates on what's "instant-win" and what's "worthless".

But I really think someone should start a discussion on this guide in another thread instead of here. Well, after it's stickied and locked so we can stop bumping it. And it would be awesome if the mods then moved all these posts into that thread. :smallwink:

EDIT: Oh wow, oh wow. This just in folks. I found this at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/tt/20050711a, dated 07/11/2005. If my google results are correct, Logic Ninja joined the giantitp forums in June of 2006:



Or Maybe My Slightly Larger Friend: Speaking of using pawns -- you could also try using your own party members. If the +2 bonus on attacks and damage from a bull's strength spell on the party's fighter results in even just one or two more successful hits, combined with the bonus damage it deals on hits that would have been successful anyway, then the spell easily can deal as much damage as a Melf's acid arrow. Likewise, the extra attacks your party might get from a haste spell can quickly outstrip what damage you may have dealt with a fireball. The key is that the target of the magic isn't the spell resistant creature, but instead the damage from the spell is dealt indirectly.

Now search for those spells in his guide. Yeup, the exact same tip. Haste vs. fireball is one of the most famous comparisons he's quoted for. And I thought it was strange that Logic Ninja would compare bull's strength to melf's acid arrow not, say, scorching ray.

If you go to www.wizards.com => d&d => resources => tactics & tips you can also find some tips on battlefield control spells under "controlling the battlefield", dated in the early days of 3.5. After all, the people at WotC were the ones that put these spells together.

Undead Prince
2009-03-07, 09:34 AM
I like the concept of the Batman wizard. Rather than blowing stuff up as hard as possible, this is the guy who attacks situations. Someone that's basically "really good at support". It's how an intelligent person with unbelievable power should be acting.

Not quite. That's the problem I have with this guide. I prefer to create situations, not attack them. "Being Batman" means you've squandered your power on a thousand small utilities, in hopes that you can be "good support" in any sitch the Fates throw at you.

Myself, I like to guide the hand of Fate. By being very very powerful in a few things, and using this power to make the world turn on my terms. Not because of egotism, I'm not playing Chaotic Dumb, but because it makes for a much more efficient character. And it's what "an intelligent person with unbelievable power" would be doing.

Eldariel
2009-03-07, 09:38 AM
Not quite. That's the problem I have with this guide. I prefer to create situations, not attack them. "Being Batman" means you've squandered your power on a thousand small utilities, in hopes that you can be "good support" in any sitch the Fates throw at you.

Myself, I like to guide the hand of Fate. By being very very powerful in a few things, and using this power to make the world turn on my terms. Not because of egotism, I'm not playing Chaotic Dumb, but because it makes for a much more efficient character. And it's what "an intelligent person with unbelievable power" would be doing.

Actually, the guide includes a selection of spells that are useful in a huge variety of situations. Not thousands of small utilities, thousands of large utilities. Almost all of them are usable almost always. The very key is having the perfect answer to every situation, to solve every problem with absolute minimum effort. That means you've got more power when it counts.

The very key of being Batman is fixing the universe more to your liking regardless of what it's like right now; if you focus on a few things, chances are you'll come across a situation where your vast powers are focused on the wrong thing and you can't do jack ****. Leave that to the Sorcerers and focus on what Wizards do best; everything.

Elminster1
2009-03-07, 09:47 AM
I, personally, enjoy the ongoing disscussion. I dont think theres anything wrong, persay, in a wizard player abusing a spell. The DM should find alternate strategies to force different player tactics, so one trick pony spells dont ruin encounters. Combat and non-combat scenarios should bring the necessity of a wide variety of skills/spells/feat(s) to have to use. If your battles or whatever are getting hosed all the time by Glitterdusts/EVTentacles/Solid Fogs, then switch things up.

Im not saying wizards shouldnt use these spells alot, they should, there good spells. But diverse encounters will pit the wizard player (and the whole party) to use their thinking caps. Theres only an autowin if the DM lets there be one.

On the same note, dont punish your wizard players either. Why punish them for using great tools at their disposal? Just give them more of a challenge than simply EVBTentacling/Solid Fogging ur BIG BADDY, etc. Otheriwse theyll ruin your day :smalltongue:

Oslecamo
2009-03-07, 09:47 AM
The very key of being Batman is fixing the universe more to your liking regardless of what it's like right now; if you focus on a few things, chances are you'll come across a situation where your vast powers are focused on the wrong thing and you can't do jack ****. Leave that to the Sorcerers and focus on what Wizards do best; everything.

This is self contradictory. What's stoping the sorceror from picking those few spells you claim can solve anything?

Elminster1
2009-03-07, 10:18 AM
Because Sorcerors dont have the flexibility in spells known.

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 12:37 PM
This is self contradictory. What's stoping the sorceror from picking those few spells you claim can solve anything?


Because Sorcerors dont have the flexibility in spells known.

What in the name of all that is arcane is "flexibility" supposed to mean here then? Someone points out that the wizard can't have every spell prepared all the time. Then you say he only needs some spells and can just use those all the time. Then someone says why not just play a sorcerer with those spells and you say because he can't swap them out. Huh? Is he preparing those spells all the time because they always work or is he forced to swap them out because they don't? And if they always work why not play a sorcerer? And if they don't how is the wizard supposed to know which ones to prepare each morning? Arcane augury??

Sometimes you gotta admit nothing doesn't works 100% of the time and just shoot for most of the time. Spells in a spellbook that require 8 hours notice to get to are nice when you have 8 hours notice. That's a nice option for when you do have 8 hours notice, but most of the time it provides no advantage at all. Yeah, wizards do need to have "bread and butter" spells that you pretty much prepare all the time, and they're versatile enough that most of the time at least one of them will work. Usually. And ya, you can also do this with a sorcerer and it works perfectly.

Undead Prince
2009-03-07, 12:39 PM
The very key is having the perfect answer to every situation, to solve every problem with absolute minimum effort. That means you've got more power when it counts.

No, that means you've squandered your power trying "to solve every problem" and "have perfect answer to every situation". You won't and you can't anyway. This is the reactive mentality I disagree with; myself, I prefer proactive mentality, where it is you who creates situations favouring your capabilities.

E.g. instead of endless adventuring in the woods, Gate in a Solar, Rebuke him with Turn Anathema, kill for the loot/XP, and turn into a Ju-Ju Zombie with all abilities intact.

Or instead of taking Crafting feats and spending time making stuff, Dominate/Undeadify a suitable crafter NPC and make him do all the work.

<--- I won't be getting into build discussions here, though, God knows I have enough ongoing. Treat these as abstract examples of a different strategic approach.


if you focus on a few things, chances are you'll come across a situation where your vast powers are focused on the wrong thing and you can't do jack ****.

If you focus on the right things, and be proactive instead of reactive, such a situation may never come. Foresight , both spell and personal quality, is also a great help in this.


Leave that to the Sorcerers and focus on what Wizards do best; everything.

If you focus on everything you end up focusing on nothing. That's Bard territory. Keep out.

Eldariel
2009-03-07, 12:40 PM
Nothing arcane there, Wizards can have X spells known and a spellslot open giving them access to all X spells given little time, Sorcerers can't. That's flexibility. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have more castings of a short list. I can't imagine what's difficult to comprehend here.

Undead Prince
2009-03-07, 12:43 PM
Nothing arcane there, Wizards can have X spells known and a spellslot open giving them access to all X spells given little time, Sorcerers can't. That's flexibility. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have more castings of a short list.

But they can choose to cast any spell from the list, which also gives flexibility. And very often, it might be much more welcome, as it allows adaption on-the-fly (unlike wizards, who have to prepare spells in advance and may easily be caught off-guard because of it).

Eldariel
2009-03-07, 12:44 PM
That's also flexibility. And very often, it might be much more welcome, as it allows adaption on-the-fly rather than a day in advance.

A day? What?

Undead Prince
2009-03-07, 12:47 PM
A day? What?

Fixed. xxxxx

Oslecamo
2009-03-07, 01:40 PM
Nothing arcane there, Wizards can have X spells known and a spellslot open giving them access to all X spells given little time, Sorcerers can't. That's flexibility. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have more castings of a short list. I can't imagine what's difficult to comprehend here.

The fact that the rest of the world is just standing there waiting for the wizard to prepare the right spell.

If all the monsters have their brains crippled and allow the wizard to prepare the right spell in front of them, even a commoner would find a way to defeat said monster.

Have fun in your campaign where you only find mindless rocks. But remember that most other people play in setings where the monsters jump out of the corner trying to bite off your head instead of giving you 24 hour warnings, and where BBEGs plots to world dominion don't wait for the wizard to scribble several dozen spells on his book.

Magic's main advantage is allowing you to do something NOW! If you need a hour or more to solve any problem, then the noncasters can do it just fine.

Yukitsu
2009-03-07, 01:48 PM
Typically, if a noncaster can deal with the problem, then you should let him. Waste of spell slots to go about doing things others can do for free.

As for versatility, the individuals that plan ahead sufficiently, know which spells are good for which terrain types, and know where they are going to be in 9 hours will prefer wizards. Otherwise, sorcery seems more versatile. However, this simply assumes that a given wizard won't have different spell lists written up that comform to different situations.

For instance, glitterdust is pretty much always useful, web is useful underground and command undead is useful in a crypt. A wizard can know these 3 and another in a given day. A sorcerer of the same level can know one, likely glitterdust.

On a day through the country, the sorcerer has lots of glitterdust. the wizard has less, but that's fine. The next day, the party will be going into a cave. The wizard prepares a glitterdust and 2 webs. The sorcerer prepares... Glitterdust. The dungeon leads to a burial crypt, and after a day of webbing skeletons, they rest in one of the inner sanctums, and the wizard prepares a web and 2 command undead spells. The sorcerer prepares... Glitterdust.

Even though the wizard has to suffer through some short periods of not having the perfect spell , he always has a useful spell. The sorcerer may or may not have the perfect spell, but can never adapt to the location to have the perfect spell the next day.

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 02:00 PM
Nothing arcane there, Wizards can have X spells known and a spellslot open giving them access to all X spells given little time, Sorcerers can't. That's flexibility. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have more castings of a short list. I can't imagine what's difficult to comprehend here.

That "short list" is longer than what the wizard has prepared. Unless given advanced notice, there is no difference. That kind of flexibility is rather trivial; a secondary feature not a main one. You also didn't answer my questions.

Not only that I have actually played an extremely flexible and versatile sorcerer. It works. And, given that I always liked to use the same array of spells, I couldn't see a wizard possibly doing it with nearly as much flexibility. A wizard has less spells to pick from at the start of combat, and once he burns one its gone. My favorite part about that character was the freedom, versatility and preparedness for anythingness. It was his single most significant trait oozing out of his pores and wowing the other party members more rounds than not.

lsfreak
2009-03-07, 02:19 PM
The thing is, no good batman wizard is going to go into a situation unprepared. Scrying, hiring a bard for lore checks, and so on means a wizard should never be caught unawares. Try as he might, a BBEG can protect himself from scrying but not every one of his mooks. Even if a situation does get out of hand, they've got Dimension Door or Teleport, or if nothing else Rope Trick to get out of a situation.

Downtime is spent making scrolls of more obscure spells. Hell, there's an item that lets you scribe a scroll up to 375gp in value over the 9 hours it takes to rest and prepare. A party with a well-prepared batman wizard is essentially unbeatable, because they'll either be prepared or will be able to avoid the situation. A sorcerer can pull off some of that - and with spells like Glitterdust and Enlarge Person that remain useful until extremely high levels, they can pull it off pretty well - but they'll never have the versatility of a wizard. Especially since the wizard will have those spells prepared anywho, plus some others that he knows he'll need due to scrying/whatever.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-03-07, 02:40 PM
The fact that the rest of the world is just standing there waiting for the wizard to prepare the right spell.

If all the monsters have their brains crippled and allow the wizard to prepare the right spell in front of them, even a commoner would find a way to defeat said monster.


Contact Other Plane
Foresight
Scrying
Prying Eyes
Clairaudiance/Clairvoyance
Arcane Eye
Locate Creature
Legend Lore
Vision
Greater Scrying
Discern Location
Greater Prying Eyes

I think a wizard should be able to find out what he/she is going to face in the near future far enough in advance to plan his/her spell selection accordingly.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 02:55 PM
Don't forget that you can also grab Commune from a 1 level venture into Divine Oracle, or better yet, a 2 level venture into Divine Oracle which also nets you Evasion+.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 03:44 PM
The Batman Wizard is awesome, but not knowing any damage dealing spells can be a hindrance. Remember; most Save or X effects are not permanent. This is most important at lower levels, where 5 rounds of blindness, even applied to an entire group, may be insufficient to finish an encounter. This is very circumstantial, but I feel it illustrates the point

Take a level 5 wizard with Grease, Glitterdust, and Fireball. Against nearly any threat, Glitterdust is a clear winner. Let's say a group of 6 manages to fail their saves and are now blinded. What then? The encounter isn't over yet; you have a bunch of blind guys stumbling around, but blind is not dead (and foes with blindfight can still be dangerous). Why, the answer is Fireball of course! Grease would be an okay addition, but you're already disabled them. You could always try casting Glitterdust again, but this doesn't do anything against foes who are already blind. At this point, tossing Grease into the mix is probably only going to annoy your friends, whereas a Fireball will help end the encounter.

You can make an argument for Haste instead of Fireball, but once Haste has been cast there's no point in casting it again, leaving you with nothing to do. Your friends have been buffed, your enemies have been debuffed, and now you're without purpose. I guess you can crawl into your Rope Trick and practice your Mage Hand or something.

You should not be a blaster, but you should also try to have at least some blaster spells in your repertoire. What if your party has been incapacitated some day, and it's up to you to finish that last opponent? Casting Glitterdust and Grease over and over isn't going to remedy the situation. Flailing your fists nerd-style at your opponent is unbecoming of Batman, but without damage-dealing spells what choice do you have? At least get a Wand of Deal Damage Type X!

monty
2009-03-07, 03:48 PM
leaving you with nothing to do.

And what's wrong with that? You don't have to do something every round; save your spell slots for the next encounter if you don't need them.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 04:00 PM
leaving you with nothing to do.

Prestidigitation can be used to whip up a mean cup of tea. This would be the most optimial use of your actions by this point. Casting another spell might end the enounter a round earlier, but leaves you 1 spell shorter for the next encounter. Granted, there might not be another encounter, but you never know, and thus you should strive to spend as few spell slots as possible in any given encounter. Generally one of the primary reasons why blasting is inferior is because you typically have to blast 3-4 times or more in an encounter while a disable/buffer could get away with fewer slots expended.

Plus, you bought that crossbow for a reason...go to!

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 04:09 PM
No, that's why you prepare haste and fireball. Even using logicninja's example haste only adds 17 damage on some of the rounds. Fireball adds 17-35 against multiple baddies. So it depends on how many baddies / how many rounds. A better apples to apples example might be greater invis rogue (+4d6 x % chance to hit per round) vs. empowered scorching ray (8d6x1.5 ~= 12d6 only once with good chance to hit). Still depends on number of remaining combat rounds and the value of dropping a baddy now vs. later, but it's a closer comparison. Or bull's strength (~+2 and +10% damage = 3.7 damage per round) vs. scorching ray (4d6 = 14 only once).

Or if you want to do it the batman way then going haste plus a barrier spell or an AoE save or suck works too. Say, haste followed by glitterdust for example. Taking 1/2 or 1/3 as many actions in a combat makes you that much less powerful. Sure, in minor combats you might use less spells. Or better yet you might not use any spells at all. But that's not a good thing to gauge your abilities against.

mostlyharmful
2009-03-07, 04:09 PM
You can make an argument for Haste instead of Fireball, but once Haste has been cast there's no point in casting it again, leaving you with nothing to do. Your friends have been buffed, your enemies have been debuffed, and now you're without purpose. I guess you can crawl into your Rope Trick and practice your Mage Hand or something.

You should not be a blaster, but you should also try to have at least some blaster spells in your repertoire. What if your party has been incapacitated some day, and it's up to you to finish that last opponent? Casting Glitterdust and Grease over and over isn't going to remedy the situation. Flailing your fists nerd-style at your opponent is unbecoming of Batman, but without damage-dealing spells what choice do you have? At least get a Wand of Deal Damage Type X!

Or buy a deck chair, a pipe and a good book. Your role as Batman isn't to take actions every turn, it's to make sure your party wins. If you can do that in one standard action then well done, crack that good read open to the next chapter and let the meat sacks do their thing.

If you operate alone then I recomend a scythe applied to the temple of any crippled, blind, mewling adversaries of yours. Or just hire a meat sack to do it for you and keep your robe clean of unsightly bloodstains.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 04:17 PM
Nothing arcane there, Wizards can have X spells known and a spellslot open giving them access to all X spells given little time, Sorcerers can't. That's flexibility. Sorcerers, on the other hand, have more castings of a short list. I can't imagine what's difficult to comprehend here.

It's not only that, but it's the lack of preparation that gives sorcerers more flexibility than you give them credit for. How many times today will you need to cast Glitterdust? You can allocate up to 4 castings of any level 2 spells, the sorcerer simply learns 5 and can cast them however he wants, in any order, any number of times up to a base total of 6.

Sorcerer versatility becomes even more apparent when you add metamagic into the mix. He may know fewer spells, but he has 1.5x as many spell slots to use. With the Rapid Metamagic feat, the sorcerer is able to cast any Quickened spell he wants + any other metamagic spell every round. As others have pointed out, there are only a few spells that you really need, and the sorcerer can learn almost all of them and wand/scroll the ones that he won't be casting commonly.

I'm not saying sorcerers are more powerful, WotC saw to that when they took a wizard and removed metamagic feats, added -1 level spell progression, and gave sorcerers a CHA casting stat in exchange for spontaneous casting. The wizard is definitely better off, no doubt about it, but arguing that a sorcerer is less versatile because they know fewer once in a blue moon spells (that they've placed on a scroll anyway) is simply silly.



For instance, glitterdust is pretty much always useful, web is useful underground and command undead is useful in a crypt. A wizard can know these 3 and another in a given day. A sorcerer of the same level can know one, likely glitterdust.

On a day through the country, the sorcerer has lots of glitterdust. the wizard has less, but that's fine. The next day, the party will be going into a cave. The wizard prepares a glitterdust and 2 webs. The sorcerer prepares... Glitterdust. The dungeon leads to a burial crypt, and after a day of webbing skeletons, they rest in one of the inner sanctums, and the wizard prepares a web and 2 command undead spells. The sorcerer prepares... Glitterdust.

Even though the wizard has to suffer through some short periods of not having the perfect spell , he always has a useful spell. The sorcerer may or may not have the perfect spell, but can never adapt to the location to have the perfect spell the next day.

Once your opponents are blinded, do they really need to be webbed also? If so, a scroll costs 150g. The low level sorcerer who is really worried about not having Web can purchase it and supplement his other spells. This is sufficient for the spells that a sorcerer will not be casting regularly (countless spells fall into this category, and it's the same spells that Wizards don't keep around all the time).

And you're neglecting the greater number of 1st level spells that the same level sorcerer has; that's 6 lvl 1 spells per day and 3 lvl 2. While the level 4 Wizard might prepare

Grease
Grease
Mage Armor
Color Spray

The sorcerer simply learns all 3 of those spells and can cast any of them up to 6 times. Is being able to cast those spells in any desired order not more versatile than having a fixed number with fewer castings? For the day, it definitely is more versatile. In the long run, it's debatable only because the Wizard can change spells (but only will with ample preparation; DMs aren't usually privy to letting you predict everything that will happen on a day by day basis no matter how many scrying attempts you make).

My point is that sorcerers don't need to know every spell. As others have pointed out, there are a vast number of spells that will work in almost every situation. If Glitterdust ends your encounter, then casting Web doesn't change anything and just burns a spell slot. I dislike your example only because it takes advantage of the -1 spell progression of sorcerers, which is irrelevant to their versatility by level 6-7.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 04:18 PM
keep your robe clean of unsightly bloodstains.

Again, Prestidigitation.

That is all.

:P

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 04:28 PM
long stuff
I'm tired of writing the long posts myself, that's why mine was shorter. Thanks for going to the trouble when I didn't :smalltongue:. And I agree.

EDIT (for below): 15 minutes, 150 rounds, might as well be a day. It's not much different when monsters are jumping out at you and still requires advanced notice.

Turcano
2009-03-07, 04:28 PM
The Batman Wizard is awesome, but not knowing any damage dealing spells can be a hindrance.

There's a world of difference between not knowing any direct damage spells and knowing but not usually preparing them. And some direct damage spells are better than others (see orb of X).

Also, one point that a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that a wizard can choose to leave some spell slots unprepared and prepare them at a later time. So a wizard can prepare for a specific situation not in 24 hours, but in as little as fifteen minutes.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 04:47 PM
Yea, this is true.

WizOTimmy has 4 2nd level spell slots. He typically takes 2 Glitterdusts and a Web, and leaves the 4th one open.

Day 1: Timmy uses a Glitterdust in his first encounter, and a Glitterdust and a Web in his 2nd encounter. Timmy then sits down with his spellbook and 15 minutes later has a 3rd Glitterdust memorized.

Day 2: Timmy uses a Glitterdust and a Web in the 1st encounter. After that, him and his party come to a door they can't open. Since they don't have a rogue and the door can't be smashed, Timmy sits down with his book and memorizes a Knock spell. Later, he uses his 2nd Glitterdust.

Day 3: Same as Day 2, except that the party encounters an impassable cliff. Timmy sits down and memorizes his book for a bit, then casts Levitate, floats to the top of the cliff and secures a rope so the party can climb up it.

And so on. Day 1 would have progressed as normal, had Timmy just prepped the 3rd Glitterdust all along. The loss of 15 minutes between encounters TYPICALLY isn't terribly bad. Day's 2 and 3, though, would have cost Timmy's party an extra 24 hours while he waits to refresh his entire magical arsonal.

A sorcerer probably would have been able to make it through Day1 and Day3 (ie using Alter Self into a Raptoran for a fly speed) but probably would have gotten stuck at Day2 simply because Knock just isn't versitile enough for a Sorcerer to take as one of his precious 2nd level spells.

Elminster1
2009-03-07, 05:07 PM
As far as prep time goes, wizards, as mentioned previously, have multiple ways to use divination spells/items, etc. Plus, maybe some of the other party members can scout/gatherinformation/augury etc as well, to help.

And, I hate to reafirm, but direct damage spells, by and large just stink. With the exception of the Orb series, which bypass SR and are "dual threat". To me, thats why most direct damage spells suck, all they do is peedley hp damage, and not alot on top of that. Were not even adding in elemental resistances, saving throws, spell resistance, etc.

As a wizard, you just have better options in combat than lousy hp damage. Situation dependent, naturally. In my play experience with wizards, its almost exclusivley better to buff allies, incopacitate enemies, or summon. Because those spells help more in combat, and have greater effect overall, making the strongest impact. You need that because you dont have a trillion spells a day to piss away as a wizard (even Focused Specialists). Damage dealing spells are an ok last resort, at best, for the most part. Maybe on an aggro wand you dont mind flailing around. But, Bfc/Buffs/de-buffs/summons are your best bet to aid your allies and help them achieve victory with minimal loss. Thats your job as Batman :smallsmile:

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:13 PM
And what's wrong with that? You don't have to do something every round; save your spell slots for the next encounter if you don't need them.

You misunderstand; I'm not suggesting actually learning these spells, I'm suggesting having them around, on a wand if necessary. Sometimes a CL 5 magic missile on a wand is better than nothing at all

Why am I the only one who thinks that sitting on your hands in a game like D&D makes no sense? Great, your opponents are debuffed. You should still be able to do other things. If you're literally sitting around doing nothing, I would suggest that you're a fine optimizer but a bad player.

lsfreak
2009-03-07, 05:16 PM
There's a world of difference between not knowing any direct damage spells and knowing but not usually preparing them. And some direct damage spells are better than others (see orb of X).

Honestly, I'd rather just get a staff of orb of fire (or whatever), assuming I'm reading the rules right. 9000gp, uses your CL/whatever for damage and the secondary save, and you're leaving slots open for stuff you're more likely to actually need to cast.

Having one or two direct-damage spells and one or two AoE spells readied isn't a bad idea, but more than that is generally wasteful. If your DM throws lots of mooks after you, you're just wasting spell slots on stuff that's easy to kill (or you could just use Glitterdust or Cloudkill to take out the whole pack). If he throws really tough guys at you, you're better off with save-or-x spells or the like. Everybody does damage, it's better for the wizard to do something else when they can.

EDIT: Eeezee, I understand that you should be doing something, but no point in throwing away money (wand charges) or anything when the enemy isn't a threat. Just take potshots with your bow and make sure you're ready if something unexpected happens.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:18 PM
There's a world of difference between not knowing any direct damage spells and knowing but not usually preparing them. And some direct damage spells are better than others (see orb of X).

Also, one point that a lot of people seem to be forgetting is that a wizard can choose to leave some spell slots unprepared and prepare them at a later time. So a wizard can prepare for a specific situation not in 24 hours, but in as little as fifteen minutes.

You know what I meant; if you have literally no access to spells that do damage, you are hindering yourself. I don't care if you set aside one slot for a Magic Missile or if you buy a Wand of Fireball CL15, I am only warning against being a parlor magician. Being an arcane spellcaster means being AWESOME. I'm awesome at buffing. I'm awesome at debuffing. I'm awesome at controlling the battlefield. I'm awesome at all sorts of utility. Why would I choose not to be awesome at dealing damage as well? It's the lowest on the priority, but sipping on tea and ordering your group to go attack the blind/deaf/dumb opponents is absolutely retarded.

Eldariel
2009-03-07, 05:23 PM
It's the lowest on the priority, but sipping on tea and ordering your group to go attack the blind/deaf/dumb opponents is absolutely retarded.

To be awesome at dealing magic, you need to spend huge amounts of resources. You can be better overall by spending those resources on everything else and just dealing modest damage when need be. You simply don't need to; if opponent is disabled, you don't need to kill them. That's the whole point of being Batman, you disable the adversaries and your party kills them thinking they did all the work.

You don't want glory, you don't want to dirty your hands, you don't care about the respect of your "companions", your goals are somewhere much higher. That's why you're the arcanist and they're mere mortals; let them do the jobs appropriate to them and focus on higher studies yourself, helping them get along if need be so they can get you to your goals without you wasting excess effort on some weaklings you can handwave blind.

Elminster1
2009-03-07, 05:24 PM
Precisley, your a wizard, not a damage dealer. And, no-one is "sitting on their hands" after a de-duff, etc. Now, its the team mates time to enter melee and clean up the mess as best they can tactically.

Doing hp damage is the role of BSFighters in your party. Your job, is to make it easier for them to execute said job more efficiently, with minmum detrament to the party members as possible.

I do agree, put a direct damage spell on a wand, etc. Pull it out when you find you need it in a tight spot. However, devoting precious spell slots to direct damage spells, will injure your party and you mostly, when all is said and done.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:24 PM
As a wizard, you just have better options in combat than lousy hp damage. Situation dependent, naturally. In my play experience with wizards, its almost exclusivley better to buff allies, incopacitate enemies, or summon. Because those spells help more in combat, and have greater effect overall, making the strongest impact. You need that because you dont have a trillion spells a day to piss away as a wizard (even Focused Specialists). Damage dealing spells are an ok last resort, at best, for the most part. Maybe on an aggro wand you dont mind flailing around. But, Bfc/Buffs/de-buffs/summons are your best bet to aid your allies and help them achieve victory with minimal loss. Thats your job as Batman :smallsmile:

That was my point; why deprive yourself of last resorts that are easily implemented? Even a Scroll of Fireball costs practically nothing to create in the grand scheme of things, and it might be just what you need some day.

No one is suggesting that evocation spells are good, only that they have their uses and you should not deprive yourself of them just because they're not as good as a debuff/buff/BC spell.

Eldariel
2009-03-07, 05:26 PM
That was my point; why deprive yourself of last resorts that are easily implemented? Even a Scroll of Fireball costs practically nothing to create in the grand scheme of things, and it might be just what you need some day.

No one is suggesting that evocation spells are good, only that they have their uses and you should not deprive yourself of them just because they're not as good as a debuff/buff/BC spell.

The guide says as much. Don't prepare them, but keep some handy for when you need them. Especially Orbs of Force and the like vs. opponents your normal arsenal may be weak against, such as Dragons.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:30 PM
Precisley, your a wizard, not a damage dealer. And, no-one is "sitting on their hands" after a de-duff, etc. Now, its the team mates time to enter melee and clean up the mess as best they can tactically.

Doing hp damage is the role of BSFighters in your party. Your job, is to make it easier for them to execute said job more efficiently, with minmum detrament to the party members as possible.

I do agree, put a direct damage spell on a wand, etc. Pull it out when you find you need it in a tight spot. However, devoting precious spell slots to direct damage spells, will injure your party and you mostly, when all is said and done.

I would suggest that "sipping tea" is identical to sitting on your hands. Again, wand evocation spells = perfect last resort weapon. I would not suggest swapping out a spell like Haste so that you can cast Fireball; that would be a horrible idea.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:31 PM
The guide says as much. Don't prepare them, but keep some handy for when you need them. Especially Orbs of Force and the like vs. opponents your normal arsenal may be weak against, such as Dragons.

I was responding to a few posts here and in other places that are along the lines of "I'm Batman, I don't even have damage dealing scrolls because I'm awesome hurr"

Batman still punches peoples' lights out.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:32 PM
Yea, this is true.
Words

Or the Wizard just uses a Scroll of Knock. This is why you have the Scribe Scroll feat, remember? Likewise, the sorcerer also simply uses a Scroll of Knock.

Yukitsu
2009-03-07, 05:34 PM
Once your opponents are blinded, do they really need to be webbed also? If so, a scroll costs 150g. The low level sorcerer who is really worried about not having Web can purchase it and supplement his other spells. This is sufficient for the spells that a sorcerer will not be casting regularly (countless spells fall into this category, and it's the same spells that Wizards don't keep around all the time).

Web is, IMO a more powerful spell when in confined locations, and as such, I prefer to use web over glitterdust where I can period. I can swap to web for free every time I hit a cavern. A sorcerer pays 150 at level 4 for a single use, or is forced to spam a weaker spell.


And you're neglecting the greater number of 1st level spells that the same level sorcerer has; that's 6 lvl 1 spells per day and 3 lvl 2. While the level 4 Wizard might prepare

Grease
Grease
Mage Armor
Color Spray

A level 4 wizard won't use colour spray. At level 4, mine looks more like:
Blank slot
Blank slot
feather fall
grease

Why? My level 2 spells are my good combat spells. The others are better spent for utility. Also an important thing to note, a basic 16 int wizard has 8 spells of level 1 known. For instance, protection from X, mount, animate rope, reduce person, silent image, disguise self, plus the other two mentioned. I can pick two of those when needed.


The sorcerer simply learns all 3 of those spells and can cast any of them up to 6 times. Is being able to cast those spells in any desired order not more versatile than having a fixed number with fewer castings? For the day, it definitely is more versatile. In the long run, it's debatable only because the Wizard can change spells (but only will with ample preparation; DMs aren't usually privy to letting you predict everything that will happen on a day by day basis no matter how many scrying attempts you make).

Spells of the combat variety should mostly be the top level ones. Utility spells are lower level, and are fine in empty slots. The wizard wins the utility war in this regard, as the sorcerer can't have that sort of variety. Look as well at cantrips. The cantrips have surprising utility when you aren't thinking about combat.


My point is that sorcerers don't need to know every spell. As others have pointed out, there are a vast number of spells that will work in almost every situation. If Glitterdust ends your encounter, then casting Web doesn't change anything and just burns a spell slot. I dislike your example only because it takes advantage of the -1 spell progression of sorcerers, which is irrelevant to their versatility by level 6-7.

At level 6, a wizard has more level 3 spells known for free by three. Level 3 spells are then the new level 2 spells, and the wizard can turn the level 2 spells towards utility. For an example, the wizard can learn dispel magic and explosive ruins, thus breaking the game. The sorcerer can learn one or the other. At level 7, you compare the equal level 3 castings, but have to add level 4 spells to the wizard's repertoire. The trick that the wizard was doing at 5 and 6 is now passe, as the wizard is now using black tentacles.

Basically, while the sorcerer can indeed be useful if he picks his spells carefully, he will never have that perfect spell set available compared to what the wizard will have. At level 6-7 this fact remains the same.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 05:35 PM
At low levels, spell slots are very valuable and actions are less valuable. You burn 1-2 spell slots to get the job done and then either do little (xbow shots) or nothing (sip mint tea) for the rest of the combat. Burning precious resources to kick a disabled monster is dumb.

At higher levels, you have more spell slots, but your actions are more precious. You are burning more spells per combat, but those actions are spent improving your allies and keeping them safe by disabling threats. You just don't have many free rounds to pop off a Magic Missile that does about half as much damage as the fighter could do just by speaking loudly. Sure, you could burn a slot on a Quickened MM for ~18 damage, but again, you could just as easily spend the slot on a Quickened Ray of Clumsiness which would result in~10 more damage PER HIT for the fighter because he can PA for more than he was before.

About the only time you ever really want to have any kind of blasty spell around is when its a double threat (Orb of Fire or Cold) or the occasional AoE in case you encounter Swarms and don't have a Dragonfire Adept or a ton of flamable oil with you.

Eeezee
2009-03-07, 05:37 PM
People people people, you keep missing the point. You don't burn spell slots when you read from a scroll or cast from a wand!

Yukitsu, all you've done is verified what everyone already knew; Wizards have more versatility in spell selection. This does not mean that they have more versatility over all, especially when you take into account metamagic effects, spells/day, spontaneous casting, etc.

Yukitsu
2009-03-07, 05:40 PM
Money is actually the most broken thing in the game. Don't waste money doing what you can do with spell slots, don't waste spell slots doing what you can do with skills or a big pointy stick.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 05:44 PM
People people people, you keep missing the point. You don't burn spell slots when you read from a scroll or cast from a wand!

Except that that is burning CASH which could be used on other permanent items. Also, casting damage spells from scrolls is generally a bad idea because no mater what you do, the save DC is gonna be crappy, and unless you scribe at a higher level, your damage is gonna be trash. Plus you have action economy issues spending your move action to draw a scroll. Really, if you are buying scrolls, more than 1st level is painful, and for crafting, more than 3rd level. Unless of course you are already mid-high levels, in which case you should have more spell slots than you know what to do with and this is kinda a moot point.

In general, its your utility spells you want to keep scrolled, not your damage ones. I do like the above Staff of Orb of Fire idea posted above though. I'd actually probably get Orb of Cold though, and then another Staff with Blast of Flame to cover swarm situations. While Dazed > Blinded, Cold is usually > Fire due to the number of things immune to Fire (and vulnerable to cold!).

monty
2009-03-07, 05:46 PM
People people people, you keep missing the point. You don't burn spell slots when you read from a scroll or cast from a wand!

Nevertheless, you're still wasting resources. Money spent on a wand of magic missile is money not spent on ability enhancements or pearls of power or CL increases or scrolls of situational utility spells or any of a number of other far more useful things.

afroakuma
2009-03-07, 06:02 PM
Cold is usually > Fire due to the number of things immune to Fire (and vulnerable to cold!).

The randomest things aren't, though. I find it useful when packing damage spells at all to retain one fireball (or one of its cousins) for trolls, savage humanoids, creatures with fire vulnerability and those rare outsiders that don't expect anyone to be packing heat.

mostlyharmful
2009-03-07, 06:02 PM
Again, Prestidigitation.

That is all.

:P

Scrub it how you'd like, deep deep down you'll always know it was there...

This is why meat sacks were bred, to make the big finishing move and not spoil a £10K Saville row number.

Elminster1
2009-03-07, 06:03 PM
Theres another problem with the whole "Ill just make x-wand or x-scroll" philosophy. I have my own counter-philosophy called the "I dont like to pay XP for things cuz Im cheap" philosophy :smalltongue:

Sure, low level scrolls, hardly a scratch. Around level 3 and higher, making scrolls of higher level spells cost more money and XP. Dont even mention wands and its ilk. Trying to craft higher level scrolls and 4th level wands might leave you behind a level from the rest of the party. Even if you skip the item creation method, and just go to "Talias world of Magical Trinkets", and buy stuff, higher level things will cost you a fortune.

Item creation is nice, very, but it sure isnt a fix to get around the need for extra castings per day. And, buying consumables costs way more than you think, its not just an cherry pick discount arcane wal-mart.

Why do you think Specialist and Focused Specialist wizards are awesome? Because of the free extra castings without losing XP and loot for creating stuff or having to buy consumables. Im sure someone will say "but I only make low XP and loot costing stuff". Why did you waste a Feat on Item Creation then? :smalleek:

monty
2009-03-07, 06:14 PM
Theres another problem with the whole "Ill just make x-wand or x-scroll" philosophy. I have my own counter-philosophy called the "I dont like to pay XP for things cuz Im cheap" philosophy :smalltongue:

Sure, low level scrolls, hardly a scratch. Around level 3 and higher, making scrolls of higher level spells cost more money and XP. Dont even mention wands and its ilk. Trying to craft higher level scrolls and 4th level wands might leave you behind a level from the rest of the party. Even if you skip the item creation method, and just go to "Talias world of Magical Trinkets", and buy stuff, higher level things will cost you a fortune.

Item creation is nice, very, but it sure isnt a fix to get around the need for extra castings per day. And, buying consumables costs way more than you think, its not just an cherry pick discount arcane wal-mart.

Why do you think Specialist and Focused Specialist wizards are awesome? Because of the free extra castings without losing XP and loot for creating stuff or having to buy consumables. Im sure someone will say "but I only make low XP and loot costing stuff". Why did you waste a Feat on Item Creation then? :smalleek:

This is why I'm playing an artificer. :smalltongue:

Also, I confess to making a wand of scorching ray, but only because my group sucks at making characters with decent damage output (I think the best fighter-type in the current campaign does something like weapon plus 8 at level 9), so I may actually have a meaningful impact.

Keld Denar
2009-03-07, 06:23 PM
Also, I confess to making a wand of scorching ray.

Scorching Ray is about the best investment of gold/damage you can make, actually. Check out my post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5863763&postcount=4)in the Duel Wand Wielder thread for analysis. Its 4d6 base at CL3 as opposed to 3d6 base Ray of Flame or similar.

Plus, as a Ray, you can apply the much cheaper Split Ray to it, rather than blowing another 2 charges of MM Spell Trigger to Twin it.

ericgrau
2009-03-07, 06:24 PM
Once you get a scorching ray up to 12d6 (42 avg.), it's much better than a bull's strength (+2 + 10% hit damage per round). AoE against multiple baddies does even more. Generally group disabling >= non-stat buffs > direct damage > single target So_'s > stat buffs > utility. Damage is still a good option to have. If your party is already covering it then it's less necessary, but still nice. If they aren't then you or someone better or the disabled baddies will recover.

A typical fight should go: disable half of baddies, apply non-stat buff(s), deal damage, repeat damage if necessary.

A fight with buffing round(s) should go: apply non-stat buffs, apply stat buffs if you can spare the slots, disable half of baddies, deal damage, repeat damage if necessary

Other spell types: In the morning you can lay down long buffs if you can spare the slots. In between fights or against oddball challenges you use utility, usually on scrolls not memorized. Single target So_'s are for _BEG's that for some reason don't have super high saves & perhaps SR to match their raised HP.

If the fight is easy you can stop early at any of those steps to conserve spells or stop early because the fight is already won or not cast any spells at all. But who needs to optimize to handle an easy fight?

Undead Prince
2009-03-07, 09:15 PM
Precisley, your a wizard, not a damage dealer.

Hmm, tell that to my Wizard (Necromancer) 5/Red Wizard 10
with his Slaymate and Incantatrix Cohort... Split Maximised Twinned Enervation? Twinned Heightened DC 38 Finger of Death? Or a Quickened Split Maximised Disintegrate if target's immune to Death/Negative levels? And his undead horde to provide any melee damage/meatshielding required.


Doing hp damage is the role of BSFighters in your party. Your job, is to make it easier for them to execute said job more efficiently, with minmum detrament to the party members as possible.

That's why I like Necromancy and Enchantment so much. You make your own meat-shields and spellcasters, who can "execute the job" very efficiently.

My point is, the Wizard (or Cleric, for that matter) has no business relying on party members to protect him/do damage to enemy. He can take care of himself, and of the encounters.

Oslecamo
2009-03-07, 10:05 PM
Hmm, tell that to my Wizard (Necromancer) 5/Red Wizard 10
with his Slaymate and Incantatrix Cohort... Split Maximised Twinned

If your DM let you have an incantrix and slaymate cohort(wich the leadership rules allow him simply to deny this kind of abuse), then he doesn't give a damn about balance and the rest of the party may as well become mini pun-puns with wish loops abuse.

Flickerdart
2009-03-07, 10:23 PM
My point is, the Wizard (or Cleric, for that matter) has no business relying on party members to protect him/do damage to enemy. He can take care of himself, and of the encounters.
He can, yes, but D&D isn't a one-player game. If you can use either Bob the Fighter played by Steve or Grognak the Unwashed, NPC Barbarian, choose Bob simply because Grognak isn't a real person, and can't feel useless.

afroakuma
2009-03-07, 11:26 PM
See, I've always liked the Batman concept (TLN's vision of it) for maintaining party integration, instead of migrating straight to uber cheese. It's a play style that I can generally get behind, as long as it doesn't mate with the Tippyverse and have ridiculous babies.

The only thing I always disliked is its broad lambasting of evocation. Mathematically sound, thematically offensive. Screw Orbs, I want my lightning bolt.

Crow
2009-03-08, 12:26 AM
Hey 35 damage isn't much, but 35 damage inflicted on 6 poor dudes caught in a blast is 200 or so damage from one spell. =)

In any case, I am currently playing a sorcerer with a batmanish spell list, and she doesn't single-handedly make every other class useless. I've only rarely landed the spell that renders every enemy helpless or dead (Had a whole enemy group fail out on a glitterdust). Rather, through my efforts, the party effectiveness increases and the whole party is benefitting.

Also, contrary to popular message board belief, enemies sometimes actually do make their saving throws, and you sometimes don't have as much time as you want to buff beforehand. :smallwink:

afroakuma
2009-03-08, 12:31 AM
and you sometimes don't have as much time as you want to buff beforehand. :smallwink:

And sometimes you do, except that taking that time makes the incoming situation exponentially worse. :smallamused:

xPANCAKEx
2009-03-08, 12:31 AM
is there any sort of equiviliant spell/PrC guides for clerics running around

Flickerdart
2009-03-08, 12:33 AM
is there any sort of equiviliant spell/PrC guides for clerics running around
The Cleric's claim to fame isn't Batmanry, but Zilla'ing, since they self-buff better than they control and are a lot less squishy than a Wizard.

So there's likely a Clericzilla guide, but not a Cleric Batman guide.

Ravens_cry
2009-03-08, 12:52 AM
The trouble with being Batman, is that Batman fights alone.
Dungeons and Dragons is generally a team event. That is why I enjoy it. It is a chance for me to get out of the house, and nerd it up with my fellow geeks. A solo adventure, with Batman against the world, doesn't fit my idea of a good time.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-03-08, 01:39 AM
Once you get to a certain level (about 9th) I wouldn't really bother too much with evocation scrolls since you have Shadow Evocation.

If you absolutely must spend a spell slot or money on a blaster spell or wand, I'd make make it one of the orbs since they don't get SR or saves.

Well, actually, Maw of Chaos isn't bad either.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-03-08, 01:40 AM
The trouble with being Batman, is that Batman fights alone.

Not the Batman presented in this guide.

Eeezee
2009-03-08, 01:49 AM
Not the Batman presented in this guide.

I think it's more of a comment regarding calling wizards Batman. Batman fights alone (or with a minor sidekick), mostly with brute force and rarely at range. Really, Batman is pretty much the antithesis of being a wizard

Eeezee
2009-03-08, 01:53 AM
Hey 35 damage isn't much, but 35 damage inflicted on 6 poor dudes caught in a blast is 200 or so damage from one spell. =)

In any case, I am currently playing a sorcerer with a batmanish spell list, and she doesn't single-handedly make every other class useless. I've only rarely landed the spell that renders every enemy helpless or dead (Had a whole enemy group fail out on a glitterdust). Rather, through my efforts, the party effectiveness increases and the whole party is benefitting.

Also, contrary to popular message board belief, enemies sometimes actually do make their saving throws, and you sometimes don't have as much time as you want to buff beforehand. :smallwink:

This is important to remember. Even if you've greatly boosted your CL, you'll still find opponents that save. That's why they're called Save-or-X, rather than just X (although sometimes it's just X). I think around here we tend to get caught up in the theory and forget that in an encounter that's designed to be a group challenge, many of your opponents will make their saves no matter what that save happens to be (although there is that interesting chart, demonstrating that spells targeting Reflex have the best chance on average).

Yukitsu
2009-03-08, 04:02 AM
The trouble with being Batman, is that Batman fights alone.
Dungeons and Dragons is generally a team event. That is why I enjoy it. It is a chance for me to get out of the house, and nerd it up with my fellow geeks. A solo adventure, with Batman against the world, doesn't fit my idea of a good time.

Batman (wizard) robin (rogue) Bat girl (Don't know enough) Commissioner Gordon (Paladin?) Alfred (Old ranger/rogue)

He may act the lone wolf, but he's far from a true loner out there.

Undead Prince
2009-03-08, 07:41 AM
If your DM let you have an incantrix and slaymate cohort(wich the leadership rules allow him simply to deny this kind of abuse)

He has a Slaymate, AND an Incantatrix Cohort (2 creatures, not one; taking Slaymate as a race for Incantatrix would be stupid anyway because you'd lose 4 levels on the Slaymate's starting HD).

Getting an Incantatrix Cohort is well within the leadership rules: start with Wizard 5, and then tell her to train as Incantatrix. The Cohort gains individual XP, so it's perfectly doable.

Getting a Slaymate is even easier. Knowledge(religion) check vs. DC 14, then Scrying vs. Will 5 +5 for not personally meeting the creature, then Greater Teleport (may be a Scroll) and Command Undead.

It's not "abuse", it's a perfectly legitimate use of the available tools.


He can, yes, but D&D isn't a one-player game. If you can use either Bob the Fighter played by Steve or Grognak the Unwashed, NPC Barbarian, choose Bob simply because Grognak isn't a real person, and can't feel useless.

I'm not saying the Wizard (or Cleric, or any other properly played char) should hog all the spotlight. He CAN solve the encounter by himself; but having several high-level partners allows him (and the team) to solve HIGHER level encounters, with more imagination and flexibility, and thus INCREASE the level of game enjoyment for everyone.

E.g.: Normally, a Melee char may be relegated to defending the spellcasters and soaking damage (aka Meat-shield). As we remember from this comic (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/images/oots0107.gif), it is not the idea of fun for some people. When the Wizard can take care of Meatshielding himself, the Fighter can wade into the battle and Charge, Pounce, Great Cleave and Whirlwind Attack at his heart's content. With the Wizard's minions engaging the enemy head-on (and taking all the damage), the otherwise overwhelmed Rogue can sneak up and Sneak Attack with Flanking bonuses. With the Wizard taking care of protecting himself as well as disabling and killing the enemy, the Cleric can buff up and melee, or hide behind the Wizard's meatshields for some spellcasting/healing action.


Even if you've greatly boosted your CL, you'll still find opponents that save.

LOL no wonder, CL (Caster Level) has nothing to do with the Difficulty Class (DC) of your spells, against which the opponents make saves.

Anyway, if you want higher DCs:

1. Red Wizard Circle Magic (gives +11 to +19 DC, dependant on spell level);
2. Cooperative Metamagic (give your spellcaster minions rods of this and watch your DC skyrocket);
3. For those with Rebuke Undead: Holy Potency + Black Lore of Moil (add your CHA bonus to the DC);
4. For those with Turn/Rebuke: Divine Metamagic: Heighten Spell (very nice at early levels);
5. Incantatrix Cohort: free Twinning or Repeating of your spells = target must save twice instead of once (equivalent to a huge DC boost);
6. 2 levels in Fatespinner give you the ability to make an enemy reroll his save once per day;
7. Polymorph any Object yourself into Nalfeshnee (24 base Intelligence).

That's off the top of my head, and beyond the obvious Spell Focus/GSF, which suck.


is there any sort of equiviliant spell/PrC guides for clerics running around

My suggestion for a cleric who doesn't want to be a simple healer/clericzilla is take Domination and Undeath domains with Heighten Spell and Divine Metamagic: Heighten, with Spontaneous Casting (PHB2 cleric alternative feature) on Domination domain, and put skillpoints into Diplomacy and relevant synergies. At first levels, get some Hirelings for meatshielding. Before long, you'll be Dominating people left and right, Enthralling and making them your friends, as well as having a sizeable team of Undead minions.

Bayar
2009-03-08, 08:19 AM
They purged a lot of other stuff too. Batman just happened to be caught in the cross-fire. Of atomic flames. If I have understood this thing correctly.

Funny story: I have never actually read this guide in it's entire glory before, altough I have run into it on several occasions.
Well now I have and it was very entertaining. Thank you for your important work of diggin this up Eldariel. And even more thank-you for the guy that came up with this guide. Logical Ninjas are my favourite kind of ninja.

I have the original thread saved up on my hard drive, archived for posterity. Suggestions as to how I can share it with everybody ?

Keld Denar
2009-03-08, 09:51 AM
I have the original thread saved up on my hard drive, archived for posterity. Suggestions as to how I can share it with everybody ?

Eldariel posted the whole origional post in a format more aligned with the current forum syntax (the old one had some code errors). The only thing you would gain by having the whole thread is the amusement of seeing so many banned names in one thread, and a bunch of flaming.

Bayar
2009-03-08, 03:00 PM
Eldariel posted the whole origional post in a format more aligned with the current forum syntax (the old one had some code errors). The only thing you would gain by having the whole thread is the amusement of seeing so many banned names in one thread, and a bunch of flaming.

Well...why do you think I bothered saving every page of the original thread in the first place ? :biggrin:

mostlyharmful
2009-03-08, 03:14 PM
Well...why do you think I bothered saving every page of the original thread in the first place ? :biggrin:

If that's what you're into may I recommend this? (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80704)

Yukitsu
2009-03-08, 03:19 PM
That thread is this forum's personal equivalent to being Rick Rolled.

Keld Denar
2009-03-08, 03:30 PM
Yea...the first 4 posters to come after Gia are all "Banned".

That thread has so much flaming, you could boil a cup of water simply by setting it adjacent to your monitor.

mostlyharmful
2009-03-08, 03:47 PM
Yea...the first 4 posters to come after Gia are all "Banned".

That thread has so much flaming, you could boil a cup of water simply by setting it adjacent to your monitor.

So.. Much... Flaming..... like a sit down down drag out WWF match by over hormoned beauty queens..... Great fun to watch but you wouldn't really want to get involved in the hair pulling.

Eldariel
2009-03-08, 04:09 PM
I'm pretty proud: I posted in that thread and lived to tell the tale.

Oslecamo
2009-03-09, 05:02 AM
Getting an Incantatrix Cohort is well within the leadership rules: start with Wizard 5, and then tell her to train as Incantatrix. The Cohort gains individual XP, so it's perfectly doable.


Assuming you get a wizard on the first place. The leadership feat clearly states that you may try to atract a cohort of a certain type, but it's the DM who gets the final say on what you get. There just aren't wizrads 5 with the right pre requisites to become incantrixes running everywhere in the campaign world.




Getting a Slaymate is even easier. Knowledge(religion) check vs. DC 14, then Scrying vs. Will 5 +5 for not personally meeting the creature, then Greater Teleport (may be a Scroll) and Command Undead.

And how did you know what a slaymate was in the first place? The knowledge skill allows you to answer questions and identify monsters, but you can't do either if there isn't a question to answer or monster to identify in the first place. If the DM never throws a slaymate at you and no NPC mentions it you have no way other than metagaming to know they exist.

Assuming, of course, there's slaymates in the campaign world in the first place. And that said slaymate is alone.



It's not "abuse", it's a perfectly legitimate use of the available tools.


It's really funny what people consider "legitimate". Just like the other guy claiming matter and anti matter are the same thing for his ozmioum bombs or the druid guy who claims fleshrakers claws are perfectly capable of fine manipulation of objects so he has never to leave wildshape.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-03-09, 08:45 AM
I'm pretty proud: I posted in that thread and lived to tell the tale.So did I. It's sad, the number of people that were lost, though.

Eldariel
2009-03-09, 08:47 AM
So did I. It's sad, the number of people that were lost, though.

We need to decide on a Memorial-day for that holocaust.

Undead Prince
2009-03-09, 12:30 PM
Assuming you get a wizard on the first place. The leadership feat clearly states that you may try to atract a cohort of a certain type, but it's the DM who gets the final say on what you get. There just aren't wizrads 5 with the right pre requisites to become incantrixes running everywhere in the campaign world.

1. I think you have a wrong interpretation of RAW. It says:

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. The DM determines the
details of the cohort.

"Details" meaning everything beyond race, class and alignment.

2. Since you take Leadership at Level 6, you'll get a Wizard 4, who will receive one feat next level and another feat one level after that (5 and 6), which makes it extremely easy to comply with Incantatrix requirements (1 metamagic feat + Iron Will).

3. If the DM is going to be giving you Cohorts off the top of his head, it would be plain silly from a role-playing prospective. You're a renowned mage (a Red Wizard, no less) publicly seeking an apprentice. Why would you attract some Half-Orc Barbarian with 6 Int, and not an ambitious young wizard willing to reach arcane power under proper tutelage?

In fact, in the DMG it even says: "Once PCs establish a reputation, it becomes easier for them to attract like-minded allies and admiring followers. Cohorts arrive who wish to share in their adventures, as do apprentices eager to be trained by such legendary figures".

No, frankly, leaving Cohorts to DM is just not right. It makes the feat a complete shot in the dark - that way, you can receive a 4th level Commoner with feats "Good Appetite" and "Unnerving Flatulence".


And how did you know what a slaymate was in the first place? The knowledge skill allows you to answer questions and identify monsters, but you can't do either if there isn't a question to answer or monster to identify in the first place. If the DM never throws a slaymate at you and no NPC mentions it you have no way other than metagaming to know they exist.

I believe that is incorrect. The Knowledge skill represents things you know, regardless of whether your character actually sees or hears anything in relation to these things during this particular adventure. When you make a Knowledge check, you are "remembering useful information", and not conducting new research. So, if you make that Knowledge check, it means you already know about the creature, whether or not you've actually encountered it. Perhaps you've read about it in books, who cares.

The PHB describes a precise way of determining "knowledge" about monsters. You roll a Knowledge check with a DC = 10 + monster's HD. If you succeed, you know about that monster. For every 5 points you've surpassed the DC you remember more things about the monster. So if you beat DC 14, you know about the Slaymate. And what's there is to know about it, when it has only 2 abilities, one of which you seek? It's a relatively easy check. But if need be, you can pump your check bonus with spells and Leadership + Aid Another to get whatever score you need.




Assuming, of course, there's slaymates in the campaign world in the first place.

Well, why shouldn't there be? Is Libris Mortis banned?


And that said slaymate is alone.

So what? A prize that great deserves a little fighting for 8=)



It's really funny what people consider "legitimate". Just like the other guy claiming matter and anti matter are the same thing for his ozmioum bombs

No clue.


or the druid guy who claims fleshrakers claws are perfectly capable of fine manipulation of objects so he has never to leave wildshape.

Why does he need fine manipulation of objects? Picking locks? He can perfectly well perform his spellcasting, engage in melee, and do social stuff while wildformed; what else is there for a druid?

Turcano
2009-03-09, 02:00 PM
I'm pretty proud: I posted in that thread and lived to tell the tale.

Same here. That thread's an object lesson in why you should just move on if you aren't making any headway through constructive criticism.


Well, why shouldn't there be? Is Libris Mortis banned?

A DM is not obligated to include everything from a given splatbook. Or the core books, for that matter.

Elminster1
2009-03-09, 05:13 PM
All this banter about makes me wonder why alot of people even play Dungeons and Dragons. I mean, if your going to just turn your game into just a bunch of overpowered PRClasses and cohorts, etc, whats the point? Doesnt that ruin the, you know, fun:smalleek:?

I know players want their characters to have mechanical synergy, but sometimes it just becomes cheese, and what for? Is that fun? Any DM I know (including myself) dont ever allow for ridiculous midmaxing and cheese anyway, because it ruins the game and everyones fun.

I know, this the rant between "roleplayers" and whatever else you call them. I mean, the game is about teamwork, fun and making an interesting character to roleplay as, otherwise its just a piece of paper with stats on it.

I mean, if you want to run around with Persisted X as Incantatrix, etc, thats fine I suppose. But, how is that really fun for anyone? Boggles my mind:smallfrown:

Undead Prince
2009-03-09, 06:26 PM
I mean, the game is about teamwork, fun and making an interesting character to roleplay as, otherwise its just a piece of paper with stats on it. I mean, if you want to run around with Persisted X as Incantatrix, etc, thats fine I suppose. But, how is that really fun for anyone? Boggles my mind:smallfrown:

Boggles my mind how some people think optimisation = invulnerability. What good are a bunch of Persistent spells against a Disjunction or AMF? These things were put there for a reason, the reason being - not everyone wants to play a character that can only swing his sword or swing fireballs.

Role-playing? You're playing a character with beyond-genius intelligence or unimpeachable wisdom, do you think this character would have chosen weakness over strength, waste over efficiency, primitivism over optimisation?

Just because someone lacks imagination and knowledge of the mechanics to make an optimised char and to defeat an optimised char, does not mean that other people have no right to enjoy the game at its fullest potential.


I mean, if your going to just turn your game into just a bunch of overpowered PRClasses and cohorts, etc, whats the point? Doesnt that ruin the, you know, fun?

For some, the game apotheosis might be "kill a bunch of CR-appropriate monsters and pat each other on the back". For others, it is like chess, a battle of wits and strategies, where eventual defeat may be preordained by a mistake made in your very first move. It makes for stunning campaigns and surprising twists. It's a rollercoaster to Hell, sure, but what a ride.

Anyway. A well-played optimised character can fit into any party. It will cover the party's weaknesses, and provide an edge to go beyond the beaten path, which is usually a refreshing and fun experience. It does not destroy teamwork but improves it, allowing other players more freedom in ways to express themselves. It can also provide a good example of how even a better-than-average character can be defeated and fall. This experience removes the idiosyncratic mentality of "everything beyond this border is scary and cheesy, let us avert our eyes and never think of it again", instead imbuing players with a new desire to experiment, think outside the box, and devise new tactics.

I firmly believe that gutting the game and turning it into 4e does not improve gameplay. It condones mediocrity while punishing inventiveness and the spirit of enterprise. What's with all this PC nonsense "all characters are equal"? They're NOT equal, never will be, and trying to cut them to the same height is a tortuous exercise in self-flagellation. DnD, like any team game, is not about giving each other hugs - it's about results, overcoming obstacles, improving oneself and the team. You wouldn't put a weakling to be the school football team's quarterback, no matter how you were concerned for his "feelings". And in fact if you would, you would ruin him and his teammates for the rest of their lives, by teaching them wrong values.

/rant

ericgrau
2009-03-09, 06:55 PM
All this banter about makes me wonder why alot of people even play Dungeons and Dragons. I mean, if your going to just turn your game into just a bunch of overpowered PRClasses and cohorts, etc, whats the point? Doesnt that ruin the, you know, fun:smalleek:?

I know players want their characters to have mechanical synergy, but sometimes it just becomes cheese, and what for? Is that fun? Any DM I know (including myself) dont ever allow for ridiculous midmaxing and cheese anyway, because it ruins the game and everyones fun.

I know, this the rant between "roleplayers" and whatever else you call them. I mean, the game is about teamwork, fun and making an interesting character to roleplay as, otherwise its just a piece of paper with stats on it.

I mean, if you want to run around with Persisted X as Incantatrix, etc, thats fine I suppose. But, how is that really fun for anyone? Boggles my mind:smallfrown:

Huzzah. I'm tired of the same. Non-cheesy strats that don't disrupt the game are fine, but it always bothers me how quickly people are willing to go beyond that as if it were universally acceptable or something. Everyone I've played with is also against it to some degree.

Keld Denar
2009-03-09, 07:08 PM
Man, you are beginning to sound like Advocate...

I'm gonna respectfully disagree with you. Using your football analogy, where you state that a team shouldn't put a weakling in as quarterback, I'm gonna agree with you. The most qualified individual should take that role. Does that mean that a high school kid should take steroids to boost his performance to be the absolute best high school quarterback ever? No. Why? Because steroid use is illegal and dangerous and elevates the game to a level where not everyone can participate.

Translate this to the game. If you are casting Reached Spell Maximized Chained Shivering Touches or the like that autokill everything that doesn't fit into a narrow criteria of living, then why even bother playing the game? Just write "I win" on a piece of paper and hold it up after every sentance your DM says.

Now, back over to the football analogy. Should a player who wants to be the star quarterback lie around all day watching TV and eating donuts? No. The player optimizes himself by lifting weights, eating lots of protein and tons of carbs, running to improve stamina, practicing plays and learning how to read defenders. But he doesn't take steroids. He optimizes himself within a given set of parameters.

And again into the game world. You can optimize your wizard. You can take effective spells like Glitterdust, or Solid Fog, or even Enervation. You are effective and good at what you do and everyone has fun. You avoid things like Rapid Spell Reach Spell Chained Ghoul Glyph which are the steroids of D&D. I mean, you can do that, but its about as fun as writting Pun-Pun on the top of your sheet and fill in the rest of the blanks with sideways 8s. In order to challenge that character, a DM has to use monsters that are virtually immune to everything, which means that none of the other party members can hurt it either.

Maybe you don't want a Fighter as your quarterback, you'd rather have a Warblade. Thats fine, Warblade is mechanically stronger in most situations. You don't want Pun-Pun as your quarterback, though, because then both teams might as well sit home and watch TV.

Does my analogy make sense? Half the fun of optimizing, IMO, is optimizing within a set of restrictions. Being the best you can be with what you are given. Go watch Man vs Wild on Discovery (if you can). That man optimizes survival under very limited conditions. You could say "why doesn't he bring a high powered rifle, a GPS locator with mapping software, and freeze-dried trail rations with him?" Because its more interesting to watch him do more with less. That is the spirit of practical optimization.

EDIT:
Another example that just came to my mind is racing. I was on a racing engineering team for a number of years in college. We built, from the asphalt up, a miniature formula 1 race car. The competition had a number of restrictions. We all started with the same engine, but could modify it however we want. We were also limited to a 2" air inlet. Another factor is cost, a limited amount of total expenses you can spend. Now, a you could easily build a car that goes faster if you ignore these factors. You could use a different, larger engine, or modify your intake orifice to allow more oxygen into the engine, or spend millions of dollars to buy a car that will win. But that takes all the fun out of it. The fun and learning comes from spending hours tuning your engine on a dyno to get the most horse power out of it. Or hours running FEA calcs on your structural frame to remove as much weight as possible without affecting integrity. Or learning how to mold parts out of carbon fiber (really FREAKIN HARD!) in place of metal. Or running air flow calcs to get the right amount of drag to maximize friction between the tires and the road without imposing undue drag on the body. That is where the skill lies, not in saying "my team has more money than your team, we win".

EDIT2:
Just as an FYI, I am PRO-optimization. I love optimizing. I enjoy giving advice to players here, and coming up with my own builds and getting critisism on them. That said, there are things I won't touch. I never use Holy Word/Blasphemy. Its a poorly designed spell and scales poorly. Using it is akin to nuclear war. Who ever gets both keys in and enters the launch codes wins. The problem with this, is no matter how good you get at it, the DM is always better. That or every monster you fight from that point on is deaf and speaks telepathically with its allies, which breaks verisimilitude. So then you move on to MM Rapid Reached Chained Ghoul Glyphs, and suddenly everything is arbitrarily immune to paralysis. So you cast Empowered Twinned Split Rayed Maximized Occular Repeating Chained Enervations, and then everything is immune to negative energy. And then one day you lose initiative, and you get hit by a Quickened MDJ followed by an Empowered Twinned Split Rayed Maximized Occular Repeating Chained Enervation and you wake up 6 hours later with a massive craving for life energy. So you roll up an even stronger character, and suddenly rocks fall from the sky and your character dies, no save. You can't win an arms race against a DM, so you don't do it, and your DM doesn't do it, and you set ground rules on what is balanced and what is not, and you optimize around that. Its not cutting everyone to the height of the shortest tree so everyone gets equal light, its making a challenging and interesting game instead of a coin flip. Optimizers are still gonna make for easier encounters, which is good. People should be rewarded for resourcefulness, but leave Theoretical Optimization on the boards. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Draz74
2009-03-09, 07:23 PM
Well spoken Keld!

Lamech
2009-03-09, 07:53 PM
I would like to say well spoken to both Keld and Undead Prince. Both of those play styles sound like something that could be fun, of course they are different, and not everyone will like the same style. I also think everyone needs to have the same play style or at least close together playstyles. Sticking logic ninja, Undead prince and a new player in the same party wouldn't work.

(Well those are my two cents.)

afroakuma
2009-03-09, 09:47 PM
These things were put there for a reason, the reason being - not everyone wants to play a character that can only swing his sword or swing fireballs.

Entirely fair; at the same time, I shouldn't be criticized because once in a while I just want some arbitrary location to go boom by me throwing bat poo in that general direction. And I happen to be a fan of my longsword, as well. :smallsmile:


Role-playing? You're playing a character with beyond-genius intelligence or unimpeachable wisdom, do you think this character would have chosen weakness over strength, waste over efficiency, primitivism over optimisation?

I think the character is ultimately human (elven, dwarven, gnomish...) and once in a while becomes paranoid about so-and-so silly thing and suddenly he just has to memorize that one magic bullet. I think that same character might grow fond of a particular spell, and maybe favor it over similar spells that might do a better job. I think that same character is also going to figure out about scrolls really fast and start prepping some with spells that might be useful but just aren't worth memorizing compared to the Batman utility belt. Ultimately, the character's optimizing is based on their experiences.


Just because someone lacks imagination and knowledge of the mechanics to make an optimised char and to defeat an optimised char, does not mean that other people have no right to enjoy the game at its fullest potential.

I don't consider maxing out the math to be taking the game to its fullest potential. Variety, flavor, interaction... these are the game's true potential. I would say that conversely, just because someone has the knowledge of the mechanics (or the forum help) to crank his character to the max and to defeat the DM's best attempts does not mean that other people have no right to enjoy the game at a more challenging level. And that latter category likely includes the DM.


Anyway. A well-played optimised character can fit into any party. It will cover the party's weaknesses, and provide an edge to go beyond the beaten path, which is usually a refreshing and fun experience.

It certainly can be, but there are some limits. When you get to the level where every attack, every spell is a one-hit kill for this character, where walls are just obstructions to vision, where mysteries are solved by probing the brains of all persons involved and a god or two, the fun of the game does unfortunately dissolve.


It does not destroy teamwork but improves it, allowing other players more freedom in ways to express themselves.

This... I don't follow.


It can also provide a good example of how even a better-than-average character can be defeated and fall.

Certainly true; the risk is accusations of DM focus or DM spite, but there are merits as well.


This experience removes the idiosyncratic mentality of "everything beyond this border is scary and cheesy, let us avert our eyes and never think of it again"

Again, there are some places one knows not to tread, and some places where it is, in fact, worth taking the plunge.


instead imbuing players with a new desire to experiment, think outside the box, and devise new tactics.

And I am a fan of this, very much so. What I dislike is the known, the retreaded, the formatted, processed cheese whose parameters are known, precise and very much prepackaged.


I firmly believe that gutting the game and turning it into 4e does not improve gameplay. It condones mediocrity while punishing inventiveness and the spirit of enterprise.

Concurred.


What's with all this PC nonsense "all characters are equal"?

Combat-wise? They are not. But overall? Yes, they are. The player playing the wizard is no more important to the game than the player playing the samurai.


DnD, like any team game, is not about giving each other hugs - it's about results, overcoming obstacles, improving oneself and the team.

Yes, yes and no. While improvement is the unofficial goal of the game, it's the story, the characters, the fun and the fantasy that the pastime is about.

Well-spoken indeed. :smallcool:

Colmarr
2009-03-09, 09:59 PM
What's with all this PC nonsense "all characters are equal"? They're NOT equal, never will be, and trying to cut them to the same height is a tortuous exercise in self-flagellation.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, so I'll address my perception of what you're saying:

Why is it "nonsense" to suggest that all characters should be equal?

In a co-operative game where it is intended and expected that players will choose a variety of classes and roles; which is set in a fictional universe complete with fictional powers; and where the designers and developers set the boundaries of what is and is not possible, what sense does it make to arbitrarily decide that one class or race should be "better" than another?

Such a decision strikes me as a sure route to someone's dissatisfaction with the game.

Eeezee
2009-03-09, 10:16 PM
I have to agree, making a good character is fine. I think optimization goes a step further, where you have a goal that makes you significantly more powerful than the rest of the team.

Wizards should concentrate on boosting Int. Fighters should enchant up their weapon. All characters should try to choose feats that benefit them in the best way. This is not truly optimization in my opinion, it's simply making an effective character.

For instance, every wizard/sorcerer guide I know of warns against choosing cheese spells, Alter Self for instance, because they're simply overpowered. It's like having a level 20 character adventuring with a bunch of level 1 characters; this is not fun. On the other hand, I have no problem with throwing Glitterdust around because I consider this a balanced spell.

Not all characters should be equally effective at everything, but all characters should be equally effective overall. A skill monkey should be better than average at skills, for instance.

afroakuma
2009-03-09, 10:35 PM
Man, you are beginning to sound like Advocate...

Let's not go that far. :smallannoyed: Oh, I hated that guy.


In order to challenge that character, a DM has to use monsters that are virtually immune to everything, which means that none of the other party members can hurt it either.

This sounds like a battle I recently participated in. Keld? :smallbiggrin:

Joking aside, this is sadly true.


Does my analogy make sense? Half the fun of optimizing, IMO, is optimizing within a set of restrictions. Being the best you can be with what you are given.

Again, this sounds very familiar. :smallwink:


The problem with this, is no matter how good you get at it, the DM is always better.

QFT. :smallfrown:


You can't win an arms race against a DM, so you don't do it, and your DM doesn't do it, and you set ground rules on what is balanced and what is not, and you optimize around that. Its not cutting everyone to the height of the shortest tree so everyone gets equal light, its making a challenging and interesting game instead of a coin flip.

Entirely true. Wizards are still going to dance circles around everyone, clerics will still be able to Zilla themselves, ToB classes will still make better fighters than fighters, and monks are still... going to rule! Go Giamonk! :smallwink:

*ahem* But the options will be more varied, and the prepackaged gamekillers suddenly won't be able to fit together. Feat A and Feat B are still available, but putting them together on one character, by DM decree, becomes like pushing two north pole magnets together.


Optimizers are still gonna make for easier encounters, which is good. People should be rewarded for resourcefulness, but leave Theoretical Optimization on the boards. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

And that's fair.

Well argued, all.

Elminster1
2009-03-10, 07:19 PM
Stupendous input. I am not against optimization, but, as stated eloquently before, there is a limit to when it becomes silly, redundant, and kills the fun and challenge.

To me, the game first revolves around an intersting story line with scope, and depth, involving characters that interact with said storyline, and each other. So, for me, optimization has had a lower stature in the grand scheme of things concerning D&D.

I also highly agree that one can never beat the DM. So, in the end, over-optimizing just turn full circle on you in a vicious cycle.

Another thing is style. I dont view D&D like a fighting game, where players spam the most powerful combos/attacks over and over again ad nauseum because they are mechanically superior. Nor do I select a class based on some idyllic "Tier" based on a classes combat prowess. To me, D&D has to have style. Of course efficiency is important, but to a point, otherwise it has the urge to become akin to spamming.

If D&D were just about making superior characters, wouldnt everyone just play the mechanically best vesion possible, just for the "I win" factor? Im sure you could, but that defeats the fun of the game, to me anyway. And, this is coming from Elminster, lol :smalltongue:

Raenir Salazar
2009-03-15, 05:09 PM
how can we apply this guide to NWN2 and PWs?

monty
2009-03-15, 05:11 PM
how can we apply this guide to NWN2 and PWs?

Same way you'd build a normal wizard, more or less? I mean, you don't have as many options to choose from in most cases, but the basic idea is the same.

Keld Denar
2009-03-15, 08:51 PM
Eh, most video games tend to reward the blaster archtype. They don't have the mechanics to really utilize crowd control. Blasting is so much simpler. Plus, I found at least with NWN1, you could blast a bit, then run away far enough that the mob would deaggro so you could go back and blast again. Real D&D doesn't relate.

Noneoyabizzness
2009-03-16, 09:14 AM
the debate rages on

sometimes the solution is to do damage. clerics have flame strike, wizards have evocation, bards have sonics, and the blaster classes (warmages and warlocks) are in heaven in those situations.

why cant people leave it at results may vary and move on?

Eldariel
2009-03-16, 09:32 AM
how can we apply this guide to NWN2 and PWs?

There's a bunch of reasons why CRPGs are a different matter. First of all, they lack key spells like Fly, Teleport and so on; the very basis of "doing everything". Also, they severely limit shapechanging abilities and the like. Then there's the fact that they're realtime, meaning opponents move while you cast your spell making aiming crowd control effects for good effect much more difficult (same applies to AoE damage, of course).

And finally, the games are frankly really easy; you mostly fight masses of mooks who really don't require anything beyond a trivial effort (take NWN2 for example; there're maybe 3-4 fights where you need to actually make an effort; mostly the opponents are weaklings you can mow down with friggin' Great Cleave 'cause they have no HP or AC and the opposition is mostly melee types; there're very few spellcasters involved and even those few are mostly of low level). All this means that all battlefield control does is slow down killing the opposition.


So mostly, a combination of the games screwing the rules and being easy leads to battlefield control being mostly superfluous, and even when it isn't, difficult to use due to the realtime nature of the game (luckily AI sucks, which helps with that).

Gorbash
2009-03-30, 12:44 PM
How does a 11th lvl Batman battle a Dracolich? Aside from buffing allies, that is.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-03-30, 12:51 PM
How does a 11th lvl Batman battle a Dracolich? Aside from buffing allies, that is.

Disintegrate. As he is now Undead, rather than Dragon, his Fort save stinks.

mostlyharmful
2009-03-30, 02:42 PM
Disintegrate. As he is now Undead, rather than Dragon, his Fort save stinks.

Plus it's hp has taken a huge whack from going Undead, it's lost it's HUGE con score and unlike most things it hasn't gone up a hit dice size to make up. Disintegrate's a stonking Undead zapper, it's why most every Liche I make has spell immunity to it up and running as one of it's first buffs.

Raenir Salazar
2009-05-07, 07:14 PM
How good are the reserve spell feats?

Myrmex
2009-05-07, 09:13 PM
Disintegrate still only does damage, you have to land a touch attack, and has SR: yes. If you plan on abusing Assay Spell Resistance, you should probably expect the dracolich to have Scintillating Scales up. Always open with a Dispel Magic in a fight with a dragon. Unless your DM really wants to kill you, you should probably have more caster levels than it does.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-05-07, 11:21 PM
How good are the reserve spell feats?Depends on what you use them for. Most are worthless(Fiery Burst and similar combat feats), but a few are great. The ones I remember:
Minor Shapeshift:Essentially your HD in Temp HP every couple turns. Insane.
Touch of Healing:Infinite out-of-combat healing
Summon Elemental Reserve:Useful, if only as a Trapmonkey.
Dimension Hop:Walk right through doors, walls, and other plot-related issues.

Essentially, what you have to think is 'Will this cost me a combat action that could be better spent?' The best ones are either out-of-combat use entirely or take no meaningful action during combat.

monty
2009-05-07, 11:34 PM
Most are worthless(Fiery Burst and similar combat feats)

Hey, those have uses. Like Tomb of Horrors, or any other place where you need to blast everything that moves, and probably everything that doesn't move just to be safe.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-05-07, 11:39 PM
Hey, those have uses. Like Tomb of Horrors, or any other place where you need to blast everything that moves, and probably everything that doesn't move just to be safe.Yeah, or for a level 1 campaign, Precocious Apprentice+Fiery Burst is okay, but generally, not worth the feat.

blasterhaters
2009-07-20, 11:30 PM
I've read TLN and Treantmonk's guides and gotten a lot of good tips/tactics from both of these. And while there are many great points I never understand why *fireball* is the standard whipping-boy spell for "master tacticians" to tout as the ultimate munchkins-think-this-is-cool-but-my-superior-logic-will-show-that-it-sucks spell. The example TLN gave as fireball being and average 17 damage spell was just flat out ridiculous (trying to compare it to haste is even more over the top).

SO let's look at fireball.... the *tactical* spell. First off (5th lvl caster) fireball does an "average" of 17 damage.... to 40 SQUARES! So in reality fireball does a *total* amount of battlefield damage between 5 and 1200 HP!!!! That's a median average of 603! This is of course situational... meaning the "goons" have to be bunched up... am I the only PC in history that has encounters in 10/20/30/40-foot narrow dungeon hallways?!?!?

So let me stop beating around the bush: Fireball is THE BEST battlefield control spell a 5th level wizard can cast. First off let me say that I've found a large number of (WotC, written) DnD encounters to follow the "lots of goons + boss = encounter" formula. And let me say up front fireball is for the goons. If you're throwing fireball at the "boss" you're missing the point... but the goons ahhh the goons. Goons get in the way of those meat-tanks that you're depending on by absorbing all of their attacks. Even with "Great Cleave" 12 goons can tie up your meat-tank for quite some time.

Usually when our party is in the 5-9th level range and I drop a fireball on the goons it has the following effect: Goons are usually at best half the hit dice of the average of the party, so the ones that miss their saves are often completely wiped out on decent d6 rolls. The ones that make it are usually severely hampered. And by "severely hampered" I mean that you're meat-tank now knocks them over like bowling pins on any successful hit. But just to be safe go ahead and Web the goons first and then drop the fireball... you'll hold everyone who makes there (fireball) reflex save for at least one more round and you'll squeeze out some extra fire damage from the burning web. Not to mention is it a coincidence that Web and Fireball has the same range (because why use two templates on your mini board; it's enough of a pain in the rear to slide the first one under all the figs)? Ok, yes it probably is a coincidence... but it's also terribly convenient!

With this one spell (or two if you web first) you can usually clear the way for everyone else to charge the boss. Heck you can even launch some ranged touch attack action, or magic missile at the boss if you're feeling board. I never understand how someone can tell me that wiping half your enemies off the board with one spell is not good "battlefield control". :smallbiggrin:

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-20, 11:39 PM
SO let's look at fireball.... the *tactical* spell. First off (5th lvl caster) fireball does an "average" of 17 damage.... to 40 SQUARES! So in reality fireball does a *total* amount of battlefield damage between 5 and 1200 HP!!!! That's a median average of 603! This is of course situational... meaning the "goons" have to be bunched up... am I the only PC in history that has encounters in 10/20/30/40-foot narrow dungeon hallways?!?!?

I doubt reasonably intelligent minions will stand around waiting to be fireballed.

Also, friendly fire isn't.


So let me stop beating around the bush: Fireball is THE BEST battlefield control spell a 5th level wizard can cast.

By definition Fireball isn't controlling the battlefield. To control the battlefield, one must be able to dictate the terms and conditions the enemy fights under.

Fireball doesn't do that. It does not alter terrain, or the conditions of the redzone. It just deals damage.


First off let me say that I've found a large number of (WotC, written) DnD encounters to follow the "lots of goons + boss = encounter" formula. And let me say up front fireball is for the goons. If you're throwing fireball at the "boss" you're missing the point... but the goons ahhh the goons. Goons get in the way of those meat-tanks that you're depending on by absorbing all of their attacks. Even with "Great Cleave" 12 goons can tie up your meat-tank for quite some time.

What do you do if there aren't a lot of goons? Can you depend on there being many goons in the campaign?



With this one spell (or two if you web first) you can usually clear the way for everyone else to charge the boss. Heck you can even launch some ranged touch attack action, or magic missile at the boss if you're feeling board. I never understand how someone can tell me that wiping half your enemies off the board with one spell is not good "battlefield control"

Fireball: Situationally good. Enemies must be many in number, close together physically, have low reflex saves, and not be resistant to fire.

Haste: I like to move it move it, I like to move it!

FMArthur
2009-07-20, 11:56 PM
Am I the only one who has to re-read Haste mutliple times every time I come across it, out of certainty that I must be missing some critical drawback? The spell's too good.

Fireball can kill useless mooks and can destroy your Web in case you feel that you're being unfair by completely winning the encounter with that one spell (that is the least useful 'combo' ever). Easy rule of thumb: if your unmodified fireball killed something in one hit, the same enemies would be weak enough to get wrecked by Web or Grease or any other good, lower level spell that has more than just situation use. Or, heaven forbid, they could be killed in a hit each from your party's damage-dealers. If your party has none and nobody else is going to damage things, then that's another matter.

Tokiko Mima
2009-07-21, 12:08 AM
...So let me stop beating around the bush: Fireball is THE BEST battlefield control spell a 5th level wizard can cast....

Except Fireball isn't a control spell. It only "controls" if it does enough damage to drop your foe. Monsters still attack for the same damage and cast the same spells whether they have 1 or all of their HP intact.

Since a d6 does an average 3.5 damage, it's only likely to kill enemies with HPs equal to (3.5*party level.) In a level 5 party, that's a critter with 17 HP or less (so CR 1, or 2.) It's even less as you go up: at level 10, it will only "control"/kill creatures with 35 hp or less, which is a typical value for CR 3 or 4 monsters. So your ability to "control" this way decreases as your level increases.

As you point out, the spell Web is almost always preferable: It's a lower spell level which locks enemies down so the rest of the party can deal with the remainder. It takes the same number of foes out of the battle as Fireball would have, and has a extremely negative effect even on those that succeed on the save. It's also not subject to spell resistance, or fire resistance.

Almost any class can do decent damage, it's a rare class that can control the battlefield. Why do you need to take the job of the damage dealers when you have a much better talent you (and only you) could use instead?


Am I the only one who has to re-read Haste mutliple times every time I come across it, out of certainty that I must be missing some critical drawback? The spell's too good.

My DM was shocked the other day when I pointed out that my Changeling Chameleon could cast Haste as a level 1 spell, and it would still hit the entire party for the full effect. :smallbiggrin:

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-07-21, 12:11 AM
How often do you fight that many goons, though? I generally end up fighting from 1-8 enemies. If it's higher than about 4, though, only half the enemies will be in the radius at best, since there will be both meleers and archers. If you're looking at more than 8, then their ranged units will likely be spread out to reduce the chance of one spell knocking them out. So you hit <=4 enemies for 17 damage(~68). Again, the Barb is dealing 40+ damage per attack, to say nothing of the Rogue and Cleric. Fireball isn't worth it.

Doc Roc
2009-07-21, 12:15 AM
Fireball's not a terrible spell, I just prefer others in general.
I'm a fan of blaster builds in limited doses, but arguing that fireball is the best BC spell is basically just crazy talk.

Deepblue706
2009-07-21, 12:30 AM
Well, I think Fireball can be a really badass spell. What if your Chaotic Evil Fighter thought to bully a Halfling town on his lonesome, and finds himself overtaken by a crowd who grapples him under the wave?

Firebert's (the Wizard) Fireballs can save him. Fighters can take it. A horde of halfling commoners can't.

Talic
2009-07-21, 01:03 AM
Web can solve that too.

Or Wall of Fire.

Or Stinking cloud.

The problem isn't that Fireball is useless.

It's that anything it can do, other things can do just as well, if not better, and are more versatile to boot.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 06:48 AM
Firebert's (the Wizard) Fireballs can save him. Fighters can take it.

The way 3.5 was designed apparently involves Fighters taking it repeatedly.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-07-21, 07:19 AM
And lets not forget resistance. Anything with fire resistance completly hoses fireball.

Oslecamo
2009-07-21, 07:48 AM
Web can solve that too.

What good is web if you're on open ground? Or against flying enemies?



Or Wall of Fire.

See above. Plus wall of fire is higher level.



Or Stinking cloud.

There's a lot more stuff immune to poison than to fire. Also much higher level than fireball.



The problem isn't that Fireball is useless.

It's that anything it can do, other things can do just as well, if not better, and are more versatile to boot.

Really? Try playing a campaign where you're normally on the open and flying enemies are common. Fireball becomes that much better. Yes they exist. I've been on some of them.

And yes, I've fought enemies numbering in the hundreds in a single battle, wich threatened us by the simple fact that 20s are auto hits. Cloudkill killed them fine, but we had to use something else untill the sorceror hit level 10.

Fireball has the range, is relatively low level, and will end up hurting most things out there. Sure, not outright kill, but when you're sniping stuff several hundreds of feets away, you have the time to shoot more than one.

arguskos
2009-07-21, 07:53 AM
There's a lot more stuff immune to poison than to fire. Also much higher level than fireball.
Only thing I wish to correct you on is that Stinking Cloud is level 2. You are thinking of Cloudkill, most likely, which is indeed higher than Fireball. Otherwise, you make a good point sir. :smallsmile:

T.G. Oskar
2009-07-21, 08:20 AM
Only thing I wish to correct you on is that Stinking Cloud is level 2. You are thinking of Cloudkill, most likely, which is indeed higher than Fireball. Otherwise, you make a good point sir. :smallsmile:

I'd say Incendiary Cloud or Acid Fog, which are higher level and do damage as well as providing the effects of Fog Cloud or (in the case of Acid Fog) Solid Fog.

Also, Cloudkill is poisonous gas, so immunity to poison (or no need to breathe) makes you immune to it.

The only way to make Fireball useful is to substitute its element, or to Empower and Maximize it, then throw it to a bunch of very strong mooks. It's good for cleaning up, but it's not a spell you'll be using compared to the tried and true ones.

In either case, I've seen this guide a few times and it has provoked quite a set of reactions. As of late, it still hasn't inspired me to play as a Wizard (I'm a fan of Paladins and I've already accepted that my call is that of a Cleric more than of a Wizard anyways), it has caused a bit of envy (since at times people take the recommendations of this guide a bit too far, placing the Wizard as the end-all character when it's madly prepared (which is why the "Batman" appellative is so true: if it isn't prepared, it'll probably suck), and it has made me think that perhaps there's another set of guides that could use some build-up as this one (mostly, the Paladin Handbook, which while I have it bookmarked it seems to miss a good set of recommendations; it seems incomplete)

Also, this is something I've thought about a lot, and finally I think I have a chance to say it. Sorcerers aren't versatile (Wizards, ironically, do); they're not exactly specialists either. They don't suck, nonetheless. Sorcerers are focused, in which they are best when they choose spells with at least ten different applications. While a Wizard can turn into a very powerful 25 HD dragon perhaps once per day, a Sorcerer can do it also once per day, but when the duration lasts and there's a need for another of those, a Sorcerer has better chances to work that out. A Sorcerer with loads of scrolls will be on pretty close terms to a Wizard (if only because the share of spell lists causes the Sorcerer to activate scrolls, wands and staves with little to no effort), albeit never excelling on that; playing an optimized Sorcerer before playing a Wizard helps though, in that you eventually realize which spells are invaluable to have always prepared, and which are best kept as highly sought scroll material.

In either case, the only way to truly crush the Wizard is to always aim for the spellbook, and for the sanctum. After all, Batman knows pretty well he's just a really good detective without his Utility Belt and Batcave, right?

Also, just to spark things up: you can get a bit more out of Pyrotechnics than of Fireball. Just saying...

Cyrion
2009-07-21, 09:41 AM
Really? Try playing a campaign where you're normally on the open and flying enemies are common. Fireball becomes that much better. Yes they exist. I've been on some of them.



This is a case where my preference is for silent image or minor image if I need the sound effects. Enemies who think their wings are tangled and restricted fall down, take damage from the fall, and then take damage from the fighters who can now reach them.

GoatToucher
2009-07-21, 09:57 AM
If you were the DM, would you allow flying creatures to be taken out so easily?

Seriously, sometimes conventional wisdom around here turns into conventional dogma. Some people seem to be emotionally invested in certain things seeming good or bad. I'm all for solid arguments, but come on now...

Worira
2009-07-21, 10:02 AM
Neither minor nor silent image include the sense of touch. Why on earth would someone fall if their wings were enclosed in something that doesn't impede them, and that they can't even feel?

Lamech
2009-07-21, 10:07 AM
I was under the impression that fireball was for sniping from a thousand feet away, while invisible? "Whats that blindsense out to 300ft? True seeing out to 120ft?" Fireball.
And f you stack metamagic on it right I bet you can get the damage sky high anyway.

Flickerdart
2009-07-21, 10:21 AM
I was under the impression that fireball was for sniping from a thousand feet away, while invisible? "Whats that blindsense out to 300ft? True seeing out to 120ft?" Fireball.
And f you stack metamagic on it right I bet you can get the damage sky high anyway.
Fireball allows a save and SR, making it awful. Wizards use Orbs, which have neither, when they need to murder things at range.

aivanther
2009-07-21, 10:35 AM
@Oselcamo: The problem with your argument is you're making it against a person who is responding to a specific situaiton in which a fighter is swarmed by halflings. Your reply "well what if it is flying" is a fallacious argument. You may have a point, but your response doesn't fit the situation.

@Lamech: By the time you can metamagic a fireball skyhigh, you can do other things that do stuff even cooler than hitting a lot of interesting damage. I mean, prismatic spray is just full of all sorts of goody stuff.

Kaiyanwang
2009-07-21, 10:36 AM
I'm pretty sure that if my DM would say to me:

"choose between orb and fireball" id' choose orb in 0 seconds.

Nevertheless, fireball is an area spell and widened can be nasty. IMHO, the real good wizard must have both (or similar spells)

I remember recently some players of mine managed to go to stop some enemies with the help of a magistrate and a lot of guards (was a particular situation, I admit, in general PCs are against enemy, magistrate and guards in the same moment :smallwink:).

One of the enemy NPC was a mage, I managed to disappear, fly away and cast a widened fireball on the guards (they were one near the other because they were all around the other NPCs).The face my players did when they've seen all the soldiers disapperar in an explosion was priceless.

(note that the game was not optimized: arcane thesis for a fireball for a 5th level slot - well, a Wiz can do better, but still, was fun).

Another thing: in SC they nerfed orb range. Flickerdart point remains valid, but range is not secondary sometimes.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 01:31 PM
Only thing I wish to correct you on is that Stinking Cloud is level 2. You are thinking of Cloudkill, most likely, which is indeed higher than Fireball. Otherwise, you make a good point sir. :smallsmile:

Stinking Cloud is level 3, the same level as fireball. The SRD agrees with me on this one.

Cloud of Bewilderment, a smaller version of Stinking Cloud, is level 2.

valadil
2009-07-21, 01:49 PM
I agree that fireball gets more hate than it deserves. Usually people who compare it to other spells neglect the fact that fireball can hit more than one target. It's kinda hard to predict average damage when you don't know how many foes you'll be up against and how they'll be arrayed. It's even harder if you're factoring in how many allies you may hit. People seem to hand wave all this away and just assume it's hitting one target.

The other thing about fireball is that while it's rarely your best choice, it's almost always viable. I've only been in a few combats where fireball wouldn't be beneficial in any given round. Stinking cloud, web, and glitterdust on the other hand have all been shut down on many occasions for all sorts of reasons. Don't get me wrong, I still take my conjurations but I like having a reliable AoE damage spell too.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 01:53 PM
I prefer Manyjaws for my AOE needs. Same level too.

T.G. Oskar
2009-07-21, 02:52 PM
Fireball allows a save and SR, making it awful. Wizards use Orbs, which have neither, when they need to murder things at range.

Fireball allows a save and spell resistance, which makes it bad. It's the cap on attack dice which makes it awful. Most blaster optimizers shun Fireball for the same means: you can get something like Wings of Flurry and in the end deal more damage because it's uncapped. Also, Wings of Flurry has an extra effect, which makes it awesome. Even though it's limited only to Sorcerers.

Still, I'd say Fireball is relatively better than the 9th level counterpart (Meteor Strike). That one is a joke, even if it is 4 Fireballs cast as if the character had CL 6, and one of them just happened to deal a pathetic amount of bludgeoning damage. Aiming the four to strike one character deals the rough equivalent of 24d6 fire damage plus 2d6 bludgeoning damage, when blasting spells should give around 40d6+ damage (such as Maw of Chaos, which is simply sick)

Besides, it's fire damage, which is quite probably the most resisted element around. And you can't simply energy-substitute it, so it fails spectacularly.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 02:54 PM
Well, there's the Archmage ability and a feat that costs +0 to apply, so I don't see why you couldn't energy substitute a Meteor Swarm...

Mushroom Ninja
2009-07-21, 03:58 PM
Also, Cloudkill is poisonous gas, so immunity to poison (or no need to breathe) makes you immune to it.


Actually, you're only half right. It doesn't matter if you breath or not while in the Cloudkill's area -- you still get fully affected. But yeah, poison immunity does protect you from cloudkill.


Holding one’s breath doesn’t help, but creatures immune to poison are unaffected by the spell.

blasterhaters
2009-07-21, 04:29 PM
Fireball's not a terrible spell, I just prefer others in general.
I'm a fan of blaster builds in limited doses, but arguing that fireball is the best BC spell is basically just crazy talk.

I didn't say a thing about "blaster builds" which I think are a horrible idea (imo). In fact I think most of the other blast spells kind of suck. I simply said that fireball is THE BEST battlefield control spell a 5th level wizard can cast. More on this latter.

Oslecamo: many many good points... too many to quote in fact.



I agree that fireball gets more hate than it deserves. Usually people who compare it to other spells neglect the fact that fireball can hit more than one target. It's kinda hard to predict average damage when you don't know how many foes you'll be up against and how they'll be arrayed. It's even harder if you're factoring in how many allies you may hit. People seem to hand wave all this away and just assume it's hitting one target.

The other thing about fireball is that while it's rarely your best choice, it's almost always viable. I've only been in a few combats where fireball wouldn't be beneficial in any given round. Stinking cloud, web, and glitterdust on the other hand have all been shut down on many occasions for all sorts of reasons. Don't get me wrong, I still take my conjurations but I like having a reliable AoE damage spell too.

I couldn't agree more. I just wish valadil would have put "more than one target" in 50pt, bold, all caps. (not really... but that is the main point.

and for those of you who said that fireball isn't "technically" battlefield control, I sure hope you never get into real combat. Wiping out half the goons and severely crippling the rest is the fastest/best way to instantly change the dynamics of the battlefield. If you are uncomfortable with "control" then let's call it "devastatingly influence the battlefield". Terrain and obstacles are secondary considerations, the "battlefield" is defined by the people/things that are your enemies. When you control them (or at least their cozy relationship with the material plane of existence) you control the battlefield.

And for those of you who seemed to (conveniently) ignore certain portions of my previous post I will say again: Yes, I often find myself fighting lots of goons... and while at first the meat-tank thinks slicing through them is "uber fun" he often quickly realizes that their sole function is to waste his time while the badguy casters tear him a new one. And yes, I often find goons "packed" together (and let's not kid ourselves the 20ft radius template is pretty darn big). While web, obscuring mist, grease, etc are awesome at slowing badguys down and making fights drag on... fireball solves problems!

It's not the be-all-end-all, and neither is grease/haste/web/etc, but not having at least one around (or at the very least a scroll) is just flat out dumb. and "batman" is no dummy!!!

Guancyto
2009-07-21, 04:35 PM
(or at the very least a scroll)

Interesting, you seem to have answered your own point. Fireball is handy for environmental effects, wiping out masses of mooks and causing forest fires.

That doesn't make it worth a spell slot. Not a highest-level slot, anyway.

Fireball. When you absolutely, positively have to kill every commoner in the room, accept no substitutes.

tyckspoon
2009-07-21, 04:36 PM
It's not the be-all-end-all, and neither is grease/haste/web/etc, but not having at least one around (or at the very least a scroll) is just flat out dumb. and "batman" is no dummy!!!

Which.. is exactly what the actual guide says about the spell. Don't obsess about using it, but if you still have access to Evocation keep a method or two to cast it around in case you need Fireball's particular traits. It's just that Fireball's most interesting trait just happens to be "setting things on fire from a quarter-mile away," which tends to not be all that useful in the kind of small-squad close-quarters fights that most often happen in traditional D&D battle zones.

Mushroom Ninja
2009-07-21, 04:41 PM
I simply said that fireball is THE BEST battlefield control spell a 5th level wizard can cast. More on this latter.


Although fireball has its uses, I would hardly call it "the best" at its level. Stinking Cloud, Web, Widened Glitterdust, Deep slumber, and Nauseating Breath are surely at least as good as fireball in most situations, and better in some.

Mark Hall
2009-07-21, 04:53 PM
I maintain that the main problem that blasters have is that their damage has remained more or less the same since 1978, while most other people have gotten various boosts. A 5th level fireball does 5d6 damage. Has since 1978, and likely earlier. On the other hand, starting in 2001, almost everything got more HP... in some cases, it was due to increases in HD size (from a standard d8 to occasional d10s or d12s), or due to the presence of Con bonuses for everything's HP.

HP goes up, damage remains static, means that which is causing damage decreases in utility. Add in new spells which act better (by being ranged touch attacks instead of saves, having better damage or a nice side-effect), and fireballs further decrease in utility. For the coup de grace, throw in that saving throws against higher level spells are harder to make, meaning the infamous "save or sucks" are more likely to succeed, and thus far more useful.

You wind up in a situation where blasting becomes sub-optimal. Now, comparing it to straight melee (Wizards made other choices that damaged that, most notably the reduction in BAB for iterative attacks, and multiple attacks requiring a full round action), it's still better in the short run (until your spells run out... and with wands, that can be a while), but it doesn't match up to saves or sucks, which tend to last for a while in their annoyance factor.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 04:54 PM
{Scrubbed}

Diamondeye
2009-07-21, 05:15 PM
Actually, if we consider a blasting spell like fireball to be roughly the D&D equivalent of a D&D mortar or cannon artillery attack using High Explosives (HE), it is sort of a form of battlefield control. Real artillery has fire missions such as Suppression and Immediate Suppression which are more about controlling the enemy (forcing him to react to the artillery by moving or taking cover) than about doing damage, even though they can do damage in the process. Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) is an even more important form; it allows helicopter assaults and Close Air Support attacks (CAS) to proceed unmolested by enemy air defenses (at least, that's the idea).

If the wizard is (very roughly) like artillery, he also has other options such as Family of Scatterable Mines (FASCAM), Smoke, Illumination, etc. which have more significant controlling effects, but a fireball can be a form of control in the sense of making an enemy adapt to it - possibly forcing them to spread out, expend healing resources if they have it, etc.

This analogy is pretty loose, of course, and fireball is far from the be-all end-all spell, but it has its uses. It also has really long range.

Oslecamo
2009-07-21, 05:25 PM
HP goes up, damage remains static, means that which is causing damage decreases in utility. Add in new spells which act better (by being ranged touch attacks instead of saves, having better damage or a nice side-effect), and fireballs further decrease in utility. For the coup de grace, throw in that saving throws against higher level spells are harder to make, meaning the infamous "save or sucks" are more likely to succeed, and thus far more useful.


And then WOTC invented new ways to increase your saves, metamagic and metamagic reducers.

I DMd a 18th level gestalt campaign in this forums, with plenty of optimized characters, and you know what hapened?

Everybody had such high defenses, immunities and saves that SoD spells were wasted turns, the gargantuan clericzilla on steroids was having trouble hiting the main monster, and in return the empowered shivering touch the main monster shot back bounced off the party's protections.

And then comes the succubbus-sorceror blaster, and literally all hell broke loose. The suport mobs? Wiped out by pure damage where before they were giving the clericzilla and totemist with a bazillion attacks per turn an hard time taking down. The main monster? He still managed to eat some blasts to the face, but the fact that each blast was still dealing damage (while the save or dies bounced off of his insane saves and immunities), combined with spell resistance penetration suport and force/sonic damage spells, meant the blaster ended up doing most of the worck in that battle.

And she managed to do this thanks to stacking of several metamagic reducers to greatly increase the damage output of her spells.

Really, in the end pure damage is the only thing you can't escape in D&D.

quick_comment
2009-07-21, 05:30 PM
Fireball isnt even the best blasting spell of its level.

Scintillating sphere is exactly the same, but has a damage type that is less commonly resisted.


And Diamond Eye, you cant do any sort of suppression with fireball. Artillery fire works because its not instantenous. Fireball has no staying power. If you want suppressive fire, you should be firing stinking clouds or webs or solid fogs.

quick_comment
2009-07-21, 05:37 PM
Really, in the end pure damage is the only thing you can't escape in D&D.

Really? Because there are some very simple ways to become basically immune to damage. Starmantle, immunity to elements, greater ironguard, dispelling armor. Immune to weapons that can be dispelled by a +20 dispel check, immune to all elemental damage.

Or polymorphing into a troll, and becoming immune to fire and acid. Damage, lol.


If you want to abuse metamagic stacking, you can do that with save or dies and have twinned split save or die of your choice. Even if they only fail on a natural 1, thats a 18% chance of killing them.

If you optimize, you can get a save DC in the 60s or so. Thats almost certainly something they pass on a natural 20, which is an almost miniscule chance when you are tossing out twinned split SoD ray of your choice.

InkEyes
2009-07-21, 05:46 PM
I didn't say a thing about "blaster builds" which I think are a horrible idea (imo).

So, wait... you praise the most notable blasting spell in the game, while at the same time say you hate builds that specialize in the sort of massive damage you say is "THE BEST Battlefield Control" (or "not the be-all-end-all" depending on what section of your posts are quoted)? What exactly are you hoping to accomplish here? Saying blasting is the best, but builds that make blasting good is kind of counter-intuitive.


Actually, if we consider a blasting spell like fireball to be roughly the D&D equivalent of a D&D mortar or cannon artillery attack using High Explosives (HE), it is sort of a form of battlefield control.

The problem with this idea is the comparatively limited scope of Fireball's effect on the actual terrain of the battlefield. It's effect is a massive wave of fire, and sure, that will spark other fires in a flammable area, but a real mortar will explode with concussive force and leave behind a massive crater. If fireball included effects like this, it might be more interesting. At the very least it'd be more effective against objects that resist fire, but are crippled by sonic damage. Unfortunately this isn't the case.

Logalmier
2009-07-21, 05:48 PM
Hooray! It's back up!

*Looks up and sees a huge argument about Fireball raging around him*

Sorry. Please, don't mind me.:smalleek:

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-07-21, 06:13 PM
Although fireball has its uses, I would hardly call it "the best" at its level. Stinking Cloud, Web, Widened Glitterdust, Deep slumber, and Nauseating Breath are surely at least as good as fireball in most situations, and better in some.

You forgot Slow.

Will save, but NOT mind-affecting, which explots HUGE vulnerabilities on most 'mooks'. In the end, it will likely affect FAR more mooks than a Fireball will, because it isn't limited to a cramped 10'x10' sphere, and mooks are not typically noted for their Will saves.

If anything, I would say that Slow is the best 3rd level spell a Wizard can have, because it will be most effective against the same targets that a Fireball is, against more targets, and is more likely to hamper the opponents than a mere fraction of their HP total. It also keeps the opponents from hurting your party, because they have to choose between movement OR a single standard action (rather than a full-round attack progression). This makes it stupidly simple for the party members to crush them in detail.

When you combine it with Haste, I'd say there could be no better combination of spells a 5th level Wizard might prepare.

In fact, when you consider the additional damage the beatsticks are dishing out from the extra attack granted by Haste, it's almost always going to be more damaging than a Fireball.

Doc Roc
2009-07-21, 06:27 PM
Hooray! It's back up!

*Looks up and sees a huge argument about Fireball raging around him*

Sorry. Please, don't mind me.:smalleek:

It's okay! I was pretty excited to see it reposted too, and I'll take any bumps this thread can get.

Jansviper
2009-07-21, 06:36 PM
Not only is it back up, but with added content! Score.

And Fireball is a trash spell that you will cast a handful of times in your adventuring career. Everyone likes it, everyone wants to cast it, and then they finally DO cast it and its like... wait, what? Anything above CR 5 will make its save when you want it to least, above CR 7 on a good day, above CR 10 almost constantly. Not to mention fire resistance and/or immunity being one of the most common things out there.

Your silly optimized builds will rarely see the light of play, do try and actually get some actual gaming experience (instead of 20/20 gesalt WOOO! games that rarely get past the first act) before you argue that something so bad is good.

Honestly, who here actually has raised a caster from infancy to high levels and still considers fireball good?

Drakyn
2009-07-21, 07:04 PM
I maintain that the main problem that blasters have is that their damage has remained more or less the same since 1978, while most other people have gotten various boosts. A 5th level fireball does 5d6 damage. Has since 1978, and likely earlier. On the other hand, starting in 2001, almost everything got more HP... in some cases, it was due to increases in HD size (from a standard d8 to occasional d10s or d12s), or due to the presence of Con bonuses for everything's HP.

HP goes up, damage remains static, means that which is causing damage decreases in utility. Add in new spells which act better (by being ranged touch attacks instead of saves, having better damage or a nice side-effect), and fireballs further decrease in utility. For the coup de grace, throw in that saving throws against higher level spells are harder to make, meaning the infamous "save or sucks" are more likely to succeed, and thus far more useful.

You wind up in a situation where blasting becomes sub-optimal. Now, comparing it to straight melee (Wizards made other choices that damaged that, most notably the reduction in BAB for iterative attacks, and multiple attacks requiring a full round action), it's still better in the short run (until your spells run out... and with wands, that can be a while), but it doesn't match up to saves or sucks, which tend to last for a while in their annoyance factor.

I'd never really thought about it like that, but it makes loads of sense. I'd always wondered about the blaster=bad thing in 3rd, because the first D&D I ever saw was my aunt's old 1st edition stuff.

Yukitsu
2009-07-21, 07:05 PM
I might get a wand of it if I absolutely had to deal with mooks and didn't want to save resources yet waste time by rolling hundreds of attack rolls with my spear, as yes, a wizard does in fact have melee attacks if he wants to use them.

Draz74
2009-07-21, 07:09 PM
Honestly, who here actually has raised a caster from infancy to high levels and still considers fireball good?

Talk to Saph.

GoatToucher
2009-07-21, 07:50 PM
{Scrubbed}

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-07-21, 08:06 PM
{Scrubbed}

Jade_Tarem
2009-07-21, 08:27 PM
Honestly, who here actually has raised a caster from infancy to high levels and still considers fireball good?

*Raises Hand*

Not because it's OMG TEH HAXXORZ - there are many better spells, but because of what it really is.

Fireball is the classic standby. Yes, web ends harder encounters. Haste is more useful to the party. Fly would be a better choice any day of the week in terms of survivability. Fireball, though, is the spell that never gets old. It's the quintessential wizard spell - the spell where you do damage in a way that can't be reproduced no matter how crazy the barbarian's build is, until supreme cleave enters the picture, anyway.

The thing to keep in mind is that DnD is a nerdy game. It's a nerd game invented for nerds, and played by nerds with other nerds. And of all the classes, the wizard is the nerdiest nerd of them all.

Think for a moment about what a wizard is. He's a nerd who studies real hard and uses his nerd powers to beat up on big, burly guys who would have nothing to fear from our wizard in real life. Tell me with a straight face that you haven't wished, just once in your life, for the ability to set jerks on fire at a distance. Then you see fireball, which combines that wish fulfillment with a great big explosion, and stuff blows up. It's freakin' awesome.

So no, mechanically, Fireball will likely not be your best bet, without heavy build modification (you can make it better, trust me!), but personally, I hope we never run out of fireballs. DnD would be a lot smaller without the party having the ability to blow up a tavern at level 5.

Also, this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myELslegQvI)

imperialspectre
2009-07-21, 08:30 PM
[Edit: I'll say it again: you guys are being kind of jerky. Your opinion is not -so- right that you need to be a grouchy-gus about fireball not being good, not being okay, not being occasionally useful, but BAD BAD ALL THE TIME BAD <aneurysm>!

Settle the heck down. Sheesh!]


Okay, let's break this down. Fireball is only useful if (1) you're hitting a group of enemies, who (2) don't have Evasion, and who (3) are far enough below your level that they're either going to die in one casting or they can't pose a significant threat in the first couple rounds.

Now, the first condition (large gang of mooks) means that a whole bunch of level-appropriate encounters aren't going to accommodate a Fireball (at least, outside of very specific games).

The second condition is less common, but still makes Fireball a very bad choice of spell (you should be targeting Fort, with a Stinking Cloud or Cloudkill, Will, with Slow or Fear or heck, even Deep Slumber, or dropping a Haste on your teammates and watching them carve through the bad guys).

The third condition is the most damning of all. If the mooks are going to die in one casting, you're either spending a ridiculous amount of resources on metamagic and CL buffs (and right around 5th to 8th level, because otherwise the damage cap kicks in), or they're so weak they're not remotely a threat that deserves you spending spell slots. If you're putting Arcane Thesis and a couple other feats on Fireball, you're a chump because a bunch of the time the spell won't work (see conditions 1 and 2), and if the enemy isn't a threat that justifies a 3rd-level spell you shouldn't be casting a 3rd-level spell.

Now, if you're playing Red Hand of Doom (or some other campaign where the enemy is mostly a bunch of mooks), then Fireball could be okay. But then the enemies swarm you, and you probably don't have enough castings of big damage spells to last you...so you're still better off controlling the battlefield so that your teammates can kill the mooks.

Oh, and Saph's thing with Fireball wasn't that it's good for PCs, 'cause it's not. The argument was that Fireball can be effective against PCs, because ultimately HP damage is great at wearing them down. It's also good to use against PCs because HP damage doesn't initially take them out of the fight and is relatively easily restored after the encounter. Since the general idea of most campaigns is that the PCs eventually win, using truly optimal tactics against them probably isn't best. Also, in earlier levels, even if the PCs have good saves or Evasion, they're still going to take some level of damage, which can be effective at low levels (even if you only take down a fourth of their HP, that's still a threat to a small squad of elites).

Roland St. Jude
2009-07-21, 08:30 PM
<snip>

Sheriff of Moddingham: Not only was this thread too old for resurrecting, it seems to have devolved into a flame war. Thread locked. Don't restart it.