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The Glyphstone
2009-04-10, 11:48 AM
What sort of personal defenses can a mid-high level wizard muster without the use of illusions? Most of the key strategies I know involve Mirror Image, Invisibility, Blur, Blink, etc., but the game I'm in has, effectively, given a constant True Seeing effect to every major antagonist/boss we'll be encountering, thus negating said protections (as well as a vast majority of my combat ability since I'm an Illusionist...good thing I had already finished Shadowcraft Mage before this little bombshell was dropped). What's a poor squishy wizard to do?

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-10, 12:10 PM
Make them not want to hit you or get close to you. Karmic Aura/Backlash forces daze/weakness effect. Symbol of Weakness on your forehead is nice, too. Fire Shield, Acid Sheath for the damage. Repulsion prevents them from getting close.

If you want an evasive defence instead of backlash defence, polymorph into something really small (as in Fine) for a +8 to AC and attacks and +32 to hide and move silently in addition to anything else the polymorph gives. Then you can hide any time you want because the grass gives you cover. Having a fly spell on makes sure you got a decent speed despite the size change. Watch out for others' stepping on you though.

If you want to be tough, Empyreal Ecstacy + Starmantle. You'll only get 1/4 damage from all attacks.

aje8
2009-04-10, 12:15 PM
Flying mostly. Even at the higher levels, flying away from everything is suprisingly effective. Even those things that can fly (which isn't all that many) can't keep up with you often. If your DM keeps throwing fast, Flying, true-sighted BBEGs at you, then you have a problem.

mostlyharmful
2009-04-10, 12:18 PM
flight and a ring of invis goes a long way, stoneskin, Alter self and mage armour are also good.

Illusion has some of the best self protections though so don't be too surprised if you do lose a bit of protection. That is unless you want to start playing with cheese like scrolls of Astral Projection and Magic Jar efffects.

Keld Denar
2009-04-10, 12:20 PM
The (Greater) Blink spells are not illusions, but are 1/2 defeated by True Seeing. You would have 20% miss chance against a foe with TS, although you would not be protected by a foe who can normally affect Ethereal creatures, such as one with [Force] attacks or Transdimensional effects.

You could Shadow Illusion up a Contingency. It doesn't cost you anything since its not really contingency. Rig one up to encapsule you in a Shadowed Resiliant Sphere if you get hit. You can disbelieve (its your own spell) at any point to walk out of it if you need to cast spells.

Can't think of too much outside of that. Hope it helps though!

EDIT:

Flying mostly. Even at the higher levels, flying away from everything is suprisingly effective. Even those things that can fly (which isn't all that many) can't keep up with you often. If your DM keeps throwing fast, Flying, true-sighted BBEGs at you, then you have a problem.

Flying isn't a defense that ScMs can really take advantage of, since 9/10 of their spells rely on Earth Spell + Heighten Spell, and Earth Spell only functions when you are touching the ground. There are cheesy ways around this, from filling your shoes with dirt to setting a thin sliver of worked stone on top of a carpet of flying, but most DMs are gonna hang you out to dry if you try to lawyer yourself out of one of the ScM's very very very few weakenesses...

Zaq
2009-04-10, 12:41 PM
Try to find a way to go ethereal. They can still see you, but unless they have force effects, they'll have a hard time hitting you.

If you're willing to blow a few XP, ask your GM if Limited Wish can copy the shadow magic mystery Flicker. It's like the Abrupt Jaunt ACF for Conjurers only better, and true seeing doesn't matter. Since it costs XP to use Limited Wish, you won't want to use this every encounter, but it's very powerful when you really need it. I wouldn't ask for the ability to research a spell version of it, though, because that's simply too powerful in my book and your GM will probably smack it down (it's one of the few really unique and powerful things Shadowcasters get, and it's at the end of a pretty lame path, so there's a really high cost associated with getting it), but he (or she) might allow it to be duplicated with Limited Wish.

You can try to hide behind walls of force and similar cover, then use spells that don't require direct line of effect, like summons.

Also, dispels are great fun. If you can get rid of their True Seeing, you're golden.

Myou
2009-04-10, 01:02 PM
If you want an evasive defence instead of backlash defence, polymorph into something really small (as in Fine) for a +8 to AC and attacks and +32 to hide and move silently in addition to anything else the polymorph gives. Then you can hide any time you want because the grass gives you cover. Having a fly spell on makes sure you got a decent speed despite the size change. Watch out for others' stepping on you though.

I belive it's +16, not +32. :3

Chronos
2009-04-10, 01:44 PM
Try to find a way to go ethereal. They can still see you, but unless they have force effects, they'll have a hard time hitting you.Yes, but even with force effects, you can't do anything to them.

And Limited Wish should be able to replicate Flicker, based on the "...or effects of similar power" clause in Limited Wish. A shadow mystery is an effect of similar power to a spell of the same level.

Myrmex
2009-04-10, 02:27 PM
True Seeing only works for 60ft out, so if you are more than 60ft away, you are still invisible, mirror imaged, cloaked in shadow, etc.


You could Shadow Illusion up a Contingency. It doesn't cost you anything since its not really contingency. Rig one up to encapsule you in a Shadowed Resiliant Sphere if you get hit. You can disbelieve (its your own spell) at any point to walk out of it if you need to cast spells.

If your DM lets you continue to believe in something you know is illusory. Good luck with that. I can see some problems with that.



There are cheesy ways around this, from filling your shoes with dirt to setting a thin sliver of worked stone on top of a carpet of flying, but most DMs are gonna hang you out to dry if you try to lawyer yourself out of one of the ScM's very very very few weakenesses...

But Pelor, what a weakness it is. Anything that makes you have to hang out on the ground with the rest of the beatsticks is dangerous.

The other weakness is travel to planes non-overlapping with the plane of shadow. Your only work around is planar bubble (7th level spell) and being from the plane of shadow. Dark creature template or the collar of umbral darkness would both work, but they're from Tome of Magic. I can sense DM resistance, as that collar is steal at 10k, and another 10% to your spell efficacy is really solid.

Other than those two, you've got the spell slots of a sorcerer, but much, much greater spontaneity, and the spell selection of a wizard.

Radar
2009-04-10, 02:34 PM
Maybe some more proactive defence: Forceful Hand and other in line. Bullrushing one enemy per round is quite nice unless you are swarmed, but then any sculpted battlefield-controll spell will do the work.

Apart from that Contingency is your best friend.

Keld Denar
2009-04-10, 02:57 PM
If your DM lets you continue to believe in something you know is illusory. Good luck with that. I can see some problems with that.


You don't have to believe it. You know its not real. But the big bad thing with claws and teeth trying to rend you limb from limb doesn't (hopefully!). So, you can just hang out in there until it turns its attention elsewhere, and then walk through it (the same way you'd walk through an illusionary Wall of Stone), cast more killing spells, and hope you win the encounter before it turns back on you. Reset your Contingency as a standard action (yup, speeding up spells is a bonus!) and continue along your merry way.

If you can get your quasireality high enough, as well, it won't matter if a monster disbelieves your Resiliant Sphere, since it'll still be effectively 70-80% real or so. Thats 70-80% miss chance, if you ask me, or more if you can hit that 100% high point!

Quick Maths: Resiliant Sphere is a 6th level spell, so you are effectively casting a 7th level spell which is 70% real on its own. Add in ScMs +20% quasireality and you are at 90%, and that feat Enhanced Shadow Reality brings you to 110% real, meaning that to everyone else but you, its as real as a non-shadow Resiliant Sphere. If they disagree with you, introduce them to your 140% real Earth Elemental Monolith. Adds new meaning to the term "More Human than a Human"
[/RobZombie]

Myrmex
2009-04-10, 02:59 PM
Go first in fights. Prepare Nerveskitter (SpC), and just buy some pearls of powers. You only need 1/encounter, so 4k should do you for the rest of time.

woodenbandman
2009-04-10, 03:01 PM
But a shadowcraft mage has no need to fly when he has his illusions.

He is:

Greater Invisible( but maybe he's not)
Blink'd (to protect vs. AoE and vs. See Invisibility)
Mirror Imaged (again to protect vs See Invisibility)
Has his own miss chance as part of his class features.
Has an Invisible Spell(Cityscape) Prismatic Sphere surrounding him

Has a Projected, Blinking, Invisible image that casts mirror image on itself and then casts all its spells from it (Project Image, SRD), including any shadow conjured spells you might want to cast (since they are illusion spells now). Even with true seeing, the SCM still has a Prismatic Sphere. He's not going anywhere.

Myrmex
2009-04-10, 03:02 PM
You don't have to believe it. You know its not real. But the big bad thing with claws and teeth trying to rend you limb from limb doesn't (hopefully!). So, you can just hang out in there until it turns its attention elsewhere, and then walk through it (the same way you'd walk through an illusionary Wall of Stone), cast more killing spells, and hope you win the encounter before it turns back on you. Reset your Contingency as a standard action (yup, speeding up spells is a bonus!) and continue along your merry way.

If you can get your quasireality high enough, as well, it won't matter if a monster disbelieves your Resiliant Sphere, since it'll still be effectively 70-80% real or so. Thats 70-80% miss chance, if you ask me, or more if you can hit that 100% high point!

Quick Maths: Resiliant Sphere is a 6th level spell, so you are effectively casting a 7th level spell which is 70% real on its own. Add in ScMs +20% quasireality and you are at 90%, and that feat Enhanced Shadow Reality brings you to 110% real, meaning that to everyone else but you, its as real as a non-shadow Resiliant Sphere. If they disagree with you, introduce them to your 140% real Earth Elemental Monolith. Adds new meaning to the term "More Human than a Human"
[/RobZombie]

Ohhhh, you meant Resilient Sphere as a Shadow spell. TOTALLY missed what you meant.

Keld Denar
2009-04-10, 03:04 PM
It is an Evocation, right? Who ACTUALLY casts real evocations? I mean, come on...don't insult my intelligence!

:P

AmberVael
2009-04-10, 03:04 PM
True Seeing only works for 60ft out, so if you are more than 60ft away, you are still invisible, mirror imaged, cloaked in shadow, etc.
Actually...

The range of true seeing conferred is 120 feet.
That's substantially larger and more difficult to contend with.

The Glyphstone
2009-04-10, 03:18 PM
But a shadowcraft mage has no need to fly when he has his illusions.

He is:

Greater Invisible( but maybe he's not)
Blink'd (to protect vs. AoE and vs. See Invisibility)
Mirror Imaged (again to protect vs See Invisibility)
Has his own miss chance as part of his class features.
Has an Invisible Spell(Cityscape) Prismatic Sphere surrounding him

Has a Projected, Blinking, Invisible image that casts mirror image on itself and then casts all its spells from it (Project Image, SRD), including any shadow conjured spells you might want to cast (since they are illusion spells now). Even with true seeing, the SCM still has a Prismatic Sphere. He's not going anywhere.

Prismatic Sphere still blocks line of effect, though.

Myrmex
2009-04-10, 03:30 PM
Actually...

That's substantially larger and more difficult to contend with.

Doh. I thought I fixed that. I remember thinking "I should double check this," and I did, and then saw 120' and was like "ok, nevermind, this is totally bogus advice."

I'm not sure what happened. :smallfrown:

Berserk Monk
2009-04-10, 04:34 PM
Most of the wizards I've made dropped illusion and they all turned out fine (although, I was an evoker and just nuked the crap out of everything). If there's a bard in the party, you definitely don't need it.

Chronos
2009-04-10, 07:14 PM
If your quasireality is high enough that the monsters can't just ignore your resilient sphere, then you can't, either. OK, so you disbelieve your own sphere; you can do that. But you still only have a 30% chance (at most) of being able to walk through it.

Keld Denar
2009-04-10, 07:25 PM
A ha, except that a Shadowed Resilient Sphere has SR (all shadowed spells do) and since you are never hindered by your own spells when you have SR, you should be able to walk straight through it. Then you just have to get SR. A +1 enhancement bonus on a Mithril Buckler will suffice.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure a cleric who cast Spell Resistance never has to check his SR to cast Heal on himself, right?

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-10, 07:53 PM
It's the other way around; your own spells always bypass your spell resistance.

BTW, everyone misses this;

Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect.
So if they disbelieve your sphere? They and their attacks pass through it. At the same time, if you disbelieve your own contingency, it doesn't work. And I don't think the DM will allow you not to disbelieve when you know the spell is an illusion.

Jack_Simth
2009-04-10, 07:56 PM
If your quasireality is high enough that the monsters can't just ignore your resilient sphere, then you can't, either. OK, so you disbelieve your own sphere; you can do that. But you still only have a 30% chance (at most) of being able to walk through it.
Fun bit: if you check the Shadow Evocation spell, it says:

"Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect."

Which means the caster can walk straight through it (not needing the save, and not needing to roll a percentile), but doing so triggers the "proof it's an illusion" clause (at least, for anyone who has enough spellcraft to know the caster can't walk through his own Sphere).

ericgrau
2009-04-10, 08:04 PM
Resilient sphere is a good backup spell. Staying in the back so it takes a move action (or two) and a soaked AoO to reach you also helps, of course. Gloves of arrow snatching can help against ranged attacks. Battlefield control spells - like barriers and area debuffs - can reduce the damage enemies do to everyone. If placed right, you might be able to favor yourself even more.

Boosting AC at high levels isn't a lost cause, even for wizards. A ring of protection +2 (8k), amulet of natural armor +2 (8k), monk's belt (13k) and dusty rose prims ioun stone (5k) adds 6-8ish points for 34k gold. Add 14 + dex bonus using mage armor to get 20-24. Assuming a +15 or so attack bonus for a CR 10ish monster, you got yourself a 30%-ish miss chance. That's better than a cloak of minor displacement's 20%, which sells for 24k. At higher levels you just boost the first two items further and improve your wisdom as well. Eventually you get greater mage armor or bracers of armor too.

Talking with your DM about engineering enemies a wee bit too strongly against players' weaknesses helps too. I mean, having a friendly cleric with see invisibility? Getting easy counters to mirror image like multiple ranged attacks to eliminate them? (their AC is poor, so nearly every attack hits) Adding 20 to the spot or listen DC to find out which square an invisible creatue is in? Blindfight to negate melee sneak attacks from invisible creatures? Yeah, all those I can see for smart high level bosses. They have been around a while after all. But true seeing for all? Come on. I think that's just a DM who's lazy, mean and/or doesn't know what to do to provide an interesting challenge. Instead of just saying, "Um, oh crud, well you fail just because."

The Glyphstone
2009-04-10, 10:16 PM
I've tried, it's useless, because he thinks he has IC justification. It's actually the Shackled City adventure path in the Cauldron, and he's apparently "promoted" a number of the major antagonists with the Smoking Eye template that gives constant True Seeing (two of the party members also have said template, and he's added the traits of DvR 0 for some bizzare reason). We basically kill any nonthreatening mook fights in cutscenes to save time, so the only fights we actually play out are the minibosses and bosses.

Did I mention that he's also houseruled True Seeing to bypass my Shadow Blend, and said that Abyssal energies allow the Smoking Eye to ignore Nondetection?:smallconfused:

Myrmex
2009-04-11, 11:33 AM
Fun bit: if you check the Shadow Evocation spell, it says:

"Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect."

Which means the caster can walk straight through it (not needing the save, and not needing to roll a percentile), but doing so triggers the "proof it's an illusion" clause (at least, for anyone who has enough spellcraft to know the caster can't walk through his own Sphere).

What if you make your spellcraft check to know that he's casting shadow evocation, then see resilient sphere go up?

Dr_Horrible
2009-04-11, 12:45 PM
What if you make your spellcraft check to know that he's casting shadow evocation, then see resilient sphere go up?

But he's not casting it. It's a contingency going off and causing the sphere to appear. So no spellcraft.

(Also, it's mostly for loser Bears and stuff, big dumb brutes with no spellcraft ranks.)

Myrmex
2009-04-11, 02:16 PM
But he's not casting it. It's a contingency going off and causing the sphere to appear. So no spellcraft.

(Also, it's mostly for loser Bears and stuff, big dumb brutes with no spellcraft ranks.)

I meant any shadow evocation or conjuration; not just resilient spheres on contingency (DC 30 to recognize).

BlueWizard
2009-04-11, 02:18 PM
The BlueWizard just uses his book of All-Spells... oh wait you don't have that? Hmmm...

Keld Denar
2009-04-11, 02:35 PM
I meant any shadow evocation or conjuration; not just resilient spheres on contingency (DC 30 to recognize).

Actually...its ScMs Shadow Illusion ability. Thus, its only a Silent Image. Even heightened, it still has a spellcraft check to ID based off the base spell, which is level 1.

Good luck counterspelling it with anything other than Silent Image though...It would effectively be a 7th level spell, which means it gets +7 to CL making the DC ~33 for a 15th level caster, disregarding any other misc CL buffs. Thats out of the reach of a regular Dispel Magic, and even a CL20 GDM would need a 13 or higher to counter...

ScMs are brutal to counterspell.

Myrmex
2009-04-11, 02:47 PM
Actually...its ScMs Shadow Illusion ability. Thus, its only a Silent Image. Even heightened, it still has a spellcraft check to ID based off the base spell, which is level 1.

Good luck counterspelling it with anything other than Silent Image though...It would effectively be a 7th level spell, which means it gets +7 to CL making the DC ~33 for a 15th level caster, disregarding any other misc CL buffs. Thats out of the reach of a regular Dispel Magic, and even a CL20 GDM would need a 13 or higher to counter...

ScMs are brutal to counterspell.

Spellcraft (Int; Trained Only)

Use this skill to identify spells as they are cast or spells already in place.
Check

You can identify spells and magic effects. The DCs for Spellcraft checks relating to various tasks are summarized on the table below.
Spellcraft DC Task
13 When using read magic, identify a glyph of warding. No action required.
15 + spell level Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spellís verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.
15 + spell level Learn a spell from a spellbook or scroll (wizard only). No retry for that spell until you gain at least 1 rank in Spellcraft (even if you find another source to try to learn the spell from). Requires 8 hours.
15 + spell level Prepare a spell from a borrowed spellbook (wizard only). One try per day. No extra time required.
15 + spell level When casting detect magic, determine the school of magic involved in the aura of a single item or creature you can see. (If the aura is not a spell effect, the DC is 15 + one-half caster level.) No action required.
19 When using read magic, identify a symbol. No action required.
20 + spell level Identify a spell thatís already in place and in effect. You must be able to see or detect the effects of the spell. No action required. No retry.
20 + spell level Identify materials created or shaped by magic, such as noting that an iron wall is the result of a wall of iron spell. No action required. No retry.
20 + spell level Decipher a written spell (such as a scroll) without using read magic. One try per day. Requires a full-round action.
25 + spell level After rolling a saving throw against a spell targeted on you, determine what that spell was. No action required. No retry.
25 Identify a potion. Requires 1 minute. No retry.
20 Draw a diagram to allow dimensional anchor to be cast on a magic circle spell. Requires 10 minutes. No retry. This check is made secretly so you do not know the result.
30 or higher Understand a strange or unique magical effect, such as the effects of a magic stream. Time required varies. No retry.

Keld Denar
2009-04-11, 04:44 PM
Eh, I always figured that was for crazy stuff, like a Mythal, or a Wild Magic zone or whatnot, not a class feature for a random PrC. Regardless, its still a 1st level spell when you ID it. You wouldn't know what spell its emulating until it was tooooooo late.

And anyway, from your own quote:


<snip>15 + spell level Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spellís verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.
<snip>

ScMs automatically Silent and Still all of their illusion spells after a certain point. No components means no counterspelling outside of special magical effects (like Battlemagic Perception or a Ring of Greater Counterspells/Spellbattle)

Chronos
2009-04-11, 05:00 PM
Quoth Jack_Smith:
Fun bit: if you check the Shadow Evocation spell, it says:

"Nondamaging effects have normal effects except against those who disbelieve them. Against disbelievers, they have no effect."Ah, I must have been getting it mixed up with Shadow Conjuration.

Quoth Keld Denar:
Thus, its only a Silent Image. Even heightened, it still has a spellcraft check to ID based off the base spell, which is level 1.Are you sure about that? Heighten changes the level of the spell for all purposes, and doesn't say anything about an exception for Spellcraft checks.

Fizban
2009-04-11, 05:19 PM
From the looks of it, I agree that the more passive miss chances are mostly illusion, and as such you lose those if you don't have it. There is a spell in the Spell Compendium (Shadow Phase?) that is basically displacement but with transmutation and "shifting part of yourself to another plane" instead of moving your image. I find it much more awesome for both reasons.

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-11, 06:07 PM
I wonder... if you get a dozen eversmoking bottles (or similar) and then get goggles of x-ray vision, what happens?

The Glyphstone
2009-04-11, 06:16 PM
Massive amounts of CON damage?:smallconfused:

Unless you're a construct....or undead...or have Sheltered Vitality...or bound Naberius...

Belial_the_Leveler
2009-04-11, 06:27 PM
Or you polymorph into something immune to CON damage which you should be doing anyway.

Myrmex
2009-04-11, 08:15 PM
Eh, I always figured that was for crazy stuff, like a Mythal, or a Wild Magic zone or whatnot, not a class feature for a random PrC. Regardless, its still a 1st level spell when you ID it. You wouldn't know what spell its emulating until it was tooooooo late.

And anyway, from your own quote:


ScMs automatically Silent and Still all of their illusion spells after a certain point. No components means no counterspelling outside of special magical effects (like Battlemagic Perception or a Ring of Greater Counterspells/Spellbattle)

I guess what I'm saying is; why make a will save vs. continuous shadow effects when you can make a spellcraft check instead? Though as Dr. Horrible points out, big dumbs aren't going to be making those checks.

The Glyphstone
2009-04-11, 08:26 PM
Or you polymorph into something immune to CON damage which you should be doing anyway.

What can you turn into via Polymorph that is immune to CON damage? Constructs/undead are both in the realm of Shapechange, and I can't think of any specific monsters that are immune to ability damage besides the Tarrasque (who can't even be Shapechanged into).