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Heliomance
2009-05-07, 11:14 AM
What classes are recommended in Epic and beyond for full casters? Specifically, a Wiz15/Archmage5? It's not an "Epic ready" build, as Wizard is not maxed out, but without the bonus feats for the Epic Wizard, is there really any point in taking those last 5 levels? Is there even any point in taking a casting PrC, as long as whatever is chosen has Spellcraft as a class skill for those Epic spellcasting shenanigans?

Gorbash
2009-05-07, 12:18 PM
Well that question is a bit vague.

What kind of spellcaster? Conjurer? Transmuter? Blaster?

You should first optimize non-epic levels, and after you get Epic Spellcasting, no further optimization is needed.

Douglas
2009-05-07, 12:25 PM
In my experience there are two main approaches to selection of classes in epic: lots and lots of dips, cherry picking one special ability after another from various PrCs; or take a single class (usually a PrC) and go all out for epic bonus feats. For the latter option, the list of bonus feats available to the class must match with the kind of character you're building, so going into Fighter won't work for a non-gish caster. Full caster progression is a desirable thing for epic PrCs despite the lack of continued spell progression for two reasons: many things do continue to improve based on caster level (resistance to dispels can be very important in my experience), and full caster classes are much more likely to have lots of good caster feats on their bonus lists.

Edit: Unless you abuse mitigation to a degree very few DMs will ever allow, Epic Spellcasting is not so all powerful as to make other optimization irrelevant. I speak from personal experience with several high epic characters.

Crow
2009-05-07, 12:47 PM
Unfortunately, most spells that depend on caster level have a hard cap to their capabilities, and even resistance to dispelling is not a compelling enough reason to continue gaining caster levels after 20. One Mordenkainen's Disjunction will still wipe out all of your magical buffs and effects. The use of this spell increases in epic from what I've seen, as the saves (Saves scale faster than save DC's) of creatures begin to climb so high as to protect the gear they're carrying from becoming dis-enchanted. If characters are still worried about it, they can easily sculp the area of the spell to exclude certain creatures and areas (like the big treasure chest in the corner!).

The only classes that I've seen to benefit from gaining continues "caster" levels are the psionic ones. A Psion can continue to increase his manifester level to allow himself to use more power points in augmentable powers. Even this can be sub-optimal though, as his power points do not increase after level 20, so augmenting the crap out of all his powers is going to be very costly.

Douglas
2009-05-07, 01:00 PM
One Mordenkainen's Disjunction will still wipe out all of your magical buffs and effects.
Not if you have an epic ward against it, which is one of the top priorities of every epic caster I've ever made or seen made that I thought was any good. AMF gets the same treatment. If you want to dispel a well made epic caster's buffs, you will have to make a check.

Godskook
2009-05-07, 01:04 PM
You're starting in epic? If so, Druid 3/Wiz 3/Mystic Theurge 4/Arcane Heirophant 10+ is one of the most solid choices. Immediate access to epic spell slots and 3 times as many. 2 full spell systems at level 23 if you take 13 levels of AH. Wildshape as a druid of 7 levels lower than your current HD. Arcane casting in medium armor. A familiar-esque animal companion that has only 4 missed levels of animal companion progression at the cost of 1 additional feat if you stay in Druid or AH after level 20, and has all the useful familiar abilities. Pre-epic, the build won't be your strongest, and it requires 3 feats(Able Learner, Natural Spell and Natural Bond. Practiced Spellcaster is an optional bonus, depending on starting level). Able Learner allows you to pretty much PrC as you choose, if you don't mind letting your druid class features slip after you get the last of your pre-epic slots.

Taking levels of a ToB class so that you can neutralize AMFs is probably a good idea too. You qualify to select it in one ToB level, as long as you take it after level 8.

The question is, how broken do you want to get? I'm sure someone can point out a more cheesy build than this, probably several, since this is a relatively tame way to break the system(Read: If you don't command more solars than any 2 LG greater deities, or if you haven't broken the game pre-epic, it qualifies as 'tame'.) and is rather chummy with RAI, except as noted below(and possibly that ToB part).

Be warned though, RAI conflicts with RAW on the # of epic spells you're casting. RAW only asks for 2 different types of spellcasting, but 3 different types of Knowledge, allowing any divine/arcane dual caster access to all 3 epic progressions with little extra effort. RAI would seem to indicate that Druid-style and Cleric-style casting are different, and one divine caster class shouldn't be enough to be able to cast what is effectively 2 sets of epic level slots. Your mileage may vary there. (Worst case, RAI still gives the above build 2 sets of epic slots).

Heliomance
2009-05-08, 04:07 PM
No, we're not starting Epic, we've just reached Epic. As for cheese level, it's a high powered game, but we don't particularly want to make the DM cry.

I'm the resident optimiser, and I'm actually playing a Diplomancer Bard with horrific Inspire Courage optimisation. This is a friend's character, who doesn't understand Epic that well. I'm not sure how best to optimise in Epic either, so I decided to come to the Playground for help.

Eldariel
2009-05-08, 04:41 PM
Well, epic casters tend to be fairly easy:
-You'll want Epic Spellcasting, although a straight Wizard has trouble getting the 9th level Divine casting to qualify for it more than once. Still, it's what enables all the wonderful epic wards, dispels and that so you really shouldn't leave home without it regardless of what amount of mitigation is allowed (if any).

-Multispell (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#multispell) is a wonderful feat, one you should fill most of your epic slots with. After that, you can either Automatic Quicken (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#automaticQuickenSpell) everything or pick enough Improved Spell Capacities (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/feats.htm#improvedSpellCapacity) to Quicken them yourself (the latter obviously caters for other metamagic as well, including Persisting stuff normally only the Incantatrix has access to).

For what it's worth, I prefer Improved Spell Capacity as it scales better. Basically, sticking to SR no spells, personal spells (teleportation, contingencies, the like), heavy duty dispelling, no-save effects and summoning are what works in epic; everything is like to have too high saves and too many immunities to be Save-or-Xd or killed with death effects or whatever.


You'll have to choose the class you want to advance and make heavy use of the few uncapped spells (Maw of Chaos, Gate, Wings of Flurry, et co.) and spells that don't have CL-dependent crap. Cosmic Descryer (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/prestigeClasses/cosmicDescryer.htm) is a fine Epic PrC if you have no epic progressions for normal classes to continue, for example (although mind the casting; it supercharges your Gates though). Agent Retriever (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/prestigeClasses/agentRetriever.htm) is a fine full casting PrC, although it has pesky prerequisites.

Wizard 15/Archmage 5 annoyingly lacks options for standard classes to take epic progression of, so the other option is really just cherrypicking everything you can think of. Otherwise you'll have to eat up those 5 dead Wizard-levels before you get Epic bonus spells. Although you could ask the DM to work an epic progression for Archmage, since...well, it does make sense and it's such an integral Wizard-class.

Chronos
2009-05-08, 09:24 PM
For what it's worth, I prefer Improved Spell Capacity as it scales better.Personally, I'd recommend taking it up to the highest level where you still have bonus slots. A wizard with 34 Int (18 starting, 5 level-up points, 5 from a tome, 6 from a headband) gets bonus spell slots up to level 12, so you'd want to take Improved Spell Capacity three times, each giving you two spell slots (of course, this can increase as your Int increases further in epic). After that point, each Improved Spell Capacity will only give you one slot, so it's worth less.

Eldariel
2009-05-08, 10:05 PM
Personally, I'd recommend taking it up to the highest level where you still have bonus slots. A wizard with 34 Int (18 starting, 5 level-up points, 5 from a tome, 6 from a headband) gets bonus spell slots up to level 12, so you'd want to take Improved Spell Capacity three times, each giving you two spell slots (of course, this can increase as your Int increases further in epic). After that point, each Improved Spell Capacity will only give you one slot, so it's worth less.

But by then you're so high in epic that you'll have extra increases, higher bonus items and so on. Oh, or an epic spell that gives you +20 insight, another one that gives you +20 luck and a third one that gives you +20 enhancement to Int. Either way, it's rare that you'd ever get enough Improved Spell Capacities to reach your limit, making 'em practically always worth it imho; the higher slots, the better.

Chronos
2009-05-09, 12:06 AM
Well, that gets into just what exactly your DM allows in terms of custom stat-boosters. I was just sticking to the tome and headband because those are things that you can pretty reliably count on.

tyckspoon
2009-05-09, 12:37 AM
Well, that gets into just what exactly your DM allows in terms of custom stat-boosters. I was just sticking to the tome and headband because those are things that you can pretty reliably count on.

's not really 'custom' if you're working with the Epic seeds; they indicate exactly how to create spells that use unusual bonus types. Takes a much higher Spellcraft DC, tho, which is pretty limiting if you're not using mitigation abuse. Still, the first thing you make should probably be a spell along these lines:
Expected reachable DC for a level 21 wizard, assuming no [skill] boosting items: 24 ranks+ take 10 + minimum 10 Int bonus= 44.
Epic Fox's Cunning
Base DC: 17
Casting Time: 10 minutes (DC mitigation: -18 [9 applications of 'increase casting time over 1 minute base])
Range: Touch (no DC mod; can change to Personal for another -2, but you may want to cast it on somebody else. Like your Divine party friend who probably doesn't have Int as a focus stat and could use the boost for his own Epic Owl's Wisdom.)
Duration: 80 hours (3 uses of 'Increase duration 100%' for +6 DC. 3 and 1/3 days, so you can prep other epic spells most days. It's pretty cheap to make it last longer, too, although you may have to settle for a lower end Int bonus.)

That's currently DC 5 for a +1 enhancement bonus. That leaves 39 usable DC to pump into more bonus, so you can get 19 more points of bonus with 1 leftover DC point you can't use. +20 Enhancement to Int that you can have up basically always. Costs only 387,00 compared to an Epic Headband +8's 640,000, too. That's +14 over a non-epic Headband, so your target Int given your figures is 48. Makes Improved Spell Capacity stay useful all the way out to 19th level spells if you stick with 'as long as you still get a bonus spell.'

Heliomance
2009-05-09, 08:02 AM
The guy has a crazy high Int, and my character with a crazy-high Cha has started taking levels in Marshal. Next level up, I get Motivate Intelligence. Also, I believe the DM's attitude to mitigation abuse is that it decreases the DC just fine, but research time and costs are based off the unmitigated DC.

Chronos
2009-05-09, 12:37 PM
's not really 'custom' if you're working with the Epic seeds; they indicate exactly how to create spells that use unusual bonus types.Quite the contrary: Everything in epic spellcasting, including the ones they list in the book, is custom, and they all need individual case-by-case approval from the DM.

Eldariel
2009-05-09, 02:06 PM
Well, that gets into just what exactly your DM allows in terms of custom stat-boosters. I was just sticking to the tome and headband because those are things that you can pretty reliably count on.

Even then, a +8 Headband should be available before ~27, which I think is the first level you can have 4 Improved Spell Capacities on. And 28 already sees you get an Int-increase fueling a 5th. And +10 should be affordable before you can get the 6th. My basic point is that your Int scales about as fast as Improved Spell Capacities (a bit slower, but it starts 3 points ahead) even without any magic to enhance it.