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View Full Version : Best Archmage SLAs? [3.5]



Kobold-Bard
2010-10-23, 02:29 PM
Basically what it says on the tin, what spells would you recommend for my Archmage to take as High Arcana?

Stick to the SRD because I'm too lazy to hunt through splat books for spells unless they're truly too awesome to miss.

I have 9th level spells so they can be of any level, and I have Extend, Empower & Quicken if metamagicked versions are the way to go.

Thanks in advance,
K-B

Psyren
2010-10-23, 02:41 PM
One of the chief advantages of the SLA is that any spell you choose loses the need for verbal and somatic components. That makes spells you would want to cast while grappled/pinned or in a silence zone, like Teleport, good candidates.

Eldan
2010-10-23, 02:43 PM
Spells you can be relatively sure you cast twice a day, otherwise, it's a waste of slots. Wish is nice, if you think you can get the 50'000 Xp back.

WinWin
2010-10-23, 02:46 PM
The no compenents can make corrupt/sanctified spells more desirable.

There are even a few spells that have a racial or type requirement, though AFB and can't remember if they are in the component line.

Eldan
2010-10-23, 02:48 PM
Basically, any spell with expensive components you think you'll cast more than ten times before the game is over is worth it.

Kobold-Bard
2010-10-23, 02:51 PM
Hmm...Wish. I could live with starting a level behind for Wish 2/day. I'll ask the DM. Cheers.

Already have G. Teleport & G. Plane Shift at-will otherwise that's my go-to.

Urpriest
2010-10-23, 02:55 PM
Simulacrum is thoroughly cheesable. You aren't going beyond the SRD, otherwise Ice Assassin would probably have similar potential.

WinWin
2010-10-23, 03:02 PM
Simulacrum is thoroughly cheesable. You aren't going beyond the SRD, otherwise Ice Assassin would probably have similar potential.

Simulacrums with Simulacrum and Wish as SLA's? It's like the Body outside of body trick on crack.

Tvtyrant
2010-10-23, 03:03 PM
Shades is a good one for versatility, you will cast that more then twice per day. Same thing with the greater shadow evocation spell.

Cieyrin
2010-10-23, 03:03 PM
Time Stop is never a bad choice. The chance to do a Power Up Dance unimpeded on a regular basis is juicy and a common occurrence if for some reason the unexpected does actually occur and you need a little time to properly deal with said threat.

herrhauptmann
2010-10-23, 03:04 PM
The no compenents can make corrupt/sanctified spells more desirable.

You mean the ones in BoED and BoVD?
Those still have the side effects when the duration expires. Like the 1d4 str damage for Luminous Armor. It just means you don't have to actually EAT a Human Heart to cast a Vile spell.

WinWin
2010-10-23, 03:12 PM
You mean the ones in BoED and BoVD?
Those still have the side effects when the duration expires. Like the 1d4 str damage for Luminous Armor. It just means you don't have to actually EAT a Human Heart to cast a Vile spell.

hmmm. I just read the text in the component line. The description of corrupt components is a little vague but could swing either way. I can't assume every DM would interpret it the favourably though.

You should still be able to use Archmage to gain Drow or Celestial only spells though, providing you can get it in your spellbook.

Eldariel
2010-10-23, 03:19 PM
Best choices are 9th level spells you'd want anyways and you want more of. Time Stop, Disjunction & Shapechange are all awesome choices. Shapechange in particular is awesome since you don't need Foci for SLAs so you save that 1500gp in getting the focus, and unlike with components, Archmage SLA doesn't add any exceptions for expensive focuses (note that getting anything with GP or XP component is pretty terrible; you don't want to cast a spell with XP component 2 times per day and you don't want to pay 10 times a spell's GP cost in XP ever [and you'd have to pay it every time you cast the spell; 15k XP per Forcecage]). This way you effectively get an extra 9th level slot. Iz nice. Though something like Teleport or Greater Teleport isn't terrible either as you want to cast those a lot and getting them as SLAs makes them effectively untouchable.

Soren Hero
2010-10-23, 05:02 PM
from what i've seen and heard about the SLA Archmage High Arcana is that it has to be worth the spell slot that you are sacrificing...you have to sacrifice a 5th level slot and the one you want to you for the spell...so if you sacrifice lower than a 5th level slot, like say a 3rd level slot, you are giving up a 5th level slot for two 3rd level slots..not worth it...however, like other posters have commented, 9th/8th level slots make the best trade-off because you are sacrificing a 5th level to get two 9th/8th level slots, which is awesome

as for personal recommendations, Timestop, Extended Project Image, Simulacrum. Timestop can help out a lot in a pinch, Extended Project Image allows for interesting shenanigans, and Simulacrum lets you make a small army of powerful duplicates (either of yourself or powerful creatures you meet).

Kobold-Bard
2010-10-23, 05:09 PM
from what i've seen and heard about the SLA Archmage High Arcana is that it has to be worth the spell slot that you are sacrificing...you have to sacrifice a 5th level slot and the one you want to you for the spell...so if you sacrifice lower than a 5th level slot, like say a 3rd level slot, you are giving up a 5th level slot for two 3rd level slots..not worth it...however, like other posters have commented, 9th/8th level slots make the best trade-off because you are sacrificing a 5th level to get two 9th/8th level slots, which is awesome

...

You actually give up a 5th level slot & a slot of the spell's level. So if you do a spell higher than 5th level you're basically trading a 5th level slot for a higher level one that you can't change.

Soren Hero
2010-10-23, 05:16 PM
You actually give up a 5th level slot & a slot of the spell's level. So if you do a spell higher than 5th level you're basically trading a 5th level slot for a higher level one that you can't change.

so would u rather have 5th level slot or a 9th/8th/7th/6th level slot? You can't change the slot, so you might as well take advantage of using it for a spell you use a lot

Wings of Peace
2010-10-23, 05:19 PM
True Creation. I was going to say Apocalypse from the Sky but then I remembered you could use True Creation to make a box of electrons with no space between each of the particles.

Kobold-Bard
2010-10-23, 05:21 PM
True Creation. I was going to say Apocalypse from the Sky but then I remembered you could use True Creation to make a box of electrons with no space between each of the particles.

I don't get it. I'm a poor dumb history student :smallamused:

Wings of Peace
2010-10-23, 05:30 PM
I don't get it. I'm a poor dumb history student :smallamused:

Electrons repel each other. True Creation creates a 5x5 cube. That's a 5x5 cube of billions or trillions (haven't done chem in ages) of particles all suddenly trying to repel each other at once from the atomic equivalent of point blank.

Urpriest
2010-10-23, 06:33 PM
Electrons repel each other. True Creation creates a 5x5 cube. That's a 5x5 cube of billions or trillions (haven't done chem in ages) of particles all suddenly trying to repel each other at once from the atomic equivalent of point blank.

Not really. No space in between either means literally none (your box is thus a small black hole...Hawking radiation would make it go boom, but probably not as impressively as you might want) or down to Fermi degeneracy, at which point you'd basically have a very tiny neutron star without the neutrons. I'm not sure what would happen in the latter case, but it most likely wouldn't explode.

Dr Bwaa
2010-10-23, 08:03 PM
Electrons repel each other. True Creation creates a 5x5 cube. That's a 5x5 cube of billions or trillions (haven't done chem in ages) of particles all suddenly trying to repel each other at once from the atomic equivalent of point blank.

Waaaaaaaaaay more than trillions of particles in a 5'x5'x5' cube. Let's do a bit of very simplified math:

That cube holds 5x5x5 feet, or 125 feet. One foot ~= 0.3048 meters, so the volume of the cube in meters is about 125 f x (0.3048 m/f) ~= 3.5396 m.
Now, the upper limit on the radius of an electron is 10^(-22) m (this depends on who you ask. Obviously there is some question of whether or not you can actually measure this radius. Hush. Since things in D&D occupy 3-space in cube form, I will simplify the calculations by assuming the electron is a cube with radius 10^(-22) m, which is to say a cube of side-length 2 x 10^(-22) m.
Given this, an electron occupies the following volume with our D&D approximation: (2 x 10^(-22) m) = 8 x 10^(-66) m.
We now have enough to do our calculation, which is simple enough: we divide the cube's volume by the electron's volume to get the number of electrons we've created: (3.5396 m)/(8 x 10^(-66) m) = 4.4245 x 10^65 electrons.
Note that this number (which because of our D&D "physics" is actually much less than the actual number of spheres you can fit in this cube) is completely ridiculous. For comparison, the number of particles in the universe is estimated to be only a few powers of 10 more than this (somewhere kind of around 10^75).
The charge on a single electron is -1.602 x 10^(-19) Coulombs. Multiply this by the number of electrons you've just made, and you get a total charge of 2.836 x 10^48 C. We need to know more about the environment (and how the particles interact, as Urpriest noted) to know more, but that much charge is outrageous.
The mass involved here is also stupidly huge. Even though each electron has almost negligible mass (about 9.109 x 10^(-31) kg), the sheer number you're dealing with means this cube weighs about 4.03 x 10^35 kg. Compare: the sun weighs about 2 x 10^30 kg. Whoops. The Chandrasekhar Limit (above which point this pile of electrons would become a black hole) is about 1.4 solar masses. This box, then, obviously becomes a black hole (in fact, it becomes Supermassive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermassive_black_hole), with almost 150,000 solar masses). In case you are reluctant to believe this based on a Limit you've never heard of...
The escape velocity from a planet with raduis r and mass m is v = √(2Gm/r). In this case, m = 4 x 10^35 kg, and r = 0.762 m. The gravitational constant, G, is 6.673 x 10^(-11) m/(kg s). So the escape velocity from our box is
v = √((2 x (6.673 x 10^(-11) m^3/(kg x s^2)) (4 x 10^35 kg))/0.762 m)
ve = 8.37 x 10^12 m/s. The speed of light e = 2.998 x 10^8 m/s. You got yourself a black hole. 'Gratz.
Finally, there is some chance that the actual volume of an electron is 0 (or infinitely small, at any rate). In this case you would almost certainly destroy the whole plane, because you would never "fill" your cube with electrons, but would rather dump infinite mass (and charge, but I'm not sure that would matter at that point) into your little box. Bye-bye, everything. Hope you cast that as an Astral Projection from a protected demiplane. Maybe that would even save you.
In conclusion: it instantly becomes a supermassive black hole. If anyone is tough enough (lol) to survive, they do also take countless d6 of lightning damage from the charge, not to mention radiation from positive ions shooting from all over the plane to the source of that negative charge (and the mass obviously). Then the energy released from those ions bonding to nearly as many electrons as there are were particles in the universe would give you a pretty satisfying explosion, if only it were possible for anything to actually leave the cube. In short, this would probably definitely be an effective way to kill pretty much everything.

EDIT1: Evidently, I will do anything to avoid working on my comps.

EDIT2: Sorry for not contributing directly to the OP's question. I vote Maw of Chaos (SpC I think). It's just really fun.

EDIT3: Added escape velocity calc.

EDIT4: See edit 1.

Urpriest
2010-10-23, 08:16 PM
Taking the above into account, the thing would definitely be past the Chandrasekhar Limit big time, so it would indeed be a black hole. And given the amount of mass involved the event horizon would likely swallow enough of the visible universe for the campaign to grind to a halt. Charge means it's a nonuniform black hole, so everybody and their mother gets ripped apart by tidal forces. So yeah.

elonin
2010-10-23, 08:22 PM
Opening a box of black hole would be cool. I favor using time stop though since it is roughly like get out of any situation. And having that twice for the cost of one is good. Course being balanced by not being able to switch that out hurts.

I don't understand the selection of wish but then I've never memorized it except for getting stats bumped. Unless I'm mistaken when you use an SLA with an material component or xp cost then those still apply as xp costs. Unlikely to be worth it IMHO.

Out of curiosity are any of the other Archmage specials that are worth it?

Runestar
2010-10-23, 09:29 PM
Out of curiosity are any of the other Archmage specials that are worth it?

They can be, but tend to be quite specialised.

Mastery of elements - great if you are a sorc or blaster. Requires a bit of metagaming to know which elements your foes are not immune/resistant to though.

Mastery of counterspelling - only if you are a dedicated counterspeller, since counterspelling in general stinks.

Arcane fire - Not really worth the 9th lv slot, IMO, especially with the introduction of reserve feats.

Mastery of shaping - Nice, though in general, I tend to have picked up sculpt spell a lot earlier. :smalltongue:

Spell power - You don't really a 5th lv slot at higher lvs anyways, but the benefit is pretty minor.

Urpriest
2010-10-23, 09:34 PM
The reach one can be pretty nice, but like sculpting it basically allows you to do for free tricks you were doing for +1 metamagic.

Eldariel
2010-10-23, 09:38 PM
Mastery of elements - great if you are a sorc or blaster. Requires a bit of metagaming to know which elements your foes are not immune/resistant to though.

Knowledge-skills are great for this.


Mastery of counterspelling - only if you are a dedicated counterspeller, since counterspelling in general stinks.

With enough sources, that's kinda untrue actually. Once Battlemagic Perception comes into play, anyone can benefit of it since you'll probably be countering at least one spell per relevant encounter (free actions are nice).


Arcane fire - Not really worth the 9th lv slot, IMO, especially with the introduction of reserve feats.

I agree, this has never been worth anything at all. Spells you could sacrifice deal less damage than friggin' attack and the higher level slots have a far superior effects simply cast.


Mastery of shaping - Nice, though in general, I tend to have picked up sculpt spell a lot earlier. :smalltongue:

It's available spontaneously, without level adjustment or feat and goes great with Sculpt Spell (since you can modify the sculpted forms further). An empathic "Yes!" Besides, AMFs excluding you give you some protection from Time Stopped people as they can't enter AMFs under Time Stop. Also allows you to laugh to melee characters and monsters who try to fly to you under magic only to have it stop working :smalltongue:


Spell power - You don't really a 5th lv slot at higher lvs anyways, but the benefit is pretty minor.

It can be fairly huge, actually, since there's a bunch of spells without caps in their effects and as the game gets more and more spell centric, being better at dispelling and making yours harder to dispel is a big part of the game. Though yeah, it can be hard to fit over Arcane Reach, Mastery of Shaping, SLA & company.

DementedFellow
2010-10-24, 01:47 PM
Would someone kindly tell me how a Wizard would know that an electron is, in a medieval setting where a mundane telescope is considered expensive and rare?

You could argue that Knowledge checks are in order, but it's always been my understanding that Knowledge checks only tell you stuff that is already known. The electron was just discovered sometime around 120 years ago. I think we can all agree that certain advancements had been made since the medieval times and 1897.

Anyone who attempts to get by with this box o' electrons malarkey deserves to have the PHB thrown at them.

There are certain times when metagame knowledge is okay.
OKAY: "Hey look, it's a skeleton, where is my club?"
NO OKAY: "Hmm, here comes the BBEG, I guess I'll use my advanced knowledge of nuclear physics to utterly destroy him and cause the side-effect of disrupting the gaming table with discussions concerning the verisimilitude of particle physics."

Urpriest
2010-10-24, 04:23 PM
The general argument is that, in a world with Contact Other Plane and the like, people would already know various facts of physics. Which is why I usually maintain that D&D runs on various sources of elemental mumbo-jumbo, not physics. Plus, fewer catgirls slain that way.

lsfreak
2010-10-24, 04:29 PM
The general argument is that, in a world with Contact Other Plane and the like, people would already know various facts of physics.

Yup. Ancient Greece was asking questions about the fundamentals of the world, and thrown into D&D, it becomes a guess-and-check "Is the universe made up of fire, earth, water, air? No? Is it made up of such fundamental elements? No? Well how about is it made up of tiny particles all glued together somehow? Well, yes? Hmm, let me think about this a while..."

mucat
2010-10-24, 04:48 PM
Spells you can be relatively sure you cast twice a day, otherwise, it's a waste of slots. Wish is nice, if you think you can get the 50'000 Xp back.


Hmm...Wish. I could live with starting a level behind for Wish 2/day. I'll ask the DM. Cheers.

I think you're both misreading the way SLAs with XP cost work:
The archmage does not use any components when casting the spell, although a spell that costs XP to cast still does so and a spell with a costly material component instead costs her 10 times that amount in XP.

Wish would still cast 5000 XP each time it's cast, not a 50,000 XP one-time expense. The ten-times bit is saying something completely different: if your spell would normally consume an expensive component, you instead pay 10XP for each 1GP it would normally cost. Again, this is each time you cast the spell, not a one-time cost.

Myth
2010-10-25, 04:56 AM
Arcane Reach is nice if you have other feats to take and don't want to pay +1cost for, say, Irresistible Dance. It's uber good with Shivering Touch.

Spell Power you can take for two Time Stops per day, as well as two Disjunctions. You can also take two Foresights if you can't extend/persist it reliably.

Mastery of shaping is good for all the Cloud-type crowd control Conjurations you will inevitably spew out.

That's about it for Archmage.

Cieyrin
2010-10-25, 02:22 PM
Arcane fire - Not really worth the 9th lv slot, IMO, especially with the introduction of reserve feats.


I agree, this has never been worth anything at all. Spells you could sacrifice deal less damage than friggin' attack and the higher level slots have a far superior effects simply cast.

A little off-topic but what would the Playground do to make this an actually useful option? As it currently is, you can do more with Disintegrate way earlier, so something along those lines, perhaps? Maybe add a Greater Dispel/Disjunction effect to it, besides the damage?

RelentlessImp
2010-10-25, 08:04 PM
A little off-topic but what would the Playground do to make this an actually useful option? As it currently is, you can do more with Disintegrate way earlier, so something along those lines, perhaps? Maybe add a Greater Dispel/Disjunction effect to it, besides the damage?

Give it a secondary effect that persists longer than one round. Along the lines of creating, say, an incendiary cloud effect along the line that spreads out for 1-2 squares from the squares it passes through that lasts for 1 round/level.

Urpriest
2010-10-25, 08:09 PM
I'd just have it be a free ability that all Archmages get at level 1. It's fine as a fluff ability, and it makes sense for Archmages to have it. It's just not worth actively choosing.

Logalmier
2010-10-25, 08:11 PM
Give it higher damage, and a secondary effect like the Orb line of spells do. Also, you shouldn't have to burn spells to use it. For a ninth level slot that seems pretty reasonable.

Myth
2010-10-26, 05:00 AM
Make it closer to the Chosen's Silver Fire. Scaling, untyped damage with SR: no and as a ranged touch attack, and maybe AMF busting 1/day?

Runestar
2010-10-26, 05:55 AM
Give it higher damage, and a secondary effect like the Orb line of spells do. Also, you shouldn't have to burn spells to use it. For a ninth level slot that seems pretty reasonable.

At the cost of a 9th lv slot, I would compare it to a 9th lv spell a caster with a reserve feat opts to keep uncast to fuel it. So in the very least, it shouldn't cost any more slots to activate.

Damage...1d6, +1d6 every other lv? Still too weak?

Duke of URL
2010-10-26, 06:08 AM
The archmage gains the ability to change arcane spell energy into arcane fire, manifesting it as a bolt of raw magical energy. The bolt is a ranged touch attack with long range (400 feet + 40 feet/level of archmage) that deals 1d6 points of damage per class level of the archmage plus 1d6 points of damage per level of the spell used to create the effect. This ability costs one 9th-level spell slot.

Good: No save, no SR
Bad: Low damage, requires ranged touch

Possible Revision?:


The archmage gains the ability to change arcane spell energy into arcane fire, manifesting it as a bolt of raw magical energy. The bolt automatically hits (as the spell magic missile) a single target within Long range (400 feet + 40 feet/caster level) and deals 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels of the archmage plus 1d6 points of damage per level of the spell used to create the effect. This ability is treated as a 9th level spell with no saving throw offered or spell resistance allowed. This ability costs one 9th-level spell slot.

Maryring
2010-10-26, 06:11 AM
Arcane fire should, at the very least, be based from spellcaster level, and not Archmage level.

Cyclocone
2010-10-26, 06:26 AM
I'd just have it be a free ability that all Archmages get at level 1. It's fine as a fluff ability, and it makes sense for Archmages to have it. It's just not worth actively choosing.

This. It looks like Arcane Fire is supposed to be the Archmage's signature ability, so handing it out for free with the class makes sense.
You could always up the dice tho; rolling d12s for damage is fun.

Runestar
2010-10-26, 07:07 AM
I actually liked the concept behind arcane fire - it improves the versatility of all your existing spells; they are either the spells you memorised, or a mini-magic-missile. So as a wizard, if you ever find yourself stuck with unsuitable spells, simply sac them for something which never goes out of style - damage.

As mentioned, it ignores sr, is not subject to resistances, and at higher lvs, even poor bab can hit crap touch AC without much issues. But I think the damage is just too little.

Maybe have it not cost anything to take and use?

prufock
2010-10-26, 07:21 AM
Yup. Ancient Greece was asking questions about the fundamentals of the world, and thrown into D&D, it becomes a guess-and-check "Is the universe made up of fire, earth, water, air? No? Is it made up of such fundamental elements? No? Well how about is it made up of tiny particles all glued together somehow? Well, yes? Hmm, let me think about this a while..."

The counter-argument being, of course, that the D&D world IS composed of fire, earth, water, and air (as well as positive and negative energy, shadow, ether). This is why we have elemental planes. EDIT: Or rather, this is because we have elemental planes.

137ben
2010-10-26, 07:24 AM
Opening a box of black hole would be cool.
You wouldn't get to open it, unless the box could withstand a black hole:smallsmile:

Anyways no one's mentioned PAO? Also what about dominate monster?

lsfreak
2010-10-26, 09:14 AM
The counter-argument being, of course, that the D&D world IS composed of fire, earth, water, and air (as well as positive and negative energy, shadow, ether). This is why we have elemental planes. EDIT: Or rather, this is because we have elemental planes.

Well, no. It's specifically called out in the DMG that real-world physics are assumed to be in affect (sidebar, page 137). So while a specific person's world may run off earth/fire/wind/water, the D&D default is real-world physics.

prufock
2010-10-26, 09:54 AM
Well, no. It's specifically called out in the DMG that real-world physics are assumed to be in affect (sidebar, page 137). So while a specific person's world may run off earth/fire/wind/water, the D&D default is real-world physics.

I'll have to re-read that section later. All I have right now is the SRD. But it seems to be in conflict with the statement that the six inner planes are "manifestations of the basic building blocks of the universe" (emphasis mine). Given that the world contains magic, I'd have to say that "real-world physics are assumed to be in affect [sic]" has the caveat except when otherwise stated. RAW, I would still say that the elements and energy are what make up the D&D universe.

Coidzor
2010-10-26, 09:59 AM
Quarks are made out of elemental energy.

There you go, reconciled.

ericgrau
2010-10-26, 11:29 AM
If you select a 5th level or lower spell you can follow it up with the quicken spell like ability feat (monster manual). If you pick a 7th level or lower spell you can get the empower spell like ability feat. Just a couple more options.

I'll agree that just about any spell that is generally good is good as an SLA. Being able to cast it while being grappled or etc. is an added bonus, but note you still have to make the concentration check. So teleport gains very little because it can already be cast while you're grappled unless you get pinned. In that rare case SLA teleport helps. SLAs also provoke attacks of opportunity normally.

Cieyrin
2010-10-26, 04:12 PM
Good: No save, no SR
Bad: Low damage, requires ranged touch

Possible Revision?:


The archmage gains the ability to change arcane spell energy into arcane fire, manifesting it as a bolt of raw magical energy. The bolt automatically hits (as the spell magic missile) a single target within Long range (400 feet + 40 feet/caster level) and deals 1d6 points of damage per two caster levels of the archmage plus 1d6 points of damage per level of the spell used to create the effect. This ability is treated as a 9th level spell with no saving throw offered or spell resistance allowed. This ability costs one 9th-level spell slot.

Giving this for free upon entering Archmage would probably work decently, I'd say. The biggest issue I see with it beyond the paltry damage is that it costs a 9th level slot to use and is thus not really accessible till your 4th level of Archmage or so, provided you're getting in at the earliest point you can, which is just after 13th or 14th.