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View Full Version : [3.5] Warmage/Wiz/UM build help



Thurbane
2011-01-16, 09:23 PM
Hey all,

Looking for some ideas on a future build I will be using.

Basics Illumian Warmage/Wizard/Ultimate Magus. Will be starting at level 1, going up to about 12 or 13.

Race and class(es) are set (although a specialist could replace Wizard), looking for ideas for feats and such to maximize caster level, and also early entry (without too much cheese) for UM if possible.

Cheers - T

Dusk Eclipse
2011-01-16, 09:37 PM
I say that you should specialize in your wizards side, you don't loose anything by banning evocation and enchantment
As far as early entry there is always Versatile Spellcaster and Heighten spell

FMArthur
2011-01-16, 09:41 PM
What do you plan to use your Wizard spells for, mostly?

Thurbane
2011-01-16, 09:50 PM
What do you plan to use your Wizard spells for, mostly?
Utility, defense and buffing, mainly...

gbprime
2011-01-16, 10:10 PM
You know you can do Ultimate Mage with JUST WIZARD, right? Take Spontaneous Divination as your Wizard 5 bonus feat. Then Wizard is both your prepared and spontaneous class. You end up burning through your battery life VERY quickly if you want to sack a spell to metamagic another spell, but your caster level goes up by 17 in 10 levels. :smallamused:

Thurbane
2011-01-16, 10:16 PM
...maybe so, but

A.) No DM I play with would let that fly. :smallwink:

B.) I specifically want to play a Warmage...and I think combining it with Wizard in UM makes it a LOT more versatile. :smallsmile:

gbprime
2011-01-16, 10:21 PM
...maybe so, but

A.) No DM I play with would let that fly. :smallwink:

Perhaps not. :smallbiggrin:

Then what you want to do is build it keeping an eye on caster levels. Start with 1 level of wizard and precocious Apprentice, so that's all the Wizard you'll ever need. Levels 2-5 are Warmage, and pick up Practiced Spellcaster for Wizard at level 3. That keeps your Wizard casting level artifically higher than Warmage for a while, allowing you to gain 9/10 Warmage caster levels out of Ultimate Magus.

And make sure you pick up Searing Spell from Sandstorm so you never have to worry about energy resistance again. :smallbiggrin:

JeminiZero
2011-01-16, 10:36 PM
B.) I specifically want to play a Warmage...and I think combining it with Wizard in UM makes it a LOT more versatile. :smallsmile:

As far as versatility is concerned, Warmage like Sorcerers, can use Arcane Preperation to get into Mage of the Arcane Order. This lets you make a more straight forward Wizard-like/lite build without too much early qualification shenanigans.

Otherwise I would recommend a PrC that you can early entry like Binder -> Anima Mage or Favored Soul -> Mystic Theurge (which also lets you exploit the Versatile Spellcaster trick to cast cross-class stuff).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-16, 10:40 PM
The Warmage Edge ability applies to any spell you cast, so you would add your Int bonus to damage dealt by Wizard spells as well. You can take the feat Versatile Spellcaster from Races of the Dragon to spend two Warmage spell slots to cast any spell you know of one level higher, including Wizard spells. That allows you to spend Warmage spell slots to spontaneously cast a situational Wizard spell you may have learned but didn't bother preparing.

The best use of this combination of abilities, especially in the early levels, would be Power Word: Pain from Races of the Dragon. It deals 1d6 damage per round for quite a long duration (usually 4d4 rounds early on), and you would add your Int bonus to the damage every round. At Warmage 1/ Wizard 1 you could cast that from a 1st-level Wizard spell slot or use two 0-level Warmage spell slots. Fell Drain in Libris Mortis is particularly strong with Power Word: Pain, since it (arguably) makes the spell deal a negative level every round that it deals damage. Note that Power Word: Pain can be cast on the same creature multiple times, for multiple instances of damage every round, each of which would get your Int bonus added to it. Repeat Spell would also be pretty good, since it would put the spell on your target twice with a single casting.

I'd make the character a Gray Elf (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/elf.htm#grayElf), and use the Elf Wizard 1 and 3 substitution levels in Races of the Wild, which gives you twice as many new spells each level gained and doubles the bonus your familiar gives you. Get a Hummingbird familiar from Dragon magazine 323, it grants +4 initiative which becomes +8 with the Elf Wizard 3 sub level, and it uses the stats of a Thrush familiar on DMG page 203. Also use the Martial Wizard (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/variantCharacterClasses.htm#wizard) variant from UA, to get Improved Initiative instead of Scribe Scroll. There aren't any early entry tricks for UM, since it requires 8 ranks in Spellcraft, but if you go Warmage 1/ Wizard 4/ UM 10 (not necessarily in that order) and get Practiced Spellcaster: Warmage, you'll apply all but the 7th level of UM to your Wizard spellcasting. Caster level doesn't matter for Power Word: Pain other than overcoming SR, and as soon as you hit UM 1 it will make up that one point of lost caster level anyway.

gbprime
2011-01-16, 10:44 PM
The Warmage Edge ability applies to any spell you cast, so you would add your Int bonus to damage dealt by Wizard spells as well.

Incorrect.


The bonus from the Warmage Edge Special Ability applies only to spells that he casts as a warmage, not to those he might have by virtue of levels in another class.

You want edge to apply to other spells, you'll have to acquire them by adding spells to Warmage spell list. (Advanced Learning, Eclectic Learning, Bloodline Feat, or levels in classes like Dracolexi or Rainbow Servant.)

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-16, 11:00 PM
Incorrect.

You want edge to apply to other spells, you'll have to acquire them by adding spells to Warmage spell list. (Advanced Learning, Eclectic Learning, Bloodline Feat, or levels in classes like Dracolexi or Rainbow Servant.)

Right, sorry, I got as far as, "Whenever a warmage casts a spell that deals hit point damage, he adds his Intelligence bonus (if any) to the amount of damage dealt. For instance," and I just assumed that the rest of that paragraph was the example. However, you could still use Versatile Spellcaster to spend to 0-level Warmage spell slots to cast Power Word: Pain and get your Warmage Edge added to it, or spend two 1st-level Warmage spell slots to cast an Extended Power Word: Pain. At UM 2 you can use Expanded Spell Knowledge to add it to your Warmage spell list. It's still a powerful option, but not quite as strong as I'd initially thought. The build would still be better off focusing on advancing Wizard spellcasting, and sticking to the Batman-style disable/debuff everything strategy.

gbprime
2011-01-16, 11:03 PM
Right, sorry, I got as far as, "Whenever a warmage casts a spell that deals hit point damage, he adds his Intelligence bonus (if any) to the amount of damage dealt. For instance," and I just assumed that the rest of that paragraph was the example. However, you could still use Versatile Spellcaster to spend to 0-level Warmage spell slots to cast Power Word: Pain and get your Warmage Edge added to it, or spend two 1st-level Warmage spell slots to cast an Extended Power Word: Pain. At UM 2 you can use Expanded Spell Knowledge to add it to your Warmage spell list. It's still a powerful option, but not quite as strong as I'd initially thought. The build would still be better off focusing on advancing Wizard spellcasting, and sticking to the Batman-style disable/debuff everything strategy.

Indeed. I've done a warmage build that uses Eclectic Learning at level 3 to pick up Message as a cantrip, and qualify for Dracolexi using that. Dracolexi gets select power word spells one level cheaper.... so a Zero Level Power Word Pain with extra edge and free Extend Spell... juicy. :smallamused:

Thurbane
2011-01-16, 11:04 PM
Thanks for all the advice, but I'll just reiterate from the OP:

Race and class(es) are set

FMArthur
2011-01-16, 11:05 PM
I'm sorry, but I think this particular combination of classes is more likely to just showcase how outclassed the Warmage is rather than provide any kind of synergy, it mostly being a mere subset of Wizard abilities. If you want to have more spells to blast with you might just want to use the Focused Specialist option on a straight blasty Wizard.

If you're set on a combination of classes using Ultimate Magus, I think Beguiler spells are quite well-suited to what you wanted out of your Wizard side. Perhaps Beguiler + Warmage, or Beguiler + Blasty Wizard, would get you the same results without so much overlap.

Thurbane
2011-01-16, 11:09 PM
All good advice, thanks...but I am definitely set on Warmage + Wizard.

I am totally aware that is suboptimal for several reasons.

avr
2011-01-16, 11:10 PM
IIRC, Eberron has fuel shards which give a one-time bonus to CL for set spells.

dextercorvia
2011-01-16, 11:15 PM
Int is kind of wasted on a Warmage after about level 4-6. Would you consider Warmage/Sorcerer/UM using Arcane Preparation to get into Ultimate Magus? The Cha synergy will be much neater. You don't even need Precocious Apprentice, this way.

As was mentioned, take Practiced Spellcaster on your secondary casting class. Krau sigil helps, too, allowing you to get 10/10 UM casting to your primary casting class. It also means not needing Practiced Spellcaster later on your primary side. For free metamagic, quicken is nice...but then you'll need the Sorcerer ACF from PHBII, or the Rapid Metamagic feat from CMage.

Versatile Spellcaster is also grand... You might consider a bloodline feat from Dragon Compendium. They aren't magnificent, but they add to your spells known spells you can't cast yet. If you can find one with some decent higher level spells that Warmage won't get, it might help when your sorcerer casting tapers off.

Thurbane
2011-01-17, 12:54 AM
Int is kind of wasted on a Warmage after about level 4-6. Would you consider Warmage/Sorcerer/UM using Arcane Preparation to get into Ultimate Magus? The Cha synergy will be much neater. You don't even need Precocious Apprentice, this way.
No, sorry. I don't want to use feats or tricks to get a spontaneous class to count as prepared, or vice versa...I really, really just want a Wiz/Warmage/UM build. :smallwink:

dextercorvia
2011-01-17, 01:20 AM
No, sorry. I don't want to use feats or tricks to get a spontaneous class to count as prepared, or vice versa...I really, really just want a Wiz/Warmage/UM build. :smallwink:

I saw your other comments after I posted, but left it there because most of the advice is good UM advice independent of class choice.

Thurbane
2011-01-17, 03:45 AM
I saw your other comments after I posted, but left it there because most of the advice is good UM advice independent of class choice.
Fair enough...no problem. :smallsmile:

JeminiZero
2011-01-17, 03:53 AM
Are you flexible with Illuminian? I think the actual Practiced Spellcaster feat works better than Krau Illuminian half-Practiced Spellcaster in this case, so normal human for bonus feat might work better.

Because of the skill requirement, it would be rather difficult to take the first level of UM any earlier than level 6. You can achieve alternate entry (e.g. the 4 War mage / 1 wizard described above) but the simple 2 Warmage / 3 Wizard seems good enough.

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-17, 09:10 AM
I've found that UM works out best focusing on Wizard casting and using what little spellcasting the spontaneous class grants for utility. In the typical Beguiler/Wizard/UM build you can even get Able Learner (Illumians are Humanoid (Human)) and have skills like a Rogue. The Beguiler spell list is just amazing for utility casting and the occasional Enchantment, so you can specialize with Wizard and lose that school but still be able to use most of its best spells. The build loses one level of Wizard to gain amazing skill points and a lot of utility, so it's a good trade. At UM 10 you get 4th level Beguiler spell slots, so you can spend those to add up to +4 metamagic to your Wizard spells.

For a Warmage/Wizard/UM, neither your Armored Mage benefit nor your Warmage Edge extends to your Wizard spellcasting. You're split between Int for Wizard bonus spells and DCs and your Edge, and Cha for Warmage bonus spells and DCs, so there's less synergy. If you go Warmage 1/ Wizard 4/ UM you're sacrificing that Wizard level for little gain. If you go something like Warmage 4/ Wizard 1/ UM, using Improved Sigil: Krau or Precocious Apprentice and adding 10/10 UM to Warmage, then you would be sacrificing a level of Warmage for quite a bit more utility. With Versatile Spellcaster you can learn Wizard spells higher level than you can cast with that class and spend two Warmage spell slots of one level lower to cast them, but a one level dip into (Cloistered) Cleric and just keep going Warmage will let you do that with the entire Cleric spell list. You can spend Wizard spell slots to add metamagic to your Warmage spells, but your Wizard spell slots are likely to run out much sooner than spending spontaneous spell slots to do this.

Assuming you want to focus on blasting, and use the Wizard casting for a little more versatility and utility, here's what I'd do: Go Illumian (Krau) Warmage 4/ Focused Specialist Conjurer 1/ UM 10, with Abrupt Jaunt from PH2, and pick Evocation, Necromancy, and Illusion as prohibited schools. Get Practiced Spellcaster: Wizard before 6th level to add 10/10 UM to Warmage, and your caster level in each class will be equal to your character level with Arcane Spell Power from UM added on afterward. You'll also need a metamagic feat and either Precocious Apprentice or Improved Sigil: Krau in your first five levels, so this build doesn't work without flaws. Versatile Spellcaster should be taken as early as possible but it can be delayed until 6th level or later. The Focused Conjurer will get a lot more spell slots to power metamagic feats via Augmented Casting, Abrupt Jaunt is one of the best survival tools in the game, and you can still use and get Improved Initiative instead of Scribe Scroll.

An alternative build for a much higher caster level would be Human Spellthief 1/ Warmage 3/ Wizard 1/ UM 10, taking Able Learner, any metamagic feat, Precocious Apprentice, and Master Spellthief (and hopefully Versatile Spellcaster) before reaching 6th level. That adds your Warmage and Wizard spellcaster levels (the level you use to determine your spells/day, not your caster level) to your Spellthief level to determine your caster level in each class, and then your Arcane Spell Power bonus from UM is added on top of that. At character level 8 with UM 3 you'll be casting as a 6th level Warmage and as a 3rd level Wizard, with Arcane Spell Power +1, so your caster level for all spells will be 11. One level later at 9th with UM 4 you'll have 7th level Warmage and 3rd level Wizard casting, and ASP +2, for a total caster level of 13. Your caster level goes up by two points at every UM level gained, plus you can cast Wizard spells in light armor with Master Spellthief. There's no need for Practiced Spellcaster or the Krau sigil, since all your caster levels will be equal. With Able Learner you can keep up your favorite Spellthief class skills at no additional cost. Be sure to get a Ring of Arcane Might and an Orange Prism Ioun Stone later on for an even higher caster level.

Thurbane
2011-01-17, 08:01 PM
Are you flexible with Illuminian? I think the actual Practiced Spellcaster feat works better than Krau Illuminian half-Practiced Spellcaster in this case, so normal human for bonus feat might work better.
...actually, yes, if there is a more efficient way to get CL than Krau, I could be persuaded out of Illumian. Although, if possible, not human - I always play humans and honestly am a little bored of them.

@ Biffoniacus_Furiou - thanks, very good advice. :smallsmile:

dextercorvia
2011-01-17, 08:10 PM
...actually, yes, if there is a more efficient way to get CL than Krau, I could be persuaded out of Illumian. Although, if possible, not human - I always play humans and honestly am a little bored of them.

@ Biffoniacus_Furiou - thanks, very good advice. :smallsmile:

Any race with a bonus feat taking Practiced Spellcaster is better than an Illumian (Human w/out Bonus Feat) Krau.

Strongheart? Halflings fit the bill. And the small size/Dex bonus will help with RTA's.

JeminiZero
2011-01-17, 08:30 PM
...actually, yes, if there is a more efficient way to get CL than Krau, I could be persuaded out of Illumian. Although, if possible, not human - I always play humans and honestly am a little bored of them.

Well my calculations are about as follows: Lets say you start with 3 Wizard / 2 Warmage, and then go into Ultimate Magus (this particular setup does not require early qualification shenanigans). On level 1, 4 and 7, you gain spellcasting only for the lesser of the 2 classes (which would initially be Warmage). So lets say you put 2 to Warmage and 1 to Wizard.

Additionally, at level 12 (Wizard 3 / Warmage 2 / UM 7), your 4 other UM levels (2,3,5 and 6) would have increased both Wizard/Warmage casting. Therefore your total Wizard levels would be: 3 base + 1 single + 4 dual = 8. And your Total Warmage levels would be: 2 base + 2 single + 4 dual = 8. At which point you could take the practiced spellcaster feat for both classes to get CL 12 casting (your HD cap). Your UM CL bonus stacks on top of Practiced Spellcaster, so you'd effectively have CL 15. Its not quite as powerful as the (somewhat questionable) Spellthief stacking though.

In contrast if you were a Krau Illuminian, you'd have half-practiced spellcaster for both Wizard/Warmage to start with. So without Practiced Spellcaster it would be CL 8 Base + 2 Krau + 3 UM bonus = 13. Still not too bad. But at that point you face a dilemma on whether to take Practiced Caster for +2 more CL or not. It would be more efficient to take some other race which grants other/better racial features, and than use Practiced Spellcaster for both classes. In this sense, it is inefficient to be Illuminian, but not necessary to be human, so you could be something else (Changeling, Grey Elf, etc).

Biffoniacus_Furiou
2011-01-17, 10:52 PM
JeminiZero, I think you're missing the point of using Illumian, it should never be necessary to take Practiced Spellcaster more than once with a UM build:

In a X 1/Y 4/UM build, regardless of what base classes you use, you take Practiced Spellcaster for class X (the one you only get one level in). Since at UM 1, 4, and 7 you increase whichever class has the lower caster level, this allows you to apply UM 1 to class Y despite having more levels in it. Without Krau your UM 4 and 7 levels would be applied to class X, but with Krau your caster levels will be equal until after you've taken UM 7 and applied it to class Y. The combination of Krau and Practiced Spellcaster allows you to apply 10/10 UM spellcasting to the class you've taken four levels of. A more focused character is a more powerful character, especially when it comes to multiclass spellcasters, so being only one level behind in spellcasting in your primary class is much better than splitting your levels more evenly.

UM's Arcane Spell Power ability can be added on after Krau and Practiced Spellcaster have brought your caster level up to equal your character level, since you can apply your own bonuses and penalties in the most beneficial order. That means at X 1/ Y 4/ UM 10 your spellcasting ability in X will be 8th, and your spellcasting ability in Y will be 14th. Class X will have a caster level of 8 base + 4 practiced + 2 krau = 14 which can't exceed your character level of 15, +4 for arcane spell power = 18. Class Y will have a caster level of 14 base + 2 krau = 16 which can't exceed your character level of 15, +4 for arcane spell power = 19. You're only one level behind in spellcasting in your primary class, you've got half your levels' worth of spellcasting in your secondary class, and your caster level for both is greater than your character level.

JeminiZero
2011-01-17, 11:07 PM
All true, but there is an advantage to an 8/8 spread by ECL 12. Namely: Augment Casting Quicken Spell.

With a higher level cap, The lower caster class would eventually achieve level 4 spells eventually anyway. But since he expects an ECL 12/13 cap (and can take Quicken Spell at 12), an 8/8 spread provides him with the level 4 slots on both sides to fuel Quickened Castings of level 3 spells (or even level 4 spells, if he goes up to ECL 13/UM 8).

faceroll
2011-01-17, 11:16 PM
All good advice, thanks...but I am definitely set on Warmage + Wizard.

I am totally aware that is suboptimal for several reasons.

If I recall correctly, UM requires 8 ranks, which means beyond minor early entry shens, you can't get into it without some seriously crazy stuff like bards or dusk giants.

I would go warmage1/wizard4 (not in that order necessarily) and use heighten spell + versatile spell caster to qualify for UM. Another advantage here is being able to cast spells that you technically don't have access to. While not stupendously amazing, getting access to blastier spells earlier is pretty fun.

Go wizard 1 if you want to pick up collegiate wizard for more spells known. Very helpful if your DM doesn't let you have as much access to spells as you'd like.

dextercorvia
2011-01-17, 11:30 PM
warmage1/wizard4 qualifies without shenanigans.

It requires 1st level spont. spells, and 2nd level prepared spells.