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Jimp
2008-01-26, 06:48 PM
In an online discussion someone said that the Archivist (Heroes of Horror) was a horribly broken class. As far as I can see the only abusable power is the ability to scribe divine spells of any level into their prayer book, thus gaining some more powerful spells at lowers levels by using Paladin/Ranger/etc spell lists. This doesn't seem to be an overly big deal however. It certainly doesn't seem any better than any standard Cleric.
So, the question:
Are Archivists horribly broken? If so, how?

Jimp
2008-01-26, 06:50 PM
In an online discussion someone said that the Archivist (Heroes of Horror) was a horribly broken class. As far as I can see the only abusable power is the ability to scribe divine spells of any level into their prayer book, thus gaining some more powerful spells at lowers levels by using Paladin/Ranger/etc spell lists. This doesn't seem to be an overly big deal however. It certainly doesn't seem any better than any standard Cleric.
So, the question:
Are Archivists horribly broken? If so, how?

Fax Celestis
2008-01-26, 06:52 PM
Archivists are about on par with the Cleric in terms of brokenness. Clerics start better out of the box (heavy armor proficiency, better BAB, et al), but archivists can pull all of the same tricks that clerics can, in addition to having access to a metric ton of other spells (every Druid spell, every Ranger spell, every Paladin spell, and every domain spell). In short, clerics "zilla" easier, but archivists can do it better since they can stack in spells that clerics don't have until later levels (or at all).

Jimp
2008-01-26, 06:55 PM
Archivists are about on par with the Cleric in terms of brokenness.

Yep, that's clear. That's why I thought it didn't seem much better than a standard Cleric build.
So is Archivist better to Zilla with than a Cleric?

Fax Celestis
2008-01-26, 06:57 PM
They do it better, since they've got the ability to do all your typical clericzilla stuff (except for DMM, unless you take a PrC that gives it to you) as well as toss in some of those ranger, druid, and paladin spells that are so awesome in combat. Rhino's rush and flame blade, for example, are both usually not available to clerics but are to archivists. What's scarier than a giant cleric with a mace charging you? A giant archivist with a blade of flames who has pounce.

bugsysservant
2008-01-26, 06:59 PM
Potentially, they are very, very broken. Between all of the spells available for a low level because of half casters, and the spells available because of domains, the archivist can learn and cast massive numbers of spells. It gets worse when you realize that the feat alternate source spell allows the archivist to learn any spell in the game, arcane and divine, at its lowest possible level. :smalleek:

In practice, they generally aren't any more broken than other full casters, due to the DM's control over scrolls. But yes, Archivists can get very ugly if unchecked.

KoDT69
2008-01-26, 07:17 PM
In short, clerics "zilla" easier, but archivists can do it better since they can stack in spells that clerics don't have until later levels (or at all).

OK so he CAN scribe higher level spells into his prayer book, but is he able to cast them just because he can scribe them??? Really, if you can only cast 4th level spells, but have a 7th level in your book, it doesn't really change your ability to only cast 4th level spells, unless I'm missing something. I didn't pick up that sourcebook to verify.

As far as brokenness though, if the Archivist gets 4 different spell lists and ALL DOMAIN SPELLS, he has some major abuses ahead. A lot of domains grant arcane spells, and a lot of them are pretty good. See the Time and Travel domains just to cover some basic arcane spells that a Cleric is normally not able to cast. Fly, Haste, Permanency, Dimension Door, Teleport Without Error, Time Stop... TIME STOP! The best of the arcane spells can be obtained from domains, and each new sourcebook that has divine stuff in it helps the Archivist. Not sure, but if he can use Turn Undead and get all those delicious divine feats, then he's leaps and bounds ahead! Must buy that book! :smallbiggrin:

Fax Celestis
2008-01-26, 07:20 PM
OK so he CAN scribe higher level spells into his prayer book, but is he able to cast them just because he can scribe them??? Really, if you can only cast 4th level spells, but have a 7th level in your book, it doesn't really change your ability to only cast 4th level spells, unless I'm missing something. I didn't pick up that sourcebook to verify.

What I was more referring to was the fact that the highest level paladin/ranger spell is 4th level, something they won't be getting until 14th level at the earliest. But an archivist, who has access to those spells, can pick them up before then and start casting them as early as 7th level.

Aquillion
2008-01-26, 08:07 PM
Potentially, they are very, very broken. Between all of the spells available for a low level because of half casters, and the spells available because of domains, the archivist can learn and cast massive numbers of spells. It gets worse when you realize that the feat alternate source spell allows the archivist to learn any spell in the game, arcane and divine, at its lowest possible level. :smalleek: Does that really work? Alternative Source Spell is a Dragon Magazine feat, so I can't get the exact wording, but my understanding is that it just changes the type of spells you cast -- the type of scrolls you scribe is still, per RAW, determined by the class you got them from and not what you cast, unless the feat specifically says otherwise.

In any case, though, yeah, unless you can convince another player to create a character just to feed you scrolls (unlikely--remember, most classes don't start with scribe scroll, so you're asking them to waste a feat for you at the very least), the balance of Archivists is really dependant on the DM, who decides what scrolls are available. It's a bit tricky, because access to some scrolls that aren't on the cleric list is the main point of the class -- but if you give them too many, they're overpowered. Still, overall I'd say that an archivist is no more inherently unbalanced than, say, a barbarian who could theoretically be unbalanced if the DM dropped him a massively-out-of-WBL enchanted greataxe.

Mark Hall
2008-01-26, 08:13 PM
Does that really work? Alternative Source Spell is a Dragon Magazine feat, so I can't get the exact wording, but my understanding is that it just changes the type of spells you cast -- the type of scrolls you scribe is still, per RAW, determined by the class you got them from and not what you cast, unless the feat specifically says otherwise.

In any case, though, yeah, unless you can convince another player to create a character just to feed you scrolls (unlikely--remember, most classes don't start with scribe scroll, so you're asking them to waste a feat for you at the very least), the balance of Archivists is really dependant on the DM, who decides what scrolls are available. It's a bit tricky, because access to some scrolls that aren't on the cleric list is the main point of the class -- but if you give them too many, they're overpowered. Still, overall I'd say that an archivist is no more inherently unbalanced than, say, a barbarian who could theoretically be unbalanced if the DM dropped him a massively-out-of-WBL enchanted greataxe.

A good feat for a 15th level Artificer is Leadership. Their Cohort can be a warlock, who can, at that point, be 12th level and make scrolls of anything the archivist asks.

Chronos
2008-01-26, 08:22 PM
(unlikely--remember, most classes don't start with scribe scroll, so you're asking them to waste a feat for you at the very least)No, you just need the archivist to have Scribe Scroll. I don't know if it's a bonus feat for them, but even if not, it would be a very good idea for an archivist to take it. Then, whenever you find a cooperative spellcaster with a spell you want, the two of you sit down together and collaboratively make a magic item, namely, a scroll. You can even be the one to contribute the XP, too, so all the other spellcaster needs to give up is a bit of time.

Aquillion
2008-01-26, 08:41 PM
A good feat for a 15th level Artificer is Leadership. Their Cohort can be a warlock, who can, at that point, be 12th level and make scrolls of anything the archivist asks.We've had this discussion before, but that's questionable. Per RAW, the only thing that decides a scroll's spell type is the class of the person who made it -- not the spell type the spell usually has. They can mimick spell prequisites, but a warlock can't automatically scribe a divine scroll of magic missile any more than a Bard can scribe a divine scroll of Cure Light Wounds... the fact that spell is 'typically' arcane or divine or generally appears on an arcane or divine list doesn't matter. What matters is the class of the person who is actually scribing it... and warlocks don't have a spell type, which wasn't foreseen when the rules on scribing were written.

I think that, technically, the type of scrolls that a warlock scribes is simply not defined; it's one of those things that there are absolutely no rules on whatsoever, so the DM has to decide. Artificiers, who had the same issue, eventually got an errata that said they produced special 'untyped' scrolls; but a warlock has absolutely no rules written anywhere that give any indication of the type of their scrolls.

horseboy
2008-01-26, 08:54 PM
Does that really work? Alternative Source Spell is a Dragon Magazine feat, so I can't get the exact wording, but my understanding is that it just changes the type of spells you cast -- the type of scrolls you scribe is still, per RAW, determined by the class you got them from and not what you cast, unless the feat specifically says otherwise.

In any case, though, yeah, unless you can convince another player to create a character just to feed you scrolls (unlikely--remember, most classes don't start with scribe scroll, so you're asking them to waste a feat for you at the very least:smallconfused:
Wizards get Scribe scroll for free at first level. So if the Archivists gets a feet that lets him cast arcane spells, then if he's in a party with a wizard all the wizard would have to do would be to make an extra copy of a scroll for the Archivist. Or is there something I'm not seeing?

Fax Celestis
2008-01-26, 09:01 PM
:smallconfused:
Wizards get Scribe scroll for free at first level. So if the Archivists gets a feet that lets him cast arcane spells, then if he's in a party with a wizard all the wizard would have to do would be to make an extra copy of a scroll for the Archivist. Or is there something I'm not seeing?

Archivists cannot cast arcane spells even with Alternative Source Spell. All that feat does is let you use your existing spell slots however you choose: you may prepare divine spells in your arcane slots and vice versa.

Kristoss
2008-01-26, 09:19 PM
Does that really work? Alternative Source Spell is a Dragon Magazine feat, so I can't get the exact wording, but my understanding is that it just changes the type of spells you cast -- the type of scrolls you scribe is still, per RAW, determined by the class you got them from and not what you cast, unless the feat specifically says otherwise.

In any case, though, yeah, unless you can convince another player to create a character just to feed you scrolls (unlikely--remember, most classes don't start with scribe scroll, so you're asking them to waste a feat for you at the very least), the balance of Archivists is really dependant on the DM, who decides what scrolls are available. It's a bit tricky, because access to some scrolls that aren't on the cleric list is the main point of the class -- but if you give them too many, they're overpowered. Still, overall I'd say that an archivist is no more inherently unbalanced than, say, a barbarian who could theoretically be unbalanced if the DM dropped him a massively-out-of-WBL enchanted greataxe.

I'd have to agree with Aquillion on this. It would take a very permissive GM to give the archivist access to too many domain spells from obscure domains and all the best spells from different classes spell lists.

Fishy
2008-01-26, 09:37 PM
So... is the Archivist balanced if you limit him exclusively to Cleric spells? Or Druid, or Cleric/Druid, or Cleric + 2 Domains, or some other restriction? I imagine it would be less powerful than your standard 'zilla: but that's the most ridiculous class in core.


Essentially, I've always wanted to play an Archivist because of Dark Knowledge's awesome mechanical flavor: It's a shame the rest of the class is so easily broken. Could Dark Knowledge be tacked on to Favored Soul spellcasting, or Swashbuckler or something? What class feature/number of skill points is it equivalent to?

Illiterate Scribe
2008-01-26, 10:06 PM
Archivists cannot cast arcane spells even with Alternative Source Spell. All that feat does is let you use your existing spell slots however you choose: you may prepare divine spells in your arcane slots and vice versa.

Yes, but doesn't that mean that they can? They simply prepare arcane spells from their spellbook in their divine slots.

Jimp
2008-01-26, 10:09 PM
So... is the Archivist balanced if you limit him exclusively to Cleric spells? Or Druid, or Cleric/Druid, or Cleric + 2 Domains, or some other restriction? I imagine it would be less powerful than your standard 'zilla: but that's the most ridiculous class in core.

Seemingly the class is balanced as long as you don't abuse its ability to copy any divine spell to give yourself insane combat boosts. By balanced I mean as balanced as any full caster can be, which varies with playstyle.

Mark Hall
2008-01-26, 10:52 PM
We've had this discussion before, but that's questionable. Per RAW, the only thing that decides a scroll's spell type is the class of the person who made it -- not the spell type the spell usually has. They can mimick spell prequisites, but a warlock can't automatically scribe a divine scroll of magic missile any more than a Bard can scribe a divine scroll of Cure Light Wounds... the fact that spell is 'typically' arcane or divine or generally appears on an arcane or divine list doesn't matter. What matters is the class of the person who is actually scribing it... and warlocks don't have a spell type, which wasn't foreseen when the rules on scribing were written.

I think that, technically, the type of scrolls that a warlock scribes is simply not defined; it's one of those things that there are absolutely no rules on whatsoever, so the DM has to decide. Artificiers, who had the same issue, eventually got an errata that said they produced special 'untyped' scrolls; but a warlock has absolutely no rules written anywhere that give any indication of the type of their scrolls.

However, you'll note that there are different DCs for divine v. arcane spells, and that "the warlock creates the item as if he had cast the required spell." Thus, if he used a divine spell DC, it would be treated as a divine spell... because it is as if he had cast that spell. If he's scribing a spell that can only be arcane, then, yes, it's got to be arcane when he creates it. However, if he's creating a scroll of, say, Cure Light Wounds, he could create it either at DC 16 (Bard level 1) or at DC 26 (Cleric, et al, level 1).

It seems clear that he can choose whether his items are arcane or divine, depending on what DC he wants to go up against.

Fax Celestis
2008-01-26, 10:58 PM
Yes, but doesn't that mean that they can? They simply prepare arcane spells from their spellbook in their divine slots.

Except they can't get the arcane spells to begin with. Even if they're a Wiz/Arc/MT, they're still arcane spells in divine slots and vice versa. Alternative Spell Source doesn't actually change what type the spell is, merely what slot it can fit in.

Leon
2008-01-26, 11:03 PM
From my standpoint of looking at it - They seem to be ok, they wont be able to just aquire spells willy nilly as you cant just walk into a Shop and buy Druid Spells on scroll or such, possibly you may with paladin spells and rangers are not spell casters.

So unless you in your games have vast abundances of Scrolls or other spell storage means the Archivist will not be over loaded with spells

TheOOB
2008-01-26, 11:17 PM
archivists are broken in the same sense wizards and clerics are, all well played archivist can dominate any encounter. Archivists have a slight advantage in the fact that almost every good spell can be found as a divine spell somewhere.

Squider
2008-01-27, 01:15 AM
so, I'm thinking a wizard/archivist/mystic theurge....

22ed level and you can cast pretty much any spell in the entire game. almost.

Fishy
2008-01-27, 11:27 AM
so, I'm thinking a wizard/archivist/mystic theurge....

22ed level and you can cast pretty much any spell in the entire game. almost.

And yet, you can still only cast one or two spells per round. That's generally accepted as one of the best possible ways to make a Mystic Theurge, and it's still not very good.

Learnedguy
2008-01-27, 11:40 AM
Ah yes, a simple Archivist/Wizard/Mystic Theurge sure is goodey:smallyuk:
In general, I greatly appreciate the fluff surrounding the archivist. Takes away my aversion towards asking a god for help.