The Killer Gnome, originally posted by snow_savant, August 10 2004:

Totally killer Wizard build up ahead. Uses these PrC's: Harper Mage (MoF), Shadowcraft Mage (RoS), Shadowcrafter (Und).

Wizard5 / HarperMage2 / ShadowcraftMage5 / Shadowcrafter8

Yeah, you gotta be a Gnome ... but that's a good thing, because you get the +1 DC racial bonus that Gnomes get for Illusion spells. Which is this build's most awesome forte.

And yes, Shadow Conjurations and Shadow Evocations are your bread-&-butter in this build. Which is good because they are extremely versatile spells that even have their own built-in cheese (see Minor/Major Creation Craft: Poisonmaking skill + Black Lotus Extract + 1 standard action casting time = Death a million times over).

By level 19, you get +40% strength intensity added to *ALL* your SC & SE spells. Which means that your 9th level Shades spells are giving you 120% of the strength of the Conj/Evoc spells it is emulating. While your Greater SC/SE spells give you 100% and your normal SC/SE spells give you 60%.

Part of the pre-req.'s for this build ential taking the sucky Spell Focus and GSF feats for Illusion ... which is actually something you want to do with Shadow spells anyway, due to their double save mechanics. Add in your racial save bonus, and that's +3 to your DC's. Add in Shadowcrafter's +4 Shadow Spell Penetration added to your +4 Spell Penetration (you should voluntarily take both SP and GSP feats), and enemy SR won't mean jack squat to your Shadow spells.

Besides having all that amazing versatility, you have a ton of other amazing class abilities from this build.

7 levels of Hide/Move Silently as class skills. 15 levels of Spot ... Stealth/Scout Mage!
Cloak of Shadow = Gives up to a 40% miss chance to attacks due to concealment.
Shadow Mien = +2 to Hide and Disguise Checks.
+2 Saves vs. all Illusions and Effects.
Extend Illusion = All Illusions are automatically doubled. Which is nice with Mass Reflective Disguise (24 hours duration!)[Und Book].
Silent Illusion = All your illusion spells are now castable without verbal components! Yay! More stealth synergy.
Shadow Illusion = Freakin' Amazing. All your Illusion/Figment spells are converted to Illusion/Shadow spells and can damage or effect creatures just as if they had the mechanics of the Shadow Evoc/Conj spells. For you creative types out there, this is some amazing flexibility you can get out of your low level figment spells (Silent & Minor Image, etc.). Which as I've stated before in the past, are pound-for-pound some of the most efficient & scaleable spells in the game.
2 Knowledge Feats from Harper Mage. Always good.


In summation, this is about as good as it gets for an Illusionist build that can actually go beyond scaring and confusing your foes ... into actually beating the royal crap out of them. That high level 120% strength mechanic for the Shades spell is just totally fabulous. And the versatility and utility you get from having access to the entire range of evocation and conjuration spells is just staggering.

Mark one up for the Gnomes ... this build rules!


P.S. You can also perform Shades/Dragon Ally brokenness as well. Build armies for nothing, blackmail things that shouldn't exist. It's all fun!