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    Default [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    I've always loved the concept of interrupting other people's abilities, particularly magic. When I played Magi-Nation, I my favorite region was Orothe, with their disruptive tactics; when I played Guild Wars, my favorite character was a Mesmer and my favorite tactic was to use interrupt spells. D&D would seem to have this concept available in the form of counterspelling, but counterspelling reliably and well seems really hard to do, especially when readying an action to disrupt concentration via damage seems so much more reliable than readying an action to counterspell. I know that there are a couple ways to counterspell without readying an action, such as the Reactive Counterspell feat or the Noctumancer prestige class (both of which seem nifty, especially Noctumancer), but the actual execution thereof seems difficult. I tend to play in low-level games, and I'm curious... at what level is it possible to make a decent counterspeller who doesn't suck the rest of the time? I want to be able to counter spells reliably, via the counterspell mechanic (am I being obtuse? Maybe, but oh well.), and not be a one-trick pony. What level does a character like this really come into their own? Wizards get the earliest access to third-level slots for the all-important Dispel Magic, but they can't cast it spontaneously unless they spend two feats on it, neither of which they can actually take until they know the spell, if I'm not mistaken... and while they could load up their 3rd-level slots with nothing but Dispel Magic as soon as they hit level 5, that kind of flies in the face of the "not a one-trick-pony" idea. Sorcerers qualify later, but don't have to worry about what kind of spells they have available; if they need a Dispel Magic, they have it. The Noctumancer class seems built for counterspelling, but it takes a while to get access to it (barring Precocious Apprentice cheese, which I do believe to be cheese), let alone access to the necessary level of spells. So, I'm kind of at a loss here. What's the earliest level you can make a dedicated counterspeller who doesn't suck at everything else?
    Last edited by Zaq; 2009-02-13 at 03:42 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Wall of text attacks! CRITS!

    Meh, basically skimmed but here is what I got out of it: I want to focus on counterspelling but be more than a one trick pony.

    http://forums.gleemax.com/wotc_archi...x.php/t-546966

    This is kinda old but still fine for counterspelling info. Beyond that Paragraphs are wonderous devices.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Heh. I thought that wall o' text was rather moderate, to be honest. I'll try to trim things down in the future.

    Anyway, I've read that thread before, and those boards are notoriously bad for assuming everyone's at level 20 all the time, which is neither helpful nor terribly interesting to me. What I care about is less "how uber-awesome can I make this concept archetype?" and more "how soon can I make this archetype function without drooling all over itself?"

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    Thumbs up Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Actually...

    A Cleric with the right Domains makes for a good Counterspeller. Divine Spellpower will allow you to sacrifice Turn attempts to bolster up your caster level for dispel checks.

    As for level, a Cleric using Divine Spellpower would have a better counter rate immediately upon obtaining Dispel Magic in comparison to a Wizard of equal ability. That's without checking the mechanics though.
    Last edited by Kaihaku; 2009-02-13 at 04:45 AM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    As I see it, the mai problem with counterspelling at low levels would be that you don't really need it then. In my experiences, you rarely fight magic-users at low levels, also due to the fact that they are seen to be weak at that level and then do not make good enemies.

    More in general, counterspelling is severely limited by the fact that the PCs usually fight things of higher CR. You cannot counterspell the spells of the boss because of the spell level restriction and you cannot counterspell the spells of mooks (assuming there are spellcasting mooks, which are usually avoided to spare the DM some bookkeeping) because they are too many and you'd run out of spell slots too early.

    If I had to disrupt a spell at low levels I'd just ready a scorching ray.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    What about that Complete Mage alternate cleric feature where you trade Turn Undead for free counter attempts? (Add your cleric level instead of caster level, 3+Cha per day). Would that be worthwhile?
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Go with Time and Inquisition (its Inquisition Time!). Actually, go with Sun and Time, pick up Inquisition from 3 levels of Church Inquisitor, and then head into Radiant Servant (assuming no alignment restrictions). At RSoP5, get the Purification domain. This gets you +1 CL on dispel checks and a +4 unnamed dispel check. For feats, grab Divine Spell Power, which you can use to bump your CL even more. Get a couple Rings of Greater Counterspelling from DMGII and then cast the spell Battle Magic Perception and you'll be able to take on the first 3 spells cast.

    Sure, you can't get into Archmage, but still, not a bad deal.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    You know, this seems like a good way to stop Celerity cheese.
    "Celerity-"
    "Counterspelled."
    "O.O?!?"

    Hmm, now I want to try a dedicated counterspeller against my party's wizard, just to see the effect it might have.

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Don't counter the celerity, let it go. Counter the spell that comes AFTER the celerity, and you'll have knocked out 2 opponents spell slots with 1 of yours.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Teach me to post at 5:30 AM why don't you?

    Good point though. Has anyone actually made a serious counterspell build and played it in a real game, just to see how it worked out? I never have, but I think it could be pretty awesome.

    Hmm.... now, it hunt down those rules about mage duels, make a serious counterspeller, and give it a shot.

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Sorcerer with Improved Counterspell, Heighten spell metamagic and that feat that shortens spontaneous metamagic (forgot what it is named. It's in the PHII I think?).

    Pick as varied spell list as possible, and there you go. You're useful even when there's nothing to counterspell. Doable at level three if you play human I believe.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Technically level 1. Its an alternative feature for the sorcerer. But if you are countering things at level 1, it is rather impressive.

    This is basically what I meant though when I linked that thread. All the tricks in there are neat, but you can just level up to them.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Nevermind.
    Last edited by nightwyrm; 2009-02-13 at 11:46 AM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Quote Originally Posted by Learnedguy View Post
    Sorcerer with Improved Counterspell, Heighten spell metamagic and that feat that shortens spontaneous metamagic (forgot what it is named. It's in the PHII I think?).

    Pick as varied spell list as possible, and there you go. You're useful even when there's nothing to counterspell. Doable at level three if you play human I believe.
    I played such a character, but we never got past level 1, so... As noted, it's a level 1 substitution for the familar, not a Feat. The plan for Feats was: Improved Counterspell, Heighten Spell, Improved Initiative, Reactive Counterspell. So that's level 6. It's sort of a one-trick pony, though, but with a variety in spells (you want to have at least one for each school of magic for use in counterspelling/heightening anyway) it should be ok. As you gain more Feats, pick up more metamagic, and you should be pretty dangerous. Captain Obvious recommends you to maximize Spellcraft and pick (Greater) Dispel Magic as soon as possible too...

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Race: Human
    Class: Sorc
    Alt Features: Trade that XP bomb Familiar for metamagic without cast time increase

    Feats: Improved counterspell, Heighten spell, rapid counterspell, Improved initiative

    Minimum lvl = 6 (coincidentally that is also the lvl @ which you gain access to 3rd lvl spells (namely dispel magic))

    Other Useful Feats: Arcane thesis(Dispel and/or Greater Dispel), Skill focus(spell Craft), or Elven Spell lore.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Wizard is easily the best. Master Specialist Abjurer specifically. You can even go straight into Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil for some really nice defense abilities and the absolutely brutal Prismatic Doom. Here's what I'd do:

    Illumian with Krau-sigil (and Naun or something; anything of any use)

    Cloistered Cleric 1: Pick Knowledge Devotion, Inquisition-domain and something like Competition (for a small improvement on counterspelling), Pride (for superb saves) or Undeath (for extra turnings).
    Abjurer 1 (banning Evocation and Enchantment/Necromancy depending on your focus)
    Abjurer 2
    Abjurer 3
    Master Specialist 1-6 [CMage]
    Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil 1-7 [CArc]
    Master Specialist 7-9 or Archmage 1-3 (Archmage gets Mastery of Counterspelling, Mastery of Shaping and Spell Power, for example)

    With the following feats:
    Divine Defiance [Fiendish Codex II] - key to making this work
    Elven Spell Lore [PHBII]
    Arcane Mastery [CArc]
    Chain Spell [CArc] (Chained Dispel Magic is offensively very powerful)

    and usual metamagic.

    Basically, you use Divine Defiance (hence the Cleric-level) to get free action counterspells, Inquisition-domain for massive buffs to dispels and Master Specialist for some extra buffs to it. Further, Elven Spell Lore and Arcane Mastery mean you'll never fail the checks and Initiate just synergises well with all the Abjuration. Thanks to Illumian's Krau-sigil, your Cleric Caster Level is 3 and thus you qualify for Divine Defiance without Practiced Spellcaster: Cleric. Further, the same Sigil keeps your Wizard Caster Level maxed even with the Cleric-level.

    Now just use Battlemagic Perception [Heroes of Battle] & Ring of Spell-Battle [Magic Item Compendium] to detect spellcasting and throw it in their faces. Add Reliquary Holy Symbol, et co. and you'll have enough turnings to always fuel Divine Defiance. Prepare a variety of dispel magic-effects (to get past any possible Rings of Counterspells your opponent has) and you'll be golden. There's a variety of them in Spell Compendium.


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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    Divine Defiance (Fiendish Codex II, pg 83) is definitely an uber feat, and the key to effective counter spelling. Buy IIRC it let's you burn a turn/rebuke undead use to counter a spell as an Immediate Action. So you can only counter spell once per round via that method. You can get up to twice per round if you ready an action. And you can store a spell in an Item Familiar, which has its own action.

    I'd also add that Antimagic Field is a 6th level spell which anyone with UMD can get access to with a custom wand or scroll, which will protect you from 99% of magic.

    If for some reason that's not enough, then your DM has obviously chosen to kill you no matter what you do, and you should just enjoy the ride.
    Last edited by Person_Man; 2009-02-13 at 02:49 PM.

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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    You forgot that Battlemagic Perception can be expended as a free action for yet another out-of-turn counterspell. And Ring of Spell-Battle can redirect a spell without a check once per day. So you don't need to stop at Divine Defiance & Readied actions.

    Also, at least two Veils (blue and purple if I recall correctly) block LoE which means you're immune to AMF; Initiate is a great defensive PrC. If you truly want the ultimate protection, be a Cleric of Mystra with Initiate of Mystra, Persist AMF and cast all your buffs in it. I know I've said this a lot recently, but it truly is the ultimate "can't touch me"-setup. It takes at least a couple of Disjunctions to even touch you and even then, the chances are slim.


    Anyways, to answer your question of the starting level:
    Barring Archivist cheese to get Dispel Magic at level 1 (through Trapsmith's list), the earliest level you can be a reliable counterspell specialist is 5 (that would be a level 5 Cleric; that said, a Wizard has better growth prospects hence my suggestion towards them). This particular build works starting from level 6. You need access to Dispel Magic to reliably counterspell anything since otherwise you need to have the same spell or anti-spell prepared to do anything.
    Last edited by Eldariel; 2009-02-13 at 03:13 PM.
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    Default Re: [3.5] What level for a good counterspeller?

    The best counterspell is a little thing I like to call "sword-in-brain syndrome".
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