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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    Where does it say you can't have minions derived from wealth?

    And you're absolutely right! It may require the wizard to have 12 Cha with 2 ranks of handle animal and 50gp spent on the mwk animal handling tool but it's better than the guard dogs.
    "Minions gained from spells, class features, and similar sources are allowed and don't count against the 'solo' assumption." Minions purchased with gold are not included in this exemption. If they were, then of course what you would really want would be hireling mercenaries, who are actually quite underpriced, even when you factor in hazard pay.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Let's assume purchased minions (hirelings, animals, etc.) are allowed as a separate modifier. How does that change things?

    I also updated and clarified the original post.
    Last edited by Endarire; 2019-06-01 at 02:51 AM.
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    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    Let's assume purchased minions (hirelings, animals, etc.) are allowed as a separate modifier. How does that change things?
    Makes the Aristocrat a top class for it at lvl 1, that's about it.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by emeraldstreak View Post
    Makes the Aristocrat a top class for it at lvl 1, that's about it.
    Wizard has the "sell my spellbook, buy things"-option too. Which has...obvious downsides, but also upsides.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Endarire View Post
    I also updated and clarified the original post.
    What the original post is missing are restrictions to getting unusually high level spell consumables and spellcasting services.

    Most people posting in this thread act as if the competition is set in Dark Sun with the characters barely having access to a village shop.

    The baseline of the Core, however, is Greyhawk with explicitly stated availability of scrolls and spellcasting services for level 8 spells. That means a Cleric with the Magic domain can tap high level arcane and divine spells almost immediately, or that a gish can afford a PAO almost immediately.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Wizard has the "sell my spellbook, buy things"-option too. Which has...obvious downsides, but also upsides.
    Sure:
    1. Sell spell book.
    2. Dog army.
    3. Level up, get rich.
    4. Buy better spell book.
    Better than most things you can do at low level, and then after a bit of adventuring you can go back to wizarding.

    But seriously how do you find a buyer for cantrips? Yeah that's the shop's job to find a buyer, that's why they pay half. But wouldn't they think twice before dropping that much gold? Who's going to buy it besides a wizard student? And scribing their own cantrips might be part of their education. Everyone else has them already. Also you have to pull pretty strict RAW to say you level up wizard without casting spells or even having access to them.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    Sure:
    1. Sell spell book.
    2. Dog army.
    3. Level up, get rich.
    4. Buy better spell book.
    Better than most things you can do at low level, and then after a bit of adventuring you can go back to wizarding.

    But seriously how do you find a buyer for cantrips? Yeah that's the shop's job to find a buyer, that's why they pay half. But wouldn't they think twice before dropping that much gold? Who's going to buy it besides a wizard student? And scribing their own cantrips might be part of their education. Everyone else has them already. Also you have to pull pretty strict RAW to say you level up wizard without casting spells or even having access to them.
    If your problem is just fluff you can make anything up to fit the crunch. You sold your spellbook because you found all the spells you learned in the academy worthless. You bought dogs to handle combat while you experiment with new spells and material components while adventuring and when you level up you finish the spells. Can be tattoo spellbook if you want.

    I forgot spellbooks sell for a pretty penny because of the spells so if we're doing the animal thing wizards > druids at level 1. Level 2 Druids > Wizards because WBL equalizes the difference.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    If hirelings are factored in, wizard has a good chance of overtaking the druid, as you can simply hire a small personal army to shore up your weakness at low levels, diluting the advantage the druid normally has due to its animal companion. If you assume a typical mission takes about a week to complete, that's 14 gp per outing to hire three mercenaries and a mercenary leader, with hazard pay. Easily affordable.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    I feel like this discussion has boiled down to something like 'how can we get a wizard to survive the first few levels on his own, because after that point wizard is the clear winner'

    So the question is less 'what's the most powerful core class' and more 'how many methods for low level wizard survival can we find'

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drysdan View Post
    I feel like this discussion has boiled down to something like 'how can we get a wizard to survive the first few levels on his own, because after that point wizard is the clear winner'

    So the question is less 'what's the most powerful core class' and more 'how many methods for low level wizard survival can we find'
    I think Piggy had it down perfect in post #32. Nothing else to discuss. Druids early, Tied early mid, Wizard until 16, tied at 17.

    Now if we factor in money minions like Hireling mercenaries (who by RAW lets you hire epic warriors) and mules as Troacctid suggested, it becomes Wizard at 1, Tied until 8, Wizard until 16, tied at 17.

    I think it's only tied until 6 though cause arcane spells > druid spells by far even in core only.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-06-01 at 01:15 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    I think it's only tied until 6 though cause arcane spells > druid spells by far even in core only.
    I'd say rather especially in Core-only. Druid gets a lot of stuff like teleportation, broken minionmancy (Fey Circles), etc. out of Core while adding crazy amounts of combat power easily worth more than what Wizard adds (aside from Celerity, which is just silly). For a Wizard, most of the utterly busted stuff is Core while Druid gets a lot of strong stuff (crazy strong combat effects and some solid strategic power) but relatively fewer gamebreakers.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    LEVELS 17-20: Honestly in a core setting, once you hit access to shapechange you functionally have access to every spell and ability available in the PHB/DMG/MM, so I find it hard to really call the wizard better at these levels. Yeah, it also gets wish and gate... both of which are accessible via shapechange in core, so again, I consider it functionally moot.
    First, your post was awesome and very thorough, well done. I think you've explained very well what the OP was about. But let me voice my concerns about the last part of it (17-20).

    I agree that, if you give one billion dollars to a millionaire and one billion dollars to a homeless man, one is essentially as rich as the other after that. But here we are supposed to compare classes with all of their abilities. I do understand why Shapechange makes everybody equal in a way, but we need to stay focused on the classes, rather than the spell. There's just so many useful abilities the Wizard has access to and the Druid not:

    • Monster services: Planar Binding, Simulacrum, Charm/Dominate X, Geas/Quest, Gate
    • Travel: Teleport (and Teleportation Circle), Ethereal Jaunt (and Etherealness), Astral Projection
    • Information/Stealth/Scooting: (Greater) Arcane Sight, Discern Location, (Greater) Invisibility, Prying Eyes
    • Negation: Dispel Magic (and Mordenkainenís Disjunction), Sequester, Mind Blank
    • Illusions: Ghost Sound, all of the Images
    • Special mentions: Wish, Minor/Major Creation, Moment of Prescience, Time Stop


    And I'm sure I forgot several others. Shapechange might allow some of that with the Zodar, in which case we're not talking about the classes anymore, we're talking about the spell.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    The feat Spell Mastery is an option for Wizards who want to sell their spellbooks or who are concerned about losing access to these spells.

    Also remember that a character's prepared spells stay prepared until used. Thus, it's possible to prepare spells, sell the book, hire some hireling Wizards, borrow their spellbooks (or otherwise keep the spellbooks while ridding yourself of the Wizards), and continue. This move is risky in terms of your reputation.
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    And I do agree that the right answer to the magic/mundane problem is to make everyone badass.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    How does Shapechange give access to any other spells?

    It's pretty clear that it only adds Su and Ex abilities. NOT Sp abilities.

    So how are you getting Wish and Gate via Shapechange?

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenC21 View Post
    How does Shapechange give access to any other spells?

    It's pretty clear that it only adds Su and Ex abilities. NOT Sp abilities.

    So how are you getting Wish and Gate via Shapechange?
    If there is creature that has Wish as Su ability, you could Shapechange to it. Obvious fix is to rewrite said creature statistics and replace Su with Sp.

    Also some PrC transforms spells to Su abilities. So you need to levelup such classes and add Body Outside Body in the mix.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenC21 View Post
    How does Shapechange give access to any other spells?

    It's pretty clear that it only adds Su and Ex abilities. NOT Sp abilities.

    So how are you getting Wish and Gate via Shapechange?
    Certain MMs refer to spellcasting itself as an ex ability. It's either that or a natural ability. Either way, you get both through Shapechange so you essentially get a Solar's 20th level Cleric spellcasting or such with it. Which is of course ridiculously broken and makes the spell even more stupid than it already is and I've seen it allowed basically never, but it's there. Even without that though, Shapechange can access a ridiculous number of spells by just shifting forms.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Certain MMs refer to spellcasting itself as an ex ability. It's either that or a natural ability. Either way, you get both through Shapechange so you essentially get a Solar's 20th level Cleric spellcasting or such with it.
    Minor side note: As far as I can tell, this is allowed by RAW, but Shapechange alone is not quite enough to unlock it. The spellcasting ability of a Cleric additionally requires spending an hour praying at a certain time of day and the spellcasting ability of a Sorcerer additionally requires 15 minutes of concentration after 8 hours of rest.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Certain MMs refer to spellcasting itself as an ex ability. It's either that or a natural ability. Either way, you get both through Shapechange so you essentially get a Solar's 20th level Cleric spellcasting or such with it. Which is of course ridiculously broken and makes the spell even more stupid than it already is and I've seen it allowed basically never, but it's there. Even without that though, Shapechange can access a ridiculous number of spells by just shifting forms.
    Note particularly the existence of a supernatural wish on that list. Shapechange is horribly broken, because the MM writers weren't consistent about how they labeled monster abilities.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Gotta remember most designers/tables know Shapechange only at minor fraction of what it is, famous case in point

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Lampert View Post
    Note particularly the existence of a supernatural wish on that list. Shapechange is horribly broken, because the MM writers weren't consistent about how they labeled monster abilities.
    In core, though, itís a bit less horribly broken, assuming that as Eldariel says almost no one actually allows it to grant cleric 20 casting.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    In core, though, itís a bit less horribly broken, assuming that as Eldariel says almost no one actually allows it to grant cleric 20 casting.
    I disagree that innate casting is natural or (Ex). Just because the stat block doesn't say what type of ability it is doesn't mean it's automatically natural. Darkvision for example is an (Ex) ability yet no monster stat block ever tells you it's an (Ex) ability.

    If a solar polymorphs into a human, does he have his innate spellcasting? If the answer is yes then you don't gain it when you shapechange into him just like how the Solar retains his SLAs and you don't gain his SLAs.

    Lilitu's spellcasting is explicity called Mock Divinity (Ex) so her spellcasting is an (Ex) ability but other creature's spellcasting is not. Unless someone has the RAW to prove otherwise.

    The reason SLAs carry over and you don't gain SLAs is because SLAs is part of the creature's soul or mind, not their body. So is their innate casting part of their mind or body?

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    I disagree that innate casting is natural or (Ex). Just because the stat block doesn't say what type of ability it is doesn't mean it's automatically natural. Darkvision for example is an (Ex) ability yet no monster stat block ever tells you it's an (Ex) ability.

    If a solar polymorphs into a human, does he have his innate spellcasting? If the answer is yes then you don't gain it when you shapechange into him just like how the Solar retains his SLAs and you don't gain his SLAs.

    Lilitu's spellcasting is explicity called Mock Divinity (Ex) so her spellcasting is an (Ex) ability but other creature's spellcasting is not. Unless someone has the RAW to prove otherwise.

    The reason SLAs carry over and you don't gain SLAs is because SLAs is part of the creature's soul or mind, not their body. So is their innate casting part of their mind or body?
    And I would agree with this too. And the RAI seems clear. And the better balanced ruling seems to agree. I can only think, (and again, this matches what Eldariel says) that only the strictest RAW game would rule otherwise and even then there is a counter argument.

    Unless someone is really attempting to claim that we should imagine that every Druid 17 (and also every wizard 17, because why not?) is also a Cleric 20, lets just look at the broken we can see.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2019-06-03 at 02:26 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    Unless someone is really attempting to claim that we should imagine that every Druid 17 (and also every wizard 17, because why not?) is also a Cleric 20, lets just look at the broken we can see.
    This is largely moot though because Zodar Wishes can create scrolls of anything and everything of all classes both divine and arcane and it's trivial to UMD them. Even if it's cross class you just need to start with a ludicrously high CL wand of improvisation that lets you UMD the scrolls.

    If we ban free wishes because of the whole candle of invocation or efreeti planar binding, then wizards > druids at 17. Because genesis and gate and stuff.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    This is largely moot though because Zodar Wishes can create scrolls of anything and everything of all classes both divine and arcane and it's trivial to UMD them. Even if it's cross class you just need to start with a ludicrously high CL wand of improvisation that lets you UMD the scrolls.

    If we ban free wishes because of the whole candle of invocation or efreeti planar binding, then wizards > druids at 17. Because genesis and gate and stuff.
    Where is the Zodar in your core books?

    Or genesis or improvisation for that matter.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2019-06-03 at 05:39 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    I'd say rather especially in Core-only. Druid gets a lot of stuff like teleportation, broken minionmancy (Fey Circles), etc. out of Core while adding crazy amounts of combat power easily worth more than what Wizard adds (aside from Celerity, which is just silly). For a Wizard, most of the utterly busted stuff is Core while Druid gets a lot of strong stuff (crazy strong combat effects and some solid strategic power) but relatively fewer gamebreakers.
    True enough. Beyond the obviously incredible stuff, like greenbound, aberration/dragon/exalted wild shape, venomfire, enhance wild shape, and so on, non-core just offers a lot of basic practical stuff. Like, just consider second and fourth level spells. In core, these are relatively lacking compared to the stuff you get at first, third, and fifth (say, entangle, sleet storm, and control winds respectively). Seconds have stuff like soften earth and stone, summon swarm, and fog cloud. Fourths have dispel magic a level after everyone else and SNA IV. Non-core seconds offer amazing spells like blinding spittle, kelpstrand, and mass snake's swiftness, and the fourths have the wonky stuff like animate with the spirit, enhance wild shape along with solid combat options like boreal wind and wall of salt.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    Where is the Zodar in your core books?

    Or genesis or improvisation for that matter.
    I forgot about that. Zodar and Shapechange is so interlinked i often forget to separate them in a core-only discussion. Genesis is core.

    So it's definitive. Wizard wins. With wealth, difference between Wizard and Druid is trivial for levels 1-6, sometimes wizard is stronger sometimes druid is, but at level 7-20 wizard wins hands down.

    So now about an actual build instead of just class discussion, the strongest core only wizard build will be...
    1. 18 Int (or 20, not sure if human is most optimal)
    2. Eschew Materials
    3. Spell Focus:Conjuration and Greater Spell Focus:Conjuration
    4. Spell Penetration and Greater Spell Penetration

    Levels 1-6
    Animal or Hireling Army or Both supported by BFC spells like Web, Glitterdust, Haste, Stinking Cloud, etc.

    Levels 7-8
    Animate Dead Army supported by BFC spells.

    Levels 9-20
    Ye old tippy Planar Binding by debuff spamming the outsider's charisma check to oblivion so that even if you roll a 1 and the outsider breaks free, it's helpless on the ground and you just Coup De Grace it and try again with another outsider. The best outsiders have will saves and SR in the stratosphere which is why I got those feats. Be sure to Dimensional Anchor the outsider in addition to Dimensional Anchoring the magic circle so if you do roll a 1 the outsider can't teleport away.

    Also infinite wealth (Fabricate).

    Levels 13-20
    Eschew Materials + Simulacrum to create normal hd (not half hd) Simulacra of any creature in the game. (achieved by creating Simulacra of advanced creatures whose hd is double the base creatures so when halved, is normal). Basically the hd of the creature is equal to your caster level.

    Levels 17-20
    Gate I win. Genesis shenanigans.

    I think General > Specialist since all the PB debuff spells are all over the schools. Evocation is contingency so banning that might also not be a good idea.

    Now if someone could post their munchkin druid build we can compare.
    Last edited by RoboEmperor; 2019-06-04 at 02:11 PM.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    If your problem is just fluff you can make anything up to fit the crunch. You sold your spellbook because you found all the spells you learned in the academy worthless. You bought dogs to handle combat while you experiment with new spells and material components while adventuring and when you level up you finish the spells. Can be tattoo spellbook if you want.

    I forgot spellbooks sell for a pretty penny because of the spells so if we're doing the animal thing wizards > druids at level 1. Level 2 Druids > Wizards because WBL equalizes the difference.
    I have no problem with a wizard finding a fluff excuse to sell his spellbook. I have problem with the shop buying it for half like any other item, since they can expect very little chance of ever finding a buyer. It's one thing if it sits for a year; that's typical and that's why they only pay half. I'm talking probably never. Nearly all other wizards already have it. If anything this is similar to a ladder made into 10 foot poles situation, at which point everyone has infinite wealth.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-06-04 at 02:43 PM.
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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    I have no problem with a wizard finding a fluff excuse to sell his spellbook. I have problem with the shop buying it for half like any other item, since they can expect very little chance of ever finding a buyer. It's one thing if it sits for a year; that's typical and that's why they only pay half. I'm talking probably never. Nearly all other wizards already have it. If anything this is similar to a ladder made into 10 foot poles situation, at which point everyone has infinite wealth.
    How about a cleric with spell domain? How about a chameleon? How about wizards who lost their spellbook?

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoboEmperor View Post
    How about a cleric with spell domain? How about a chameleon? How about wizards who lost their spellbook?
    Also,up and coming wizards have to find spells to fill up their own spellbooks somehow, and a second or third level wizard who is still filling out his list would definitely pay for access to even a level one wizard's book for spells he doesn't have yet.

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    Default Re: What's the most powerful 3.5 core build?

    @ ^, both above. While not totally impossible, finding a buyer willing to pay for the book including the cantrips seems difficult for the shopkeeper to do even in his entire lifetime. The cantrips are useless to most, and nearly useless to even those who have a small chance of using them. Buying level 1 scrolls is usually cheaper for almost all purposes. If I were the shopkeep I'd say "Ok, I'll buy your book but I'm only paying half for the level 1 spells. It's nearly impossible for me to ever make money on it otherwise. Take it or leave it."

    New wizards might need a new spellbook, but it's unclear how they get it. Scribing the cantrips (if not the 1st level spells too) could be part of their training. IIRC the fluff for cantrips are that they are part of the basics of magic, which would connect them to learning magic. I would presume their cantrips and starting spells are in their own handwriting, though it's not clear. And if we go by strict RAW they don't have the money to buy it in that case either, they just start with a book somehow.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2019-06-04 at 05:42 PM.
    So you never have to interrupt a game to look up a rule again:
    My 3.5e Rules Cheat Sheets: Normal, With Consolidated Skill System
    TOGC's 3.5e Spell/etc Cards: rpgnow / drivethru rpg
    Utilities: Magic Item Shop Generator (Req. MS Excel), Balanced Low Magic Item System
    Printable Cardstock Dungeon Tiles and other terrain stuff (100 MB)

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