|Douglas Muir 406|
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The Spell Sage is a really interesting Wizard archetype that has never gotten much attention or love. I'd like to write a guide on it, but I could use some help.
The Spell Sage is an archetype that sacrifices two of the Wizard's best class features -- Arcane Bond and Arcane School -- in return for two completely *different* class features, Focused Spell and Spell Study. Here's the complete description:
Focused Spells (Su)
At 1st level, once per day the spell sage's understanding of spells allows him to increase his caster level by 4 for a single spell cast. He can do this twice per day at 8th level, and three times per day at 16th level.
This ability replaces arcane bond.
So, in return for giving up arcane bond, you get the ability to occasionally overclock and cast a spell at +4 ECL. ECL affects a variety of different things, but mostly it's about spell duration; dice of damage on blasts; and spell penetration against spell resistance. For the first, duration is usually pretty minor and not worth blowing your daily Focus. At first level you can cast Mage Armor for five hours, or Vanish or Summon Monster I for five rounds. That's nice, but not really worth the sacrifice of arcane bond. (You could perhaps get some interesting synergies with Extend Spell -- for instance, at 8th level you could burn a second level spell slot and walk around with Mage Armor all day long.)
For the second, though -- ah, now we're talking. 5d4 damage from Burning Hands at 1st level will drop most nonboss opponents. 9d6 damage from Fireball at 5th level is very strong too. And that's before you start piling on more dice with Spell Specialization, Pyromaniac, etc. etc.
As to SR, being able to increase your roll to overcome it is pretty handy at higher levels -- although you can get the same effect by investing in a metamagic rod of Piercing Spell, so it's not *that* great. And finally, let's note that if you can cast Gate, this will give you another four dice of powerful outsider. Again, there are other ways to accomplish this, but it's still nice.
Okay, so Crowdsource Question #1: Besides the obvious ones mentioned above, what are some good spells for leveraging that +4 ECL?
Spell Study (Su)At 2nd level, the sage's understanding of the spells of bards, clerics, and druids is so great that he can use his own magic in an inefficient, roundabout way to duplicate those classes' spells. Once per day, a spell sage can spontaneously cast any spell on the bard, cleric, or druid spell list as if it were a wizard spell he knew and had prepared. Casting the spell requires the spell sage to spend 1 full round per spell level of the desired spell (if the spell is on multiple spell lists indicated above, using the lowest level from among those lists) and requires expending two prepared spells of that spell level or higher; if the spell's casting time is normally 1 full round or longer, this is added to the spell sage's casting time. For example, if a spell sage wants to use spell study to cast cure light wounds (cleric spell level 1st), he must spend 2 full rounds casting and expend two prepared wizard spells of 1st level or higher.
At 6th level and every 5 levels thereafter, a spell sage can use this ability an additional time per day (to a maximum of four times per day at 16th level).
This ability replaces arcane school.
This is a super interesting ability. It sort of makes the Spell Sage into the anti-sorceror. The sorceror has a limited list of spells, but in combat he can switch among them freely. The Spell Sage has the biggest list of spells in the game -- bigger than the Mystic Theurge -- but the doubled slot cost makes him conservative, and the increased casting time means he can't ever use them in combat. But he's an incredibly flexible tool for everything outside of combat, and sometimes for avoiding combat too. Some examples:
-- The entrance to the fey kingdom is between two gigantic oak trees, but the gateway won't open unless you speak the password phrase. The Spell Sage casts Speak With Plants and asks the oak trees what the pass phrase is.
-- The orcs have thrown you in a dungeon and taken all your stuff. The Spell Sage casts Animal Messenger to use a rat to go for help.
-- The biggest treasure in the dungeon is a statue that's worth several thousand gold pieces. Unfortunately, it weighs 800 lbs. The Spell Sage casts Ant Haul on the party fighter. (Note that Ant Haul is a bard spell *and* a wizard spell -- the Spell Sage gets access to it by the back door, as it were.
-- Area of dense magical darkness ahead, darkvision doesn't work, and you're pretty sure the DM has put something nasty in there? Cast Echolocation on the party tank and have him lead you through.
-- Someone got zapped with a curse, and the cleric doesn't have Remove Curse prepped. Exit the dungeon and wait for a day... or just have the Spell Sage cast it. Blindness, deafness, diseases, poison and ability drain, same-same.
You get the idea. Not only do you have access to a huge mass of utility spells, but you also can access all those weird, super-situational spells that nobody ever uses. No wizard is going to memorize Soothe Construct, but if you're trapped in a room with the berserk golem bashing down the door, suddenly you've got it. Need to solve a murder mystery, fast? You have access to Red Hand of the Killer. Dungeon turns out to be unexpectedly full of bugs? Repel Vermin.
(Note that a few bard/cleric/ druid spells -- Scry, Enter Image, Remove Curse, Tongues -- are lower level than their wizard equivalent. So the Spell Sage can cast Remove Curse at 5th level, instead of waiting for 7th.)
Anyway -- Crowdsource question #2: what are some spells that are particularly likely to be useful?
Thanks in advance,