A question to the author of the guide: did you use the preferred spell for your "universal" diviner build, as greater specialization applies only to one specialized spell? In case greater specialization would apply to all spells having the feat "spell specialization", would you still prefer the preferred spell feat?
Hmm... This is actually something I hadn't considered.
You're right, as written you might take Greater Spell specialization as applying to all of the spells that you specialize in without having to take a Greater Specialization feat for each of them.
The great advantage of Spell Specialization is that you can change which spells you can cast each time you get new spells - which I think makes it superior for doing something like applying it to Summon Monster spells.
The great disadvantage of Spell Specialization (With Greater Spell Specialization) is that it increases the casting time of your favored spell to a full round cast when you use Metamagic on them. This makes Preferred spell a much better option for taking spells you'll be casting all the time for your entire career and may want to spontaneously add metamagic to - like adding Dazing Spell to your favorite Evocation Spell.
Taking that into account, I think it's a little expensive to get both Spell Specialization AND Preferred Spell since they both take two feats to allow spontaneous casting. As far as my Diviner build goes, the fact that I put "Your choice" on those feats kind of leaves open the question of which is best.
If you want to spontaneously cast spells that really don't benefit from any metamagic besides Quicken Spell (which doesn't get a increased casting time) then I think taking multiple Spell Specialization Feats and only applying only one global Greater Spell Specialization feat is the best way to go. Haste and Dimensional Anchor are good examples of good spells. Greater Dispel Magic actually greatly benefits from this approach because it's one of the few spells that improves remarkably from the +2 caster level.
If you want to use ANY kind of metamagic like Persistent Spell, Dazing Spell, Reach Spell, or even the obligatory Heighten Spell, then I think you're better off sticking to Preferred Spell. My spell example of Cold Ice Strike would love to have Rime Spell attached to it, but it's not required. Telekinetic Charge, my other recommendation, greatly benefits from Reach Spell - but again, it's up to you if you think you'd rather have Preferred spell.
TLDR version (AKA, my simple opinion): I think I would prefer Spell Specialization for my Diviner Build if my DM agrees with the interpretation that Greater Spell Specialization has a global effect on all spell specializations.
I was under the impression that Bastion of Good halved all incoming damage, but it states "Attacks" which seems to exclude spells. Looking at Divine Defender, raising all saving throws could potentially have the same effect as halving damage for reflex based spells at least...
Giving up Mercy does remove your ability to address contingent situations though, but you DO get to keep your smite evil for helping the party with damage.
I think I'd still prefer the Sacred Shield.
If you're thinking about fulfilling the role of "Tank" in the MMO sense, that is a character who is supposed to not only soak up damage but also draw in attacks as well, then in my opinion there is only one real option:
A Paladin with a High Charisma, in full plate adamantine armor, with the Sacred Shield Archetype. Throw in the Antagonize feat and you're golden - a nearly perfect Pathfinder Tank.
Definitely stack your elemental resistances in any way that you can, noting that Resist Energy: Communal is on the Paladin's spell list.
So I'm starting a new campaign, and I kind of want to do something a little different from what I've done in the past, so I'm looking for inspiration.
What's you favorite monster race to have as villains? (Aka Orcs, Undead, Lizardfolk, etc.)
If you're specifically trying to address the reason I'm making this thread, then the Spoiler below contains some info about two campaigns I've run fairly recently.
Previous Campaign Info:
I've done two campaigns where the players have generally expressed enjoyment of the game.
These two campaigns mainly used one type of monster as the "Main plot" villains, so the two I've used so far were:
1. Mind Flayers. In this campaign we were playing 3.5 and I pulled all the stops out for character creation. Many of the players were playing level adjusted monster class races. The basic story was that in that area of the world all the Dragons were sealed up by a group of druids into a forest, which if kept healthy imprisoned the Dragons in a Stone Form. The forest was being destroyed gradually by a blight however which was caused by series of artifacts that were used to seal a Mind Flayer God. The party gets a hold of one of these objects and thus caught the attention of a particular Mind Flayer Tribe interested in resurrecting their dark deity.
2. Incorporeal Beings, and eventually Giant Outsiders. In my most recent campaign using pathfinder the main villains were for most of the campaign incorporeal beings bent on corrupting and possessing humans. They animated objects and could only be killed by specific types of magical weapons, or by magic that was channeled through a special item bond. It turned out though that ultimate intention of these "phantoms" was to create a perfect society through this possession so that the world may remain in a state of peace hopefully preventing what the party was ultimately tricked into doing - and that was releasing the Great Old Ones from their tombs. At that point the campaign took a lovecraftian turn where the old ones were exerting their influence on the world from a limbo-like plane, only occasionally manifesting their physical form on the material plane. The party then had to work with the Phantom leader to learn how to make themselves immune to the mind melting influence of the old one and eventually become powerful enough to destroy them one by one.
I'm starting my players at level 10 in my current campaign. I'm leaning toward using more Abominations this time around, but I'm actually very heavily considering the idea of making one of the main villains they have to face be a coalition of evil Wizards adept at crafting constructs.
I'm not a big fan of undead scourges, since it's overused and in my opinion ruined by some poorly told stories. I'm okay with using them heavily in particular adventures though, for instance in the Mind Flayer campaign I had one or two scenarios where I used them pretty heavily.
Yeah, I think the two saves factor sort of balances it out. Kind of sucks, but meh.
Unlike other save-or-suck spells, this one can be tried again a turn later without using a standard action or a spell slot.
As far as the interpretation of Dazing Spell, yeah, I'd rule it so it only applies to first application of damage as a DM. Dazing spell is pretty crazy without being applied EVERY time a more persistent spell deals damage. But then if your DM says it works then by all means exploit away.
Thinking about it a little more the usefulness of other objects is dependent on the limits of your creation I think.
If it has to be one object of a single material, that's certainly limiting the possibilities. For instance, what if I wanted to make a Bicycle (A crafty diviner who could see into the future might come up with that) Would I be able to create an object of both metal AND plant matter?
Would I be able to make an object complete with complimentary objects assuming that I haven't used up all my cubic space? For instance, could I make a Cannon complete with ammo? Or would I have to fabricate the ammo afterward? (Although I guess I'd have to use creation to make the ammo because apparently using fabricate counts as using the creation as a material component.)
You know the more I think about this spell the more I think about summoning ladders and other utility items, I think I might need to give it a better rating overall. Heck, even the minor version can make ladders. This is all assuming you've bothered taking the appropriate craft skill though, which kind of bumps it down.
As far as the problem being ONLY duration, I think I just poorly worded my description. I'd definitely like the spell more if the spell was permanent, or at least longer than a single memorization period.
So I'm skimming your spell ratings: why do you think Major Creation's duration makes it useless? Even precious metals last a minimum of three hours at the minimum possible caster level, with base metals lasting nine hours and non-mineral objects lasting 18. "Rare metals" are the only things that can possibly last less than an hour and a half with it.
I suppose with a 3 hour length of time for Gold you could use the spell to swindle someone.
I'm thinking more along the lines of fabricating the Mythril into armor or something. With 1 round per level AFTER a 10 minute casting time it makes it hardly usable.
As for non-precious metals, I guess you could craft a sword or two if your party was suddenly weaponless and have it be meaningful.
I dunno, maybe with some imagination I'm sure there's something you can do with it. To be honest though I'm lacking in ideas.
This one I should give a little more thought than I have though, since you CAN just create the full object according to the text.
Finished updating a few of the spells and adjusting some of the ratings.
I did think a little harder on some of the spells and came to a lot of the same conclusions. Most importantly though I gave the dominate spells the ratings they deserve.
Still a little waffling on giving Dominate Monster a straight up blue since that tends to suggest it's something you should be memorizing a lot, but when I really considered the implications of the effect as a non-combat spell, you really COULD be memorizing it every day and using it.
And yes, you could use it IN combat as well, I just think there's a lot more risk there. In combat, as an enchanter, I'd turn to some of the level 8 options that are sure-fires first.
The trouble with feats in general is that they're not terribly well organized on the SRD. I'm bound to miss at least a few in the process of finding them out.
And yes, having just read this feat I can already think of some great uses for it. For instance, Stone Skin: Communal is 100gp per creature effected, making it a free Stone Skin buff at the cost of one spell slot higher.
Animate dead is definitely an incredible option as well. While it will take multiple castings and you won't be able to create anything with higher than 4HD, you can eventually make your army with basically no cost (But I do think that is pushing the envelope into the naughtiest of metagame territory.)
(I'm going to go ahead and make a list of spells for my future evaluation of this feat right here since it's convenient to me)
Create Treasure Map is suddenly Free.
You can make a stash of Continual Flames.
Fabricate Bullets for your gunslinger.
Place Magic Mouths everywhere.
Nondetection is slightly more usable.
Make Pellet Blast overcome Damage Reduction without any monetary consequences.
Write in Illusory Script as much as you want...
There are some good possibilities up there, makes me think the Feat deserves about a green (Probably not blue, since it is competing with so many other feats though.)
Dreaming Psion wrote:
Oops, you're right on the Limited Wish. Been looking at different editions of D&D recently and got it confused. Sorry about that.
Heh, what's funny is that when Benly was bringing up that Shades should be able to duplicate healing spells the first thing I thought was "Aren't those Necromancy!?"
Wait... How does it duplicate Limited Wish? That's a Universal School Spell.
Your other points are good though. I'm kind of leaning toward Green for Shades, mostly because of its ability to duplicate Resurrection or Heal, especially for the former's ability to seemingly avoid the 10,000 gp fee, theoretically the only drawback being that they'd be resurrected with 80% of their damage recovered instead of full.
Actually, I suppose if Shades has the ability to do that I should be rating it Blue...
Also, it seems like my "80% real" qualm is already addressed in the text by essentially stating that it has a 20% fail rate against non believers for non-damaging effects.
Makes me want to make a Santa Claus illusionist.
"Ho ho ho My Dear Party Members, I can make everything all right. You just have to BELIEVE in me is all! Ho ho ho!"
Yeah, I'm kind of looking for an FAQ. I mean as a DM I'd probably go in favor of letting it duplicate any conjuration, especially considering the Divine Casters get a spell that's basically superior in every way.
But the fact that the text doesn't say anything like "Including X and Y" makes it seem slightly ambiguous as to its intent, as if it might have accidentally been put through with vague language.
Looking up 3.5's version of Shades it states "This spell functions like shadow conjuration, except that it mimics sorcerer and wizard conjuration spells of 8th level or lower. The illusory conjurations created deal four-fifths (80%) damage to nonbelievers, and nondamaging effects are 80% likely to work against nonbelievers. "
Which suggests to me that it couldn't have been anything but intentional. Especially since here it also seems to be all conjuration spells inclusive, at least for Wizard/Sorcerer spells.
With that in mind I'll go ahead and give Shades a much better rating.
Yikes. I don't think I ever considered interpreting it that way.
Is there anything to show that is the intended reading of the rules there?
I mean RAW you seem to be right, but I guess I just assumed that Shades was just an upgrade to Greater Shadow Conjuration. Especially since other similar duplication spells specifically state that they include the material cost of the spells they are duplicating.
Allowing ALL conjuration does definitely improve it on vast levels, though it does have some strange implications, I mean how is a teleport 80% real? (I mean would a successful save leave me saying something like "I didn't need that spleen anyway..."?)
The answer to this question is "It depends."
I think the better approach to the situation is pick what you want to play and then ask the question "What role am I going to play with this character?"
Because as someone mentioned there are different approaches to everything, and the DM isn't going to stand by and let your party starve to death just because you made some mistakes in the inception.
There are a few recommendations though, for instance, if you're a Rogue you're going to want a Flanking buddy, which almost necessitates good BSF (Big Strong Fighter.) If you're a Wizard, you're going to want someone you can sprinkle buffs on and rearrange the battleground around, and for that you're going to want a good BSF. If you're a Cleric or Bard you're going to want someone who can actually do damage so you can improve that damage with your spell casting and general usefulness, and the best person to fit that role is the BSF.
Actually, if I were to pick an essential Role, it'd be every party should have a BSF, and then other party members should be supporting that BSF in one way or another (Even if it's just providing even more damage.)
I notice that there's nothing in there that states that you lose your memory from being dead. This is a great opportunity for the DM to give the party some insight on his world while a player is dead, maybe a divine perspective as it were. (And the God of the Underworld looks to you and says "Stop Metagaming in-character or this will happen again!")
I think that's a lot better than death just ending up as an expensive setback once you dig up the diamonds necessary to bring your friend back.
A great commenter has gone through the guide and made some great points along the way, forcing me to re-evaluate some of my thoughts.
As a result I'm probably going to go through and take another look at the entire Enchantment school again as well as a select few other spells that he made some good points on. Expect rating improvements on the Dominate spells and possibly some of the other mass holding spells. One of the reasons Enchantment got so harshly rated is because so many of the spells do not have any secondary effect if the target makes their save, but I also think that I developed a bit of jadedness to the school after rating 500 spells that I got sick of "Will save or lose" and "Mind effecting" features being on so many different spell names.
I also realize after his criticisms that I did put too much emphasis on "Fireball" as a candidate for dazing spell, and while that wasn't entirely my intention, I did fall for the redundancy of using it as an example time and time again.
I'm bringing this all up however because I'd like to have a little discussion about Shadow Spells
In my discussions with this commenter (Who posted as anonymous, I assume it's only one person) I did see his side of the argument on many of the spells with some exceptions. Some I'm still not quite convinced on though are the Shadow Spells, specifically Shades.
I'm not going to post the entire conversation here since my attempt just now made my browser crash, but it's all in the guide so you're welcome to read them (Though regarding the Shades subject it's kind of spread out over different spell comments.)
Some of the arguments for the spell include that Shades is versatile, it doesn't have any spell components, and why wouldn't I think that there shouldn't be some kind of drawback (Will save for full effect, can only duplicate lower level spells) when it has such versatility.
While I can be harsh in my language, I don't go into any spell trying to hate it (Most of the time.) I genuinely want to hear from you guys anecdotes where Shades' strengths made the real difference, and I want to hear situations where there was no way you could have just memorized the spell you duplicated.
That's the thing about Shades that gets to me. I can't think of a single spell in the Conjuration [Creation] or [Summoning] line that you wouldn't already have memorized in a lower level slot that you would need on the fly. If Shades was a Miracle-esque spell that could duplicate ANY lower level spell on the Wizard School and ANY Divine Spell 7th level or lower, then I'd be all for it with 5 gold stars (Actually, why DOESN'T Illusion have a spell like that when Miracle exists, especially if it has a chance of not providing a full effect?)
But is there a significant spell of those two spell categories of 8th level or lower on the Wizard's List only that you would probably not memorize but want around as a contingency?
I keep thinking that Shades is just another Hungry Pit if you need it (Heightened mind you, but still just another pit), or just a worse version of Summon Monster IX. Shades does have a slight upper hand when it comes to casting time on the Summon Monster spells, but is it worth the drop in power, especially when, in my opinion, Summon Monster IX itself is dropping off in its usability?
Lets have a discussion, and maybe I'll feel better about the spell and re-evaluate the entire line.
glenn frog knight wrote:
I dunno. I might check this out next week once I'm done with my next exam (Which is Tuesday.)
"Level Increase: Special. A reach spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level for each increase in range category. For example, a spell with a range of touch increased to long range uses up a spell slot three levels higher."
It's not exactly "Reach Reach" spell. It's just reach spell with a higher than +1 slot.
Yeah, I need to fix those.
I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually.
Im about to roll my first wizard and my plan is to be a Gnome Illusionist obsessed with clocks and has the eventual plan to make a Clockwork golem. I seem to notice that most illusion spells get rated as bad. Im new to pathfinder and new to wizards so im wondering if the character wil be gimp.
1. Don't forget that specialist doesn't mean you have to cast lots of Illusionist spells. The rest of your spell slots are free to be whatever they want to be.
2. There's no such thing as a "Gimped" Wizard because of my first thought. There are simply Wizards and more effective Wizards. If you're picking the right spells in general, you'll be useful to your party. Heck, even if you memorize only ONE right spell, it'll be an awesome moment when you cast it.
Well, I mean, there are obviously ways to gimp a Wizard and make a waste of space, but just remember, Wizards are powerful.
As long as you're not multiclassing into something awful and you keep your INT up, you'll be fine.
1. Not a bad idea. Don't know how often it'll come up though.
2. That is definitely a good idea. Also states that magical fires are not extinguished, so I really like this as a good early game combo.
3. Rage must be used on willing targets. I'm not exactly sure where the benefit is regarding casters specifically either, except for the fact that they will get less use out of the strength bonus.
4. I don't see why not.
One of the most important things you HAVE to remember when picking your specialization is that you only have to memorize ONE spell per day from you specialization.
The rest of them can be conjuration or evocation as you please.
I see all too often people seem to get the idea that by specializing in a school they're somehow better at those spells and they memorize a lot of them. Specialization's only positive effect on that school is giving you an extra slot per day for each spell level.
Well, that all depends on your focus as a Bard. Treantmonk recommends Archery, Melee, or "Control". I personally prefer Melee, which is easy to feat for, especially if you just grab a 2-hander.
There is one feat I consider completely essential though, and that's Discordant Voice. I'd take this at level 10 regardless of what Bard Build I am (Well, unless my party was a bunch of archers.)
Besides that I would almost always recommend Improved Initiative unless for some reason you just plain can't fit it. It can help you get your buffs up before your teammates get to act.
Will I do a feats section? Maybe someday. Just the spells for now though.
Alright, I'll go ahead and do Bard. Like I said, I'll probably start with only the Spells for the Bard.
If I feel so inspired, I'll do more. But I do want to see if I can prod Shoelessinsight into doing a Druid guide (Though I did notice that someone else already took up the task in the Class Guide Sticky.)
Chengar Qordath wrote:
I hate auto correct, btw.
But yeah, a properly optimized bard can basically double party damage by the second or third turn. Terrifying indeed.
The self buffing archetypes are interesting, but I think it's akin to blasting as a Wizard - you could do a glass cannon build, but is it the best thing you can do? Most likely not.
Heh, my groups don't use 3rd party materials, so I'm sorry to say that I don't rate them.
I am also afraid my opinion about the bard might offend you: I think they are best focused on spending their actions and formulating their strategy around buffing the party. From the many discussions I've lurked in about the bard I know this is a less than popular focus (but it's what they are best at!)
Of choose, I could be completely wrong. What expectations are you referring to?
I am getting that itch. I am trying to decide if I want to expand treantmonk's druid guide or his bard guide.
In either case I will probably only go over the spells primarily, of course I say that now and look what happened with the Wizard Guide :p
In the case of the Druid Guide, Shoelessinsight has indicated that he might do everything but the spells, so it would likely be a collaboration.
My questions are: is there any interest? And which one should I (we) do [first]? Bard or Druid?
Well, if you are doing BC and buffing, then you aren't really focusing on one or the other.
The thing about buffs, and one of their advantages, is that there are no feats that improve their effectiveness, unlike with BC where it benefits from a high int or from a spell focus feat.
In other words, buffing is something you "focus on" when you aren't maxing your casting stat. Any other wizard just includes buff spells as part of their repertoire as they use their resources to optimize other things.
I"Cold Napalm"] If your in a large group, why not be a buff focused wizard? Buffing becomes exponentially more useful the bigger the group is. Toss in some BC control to really maximize the imact of your minions...I mean party members.
Eh... If buffing is what you want to do, bard is really the best way to go.
You could be a samsaran wizard and pick up good hope and the inspiration spells to steal some of the bard thunder while still retaining the polymorph spells, but nothing really beats the addition of inspire courage up to +4.
(wizards can cast inspire courage +2 by summoning a lillith with sm6, but it's just not as good, especially for the action economy.)
This is a very poor suggestion in pathfinder since you can still cast spells from your opposition school. The two slot penalty for when you need it puts you at the same number of spells per day as the universalist. When you don't need it, you get an extra shot per day.
There is also the opposition research feat now which makes universalist even worse.
The biggest thing holding the Vivisectionist back is that I haven't found anything that straight up says that Alchemy is considered Arcane Magic for the sake of requirements. So RAW, it's only possible based on DM interpretation.
Skimming over the abilities, the Vivisectionist would be a decent brute fighter with the several polymorph spells he has access too, and that would be his best focus since he doesn't get as many skill points as a rogue would. With that in mind the Gnome requirement for the one feat I found that lets you get mage hand might not put you in the best race. I'm sure there has to be other ways to get Mage Hand though.
Additionally, the Alchemist is kind of a half-caster anyway. You miss out on some cool spells on the Wizard Spell list in general up to at least 7th level and you won't be able to take very good advantage of Surprise Spells. So the biggest advantage of the Vivisectionist is not losing any levels on Sneak Attack.
It kind of depends on what you want to do. From an optimization standpoint I'd say that letting the Vivisectionist get into Arcane Trickster as a single class wouldn't be overpowered and I'd allow it as a DM. In fact, I'm not even sure if it'd be very good without some more comparison.
I think the best Mystic Theurge is a Samsaran Wizard that takes the Pathfinder Savant Prestige Class.
That's 6 Arcane Spells not on the Wizard's Spell List which lets you pick up Heal, Resurrection, Raise Dead, Good Hope, Bard's Escape, and more from the Bard and Witch spell lists.
And then you get 6 spells on ANY list which lets you pick up other Cleric spells you couldn't snatch with the Samsaran.
It's not exactly the same as just having the dual spell lists, but the advantages are that you only lose 1 caster level instead of 3, letting you grab level 9 spells at level 18. You also only have to focus on INT making you a lot less MAD.
I'm sure that the opposite works as well, starting off as a Cleric Samsaran and moving into Pathfinder Savant later on, but I'm not sure that the other Divine Spell Casting Classes grant the same options that the Arcane Classes have, unless your DM lets you pull spells from Domains with your Samsaran Mystic Past Life feature.
David knott 242 wrote:
What do they lose that would matter to a Wizard?
Nothing says it's unoptimized, it's just not an optimized build for a "god" Wizard.
Actually, there's a Guide for that too (Not one that I wrote.)
Not to throw a wrench in your character concept (since that's all yours) but I've always been curious about how a Vivisectionist Arcane Trickster would work out. If your DM considers Alchemy to be Arcane Magic, then a Vivisectionist could qualify for Arcane Trickster without multi-classing if you find a way to get yourself Mage Hand through a feat or similar means (the Gnome Trickster feat gives you Mage Hand as one option.)
I haven't read into Arcane Trickster too deeply so I have no idea how good that would be, but I like the idea of not losing spell levels.
It's not on the sticky, but here is my Complete Wizard Guide.
I include in this guide a discussion about the types of defenses you'll have to target as a Wizard, and I think that could be helpful. I also included an example Evoker Build at the end of the guide you may want to look at.
If your DM isn't into nerfing the Dazing Spell feat, blasting is an extremely powerful option that also includes a great amount of control.
That said, the strategy doesn't really flower until level 9 when you can start throwing around Dazing Fireballs (admixtured as necessary); you might not even get to see it realized depending on the campaign.
Summoning is always a powerful option from the beginning to end (Well, except past level 17ish), and Enchantment is actually a decent low level school to specialize in.
What build is best really depends on what level you expect to get to with your Wizard. You can never go wrong with Conjuration though.