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Transmutation wizard


Advice


Hey all, was looking for advice on my next character build. Just got done playing an inquisitor but our party is lacking in the arcane utility department so I figured wizard. Was wanting to do transmutation and human for race, also good alignment.

The point system our DM has setup is a bit different

Stats:

25 point buy
18=13
17=11
16=9
15=7
14=5
13=3
12=2
11=1
10=0
9=-2
8=-3
7=-4

Wizard Build:

Level 11 Human Transmutation wizard

HP: 107 (i rolled decently and now have HP 2nd only to our fighter xD )

STR:10
DEX:14 (18 with belt)
CON:17 (20 with school power)
INT:18 (22 with +2 humann, +2 stat increases; 28 with school power((we round up)))
WIS:10
CHA:7

Traits: Deft dodger(+1 ref) and maybe magical lineage (cheaper metamagic) not really sure on this one

Feats:
Spell focus
Greater spell focus
Spell Pen
Greater spell pen
Allied spellcaster (will have 2 party members already with it, magus and cleric)
Craft wondrous
Craft wand
Piercing spell (outsiders suck)
Arcane Discovery: True Name (Movanic Deva)


Arcane bond: Wand
Opposition schools: Necromancy (good party) and Enchantment (wasn't sure what else to drop)

I really became uncertain about feats, taking the craft wand and piercing spell because it was there, same with magical lineage. As for spells I have a list I like and have allocated starting resources towards it already(19,200 GP), but haven't been sure what other items I may use besides a dex belt


I would probably avoid craft wand. Craft wonderous is useful for the whole party, but all craft wand is doing is making it slightly cheaper for you to have 1 already cheap magic item. Just buy them if possible.

Did you take a familiar or a bonded item? If you took familiar, you may want to have improved familiar to get something interesting like an agathion instead of a rat.

the spell penetration feats should do better for you than piercing. Get a rod of piercing metamagic if you actually think it will be an issue.

I would go for heighten, preferred spell (baleful polymorph), magic lineage (baleful polymorph), and then spell perfection (baleful polymorph) as a transmuter for a fun save or die action.

Get quicken and persistant spell at least on a rod if not the feats. Those will serve you well.

Consider the arcane discoveries for your opposition schools. (what are your opposition schools by the way?)

For magic items besides the usual belts and headbands etc: handy haversack, efficient quiver if you have a lot of rods and wands, low level pearls of power, a ring of sustenance, ring of free action, ioun stones, a few wands (silent image, rope trick, mage armor, enlarge person maybe), and a selection of scrolls for the rare case when you absolutely need a spell you don't cast enough to waste a slot on (Dimensional Anchor for those outsiders for example). A rod of silent metamagic lesser is cheap and will let you dispel magic a silence cast on you. rod of lesser metamagic extend for making your long duration buffs (mage armor, greater magic weapon) last all day


bfobar wrote:

I would probably avoid craft wand. Craft wonderous is useful for the whole party, but all craft wand is doing is making it slightly cheaper for you to have 1 already cheap magic item. Just buy them if possible.

Did you take a familiar or a bonded item? If you took familiar, you may want to have improved familiar to get something interesting like an agathion instead of a rat.

the spell penetration feats should do better for you than piercing. Get a rod of piercing metamagic if you actually think it will be an issue.

I would go for heighten, preferred spell (baleful polymorph), magic lineage (baleful polymorph), and then spell perfection (baleful polymorph) as a transmuter for a fun save or die action.

Get quicken and persistant spell at least on a rod if not the feats. Those will serve you well.

Consider the arcane discoveries for your opposition schools. (what are your opposition schools by the way?)

For magic items besides the usual belts and headbands etc: handy haversack, efficient quiver if you have a lot of rods and wands, low level pearls of power, a ring of sustenance, ring of free action, ioun stones, a few wands (silent image, rope trick, mage armor, enlarge person maybe), and a selection of scrolls for the rare case when you absolutely need a spell you don't cast enough to waste a slot on (Dimensional Anchor for those outsiders for example). A rod of silent metamagic lesser is cheap and will let you dispel magic a silence cast on you. rod of lesser metamagic extend for making your long duration buffs (mage armor, greater magic weapon) last all day

Thanks for the response!

I edited to add in the 2 missing things, and for arcane bond the reason it was wand was because I hadn't really thought of another thing, but Improved familiar would most likely be more up my alley. Also good idea on the extend rod for buffs i hadn't really thought of that and is money better spent than on something like bracers of armor for me.

Taldor

Bracers of armor are generally a poor investment considering you can just cast Mage Armor and have it last all day. (You need min. +5 bracers for them to be worthwhile, and AC isn't a huge concern for wizards anyhow.)

What's your actual strategy in battle? With those stats and HP, a few good self-polymorph spells could make you into a force to be reckoned with. (Form of the dragon FTW) Or are you more of a party buffer/utility caster? Debuffer? Battlefield control? Blaster? Summoner?


Reynard_the_fox wrote:

Bracers of armor are generally a poor investment considering you can just cast Mage Armor and have it last all day. (You need min. +5 bracers for them to be worthwhile, and AC isn't a huge concern for wizards anyhow.)

What's your actual strategy in battle? With those stats and HP, a few good self-polymorph spells could make you into a force to be reckoned with. (Form of the dragon FTW) Or are you more of a party buffer/utility caster? Debuffer? Battlefield control? Blaster? Summoner?

was thinking more battlefield control to start off while being able to be somewhat close to the front either using save or suck/ blast as necessary


If I were to take an arcane bonded item, I would use a ring for two reasons. First, you could buy 7 other nice non-magical rings, making it a 1 in 8 chance for an enemy to somehow steal or sunder your bonded item without knowing beforehand which one is the ring. Secondly, you are allowed to enchant a bonded item as if you had the requisite craft proficiency. Effectively, this means that you get to make it into one ring of your choice at half cost. That's a big savings with a ring of free action. Or make it a ring of protection or whatever.

With Improved Familiar and Neutral Good, you have a lot of good choices. My favorite might be the lyrakien Azata because you can arm her with tiny staves, wands, and wondrous items, but just take whichever familiar you like the skill and ability set of for your character.


Also with enchantment and necromancy as your opposition schools, you lose out on a lot of good controls and debuffs. I would recommend opposition school research or changing one to maybe divination or abjuration or something.

Enchantment gets you confuse, and necromancy has enervation and fear spells. Or you could just use two slots to memorize those. But unless it is part of your character vision, you could probably live without divination spells. Also, transmutation save or dies target fortitude saves, and compulsion (dominate person is scarey) and fear effects are usually will. So changing one of your opposition schools will give you a bit more versatility. I'd take necromancy and divination as my opposition schools myself. Necromancy is powerful, but I may want to be a morally good wizard and not dabble in such things. For divination, I would probably only waste two slots memorizing detect magic. Everything else I would put on a scroll if I thought I might need it.


I'd advocate dropping Necromancy and Evocation. You can get Will save targeters through Enchantment and to some degree Illusion. Transmutation covers Fortitude, and you don't particularly need blasting (reflex).

The Create Pit line of spells from the APG is awesome. Check those out against non-fliers (and hey they even target Reflex, so you can have the full spread without evocation!). Plus, they make it fun for your allies to shove things in the hole, peg 'em as they try to get out. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.....exactly like it, actually.

Second on Bonded Item: Ring. Craft Wondrous Items is awesome. Your party will also love you for Craft Weapons and Armor. If you have downtime, grab those two and you'll be everyone's favorite...as well as just make the party better by a long haul.

Persistent Spell is too good to be true. If you CAN take it, you probably should. It looks like your DCs should already be pretty solid. Keep looking for ways to pump them. If you have feats to spare, take spell focus and GSF in the two schools you use the most, not just one. Can't hurt.

I'd stay away from the front-lines if possible.


Craft Weapons and Armor: Definitely useful especially if your party uses weird weapons, but since you have multiple casters, try to talk everybody into taking one craft feat each. Spread it around.

Evocation blasts aren't terribly good for a wizard, but there is a lot of utility in that school (Mage armor, wall of force, grasping hand, etc). Although blasting got a whole lot better with the dazing spell metamagic: now fireball can have a 3 round dazing effect which totally shuts down the victim. I don't know many monsters that can take 3 rounds of pounding from a well built party and live .

If you have a magus and a cleric in the party, stay the hell off the front line and let them take the hits. Hell, I'd start every combat by casting burrow and then only poking my head out of the ground to cast.


Mage Armor is not evocation, just FYI. Otherwise, good points. Each school has great spells in it. I usually find myself better able to replicate evocation stuff with other schools than I can replicate other schools at all....if that makes any sense. There are plenty of other spells from other schools you could tack Dazing Spell on to, and it's a solid option.


I second Persistent spell. Since you're grabbing Spell Focus + Greater you obviously mean to target enemies with spells that have saves - and PS makes you so, so much better at that.

And I agree that you probably shouldn't get Piercing Spell. Just have a few spells on hand that bypass SR in case you meet someone with obscenely high SR (GSP should serve you against most foes, though).

Also consider whether you want Spell Perfection, one of the most powerful caster feats, at level 15. Because then you'll need to have 3 metamagic feats at that point, and that's good to plan for.


At the moment point im juggling persistant spell and imp. familiar (was looking at cassian angel, I know less actions but the aura is nice). Also I had not planned on being within reach, but honestly with 107 hp i know i could at least take a hit. I actually think I will drop divination, after looking through the list the only spell i will miss is true seeing and our cleric can handle that NP. Also good to know on Spell perfection, will have to think of 2 other metamagic feats to take. Thinking quicken and either bouncing or empower. I don't wanna daze cause thats what our fighter is built to do and i dont want to show him up at his special thing.(which it seems like this would do)

so at this point looks like

Wizard part Duex:

Level 11 Human Transmutation wizard
HP: 107

STR:10
DEX:14 (18 with belt)
CON:17 (20 with school power)
INT:18 (22 with +2 humann, +2 stat increases; 28 with school power((we round up)))
WIS:10
CHA:7

Traits: Deft dodger(+1 ref) and magical lineage (baleful polymorph)

Feats:
Spell focus
Greater spell focus
Spell Pen
Greater spell pen
Allied spellcaster (will have 2 party members already with it, magus and cleric)
Craft wondrous item
Improved Familiar (Cassian Angel)
Persistent spell
Arcane Discovery: True Name (Movanic Deva)

Arcane bond: Familiar
Opposition schools: Necromancy (good party) and Divination

Items: Belt of Dexterity +4, Metamagic Rod (Extend lesser), Metamagic Rod (selective lesser), Bag of holding, Amulet of natural armor +2, +1 Mithril Buckler

With that I have 10625 gold left to spend after spells


Persistent Spell, Quicken Spell, Extend Spell are all very good.

You'll miss See Invisibility as well as True Seeing, but you can cast many of the "info gathering" spells during downtime, so the 2 slots to mem them don't hurt as badly. I'd absolutely keep scrolls of See Invisibility on hand, though (half hour duration per scroll ain't shabby, either).

I'd still drop Evocation and Divination, as Necromancy has a some great SoS spells ("Yer blind!").

You need as good a Cloak of Resistance as you can afford. Pearls of Power for 1st and second level spells can be really nice. Consumable scrolls (like the aforementioned See Invis) of situational gems are also needed. As many "escape" items as you can afford, as you can be hosed if grappled, silenced, etc. Have the answers through your items if possible.


Yea but necromancy is seen by a lot of people in my group as mostly death/evil magic, and with some justification on how many evil descriptor spells fall into the school.
That said, aside from enervation and other nasty insta-kills, I don't see much that transmutation can't already do better ("save or your a sheep"). I am also trying to go less into the "finish him!" aspect of a wizard due to my last character wiping the walls with monster blood without giving my comrades much to do(inquisitor, get you some!), but I want to keep it in reserve in case our DM keeps ramping up the difficulty as he had before. (we were up to APL+3, though with 6 the action econ was just about right, sometimes not hard enough)


Necromancy doesn't kill people, people kill people! (Then necromancy just binds their souls into eternal servitude).

Fair enough on the decision to avoid it, though. I always ban it anyway and only really miss the false life spells. But you have good Con, so who needs it?


when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. it also removes barriers if needed... including walls of force if memory serves. sure it's basically a single-target save or die, but it kills undead, removes obstructions... and leaves enemy wizards as a little cloud of ash. that is what you call flexable!


FuelDrop wrote:
when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. ...

Uhm, I am not quite sure what you mean. Undead automatically pass all saves with fortitude which leaves disintegrate to be rather underwhelming. Or am I missing something here?


@Matthias: What kind of "school power" are you referring to for your INT boost? It can't be the physical enhancement power of the transmutation specialist since that only applies to physical scores, so what is it?

Also, why did you choose transmuter? It is not a bad school, but for example the physical enhancement power becomes rather underwhelming as you level up since it does not stack with items like belt of constitution. The opposition schools have never been worth it in my experience... So I just suggest you look at universalist wizard if you have dismissed it from the start (or because you read a guide which told you it was something you should ignore right from the start).

I would second the suggestion to go for ring, alternatively amulet. Actually the amulet will be better since you cannot enhance the ring until level 7, amulett is earlier accessible. Does not matter when you start at those high levels, though :-P

Something I would suggest to consider: preferred spell feat. It requires heighten spell, but it's worth it IMO. You simply take it for the spells you usually cast a lot and do not need to worry about having them available when you cast them. Plus, if you took the silent spell/intensified spell feats or something like it, you can always apply metamagic on the fly. For example, good choices would be dragon breath, dimension door or invisibility.

Finally, about the magical lineage trait: It's great, especially when used for spontaneous casting with preferred spell feat and applying metamagic (such as intensified spell) on the fly. However, you can only select it once and it only applies to one spell, so it's not an easy choice...

Just my 2cents :-)


Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. ...
Uhm, I am not quite sure what you mean. Undead automatically pass all saves with fortitude which leaves disintegrate to be rather underwhelming. Or am I missing something here?

you are missing something. undead are immune to anything that allows a fort save... unless it's harmless or works on objects. now disintergrate is anything but harmless, but it definatively works on objects. this makes it one of the few spells that CAN take advantage of undead's dismal fortitude save.

PS: RE: prefered spell feat.
go for greater spell specialisation instead. here's why:
1)requirements. while it requires two feats instead of one to get greater spell specialisation, neither of them is a feat tax (Spell focus (transmutation) and spell specialiation)
2) effect. Prefered spell lets you spontaniously cast one spell every time you pick it up. once you pick up greater spell specialisation all your spell specialisations can be cast spontaniously... that means whenever you add to the list of favored spells, that spell also gets a healthy +2 caster level.


FuelDrop wrote:
Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. ...
Uhm, I am not quite sure what you mean. Undead automatically pass all saves with fortitude which leaves disintegrate to be rather underwhelming. Or am I missing something here?
you are missing something. undead are immune to anything that allows a fort save... unless it's harmless or works on objects. now disintergrate is anything but harmless, but it definatively works on objects. this makes it one of the few spells that CAN take advantage of undead's dismal fortitude save.

Ah, nice, thanks :-)


Instead of getting preferred spell or spell specialization you should just buy a nice pair of Annihilation Spectacles to achieve a similar effect without spending feats. They only work for transmuters, and let you spontaneously convert any transmutation spell into any other transmutation spell of the same level.

I second the recommendation of Disintegrate - it's the ultimate undead-killer.


Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. ...
Uhm, I am not quite sure what you mean. Undead automatically pass all saves with fortitude which leaves disintegrate to be rather underwhelming. Or am I missing something here?
you are missing something. undead are immune to anything that allows a fort save... unless it's harmless or works on objects. now disintergrate is anything but harmless, but it definatively works on objects. this makes it one of the few spells that CAN take advantage of undead's dismal fortitude save.
Ah, nice, thanks :-)

greater spell specialization increases your casting time with added metamagic. Preferred spell doesn't. If your preferred spell relies on better save DCs, then preferred spell plus heighten and persistant from a rod at no casting time increase is the way to go. If your preferred spell relies more on caster level and you want to change it every few levels, then spell specialization is the way to go. Its a YMMV deal.


bfobar wrote:
Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
Sangalor wrote:
FuelDrop wrote:
when you can, pick up disintergrate. why? because it leaves undead undeader. seriously, with their poor fortitude save? instagib, no questions asked. ...
Uhm, I am not quite sure what you mean. Undead automatically pass all saves with fortitude which leaves disintegrate to be rather underwhelming. Or am I missing something here?
you are missing something. undead are immune to anything that allows a fort save... unless it's harmless or works on objects. now disintergrate is anything but harmless, but it definatively works on objects. this makes it one of the few spells that CAN take advantage of undead's dismal fortitude save.
Ah, nice, thanks :-)
greater spell specialization increases your casting time with added metamagic. Preferred spell doesn't. If your preferred spell relies on better save DCs, then preferred spell plus heighten and persistant from a rod at no casting time increase is the way to go. If your preferred spell relies more on caster level and you want to change it every few levels, then spell specialization is the way to go. Its a YMMV deal.

Yeah, I saw that. Preferred spell is more my thing, especially since I tend to take it several times. However, it's nice to know about the other option :-)


Sangalor wrote:

@Matthias: What kind of "school power" are you referring to for your INT boost? It can't be the physical enhancement power of the transmutation specialist since that only applies to physical scores, so what is it?

Also, why did you choose transmuter? It is not a bad school, but for example the physical enhancement power becomes rather underwhelming as you level up since it does not stack with items like belt of constitution. The opposition schools have never been worth it in my experience... So I just suggest you look at universalist wizard if you have dismissed it from the start (or because you read a guide which told you it was something you should ignore right from the start).

Something I would suggest to consider: preferred spell feat. It requires heighten spell, but it's worth it IMO. You simply take it for the spells you usually cast a lot and do not need to worry about having them available when you cast them. Plus, if you took the silent spell/intensified spell feats or something like it, you can always apply metamagic on the fly. For example, good choices would be dragon breath, dimension door or invisibility.

Finally, about the magical lineage trait: It's great, especially when used for spontaneous casting with preferred spell feat and applying metamagic (such as intensified spell) on the fly. However, you can only select it once and it only applies to one spell, so it's not an easy choice...

Just my 2cents :-)

from the enhancement sub-school of transmutation:

"Perfection of Self (Su): At 8th level, as a swift action you can grant yourself an enhancement bonus to a single ability score equal to 1/2 your wizard level (maximum +10) for one round. You may use this ability for a number of times per day equal to your wizard level".
So I use it for int and gain a significant boost to my DCs. I also did not bother with a int headband because it is an enhancement bonus and those don't stack. Also currently my school power for a bonus to a physical stat is nearly equal to that of a +4 item and means i can move magic items/ stat points elsewheres.
I also had looked at preferred spell, but the Arcane discovery "Fast Study" seems like it would be better as I can prepare some spells for combat, and then switch them to utility as needed during the day.

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