So, 2 first level (20 point build) human sorcerers enter a bar; one's a Tattooed Draconic Blasty Sorcerer and the other an Umbral Illusionist Sorcerer (maybe tattooed, not sure).
The illusionist thinks of a funny joke and smiles. The blasty, thinking that he's been mocked challenges the illusionist to battle. They fight! How does it end and why?
I ask because soon I will be starting a 1st level Paizo campaign, either King Maker, Skull & Shackles or Shattered Star (DM hasn't decided yet.) and I want to play a tattooed sorcerer that also could be a party face. My dilemma? Focus on Illusion and Shadows or Blast some enemies into crisps.
What is your take between these 2 specific sorcerers.
[And yes I know that Wizards are better in the long run, just not sure how long we'll be running this and decided a Sorcerer would require a little less book keeping for a somewhat new arcane class user like myself.]
For the purposes of this combat, we'll say the sorcerers are alike in every way, mhm?
Let's give them these stats: Str 10, Dex 14, Con, 10, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 16; for a little variation, the Blaster shall have the 12 in Strength rather than Wisdom.
Now, in this battle, my first inclination is the blaster. After all, dealing damage will end this quicker, won't it? So he probably has magic missile, as blasters are wont to have, which deals a good 1d4+1 damage every time it hits. Not enough to drop the other sorcerer in a hit (like it could back in the 3.5 days), but it takes a good chunk out of his hp, and the next hit would probably take him down.
The blaster may have some other good spells at his disposal, such as burning hands, shocking grasp, stuff like that. And his STR is a little higher, giving him an edge if they have to move to melee (which he also has an advantage in, thanks to his claws). He's also likely to have acid splash or another cantrip to deal some damage, which is nice.
Meanwhile, we have an Illusionist, with the Umbral bloodline, which gives him no edge in an open fight (unless he manages a really good Bluff-Stealth 1-2 combo, and still, I don't see that helping him too too much). The only really deadly illusion type thing I can see happening is if color spray manages to knock the other sorcerer out, opening up a CdG. Sleep is similar, if he wants to pick that up (which I would).
In the end, a battle between these sorcerers is hard to say, but either one could excel at even low levels, if played well. My instinct is that the Illusionist would be a better face, though.
I said in another thread that one of the deadliest 1st level characters is a Dwarf caster with sleep or color spray and a heavy pick. Playing this sorcerer, you'd have to dump a little extra to get his CHA high enough, but you could potentially get a pretty tough DC to resist (15: 3 Cha, 1 Spell Focus (enchantment/illusion), 1 spell level), then be able to coup de grace for, oh, 4-16 damage and force a tough save-or-die situation.
Next time I play a caster, I'm playing a dwarf wizard who does the above.
Third Mind wrote:
I know this isn't what you're asking, but I wanted to throw this out there: We're using a Kitsune Sorcerer (Fey Bloodline) who focuses on charm and compulsion effects with a few illusions and party buffs thrown in and she has been utterly spectacular thus far in her effectiveness.Having said that I would say that the blasty sorcerer would win the bar-room brawl 7 or 8 times out of 10 because that's what he's been designed to do... the Illusion Sorcerer would likely be far more useful to a party though. A big factor would be how your DM tends to adjudicate Illusions and their effets - damage is pretty straight forward, the effects of illusions not so much.
Blaster would win by the figure's I threw around in my head in about 65-70% assuming initiative is the same, it came down to the fact that the blaster has a decent chance to kill the illusionist even when they make their save. Though this was with the assumption of max 9HP.
But that is pretty much insignificant on who to choose to play. Tough question, since those two are my favored use of arcane magic aka most fun to play. There is something very satisfying blowing up half of the orc tribe with one spell leaving nothing else behind but ash. Illusions are fun because you get to be creative, well not that you can't be otherwise it just gives you great tools for it, the downside is that to get the most out of it GM needs to work with you.
So, here is the general spell load out I was thinking about for each. Please let me know what you think.
Lv. 1 -
Lv. 1 -
Right now, due to current suggestion, I am leaning towards the illusionist. I want to be useful for the team primarily and later I could always pick up one or two blasting spells to blow something up; probably grease first though. :)
Generally, if you need damaging spells, you can find wands to serve your purpose. All the best blasting spells are 4th level or lower anyway.
I disagree - wands are usually terrible for dealing damage. Most blast spells scale with level, but the ones from wands will do less damage with a lower DC. However, spells like Silent Image, that frequently don't even get a save if used in subtle ways, make great wands. And scrolls are typically used for anything you could describe as "utility" besides Cure Light Wounds or Mage Armor. (Both of which are good ideas, incidentally, though you'll have to get another caster to use the CLW.)
Either Blasting or Illusions will be powerful, so the question you have to ask yourself is: what do I want to play?
Do you want to play the blaster that destroys his foes in battle, rolling lots of damage dice, shooting fire from your fingertips, and wiping out waves of rank-and-files at once? Or would you rather play the illusionist that can mislead others and make them see only what you want them to see, using your guile to turn foes into friends and your imagination to create wonderful mirages?
Nothing says you must purchase a wand at the minimum caster level for it's spell. As for DCs, that's not as much of an issue as you might think.
FB/LB has a save DC that won't really bother the BBEG, but AoE isn't meant to one-shot a fight - it's meant to clear out the weaker fodder, which it will do remarkably well at.
The only time you may have issue with such a strategy is against Spell Resistance, but magic will never be the best option in that fight anyway.
Get necklace of fireballs instead of wands because those things can be used to make huge amounts of damage in a pinch too. Regardless illusion school has these nice things called Shadow Evocation that should take care of most blasting needs after getting it.
Oh and I would not put illusionist that much higher than a blaster as far as party support goes, you usually want to focus on a single spell as your major blasting source and have few more for the cases it will not work or will work poorly but blasting is very feat intensive so the illusionist can have few tricks from there.
Oh and if going for Illusionist I would get few Necromancy spells that target Fortitude since Illusions are will save at least most are and it's pretty rare for a creature to have both good fort and will save.
Umbral bloodline is cool, but you want to be careful about it, because you're getting abilities that aren't, per se, "sorcerer abilities." You're going to be a stealth monkey with that s#%*.
Talk to your DM and see how they feel about casting silent spells from stealth; or silent stilled spells from stealth. Or, if you're allowed "Invisible Spell" from 3.5's Cityscape book, silent stilled invisible spells. From stealth.
Also, see if they're cool with you using the sniping rules with spells instead of ranged attacks.
Third Mind wrote:
I think at first level, the blaster would probably win. However, as soon as you hit third level and your illusionist gets access to Nighteye, all she has to do is start off with a Darkness spell, then fire off whatever you want at the blaster while he can't see you. The blaster isn't going to have a high Will save since Wisdom is more or less a dump stat for a Sorc, so he'll fail a lot of the saves. I give it to the Illusionist every time after level 3.
Thanks for all of the advice everyone. I do have one question, would the Tattooed Sorcerer archetype be any good for the Umbral Illusionist?
I realize that the tattooed sorcerer would definitely help the Blasty more and I also know that tattooed sorcerer would be taking the Shadow bloodlines big power away, so in your opinion is it worth it?
Also, is there a better bloodline for being an Illusionist? I like the Umbral, but if there's something I'm missing that could be better, I'm more than willing to give it a look.
@Wiggz - I'm not against playing an Enchanter, I've just read that they become harder to play later due to higher level creatures getting better saves.
@ Anetra - I talked to my DM and he said I would be able to use most spells from stealth as long as either the spells don't require speaking / moving wildly (or I have silent spell / still spell). However spells that generate from me, such as lightning bolt and such would give my position away.
I will definitely look into wands when they become available and mull over what everyone has said. I suppose I could always pick up an evocation once in a while to flesh out that role, while still focusing on illusions if I went illusionist.
I would say blaster wins.
And if you have to decide between the two themes, blaster remains more useful IMO. Blasting may be suboptimal in some situations, but if you have enough variety in your spells (elements, different saves, maybe the ability to convert some) you are almost never useless. As an illusionist that can easy happen to you and you have to rely on support to eliminate opposition, whilst as a blaster you *are* that support.
Illusionist is great for social or sneaky stuff, however, and if you know you are facing an opposition to strong to confront, that is probably the more effective route :-)
Alright, so I attempted to build out the Illusionist Sorcerer and I wanted to see what you think.
Zhel Lv.1 Tattooed Human Umbral Sorcerer
Languages Known –
Combat Stats –
Carrying Capacity = 33 lbs. (light load)
Starting Gold = 70gp
Spells Known –
Level 1 –
I know the feat picks aren't nearly optimized, but I really wanted Grease in my repertoire and I wasn't sure about giving the other level 1 spells up, so I went Expanded Arcana. Cosmopolitan is there because I wanted to be good at my skills.
Thinking about switching out Silent Image for Charm Person, at least for the first level. Also thought about Daze or Acid Splash instead of Mage Hand, just to give me something to do in battle if I run out of things to do. Spark is there as my diverse light source, I figured pick up a stick, wrap an end in cloth and make a torch using spark, although I guess Light may be better.
I'm unsure of how much Sense Motive is needed, but I figured if I'm going to try to socialize so it may come in handy. If I weren't going for Sense Motive, I'd probably go either Knowledge Arcana, another knowledge or Use Magical Devices.
Lastly, I like Umbral, but I don't have room, at least I don't think I do, for Stealth, is there another bloodline that would work better for a (primarily) illusionist?
If you could, let me know what you think and how survivable he would be at level 1, even with the lack luster feats. :)
Third Mind wrote:
@Wiggz - I'm not against playing an Enchanter, I've just read that they become harder to play later due to higher level creatures getting better saves.
They do, which is why this is the only version of an 'Enchanter' that I will play. Consider:
As a Kitsune Sorcerer, you get a favored class bonus of +1/4 DC when casting Enchanements.
All told, at 6th level with a 15 point build and no magic items I can cast a DC 24 Hold Person, at 12th level I can cast a DC 29 Dominate Person or Hold Monster and at 17th level I can cast a DC 35 Demand or Irresistable Dance. Headbands, Eagle's Splendor, etc. all obviously would increase that.
Just sayin. The character has spells that do other things, including Wish and Limited Wish at the appropriate levels - after all, a great many things are immune to mind-affecting spells, so some nice party buffs in there help a great deal. If you ever decide you want to see the build just drop me a line.
Don't take Expanded Arcana. I know lvls 1-3 will suck but once you can get second lvl spells you can use the Human favored class bonus to get extra spells (for a spell lvl 1 lower than your max). Then on top of that have items that will help with your limited spells known. Page of Spell Knowledge basically gives you an additional spell known. Mnemonic Vestments lets you cast a spell from a scroll once per day using a spell slot rather then the scroll. Ring of Spell Knowledge gives you an additional spell known that you can change with a spellcraft check (after witnessing it cast, reading it from a spell book, ect.).
While those are somewhat expensive, you're a sorcerer and don't have much to buy in the first place. Also, there is a rather expensive item, 20000gp, that lets you change your bloodline powers while retaining your arcana, bonus spells, and bonus feats. Its called the Ampoule of False Blood. In addition, if you really want to change EVERYTHING about your current bloodline to the one stored in the bottle, all you have to do is drink it.
Note: I know this isn't something you asked for but if you want even more spell versatility look into the Razmiran Priest Archetype. At 9th lvl they gain access to any divine spell that they can find on a scroll or wand.
I will hold off on Expanded Arcana then, guess I'll go with improved initiative or perhaps toughness... probably improved initiative though. Is Silent Image useful at low levels do you think? Or should I switch it out for Grease and pick it up when next I can?
Those are some awesome sounding items. When I have the gold (and my DMs ok) I may pick one of those up. I shall also look into the Razmiran Priest at some point.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Expanded Arcana! No, save yourself, it's a trap!
Starting at level 4 you can take the Human Sorcerer alternate favoured class option, from APG, to get another first level spells. And then again from every level after 4 for more. Lots of spells, all for the low low cost of ... you know, whatever you were doing with your favoured class points before.
HP, I think? Net yourself more spells in the end by spending that feat on Toughness.
I would suggest improved initiative, in my experience that will keep you and people in general alive much better than the extra HP.
Bluh bluh. Right. Also!
If you're not going to take stealth, I'm not sure what benefit the Umbral abilities are really being to you. You certainly won't be getting the most out of abilities that give you bonuses to stealth checks and HiPS. And the bonus feat options are certainly subpar if you aren't going to do the deceptive sneaky stuff.
You can be a totes legit illusionist with any other bloodline, you get spells other than your bloodline spells that you can spend on whatever you want. The Arcane bloodline is not only the most powerful bloodline, but it also gives you the most versatile (aka generically beneficial) arcane caster stuff. The bonus spells are all, by and large, the spells you "should" be taking as an arcane caster.
Dispel Magic, Dimension Door, Overland Flight, True Seeing, Greater Teleport, and Wish; not much of a reason not to be taking any of these anyway, so what's the difference if you spend a chosen spell known or get them as your bonus spells?
The Arcane Bloodline Arcana to boost DCs with metamagic is useful for anything and everything, and Metamagic Adept will help you to use it more often on things you didn't prepare as metamagic'd.
Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus in Illusion + School Power in Illusion + your Bloodline Arcana + Perfect Spell = !!!!!
You could be netting yourself a cool +7 to a DC and shove the metamagic of your choice on there on the reg without increasing its slot.
I think I'll go with Improved Initiative as most of my current spell list currently would benefit more from going first.
You make a good point, though if I could I would squeeze stealth in there if I felt I could spare the skills.
Since he's going to be Tattooed Sorcerer, I could take Sage or Arcane but I'd be losing the extra spell power, however everything else would be useful. Flavor wise I was trying to make him more of a tattooed shadow illusionist. I guess I don't need an actual Shadow bloodline to pull the shadow flavor off though.
Yeah, whoever wins initiative wins.
That is probably the most complete bloodline guide I've seen so far. Thanks.
Arcane is generally good, but a touch less useful when I use Tattooed Sorcerer with it, Although all I'd be really losing is the extra spells. While that hurts a bit, I could live with that.
Also like the Void-Touched wild bloodline, again I'd be missing out on one of the best powers of the class though. -_-
Still sort of like Umbral, but it'd be better if I could find a way to get stealth on my skills list, except I picked the skills most necessary for a social character as well as knowing about sorcerery / magic (spellcraft).
A tough decision indeed, but I'm sure I can figure it out. Thanks again.
You could also get a Headband of Mental Prowess for INT and CHA, instead of the Headband of Alluring Charisma, and then gain access to your social skills through the headband?
I would just take a trait that gives Diplomacy as a class skill. Its easier and cheaper.
Please Don't Kill Me wrote:
That does not provide additional skill ranks, though. OP wants additional skill ranks.
Nobody will win.
Caster vs caster battles, no matter who wins initiative, will always go like this:
2 casters standing in front of eachother, waiting untill the other starts casting.
Eventually they both die of sleepdeprivation/starvation. (no, they don't have rings of sustenances.
So hey...its up to who has the highest con score to survive standing still the longest.
Nothing says you must purchase a wand at the minimum caster level for it's spell.
The price for wands however scales up pretty fast.
This is actually really easy, it's just a math problem. Assume human with 8 Str, 12 Dex, 14 Con, 10 Int, 14 Wis, 18 Cha after racial modifiers. Assuming no shennanigans, this means both sorcerers have 9 HP to begin with. It will, on average, take the Blasty Sorcerer 3 rounds to kill the opponent (there is a 12.5% chance its only 2). Meanwhile, the Blasty Sorcerer has a +4 Will Save.
The Illusionist has a Will save DC of 15, meaning there is a flat 50% chance of affecting the Blasty Sorcerer with Color Spray per hit.
If the Illusionist goes first, there is an 84.8% chance that he will win.
The way I see it. Regardless of who goes first the one with colorspray should win every time if colorspray sticks. Why? You get. A minimum of 2 rounds of free attacks. First they are unconscious. Second you can either take the time and cast gravity bow and if still unconscious coup de gras for 6-18 damage. Or. Coup de gras immediately and attacks again because blaster is stunne. If blaster tries to stand, spellcast, or move, the Illusionist gets aoo.
I think if you limit yourself to either one like that, you're really losing the big strength of the sorcerer.
All you need is 1 good blasty spell on each spell level memorized (or even less if you have some good metamagic feats to play with), and you have the option of at will becoming a pure blaster whenever you want to. Whereas no matter how blasty you are, you still want to take color spray or sleep at level 1 (and drop it later), and you probably want silent image at some point. The main strength of the sorceror is flexibility, and if you can basically double your options by adding one spell to your list, you should.
I mean, the only thing cooler then a tricky, clever, goofy Illusionist Sorcerer who plays practical jokes and has enemies chasing their own tail is being that exact same tricky character who, once in a blue moon, when the time is right and the mood hits him, just totally flips out and casts 10 blasts in a row, leaving nothing but some smoking ruins behind him. And you can do that even if 90% of the spells you know are illusion, so long as you learn a couple of good blasts.
Third Mind wrote:
Whichever you wish.
A blasty sorcerer can deal a very competitive amount of damage well through 12th level.
If you are on the fence, see what the rest of the party is bringing. If they are light on damage and area effects go blasting, if they are wanting subtle help and the like go illusion.
Both are viable.
Sorcerers don't have opposition schools. Your blaster can have Color Spray and swap it out at level 4 when it gets old and there's nothing wrong with an illusionist carrying Magic Missile for interrupting hostile casters.
The Gnome only feat "Effortless Trickery" allows a gnome to maintain a figment spell as a swift action. With that feat you can keep up illusionary walls or enemies and then cast another illusion or cast another spell under cover of the first illusion. And gnomes get a +1 to their DC on illusion spells, plus racial bonus to CHA. Gnome illusionists can be very powerful early on with good feat selection.
Thread necro I guess.
A wizard and a sorcerer face each other in a spell duel:
Both are motionless, waiting on the other to do something.
"Hmmmm in his shoes I would have opened with a spell of protection, given his lack of Arcane Breadth. But which? Perhaps Invisibility, he will lose it's protection when he attacks, but it is sure protection against targetted spells unless your opponent has See Invisibity. Or perhaps Mirror Image, but then many spells produce an effect on an area, as opposed to targetting an individual.
An Abjuration, that would be best I think. But the problem with Abjurations is that they are mostly protective in nature, unless your opponent is a creature from a plane other than this one.
Would it be possible to author a spell that combined the protective qualities of two spells, I wonder? Combining Invisibility with perhaps a minor version of Globe of Invulnerability seems like a clever idea. Is there perhaps a way to cast it quickly? I know a trick to do so, but it is perhaps beyond my skill at present.
"I wish we hadn't used my mirror to look around that corner. It got busted. What does my hair look like? I used Prestidigitation as best I could this morning, but without my mirror I just don't know if I did it right.
Wow, this guy has no fashion sense. A beige robe? With those shoes? And what's up with that stupid rat or gerbil or whatever on his shoulder? What in the name of Nethys is that stain on the hem of that robe anyway?
At least I was able to clean MY GARMENTS with Prestidigitation this morning. And that beard. Doesn't he know you are supposed to braid them Dwarven Style now? He looks like doesn't know what a comb is.
I hope my hair looks okay..."
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