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"Blow them to smithereens!" AKA "There WAS a Boss.": A Guide to the Master Blaster Caster


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Hello everyone! This is a guide for creating a Spellcaster whose expertise is using spells that deal insane amounts of hit point damage, as well as sporting a unique sort of blasting that is rarely seen, much less attempted. (There are some good reasons for it, but the guide does help alleviate those issues.)

"Blow them to smithereens!" AKA "There WAS a Boss.": A Guide to the Master Blaster Caster, Ver. 1.0

The guide includes the following:

-A comprehensive, short Google Docs page with a basic, yet well-answered F.A.Q. section, detailing how to best play a spellcaster that isn't just "yet another God Wizard."

-An in-depth analysis of blasting mechanics, including flaws (and how they are beaten), manners of optimization, and so on; good for things besides just what the guide suggests to build!

-Two variant build paths that cater to the different types of blasting (Single Target and Area of Effect), their intrinsic values, issues, and the required attributes behind them.

-Alternate character option suggestions that may not be the best, but are still extremely powerful in their own rights, allowing for slightly different character builds, such as different races, favored class bonuses, spell choices, and more!

Coming Soon(TM)

-Complete builds showcasing the power and expectations behind the different blasting methods.

-Damage per level comparisons displaying how much raw damage can be accomplished with a single round of spellcasting.

DISCLAIMERS:
-I am almost positive that the guide is not Pathfinder Society compatible, nor was it originally designed to be. I'm presuming that some options are not eligible for Pathfinder Society play, and that others are. If you are constructing such a character for Pathfinder Society, keep this in mind, and don't ridicule the guide because certain options that are elaborated in the guide are not eligible choices for Pathfinder Society.

-The guide does not presume you are playing houserules, or have some other sort of table variation. As with the above disclaimer, do not ridicule the guide because your houserules contradict or outright ban options within the guide.

-Certain options or abilities within the guide are subject to change from official FAQ or Errata from Paizo Inc. The guide will do its best to reflect these changes; remember, if a FAQ or Errata differs from what is posted from the guide, ALWAYS take the FAQ or Errata answer.

-Remember that this is merely an optional (and perhaps more fun) method to play a spellcaster. The build is obviously not the most optimal means to play a spellcaster. In short, do not compare this build to a God Wizard, or some other similarly overpowered build; you will be disappointed.

END DISCLAIMERS

This will otherwise serve as a discussion thread. Any constructive criticism, links to relevant FAQ/Errata, and other unique insights would be appreciated! Enjoy!


This isn't a guide to a class or an idea (blasting) it's a guide for a specific build. Basically you made a build and are explaining why you built it that way.

Reason is if it was a guide to blasting you'd go into sorcerers and how they can be adding +3 damage to their spells and are getting free intensified on their spells. If you're worried about types you can settle for a +2 damage per spell and select one of the elemental bloodlines and be able to change the type to a different one again for free. I bet there's a very small number that using one of the 2 elements you don't have would be much better than one of the two you do have.

Also you'd probably want to delve into the standard wizard with sorcerer dip. It's especially potent if you go exploiter wizard, because then you get the pool to power up your spells. so at lv2 you can have spell focus and specialization and the potent exploit to be throwing out CL 5 burning hands. Also you spell progression is still at the sorcerer rate since you get them faster at a 1 level dip delay.

Elf is always a strong contender for int casters, getting the free +2 spell pen is quite nice for blasters, yes the arcanist is getting +2 if they boost the CL with their pool, but it could be +4 if you were the elf. Also Humans and Half-elves can get the +2 int and cha while counting as human, so if it's just those three reasons then they are equal or better than the aasimar since they are more likely to be allowed.


Chess Pwn wrote:

This isn't a guide to a class or an idea (blasting) it's a guide for a specific build. Basically you made a build and are explaining why you built it that way.

Reason is if it was a guide to blasting you'd go into sorcerers and how they can be adding +3 damage to their spells and are getting free intensified on their spells. If you're worried about types you can settle for a +2 damage per spell and select one of the elemental bloodlines and be able to change the type to a different one again for free. I bet there's a very small number that using one of the 2 elements you don't have would be much better than one of the two you do have.

Also you'd probably want to delve into the standard wizard with sorcerer dip. It's especially potent if you go exploiter wizard, because then you get the pool to power up your spells. so at lv2 you can have spell focus and specialization and the potent exploit to be throwing out CL 5 burning hands. Also you spell progression is still at the sorcerer rate since you get them faster at a 1 level dip delay.

Elf is always a strong contender for int casters, getting the free +2 spell pen is quite nice for blasters, yes the arcanist is getting +2 if they boost the CL with their pool, but it could be +4 if you were the elf. Also Humans and Half-elves can get the +2 int and cha while counting as human, so if it's just those three reasons then they are equal or better than the aasimar since they are more likely to be allowed.

Sorcerers can get +3 damage per dice, which is insane. (It's also why I originally argued for Bloodline Mutations to apply to Blood Arcanists.) But, as I've described in the very beginning, it fails against Resistant/Immune enemies, of which there are a lot, especially depending on what spell you specialize in; Fireball, for example, would fail horribly in a lot of fights due to resistant/immune enemies.

For Elf, the +2 Spell Penetration becomes wasted by the endgame, and you'll have more than enough with the likes of Spell Specialization and Mage's Tattoo adding +3 to your caster level, which applies to SR checks, and the eventual Spell Penetration feats. In fact, by the endgame, you bypass all Spell Resistance checks (except for 1s, which I believe are auto-fails).


You can't use Pearls of Power because you don't expend prepared spells when casting.

Liberty's Edge

First: Thanks for the guide!

I am currently in a party with a semi-optimized (not fully, because my character creation directions were to make a know-it-all sage who could also blast) sorcerer blaster and an optimized fire kineticist.

I have to say that when my lvl 8 fire kineticist had a crit and solo'd the black dragon that the GM seemed to think was too hard as it was CR 11, it was a little bit fun.

And the sorceress does far too much damage against almost everyone, even though she has all of the "mandatory" utility spells. This is especially the case because so many guides say blasting is misguided, when that is clearly not the case.

Anyway, I would just say: Give options.

There are many ways to blast in Pathfinder. You have sorcerers, wizards, arcanist, kineticists, etc. And you have options: Is the build PFS legal? This is important in our gaming circle, at least.

So I guess I just want to encourage to you keep writing things and make the guide a full guide with several options.

Keep up the good work!


Azten wrote:
You can't use Pearls of Power because you don't expend prepared spells when casting.

Hmmm, I thought that was the case. I re-read the spellcasting rules for Arcanists, and I adjusted it to Runestones of Power. More expensive, which sucks, but still serves the same purpose.


so...an elephant in the room here is 'why not kineticist?'

Not that each doesn't have their advantages, but it is now an obvious question worth answering if you are going this in depth.

Generally speaking, a kineticist would be easier to build (since the options are fairly obvious based on your element). While it isn't as flexible, it is far, far sturdier (I mean... earth users are at barbarian levels of sturdy to attacks), and it has the option to deal with close up enemies with melee using just a feat and an infusion.

Also, it can generally fulfill the role and theme without going through a ton of levels- their blasts are on all day at level 1, and they just get options. Early on, the traditional caster might have some great spells, but it burns through them quickly and does the fun ruining thing of resorting to crossbows...

Of course, as Chess Pwn has stated, this is less a guide to 'blasters', and more of a guide to 'that one super optimized wizard/sorcerer multiclass build for blasting'. I would have preferred a more expansive guide for the general role of blasting, instead of being only given the 'one true path'.

I might have preferred to see a look at the various class' blast options, and even encourage the possibility of blasting as a supplementary role. For example- clerics and warpriests could take toppling spell and put it on admonishing ray, a force based non lethal version of scorching ray; it works on everything (other than the obvious undead, golems, etc. that are immune), and toppling spell adds the effect of tripping the opponent. This can serve as a nice supplementary blast, giving a ranged option that can be used to put enemies in a bad position while you take the time to move close for melee. Once you knock them down from a distance, they are either forced to eat an AoO while getting up or they take a -4 to AC vs your full attack next turn.


@ Nennafir: For the PFS thing, look to the disclaimer on the OP. That should give you an answer.


Your stats are pretty... Min-maxed. I would raise constitution and dexterity even if that means lowering wisdom or intelligence (slightly). One trick I see in point buy is to buy a 17, because the difference between a 17 and 18 is a lot of points. Plus the racial that's 19, and you get 20 at level four. Of course headbands help out too. I for see a lot of pain in early levels with these stats.

Oh yeah, and I wouldn't do this to replace the God Wizard, I would do this to replace the ranger. People do depend on the God Wizard Archetype (literature not mechanics) for the battlefield control, so replacing that would hurt the team and make martial feel bad.


lemeres wrote:

so...an elephant in the room here is 'why not kineticist?'

Not that each doesn't have their advantages, but it is now an obvious question worth answering if you are going this in depth.

Generally speaking, a kineticist would be easier to build (since the options are fairly obvious based on your element). While it isn't as flexible, it is far, far sturdier (I mean... earth users are at barbarian levels of sturdy to attacks), and it has the option to deal with close up enemies with melee using just a feat and an infusion.

Also, it can generally fulfill the role and theme without going through a ton of levels- their blasts are on all day at level 1, and they just get options. Early on, the traditional caster might have some great spells, but it burns through them quickly and does the fun ruining thing of resorting to crossbows...

Of course, as Chess Pwn has stated, this is less a guide to 'blasters', and more of a guide to 'that one super optimized wizard/sorcerer multiclass build for blasting'. I would have preferred a more expansive guide for the general role of blasting, instead of being only given the 'one true path'.

I might have preferred to see a look at the various class' blast options, and even encourage the possibility of blasting as a supplementary role. For example- clerics and warpriests could take toppling spell and put it on admonishing ray, a force based non lethal version of scorching ray; it works on everything (other than the obvious undead, golems, etc. that are immune), and toppling spell adds the effect of tripping the opponent. This can serve as a nice supplementary blast, giving a ranged option that can be used to put enemies in a bad position while you take the time to move close for melee. Once you knock them down from a distance, they are either forced to eat an AoO while getting up or they take a -4 to AC vs your full attack next turn.

Kineticists seem more complex than you're leading on. The only thing I know about Kineticists are that they are Con-based, have 3/4 BAB, and are primarily single-target characters. Their benefits only affect themselves, and their attacks only work on one creature at a time. At least, that's all what I know. Well, that and they're psionics, which is more obscure than the variant Aasimar races as far as allowing content is concerned.

I still don't know their mechanics properly, I doubt I ever will, and quite frankly if I were to try and design a Kineticist, it'd be so bad it'd be a guide of what not to do for a Kineticist, which is clearly not the intent. So on that end, that's why I didn't include things for the Kineticist; because I wouldn't know where to begin, and plus if people wanted to play a Kineticist so bad, there's already a well-known guide for it. I mean, I could post a "I want to play a Kineticist, what do I do?" question in the FAQ section, and hyperlink to the original Kineticist guide, but that's a cop out answer, something that shouldn't be in any sort of guide.

As for the lay-out, I decided to go with a more basic and less-extensive sort of guide, because guides should have more brevity to them. The last guide I made has almost 300 pages worth of content that explains and expands how every sort of relevant race, character trait, item, etc., and people absolutely despised how big it was. So I toned this one down.

There's still a lot of core mechanics about blasting that is relevant to any sort of character you make. Spell Perfection mechanics, managing/optimizing resources (AKA spell slots), discussion of flaws (and means to overcome them), and other similar things are still most certainly relevant to blasting as a concept.

There can be an argument for supplementary blasts, and is something that I would normally support. However, with this guide, you should be able to one-round all proper targets that you affect with your spells (according to my damage math), making any sort of application for supplementary blasts significantly less valuable and relevant. (After all, tripping them when they're already dead is kind of...you know...)


MageHunter wrote:
Your stats are pretty... Min-maxed. I would raise constitution and dexterity even if that means lowering wisdom or intelligence (slightly). One trick I see in point buy is to buy a 17, because the difference between a 17 and 18 is a lot of points. Plus the racial that's 19, and you get 20 at level four. Of course headbands help out too. I for see a lot of pain in early levels with these stats.

It's not worth it in my opinion, especially if you're going for absolute damage (which is what the guide is for). Each modifier point of Intelligence gives you:

-Bonus Spells per day (necessary for your purpose)
-Increased Save DCs (necessary for Area of Effect, meh for Single Target)
-Added Languages and Skill Ranks (convenient to have, especially so your character knows what damage type works against what enemies via Knowledge checks)

Charisma gives you:

-Arcane Reservoir points (necessary for using Exploits during combat, which is likewise your purpose)
-Exploit scaling progression (certain Exploits scale based off of your Charisma modifier)

Dexterity gives you:

-Reflex Saving Throws (meh)
-AC (again, meh)
-Ranged To-Hit (necessary for Single Target, meh for Area of Effect)
-Initiative (good to have, but you aren't entirely built to have a super-high initiative, nor would this be a class to pick to optimize your initiative bonus)

Constitution gives you:

-1 HP per level (by this logic, every spellcaster needs Toughness as a feat and should be Constitution-based instead if this is truly necessary)
-Fortitude Saving Throws (meh)

Wisdom only improves Will Saves, which is okay, but you already have a Good Will Save progression, meaning it's not super-important, and Strength is just carrying capacity, which doesn't matter because you don't carry much anyway, making it a safe dump.

A spellcaster's biggest defenses are both his spells, and his mastery of tactics and predictability; spells and proper placement/positioning easily outweighs any single hit point or AC or to-hit that the other attributes might offer you. I'm not saying they're useless, but having that extra spell at 1st level via 20 Intelligence can make or break the rest of that character's career.

In terms of a God Wizard, that 20 Intelligence would allow said God Wizard to effectively trivialize one extra encounter per day (via Color Spray or some other encounter-ending spell) at 1st level, which is beyond huge.


Do you see my account name!? :p

I've looked a bit into it and I would say spellcasters are susceptible to readied ranged attacks. Do with that as what you will.


MageHunter wrote:

Do you see my account name!? :p

I've looked a bit into it and I would say spellcasters are susceptible to readied ranged attacks. Do with that as what you will.

There's plenty of things which can counter that. Wind Wall, Mirror Images, Invisibility, Undead Anatomy II (for Tiny size, bonuses to hit and AC), Flight, using cover/ducking to the ground, Blur/Displacement...Using only one or two of those things would be more than enough for typical creatures, and is actually a solid use of those lower level spell slots for the endgame, as well as solid tactics.

Even on the oddball chance that he is hit, he will still have a large amount of Concentration, since he has maximum Intelligence modifier and an improved Caster Level on his signature blasting spell, meaning the odds of him failing his Concentration check is highly unlikely, since the ranged attack won't do that much damage.

As I've said, spells and tactics are the best defense a spellcaster has, because they provide benefits that are much more than a mere +1 AC or a +1 hit point benefit. +1 to two saves aren't too bad, but if you're tactically smart enough, they won't hardly be relevant.

Not using spells or combat tactics to his advantage invites a well-deserved death, and all you've done is provide an example as to something which would be worthwhile to use those spell slots against.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Me likey.


A blaster guide that DOESN'T use Wizard with a dip in Crossblooded Sorcerer -- I like this.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
MageHunter wrote:

Do you see my account name!? :p

I've looked a bit into it and I would say spellcasters are susceptible to readied ranged attacks. Do with that as what you will.

There's plenty of things which can counter that. Wind Wall, Mirror Images, Invisibility, Undead Anatomy II (for Tiny size, bonuses to hit and AC), Flight, using cover/ducking to the ground, Blur/Displacement...Using only one or two of those things would be more than enough for typical creatures, and is actually a solid use of those lower level spell slots for the endgame, as well as solid tactics.

Even on the oddball chance that he is hit, he will still have a large amount of Concentration, since he has maximum Intelligence modifier and an improved Caster Level on his signature blasting spell, meaning the odds of him failing his Concentration check is highly unlikely, since the ranged attack won't do that much damage.

As I've said, spells and tactics are the best defense a spellcaster has, because they provide benefits that are much more than a mere +1 AC or a +1 hit point benefit. +1 to two saves aren't too bad, but if you're tactically smart enough, they won't hardly be relevant.

Not using spells or combat tactics to his advantage invites a well-deserved death, and all you've done is provide an example as to something which would be worthwhile to use those spell slots against.

I feel challenged.

The minimum roll for a 10th level arcanist with 20 Int to cast a 5th level spell is 0. This means the "effective DC" is determined by how much damage is dealt. I know of many people with high damage dealing archer builds that are deadlier than you think. Even with boosted caster level, you should worry.

They likely have a high initiative from dexterity, and Inquisitors have cunning initiative, so they can just interrupt your spells from the start.

Sorry, good stuff but I had to prove myself worthy of my account name.

I did like the guide though. There are a couple too many God wizards and I appreciate the creativity. Good stuff, and if pure tactics has worked for you, that is impressive.


Maybe I missed it, but how will you deal with people who are immune to fire?


School Understanding: Evocation (Admixture) allows him to change the elemental type of a spell 3 + cha times per day.


Artifix wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but how will you deal with people who are immune to fire?

Kaptin Skullsmasha gives the basic behind it; the Admixture School allows you to change the damage type of spells you cast up to an amount of spells equal to 3 + your Intelligence Modifier, which resets each day.

Arcanists can select School Understanding (Admixture) to receive those benefits constantly, scaling with Charisma modifier instead. A shame it's not Intelligence based, but it's still better than nothing. Starting out, that's ~6 spells you can alter, and that only goes up as your Charisma does. Unlike Wizards, though, this cannot be usable until 5th level, when you get your first Exploit.

Of course, Pre 5th-level, the odds of you running into Element Resistant/Immune enemies are very slim. The same is said for Spell Resistance (though at least with this, you will have an increased caster level for your signature blast spell, so it's not nearly that bad to deal with). So I wouldn't be too worried if you run into an encounter Pre 5th-level that gives you a challenge, because that's probably sign of a GM who's specifically out to get you (in which case, no amount of optimization is going to help alleviate that problem).

Shadow Lodge

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Added to the Guide to the Guides!


MageHunter wrote:


I feel challenged.

The minimum roll for a 10th level arcanist with 20 Int to cast a 5th level spell is 0. This means the "effective DC" is determined by how much damage is dealt. I know of many people with high damage dealing archer builds that are deadlier than you think. Even with boosted caster level, you should worry.

They likely have a high initiative from dexterity, and Inquisitors have cunning initiative, so they can just interrupt your spells from the start.

Sorry, good stuff but I had to prove myself worthy of my account name.

The question is, of course, will an NPC have a build even approaching that level of optimization?

Unlikely.


MageHunter wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
MageHunter wrote:

Do you see my account name!? :p

I've looked a bit into it and I would say spellcasters are susceptible to readied ranged attacks. Do with that as what you will.

There's plenty of things which can counter that. Wind Wall, Mirror Images, Invisibility, Undead Anatomy II (for Tiny size, bonuses to hit and AC), Flight, using cover/ducking to the ground, Blur/Displacement...Using only one or two of those things would be more than enough for typical creatures, and is actually a solid use of those lower level spell slots for the endgame, as well as solid tactics.

Even on the oddball chance that he is hit, he will still have a large amount of Concentration, since he has maximum Intelligence modifier and an improved Caster Level on his signature blasting spell, meaning the odds of him failing his Concentration check is highly unlikely, since the ranged attack won't do that much damage.

As I've said, spells and tactics are the best defense a spellcaster has, because they provide benefits that are much more than a mere +1 AC or a +1 hit point benefit. +1 to two saves aren't too bad, but if you're tactically smart enough, they won't hardly be relevant.

Not using spells or combat tactics to his advantage invites a well-deserved death, and all you've done is provide an example as to something which would be worthwhile to use those spell slots against.

I feel challenged.

The minimum roll for a 10th level arcanist with 20 Int to cast a 5th level spell is 0. This means the "effective DC" is determined by how much damage is dealt. I know of many people with high damage dealing archer builds that are deadlier than you think. Even with boosted caster level, you should worry.

They likely have a high initiative from dexterity, and Inquisitors have cunning initiative, so they can just interrupt your spells from the start.

Sorry, good stuff but I had to prove myself worthy of my account name.

Sorry, didn't reply to this sooner, been busy with things.

If it's challenged, then that's good. If anything, that's about all you need to have for defenses as a caster, something that makes it challenging for the enemy to get to you. You did propose a Readied Action to disrupt the spell, and that's a smart strategy. (I certainly didn't think of it right away.)

But, before we get to the readied attack roll, let's take our well-prepared 10th level spellcaster against a relevant CR party that contains a 10th level Ranger. For Defenses, he can:

-Go Invisible, normally, or Improved for constant non-detection with blasting if there are a lot of enemies to deal with, or they're spread out; if he is able to get the drop on CR-relevant enemies, chances are, they will die from the first blast spell. Any other enemy needs a ridiculously high Perception check, and/or the ability to See Invisibility to even have a chance to counteract them, which is really only accessible to other spellcasters, extremely expensive (or special on-command items), and most outsiders.

The standard Invisibility spell is certainly cheap and viable enough to work as a Wand at 10th level, meaning this can certainly be a regular tactic.

-Reduce size to Tiny via Undead Anatomy II. This helps with Stealth checks, and synergizes well with Fly and Invisibility, meaning he could be anywhere, and the enemies would have no idea where the effects are going to come from. The bonuses to Attack and AC are also a nice added benefit (though if dealing with a Combat Maneuver aficionado, you're gimping yourself; but we're dealing with standard Attack Rolls, so..).

-Mirror Images, which will make any successful hits have a chance to not actually hit; a great defense for 1 attack/round enemies (such as your Readied Attack).

-Fly, which allows him great mobility and access to the Z Axis, meaning he can better switch from cover to cover, or even ignore non-flying melee enemies entirely.

-Wind Wall; situational, and may not be learned, but if you're in an immovable spot and you're dealing with Ranged Attacks, is an extremely great defense, forcing enemies to either close the gap, or use other offensive means to defeat you.

Now, only one or two of these options will be conservatively active at any point in time, the most likely candidates of which are Fly and Invisibility (I'd really only recommend Undead Anatomy for Single Target blasters, as the bonuses to hit will be necessary there).

The likelihood that a 10th level Ranger or similar character will be able to see Invisible enemies is slim, meaning that chances are, the spellcaster will get the jump on him, the Ranger won't know any better, and the Ranger only has ~80 hit points, presuming average hit dice and a 14 Constitution.

Damage by Level Comparison Teaser:
Let's showcase this build's damage for 10th level as a teaser to what my Damage per Level comparisons will contain. He'll have access to 5th level spells, being a 10th level Blood Arcanist.

So, let's say our Arcanist character gets a Surprise Round; he's got plenty of spell slots to prepare, so he decides an Intensified, Empowered Fireball would be worth preparing specifically.

An Intensified, Empowered Fireball is a 5th level spell for this 10th level spellcaster due to the Metamagic Master trait, and it will deal 19D6+33 points of damage. He gets 19 dice because he has 13 CL, 10 base + 2 Spell Specialization + 1 Mage's Tattoo, and you increase the dice amount by 6 via Empowered. Thanks to the Orc Bloodline Arcana, he adds +1 damage for each damage dice used (which is 19). With Empowered, that bonus is then increased by 50%, due to the wording of the Empowered feat, which says:

Empowered wrote:
All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by half, including bonuses to those dice rolls.

As a Swift Action (which can be used during the Surprise Round), I could activate the Intense Spells ability from my School Understanding by spending an Arcane Reservoir point, tacking on another +5 damage (though is not increased from Empowered, as it specifically says it isn't) for a number of rounds equal to my Charisma modifier (let's say ~5 rounds), and if the Ranger has any sort of resistances that I am aware of, I can use Admixture to switch it to an amount that has the least resistance.

I can also, as a Free Action, add +1 to the DC of the spell, which may be more prudent than an extra mere 2D6+3, considering the foe I'm up against.

On average, that single spell will deal ~99.5 damage. This means that, if the 10th level Ranger (and any other creature with similar hit points) fails his Reflex Save, he will be instantly killed; this means that at this level, the Arcanist's strongest spells become a save or die effect.

The only ones that may stand a chance of living from a failed saving throw are Barbarians, and/or characters with ridiculously high Constitution/Hit Points.

Now, the good news is that the Ranger has Evasion at this level, and I figure he will have a good Dexterity for his to-hit on ranged attacks, say 18. He'll also have a Cloak of Resistance +3 (or so), and the Good Reflex Saves progression (which gives +7), meaning he will have a conservative bonus of +14. The Save DC for this spell becomes 10 (base) + 3 (Spell Level) + 9 (Intelligence) + 2 (Spell Focus and Strengthen Magic) = 24. The Ranger has the odds in his favor, but only slightly. The good news is, if he makes the save (10 or higher), he takes no damage (because Evasion is a B!@#$ to deal with as a Blaster), and on average, he certainly can make it.

However, if he fails his save (which is a ~45% chance that it can happen), he, and anyone else within the spell's area, will most likely be outright dead.

Some GMs may argue that being Flat-footed means you're denied your Dexterity bonus to your Reflex Saves, and to a point, I'd agree, as it fits both thematically and mechanically. Of course, by the rules, Flat-Footed is stated to apply only to AC and CMD, but I would double check with your GM on this matter, as the Dexterity modifier in this case can easily make or break your entire character.

**EDIT** Applied a band-aid to this post's Wall of Text syndrome. I hope it's enough to help.


Yes, but there is a secret weapon. If they win initiative all your spells are practically useless since they'll keep interrupting them. That's why initiative is so important in this case.

Hey. I think I just discovered something handy to invest in. If you feel your character is good as is, leave it be, but maybe Improved Initiative wouldn't be so bad an idea. I could easily see Inquisitors pick up +9 initiatives so you have to beat them there in order to nuke them.


MageHunter wrote:

Yes, but there is a secret weapon. If they win initiative all your spells are practically useless since they'll keep interrupting them. That's why initiative is so important in this case.

Hey. I think I just discovered something handy to invest in. If you feel your character is good as is, leave it be, but maybe Improved Initiative wouldn't be so bad an idea. I could easily see Inquisitors pick up +9 initiatives so you have to beat them there in order to nuke them.

Under normal circumstances, you'd make a point.

In the above example, however, the Arcanist is invisible (as a smart spellcaster would be), and the opposed party most likely isn't aware of him, meaning he can get a Surprise Round before Initiative and normal combat is even rolled (and the enemy would be flat-footed).

Unfortunately, it's difficult to squeeze that in there without delaying or even removing critical feats, which is why I don't normally have it included. Maybe a Human Arcanist can fit it, but that's about it.


Interesting guide. As far as races that can pull this off, I think you might have missed Changelings (the witchborn racial trait changes their stat bonuses from Wis/Cha to Int/Cha).


Really interesting guide, thanks.
However:

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

An Intensified, Empowered Fireball is a 5th level spell for this 10th level spellcaster due to the Metamagic Master trait, and it will deal 19D6+33 points of damage. He gets 19 dice because he has 13 CL, 10 base + 2 Spell Specialization + 1 Mage's Tattoo, and you increase the dice amount by 6 via Empowered. Thanks to the Orc Bloodline Arcana, he adds +1 damage for each damage dice used (which is 19). With Empowered, that bonus is then increased by 50%, due to the wording of the Empowered feat, which says:

Empowered wrote:

All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by half, including bonuses to those dice rolls.

I'm pretty sure that's now how it works.

Your spell deals 13d6+13 when not empowered. Empowered is applied AFTER, which makes it 19d6+19.

You don't get to apply half of the empowered feat, THEN apply orc bloodline, THEN apply the rest of the empowered feat.

Else a maximised spell wouldn't even HAVE an orc bloodline bonus.


Grenouillebleue wrote:

Really interesting guide, thanks.

However:

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

An Intensified, Empowered Fireball is a 5th level spell for this 10th level spellcaster due to the Metamagic Master trait, and it will deal 19D6+33 points of damage. He gets 19 dice because he has 13 CL, 10 base + 2 Spell Specialization + 1 Mage's Tattoo, and you increase the dice amount by 6 via Empowered. Thanks to the Orc Bloodline Arcana, he adds +1 damage for each damage dice used (which is 19). With Empowered, that bonus is then increased by 50%, due to the wording of the Empowered feat, which says:

Empowered wrote:

All variable, numeric effects of an empowered spell are increased by half, including bonuses to those dice rolls.

I'm pretty sure that's now how it works.

Your spell deals 13d6+13 when not empowered. Empowered is applied AFTER, which makes it 19d6+19.

You don't get to apply half of the empowered feat, THEN apply orc bloodline, THEN apply the rest of the empowered feat.

Else a maximised spell wouldn't even HAVE an orc bloodline bonus.

I disagree.

Let's remove our Orc Bloodline bonuses for a moment. We have 13D6. We apply Empower. That becomes 19D6. I believe we agree on this point.

Now, let's put Orc Bloodline back in. It says:

Orc Bloodline Arcana wrote:
Whenever you cast a spell that deals damage, that spell deals +1 point of damage per die rolled.

We have 19 dice being rolled via Empowered, so therefore we add 19 damage to our total.

Empower then says that all variable, numeric effects of the spell are increased by half, and that applies to variable, numeric bonuses on the dice roll. I'd say that since the Orc Bloodline grants a numerical bonus that varies based off of how much damage dice is being rolled, that it's grounds for addition; so we add half of 19 (9) to the total. So, now it becomes 19D6+28.

We then want to implement Intense Spells, which, being 10th level, grants an extra +5 points of damage, and is done as a Swift Action, which is where the 19D6+33 total comes from.

I'd like to point out that, under normal circumstances, since this bonus to the damage roll scales based off of half my class level, this too would be increased by the Empowered feat. However, the Intense Spells ability specifically notes it's benefits are not amplified from effects like the Empower spell, so it stays at a flat +5 bonus.

Also, your argument of Orc Bloodline not applying to Maximized is most likely not the rules intent, as you're still considered "rolling" the result, it's just the result is fixed to the maximum number possible via the feat.


The part where we disagree is that you apply Empower, then apply orc bloodline on the already-empowered spell, then apply empower again on the orc bloodline. Which makes no sense to me.

Basically, it seems RAW and RAI say:
- We have 13d6
- We put orc bloodline in and get 13d6+13
- We empower this spell and get 19d6+19.

You could make a case of saying:
- We have 13d6
- We empower this spell and get 19d6
- We then put orc bloodline and get 19d6+19.

Which is the exact same thing.


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empower takes the 13d6 and multiplies the result by 1.5. You don't roll more dice with empowered.
So 13d6+13, empowered is (13d6+13)*1.5


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Half of the variable number is half of the variable. 13d6 is the variable, not the bonus. Empowered is (sum of 13d6 +50%) plus bonus, not (13d6 + 6 1/2d6) plus (bonus x1.5).

So long as raw numbers of dice are in play, simply adding half again the number of dice works fine. When bonus damage/die is involved, the (rolled number +50%) +# bonus is used.

Unless I missed errata, it's been a little while.


empower works on the + part as well. faq


Chess Pwn wrote:

empower takes the 13d6 and multiplies the result by 1.5. You don't roll more dice with empowered.

So 13d6+13, empowered is (13d6+13)*1.5

Thanks, that's an even better answer.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Chess Pwn wrote:
empower works on the + part as well. faq

That's not the issue.

The question is whether the empowered spell deals (13d6 + 13) * 1.5, like Grenouillebleu claims, or (13d6 * 1.5) + (13 * 1.5 * 1.5), as Darksol claims.


Kurald Galain wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
empower works on the + part as well. faq

That's not the issue.

The question is whether the empowered spell deals (13d6 + 13) * 1.5, like Grenouillebleu claims, or (13d6 * 1.5) + (13 * 1.5 * 1.5), as Darksol claims.

It was the issue for Turin the Mad.

The answer to the issue you're talking about is answered in my previous post. Which is (13d6+13)*1.5. empowered does not have you roll more dice.


It appears the FAQ seals the deal, and says that it's just a +50% to the total result of what your standard roll is. Well, that bites.

But, thankfully, it's not that bad.

Even if we take the as-is 1.5(13D6+13)+5, that still averages out to 92.75 points of damage. It's just shy of being a Save/Die effect for the Ranger, but after a round, maybe two, of being unconscious, he will bleed to death unless he gets a lucky stabilization roll.


sorcerer dip into exploiter wizard with similar build
(14d6+28)*1.5 averages to 115 damage.

mega blaster sorcerer can do (13d6+39)*1.5 averages to 127 damage, as a 4th level spell.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Nice, thanks! It will go over very not-well for next weekend's upcoming game when I try out an Arcanist for the first time. ;)

Grand Lodge

@Chess Pwn

I think the point of the guide is balancing the raw damage a sorcerer can do with the adaptability (admixture) of an evoker wizard. I don't doubt that the sorcerer could do more, but they would likely be limited to a fire based fireball, which would already be struggling with some enemies at level 8 (4th level spells).


How does a Sorcerer get +3 dmg per die? I can see cross-blooded with Dragon and Orc for +2 per die. Is the extra +1 per die from the blood mutation (can't remember name)?

Sovereign Court

The extra +1 is indeed from the bloodline mutation called Blood Havoc.


Hm. So, a Cross-Blooded with Dragon and Orc + Blood Havoc = +3 dmg per die of a spell (assuming it's the right element from Dragon).

And the Evocation school adds 1/2 level of the class granting the school to damage as well.

Is there some way to combine all of this into one build, with a meaningful number of levels in the one that grants the Evocation school?

A 1 level dip in Cross-Blooded would get the two bloodlines, but not Blood Havoc, which as far as I can tell would require being level 7 for the bloodline feat that needs to be replaced by Blood Havoc. But 7 levels isn't a dip.

An Arcanist can be a Blood Arcanist for 1 bloodline, or dip Cross-blooded for both, and then use either School Understanding or the School Savant archetype (if not the Blood Arcanist) to get the evocation school ability, but wouldn't have Blood Havoc.

I'm not seeing a way to get both bloodlines, blood havoc and the evocation school ability all into one build. Only way would be if Blood Havoc could be taken in place of the 1st level Bloodline Power, but not sure if it qualifies as "unchanged by an archetype for crossblooded". Seems fine to me, but probably not completely legit, which means table variation.

EDIT: OOH! What about a cross-blooded sorcerer with blood havoc, and VMC Wizard? You'd get both Blood Havoc and Evocation School at 7th level, correct?


A dip is fine. Blood Havoc: "This ability replaces the sorcerer's 1st-level bloodline power or the bloodrager's 4th-level bloodline power."

EDIT: Nevermind, someone already stopped this combo. "Once this choice is made, it cannot be changed, and a bloodrager or sorcerer cannot swap a bloodline power that she has altered or replaced with an archetype for a bloodline mutation."

Crossblooded does not work with Blood Havoc. Someone didn't like blasters. :(


You can take blood havoc at 7th level in place of a bloodline feat though.


Even if you can't swap a bloodline power did they forget to forbid using a bloodline feat?


the creator said that your option is to take it as a feat, that's why he put that option in there


So at 7th, a Sorcerer VMC Wizard with both the traits that reduce metamagic spell level adjustment could cast an Empowered Fireball as a 3rd level spell for ((7d6+21)*1.5)+3 for an average of 71.25 damage.


well you could get to 10d6 with spell specialization and the tatoo feat.
But yes.

A sorcerer could also go with only getting a +2 damage to all dice and be able to turn it into acid/electricity on the fly. I'd think that with two elements, fire and your choice that you should be able to get through most immunities and resistances okay. This is going orc and elemental.


VMC wizard can also give the ability to alter the damage type a few times a day at 7th per the evocation school that you are using to get the extra damage as well. Not as cool as changing it at will to one type, but more flexible in being able to change to any of the main types. Int based, but have Int 13 at least for Spell Specialization anyway. So would be an Int/Cha build just like the proposed Arcanist build.

Scarab Sages

Have you also considered the Furious Spell metamagic? It gives Fireball an additional 6 points of damage. Since it only increases the Spell Level by 1, you can buy it cheap as a metamagic rod.

You can also consider the Harrower prestiege class. This is the ability gained at 3rd level.

Tower of Strength (Su) wrote:
Beginning at 3rd level, whenever a harrower uses her Harrow casting ability to augment a spell that deals damage to hit points, the spell deals +1 point of damage per die for each card from the suit of Strength she draws.

Note that this ability can not be mixed with metamagic and can be used per day to the level of the Prestiege class. However, if you have this, Crossblooded, and Blood Havoc, you can possibly do up to 10d6+60.

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