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Advice for a first time full spell caster


Advice

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So as title suggests I've never played a full spell casting class before was wondering/looking for recommendations and what would be functionally cool (maybe archetypes) not really sure about how they function as I've played mostly martial characters


I've always liked wizards, especially in home games. You get to scribe anything you find into your spellbook, you get higher level spells the quickest, you get metamagic feats, etc... Just pick a school or archetype that fits with whatever concept you have in mind and run with it. Lots of decent guides out there on how to build a strong wizard....


The Arcanist seems weird but is actually pretty cool once you really read them. The Exploiter Wizard Archtype gives you a taste of that class while being a full Wizard. Loss of school and Bond didn't hurt considering the powers you get in return. Clerics and Oracles are full Divine both offering their advantages and disadvantages. While I've heard a lot of people slam on Clerics as being nothing more then walking band aids that is not the case at all. Wizards spells are flashier but a well played Cleric is just as deadly as a wizard. I have seen Clerics played that never once cast a cure spell on another party member at all. They often dished out more damage then the fighter or rogue.


Pure Wizard, Conjuration (Teleportation) school specialisation, Elf with focus on Int and Con, dumping Str and Cha. Opposed schools Divination and Enchantment.

Enjoy getting free Dimension Door (Su) and a bonus spell per day of the best school. Buff your allies liberally. When all else fails, turn into a god and rescue the damned day.


JDLPF wrote:

Pure Wizard, Conjuration (Teleportation) school specialisation, Elf with focus on Int and Con, dumping Str and Cha. Opposed schools Divination and Enchantment.

Enjoy getting free Dimension Door (Su) and a bonus spell per day of the best school. Buff your allies liberally. When all else fails, turn into a god and rescue the damned day.

It's funny because that's what I was thinking about doing but question are those my best choices for opposed schools?


Maybe? Necromancy is the first I'd drop, enchantment second, but it depends what sort of magic you like best. I don't care for having undead hanging around (but you may feel otherwise), and while enchantment can be very powerful it's also more situational than most.


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JDLPF wrote:

Pure Wizard, Conjuration (Teleportation) school specialisation, Elf with focus on Int and Con, dumping Str and Cha. Opposed schools Divination and Enchantment.

Enjoy getting free Dimension Door (Su) and a bonus spell per day of the best school. Buff your allies liberally. When all else fails, turn into a god and rescue the damned day.

This is close to what I did with a recent character, except:

- opposed schools: abjuration and necromancy (got abjuration back later with opposition research);
- didn't dump STR (10) or CHA (14), just because I like well rounded characters. And arranged traits to get several CHA-based skills as class skills; and
- sure, I had a few less points to put in INT than the guy who dumped stats, but I wasn't making a save-or-lose specialist. Summoning (and many cool utility spells) does not require sky-high save DCs.

Other advice for a starting wizard: expand your spellbook whenever you can and keep captured spellbooks and scrolls (and more scrolls and more scrolls) on hand to augment your power.

Also: keep your spell list well-organized, with all the key information you need to avoid paging through books when you cast the spell in combat. Some folks keep cards, I set mine up like a chart with all relevant spells copied from the pfsrd lists, augmented with key details (range, components, etc) as well as complete stats for the critters I like to use with (augmented) summoning.


A straight up Wizard, Universalist. Has some cool abilities, no real weaknesses and lets you adapt your direction as you level up.

In terms of "advice", I'd say to look ahead at where you want to be in the future...there's a stack of cool magic feats and metamagic feats that you need to build towards, and not planning ahead can cost you.

Also:
- generally, you will start weak but get powerful quickly, if you can survive. You'll need to convince the rest of the party to protect you until then (no AC or HPs is a drag).

- make sure you're useful in combat, even when you run out of spells. A basic missile weapon capability helps, as does investing in items that keep you fighting effectively longer (Pearls of Wisdom, Scrolls etc).

- be sure you understand the DM's or adventure's playing style. If you only have 1-2 encounters a day, you can go nuts and use everything you have nice and early; if it's a dungeon crawl and you have 5-6 encounters between sleeps, you'll really need to manage your spells carefully. Make sure one of your Orisons is a damage one.

- you won't need money for better armour or weapons, so save it up for creating your own magic items and capitalise on the 50% discount for making vs buying.

Every wizard is different though, so hard to steer you towards a style might suit you. My current wizard is a Universalist, built around enchanting in his spare time but lots of direct damage during battle...nothing fancy, just lots and lots of dice of damage, every round until the bad guys stop. That might not be your thing and you might prefer more subtly and battlefield control than that, so it's worth looking at different options.


I'd go straight universalist wizard over specialist. Until you really know what you want a Universalist gives you that option to discover what you like. Official rules exist to change your character around when you know exactly what you want. Most GMs also allow this without any rules. I'd go magical item bond over familier. Lore Master Prestige class is in my mind a great Prestige class for the wizard. You really lose nothing taking a few levels of it and a feat at best for all ten levels.
As far as race you really can't beat elves for being a wizard. You can trade traits to improve your DC for penetrating Spell resistance and improve your save DCs as well.
I played an Exploiter Wizard in Wrath and had an absolute blast playing him. No demon was safe from my spells. With my traits and feats I could blast through their resistances almost every time. I had a mythic ability that let me roll twice and take the better result.


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I tend to think Sorcerers are a better class to dive into full casting with that wizards, don't have to worry about opposed schools, don't have to worry about spell book management, don't have to worry about making the right choices with which spells to prepare each day.

And sorcerers can pack plenty of punch with whatever they choose to be good at (in some cases more punch than wizards). Also if you're not used to spell management having more spell slots available really helps you adjust to basically your only way of contributing in combat being a limited resource. The same things can be said of psychics but they have a less user friendly list.

Arcanists are a kind of middle ground but they even less spells than wizards since they have the same number of each spell slots but get new spell levels slower.

So yeah I'd vote Sorc as the best full caster for a new player.


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I'm going to second what Chromatic Dragon said. Sorcerer is better to start. Prepared casters require a lot of system mastery to guess what and how many spells will be need. Without the skill, most new plays just grab one of each of the best spells and find themselves with very little to do.

Advice

- Play a sorcerer.

- Read a Sorcerer spell guide. Ignore the advice to take fog spells for a while as they are hard to use correctly. Be a human or half human race for extra spells.

- Get spells that are SR no and ones that effect each save. Buy scrolls of the rest.

- If you like playing melee character grab the sylvan bloodline for an animal companion and do both.


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Grandlounge wrote:
I'm going to second what Chromatic Dragon said. Sorcerer is better to start. Prepared casters require a lot of system mastery to guess what and how many spells will be need. Without the skill, most new plays just grab one of each of the best spells and find themselves with very little to do.

Yes and no. For a true PF/DD3.x beginner, perhaps sorcerer is the better pick. It's certainly simpler.

However, I disagree with the part "find themselves with very little to do". Any wizard worth his salt will take a damaging cantrip like Ray of Frost, and augment it with an alchemical focus so that it does 1d3+1 as a ranged touch attack. Not a lot of damage, but it can help. Acid splash does the same, but also turns off troll regeneration for example. And you can do this all day and hit a lot more often than with your crossbow or bow (for elf wizards) against most adversaries.

Also, any wizard worth his salt will make extra scrolls of many spells, especially those that don't suffer so much from low DCs or other level-based variables. The cost is low enough he can supplement his spells-per-day limitations to a significant degree.

This, in addition to captured (or purchased) wands and other wizard-based items.

Also, don't neglect the many mundane skills the wizard will have, thanks to his high INT, which contribute meaningfully both in and out of combat.

As a wizard I have *never* found myself with "very little to do". YMMV.


Sorcerors are easier to play than wizards, and with CHA as their casting stat they can afford some (minor) investment in face-type skills. Probably easier to run one as your first full arcane caster.

General sorceror advice:

1) have spells that do different things -- at each level, I like to have one offensive spell, one defensive spell, and one utility spell. Try and pick spells that are broadly useful (e.g., while charm person is powerful it only affects humanoids, so you might want something else as your first-level offensive spell).

2) have spells that target different saves (Fort, Will, Reflex) as well as no-save or SR:No spells. You don't have a lot and you want to try and hit enemy weak points, or have spells that aren't blocked.

3) go for spells with multiple uses (e.g., mount can be transportation, and meatshielding -- summon it between you and enemies, and trapfinding -- herd it down the corridor and see what happens). One or two illusion spells can be exceedingly handy if you're inventive with them.

4) don't try and melee -- have a longspear and aid another from behind the front line.


I'd say plinking away at 1D3+1 qualifies as very little to do. Especially if you're still fulling back on this against CR5 creatures.

Not to mention is someone is new to casting classes and are making mistakes in spell selection their is a good chance they also won't have a rucksack full of handy dandy scrolls and wands, especially not early on, when the problem is most profound.

They do get skills though.


The skill points are the only issue I have with sorcerers, but if you get a bonus from Int. use background skill points and go human sorcerer can be versatile skill wise.


Wheldrake your not wrong but I have watched many PFS wizards flounder. I have seen more wizard pass turns then any other class because they are "powerful" but people play them before they are ready. Obviously this is lower level eventually they have spells to cast all day.

Wizards suffer heavily from loss aversion. If I do it now I can't later. I have burning hand but there might be a swarm later. Should I use my one haste now?. I brought magic missle for incorporeals should I sit on it?

A wizard has one combination of spells a day everyone miss-prepared is a proportional loss in effectiveness. A Sorcerer has the sum of spells known at a level x spells of that level as the number off combinations of spells they can cast per day. That leaves a much higher margin of error. Also you can't discount consumables for sorcerers. Consumables are always superior for out of combat casting compared to in combat casting it's an issue of action economy and dcs.

For the time that acid splash is not a waste of a turn daze is almost always better. A readied daze is better yet. If a enemy comes out from cover daze them so the archer gets an unobstructed full attack or if you have a natural attacker, monk etc, daze them when they get in range so your teammate or animal companion gets a full attack denying them their attack and trapping them in a poor position.

Wizards are more powerful but skill matters more than build. Prepared casters require the most skill thus they suffer from a lack of familiarity the most.


Darc1396 wrote:
It's funny because that's what I was thinking about doing but question are those my best choices for opposed schools?

My suggestion for a new Wizard player is to oppose Abjuration and either Evocation, Enchantment, or Necromancy. At the 9th level select the Opposition Research feat to buy back Abjuration. I'm a big fan of the Abjuration school, but it's not very useful at low levels. It's always nice to have energy resistance or protection from evil, but compared to what you lose out on in other schools it isn't really worth it.

The Teleportation focused school is definitely the strongest option available to Wizards, as it gives you a 3+int/day get out of jail free card. In addition to being very good in general, this is great for beginners as you don't need to be as proactive as you might otherwise be about avoiding something like a grapple.

I have to disagree with people suggesting Universalists. Having fewer spell slots per day makes it harder to try out new things, not easier. You need to devote a greater proportion of your daily spell load to your basic staples, and that leaves you less room for experimentation.


I recommend sorcerer as well. Making your choice at level up and then just casting any spell you need that you know is easier to manage then prepping your list every day.

If you do go wizard though, take a specialization. At best it gives you +1 spell to cast a day, if you prepare 1 opposed school spell of a level it gives the same amount of spells as a universalist, and if you are prepping more than 1 opposed spell in a tier, you should have picked a different opposed school.


Dasrak wrote:
Darc1396 wrote:
It's funny because that's what I was thinking about doing but question are those my best choices for opposed schools?

My suggestion for a new Wizard player is to oppose Abjuration and either Evocation, Enchantment, or Necromancy. At the 9th level select the Opposition Research feat to buy back Abjuration. I'm a big fan of the Abjuration school, but it's not very useful at low levels. It's always nice to have energy resistance or protection from evil, but compared to what you lose out on in other schools it isn't really worth it.

The Teleportation focused school is definitely the strongest option available to Wizards, as it gives you a 3+int/day get out of jail free card. In addition to being very good in general, this is great for beginners as you don't need to be as proactive as you might otherwise be about avoiding something like a grapple.

I have to disagree with people suggesting Universalists. Having fewer spell slots per day makes it harder to try out new things, not easier. You need to devote a greater proportion of your daily spell load to your basic staples, and that leaves you less room for experimentation.

This is a great help but question the extra spells per day is there even a spell per level that I can have while having the teleportation school?


The teleportation subschool of conjuration changes your school powers, but you can still take any conjuration spell as your bonus school spell.


Picking opposition schools is a tough choice, as other players have shown. I'll try to justify my reasoning on why I think opposing Divination and Enchantment are justified over the other school choices.

First, of all the spell groups, Divination and Enchantment are the two choices least likely to be used regularly in combat. They're most likely used during downtime or in cities, where spells per day are less of a concern.

Second, Divination school offers the most options to gain the spell effects permanently via other means.

Third, Enchantment is the school most often resisted via complete immunity.


Wizards and sorcs are your old-school standbys, but the archanist is a lovely fusion of the two. You cast like a sorcerer, but you can change your spells out on a daily basis.

If you're considering crafting magical items, the Soul Forger Magus is fun, but you take a hit in spell casting.

If divine casters aren't off the table, the Oracle provides a metric buttload of flavor - between the curses and the revelations, you can make some freaky stuff. My current character is an oracle, and I'm having a blast with it. :P

Feral Child druid looked like an absolute blast to me, too.


Also, crossbows. So that you can actually do SOMETHING every turn, a light Crossbow can be reloaded and fired in the same turn, as long as you don't do more than a 5-foot step. Or, if you put an absurdly high con and dex on him, natural weapons


At lower levels I prefer a guard dog over a crossbow. 25 gp buys you a creature you can spend your Move action to direct to attack, granting flanking bonuses to your allies and providing one more pool of hit points that the enemy can sink their damage into other than yours.


Crossbows suck, take acid splash or ray of frost. you do slightly less damage, but go against touch AC so you'll hit more. Plus there are cheap items to hold to have a +1 to damage with those. 1d4+1 ~ 3.5 against touch vs 1d8 ~ 4.5 against normal AC. To me acid splash is close enough if not better to not have to worry about buying a crossbow, pulling it out, and reloading. ANd you're more mobile since you only need a standard and not a full round to attack.

Honestly the true lv1 fallback and goto can be a wand of magic missile. 50 uses of an always hitting spell and it'll cover you for a few levels.


Also its super not wizardy to pull out a cross bow and way more wizardy to shoot em with little ice beams.


It think the options are daze> acid splash = cross bow. Obviously not the case if your not fighting a humanoid.

Daze DC 14-15 vs a good save of 3

Acid splash 1d3 + 1 vs touch assume between 10 and 11 but relevivly consistent. 16 Dex gives you + 3 to hit. 2.5 damage with a 30% chance to hit. This is an average of .8 damage around. The crossbow does slightly better until about ac 17.

A wand of magic missle is 3.5 damage every round. That's better than the cross bow until you have a 95% chance of hitting.


I also promote sorcerer. Much easier to play. Wizards have a big learning curve on spell preparation. Arcanists require tons of spell conservation and end up crossbowing half the time

Banned Schools in order
Necromancy- unless you want an undead army there is around 2-3 spells I would prepare throughout all spell levels
Enchantment- I love enchantment spells. They really are fun. However from a pure min max perspective there is simply to many things immune. Exception being if I want to play a trickster character
Evocation- not to much utility. Unless I am building a blaster these will not be worth it 90% of the time

Divination- has many essential spells and several great daily buff spells
Abjuration- I have d6 hp and would like to live. I like to opposition school research idea but would prefer not to absolutely lock in feat choices at lv1
Illusion- somehow better at defense than abjuration. Also lets me do some trickery even if enchantment is banned
Transmutation- to many spells to lose
Conjuration- school of god casters

Crossbow vs Cantrip
Personally I prefer to keep utility spells as cantrips. Generally I look at this as a way to keep the party from complaining about me not contributing when I don't want to cast spells due to having already won the fight. Personally I go crossbow for the 19-20 crit range with a bigger dice. However it hardly matters as neither are likely to end or win a fight


Quote:
Necromancy- unless you want an undead army there is around 2-3 spells I would prepare throughout all spell levels

Just off the top of my head, you've got Ray of Enfeeblement, False Life, Blindness/Deafness, Enervation, Bestow Curse, Magic Jar, and Clone. Certainly the Necromancy school is a lot less attractive if you don't plan on using Animate Dead, but it's got a lot more options than people give it credit for. It's still on the lower end of the school list, but I'd put it ahead of Evocation and Enchantment personally.

Enchantment really varies by campaign. As others have mentioned, there are a lot of monsters that are immune to it, so if your GM is throwing a well-balanced assortment of monsters at you then it won't be very useful. However, if the campaign features more humanoids then immunities will be fewer and further in between. For instance, I'd consider Enchantment one of the better schools in Rise of the Rune Lords due to all the low will save giants running around.

On the topic of opposition Divination, my personal philosophy on the matter is that you only do this if there's someone else (usually a Cleric) that has access to most of these spells anyways. Divination is one of those schools that you might not touch on a day-to-day basis, but when it does come up it's really important.


In general Arcane and Divine full casters require bookwork. I mean by actually sitting down and reading the spells when you are not playing. It's how I learned to play the Cleric. Start with the class first. Sorcerer are neat don't hate them. I like about half the bloodlines. Advantage of them is your spells are locked in. You know what they are everyday. That's also a disadvantage. Those are your spells. You don't have the versatility of a Wizard's spellbook.
I like wizards equally well their school and archtypes make them interesting. Their advantage is the unlimited spells they can learn. For new people that can get overwhelming. Even experienced players who haven't played a full caster like a wizard or cleric can be daunting. Hence the reading of the spells. A good group can help with that issue in game. I've been reading suggestions to playing a specialist. I disagree for a couple of reasons. The first is your opposition schools. Which ones to pick. Some say this school or that school. The problem is unless you know exactly the campaign you could end up picking the opposing schools with the spells you need the most. My suggestion of Universalist is for that reason. The one less spell memorized is offset that you can learn everything and decide what's useful day by day. The
Someone said don't take the Arcanist. It's a nice balance between a Sorcerer and a Wizard. It allows the versatility of a wizard with the ease of a Sorcerer. The abilities offered by the class are pretty sweet. I have played the Exploiter Wizard archtype which gave me abilities like an Arcanist. While the class sounds wonky it's not.
What you play is completely up to you. If you take anything from the post though is read and study the spells of the class you are playing, at least the lower levels one to start.


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Both in character and out of character, I always roll my eyes and sigh whenever someone immediately equates the Necromancy school with Animate Dead. There's a heap of utility spells in the school that are worth prepping every day.

Can anyone give me a good justification why Divination is rated so highly? I honestly can't see any utility out of preparing most of the spell list over just having a scroll or two handy for the situational spells.


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Divination gets its rating for its school powers, not its spells.


Detect magic is something you want all the time, heightened awareness is good to have up regularly, a bunch of the better situational spells depend on caster level; and unlike necromancy or evocation, divination spells are hard/impossible to replace with spells from other schools.


I'm quite happy to sacrifice two cantrip slots to prep Detect Magic each day.

What other situational Divination spells depend on caster levels? I mean, I understand that Scrying is useful to gather info on big bads, but I usually just leave that to the Cleric. Stuff like See Invisibility or Arcane Sight are definitely useful, but they're also available via Permanency or magic items. The rest of the Divination spell list just seems like a lot of bloat. I've never really had any game where I regretted choosing Divination as an opposed school.


pick one or two spells to specialize in and go ham


Take the time to read your spell list, and perhaps one of the class guides spellcasting sections as well before playing. There are a lot of spells, so some really good ones can be overlooked without careful consideration.

Pick a style of casting. Many of them require significant investments which can make generalizing difficult. Choose what kind of spells fit you, your character concept, and your group best, and ignore those that do not.

Invest in scrolls, wands, and UMD. Especially for either combat spells with minute+ durations and no save, or utility spells with durations comparable to their necessity and CL independence.


Go to the Zenith Games Guide to the Guides for a comprehensive list of guides, although the ones for 9/9 arcane casters other than the Arcanist (and an archetype/build-specific guide or two) are really old. (Newer guides can be found for 9/9 non-arcane casters.)

If you're going to be a Universalist Wizard and you are NOT going into the Arclord of Nex prestige class, be an Exploiter Wizard -- same spells per day (including progression by level) as a regular Universalist, but you also get an Arcane Reservoir and pretty good number of Arcane Exploits, which are better than the School Powers that a Universalist Wizard gets (the 8th level Universalist Power is a good concept, but the limit on uses per day really kills it, and the 1st level power is just bad if you aren't using it for something really specific such as powering the Arclord of Nex prestige class abilities -- or Crafting a LOT of stuff if you chose the Arcanamirium Crafter variant -- and Universalist doesn't even give you a passive 1st level power the way the specialist schools do).

Scarab Sages

Definitely go Sorcerer. I'm an experienced player and still find Wizards a headache; not just when preparing but also when deciding which spell to burn.


Dasrak wrote:


Just off the top of my head, you've got Ray of Enfeeblement, False Life, Blindness/Deafness, Enervation, Bestow Curse, Magic Jar, and Clone. Certainly the Necromancy school is a lot less attractive if you don't plan on using Animate Dead, but it's got a lot more options than people give it credit for. It's still on the lower end of the school list, but I'd put it ahead of Evocation and Enchantment personally.

False life < Mirror Image

Blindness/Deafness < Glitterdust
Clone is a downtime spell 90% of the time so it hardly matters that it costs 2 slots
Ray of Enfeeblement isn't that good of a debuff considering the double rolls to fail and doesn't hurt your biggest threats at low levels. Better debuffs include dazzling blade, grease, color spray, and glue seal

Enervation is amazing and I really do love it. Magic jar is another great spell. Not trying to hate on necromancy. I just find it lacking in optimal spells


Necromancy also has Fear (4th level) and Cause Fear (1st level) for some weird reason (intuitively, you'd think they would be in Enchantment, but then again, the Healing spells for some reason are all in Conjuration (Healing) instead of Necromancy, so go figure).


Command Undead and Halt Undead are always worth having, though usually as a scroll. Boneshatter is save-or-suck, save-and-still-suck, and combos well with a follow-up Ray of Exhaustion to guarantee target is Exhausted. Enervation is effectively adding 1d4 AC, CMB, CMD and DC of every character's spells against the target creature. That's also not getting into combos like Spectral Hand and Ghoul Touch, Vampiric Touch or Curse. From 5th level Magic Jar, Possession and Possess Object open up amazing opportunities too.


Enervation is not unlike an intimidation check - shaken has many of the same effects & -2 is close to -1d4. It gets better with metamagic but that's a high level thing considering you're starting with a 4th level spell. The 5th+ level necromancy spells can be game-breakingly good, true.

On divination spells - permanency hasn't been a casual option in any game I've been a player in. Detect/seek thoughts has a save, find fault & named bullet depend on CL, casting translation spells from scrolls can get expensive fast unless they're just for the one encounter. Of course if you can offload casting divinations onto some other character (cleric or otherwise) then you can make it an opposition school easily.

Another option for people who want the minimum possible amount of spells in their opposition school is an elemental specialist school. Each elemental school has less spells in it than one of the standard arcane schools, which may mean you have less choices for your bonus spells but also means there are less spells which cost you double slots to prepare.


avr wrote:

Enervation is not unlike an intimidation check - shaken has many of the same effects & -2 is close to -1d4. It gets better with metamagic but that's a high level thing considering you're starting with a 4th level spell. The 5th+ level necromancy spells can be game-breakingly good, true.

negative levels are significantly better to bestow mechanics wise than applying the shaken condition


avr wrote:

...

Another option for people who want the minimum possible amount of spells in their opposition school is an elemental specialist school. Each elemental school has less spells in it than one of the standard arcane schools, which may mean you have less choices for your bonus spells but also means there are less spells which cost you double slots to prepare.

You can also pick opposition research to remove the only opposition school selected. This removes all penalty for having a school.

Pick something like Void(which has good powers and good spells at every level except 0 and 4, which are ehh), and lose a few mediocre opposition spells for 4 levels before picking opposition research, and you are set.


Lady-J wrote:
avr wrote:

Enervation is not unlike an intimidation check - shaken has many of the same effects & -2 is close to -1d4. It gets better with metamagic but that's a high level thing considering you're starting with a 4th level spell. The 5th+ level necromancy spells can be game-breakingly good, true.

negative levels are significantly better to bestow mechanics wise than applying the shaken condition

How exactly? Most NPCs aren't going to fight the PCs twice, and even if they do enervation's negative levels last less than a day. Losing 1 CL/negative level affects only a few enemies (mainly blaster mage types), and the HP loss is not significant by the time you can throw enervation around. The remaining difference is, what, a CMD penalty?


Divination is my favourite school closely followed by necromancy.The issue with divination is that it's very GM dependent. If you gave a good GM then they'll know how to make the most of it but a bad GM, typically one who doesn't like their players knowing anything, can render a number of their spells completely useless.

It's interesting that people seem to equate 'cool' with powerful. I mean I love the witch (I'm currently playing a half-orc hedge witch/herb witch/a few home brew adjustments and I was so pleased with him I spent $45/£35 on a custom heroforge mini) and find it a 'cooler' class than the base wizard. No it doesn't have Golarion's most powerful spell list but it does mix up the classical arcane/divine spell selection and the hexes can be fun and offer great utility though not all hexes were created equally e.g. do I take the hex that grants a swim bonus, at-will featherfall, 1/day levitation and 1/min per level flight or a hex that lets me smell children?

For me the greatest strength of the witch's hexes is that many are of unlimited use meaning that even if you blow all of your spells you still have something to do. In addition hexes are typically supernatural abilities which means they do not require concentration checks, do not provoke attacks of opportunity, are not subject to spell resistance and cannot be dispelled; I think these features help to make the witch more user friendly.

For me the most off putting feature of the witch is the familiar-as-spellbook but this can be eliminated through archetypes or, as in my case, make a request to the GM. The ley line guardian archetype does away with the familiar and turns the witch into a spontaneous caster if you want less book-keeping.

What class to choose to play all comes down to personal preference. they all have advantages and disadvantages for the new player. Looking at the thread the sorcerer seems to be the most recommended and I'm leaning towards it myself. Being able to cast frequently and use your bloodline powers mean to shouldn't find yourself starved for resources too often, also being a spontaneous caster can help reduce the book-keeping work load furthermore you won't get a headache trying to pick your opposition schools. However, the sorcerer isn't the most flexible and it can be difficult anticipating what spells will be the most useful over the course of the adventure.

Of course if you have a good idea of what you'll be up against in a campaign then it's not a problem. Knowing the kind of campaign you're going into and knowing your GM are very important in making your choices. For example plenty of people will tell you "don't bother taking X spell, just get it on a wand/scroll" as they assume these items are available but in the campaign I'm playing I've yet to encounter a single wand and the scrolls tend to be random. I also know the GM is unlikely to put in items that boost ability scores so spells like cat's grace or fox's cunning are much more useful.


Every school has good spells, every school has bad spells. In Pathfinder you are not barred from casting certain schools your opposition schools simply cost double.

Therefore I would think the best schools to choose as opposing are the ones that contain the least amount of spells you want to be able to cast in combat. Which two schools that is depends greatly on personal taste as is evident from above.

The best way to pick them is to read through and make a list of "nah's and yeah's" for evey school. Try to weigh in likelihood of casting and frequency, you'll have to guess a bit. Then make your choice.

Personally I nix Necro and Enchantment unless I'm playing someone who intends to cast either of them as my primary schtick, but that's just me.


avr wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
avr wrote:

Enervation is not unlike an intimidation check - shaken has many of the same effects & -2 is close to -1d4. It gets better with metamagic but that's a high level thing considering you're starting with a 4th level spell. The 5th+ level necromancy spells can be game-breakingly good, true.

negative levels are significantly better to bestow mechanics wise than applying the shaken condition
How exactly? Most NPCs aren't going to fight the PCs twice, and even if they do enervation's negative levels last less than a day. Losing 1 CL/negative level affects only a few enemies (mainly blaster mage types), and the HP loss is not significant by the time you can throw enervation around. The remaining difference is, what, a CMD penalty?

srry for the late reply i lost track of this thread negative levels are better because they can actually kill a target were as fear just makes them run away at most plus they stack a lot better than the fear effects as some fear effects can stack while others cannot meaning if you have 2-3 sources of negative level providers the penalties given are much better.


I +1 Universalist wizard with arcane bond. If you really love the flavor go with the familiar, but it'll be more book keeping and you're going to be doing more book keeping then you've ever done before.

Maximize your spell casting stat, so at level 1 you have a 20 int. This will make everything work better for you.

Pick the spells that sound interesting and have fun, eventually you may find you like evocation or necromancy etc, but for now just try anything and everything you fancy.

Save your gold, everything you will want to do will cost money. Scrolls cost money, scribing new spells costs money, some spells cost money.

It's easy as a wizard to accidentally cheat, so be vigilant -- be sure you have your prepared spell list finalized before the adventuring day begins. Read through the full description of all your spells, pay attention to the required components, and when you cast the spell have that spell full description in front of you, if the DM asks for a save be ready to tell him, be sure the range is correct, be sure the casting time is correct, know what to roll and what to add as needed, be ready when it's your turn. People will cut you some slack, but do the work you need to do.


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-1 to universalist. It's not worth losing out 1 spell per day per spell level.

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