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Metamagic - Yes, No?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion


Okay so in my search of 'yes or no' to taking Metamagic, I see some going 'yes take it it's good' and others going 'not worth it. Take rods'. So I'm a bit conflicted. I do however believe there is no 'overall' answer, but rather a good answer/suggestion based on the actual details of what's going on.

So on to details.

My friends and I are going through Iron Gods AP. Fires of Creation I believe. We aren't too far in(Like we JUST hit 2). Now the party, I don't think I need to go into details about them save for this - 3 melee, 1 ranged. No Spell casters.

That would be me. I'm running a Shaman, Life Spirit. Hopefully with my build I can grab spells from Shaman, Cleric, and Wizard spells. So I have a LOT of flexibility. Downside is I am a Prepared caster.

Thus far, and what I hope to do, is be the healer/summoner/(de)buffer. Idea is to drop a summon or two, buff them or the bigger damage dealers, and then support with spells.

Given that it's an AP and just handing out a Rod is a tad harder to expect, and since I'm the only caster: Would picking up a Metamagic Feat be good? I'm thinking Extended to make my summons/(de)buffs last longer and then hopefully get a Quicken Rod. This makes sense to me and I can use a Hex to pick up a Metamagic.

So suggestions, thoughts, other tips or any other details you think might be needed?


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Some yes, many no. Better to ask about specific feats and their combination with specific classes.

Like i probably wouldn't take rime spell on a sorc or wizard but theres a magus build that uses it as part of a debuff chain thats pretty off the hook. I'd imagine debuff focused witches could make good use of it too.

Quicken spell is mostly useful for getting buffs up early or in a highly focused blast caster at high level, its a good option for rods due to the level increase.

I'd probably consider extend spell as a buffer, and persistent spell as a debuffer. Though as a witch eventually the misfortune hex might be more reasonable for you than persistent spell.

Grand Lodge

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Extended is almost always worth it on some of the longer lasting buff like mage Armor, Quicken is very useful in the later levels for casting sheild on turn one. Peircing is useful for breaking down Sr and heighten makes lower level spells more useful, intensified spells are a must if you're going blasting damage for the extra dice, and empowered and maximized spells are great. I'd pick up a book of harms for a free 1/day maximized Evocation spell.

Also if you want to be a bit crazy, pick up Ascendant spell to grab mythic versions of spells, it is a five level jump so I'd combine it with spell perfection for those few must haves.


I wouldn't worry about it, metamagic feats are a late game thing unless you are building around specific metamagic feats like toppling. If you end up playing from level 8 onwards something like persistent spell can be really nasty.

If you are going to be the only caster perhaps consider playing a Witch, very similar to the Shaman but for lower BAB and hit dice it's got better hexes and spell list including teleport which is invaluable to the party. Vomit Swarm is a great summoning spell Witches get, cool and is a standard action, not the dreaded full round.

Also for healing all you really need is to buy lots of cure light wound wands.


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Ryan Freire wrote:

Some yes, many no. Better to ask about specific feats and their combination with specific classes.

I'd probably consider extend spell as a buffer, and persistent spell as a debuffer. Though as a witch eventually the misfortune hex might be more reasonable for you than persistent spell.

Extend is probably the biggest thing I'm looking at currently as that will help my buffs and my summons.

NoTongue wrote:

I wouldn't worry about it, metamagic feats are a late game thing unless you are building around specific metamagic feats like toppling. If you end up playing from level 8 onwards something like persistent spell can be really nasty.

If you are going to be the only caster perhaps consider playing a Witch, very similar to the Shaman but for lower BAB and hit dice it's got better hexes and spell list including teleport which is invaluable to the party. Vomit Swarm is a great summoning spell Witches get, cool and is a standard action, not the dreaded full round.

Also for healing all you really need is to buy lots of cure light wound wands.

Eh I like having a Channel which has already helped save the party. I'm also curious to see how this multi spell list build will work.


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I'll second vomit swarm, once you can vomit wasps, spellcasters opposing you start to have a pretty rough time.


Balancer wrote:
Extended is almost always worth it on some of the longer lasting buff like mage Armor.

Is Extend Spell really a good feat? I've heard this before, but even if you need ten hours Mage Armor instead of five, you're just sacrificing one level 2 spell to save two level 1 spells.

A 1000gp pearl of power would achieve the same thing without costing you a feat slot or a level 2 spell.

Grand Lodge

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Extend is an amazing rod, not a fan of it as a feat.


Metamagic feats on a prepared caster can be nice but aren't really necessary. The broader your spell list, the more likely you'll find something to cast at each spell level.


extend was extraordinary for buffs and defensive spells in 3.0, but those spells have been so nerfed duration wise that nowadays, extending them is no longer worth the feat, even with the fact that feats are not as rare a commodity in PF than they were in 3.xx


Extend Spell used as a feat on summons sounds like a bad bargain. Summons don't tend to last all that long in combat anyway, and will probably last longer if you summon the biggest thing you can rather than something less for nominally twice as long.

Battlefield control is easier with Fleeting Spell. Encouraging Spell makes some of your buffs better; Encouraging Bless as a 2nd level spell or Encouraging Contagious Zeal as a 4th are pretty good, and if you pick up Heroism or Rage via arcane enlightenment they benefit too.


The best blaster builds lean on metamagic feats--like Intensify, Empower, and Maximize--and the traits that reduce the cost of using them.

A Persistent 4th-level save or die is generally harder to save against than a unmodified 6th-level save or die, and ends the fight just as well.

Still spell can be a lifesaver, and you can't get it as a rod.

If you're headed to Spell Perfection, Quicken Spell is basically compulsory.

Reach spell is a great way to deliver those emergency heals.

Even if you get metamagic rods (and you should), metamagic feats are still great because you can stack them with rods' effects, but you can't use more than one rod. I personally like Echoing rods. Three third-level pearls of power cost 27,000 gold. One lesser Echoing rod costs 14,000.


I had a 10th level cleric with an extend rod. Used it along with magic vestment and greater magic weapon to keep his armor, shield, and sword boosted most of the day. Could have done this with the feat but would have hated digging into my higher level slots.


Matthew Downie wrote:
Balancer wrote:
Extended is almost always worth it on some of the longer lasting buff like mage Armor.

Is Extend Spell really a good feat? I've heard this before, but even if you need ten hours Mage Armor instead of five, you're just sacrificing one level 2 spell to save two level 1 spells.

A 1000gp pearl of power would achieve the same thing without costing you a feat slot or a level 2 spell.

It's one of those feats that my be handy for specific DM's but I've always seen as useless for me at least.

If a spell has a length measured in minutes then the time between fights will be either short enough for that to be good enough or so long that it going from 6 to 12 would have made no difference.


If a group is taking advantage of a stack of minutes/level "Buffs" that have been Extended, it's not uncommon to blitzkrieg until those spells are about to expire, then work backwards collecting loot and trophies.

It all depends upon how cautiously a given group is playing. And of course in no small part as to how readily one can "chain" a large-ish 'dungeon' of bad guys. Combat is usually pretty noisy, making it possible that bad guys will arrive in a few rounds to a few minutes after donning armor and whatnot.


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Extend Spell is particularly useful with spells that have costly material components, such as Stoneskin and True Seeing. It's also good for spells you really don't want to have to recast while you're in the middle of something else, like Disguise Self, and spells you want to last a long time while you're not around, like Quest and Suggestion.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm in the rod camp. I tend to prefer the ability to wield one without impacting whatever casting abilities I have, too. This is particularly important for the magus, which implies something like a tiefling (not sure if there are others), or hexcrafter archetype with prehensile tail hex. One of my players for Ire of the Storm/House on Hook Street mashup picked an oni-spawn tiefling with a prehensile tail after I explained the benefit, in fact.

I always had a problem with the cost of metamagic anyway, since only a few spells seemed worth the higher spell slot. Every time I looked at a potential metamagic candidate, I was able to come up with a better use for the slot. Indeed, I don't even like combine extracts for my investigator character (a PC I run as GM in our Giantslayer campaign).


Oh wow I was not expecting so many replies. Thanks for your advice. Well one upside is that someone's rerolling a Sorcerer so I don't have to feel like I need to do everything/cover a board selection.

Well then, other than summoner feats which I'm looking into a few, what feats would be good to take instead of Metamagic.

See I've always looked at Spell casters in general and gone "What feats do I get". Besides the ones that boost Initiative or Saves, I don't see a lot of options for them.

I'm open to being completely wrong and look forward to some other ideas.

(And yes I'm looking into Pearls of Power. Thinking of other items for me but most are for Arcane/Spontaneous casters. Whole other topic though.)


I prefer Heighten for certain builds (such as debuff builds) as it keeps debuff spell DCs relevant.

Lantern Lodge

At low levels, metamagic rods are your friend. Depending on exactly what you want to do. They are not too pricey and can be just wonderful for flexibility.


Rods are OK, but wielding one and switching back and forth can be a problem, if you have only rods.

You can check the basics:
- Spontaneous caster: get those feats suited for your spell picks
- Regular caster: pick a few with care, get some rods
- Are you a nuker: get the damage enhancers at level 11+

Some feats are better than others.
The one I use often is Reach Spell, which is for a healer/support a must. You are usually not in range (which is mostly touch), and never for communal buffs.
Quicken is expensive and an endgame feat, but it gives you an edge. If you have picked up Spell Perfection, this is probably what you aim for.
Many like Extend Spell, which I don't use at all, even if I have a rod. The spellcasters usually open with some form of dispelling, which makes buffs fleeting. If you get never dispelled, it might be OK. It is also often impossible to go from encounter to encounter within the timespan of the shortlived buffs, which lowers the value of the feat again. It depends a lot on the campaign and the DM, if you get some use out of it.
Selective Spell can be useful, if you are a nuker. AE spells are problematic in melee, but would often be useful - this feat allows to do that. Several spells have inbuilt friend-or-foe mechanics, so you can get by without it. If you have a divine partner with communal spell immunity, you can arrange for risk-free nuking, too.

When looking at the rods, the best - in my opinion - are Quicken and Maximize. Both effects are desirable, but too expensive for regular use, making them perfect for rods.


Some meta magic feats are situational, but when you are effacing that situation they are extremely useful. For example if you are going to be in an undead heavy campaign ectoplasmic spell works very well on incorporeal undead. Most incorporeal undead ignore web, but an ectoplasmic web can stop them cold. But in a campaign that does not have a lot of incorporeal creatures it is useless.

I have always liked merciful spell for casters who dislike killing. A merciful fireball can take down a large group of people without killing them It is perfect to use on people who have be tricked into being enemies that you really don’t want to kill, but need to stop.


Vast Spell has some amusing implications. horrid wilting, for example.


The Mad Comrade wrote:
Vast Spell has some amusing implications. horrid wilting, for example.

By RAW Vast spell doesn't work on horrid wilting as it already has no more than 60 ft apart target line. It's great on haste/slow though.


necromental wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:
Vast Spell has some amusing implications. horrid wilting, for example.
By RAW Vast spell doesn't work on horrid wilting as it already has no more than 60 ft apart target line. It's great on haste/slow though.

d'oh! :) Thanks!


You're going into a tech-heavy campaign. While I'm sure that there will be casters to loot, I'd bet that you're going to have a harder time just picking up rods than usual. I'd ask your DM how self-sufficient your character needs to be for this campaign, and I'd err on the side of feats.

Also, I second the witch recommendation, especially since there will be enough variety that you won't just spam Slumber Hex all session.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Choice must be based on the campaign. In the one I play in, Changeling Wizards don't get the bonus Wizard feats and there are other feats I needed 5 levels ago. She allows Human Wizards/Sorcerers to apply metamagics on the fly with a skill roll. Orc blood disallows Meta totally.
Elves can swap one feat a day. No, I mean any Magic feat! Still Spell today, Brew Potion tomorrow.

Each race has a different take on Wizards (and Sorcerers), keeping a strong flavor going. Changelings lose the Wizard bonus feats, but the 4th spell of any level doesn't need to be studied, we can call it from our 'spellbook' with 10 minutes of naval contemplation, less with feats (2 and I'm at 1 Minute at level 9, 3 more feats (20th) and the whole spell book will be at my call). It does cost twice as much to scribe though and I need the book to prepare the first 3. I could take metas, but they would work as normal. I'm not eligible for the other 'nice' things.

Silver Crusade

Gauss wrote:
I prefer Heighten for certain builds (such as debuff builds) as it keeps debuff spell DCs relevant.

+1


Persistent Spell is pretty huge, especially with a metamagic trait making it only +1. A Fey Sorcerer with Heighten Spell, Wayang Spellhunter and Persistent can use a level 5 slot to throw Hideous Laughter with a level 4DC and a +2DC Arcana bonus, and the target must save twice against it. Metamagic is generally more something to plan for, rather than just have around. Dazing Fiery Shiriken is another one that comes to mind - if you're an Admixture Wizard with Magical Lineage throwing it as a Heightened level 4+ with Spell Focus and Spell Specialization, it's a whole lot better.


roguerouge wrote:
Also, I second the witch recommendation, especially since there will be enough variety that you won't just spam Slumber Hex all session.

While Witch is an option, I've grown to like My Shaman. That and I just got out of playing a Witch a couple months ago. Need to play something else, even if it's just a hybrid of it.

But this has been interesting to read and I've gotten some idea now about the feats.

Again I just find it hard to pick up feats for casters. There's a few Summon based ones I plan to pick up, but I really don't want to have to take the standard feats of "Improved Init, Toughness, Craft all the things" as my feat progression. Again.


Oh, well, then you're in luck. There's what, about 1,800 feats published by Paizo alone for Pathfinder at this point? No lack of options are available, all you have to do is poke the haystack with a stick. ;)

Perhaps the Possessed Hand feats?


Why metamagic when you can Sacred Geometry? : D

Hmm. Wonder if there's a Profane Geometry? (Insert final exam joke here.)


If you still don't like metamagic, and you've had enough of "Improved Init, Toughness, Craft all the things", here's a few suggestions.

Spell focus, then spell specialization: one particular spell is cast at your level +2. You can change which spell each time you go up a level.

Chilling amplification and burning amplification are like metamagic, but they cost either -1 DC or -1 attack with the spell rather than a spell level. Also you can decide whether to use these when you cast the spell & they don't make spontaneous casters take a full round to cast.

Flexible hex: change your wandering hex as a swift action.

Spiritual guardian: make spiritual ally/weapon better.

Not a comprehensive list, obviously.


The Mad Comrade wrote:

Oh, well, then you're in luck. There's what, about 1,800 feats published by Paizo alone for Pathfinder at this point? No lack of options are available, all you have to do is poke the haystack with a stick. ;)

Perhaps the Possessed Hand feats?

Considering I'm not hitting things with fists, weapons, or being close in combat, I think the feats drop to about 50.

I kid. Combat feats are big so the Martial guys can keep up. I just don't feel like there's good feats for spell casters. There might be I just have to dig more.

Flexible Hex, that could be useful. Thanks Avr.

Slight note on party comp. Team/group has been shuffled. We now are down to 4 with; Barbarian, Gunslinger, Shaman(me), and now a Sorcerer. We have lost the Cavalier and Samurai we had.

So good news for me, not the only mage so I don't need to panic about trying to fully optimize my spells(Hence the topic). Front line is looking kinda weak. I'll probably focus on Summon feats then(Why not pick summoner? I want to be helpful, not break the game)


There's always Cunning Caster. Finally, as of September 2015, for the cost of two feats, you can actually cast a spell without people realizing it--with a heavily penalized Bluff check. : /


MerlinCross wrote:
The Mad Comrade wrote:

Oh, well, then you're in luck. There's what, about 1,800 feats published by Paizo alone for Pathfinder at this point? No lack of options are available, all you have to do is poke the haystack with a stick. ;)

Perhaps the Possessed Hand feats?

Considering I'm not hitting things with fists, weapons, or being close in combat, I think the feats drop to about 50.

I kid. Combat feats are big so the Martial guys can keep up. I just don't feel like there's good feats for spell casters. There might be I just have to dig more.

Flexible Hex, that could be useful. Thanks Avr.

Slight note on party comp. Team/group has been shuffled. We now are down to 4 with; Barbarian, Gunslinger, Shaman(me), and now a Sorcerer. We have lost the Cavalier and Samurai we had.

So good news for me, not the only mage so I don't need to panic about trying to fully optimize my spells(Hence the topic). Front line is looking kinda weak. I'll probably focus on Summon feats then(Why not pick summoner? I want to be helpful, not break the game)

I was more thinking about the "detached hand can feed potions to buddies/is a familiar" angle. ;)

Whatever you do, have fun doing it! No point playing otherwise. *grins*


Boost saving throws. Most casters have weak ones, and you can easily spend six feats or so on (Improved) Lightning Reflexes, (Improved) Great Fortitude, and (Improved) Iron Will. The ability to reroll failures on saves is very worthwhile.


tonyz wrote:
Boost saving throws. Most casters have weak ones, and you can easily spend six feats or so on (Improved) Lightning Reflexes, (Improved) Great Fortitude, and (Improved) Iron Will. The ability to reroll failures on saves is very worthwhile.

About that. I picked Half Orc, Sacred Tattoo, and Fate's Favored. While I can boost the saves a bit more, I have a +2 across the board for two traits. Pretty handy.

If I could I'd probably change the topic to "Feats besides Metamagic" or something. The discussion has been pretty helpful to me though.

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