Verik Vancaskerkin

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Lots of good advice on this thread, thanks ^^

Barbarian looks good actually, I didn't even think about it. As for moving away, that might not be an option since I'll be the only melee with the redeemer. Better to take advantage of the champion's reaction than move away and let a squishie get squished ^^

As for the investigator, of course she's ranged - but she's also more into "I shoot at the chandelier to make it fall on the bad guy" than actual dps. Which is fine and makes fights pretty dynamic, but usually deal really low damage.

My idea was to rely on stumbling stance as well, but take rogue as an archetype to get +1d4 (eventually 1d6) sneak attack.

This means that if I can flank my opponent or if he hits me and gets flat-footed, at level 6 with striking handwraps I would attack twice for 2d8+1d6+4, or 2d8+2d6+4 with a focus point.

As for electric arc, I could get it through adaptative cantrip.

It's not fighter level, but it looks pretty good actually ^^


I'd really like to play a monk on an upcoming AP, but I realized our party is very severely lacking in the damage department.

I know monk strength comes from things like fast movement and stunning fist, but I'll have to put the hurt on enemies if we want to win the upcoming fights.

We have:
- A sword and board redeemer
- A primal witch
- A bard
- An investigator

..and me.

The investigator is a new player and she's not minmaxing at all - which is totally fine, but makes me carry the brunt of the damage in a fight. The witch will take some damaging spells, the bard will be mostly debuffing, and the redeemer will do redeemer stuff.

So, how would YOU create this monk so he can really put the hurt on someone ? I can even sacrifice a little bit of survivability since I'll have a redeemer to babysit me, the witch plans to invest in life lesson and the bard will take soothe as a signature spell.

1) We don't have free archetypes
2) We play on foundry so most material implemented is ok

It's my first time playing monk and I'm really excited about it, but I'd love to have some advice on it.

Thanks a lot !

As an aside, I'm wondering why nobody mentions the psychic version of Produce Flame.

It's less effective than imaginary weapon but it's only one feat instead of two, and it deals 1d12+1 splash fire damage per cantrip level when amped, which is a tad more than 2d6 on your primary target and can actually deal some satisfying damage on adjacent opponents.

In my book, that's better than Telekinetic Projectile, which starts slow and gets +2d6 per level later. Pushing the target 5 feet away can be nice, but I'm not sure it's really worth it.

Did I miss something ?

HumbleGamer wrote:

Aehm, the hasted assault doesn't give a free stride.

It just gives an extra strike.
It's the reason it's not that good on a magus.


That sucks.

You have a point, that actually sucks even worse than conflux spells ^^

HumbleGamer wrote:

Yeah, the point is more like "They wouldn't be bad at all, if there were not damaging focus spell usable to perform spellstrike"

As for lvl 8 focus spell you are talking about hasted assault ( which is a lvl 7 focus spell available by lvl 14 )?

if so, lvl 14 is far away ( ending of book 4 of any AP ).
it may seem good though ( especially with an inexorable iron who wants to smack enemies in melee ).

Yeah, my bad, I thought it was a lvl 4 focus spell !

And I agree that haste is not as good as we think on a magus, my point was saying the conflux spell are even worse ^^

And even in your example, hasted assault is better.

R1: Hasted assault + buff or + shield + cascade
R2: Free Stride + Truestrike + Spellstrike
R3: Free Stride + recharge + Spellstrike (with hero point)
R4: Free strike/stride + recharge + Electric Arc
R5: Free stride + Truestrike + spellstrike

So same number of big spellstrikes, more mobility, more flexibility on the follow-up if it's a longer fight, one less focus point, one more electric arc (or any spell actually).

But yeah, haste is not that great - it's just that conflux spell are even worse.

HumbleGamer wrote:

It's the reason why.

I mean, you said "The biggest gripe I have with conflux spells is that they all include an attack, which cripples your MAP", and my answer was towards the MAP part.

I consider the conflux spells not bad because they involve an attack, as they may allow to stride + strike + strike + recharge ( or anything else ).

They do their job right.

I find them suboptimal compared to damaging focus spells, and we agree on this.


Well, stride + strike + strike + recharge is merely giving you a second strike at -5 at the cost of a focus point. That's... awful, even not considering that you can use a damaging focus spell.

Even without taking a dedication, you can get at 8th level a focus spell that gives you one more action FOR A WHOLE MINUTE. It's not even that great, but it still blows those conflux spells out of the water.

HumbleGamer wrote:

I find this not true.

And yet you just say exactly what I said: a focus point is way more useful when you use it on a focus damaging spell than a conflux spell.

I fail to see where our opinions differ ^^

The biggest gripe I have with conflux spells is that they all include an attack, which cripples your MAP.

- On rounds you spellstrike, you shouldn't use it.
- On rounds you don't spellstrike, you don't suffer as much from action economy, and you can afford to waste an action to recharge instead of wasting an action AND a focus point - which are way more useful unloading damage.

Also, most of your big spellstrikes should be paired with True Strike since that helps tremendously your dps (more hits, more crits).

As a twisted tree magus (which, like I said, is for me the best hybrid study ^^), most fights will look like this:

* Round 1: Buff (improved invisibility, stoneskin...) + Cascade.

You can also do Electric Arc + cascade, Electric Arc + move or one of my favorite, Shield + cascade + move.

Remember that thou art fragile, and moving to spellstrike early is pretty risky. Your HP and AC are nothing to write home about. Also, unless you're facing a full-ranged party, it's usually better to let THEM waste actions instead of the opposite.

* DPS round: True Strike + Spellstrike
* Recharge round: either
- Electric Arc + recharge
- Move + recharge + strike
- Strike + recharge + shield
- Move + strike + recharge
- Any spell + recharge

So there's little place for conflux spell anywhere.

Lollerabe wrote:

That's my point. If you build your laughing shadow as a quasi dex char with a 1h and a free hand, it's gonna suck. I tried it and it's just not good.

If you go for a 2h and heavy armor, you are a Magus with the best conflux spell there is imo.

But as I mentioned a few pages back, it feels super unintuitive to ignore everything about the subclass' cascade features. That doesn't mean it isn't good tho, just not how you would imagine it to be good. And most certainly not how it was intended to be played either

Like others said, if you build it with 2h and heavy Armor, you just have a bad focus spell and 5 feet movement to show for it.

It's not that they're bad, it's more that their bonuses seem lackluster on comparaison to the other magus.

Their damage bonus barely helps bridge thé gap of bigger dice and then only when flatfooted.

Their spells are nothing to write home about.

Their focus spell is ok once you ger thé level 10 feat I guess but apart from a very short teleport, you should have a better use for your focus points.

The inventive to go dex makes them more MAD.

So they get a bit more movement speed - and that's about it.

Compare that to Inflexible Iron steady HP stream and free enlarge, to Twisted Tree Infinite true strike at reach or to Starlit Span range.

From what I've seen in my games, every magus has its niche - although Laughing shadow feels pretty underpowered.

Starlit span is great in a vacuum but when you take into account opponents who actually rush you, they're not that good. Other archers have tools to reposition and can strike anyway - starlit span is really hamstringed at close quarters. Same goes with cover. Meanwhile, a lot of fights are in clumped quarters and having a reach weapon often lets you pick another target without moving.

Imho, targe and Laughing shadow are weaker - but not unplayable - and the others are about as powerful.

TheOneGargoyle wrote:
The staff rules say "Attacking with a Staff Staves are also staff weapons (page 280), included in their Price. They can be etched with runes as normal for a staff. This doesn’t alter any of their spellcasting abilities."

It's been errata'd to specify that you can add FUNDAMENTAL runes but not property runes.

So unless you're a Tree Magus with their lvl4 feat, a Magic staff is pretty useless in a fight.

Arcaian wrote:
Are we putting in different values here? Putting in a basic d10 spellstrike with gouging claw and comparing it to a basic 2-strike d10 routine shows that the spellstrike is always ahead - though not by very much at low levels, the 2-strike routine is ~96% of the damage of the spellstrike in that figure at level 1. Changing the AC of the enemy, or the level of the enemy, wasn't enough to make the 2-strike routine more damage. Changing to a d12 weapon still kept it at ~98% of...

Because you have to account for Magic Weapon :D

roquepo wrote:
Pretty sure Striking twice with Magic Weapon is only a gain compared to spellstriking in levels 1 and 2.

I found the simulator I was talking about:

Using the d10 bardiche from OP, it seems the breaking point is level 5 as I was saying.

But if we don't use this website and just calculate with 50% chance of hitting first attack, 5% of critting like you said (and that means an AC 16 at level 1, an AC 22 at level 5, pretty respectable opponents):

Level 1 2 strikes: 50% (2d10+4+1) + 5% 2x(2d10+4+1) + 25% (2d10+4+1) + 5% 2x(2d10+4+1) = 15,2

Level 1 Spellstrike: 50% (2d10+4+1d6+2+1) + 5% 2x(2d10+4+1d6+2+1) = 12,9.

Level 3 Spellstrike = 50% (2d10+4+2d6+2+1) + 5% 2x(2d10+4+2d6+2+1) = 15

So it seems SS is beaten up to level 5.

Also, let's not forget that:
- Two strikes is more flexible: if your first one kills someone, you can change your round. Same if you realize the AC is way too high and you want to switch to electric arc.
- Two strikes lets you move, use a skill or whatever while someone spellstriking will have to recharge at some point.
- Two strikes divides your luck. I'm an unlucky bastard and two rolls are more satisfying than a single one for me ^^
- Two strikes lets you hit different targets.

On the other hand, spellstrike is good when you use it with a focus spell (like fire ray or firebolt from psychic) which can be as early as level 3 for psychic, 4 for cleric.

TheOneGargoyle wrote:

Hi Blue_frog! Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

My pleasure ;)

TheOneGargoyle wrote:

But at L4 I guess the expectation is that you get a striking rune so Magic Weapon doesn't do anything any more.

Very true, but two attacks still outpace spell striking at that time. With the cantrip damage bump of level 5, it starts to become useful - which is a damn long time to wait before using our main schtick ^^

TheOneGargoyle wrote:
Don't quite understand this one, could you elaborate please?

Hand of the Apprentice is a focus spell that you can take with a 1st level wizard feat:

It's usually a bad spell for wizards because they don't use heavy weapons and don't bother to put runes on it but hey, you do !

At level 4 with your guisarme and a striking rune, you'll do 2d10+3 extra damage when spell striking.

At level 6 with an elemental rune, that's 2d10+4+1d6.

It loses steam quickly, though, which is why I suggested taking a focus spell from another dedication.

Also, in a pinch, it's a 500 feet-range spell that costs one action.

TheOneGargoyle wrote:

Not quite understanding here. What advantage does Tree Magus get with True Strike?

Tree magus is the only class in the whole game who can enchant a magic staff.

So for the measly cost of 230 gp (less if you play with crafting rules and specific staves), you can buy a divination staff and get your level/2 free spell strikes while attacking with your staff.

Every other class in the game has to wield a staff in one hand to use it and a weapon in the other one, which prevents them from using a 2handed weapon or a shield, or in the case of laughing shadow, prevents them from getting their damage bonus. Tree magus doesn't. He wields a d8 deadly d6 reach weapon and can true strike pretty much anytime he wants.

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I'm currently playing a Twisted staff magus, and here are some pointers I hope will be useful. This is what I found optimized but there are no universal truths so take everything with a grain of salt ^^

1) At low levels (say 1 to 5), spellstriking is useless.

The best use of your low level slot(s) until you get a striking weapon is to cast magic weapon - and doubly so for an Iron Magus since you're using a weapon with a big dice. That means your guisarme will do 2d10+str (hopefully +4) and no amount of spellstriking will outdamage that. So even with a -5 penalty, it's better to attack twice and not spellstrike until level 5 or so. There are programs made by fans who'll give you the exact breaking point. But yeah, there you have it, our main feature is useless until level 5 which is pretty annoying. On the other hand, you'll deal a hefty amount of damage anyway.

2) Try to get a powerful focus spell. Your slots are valuable, so a way to deal more damage every fight is great. The best ways include going Psychic dedication (for 1d12+1 fire damage/2 lvl) or cleric dedication (for 2d6 fire damage/2 lvl). Going psychic also lets you get the best magus cantrip ever but you'll need 2 feats for that.

3) Since you took a wizard dedication, you should take hand of the apprentice. It works with spellstrike and deals a lot of damage at early levels. It will lose steam, though.

4) All magus focus spells suck big time. Don't use them. The only one that could be worth it is laughing shadows if you take the level 10 feat, but then that would force you to play laughing shadows which is plenty bad.

5) True strike is your friend. Use it, abuse it. That's also why Twisted Tree magus is the best magus by miles. True Strike into Spellstriking a big focus spell is an awesome nova round.

6) Always take a round to prep at the beginning of the fight. Don't rush headlong into battle with your low hp. A good first round could be Greater Invis + Cascade or GI + move depending on whether you want the cascade or not.

7) Don't hesitate to abuse weaknesses. Apart from the thaumaturge, you're the best at this.

8) Since you followed my advice (didn't you ?) and took an offensive focus spell, don't hesitate to fill your slots with something else than touch spells. A big trusty fireball, a mass slow/haste or even a mass fear at low level can do wonders.

9) Don't underestimate electric arc. It's everyone's favorite cantrip for a reason. Electric arc + cascade is a valid first round, and depending on the surroundings it might be better to do strike + Electric Arc instead of Recharge + Spellstrike.

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Also, telling someone that something is an illusion might help, but it won't totally negate the illusion.

Take virtual reality and how hard it is to walk through a chasm with a 3d helmet. You KNOW you're in your living room, you KNOW there's no lava and there's no monster coming to get you, but you still have to fight all your instincts to put your foot in the (fake) chasm.

Now take Pathfinder, where magic does exist and people can make mistakes. Even if your fellow orc tells you "hey, this huge pit is strange, i'm 100% positive it's an illusion", unless he steps on it first, I probably won't try ^^

Gortle wrote:

This is what illusion does. It is powerful. It will almost always waste some enemy actions.

If you are talking about a heightened spell then it is not just a level 1 spell.

However, I think it is reasonable to have a lot of circumstantial modfiers. Even quite large modifiers. These are always RAW. You need to consider.
a) is the caster making any effort to disguise that they are casting spells?
b) is there known to be an illusionist about?
c) are the monsters familiar with the local terrain?
d) did you just drop the spell on top of the enemy while they were there?
e) is anyone firing through the illusionary walls at them?
f) or has someone just walked through that wall?

I don't think it is reasonable to create complex strutures with illusionary object. A wall is fine, a maze is not.

If the illusion buys the party a few actions, enough to run away or to perhaps temporary isolate part of the enemy - then it is working as it should.

Well, that's the thing, spells that create a cage or a wall of stone do exist, so there's no real reason for a group of gnolls or ogres to think the cage that popped around them is an illusion, unless the GM is metagaming.

I agree that wasting actions is working as intended, but I still think it's VERY powerful for its level. A deadly encounter with a barghest and some other monsters ended as a cakewalk when the barghest lost a whole round disbelieving the cage. There's no spell at low level that would make a couple monsters (let alone a boss) lose at least one action even on a success, and more on a fail - and with no sustain.

Themetricsystem wrote:

Yeah, I'd have to say that ANY kind of real Wall or immense obstacle would probably qualify as a Structure and NOT an Object.

If something cannot be reasonably picked up and moved without either taking it apart or requiring an immense amount of force/strength then it should probably be considered landscape/structure/terrain instead of just "an object."

Well, as others pointed out, the very description of the spell mentions a waterfall, so if you can create a waterfall, I don't think a wall would be much of a stretch.

I know there's been a lot of threads about this spell but I still didn't see any elegant or definitive answer, and we now have the problem at our table.

For those who don't know, here's what Illusory object (level 1 spell) does:

Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst
Duration 10 minutes
"You create an illusory visual image of a stationary object. The entire image must fit within the spell's area. The object appears to animate naturally, but it doesn't make sounds or generate smells. For example, water would appear to pour down an illusory waterfall, but it would be silent.

Any creature that touches the image or uses the Seek action to examine it can attempt to disbelieve your illusion."

If you heighten it to level 2, its duration is now one hour, with sound, smell and touch added.

So, here are a few things you can do with it RAW:

Beginner shenanigan: create a 40 foot-wide wall of stone in front of some opponents. Either they go around it (wasting one, perhaps two actions) or they try to disbelieve it (provided they have good reason to think it's an illusion) and lose at least one action, even on a success. So basically, with this basic use, you've wasted one or two actions on a group of opponents, even if they save. That's pretty wild for a first level spell.

Intermediate shenanigan: create a 40 foot-wide cage around melee opponents. Your ranged can still hit them without disbelieving, but the melee are now trapped. They'll waste all at least one action (hitting the cage, trying to disbelieve), probably more. Again, it's pretty potent.

Expert shenanigan: create a 40-foot-wide maze around the opponents. They'll waste at least two or three actions trying to get out.

There are lots of other uses as well (a dome to trap mages or archers...or to save one of your friends who's targeted; a sphere that blinds a flying opponent; not to mention the obvious RP uses like creating a cave, a waterfall, a bridge or whatever.

Anyway, here's my point: I'm mastering Age of Ashes, the players are level 5 and our bard is outshadowing every other caster with this spell. His background is all about illusions so I don't want to ban it (especially since I suggested some application for the spell myself) and I don't want to use the obvious answer of "hey, from now on all opponents you'll meet will also use this spell".

I'm just wondering how you're dealing with it at your table, or how you would deal with it should the occasion arise. I'm a bit uncomfortable to see a level 1 or 2 spell being more powerful than, say, resilient sphere (which is a pretty good spell on its own) or even mass slow.

Like others already said, electric arc really is too good to pass up. The only drawback is that most opponents at low level are unusually nimble (kobolds, goblins and the like all have high ref save) but even so, electric arc should be your go-to damage cantrip.

As for your spell selection, I'm all for AC and +1 can make a big difference in PF2, but Mage Armor is still a waste when you're strapped for slots (and is probably a waste anyway since the heightened version follow the cash progression).

Good first level spells when you're first level are:
- Magic Weapon. The best bang for your buck when cast on a friendly melee (especially one using a two-hander), but not everyone likes to be a buffbot so your mileage may vary.

- Magic Missile. Using three actions, it's 3d4+3 automatic damage, or 10,5, which on a boss/high AC opponent is probably more than the average damage of a martial in a round. Plus the ability to split damage if needed.

- Fear. It's a bit lackluster because you can only have one target and the real bonus is the fact that it's still useful later in your career, but it's still a great boss spell since it has a great effect on a save. Not every group has someone who can demoralize and even then, it's iffy on a boss. Not so with fear, where he'll at least be frightened 1 and maybe 2 if you're lucky.

- Grease. A great friendly prone AOE with a bit of area denial.

- Color Spray. It'll lose steam quickly and needs some positioning but it will ruin the day of any non-boss. However, at low level, killing monsters can be quicker than incapacitate them so it really depends on who you'll be fighting.

RPGnoremac wrote:

I dont think playing a blaster caster is bad. I kind of feel prepared casters for newer players would be really tough.

I am curious why new players tend to choose Wizard for blaster though. After I read the core classes Elemental Sorcerer and Storm Druid stuck out if me as the go to blasters.

Just as an example at level 5 a Sorcerer having access to fear for when they have low Will as a signature spell+fireball means you are great at AOE. Then for single targets you can take slow. Not go mention all the other great spells.

Other than that you could pretty much just fill your spell repetoir with anything. You of course should never use spells level -2 for blasting.

My guess is in the sample encounter players were just 100% focused on playing smart while during a campaign your focus goes all over the place with story/lore/RP.

This happens to me too when playing, where I do one action and realize that was dumb... I should have done something else but it is too late. Even something as simple as using demoralize before casting a spell I have done on occasion. Normally I forgot things when the battles are super easy though.

Blaster caster is bad at low level. Most beginners will browse through the spells available to them at first level and pick things like burning hands, because hey, that's an AOE. Or they'll take Shocking Grasp because, hey, 2d12 is a lot of damage.

The truth is, both those spells are just awful. Burning hands is worse than burning arc, a cantrip (7 damage average vs 6,5, with more targeting issue) unless you can somehow get three targets in the small AOE. And Shocking Geasp is an attack spell, which you should absolutely never take as a caster (read my wizard handbook if you wonder why). The only blasting spell worth something at level 1 is magic missile.

As for wizard, they're actually among the best blasters in the game if they poach dangerous sorcery and take the right thesis (spell blending). But that only comes online at level 5, which can be frustrating for new players.

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Ched Greyfell wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:

It's actually great, because I had a level 10 buffed monk with 50 AC that no mob could ever touch, unless the GM would make monsters with unbelievable mods to hit-

With a +6 Dex and +6 Wis, that's a 22. A +5 ring and +5 amulet makes a 32. Bracers of armor +5 would make a 37. That's 13 points of buffs to get to 50 from there.

A +4 from ki for one round, and total defense would make 45.

Would be interested to see the build on that.


10 base
+6 dex
+6 wis
+ 3 monk AC bonus (monk robe)
+ 4 mage armor
+ 4 shield potion from alchemist
+ 4 ring of protection
+ 4 barkskin Ki power
+ 4 fighting defensively with Crane Style/Riposte
+ 4 crane wing until hit
+ 1 dusty rose ioun stone
= 50 AC

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I love PF1 and played it for more than 10 years. But for me, PF2 is just straight up better.

1) Three action systems.
Take it, love it. So elegant.

2) Tighter Math.
It's actually great, because it makes everything relevant. In PF1, you could specialize your character so that it would totally unbalance the game. I had a level 10 buffed monk with 50 AC that no mob could ever touch, unless the GM would make monsters with unbelievable mods to hit - which in turn would play havoc with our swashbuckler who suddenly couldn't parry anymore. Or a wizard so specialized that even a boss would fail on a 18.

3) Effect on a save.
Most spells (the interesting ones, at least) have an effect on a save. Some of these effects are actually pretty brutal. It changes everything.

4) Shield rules. They're so awesome everybody wants to get a shield in our games.

5) Balanced classes
You can do great dps as a martial with a fighter, a barbarian, a rogue, a ranger or even a LG champion. Most people cannot agree on tier lists on casters and, even if people agree that bards are in a very good place, other spellcasters are no slouch.

6) Elegant solutions
Heal is now a single spell that you can cast at any level. Use one action, it's a range of touch. Two actions, it's more powerful and at range. Three actions, and it's now AOE.

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Harles wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

Sounds fine to me. PF2 combat is a lot less about party comp and builds and more about important decisions in combat.

What was a typical round for your group like? I ran a three caster group (drac sorc, elemental sorc, harm cleric, giant barb) through book 4 until we hit a TPK.

EDIT: Also, were you feeding yourselves to enemies? What I mean is, did you spend actions just to get to enemies only to stop within range of them so they had their full 3 actions and superior bonuses to flatten you? What were your debuffs looking like? Your buffing? My group made it far with primarily frightened, prone (Cast Down still great), and slowed doing the heavy lifting along with vital beacon for combat healing (which seemed to be incredibly suboptimal, but harm cleric gonna harm).

The party was purely reactionary, because they didn't have time for anything else. Fighter would put himself in the way of the priority targets and get smashed. The cleric would spend every action trying to keep the party alive. The champion would move up to use his reaction to get an attack of opportunity on those attacking the fighter (and try to reduce the damage output). The wizard would attempt to widdle away the hp of the monsters. The monk would try to move into position to flank and cause as much damage as possible to the enemies.

They could never get into a flow during combat. Buffs, de-buffs, etc., did not occur, as every available slot was spent trying to keep the party alive. The cleric (who was a new gamer) just did what he was told - e.g., "don't 'waste' spell slots for anything other than heal."

I'm having a hard time understanding how you could get a TPK with a 5-man group including a champion and a heal. Could you perhaps list the opponents in one of those fights so we can see what went wrong ?

Also, at low level, a wizard's job is not to whittle away the hp of the monsters (apart from magic missile on a boss), he's really bad at it. Burning hands is no actually no better than his cantrip. Good spells at first levels include the ever-popular Magic Weapon but, if he doesn't want to be a buffbot, spells like grease or gust of wind give the prone condition to multiple opponents, while fear can debuff a single boss.

Paizo did a great job with caster classes, I love almost all of them for different reasons.

Wizard, of course, is my all-time favorite, I even made a handbook for them.

Sorcerers have a lot of versatility and can be really powerful with the right bloodlines (AOE-friendly blind comes to mind...). Like someone said, it's a shame that the occult bloodlines are pretty underwhelming. Also, they're the best at poaching good spells from other lists.

Divine Font makes Cleric very interesting to play. It's an elegant solution to in-combat healing, and the versatility of the healing spell in itself makes them pretty great. One of my favorite characters was a priest of Nethys with selective channel and directed channel. Also, you can get awesome spells from some deities.

Oracles are incredibly flavorful and some mysteries are actually crazy powerful (flames has an insane drawback, but is incredible against anything not fire-immune). I also love ancestry for the sheer roleplaying potential, and cosmos is the go-to mystery for those who want a manageable handicap.

Bards are one of the most powerful classes in the game, but they're also the most boring to play IMO. They have the best spell (Synesthesia), the best cantrips and all fights look kind of the same to me.

Druids are pretty strong overall. I didn't play one so I'm not an expert, but looks to me you're either a caster first or a shapeshifter first, it's a bit harder to play as a switch-hitter. But they have great focus spells and the primal list is powerful in its own right.

Witch is by far the worst for me. It's the weakest casting class, its focus spells and hexes were supposed to compensate but they're just bad, and its mechanism is all over the place. It really deserves a revamp.

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Ravingdork wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Remind me again, why are you playing with jerks ?
*sighs* Because they're jerks I've known for over 25 years. Jerks though they sometimes be, more still are they like brothers to me and mine. (And what brotherhood does not traditionally come with some low-level form of abuse?)

Well, the real question, and only you can answer it, is "are you actually having fun playing with them ?". Honestly ?

If you do despite the abuse, that's one thing.
But if you don't (and the fact that you posted not one, but two threads to adress the issue makes me think you're more distressed than you say), then to hell with them. Life is too short to bother with "friends" who make you feel bad.

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Remind me again, why are you playing with jerks ?

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Ravingdork wrote:

What are some tips and tricks, life hacks, or just some good old fashioned advice for keeping players interested, engaged, and in line while roleplaying in VTT?

Just - just don't play with jerks.

You'll find new players quicker than they'll find a new GM.

Any player that throws a fit like you described would be expelled from our games - friend or not.

Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:
Yeah, the requirements are that you have to be able to cast spells of that level, and have access to them via a tradition list. Thus, even only getting the base dedication on any divine tradition class would allow a wizard to use staves of healing.

Well I asked the very same question on the rules forum a month ago and, again, there seems to be no consensus on this :/

Ediwir wrote:

Two little things I haven't seen much in the guide and could be worth at least getting your opinion on.

You say that Blending doesn't give you anything until level 5, but there is technically the possibility of splitting a slot into cantrips. While it's not a power gain, it can be a versatility gain - and especially early on, when your slots are crazy rare and your cantrips are roughly equal, two at-will spells might help you stay relevant more than one single-use spell. Expanded cantrips is a lv4 feat, and even familiars only show up at lv2. You could easily have 2 spells (like other casters) and 7 cantrips, or 9 cantrips and 3 spells at lv2 with a familiar.

At the same time, you sell spell blending as a high-power choice (and you're right), but you can convert that power into flexibility by funneling one of your many high level slots into a staff. As you are fond of saying, you have plenty of high level slots. That does not necessarily reduce your options. Who needs staff nexus when you have blended slots to burn?

Second, you've highlighted incapacitation as a potential downside. What about area incapacitations like Colour Spray, Sleep or Vibrant Pattern? Your allies benefit from incapacitation just as much as monsters, a wizard should be able to use that to his advantage.

I agree that cantrips can be powerful in the right circumnstances but usually I make do with those I get - especially since Electric Arc is the end all, be all of damage cantrips, that leaves a lot of space for utility. But at higher level, that can be a valid choice indeed.

I'm all for using a staff, all my mages use one - which is another thing against spell nexus. Everyone can do what they do, it's just that they can do it more often per day. But every mage can get a staff to supplement his casting, get a free charge every day AND charge it once more to boost. Unless you find yourself in a situation where you absolutely have to cast 10 times what's in your staff (and then why didn't you prep the spell), it's more than enough for your daily divination/abjuration/whatever needs.

As for incapacitation, it's a good point that your friends will get one better on their save, but since you're a prepared caster, you'll have to choose in which slot you will cast it when you choose your spells, and that's not very flexible: if you use your highest level slot, your friends won't get a bonus (you're level 11/12 using a level 6 slot) and if you use one lower (you're level 11/12 using a level 5 slot), you're effectively only able to use it against level -1 or - 2 mooks. Even when you're not metagaming, it's usually easy to see when a monster is a boss/above your level, but it's pretty hard to know whether these three giants are at your level, level-1 or -2. So it has its uses, but I'm not sold on it.

The Raven Black wrote:

[Nothing here excludes a Specialist's additional slots from the slots you can trade for a bonus higher level spell slot.

And nothing excludes slots gained from a spellcasting archetype either. Or from any feat for that matter.

Now, the bonus spell slot of higher level must be of a level you can cast. So, if you add it to your spellcasting archetype, it just gives you an additional slot of a level you could already cast and with all limits you already have when you use the slots of that archetype

Yeah, like I said in the guide, RAW it seems totally allowed to trade your specialist slots. I'm just giving a word of advice because some GMs aren't as lenient (I'm currently playing with one who doesn't let me do this) and I can understand why they wouldn't want to, since it kind of defeats the point of being a specialist and lets you get away witb the only drawback they had. So I'm just saying, speak with your GM before the game so that you don't have a nasty surprise later. It's always better to communicate on such issues.

Likewise, there doesn't seem to be a consensus on how Stinking Cloud works and people have at least three different interpretations of the wording. It's not as important, but my take is that talking about things like this make the game much smoother in the long run.

I guess it's different in PFS where things are much more by the book, but then I never played PFS so I cannot testify about it ;)

UnArcaneElection wrote:

Now finished reading both this guide and Principia Arcana: A Foundation In the Unknown. I like both guides, but what a difference in opinions about both Spell Blending and Bond Conservation.

Edit: Actually, I should say what a difference in opinions about most of the Arcane Theses.

That's the beauty of roleplaying games, we all have different opinions and ways to play our characters. Actually, one of the reasons I started this guide was that I disagreed with a lot of what was posted on other ones. Does that make them bad ? No, it's just a different way to play. Hence the name of this guide, because it's hideously biased ^^

We have a somewhat competitive group where people actually try to minmax things. Not to the point of being argumentative or stack a ridiculous amount of shenanigans, but enough to feel powerful and cohesive, and be effective as a group. We actually choose our classes all together (as long as everyone's happy with their choice, of course) so that most roles are covered and it runs smoothly. That's a luxury PFS players cannot afford since they don't know who they'll be playing with.

This means our GM usually tries to challenge us with tough encounters and back to back action - that's where my obsession for "effect on a save" comes from, and that's where the Spell Blender really shines.

If your group is much more relaxed, like SuperBidi (I think it was him) said, then other thesis become more interesting. If you don't have to push yourself to the limit, getting a better familiar for roleplaying reasons suddenly becomes an option. What it does not do, however, is make you as powerful in a fight as a spell blender.

Also, there's one thing I just cannot wrap my head around in the guide you linked. I just cannot understand how someone, anyone, could say that Metamagical Experimentation is the best thesis.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Its ironic that most people consider INT to be one of the least useful stats in PF2. Wizards got a lot of hate because they have INT as a casting stat and it's considered less useful than CHA. It's true that Charisma has a lot of in-combat and out of combat uses, but still you cannot just ignore INT and then claim Recall Knowledge rolls are hard, it's the same as ignoring CHA and trying to demoralize

Skill Increases are more useful than INT for Recall Knowledge because Trained only gets you so far at high levels (see above comments). That's why Investigators and Mastermind Rogues are both better than Wizards at Recall Knowledge even excluding class features. Even Regular Rogues can be better at RK than wizards if they want to.

If INT increased proficiency rank, then it'd be a different story.

They're not better if the wizard invests the same amount of skill ranks in it. Rogues and Investigators can spread out their skills much more and get more skill feats but a 20 int wizard can go (and should go) legendary in arcana, outperforming everyone who doesn't have 20 int and the same skill rank.

But anyway, I wasn't defending the wizard but just saying that INT could be an interesting stat by itself (like for the investigator or the mastermind rogue).

Our GM usually tells us which skill is relevant, unless there are very specific shenanigans involved (like a shapechanger or illusion magic). So it's more like "roll arcana", "roll religion". When we succeed, he gives us a useful clue, not in a "metagamey" way but more RP. He might tell us "you remember they have a very thick skin that needs a specific metal to pierce" or "Unlike other angels, you remember this one is immune to fire" or "You remember something about this monster being much less nimble than it looks".

Its ironic that most people consider INT to be one of the least useful stats in PF2. Wizards got a lot of hate because they have INT as a casting stat and it's considered less useful than CHA. It's true that Charisma has a lot of in-combat and out of combat uses, but still you cannot just ignore INT and then claim Recall Knowledge rolls are hard, it's the same as ignoring CHA and trying to demoralize.

Regular characters with no bonus skill bumps can have 2 expert and 1 master skill at level 7, 3 master and 1 legendary at level 15. Most wizards will invest at least in arcana, probably in occultism and crafting, maybe in society. That goes a long way towards covering the basics. If there's a cleric or a druid in the group, he'll usually at least partially cover religion and nature.

Of course, the rolls won't always succeed, but that's what happens in PF2, you cannot pile up bonuses to get autosuccesses like in PF1. However, a level 10 wizard with master arcana will have +21 on his roll before any item bonus, and need a 27 to succeed. That's 75% chance to get a useful clue.

SuperBidi wrote:

Many options give different results depending on the DM. In my opinion, Staff Nexus is close to useless without a generous GM when it comes to staves but it's one of the best Thesis if you can grab higher level staves. Spell Blending is the only valid Thesis if you have long adventuring days but it's not very useful if you have short ones. Spell Substitution gets crazy good if you alternate between very different types of encounters in a single day (like if you start the day at the king's court, the afternoon investigating a mystery and the evening in a dark lair) but is way weaker if you just explore dungeons. Familiar Thesis depends a lot on what your DM will allow you to do with a Familiar and can become crazy good if you have an Alchemist in the party.

Well, i'm still not sold on Staff Nexus. I mean, giving higher level staves to Staff Nexus wizards isn't something you can count on and it's actually against the balance of the game, which takes into account that you usually have items of your level or less. If you give a higher staff to your wizard, then why don't you give higher runes to your martials ? It's homebrew, so it's not something I adress in the guide.

Anyway, staves cap at 6th level so even with a very lenient GM that gives you a level 14 staff when you're level 11, you'll still lose a lot of steam in the higher levels.

Notice I didn't put it red but orange, it's still better than Metamagical Experimentation, it's just... well, worse than the two better options, and "ask your GM if he can give you better loot than the other players so you will possibly be a little bit less bad" won't push it into green territory ^^

As for Familiar Thesis, I put it orange as well because a familiar in itself is great - but you can get it through feats and in my opinion, either saving on feats or getting more abilities isn't enough to redeem the poor chassis you have. It's nowhere near the power jump you can get with Spell Blending.

As for "Spell Blending is the only valid Thesis if you have long adventuring days but it's not very useful if you have short ones", I disagree. If you have short adventuring days, the fights should be meaningful (if they're not and every day in your campaign is two short, easy fights, you should question the balance of the module). In those meaningful fights, a spell blender can throw a top level slot EVERY SINGLE ROUND. That's actually gamebreaking and can turn a very rough encounter into a cakewalk.

I really like the very hard DC rule, it gives a lot of flexibility to the swashbuckler, but it's still a pretty hard check to make, in comparison to the other regular ways to gain panache.

At level 10, with a +2 item and maxxed acrobatics/dexterity, you're sitting at +23 and still have to beat a DC32, whereas vexing tumble through a level 10 opponent will be around DC26-29, fascinating/bon mot will be around 25-28 and feinting will be around 28-30.

Might be worth it against a single boss, though.

So it's very flavorful, fun to do and it expands your options, but it's still a pretty risky way to gain panache, up until you're legendary with a +3 item.

KrispyXIV wrote:
Blue_frog wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I sort of disagree with the assessment of the combo. Bond Conservation is a good feat for universalists. The problem is the Universalist itself is abysmal. You're reducing your total number of spells per day, limiting yourself to only preparing two/three spells per level (though the ability to pick what you recast later makes that one a bit of a wash), and giving up your focus spell. That's rough.

That someone at Paizo legitimately thought losing all of those things for Eschew Materials was a good and balanced trade is, frankly, a little bit scary tbh. It is what it is, though.

I'm pretty sure the incentive is supposed to be the super drain bonded item and eschew materials is an extra bonus. A Universalist should be focused on evergreen spells that you still want to cast well after they've been outscaled; using Command to make an enemy drop their weapon will always be good. Don't think I feel comfortable arguing this is better or equal to the Spell Blending Specialist, but it's sure not nothing.
Enhanced command (level 5) is ok, but in my opinion the regular one is pretty bad. No effect on a save is a dealbreaker, and even on a failed save you trade two actions for two actions, which is a crappy deal - unless it's a boss, who'll probably save.

Forcing someone to drop prone is either a lot of damage or a serious debuff if you have AOO's in your party composition. It won't fit in all party comps, but I don't think its particularly bad for a 1st level slot in many cases.

A lot of spells - like Command and Fear - are great replacements for a Athletics or Intimidate specialist, if your party doesn't otherwise include those.

Prone IS indeed a big debuff but command is single target and no effect on save. That's painful and, unless you're all out of higher level slots (which a spell blender shouldn't be), a weak round for you. For me, low level slots are for utility.

It's also linguistic, which is a huge deal and prevents you from affecting a lot of opponents.

And the prone happens on the target's turn, which means unless you can abuse AOO, you won't be able to capitalize on it.

If I really wanted to inflict prone on a first level slot, at least gust of wind is multitarget and has a lot of utility.

Arachnofiend wrote:
Squiggit wrote:

I sort of disagree with the assessment of the combo. Bond Conservation is a good feat for universalists. The problem is the Universalist itself is abysmal. You're reducing your total number of spells per day, limiting yourself to only preparing two/three spells per level (though the ability to pick what you recast later makes that one a bit of a wash), and giving up your focus spell. That's rough.

That someone at Paizo legitimately thought losing all of those things for Eschew Materials was a good and balanced trade is, frankly, a little bit scary tbh. It is what it is, though.

I'm pretty sure the incentive is supposed to be the super drain bonded item and eschew materials is an extra bonus. A Universalist should be focused on evergreen spells that you still want to cast well after they've been outscaled; using Command to make an enemy drop their weapon will always be good. Don't think I feel comfortable arguing this is better or equal to the Spell Blending Specialist, but it's sure not nothing.

Enhanced command (level 5) is ok, but in my opinion the regular one is pretty bad. No effect on a save is a dealbreaker, and even on a failed save you trade two actions for two actions, which is a crappy deal - unless it's a boss, who'll probably save.

Added the "stats" part, although it's not very mind-blowing ^^

Nik Gervae wrote:

You say that Staff Nexus only lets you trade higher-level spell slots for lower, but actually you can put two (eventually three) spell slots into the staff as charges, and then use them to cast any spells in the staff up to their combined levels plus your highest-level spell slot. That's up to 36 charges total by end-game. And you can spend them up as well as down, for a ton more low-level spells or a few more high-level spells. You can only do this once, of course, and only for spells in the staff.

So Staff Nexus is very versatile—if you're willing to spend the money on a cart full of staves to haul around with you and leave behind while you go delving. Which any thief will be more than happy to lay claim to. Maybe if you craft a staff with spells you know you'll use all the time you can avoid that.

Also, it comes online even later (at level eight!) than Spell Blending (at level three). So, Staff Nexus is okay for getting a few more higher-level spells and a lot more low-level spells—in mid to high-level play only. Spell Blending clearly wins for getting more, higher-level spell slots—throughout your career. If you can retrain your thesis in downtime, I suppose it might make sense for some to switch into it once it's actually useful.

I agree that carrying a lot of staves and prepping the one you'll need is handy, but it'll cost a ton of money to keep your staves at your level. Realistically, you will only have one staff at top level and maybe a couple more at low level for utility. But then, when you'll prep a low level one, you'll be much less effective for the day.

Since I never used Staff Nexus, I might get this wrong so don't hesitate to correct me. Let's say I'm level 8. I have a brand new greater staff of fire, that will get 4 charges for free, like every other wizard.

Like every other wizard, I can sacrifice a slot to power it a bit more. Unlike every other wizard, I can double down on it.

Sadly, the spells you can cast with a staff are usually lower level than what you could cast with your slots.

If you follow the treasure rules from PF2, you can get a level X staff at level X+1.

So at level 7, you can get a regular staff (evocation, abjuration...) that caps at level 2.

At level 11, it caps at level 4.

At level 15, it caps at level 6.

Basically, you're trading your top slots for at most N-2 slots. It adds a ton of versatility, but it's the exact opposite of what a Spell Blender should be about.

In my opinion, if you want versatility, Spell Substitution is a better choice. If you want power, Spell Blending is a better choice.

So it's not that staff nexus is bad per se, it's more that it has no niche to shine.

shroudb wrote:

stinking cloud has a listed saving throw entry though.

according to the bolded rule section, if the saving throw was supposed to be only "at a certain time" (ending your round inside of it) then the entry would have been omitted. No?

Since there is a listed entry, and then a clarification in addition for timing, then that should, according to the rules you posted, have a saving throw BOTH at cast and at the specified time.

Well, it also says "Any details on the particular results and timing of the save appear in the text unless the entry specifies a basic saving throw, which follows the rules found on page 449".

It doesn't specify a basic saving throw, and there ARE details on the particular results and timing of the save in the text, though, so for me that's how it applies.

I don't mind either way but I would really like a clarification, because it either makes the spell interesting or not.


Saving Throw Fortitude; Duration 1 minute

You create a cloud of putrid mist in the area. The cloud functions as obscuring mist except it sickens creatures that end their turns within the cloud. (The concealed condition is not a poison effect.)

Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Success The creature is sickened 1.
Failure The creature is sickened 1 and slowed 1 while in the cloud.
Critical Failure The creature is sickened 2 and slowed 1 until it leaves the cloud.

I just wrote a wizard guide and we got into a discussion about the Stinking Cloud spell.

Do people have to save against it when it is cast (and also at the end of every turn if they're still in it) or do they only save against it if they stay in it ?

Unicore wrote:

That is not how i read the spell. Everyone in the area has to make a save when the spell is first cast as the save conditions and the spell listing its saving throw are independent of the end of the turn clause. Then, if they stay in the cloud, they are automatically sickened at the end of their turn, even if they spent actions to clear it.

Lots of spells just list their saving throw effects after their descriptive text. Look at sleep or slow.

Well, it specifically says that they have to save at the end of their turn, so I really don't know. Has it been clarified somewhere ?

Here lies the discrepancy between us. If I'm right, it's a useless spell. If you're right, it can be a great spell. I'll be sure to update my guide when I get an answer.

As a matter of fact, I'll just ask in the rules forum right now !

Unicore wrote:

For stinking cloud, you move up into the fray, just outside of reach and then let rip. The enemy has to make saves and then be put in a bind, surrender the section of the battle field that you just claimed, or stay in it, which can be really bad for them to do if any of them failed their saves.

I still don't get it. They make their save if they finish their turn inside the cloud, so if they move away there's no save at all, no debuff at all, they just used one action to get away from you and presumably attack some other target - so that's good for you, less for them :o

Unicore wrote:

Blue_frog, I think you are thinking of the conjurer a little too much as a summoner and not a battlefield controller.

This is a very interesting post, because I never played my mage this way nor saw any mage played this way. So this is pretty enlightening.

However, there are lots of things I don't understand or see as subpar from my theorycrafting, so your experience could prove invaluable in helping me get it.

Obscuring Mist: I don't really see the point of this spell. Everybody's concealed to everybody so if you have a long-range party they're annoyed by it, and if you have a melee party they'll have the same problem. Unless you're a druid or an oracle that can see through smoke, I don't get it. It might be good to put on a bunch of archers, but a single move would get them out of the mist, so that's not a very big deterrent. Could you perhaps give me an example of using Obscuring Mist to great effect ?

Stinking Cloud: I also don't get it, since it's indiscrimate. Sure, you can be immmune to it, but this means you spent a whole round to get a deterrent to being attacked. Why not cast greater invisibility or fly instead ? I mean, it does absolutely nothing if the opponent moves away.

Xomenin wrote:

I pretty much agree with you in most of your talking! And also I am waiting for more content! Spell or archetype analysis? I'm tuned!

Look at me feeling all warmy ;)

Unicore wrote:

I like the update Blue_Frog. On evokers, an unpopular choice for the evoker spell at lower levels, but one that actually works out better than people realize is to fill those slots with magic missile. A lot of players ignore how useful and encounter winning it can be to have a instant and guaranteed one action damage option for every round of combat. Yes you have force bolt, but the range on it is pretty limited and you are using that as fast as you can in most circumstances.

By the time you are level 9, if you filled all of your lower level evoker slots with magic missile, you are pretty good at throwing down a high level AoE and then using a Magic Missile to clean up stragglers. Force bolt is only ever targeting one enemy. A one action level 3 magic missile can be split to target 2 enemies.

The damage will never be great, but doing exactly the right amount of damage can be an evoker's specialty, and help you conserve resources.

I also am super down on the conjurer generally, but the air bubble stinking cloud combo is a pretty powerful and nasty defensive option for occupying prime real estate, especially when paired with battlefield control spells, which conjuration has by the bucket load. The advantage here is that you don't have to target with battle field control spells, so being concealed is pretty useful. Augmented summoning is a bad focus spell, but the conjuration spell list is incredibly strong even if you never cast a summoning spell.

Good point on magic missile, that's something I'm actually doing as well but I didn't think about including it. Well done, I'll add it ASAP !

As for conjuration, I will probably make a double color, green if you can spellblend, orange if you can't. What hurts conjuration is the lack of great non-heightened options, but with the right setup, it can work.

Blave wrote:

In the Force Bolt section of the Evocation school, you write

Also, if you took Dangerous Sorcery, it gets much better. No game changer, but actually useful.
Unfortunately, Dangerous Sorcery doesn't apply to focus spells. Only spells from your spell slots can get a damage bonus from that feat.

Wow, good catch, we're actually using it wrong in all our games, I can't believe noone saw that !

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I added a very big part about choosing your arcane school.
Don't hesitate to tell me if you disagree on some ratings ;)

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Well, as for me, I'm kind of paranoid and as soon as my level 4 slots become utility (which usually starts at level 11), I load up on heightened invisibility and fly. If I'm being clearly targeted, one or the other gives me a much-needed breather, depending on the situation.

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Here's my Hideously Biased Guide To (Spell Blending) Wizards

And here's the discussion

Leomund "Leo" Velinznrarikovich wrote:

Well done Blue Frog.

Thanks a lot !

VestOfHolding wrote:
Looks good! My only feedback is that the title, "Blue_Frog's hideously biased guide to (spell blending) Wizards" should be in the Google Doc itself as well.

Done !

Deriven Firelion wrote:
A good, practical wizard guy with a sound build strategy.

Thanks !

Gortle wrote:

Its a nice guide. It really is a good to get another different opinion.


I read all your guides, so this means a lot to me ;)

Blave wrote:

Are you going to add ratings for the different schools to specialize in? I'd be really interested to know your thoughts on these.

I sure will !

Blave wrote:

Universalist school: You might want to mention that it also grants a bonus feat. That's not game-breaking but it can make it more attractive for some players.

Good point, done.

Blave wrote:
Hand of the Apprentice: I think it warrents at leat a yellow rating. It's by no means spectacular and a pure caster Wizard will get nearly nothing out of it. But it can be great for a Wizard who swings a weapon every now and then (and has the appropriate weapon upgrades). Since the spell blender is mroe of a nova build focusing on fewer high impact spells, I could totally see one of them start each fight with a bang, then use a weapon to finish things off. For such a character, having a one action attack with 500 ft range seems pretty damn useful.

Well, if you were a universalist and had it for free, I could see your point, but it really looks like a hassle to me:

- unless you're into a very specific gish build, you won't spend your money on enchanting a weapon, so the best you can hope for is d12+stat.
- If you don't invest in STR (and you shouldn't unless, again, you're doing a very specific build), carrying a Bulk 2 weapon around will make you cringe.
- Most mages will start a fight with their staff in hand, and maybe a rod/wand/shield/scroll. Starting with the weapon will mess your action economy.
- It's an attack roll, and you know what I think about attack rolls ^^ If you really, really want range, ray of frost gives you 120 feet (150 with reach spell) which should be plenty.

So, for me, it's red for a wizard. I guess the rating would be different for a melee taking the wizard archetype. Say, a barbarian who would like to expand his range options. He would need to invest 14 in INT and two feats, but his enchanted greataxe would deal much more damage than his bow.

Blave wrote:
Clever Counterspell: Would be green in my book. If you want to couterspell at all, this is obviously a good choice. The potential -2 penalty to the counteract check hurts it quite a bit, though. You'll usually reserve this kinda stuff for the spells of the most powerful casters who tend to have pretty high spell DCs. I'd probably just memorize a Shadow Drain or two instead of spending two class feats on couterspelling.

The problem of Shadow Siphon (I guess that's what you meant ^^) is that it only works on damaging spells. It's an awesome counter, but it does nothing against debuffs like dominate, paralyze or mass slow, nothing against buffs like mass haste, and nothing against utility spells like dimension door. There's nothing better than counterspelling the dim door of an opponent spellcaster.

It's not the end-all be-all of wizards, and you can skip it (notice all options at level 12 are great) but it can really save your bacon.

I agree that the -2 on the counteract hurts, but that's the price to pay to be always prepared.

But I see what you mean. It's just that I can't live without, so I might be a bit biased ^^

Blave wrote:
I'm also not sure how Clever Counterspell even works. Its main purpose is allowing you to counter spells you don't have prepared. But if you don't have a spell prepared, you'd need at least Recognize Spell to know what's being cast - which costs you your reaction so you can't Counterspell anymore. Quick Recognition alleviates this somewhat, but only if you're master in the tradition's skill - at least before Unified Theory. So that's a total of 5 feats across 15 levels you have to get to use Clever...

Well, you actually need Quick Recognition to get Clever Counterspell, and a wizard at level 12 who isn't master in at least arcana or occult is not a wizard in my book ;)

But it's true that you need to invest two skill feats in it. They're pretty useful, but that's still an investment you might not be willing to make. I'll think about it and maybe downsize Clever Counterspell to green.

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