Thought Experiment: Melee wizard


101 to 115 of 115 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

If all you had done was offered a build and left it at that we wouldn't be having this discussion. You repeatedly indicated that finesse builds are not viable for melee, and I wanted to try to stop the spread of disinformation. Why you still cling to the notion is beyond me. I don't know what kind of games you play, but in mine, everyone can benefit from 'more stuff.' Initiative, stealth, acrobatics, all keep characters alive. Yeah, killing first is good. But so is not being killed second.

The bottom line is there is a pretty substantial tradeoff-for going either path, and anyone making the decision should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each.

The challenge her is to make Melee more viable than spells. That is possible as EK who finds a balance between casting and smashing, both being viable depending on the situation.

But I've not seen a single build in here that is good enough at melee to not cast a spell instead. Sure, if you have to save ressources in a minor fight, then this might be something to do instead, but its not like these fights would be more challenging if you just didnt do anything.

I'm not convinced at all.

Wasum wrote:

The challenge her is to make Melee more viable than spells. That is possible as EK who finds a balance between casting and smashing, both being viable depending on the situation.

That's not actually the goal, though I think that is what Cathulu is trying to do. (And going strength is probably the key to maximizing melee damage.)

The goal is to make a wizard that can survive in melee, provide a flanking buddy, and when he's not casting do better damage than he would if he were using the standard light crossbow.

It needs to be powerful enough to not get the party killed, but it's not going to be competetive with a dedicated character either in melee or spellcasting damage. I think that you'll end up giving up too much in the way of stats and feats if you focus on doing max melee damage, you just won't be able to keep up with a martial character. Even if you could get up to their level with self buffs, which would be better for the party? Buff yourself to become competetive with the rogue, or buff the barbarian up into the stratosphere?

It sounds like a fun concept, and I've been thinking about something similar. But I don't think it would be nearly as fun to play a character with a 7 Cha and 8 Wis that will be outdamaged by Valeros by level 3 than it would be to play a character without any really high stats, and without really high damage, but is still able to mix it up and not die.

Your value to the party primarily comes from the Wizard Bag'o'Tricks, but the fun part is the reaction everybody has when you walk up to the BBEG and actually smack him across the face, without being turned into a bloody smear in the process.

Akerlof has the concept right. In my experience it's a bit easier to make a viable ranged wizard than a melee one, but both can be done and both can be a lot of fun to play. It's all about having options.

One thing I haven't really tried, but might be doable, is a "switch-hitter ranged/melee wizard". I'm gonna have to look into that.

I fear the switch hitter will be feat starved or MAD. Dexy switch-hitter is less MAD, but doesn't have the feats to pull it off, and a str based wiz will be more MAD (and also fairly short on feats).

Wasum wrote:
The challenge her is to make Melee more viable than spells.

That's not the challenge at all. Spells will always win out over melee. The point is to make an effective character that fits a concept and is fun to play.

Rory wrote:

A melee wizard falls behind on multiple attacks at 6th level. Thus, in order to counter that, a melee wizard will have to plan for an alternate means to get those multiple attacks. One means is to start building to a shapeshifting wizard. In this fashion, a wizard can pick up multiple attacks (3+) starting at 5th level. Another means is to get "multiple attacks" via area spells when facing multiple opponents.

A melee wizard will fall behind on AC. This can be countered with a combat buff cast (Shield, Mirror Image, etc.) as well as casting lengthy AC negating buffs (False Life, Stoneskin, etc.) Eventually, AC can become nearly optional for the wizard, which should be the goal.

Hermie the Half-Orc Transmutation Wizard

Str 18 = 15 + 2 race + 1 wizard
Dex 14
Con 13
Int 14
Wis 10
Cha 10

1st Toughness
3rd Arcane Strike
5th Dodge
5th Craft Wondrous Items
7th Power Attack
9th Quicken Spell

1st: Shield, Enlarge Person, ...
2nd: False Life, Bull's Strength, Mirror Image, ...
3rd: Beast Shape, Haste, ...
4th: Stoneskin, Beast Shape II, ...

Arcane Bond:
1st: Great Axe (MW weapon at level 1)
3rd: Amulet

Melee Strategy:

1st: Attack with a great axe (+5 for 1d12+6 damage). Use Mage Armor for AC (from scrolls or spells). Combat buff with Shield as needed.

3rd: Swap Arcane Bond to amulet (of mighty fists eventually). Add False Life as a staple for a boost in hitpoints. Combat buff with Shield or Mirror Image.

4th: +1 STR, so the +1 STR from wizard now gives +1 CON

5th: +2 STR, DEX, or CON from wizard. Use a great axe on small to medium fights. Use Beast Shape for weird fights. Cast Haste for big fights.

7th: Stoneskin + False Life. Start thinking shape shifting for many fights.

8th: +1 INT for 5th level spell prep.

9th: Quicken Shield.

Animate thread ftw!

I'm planing something similar to this.

I'm going to build a melee shapeshifiting wizard (for a crazy all-wizard Rise of Runelord campaign!). I'm going to use half-orc too, because of the falchion/greataxe proficiency, and the tusked racial trait.

With 20 point buy, he'll be something like:
STR 17 (15 +2 racial). With +1 enhancement from transmutation.
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 14
WIS 12

Half-decent WIS is needed because we are going to need to fill the gaps. This character will probably be the perception-guy. There's a racial trait that gives +2 Appraise and +2 Perception to search for hidden things, and I'll take the trait that gives you +1 Perception and class skill.

The standard route will be:

At first level: he can either attack with falchion for +4 to hit and 2d4+6 plus bite for -1 to hit and 1d4+2, or bite for +4 1d4+6 (bite does *1.5 str if it's the only natural attack), or he could use bite +4 and 1d4+4 and claw +4 for 1d4+4. He can use Mage Armor (pre-buff), and Shield, and rock for armor 21 (with an armadillo familiar, which has burrow to hide himself in combat, and can appear when needed to give flanking and Aid Another. Also gives Alertness, needed for perception). Once per day, he can grow horns and do a gore attack (thanks to shapeshifting school power), which means a third attack if using Falchion (+4 for 2d4+6 and -1/-1 for 1d4+2 and 1d6+2) or two natural attacks for +4/+5 and 1d4+4/1d6+4). While he is more variable than a fighter (spend spells), he could fight the strong fight having more damage potential and more AC than a regular 1st level fighter, but less to-hit. HP are similar to a normal 1st level fighter (1-2 points less), because of Toughness.

At 3rd level, he gets Alter Self, which gives him +2 Str, 2 claws and bite, plus gore attack 3 times per day. Enlarge Person or False Life will buff you in the strong fights.

By level 5, you can start using beast form, getting better bonuses, and
becoming a horned leopard for a lot of fights. Giant Form, monstrous Physique, etc, gives you a good bunch of bonuses too. There are 4 armed guys with several natural attacks. By this time, the Falchion is nearly optional, you use it only to avoid wasting spells in the mook fights.

Another possible option is going Tiefling. In the first level you'll take Fiendish Heritage, for Oni's Spawn. That gives you bonus to STR and WIS, and you can get prehensile tail and claws as well as Nat armor and a small elemental resist. (prehensile tail and accelerated drinker allows you to drink potions in combat easy) This option does not give you proficiency with a weapon, but increase your overall stats, and give you two natural attacks every round, which is nasty.

One brief comment - if you're planning to use polymorph spells, keep in mind that any shape you take other than humanoid causes all your gear to meld into your body - this includes your spell component pouch. There is an item from ultimate equipment (called the polymorphic pouch) that indicates you can place things within it and have them accessible while polymorphed, but whether you could access it easily enough to be able to pull material components from it while casting a spell (a free action) is up to your GM, I would think. I understand this likely isn't an option, since you've discussed the all wizard party, but for anyone else reading this, I really prefer polymorphing sorcerers to wizards - Nothing says "Dragon Disciple" quite like a dimensional dervishing dragon. =) Just my 2 cp.

Yep, polymorphing-combat oriented sorcerer are probably better. They get free str or nat armor or both, depending on the bloodline, and they repeatedly cast the same spells over and over, which is what sorceers do best.

However, the challenge is making it all-wizards, so we'lll stick to that :)

gustavo iglesias wrote:

Yep, polymorphing-combat oriented sorcerer are probably better. They get free str or nat armor or both, depending on the bloodline, and they repeatedly cast the same spells over and over, which is what sorceers do best.

However, the challenge is making it all-wizards, so we'lll stick to that :)

I figured as much - best of luck. It may be worth considering the Eschew Materials feat, but I'm not really sure about that. It definitely would be better to skip it if your DM will allow you to pull spell components from a polymorphic bag (hopefully so). My best advice then, would be to take the craft wondrous items feat - Your first priority item will be your belt, for sure. Since you're a Transmuter, I would focus the belt on Constitution and Strength and use your Transmuter bonus on Dexterity - as the higher your Dexterity, the higher your initiative, and thus the quicker you can get into your beast shape to up your Constitution and thus survivability. You'll also need an AoMF combined with the Natural Armor and the craft wondrous item feat will help immensely there. Speaking of feats and high initiative - I would definitely grab either the Improved initiative feat, or the reactive trait, and maybe both of them. Again, going first allows you to get to the front lines to protect your party. (Side Note: to the front lines doesn't always mean running ALL the way in there - you're a wizard, if the enemies are in a good setup for Fireball or half of them could be blocked off by a wall of force, then going half way forward to draw attention to yourself, while leaving a clear attack pattern for your party, may very obviously be the best bet.) Also, toughness and arcane strike are obviously good feats to grab, as mentioned throughout this thread.

I have a doubt with Arcane Strike.

It's clearly a good feat. But it uses up a swift action. The Transmuters can grow claws, maw or horns as a swift action, for one round, gaining one natural attack. You can use this to add a natural attack to a forn you have polymorphed into, that doesn't have such attack (like giving horns to a dire tiger).

So, sometimes, you'll have to give up one of them to get the other. And I'm unsure about the effectivenes of each.

AoMF is a must, and the polymorphing bag is a must too. Toughness is a given, I'll take it at first level I guess. +3hp is a lot when you have only 9 or so

wizard build 10pt buy
dex 11 +1 level advancement
con 12
int 14 +2 racial +1 level advancement
wis 12

bonded item. any bladed weapon
lvl 1 weapon focus (dagger), scribe scroll, spell focus
lvl 3 combat expertise
lvl 5 artful dodge, arcane discovery(creative destruction)
lvl 7 sword play style
lvl 9 weapon finesse
lvl 10 arcane discovery (idealize)

spells needed: mage armor, bulls strength, cats grace, bears endurance, any evocation spells

ac 10 +4(mage armor) +4 dex( cats grace w/idealize) +2 (combat expertise) +1 dodge(artful dodge in single combat) +1 shield (sword play style)
total ac = 21 or 22

combat base +5 +1(weapon focus)+1(weapon Finesse) or +4(with cats grace going) no attack penalties on first attack (sword play style) + any weapon enhancement on weapon

Hp Base plus con plus temp hp based on bears endurance and creative destruction) ex.(base 35 + 10 con + idealize(bears endurance)30 + constructive destruction (fire ball)10 hp total hp 85)

wizard build cont. 11-20

str 10
dex 11 +1 lvl adv.
con 12 +1 lvl adv.
int 14 +2 racial +1 lvl adv.
wis 12 +2 lvl adv
chr 10

bonded item any bladed weapon
lvl 11 arcane discovery (time stutter)
lvl 13 vital strike
lvl 15 scale and skin, arcane discovery (knowledge is power)
lvl 17 spell mastery (time stop, teleport, shadow dagger)
lvl 19 arcane discovery (true name)
lvl 20 arcane discovery (immortality)

ac base 10 +4(mage armor)+6 dex(cats grace w/idealize)+3(combat expertise)+1 dodge(artful dodge single combat) +1 shield(sword play style) +6 natural armor(scale and skin) total ac 30/31 or more(base on any additional spells)

combat base +10 +1(weapon focus) +5(with cats grace going) no weapon penalty on first attack (with sword play)+ any weapon enhancements on weapons

weapon base dmg. + vital strike + any weapon enhancements + any additional bonuses (one attack only)

time stutter(stop time for 1rd obeys rules of time stop)
knowledge is power (used for str related tasks and cmb and cmd)
true name (locate a single true name of an plainer creature)

lvl 13 vital strike
lvl 15 scale and skin, arcane discovery(knowledge is power
lvl 17 greater spell pen

What a wonderful sale.

Since the thread got necroed. I will say an Exploiter Wizar makes for a great melee wizard.

* Armored Mask and Arcane Weapon Exploits him a pseudo Magus.
* Nidalese Shadow Veil grants concealment, while a quickened Mirror Image improves the defenses.
* Dimensional Slide let him teleport and withdraw.
* Lepidstadt Shifter let's him cast while under the effect of polymorph. While, Altered Shifting allows him to switch the form at the cost of 1 reducing the spells caster lv.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Wow, too many excellent build suggestions to adequately respond to all of them.

It is looking pretty clear to me that a melee wizard is not any sort of crazy idea. And of course because the character is a wizard, they can still do wizardly things.

I think it would be a lot of fun to play such a character in a standard party. With a raging barbarian or a tricked out fighter as part of the party the melee wizard could be a significant melee contributor and could make it that much easier for a rogue to gain sneak attack or for other party members to gain flanking and thus to provide even MORE combat goodness.

I think the next wizard I play is going to be a melee wizard.

Dex-based UncRogue1/Wiz3/Arcane Trickster10 might be another option, but if I were going to make a Melee Wiz, I'd probably go Wiz5/Fighter1/EK10

101 to 115 of 115 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Advice / Thought Experiment: Melee wizard All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.