Arcane blast build


Advice

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So I just noticed the feat "arcane blast" and I thought... could this be used well? I'm just fishing here, I know it would be a high-level thing, with "moderate" value, but I'm thinking a sorcerer with decent dex could use this well. Plus it's a supernatural ability that does flat damage (though I dont know how it interacts with DR). Any ideas?

As I see it, a catfolk sorcerer could do well; boosts to dex & cha, lower strength.


The feat is "best" used for giving some blasting options to non-blaster casters, such as the Summoner or Bard. Even then, those classes usually have better options.

For a Sorcerer, you're better of just using your normal blasting spells as their damage will scale higher. This is especially true if you use a Bloodline that boosts your damage further.


Its a trap unfortunately. Comes out doing less damage than the spell you would sacrifice and it requires 10th level. More worth it to use greater spell specialization and a blast spell of your choice imo.


Well, I dont think it's entirely a trap; I wont deny it isnt GREAT, but I think it's an interesting option. I want to see how to make it work best.

But yeah, 10th level is VERY high.


It seems to be like a far cry of the arcane fire the Archmage prestige class used to have, back in 3.5 (far worse though).

I like it for being a supernatural ability (No AoO, no SR) and good in situations where you would not be able to cast something or needed to concentrate in order to. The way it's written i think no dmg. red or resistance would apply so it's more like a "pure damage" effect. It's a ray (weapon like)so you could apply a few extra stuff on it.

An Arcane trickster build might be able to use it well by applying the sneak attack dmg on it (as it did back then).


Arch_Bishop wrote:

It seems to be like a far cry of the arcane fire the Archmage prestige class used to have, back in 3.5 (far worse though).

I like it for being a supernatural ability (No AoO, no SR) and good in situations where you would not be able to cast something or needed to concentrate in order to. The way it's written i think no dmg. red or resistance would apply so it's more like a "pure damage" effect. It's a ray (weapon like)so you could apply a few extra stuff on it.

An Arcane trickster build might be able to use it well by applying the sneak attack dmg on it (as it did back then).

Arcane trickster IS an interesting idea... would loose out on spell slots though.

How does sneak attack DMG interact with DR? Does is go the same type as the attack?


Extra SA dmg is the same type as the source i think.

Btw nevermind the "no AoO" part because the "spell into arcane blast" wont provoke, but the ranged attack will. :/


Ok, I've been thniking about how to do this with the least dithering, and here is how I see it:

1 Rogue/ninja/vivisectionist (one of the three)
2 Sorcerer/Wizard
3
4
5
6 Field agent (take the "sneak attack" field agent training(
7+ Arcane strickster

This is the option I see that looses the least caster levels.


Wouldn't a race with a SLA (2nd lvl or higher), a level of wiz/sorc , 3 lvls of rogue/ninja/whatever and then straight AT be better?That, plus the trait "magical knack" and you are only 1 Caster level behind, meaning at 11th lvl you can take arcane blast.


Note: You need 3 things: 2nd level casting, mage hand, and 2d6 sneak attack (for arcane trickster). Doable, but in the end I still would not qualify for arcane blast at 11 (because my arcane caster level is still too low). THen again, it does say CL 10th. In any case, I still want to limit the amount of non-casty levels, if only to maximize the amount off spell slots (since I'm still limited by them).


A race with an arcane spell like ability of second level or higher and one level in an arcane class (for mage hand and in order to improve your caster level and benefit from the +1 level of existing class that arcane trickster gives you)qualifies for the first prerequisite. spell like abilities can be used in place for the "able to cast spells of X level" requirement as long as its the same level, and in this case, 2nd or higher.

3 levels of rogue/ninja etc will grant 2d6 sneak attack and by this level you can have the required skill ranks.

At 5th level you can start the arcane trickster prestige.

At this point you are 3 caster levels behind but here is where "magical knack trait" comes in to give +2. So now you are 1 caster level behind. At 11th level your caster level is 10 so you can take arcane blast just in time.

I also think you need to be at least 3rd level agent in order to take the "sneak attack" field training, so that puts you even more behind.


Arcane Blast is still a trap even for Arcane Trickster. If you have spell slots available the you are much better off using something like Scorching Ray. Three separate attacks, each capable of applying sneak attack damage. On its own it is doing 12d6 from a level 2 slot. Arcane Blast, at best, does 11d6 if you waste a level 9 slot on it.

If you are low on spell slots then you probably wont be using Arcane Blast anyway and you would be far better using iterative ranged attacks rather than this feat in any event.

Arcane Blast is a horrible trap option masquerading as an actual feat.


That's what i thought too, concerning scorching ray and sneak attack, but after searching a lot around here, i found out that (james jacobs i think) clarified that sneak attack damage is applied only once on spells, even if you direct the rays (on scorching ray's occasion) at different targets. Only one ray gets the sneak attack boost.


One advantage besides those named might be that it should work in an antimagic field whereas spells don't...

It certainly is not a powerful ability, but at least it offers you a generic solution when you don't know what kind of defenses your opponent has (e.g. you tried fire and it's immune, second round you tried acid and it still doesn't help, and you cannot afford to potentially waste a third round 'cause your teammates are dropping...).


Sangalor wrote:
One advantage besides those named might be that it should work in an antimagic field whereas spells don't...

Actually supernatural abilities are stopped by anti-magic fields. Extraordinary abilities are the ones that still function.

Antimagic Field wrote:
The space within this barrier is impervious to most magical effects, including spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities.


Sangalor wrote:

One advantage besides those named might be that it should work in an antimagic field whereas spells don't...

It certainly is not a powerful ability, but at least it offers you a generic solution when you don't know what kind of defenses your opponent has (e.g. you tried fire and it's immune, second round you tried acid and it still doesn't help, and you cannot afford to potentially waste a third round 'cause your teammates are dropping...).

And then your (2+lvl)d6 damage isn't enough to make a difference and your teammates continue to drop...

Also, arcane blast is a supernatural ability, so it doesn't work in an antimagic field.


You're right, it does not work in it. Misremembered :-)


Arch_Bishop wrote:
That's what i thought too, concerning scorching ray and sneak attack, but after searching a lot around here, i found out that (james jacobs i think) clarified that sneak attack damage is applied only once on spells, even if you direct the rays (on scorching ray's occasion) at different targets. Only one ray gets the sneak attack boost.

I would want to see a link to that, as far as I was aware it was an issue that remained undecided and so subject to table variation.


andreww wrote:
Arch_Bishop wrote:
That's what i thought too, concerning scorching ray and sneak attack, but after searching a lot around here, i found out that (james jacobs i think) clarified that sneak attack damage is applied only once on spells, even if you direct the rays (on scorching ray's occasion) at different targets. Only one ray gets the sneak attack boost.
I would want to see a link to that, as far as I was aware it was an issue that remained undecided and so subject to table variation.

here it is

3rd page, and it was actually the pathfinder design team.


andreww wrote:
Arch_Bishop wrote:
That's what i thought too, concerning scorching ray and sneak attack, but after searching a lot around here, i found out that (james jacobs i think) clarified that sneak attack damage is applied only once on spells, even if you direct the rays (on scorching ray's occasion) at different targets. Only one ray gets the sneak attack boost.
I would want to see a link to that, as far as I was aware it was an issue that remained undecided and so subject to table variation.

I can't find the link right now, but nah he's right. I was in the thread, they clarified 1 sneak attack per spell, unless it takes iteratives.

Scarab Sages

I think Arcane blast is there for Witches to turn them into a 3.5 warlock. They have full casting, so more uses than a Summoner/Bard and very little blasting options. With Hexes filling the flavor of invocations and the freedom to cast real spells if you want, you have a set of abilities that has a close feel to the Warlock.


Imbicatus wrote:
I think Arcane blast is there for Witches to turn them into a 3.5 warlock.

Well, it would work that way, but only if arcane blast was free, didn't canabalize spell slots so it would have unlimited use, could be customized to be more useful and have extra uses, and had better scaling so to keep up with the world. The witch wishes he were a warlock. That's without mentioning how many invocations are just flat out better or more flavorful than hexes.

Also, Arcane Blast. Since no one linked it yet.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Arcane Blast is a great option, though not for the reasons people often like. It ignores DR, bypasses SR, doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, doesn't have an energy type to be resisted, can't be reduced with a save, and so on.

The reason it is often considered a "trap" is because everyone focuses on the bad things about it, namely it's low damage and high resource costs. If it didn't have those to balance it out, it would be extremely broken.

I wouldn't rely on it for my bread and butter, but if I am having trouble with one or more of the problems mentioned above and still need to do some damage, it could prove to be invaluable.

Silver Crusade

The best use of the feat I've seen so far has been a high level bard, who mid-to-later in a fight has summoned, buffed, activated and maintained bardic performances, etc etc ad nauseum, and was looking for more options for maximizing his action economy as well as general utility. Supplementary, possibly not the best use of his standard action, but it was enough to contribute consistently on anything with SR or DR.

(That, and he had the most aggravating luck in 'Kill Stealing' with it. Especially on things like Dragons) ;p


I'd agree with you Dork if not for the fact that stopping blasting at that point and buffing your allies instead is a vastly better option than using your remaining spell slots to deal very little damage.


Ravingdork wrote:

Arcane Blast is a great option, though not for the reasons people often like. It ignores DR, bypasses SR, doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, doesn't have an energy type to be resisted, can't be reduced with a save, and so on.

The reason it is often considered a "trap" is because everyone focuses on the bad things about it, namely it's low damage and high resource costs. If it didn't have those to balance it out, it would be extremely broken.

I wouldn't rely on it for my bread and butter, but if I am having trouble with one or more of the problems mentioned above and still need to do some damage, it could prove to be invaluable.

True, very true. Although i think the "ranged attack" part of arcane blast would provoke an AoO, wouldn't it?

Also, by adding SA damage to it (via arcane trickster) and maybe a feat or 2, you can up the damage quite a bit. A first level slot doing about 10d6 dmg (non resistant) isn't that bad. You could possibly add a few rogue talents in there too(bleed etc).

I believe that lower spell slots make better use of the feat.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
I'd agree with you Dork if not for the fact that stopping blasting at that point and buffing your allies instead is a vastly better option than using your remaining spell slots to deal very little damage.

But what do you do once they are already buffed (by your or someone else)?

Perhaps you use Arcane Blast. :P


Ravingdork wrote:
Thomas Long 175 wrote:
I'd agree with you Dork if not for the fact that stopping blasting at that point and buffing your allies instead is a vastly better option than using your remaining spell slots to deal very little damage.

But what do you do once they are already buffed (by your or someone else)?

Perhaps you use Arcane Blast. :P

Beats a crossbow, unless you think you have a better use for those spell slots.

I hope I'm not the only one with a sudden urge to play a warlock.


Ravingdork wrote:
But what do you do once they are already buffed (by your or someone else)?

Summon something? Battlefield control? If I'm spending a spell slot anyway, I might as well do something useful with my action. If arcane blast didn't require throwing away a feat on it, I'd still probably never use it.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Summoned creatures typically are too weak to function as little more than fodder. Battlefield control often gets in the way of your allies' actions (negating the aforementioned buffs you placed on them). Sometimes, the best thing you can do IS precision blasting. The only problem with blasting is all the defenses normally arrayed against it--something that Arcane Blast completely ignores.

I'm not saying it's the best option, not by a long shot, but it's not a trap. It has its place.


Well, I think I'll start working on a "blaster-master". I'll try the whole bard thing (although since it relies on spell level the damage might be a bit low). I'll call it blaster McGee.


Ravingdork wrote:

Summoned creatures typically are too weak to function as little more than fodder. Battlefield control often gets in the way of your allies' actions (negating the aforementioned buffs you placed on them). Sometimes, the best thing you can do IS precision blasting. The only problem with blasting is all the defenses normally arrayed against it--something that Arcane Blast completely ignores.

I'm not saying it's the best option, not by a long shot, but it's not a trap. It has its place.

Let's say the party is 11th level. I just picked up arcane blast as a new feat for my wizard and I'm itching to try it out. The party gets into a fight with a couple of coloxus demons. They have SR, immunity or resistance to a bunch of elements, DR, and pretty good saves for their level. Unfortunately, their touch AC is pretty high, so my arcane blast might miss. The most damage I could do with arcane blast is 8d6 (average 28) if I blow a 6th level spell slot on it. A coloxus has 168 hp. 28 damage isn't very much. And I'd have to get within 30 feet of it.

Alternatively, with that 6th level spell slot, I could have summoned 1d3 bralanis. Sure, 1d6+8 from their scimitars isn't as much as my arcane blast, but it does bypass the coloxuses' DR. It only takes 3 hits to outdamage the arcane blast. And any attack they take is one not directed towards me or my allies.

Or I could spend a 4th level slot on a persistent glitterdust. Each coloxus has about an 80% chance of becoming blinded. Even if they aren't blinded, it will help against their invisibility.


Ok, this is what i've got. Not quite perfect, but I've been trying to make an arcane duelist for a while.

Race: human
Class: bard, arcane duelist
Stats (25 pts)
Str: 11 Dex: 17 Con: 14 Int: 10 Wis: 12 Cha: 16
Trait: fate's favored, maestro of the society

1 Weapon Finesse, Arcane Strike
2
3 Lingering performance
4
5 Deadly Dealer
6
7 Pirhanna Strike
8
9 Celestial obidience (planning archea, interested in other ideas)
10
11 Arcane Blast
12
13 Improved crit (?)
...

Not sure what to use as the main weapon.
I think it would be a decent build. Then again, arcane blast is very secondary.

Contributor

Like RD said, Arcane Blast is a great trick for a battlefield control wizard/sorcerer, an enchanter wizard/sorcerer, or a wizard/sorcerer who regularly prepares a lot of situational spells. If you are a dedicated blaster, you probably don't want Arcane Blast, but if you aren't a dedicated blaster, Arcane Blast lets you pick up some slack if the spells you chose aren't pulling their weight.

For example, finding yourself in a crypt of undead as an enchanter.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Alexander Augunas wrote:

...Arcane Blast lets you pick up some slack if the spells you chose aren't pulling their weight.

For example, finding yourself in a crypt of undead as an enchanter.

Exactly.


You can still use arcane blast when you can not use verbal, somatic or material components. (polymorphed, grappled, silenced etc.)

You can still use it when concentration checks are impossible to make.

It can not be counter spelled.

It can often still function in places where magic is unpredictable.

It ignores SR, and can be used to directly damage golems for example.

It can not be disrupted by damage.

Ignores DR, Evasion and energy resistances.


Ravingdork wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:

...Arcane Blast lets you pick up some slack if the spells you chose aren't pulling their weight.

For example, finding yourself in a crypt of undead as an enchanter.

Exactly.

Or if said wizard banned the school with his favorite blast-spells. Burning one slot to do Arcane Blast might be better than burning two slots for that one blast spell.

It's another tool in the box. (:


AnnoyingOrange wrote:

You can still use arcane blast when you can not use verbal, somatic or material components. (polymorphed, grappled, silenced etc.)

You can still use it when concentration checks are impossible to make.

It can not be counter spelled.

It can often still function in places where magic is unpredictable.

It ignores SR, and can be used to directly damage golems for example.

It can not be disrupted by damage.

Ignores DR, Evasion and energy resistances.

And it's an attack roll. So it can score a critical hit, right?


On a 20 sure

Scarab Sages

Or a 19-20 if you take improved critical (Ray).


If you are an eldrith knight you might even squeeze in a few critical feats xD


Something I allow is the use of cantrips with it. I know it says otherwise but I have yet to find it game breaking especially at the level you have to be to take it.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Something I allow is the use of cantrips with it. I know it says otherwise but I have yet to find it game breaking especially at the level you have to be to take it.

Not a bad idea, considering it's a mere 2d6, piddling even at 10th level.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
AnnoyingOrange wrote:

You can still use arcane blast when you can not use verbal, somatic or material components. (polymorphed, grappled, silenced etc.)

You can still use it when concentration checks are impossible to make.

It can not be counter spelled.

It can often still function in places where magic is unpredictable.

It ignores SR, and can be used to directly damage golems for example.

It can not be disrupted by damage.

Ignores DR, Evasion and energy resistances.

Great points all.

As I said, there is a lot to like about it.


Ravingdork wrote:
Arcane Blast is a great option, though not for the reasons people often like. It ignores DR, bypasses SR, doesn't provoke attacks of opportunity, doesn't have an energy type to be resisted, can't be reduced with a save, and so on.

Lets have a look at some of these shall we, bearing in mind of course that Arcane Blast costs us an existing spell slot.

Bypasses SR: So do lots of spells. Which would you prefer, to waste a level 1/2/3 spell slot on arcane blast or cast Grease/Snowball/Glitterdust/Stinking Cloud, all of which ignore SR.

Ignores DR: Like any damaging spell you might choose to cast. Snowball will do more damage and ignores SR and has a chance of applying a useful debuff.

Doesnt provoke: Except that it does because you are making a ranged attack.

Doesnt have an energy type: Like say magic missile which will do more average damage than this from level 5 onwards. At level 10, when you can take Arcane Blast, its just embarassing.

No save: Like other damage dealing options. seriously at level 10 you could cast magic missile for an average of about 17 damage, no save, longer range, no attack roll, ignores miss chances, hits incorporeal things and does on average 17 damage. To get the same sort of average damage you have to waste a level 3 spell slot on it.

Quote:
The reason it is often considered a "trap" is because everyone focuses on the bad things about it, namely it's low damage and high resource costs. If it didn't have those to balance it out, it would be extremely broken.

This is because its downsides are horrible. It costs limited resources to use, it does pathetic damage, you may miss especially if you dont have precise shot and may well be facing a -8 penalty to hit (shooting into melee, cover) and its range is horrible.

Quote:
I wouldn't rely on it for my bread and butter, but if I am having trouble with one or more of the problems mentioned above and still need to do some damage, it could prove to be invaluable.

No it couldnt. It remains a horrible trap option. If you are a proper spellcaster then cast a spell, dont waste your slot on this. If you are a 6 level caster then cast a spell or just make some iterative attacks, your exepcted damage will be far more significant, if you are a 4 level caster then make an attack, you might have a chance to do something effective.

Arcane Blast could be free to use and do 1d6 damage per caster level and it still wouldnt be unbalanced because the damage output would remain far behind any vaguelly competent martial character and actual spells have a far more significant impact than low damage rays.


Ravingdork wrote:

Summoned creatures typically are too weak to function as little more than fodder. Battlefield control often gets in the way of your allies' actions (negating the aforementioned buffs you placed on them). Sometimes, the best thing you can do IS precision blasting. The only problem with blasting is all the defenses normally arrayed against it--something that Arcane Blast completely ignores.

This is hilariously untrue. They dont work well at very low levels and I have real doubts about their impact at high level (15+) but in the midpoint dropping celestial/infernal anklysaurus or multiple xills or lantern archons has a major impact on many types of fights.


AnnoyingOrange wrote:
You can still use arcane blast when you can not use verbal, somatic or material components. (polymorphed, grappled, silenced etc.)

If you are in this sort of position you are better off activating a magic item or having a way to get out of such situations. Grapple in particular is something which every caster needs to have some sort of answer for and that answer isnt Arcane Blast.

Quote:
You can still use it when concentration checks are impossible to make.

Other than in a grapple when is this ever likely to arise.

Quote:
It can not be counter spelled.

Who would want to, it does next to nothing.

Quote:
It can often still function in places where magic is unpredictable.

Such as where. It still doesnt work in an anti magic field.

Quote:
It ignores SR, and can be used to directly damage golems for example.

So does Snowball. Actually it doesnt have an energy type listed so arguably DR applies to it. In any event you are far better off dropping Golems into a create pit and leaving them for your archer to demolish in safety.

Quote:
Ignores DR, Evasion and energy resistances.

And yet it costs a spell slot you could use casting something useful and does utterly irrelevant damage. A level 10 monster has on average 130hp. Using up a level 5 spell slot at level 10 will deal on average 25 damage. You are likely to have around 4 such slots as a wizard. Well done, you have just wasted one of your most precious spell slots to do less than one fifth of the health of an opponent which should be a walkover for your group. That is a terrible terrible option.


Well rather than going about why it's bad.. how about any ideas on using it? Sure compared to a spell it'll probably be worse but any characters concepts work well?

I'm not up to date on eratta etc. but with the newer stuff out, anything about alchemist using this? I can think of a lot of my alchemists who'd do that


Zwordsman wrote:

Well rather than going about why it's bad.. how about any ideas on using it? Sure compared to a spell it'll probably be worse but any characters concepts work well?

I'm not up to date on eratta etc. but with the newer stuff out, anything about alchemist using this? I can think of a lot of my alchemists who'd do that

Alchemists dont qualify for it do they? Extracts are not spells and I dont think they have a caster level.


I find it handy for enchanter-bards who need to suddenly do damage.

I also have a fighter/sorcerer/eldritch knight in PFS who I'm considering it for. He uses Still Spell, which means his first level slots have a 25% Arcane Spell Failure chance and are underutilized anyway - I feed them into a Ring of Spell Storing for Shield spells when needed.

As an Eldritch Knight, I'm rocking a +8 BAB, and have Arcane Strike, and the Gloves of Arcane Striking, as well as Point Blank Shot. Sadly, Deadly Aim (which I don't have) and Vital Strike (which I do have) don't work with Arcane Blast. (There's a fuzzy area that says they might work with Arcane Blast, but it's PFS and subject to table variation, so I ask, and assume the GM will say "Naaah..." -- if the answer is "sure", I'll enjoy it.)

So, for a first level spell slot, I'm hitting at +11 versus touch, for 3d6+4 damage, and doing 3 damage to every target adjacent, with untyped magical energy damage. This is about a point off of Magic Missile's average damage...and this character doesn't know Magic Missile anyway.

A no-fail-chance Scorching Ray does 3 shots of 4d6+4 damage under those circumstances...but is a third level spell, suffers from SR and fire resistance is pretty common.

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