Worst Idea ever or Brilliant! A Charisma based Wizard.


I am getting prepared for the PFS Game Day 2 (April 5-June 5), and I am building my little character to apply boons to just in time for MisCon (Missoula, Montana).

As I sat down with dozens of books strewn around me, I kept going back to the builds I have played, and played, and played some more.

Gnome Sorcerers, Elven Conjurer Wizards, Halfling mounted Divine Hunter Paladins, etc. Then as I was browsing the gnome in the Advanced Race Guide, I noticed Fell Magic. Mmm a +1 to Necromancy School spells. Then I thought, "Hey! I want to play a Gnome Necromancer!" What followed was some brain storming on concepts, largely based around the Control Undead requiring Charisma, and then I came up with this:

Charisma Wizard:

Female Gnome Wizard 1
NG Small humanoid (gnome)
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception -2
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +0; +2 vs. illusions, +2 bonus vs. fear and despair
Speed 20 ft.
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +4):
1st—comprehend languages, grease (DC 14), ray of enfeeblement [S] (DC 16)
0 (at will)—acid splash, detect magic, read magic
Str 5, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 17, Wis 7, Cha 18
Base Atk +0; CMB -4; CMD 8
Feats Command Undead, Improved Channel, Spell Focus (necromancy)
Traits sacred conduit, trustworthy
Skills Craft (tattoo) +11, Diplomacy +9, Knowledge (planes) +7, Knowledge (religion) +7, Spellcraft +7, Use Magic Device +5; Racial Modifiers +2 Craft (tattoo)
Languages Common, Gnome, Hallit, Osiriani, Skald, Sylvan
SQ arcane bonds (arcane bond [familiar]), bolster, eternal hope, opposition schools (enchantment, illusion), specialized schools (undead)
Other Gear masterwork artisan's tools, 95 gp
Bleed (1/day) - 0/1
Bolster (+1, 1 rds) (3/day) (Sp) - 0/3
Chill Touch (1/day) - 0/1
Command Undead (6/day) (DC 17) - 0/6
Detect Poison (1/day) - 0/1
Eternal Hope (1/day) - 0/1
Touch of Fatigue (1/day) - 0/1
Special Abilities
Arcane Familiar Nearby You gain the Alertness feat while your familiar is within arm's reach.
Bolster (+1, 1 rds) (3/day) (Sp) Grant undead +1 to hit and saves, 1 temp HP/HD and +2 channel resistance.
Command Undead (6/day) (DC 17) Channel energy can take control of undead.
Darkvision (60 feet) (Darkvision) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Empathic Link with Familiar (Su) You have an empathic link with your Arcane Familiar.
Enchantment You must spend 2 slots to cast spells from the Enchantment school.
Eternal Hope (1/day) +2 save vs. fear and despair. 1/day, reroll a 1 rolled on 1d20.
Illusion You must spend 2 slots to cast spells from the Illusion school.
Share Spells with Familiar Can cast spells with a target of "You" on the familiar with a range of touch.
Spell Focus (Necromancy) Spells from one school of magic have +1 to their save DC.
Trustworthy +1 on Bluff checks to fool someone.
Undead Associated School: Necromancy

So, before I drag this poor unfortunate soul in to the meat grinder of PFS online and con play I humbly request some constructive criticism.

Thank you in advance.


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Carrying capacity=non existent


As long as you can carry your clothes and your spellbook, you should be somewhat ok.

Master of the Dark Triad wrote:
Carrying capacity=non existent

Muleback cords would fix that, as would a pack mule or a porter.

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And your saves are disheartening.

At later levels, if you can spare it, those feats that improve your saves might be a good investment.

Kazaan wrote:
Master of the Dark Triad wrote:
Carrying capacity=non existent
Muleback cords would fix that, as would a pack mule or a porter.

The item takes up the Cloak of Resistance slot; into the trash it goes.

I still haven't picked a Familiar, perhaps I should take a save oriented familiar? The idea would work slightly less well as far as DCs go with a Halfling, and I could drop one trait (Sacred Conduit) for Fate's Favored for +2 to all Saves.

I have carry capacity enough to carry:
Spell Component Pouch
Traveller's Outfit
Artisan's Tools [Masterwork] (though I will leave these at the lodge to make room for rations and canteen as needed for overland travel)

If I take a dino familiar, it can carry rations, water, a journal, and pen just in case, but the tiny pack saddle would put it to medium encumbrance. On the bright side, it would still walk faster than me.

Although I am not a fan of Mule Back Cords, the Pathfinder's Pouch also solves weight, then later, the Handy Haversack solves weight. My main concern is surviving to level 3 :)

Double checking Mule Back Cords, I think I would use them then trade them in on the pack since they are so darned cheap.

I realize this might not be the kind of advice you're looking for, but have you considered the Arcanist class from the ACG? It's an arcane (sort of) prepared spellcaster that benefits greatly from high intelligence and charisma.

You could use your exploits to pick up School Understanding (Necromancy) and Bloodline Development for an appropriate bloodline - accursed, shadow or undead all seem like they might fit your concept.

Athaleon wrote:
Kazaan wrote:
Master of the Dark Triad wrote:
Carrying capacity=non existent
Muleback cords would fix that, as would a pack mule or a porter.
The item takes up the Cloak of Resistance slot; into the trash it goes.

Now that's sad. I freaking love those cords and use them all the time. If I need to use a cloak, I pass the cords to my mount instead.

As for the wizard, at least you'll be good at those opposed Charisma checks for things like dominate person. That's no small thing.

I believe they are called sorcerers.


So I swapped out Improved Channel for Undead Master. I would rather have a 75% chance to control 5 HD than an 85% chance to control 1 HD.

@ Muleback Cords. Sadly, I do not think I can put those on a familiar in PFS as they don't have many slots without taking feats to create said slots.

@ Marshmallow - I would take sorcerer except for the no Command Undead thing. Kinda important to a necromancer concept.

@Kadaku - Although I like the new classes, it will be 2-3 months before I can buy the book after its scheduled release, and I don't want to have to shelve a character for months just because I don't have the book. Also, like the Summoner, I expect some changes.

@Blaphers - Enchantment and Illusion are my banned schools, though I am debating switching the banned to Illusion and Evocation. I can live without fireball, but I really love contingency. Then again, I love it so much I don't mind 2 slots. . . Good bye magic missile! Hello Snowball.

Due to your wisdom score (<11), you would not get any spell-like abilities.

ARG wrote:

Fell Magic: Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against necromancy spells that they cast. Gnomes with Wisdom scores of 11 or higher also gain the following spell-like abilities: 1/day— bleed , chill touch , detect poison , and touch of fatigue .

The necromancer's athame is a nice item, but you need to have it as a bonded object for it to work.

Kazaan wrote:
Master of the Dark Triad wrote:
Carrying capacity=non existent
Muleback cords would fix that, as would a pack mule or a porter.

Or zombies. Or a zombie pack mule porter wearing muleback chords!

Also, I'm not certain about PFS, but by the base rules for animal item slots many do have a shoulder slot available.

@ Tangaroa -I know I lose my SLA's, but I gain +1 to Necromancy spells DCs, +1 again from the free Spell Focus for Wizards in PFS play.

I think this will be my gear list of goals.

Must have wands: Grease, Mage Armor, Infernal healing, Cure Light Wounds * To hand off to others* -

1) Pathfinder Pouch (holds 10 lbs, 2 cubic feet of items, can be placed in a Handy Haversack.) and weighs 0.5 lbs. - 1000 gp

2) Cloak of Protection (+1) -- upgraded often

3) Handy Haversack, weighs 2.5 lbs (half a pound under the weight of a spell book, 1 pound less than a spell book + a backpack) - 2000 gp

4) Headband of Vast Intelligence (+2) - 4000 gp (As I increase in level, this will become a +4+4 int/Cha headband - most likely)

5) Circlet of Persuasion +3 bonus on Charisma based checks (for opposed rolls regarding undead ownership.)

6)Hamaki or Silken Ceremonial Armor +1 (enchant for special effects, such as Deathless or Fortification)

7) Mithral Light Shield +X (largely for the enchant abilities. A light mithral shield has 0% spell failure.)

8) Boots of escape. (400 feet for gnomes!)

9) Pitfall Dueling Spiked Gauntlet (because it is easy to always wear/wield to keep a hand free)

10) Dex/Con belt

I will upgrade the upgradable items as often as I can.

Anything else?

I think my feats will be Improved Channel at level 3, and Improved Initiative + Heighten Spell at level 5, level 7 is Improved Familiar.

Well, afaik pets are... Weird, in pfs. So while.this.is abuild that looks.enjoyable, im npt sure how well it will do in pfs.
However, seeing as necromancy, enchantment and conjuration are the schools that deal most with Cha checks, id not put enchantment as opposing. Also, thematically, enchantment and necromancy seem quite close.

Btw i think that by RAW the heal skill works on undead, and its not strange either (using heal to support fractured bones or remove arrows from zombie flesh without damaging the body). Dont know if it flies in PFS though. If it does, having it can be very useful to cheaply heal those nonsentient undead you control.

@ Ilja, thank you for your input. I think I will swap to Illusion and Evocation as banned schools so I can take full advantage of the Charisma Wizard.

I am unsure how Familiars work specifically, but I know Animal Companions require a small investment into Handle Animal to control well. I will delve into the difference between the two kinds of pets.

I wonder how well Necromancers are accepted by the other characters in PFS as a general rule? Thoughts?

Is this a necromancer who is going to be making an undead horde..?

That won't fly. Even though tradition is stupid, people continue to call mindless undead evil.

Unnatural does not equal evil. If it did, skyscrapers and mass deforestation would be evil.

If it's a necromancer who doesn't create undead, you should be fine.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I too was in the park of mindless undead being evil, untill I played Cthullu saves the world.

as for the character... dunno... it seems... weird...

then again, weird usualy means fun, so go for it!

and for the carrying capacity, doesn't a masterwork backpack upgrade your carrying capacity by 1 strength point?

@ Master of the Dark Triad: I plan to raise no dead, I plan to take over the enemies undead legions, and otherwise rebuff with Necromancy spells. If I end up with piles of gold, I plan to inquire whether the semi permanent undead can remain campaign to campaign, much like Heightened Continual Flame does. (Create Undead). Although the Evil descriptor exists on the spell, Mr. Brock has been clear that simply casting Evil descriptor spells do not make one evil. I believe the specific discussion revolved around the 'Infernal Healing' spell.

@ Snotti Nosebiter: Yes, the Masterwork Backpack increases your carrying capacity by 1 Str! I will see if I can scoot some gear around so I can afford one! Woot! I can carry a spare set of clothes with one of those!

since you're using this for PFS, im assuming wordcasting is out, but i threw together an arcanist that might be right up your alley--some ideas for you, perhaps?

human arcanist (wordcaster) 20

str 10, dex 20 (+5), con 20 (+5), int 34 (+12), wis 10, cha 24 (+7)
int/int/int/int/int (level), +6 dex/con/int/cha (belt/headband), +5 int, +6 cha (book/wish)

reactionary / gifted adept (undeath)

11/40 (at start of day)

1 - bloodline development (draconic [white or silver]) or school understanding (necromancy)
3 - [see above]
5 - counterspell
7 - spell tinkerer
9 - dimensional slide
11 - counter drain
13 - metamagic knowledge (elemental spell)
15 - metamixing
17 - greater metamagic knowledge (bouncing spell)
19 - item crafting (craft wonderous item)

1 - spell focus (necromancy), improved initiative
3 - varisian tattoo (necromancy)
5 - greater spell focus (necromancy)
7 - undead master
9 - bloatmage initiate (necromancy)
11 - dazing spell
13 - elemetal focus (ice)
15 - greater elemental focus (ice)
17 - spell focus (evocation)
19 - greater spell focus (evocation)



spell slots
7 / 7 / 7 / 7 / 6 / 6 / 6 / 6 / 5

Effect Word Combinations
Word One Two Three
Level Effect Word Effect Words Effect Words
0 0 — —
1st 1 — —
2nd 2 0/0 —
3rd 3 1/1 or 2/0 0/0/0
4th 4 2/2 or 3/1 1/1/1 or 2/0/0
5th 5 3/3 or 4/2 2/2/2 or 3/1/1
6th 6 4/4 or 5/3 3/3/3 or 4/2/2
7th 7 5/5 or 6/4 4/4/4 or 5/3/3
8th 8 6/6 or 7/5 5/5/5 or 6/4/4
9th 9 7/7 or 8/5 6/6/6 or 7/5/5

0 - all 0-level effect/meta/target words
1 - alignment shield (alignment), burning flash (fire), dash (time), fade (concealing), fog bank (weather), force shield (armor)
friendship (command), glide (flight), wrack (pain) | burst (target), line (target) | careful (meta), quiet (meta),
simple (meta)
2 - accellerate (time), disappear (concealing), float (flight), frost fingers (ice), enhance form (body), energy resist (body),
decelerate (time)
3 - undeath (death), servitor III (summoning), torture (pain), complex order (command), paralyze humanoid (binding),
dimension hop (teleportation), lightning blast (electrcity), fire blast (fire), wind wall (wall), ice blast (ice),
translate (language) | barrier (target)
4 - ice wall (ice), acid wave (acid), bestial form (change), servitor IV (summoning), ice blast (ice), unseen shell (concealing)
sound blast (sonic), altered form (change), borrow future (time) | manifestation (meta), mind warp (meta),
5 - servitor V (summoning), stone wall (wall), crush will (command), dimensional jump (teleportation), far casting (language),
| irresistable (meta), penetrating (meta)
6 - servitor VI (summoning), negation (dispelling), resist arcana (dispelling)
7 - servitor VII (summoning), dimensional shift (teleportation), caustic cloud (acid)
8 - servitor VIII (summoning), permanent paralysis (binding), thunder strike (electrcity), winter's wrath (cold)
9 - Servitor IX (summoning), control time (time), dimensional gate (teleportation)


while it was mainly built to abuse wordcasting's leniency on spell descriptors for big CL bonuses for tacking on ice to necromancy wordspells or vice-versa, it's main shtick was a combination necromancer/blockbuster "wizard"; making undead which were cold-immune and then AoE everything around them to death.

note: while the undeath wordspell doesn't work with desecrate (boo!), it's a standard action to cast and has no material component cost (yay!). i took undead master to alleviate that issue.

all the servitor wordspells are also standard actions as well (double-yay)

Sadly wordcasting is out. I like that build idea though! I would consider rime metamagic in there somewhere though, possibly in place of spell focus evocation. . .

The frost of your cold spell clings to the target, impeding it for a short time. A rime spell causes creatures that takes cold damage from the spell to become entangled for a number of rounds equal to the original level of the spell.


Arcanist is legal right now Jus Me...

here's the link for it

When the book comes out you'd need to buy it of course, and if any changes occur make the appropriate changes.

I am looking at Arcanist, and it looks like to me:

Arcanist Progression
Level 1: Exploit: School Understanding (Necromancy) - Feat: Spell Focus (Necromancy)
Level 3: Exploit: Bloodline Development (Arcane) - Feat: Undead Master
Level 5: Exploit: Metamagic Knowledge (Heighten) - Feat: Improved Channel
Level 7: Exploit: Metamagic Knowledge (Persist) - Feat: Improved Familiar (hope for Faerie Dragon Boon somehow)
Level 9: Exploit: Metamagic Knowledge (Preferred) - Feat: Improved Initiative


Wizard Progression

Level 1: Arcane Familiar, two Banned Schools (2 slots to prepare a spell of that level), Spell Focus (Necromancy), Undead Master
Level 3: Improved Channel
Level 5: Heighten Spell (Bonus), Improved Initiative
Level 7: Improved Familiar
Level 9: Persistent Spell

The Arcanist seems to follow more or less the Sorcerer spell progression, meaning it will always be a a little behind in terms of maximum spell level, and although it comes online a couple levels behind the Wizard, by level 9 has surpassed the Wizard.

In PFS, is there enough late game play to make up for the coming on line 2 levels behind?

You can't take an exploit more than once - stacking Metamagic Knowledge is a no-go.

That said, I'm currently playing a level 5 arcanist from level 1 and I now find it a fun and flexible class. The early levels were painful though. Sharply limited spells per day combined with no reliable school or bloodline powers means you'll spend a lot of time casting cantrips or missing people with a crossbow.

In theory one of the elemental exploits could help cover this gap but you'll also be extremely starved for reservoir points.

Though to be fair that problem was exasperated by an adventure path that gives you very limited access to shops in the first book and the fact that I was the party's (only) downtime healer.

Doh! For some reason I thought I got the greater metamagic exploit at 9, it is at 11. So maybe the Arcanist comes online compared to the wizard a little alter than I thought. I will reevaluate.

How bad an idea is it to give an Improved Familiar (thinking Pseudo Dragon in case I don't find a faerie dragon) the the Skilled evolution (+8 in a skill) via the Evolved Familiar feat at level 9?

A pretty good idea if it's UMD...

So then, and thank you all for bearing with me on this silly idea, I think my feat progression should be:

Wizard Bonus: Spell Focus (Necromancy)

Traits: Sacred Channel (+1 DC on Channel) and Reactionary (+2 Initiative)

(1) Undead Master (I figure it is better to have a DC 15 channel to get 5 HD than a DC 17 for 1 HD)

Arcane Familiar: rhamphorhynchus - +2 Initiative, flies to avoid combat. Yay! or Greensting Scorpion - +4 initiative tiny so very little chance of being targeted.

(3 )Improved Channel (DC 18 for up to 7 HD of undead)

(5) Improved Initiative - Wizard Bonus: Heighten Spell (just to increase DCs or hand out Heighted Continual Flame lockets)

7) Improved Familiar (Faerie Dragon if I get boon, otherwise Pseudo Dragon)

9) Evolve Familiar (Skilled +8 to UMD for Pseudo Dragon) or Persistant Spell

Bonus Wizard (10): Dazing Spell, or Preferred Spell (if I find I am always wanting some spell every encounter. . )

11) Whichever feat I did not take as a bonus spell for level 11, or a save booster if I find my saves are drastically sub par in some area.

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