Been asked to help design a ray type caster, either a Wizard or Sorcerer. Only problem is, I have no idea how to go about doing this.
Which Class would be better - Sorcerer or Wizard?
Is there a good prestige class that would work with a Ray Caster?
Wants to go Eldritch Knight (or any other type of prestige class) but not sure how that would work out.
I'm assuming most of the archery type feats would work here.
Any suggestion would help as I have no real idea what to suggest.
All suggestions have to be PFS play legal please.
I would think that Sorcerer might be better for rays, since there aren't that many and you can cast them whenever you need.
I would go with the Elemental bloodline for the boosts to damage, but that's your choice.
In addition to the archery feats, I would recommend taking a few metamagics, like Dazing and Empower spell.
I have a lot of love for ray casters, so i'll provide what help i may. I would recommend going sorcerer, because you want to be able to launch as many rays as you can being able to prepare different spells isn't important for you. You don't need flexibility, any problem that can't be solved with lasers is somebody else's problem.
You want a decent Dex, because those rays are all ranged touch attacks. Not to mention the AC, REF save, and Initiative bonuses.
I would recommend a bloodline that either adds damage to the dice (like Red, Brass, or Gold Draconic bloodline) or something that lets you change what element the damage is (like Elemental bloodline).
Some spells that may be good choices for you: Ray of Frost, Acid Splash, Ray of Enfeeblement, Scorching Ray, Acid Arrow,
As far as prestige classes, the only one that I would think works at all is Arcane trickster, because you get some sneak attack, which rays are capable of delivering, and those rogue levels can get you Evasion. Eldritch Knight could work as well, that's really a judgment call depending on the theme you want. Personally I would not recommend multi-classing, least not til you already have sixth level spells (Disintegrate!!!), after that there aren't too terribly many rays that are much fun.
Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot are going to be really good feats for you to have. I can't remember if taking Weapon Focus and/or Weapon Specialization Ray is allowed in Pathfinder, but if you're multi-classing Fighter to become an Eldritch Knight, those are the feats you want to get. Meta-magic Feats like Empower and things that let you add special effects or switch out what kind of element a spell is are good choices and can use those to use up those spell slots for levels that don't have good ray choices.
And don't get too hung up on whether something is technically a Ray unless you want to really focus on that, just about anything that requires a Ranged Touch Attack could probably fit the theme.
And make sure the other players know you are not a buffer, not a controller, you are a surgeon. You pick an enemy and you make them eat hot/cold/acid laser death.
Do you want the feel of rays, or specifically spells that say "ray" effect?
popular to go crossblooded on this, since (I think?) you get two Arcanas and can get two damage increasers. (what.. was it draconic and orc that's popular?)
I think most of the rays don't have a save (well i can't think of many off hand) so it's ok to go DEX and CHA instead of massive CHA as a usual sorcerer. (for reasons listed above and all)
Scorching ray and that admonishing ray (same as scorching ray but non lethal and force damage. Amazing in some cases)
While you should pick up mostly RAYs of various range and damage type, it might be worth it to snag an AOE once in awhile. Hopefully you are not the only caster there though and they can do aoe and control. Still a cone of cold (or the sonic version of it. can't remember the name) is nice thing to have, for when you open that door into a room full of swarms. DC won't be great, but it'll still be nicer than having nothing for that sorta thing. And I'd suggest stuff like magic missle just because of the utility (no miss, can kill ghosts etc).
and of course look at the defensive spells, lean towards long lasting (mage armour being a good one. the miss chance% ones are also good) because rays have shorter range than most utility and control spells, you'll have to be closer.
beauty of a sorcerer is they know what they know and can use it when they want!
I didn't think about mentioning PrC but they did so i'll make a mention.
Eldritch knight isn't too bad, the higher bab is nicer since your ranged touch fighting.
Arcane trickster is pretty fun if you wanted to also have some extra uses and sneak damage. NOTE: If you do this there are two good ways. One is via ninja (4lvs for some ki points) (but the lose of casting levels is just painful) or Rogue+ the archetype that lets you cast with Int not CHA. You loose bonus to damage though.
but to get sneak attack you've gotta be within 30ft and you'll be fragile. Lastly, depends on your GM but (officially done in an FAQ i think?) that ray attacks only trigger sneak attack once per target.
Lastly is Dragon Disicple. You lose out on caster levels (could make up some of them via that trait I forget the name of), but you gain: con+2 str +4 (to stats) (not that useful for this char, but carrying weight is nice) massive HP boost, a bite to go with Draconic bloodline claws (not something you'll use much, but it's nice to have it when your screwed. and if you end up liking some of it with good DEx and weapon finesse you can hit with it), you get extra uses of draconic's breath weapon (I suggest taking a bloodline with a cone. Just so you have some sort of AOE in case), a lot of Natural armour. Oh and later you can change into a dragon. Not really useful for you but it's still neat.
So you drop 3 caster levels, and associated spells and spell levels, for more durablilty and utility. I think a Ray build can handle that pretty alright.
Alternatively you could stop at lv 8 D.D and go back to sorc, as the capstones aren't for you. I think if you do that, you can still reach 1 lv9 spell. Though i'm not sure if there are that many rays super high level (though lv 9 has some fun stuff anyway)
As asked above, yeah Ray is ok for weapon focus, specialization, etc. it's counted as a weapon. BUT if you do this the spell has to say "effect ray"
Point blank shot, precise shot are nifty, as techincally RAY spells are weapons. and Weapons when shot into combat need precise shot or they take -4.
If your just wanting ranged touch attacks as your speciality, it opens things up abit more for you, but having super focus isn't that bad.
Off hand.. I think I like the DD the most. but I have a love for having the ability to take a hit. And most rays are 30feet +5/2lv so you have to be somewhat close. So having +7natural armour just from Draconic bloodline and Dragon Disciple is nice (depends on how far down the lines you go)d12 hp is extra nice. I built something similar to this (based off of the Breath of Fire series). Was pretty fun, picked up toughness too. One time we were captured but they didn't know I could grow claws and teeth. Ate my way out of chains with acid teeth and claws, freed th others and mauled people on our way out (as a dragon). The team riding me on the way out was kinda degrading though haha. (home game not PFS)
Metamagic wise, some rods of elemental might be good, take a weird element that isn't occured as much (I love acid, and rays of acid is neat). Inreasing range might not be too bad. Then the normal damage ones are good (intesnsify, maximize etc) Quick rod is nice to get your defensive buffs up if your caught with your pants down. and to needle someone to death quicker.
and as above Squekmaan said, be sure your party knows that your the sharp shooter type, you basically shoot one target to death and not support or control. Be the jamesbond laser!
Re edited: due to me going off track of PFS only. Sorry if I missed a bit
if you're looking specifically just to throw rays around... you may actually want to consider a wordcasting sorcerer with one level dip into spellslinger wizard. Wordcasting lets you turn almost all of your attacking spells into rays, plus you get to add your gun's enhancement bonus to you to hit rolls or spell DCs, if applicable. If you suddenly find yourself needing to hit a wider area, just flip those rays into cones or lines if you want the DC boost, or use bursts if you need a good ol' fireball AoE shape.
Another choice, if you're using those "adds +1 damage per die rolled" bloodlines is to take Magical knack, worship Desna, and be a 1 spellslinger/2 sorcerer/10 evangelist/7 sorcerer. Whenever you're under starlight, you get an extra 2d6 damage that is untyped (but because of the way the bloodlines are written, these still give you an extra 2 points of damage in addition) while not impacting your CL in the slightest.
Arcane trickster's fun from what I hear from a player I know who runs one, and there are two great guides on the guide to the class guides on several different takes for this class. AT also stacks well with any of the above methods, though your CL will be lower. By taking the pressure point ninja trick (which can be poached by rogues, too, if desired) adds a saveless debuff onto your sneak attacks by letting you damage their attributes, and vanishing trick is always fun to use with spell sniping.
Another way to help get more is Pairing this guy with a Bard or Evangelist Cleric. As Rays ARE weapons (you can take weapon focus and spec) you will get the bonus to hit and to DAMAGE from the Bardic Performance. Scorching ray becomes even better as it adds it to EACH ray making it ever so much more lethal.
I will also mention the magus. You will get more castings a day as a sorcerer but as a magus you will get Fighter Training (albeit Late) but most ray attacks are low level spells and they typically can be found on a magus list.
If your Min-maxing and trying to get as much juice out of it then Sorc will be the class your looking at for your bloodline arcana. Probably some Cross-blooded monstrosity.
Thanks for the suggestions.
Going have to crack open the books and take a look at some of this stuff.
Going to end up suggesting a pure Sorcerer (with maybe a possibility of going Eldritch Knight later) and pointing out the suggested Bloodlines.
Then I get to watch him choose and end up playing a Barbarian.
For a PFS legal if cheesy Blazer build...
Standard Aasimar (before the 14th of August unless you have a boon stashed) for the Daylight SLA for early access into EK.
Without a dump stat;
Take one level in Fighter (Lore Warden archetype for the extra skill points since you won't use more than light armor, if that) or a level in Paladin with the Divine Hunter archetype (Same reason with the armor, but you also get Precise Shot for free and an extra +2 on Will saves). Use your feat/feats to get Point blank shot and precise shot and be an archer for a level.
Take a Level in Sorcerer. I would go Orc bloodline with the Tattooed Sorcerer archetype so that you gain an extra 30 feet of Darkvision, +1 damage on any spell damage die, and then get a virtually invulnerable familiar that can work as a perpetual bonus, most likely a +4 to initiative. Some might want to go cross blooded for an extra die, but it would be limited to one type of element, I would avoid it or perhaps go with an elemental bloodline just to be able to change the spell damage to something else for free.
Go into EK and have fun being a nearly full BAB laser slinger. As others have said, mix in weapon feats and some metamagic. Eventually pick up Flight and be a virtual comic book character.
Invest your stat improvements into Dex at 4 and 8.
Grab the Magical Knack (Sorcerer) and Wayang Spellhunter (Scorching Ray) to keep your caster level on par and to help with applying metamagic.
I recommend picking one ray and metamagic the heck out of it with a sorcerer with arcane bloodline. Unless you are going into the very high levels a gnome can be shooting dual empowered scorching rays as level 2 spells with a human just a little behind. With other metamagic feats you can change almost any ray into a scorching ray like damager. Human is especially good at this type of character as he can gain weapon focus ray easier, has best favored class bonus for sorcerer, etc.
Wizard is IMO not as good at blasting for the sole reason that he can't change what metamagic he is using on the fly.