Arcanist Optimization Guide


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Quick check; does the Elf FAB give you an extra point each morning, does it increase your max points, give you one extra point at level and then never again or do both options 1 and 2?


It increases your maximum. It doesn't let you start the day with more. It's pretty rubbish.


It's not the best; but as a note with a big maximum and left over spells before goign to bed you could always eat half the left over spells for more arcane points to go with the small amount you regen.
So you could end up with just a ton of poitns daily


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Doesn't work. You wake up with a fixed number. You don't carry forward unused ones.


oooh good catch.


Aratrok wrote:

...

And your charisma doesn't affect people's initial opinion of you in any way. If you want to house rule it to do that, go for it, but you should be up front with your players.

...

Consider for a moment what charisma is in the rules,

"Charisma measures a character's personality, personal magnetism, ability to lead, and appearance."

These are all things that are immediate upon someone's notice of you.

Diplomacy on the other hand is an activated and intentionally used skill.

Therefore, people will be judging you based on charisma before you even get the chance to use diplomacy. This is kinda the same thing that has any smart person deciding to wear a suit to an interview instead of casual wear, because they know that their words are not the first thing that will have an effect.

Now perhaps this isn't explicitly mechanical, but if you stripped out everything but the mechanics, you wouldn't have a game left as too much relies on the implied things, as well as what the GM fills in.

Further, this may not even be used by all GMs, but that wasn't the point. The point was that there is reason to consider that a GM or campaign may have different requirements for optimization.

Even further, if charisma is such a useless thing, you have four choices, complain about brokeness of the rules, use every broken rule to your advantage even when it totally breaks the spirit and intent of the game (not very fun), get rid of the broken part, or the best option, make the broken part not broken.

Interestingly, using the last option doesn't require a single mechanics alteration, merely requires consideration of the score instead of only skills. Besides, what is the point of the scores if they just get ignored?

Thus, if you have a low charisma, a GM has every right to use that against you, including having individuals ignore you based on your poor charisma before even giving you the chance to put your diplomatic sills to use (actually this happens entirely too much in real life, why it would be ignored in an RPG is well beyond me. It is a perfect tool for added drama, and an excellent obstacle when trying to get information or a favor from a high ranking official.)

Sovereign Court

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So I come here hoping for some deep insight into the arcanist and it's just a rehash of earlier threads about Charisma vs. Diplomacy.


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Derail Alert:
Like I said, it's fine if you want to house rule it to do that, but you should make your players aware of the new mechanics you've added and explicitly how they function, not ambush them with surprise drawbacks not laid out in the rules. That's not fun, that's passive aggressively harassing people for playing in a way you don't like.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
So I come here hoping for some deep insight into the arcanist and it's just a rehash of earlier threads about Charisma vs. Diplomacy.

Yes. Christ.

And it seems nobody noticed that the point buy options I offered clearly show that the dumped Charisma versions are blue, compared to the green for non-dumped.

While the elf favored class bonus seems terrible, it is indeed possible to make use of it if you abuse the Scribe Scroll and Consume Magic Items exploits.

At 20th level, an elven arcanist can wade into a fight with literally double the normal number of 9th-level spells per day at a cost less than an 8th-level scroll.

RotRL spoiler:
And even without magical supremacy, imagine Karzoug trying to fight an arcanist with greater counterspell who just nerfs his 1st-round time stop.

But yes, it is too situational to really recommend for most campaigns. Instead take the hit points to counteract the Constitution penalty.


Aratrok wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
And while I most certainly let them know my style, I am not making houserules at all, and certainly not mechanics.

This effect comes into play before any game mechanics even dream of coming into play. It is the thing that the stat represents, not the stat itself.

Mechanics are just there as support for the game, they are not the basis of the game. Best to think of them as an interface, and each interface element has a purpose, and charisma represents certain aspects of your character. Taking those aspects into account is me doing my due diligence as GM.

It is closer to accurate to say that ignoring charisma is a houserule, regardless of how common the practice may be.


DMdarklighthitomi: as far as i know, the rules just set everyone at neutral to affect their mood unless you're a race or faction they hate. charisma has nothing to do with that.

on topic: personally i am incredibly disappointed in the elemental (and force) powers. crappy damage, easy saves, and spends a rather precious resource if you don't have wands/staffs/spare spell slots to snack on.

heck, i could better use that eaten slot by not eating it and simply casting a blasty spell instead. usual exploits i go for are dimensional slide, potent magic, quick study, spell tinkerer, and either the school or bloodline exploits.
i find that the counterspell/spell siphon route isn't too stellar on the arcanist's sorcerer progression (you will never be able to deflect an enemy's most or second-most dangerous spells), but i'd consider them on an exploiter wizard.

.

a thing i noticed though: since force strike says it's treated as a spell of [1/2 arcanist level] level, could you apply metamagic feats to it? toppling might be neat in such a case.


AndIMustMask wrote:
a thing i noticed though: since force strike says it's treated as a spell of [1/2 arcanist level] level

Say what?


The Ice power is alright. Stagger is a good emergency tool, and later you can add Entangled. Triggering off a Fort save is a pain though. The rest are, sadly, crap.


kestral287 wrote:

The difference really is that, for most classes, Cha is pretty much /only/ used for skills. It's the only stat that doesn't have some general application to every character.

That said, there's another thread making note of going Sorcerer 1/Arcanist X and dropping an Exploit on Bloodline Development to get... almost all of the Sorcerer's class features. The Arcanist can also do this with a Wizard, by dropping an Exploit on School Understanding (and possibly Familiar). How do people feel about the viability of one or the other of these? Or even both, really, doing Sorcerer 1/Wizard 1/Arcanist X with Magical Knack to shore up your CL and banking on the broadened abilities to make up for being a spell level behind. Seems interesting, but I'm not sure how good it'd be.

This is bad because you'll be so far behind on what spells you have access too. it'll take you till level 6 for your arcanist to gain 2nd level spells, while a wizard or sorcerer would have 3rd level spells.


Dot and favorite


AndIMustMask: I don't see language like that anywhere in my copy of the ACG. I'd think you would need some sort of fancy feat to be able to add metamagic to supernatural abilities.


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Chess Pwn wrote:
kestral287 wrote:

The difference really is that, for most classes, Cha is pretty much /only/ used for skills. It's the only stat that doesn't have some general application to every character.

That said, there's another thread making note of going Sorcerer 1/Arcanist X and dropping an Exploit on Bloodline Development to get... almost all of the Sorcerer's class features. The Arcanist can also do this with a Wizard, by dropping an Exploit on School Understanding (and possibly Familiar). How do people feel about the viability of one or the other of these? Or even both, really, doing Sorcerer 1/Wizard 1/Arcanist X with Magical Knack to shore up your CL and banking on the broadened abilities to make up for being a spell level behind. Seems interesting, but I'm not sure how good it'd be.

This is bad because you'll be so far behind on what spells you have access too. it'll take you till level 6 for your arcanist to gain 2nd level spells, while a wizard or sorcerer would have 3rd level spells.

Eh, I'd probably space them out a bit depending on which archetype I went for, but point taken.

On the subject of the guide: I'm thinking Eldritch Font is massively underappreciated. Eldritch Surge is Potent Magic that you don't have to pay a point for. Look at it like Barbarian Rage-Cycling. Off the bat, take Human, grab Heart of the Fields, you can ignore Fatigue once per day. Later on, when you have some gold, pay 7500 to grab a Cord of Stubborn Resolve. Personally, I'll gladly take 1d6 points of nonlethal in order to get Potent Magic on everything I cast. Requiring a swift action isn't exactly fun, but it's not going to be critical early on.

Later on, when you have some more points to throw around, you can use the Surge's other abilities in conjunction with Potent Magic. Save-or-Die looks funny when you bump the DC up by two AND can make them re-roll.

Admittedly, I might be reading the RAW wrong... but is 'ignoring' an effect the same as removing it? Heart of the Fields just says to ignore Fatigue, Cord replaces it with something else. An Oracle dip makes you flat-out immune, which I'd think would override the Font's "spells and abilities have no effect" bit.

If there really is no way to dodge the Fatigue then yeah, the Font becomes much less awesome. But if there is...


Okay, one method of maximizing the Elf FCB to Arcanist is to go Half-elf and use the Elf FCB. Replace Multitalented with Arcane Training. At 3rd level, you can then use scrolls/wands/etc. of 2nd level spells as if you could cast them. Make sure you take the Consume Magic Items exploit. Now whenever you have some loose cash in the game, you can purchase an appropriately sized scroll or wand to use with that exploit. And if you don't feel like eating the magic item, you can still use it efficiently.


If she's already exhausted, or something would prevent her from becoming fatigued or exhausted, she cannot use this ability. This ability does not stack with spending points from her arcane reservoir to increase the spell's caster level or DC (as the arcane reservoir class feature). Only rest can remove fatigue or exhaustion caused by an eldritch surge—spells and abilities have no effect.

you can't combo it with potent magic. and you can't dodge the fatigue. If you're immune then you cannot use this ability. and no spell or ability can remove the fatigue. I feel it's a pretty meh archetype. Maybe worth it if you're going heavy on the metamagic and don't care about the higher spells anyways. But it's abilities aren't that good because you can't get around them and can't stack them.


On top of all that, the eldritch font is effectively TWO levels behind the wizard rather than one.


One of the most overlooked and powerful archetypes is the brown fur transmuter. Give spells like long arm, resinous skin, monstrous physique, giant form, iron body, etc. to a character that can better make use of them, and for only 1 point more, increase the ability boost by 2. The latter also applies to enlarge person.


Thelemic_Noun wrote:
AndIMustMask wrote:
a thing i noticed though: since force strike says it's treated as a spell of [1/2 arcanist level] level
Say what?

looking back over everything i have no idea where i got that from. my apologies.


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Spoiler:
Altering a character's starting disposition is changing a mechanic. The continuum of hostile to friendly is a purely mechanical aspect of the game, so you are definitely altering the mechanics of the game. And if you're going to do that, you should define how in concrete terms so that everyone is affected by it fairly (and the players can tell how much Cha people they meet have, because apparently NPCs can tell how much they have).

Ignoring charisma would be a house rule. Fortunately, people don't do that. Buying a low Charisma has the concrete impact of reducing your Charisma based skill checks, Charisma ability checks, and making you significantly more susceptible to Cha damage knockouts. Someone with 8 Cha and no ranks in Diplomacy can't even reliably ask people for directions on the street. Adding more effects to Charisma would be a house rule as well.

Yeah. Eldritch Font is not good. You end up way behind in spell levels and flexibility, and the benefits you get are pretty intangible. Fatiguing yourself (which requires 8 hours of rest to remove) for a benefit that doesn't stack with burning arcane reservoir points on amplifying spells isn't worth it- you're basically fatiguing yourself for an extra point per day. Or, roughly 1000 gp of value, since you could pop a pearl of power and consume the slot for the same effective benefit.


Aratrok wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

Yeah. Eldritch Font is not good. You end up way behind in spell levels and flexibility, and the benefits you get are pretty intangible. Fatiguing yourself (which requires 8 hours of rest to remove) for a benefit that doesn't stack with burning arcane reservoir points on amplifying spells isn't worth it- you're basically fatiguing yourself for an extra point per day. Or, roughly 1000 gp of value, since you could pop a pearl of power and consume the slot for the same effective benefit.

Higher up when you get the forced reroll ability it's emulating a Metamagic feat for your swift action and fatigue. I still don't think it's generally worth it, but the higher up abilties are better and worth more than 1000gp.


Yeah, that's a good point. It's more like a 1/day greater rod of persistent spell... sort of, since it only works on a single target.


Lets try and get this back on track, I propose trying to theory craft some builds. Lets start off with an Occultist, focusing on boosting the summons.

Traits:
Genie callerOnce a day? There's much better options.
Deep Guardian (Dwarf) That's not bad, although Dwarf is a poor choice of race.
Extra HP for your zoo is always nice, and it scales. Green?
Second Tongue (Old Cults)No thanks. Red.

Feats:
Spell Focus (conjuration) - feat tax
Augment Summoning - solid blue
Evolved Summoned Monster - solid blue, very flexible
Superior Summoning - doesn't synergise with Evolved Summoned Monster but is good otherwise.
Harrowed Summoning - possibly green, can have nice results, can be useless but requires the Harrowed. Great fluff however.
Summon Good Monster - The summon options get better at high level, the early ones are not that impressive. I'm not sure if this actually works RAW, if not it's kind of poor.
Summon Neutral Monster - Seems a bit better than Summon Good Monster, green?
Skeleton Summoner - Adds some good low level options but requires Spell Focus(necromancy)
Ferocious Summons - More HP is nice, but there's so many other feats. Orange.
Spider Summoner (Drow) - Seems quite reasonable, green?

Bar alignment and racial restrictions, you could get most of those and make a pretty potent summoner although I suspect you'd get most of the benefit with just Spell Focus (conjuration), Augment Summoning and Evolved Summoned Monster.

I think it's possible to build something built around summons plus (ab)-using dazing stone call, and all the various pit spells with high DCs. Damage will be done via hasted summons (of course).


I'm not sure that the best way to run an Occultist is to boost the summons, but instead I think you should try to focus on your normal spellcasting through metamagic feats and extra exploits and let your summons be an amazing compliment instead.


Spoiler:
I think you are missing something. Neutral, hostile, or friendly only really refers to how helpful or harmful they will be to you. Further, it is clearly a mistake to assume every npc will start as neutral, what about the saintly cleric that is friendly and helpful to absolutely everyone? To start out neutral just means the npc isn't aggressive to you and isn't actively seeking to help you. That doesn't mean you can just waltz up to them and get them to listen to your sob story, feel sorry for you, and give you everything you want.

Also, I am sure the president of the US coukd be considered neutral to you, but that doesn't mean he will give you an audience in which you can try to convince him of something use your persuasive speech skills.

Same here, higher charisma is more likely to get a chance to speak.

This is an RPG, not a tactical minis game. Difference? The RP. Charisma is all about being social, and you can't really treat that the same as combat.

It is the GMs job to balance these things, the GMs job to prevent 15 min workdays, and other nonsense.

If a character calls you ugly it is likely because your character is, and that is reflected in your charisma.

And an npc can tell whether you are ugly or not, what your general demeanor is, and stuff like that, just like people can in real life. There is no specifics for it. In fact good GMs tell players the charisma of npcs all the time, just usually in descriptive terms rather then numbers. So why shouldn't the same be true for npcs? Though obviously, to know what the npc sees about the players is based on their description and charisma.

Grand Lodge

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i think your a little harsh on the poor grippli as they have an awesome feat Agile Tongue 10' reach touch attack is useful, Vampiric Tongue anyone?


Why are you even posting in this guy's optimization thread, DakLightHitomi? Do you really think that this is the place for your personal soapbox?


The competition comes from the Exploiter wizards for "best at exploding things". Does the Arcaninst get something beyond those two? otherwise I'd say the wizard is better by getting spells sooner, but arcanist does have the advantage of using other spells if he doesn't need to blast that day.


The exploiter wizard loses his school, and therefore Admixture, so he's just as bad at killing, say, fire elementals as the half-orc crossblooded sorcerer.


But nothing prevents the exploiter wizard from selecting the School Understanding exploit.


Fearspect wrote:
I'm not sure that the best way to run an Occultist is to boost the summons, but instead I think you should try to focus on your normal spellcasting through metamagic feats and extra exploits and let your summons be an amazing compliment instead.

Interesting. So would you be suggesting a focus on summons + crowd control or summons + blasting?


Ricardo Pennacchia wrote:
But nothing prevents the exploiter wizard from selecting the School Understanding exploit.

The wizard can't take the Extra Exploit feat (prerequisite: Arcanist Exploit, archetype ability name: Exploiter Exploit), so they can't get both Potent Magic and School Powers by 3rd level, so they can't come on line as quickly.


Quick tip:

It might seem like a pointless distinction between taking a metamagic feat and taking Extra Exploit (metamagic knowledge), but the latter is in fact superior as it enables you to qualify for Greater Metamagic Knowledge, whereas simply taking the metamagic feat would not.

Just a tip for planning out your build.


Fearspect wrote:
Why are you even posting in this guy's optimization thread, DakLightHitomi? Do you really think that this is the place for your personal soapbox?

Mostly I was replying to comments made to me or my comments. As for my initial post, it was something I believe should be considered when optimizing, apparently most don't agree.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

Removed a post. Titling builds or characters after contentious organizations is not appropriate on our messageboards.


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The problem with blaster arcanists is they don't get that many high level spells per day. Perhaps this is where occultist shines, since you have a different pool for using it and you can burn your lower level spells to power that.

Human Occultist Arcanist
Traits: Magic Lineage (Fireball), Metamagic Master (Fireball)
1. Spell Focus (Evocation), Spell Specialization (Burning Hands -> Fireball -> Fire Snake)
3. Intensify Spell, Potent Magic
5. Extra Exploit: School Understanding (Admixture), Metamagic Knowledge (Empowered Spell)
7. Varisian Tatoo(Evocation)

Blasts by level
1. Burning hands - 3d4 or 4d4 with 1 arcane reservoir point
2. Burning hands - 4d4 or 5d4 with 1 arcane reservoir point
3. Burning hands - 5d4
4. 2nd level Intensified Burning hands - 6d4 or 8d4 with 1 arcane reservoir point
5. 2nd level Intensified Burning hands - 7d4 or 9d4 with 1 arcane reservoir point
6. 3rd level Empowered Fireball - 8d6*1.5 or 10d6*1.5 with 1 arcane reservoir point
7. 3rd level Empowered Fireball - 10d6*1.5
8. 4th level Intensified Empowered Fireball - 11d6*1.5 or 13d6*1.5 with 1 arcane reservoir point

A 1 level dip in crossblodded sorcerer would ramp that up significantly, but I doubt many GMs allow that :)


Zwordsman wrote:

Arcanist is pretty good for Prestige classes. Especially the blade adept one. It leads utterly great to arcane trickster and eldritch knight. In fact it's not even bad for a dragon disciple. Considering once you take the first level if you have the bloodline exploit then your full up on the abilities netting you some great natural armour and some natural attacks.

I myself am making a great looking (havent played it yet) Blade ADept arcanist who is going into Dragon Disciple to recreate the Ryu characters from breath of fire. Using blade adept's sword and a claw and a bite haha. Cept I made my guy mostly dex based (haven't decided yet if I'll nab agile on weapons yet or not)

Though I wonder. In the elemental exploits they list level and not arcanist level All the other exploits except the elemntal exploits specificaly list arcane level as well.. So I wanan say it means it levels up no matter what class levels you take?

So does that mean it's based off your level in general? Cause that would make those exploits more useful for everything. Especially for Prestige class choices. Arcane Trickster would utterly love them.

It doesn't seem terribly wrong seeing as it's funded off of arcane points which won't go up if you multiclass so it's still terribly limited

It is my understanding that Arcanist does not qualify for the Dragon Disciple (DD) prestige class. DD requires the ability to cast level 1 arcane spells without preparation. And "An arcanist must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, her spells are not expended when they're cast."


If you pick up a spell like ability from a school power or exploit then that can count for the pre-req.

Lantern Lodge

@Thelemic_Noun, what is your rating for Aasimars? Especially with the sub-race that give +2 int and cha?

*I noticed that aasimars are not on your race list in the guide.


Henrythefifth wrote:


It is my understanding that Arcanist does not qualify for the Dragon Disciple (DD) prestige class. DD requires the ability to cast level 1 arcane spells without preparation. And "An arcanist must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a wizard, her spells are not expended when they're cast."

Yup. So you can go two ways for it. If your GM likes it or if your in PFS, then the SLA choices can get you it easily. At which point with the bloodline exploit I think Blood of the Dragons from DD makes your arcanist count full for the blood powers.

Alternatively you would have to dip into Sorcerer for one level. This isn't horrible though.. if you get the bloodline exploit after the dip, it can net you some nice benefits as a DD. Depending on how one reads bloodline development you may gain the bloodline spells and bloodline feats based off all the levels.. Though probably not
You could even get crossblooded for some arcana joy. Even better is if your GM allows crossblooded and wild blooded (generally mine do; they don't view them as interfering with each other) you could get sorcerer level before bloodline develpment exploit and DD and have most of your dragon bloodline stuff trigger off of INT. Though that is almost only to make your DC for your breath weapon better. Unless you opt out for other bloodline stuff. I don't think that is worth it in general unless you really like it but just want to avoid CHA


Chess Pwn wrote:
If you pick up a spell like ability from a school power or exploit then that can count for the pre-req.

Where do they allow SLAs to count as spells? Nothing I've read has the two as interchangeable.


Some FAQ somewhere, I dn't have a link off hand but if you google search about Sla qualifying it should pop up, or search the forums. It shows a up A LOT. so one of those threads will have a link somewhere.


This is the FAQ in question:


Interesting. Thanks.


A possible good use for the Arcane Weapon exploit would be with a 1-level dip in Wizard Spellslinger.
Lose another spell level vs wizard, but for a potential +5 DC on some spells. With the right spells and/or metamagic and the Potent Spell exploit could be devastating.


Secane wrote:

@Thelemic_Noun, what is your rating for Aasimars? Especially with the sub-race that give +2 int and cha?

*I noticed that aasimars are not on your race list in the guide.

Corrected, as of now.

Just as awesome as tieflings, given the potential for +4 Int. I just wish there were a +2 Int +2 Dex subrace.

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